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Career Story: Microbiologist, NUI Galway

Fiona Boyle

Job title
Microbiologist Lecturer
Company
NUI Galway
Industry
Third Level Education
Experience
7 years
Education
  1. Degree in Microbiology, NUI Galway
  2. Masters in Biomedical Science, NUI Galway
Favourite subjects in school
Biology and Geography
The best thing about my job
I get the opportunity to travel and meet people in my field from all across the world, and I get to confer with people who may be able to help me with problems in my own research.

I get the opportunity to travel and meet people in my field from all across the world, and I get to confer with people who may be able to help me with problems in my own research.

I get the opportunity to travel and meet people in my field from all across the world.

My main tasks

I am at present setting up a laboratory service for all the clinical laboratories to send patient specimens for analysis. My main focus and interests are antibiotic resistance in bacteria that have been taken from patients in hospitals and in the community.

I receive clinical samples from patients from hospital laboratories all over Ireland. I carry out all steps of the analysis of the bacteria from these samples. I receive and log in samples to the laboratory. I carry out phenotypic and genotypic testing on the bacteria that I find in the sample.

What I like

Being responsible for a project. Planning, carrying out and troubleshooting are all exciting and motivating. I find it very exciting when I am the first person to see the result of a test and I have to decipher it.

It is also a great experience when my work is accepted for presentation at conferences all over the world as I get the opportunity to travel and meet people in my field from all across the world, and I get to confer with people who may be able to help me with problems in my own research.

Challenges

Staying positive when laboratory tests fail without explanation after extensive troubleshooting.

Work / life balance

My job allows me to work flexible hours and in certain cases when papers are due and results need to be written up I can work from home. Working in research enables me to meet new people and be involved in activities outside of the laboratory. Importantly my job allows me to think outside the box.

Who influenced me

My professor has been very influential in my career to date. He taught me as an undergraduate and I always admired the way he was able to make a lecture entertaining and interesting. He had a very insightful way into how to get across a lot of information without it being a strain on his class.

I recently started covering a few lectures and I try and incorporate some of the things I learnt from him. It has received a very good response. I feel a real sense of accomplishment that I have given over some of my knowledge to the students after giving a lecture.

Most useful aspects of my education

Microbiology for my undergraduate degree, my research project for my Masters in biomedical science, demonstrating laboratory practicals to undergraduates, and taking on lecturing duties have all been important in training and preparing for my career as a lecturer.

Useful Work Experience

I would suggest to anyone interesting in this type of career to contact the outreach people/departments in their local university and try and arrange some work experience in a lab of their choice.