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PhD Student, APC Microbiome Institute

Julie O'Sullivan

Job title
PhD Student
APC Microbiome Institutes
In my 3rd year of my PhD
  1. BSc in Biochemistry in UCC
Favourite subjects in school
The best thing about my job
My favourite thing about my job has to be the people I work with, everyone is so sound and so willing to help. I also love the novelty of my project (no one else I know is doing it) and being apart of the important work that the APC are doing.

You must have interest and passion in what you are doing. You have have HAVE to be self-motivated. You must to be somewhat patient and be accepting that experiments might not work out the first time, and so be persistent, keep trying. If something isn’t working try and not get frustrated but being able to take a step back and look objectively from the outside is very important.

Eagerness to learn, taking advice and correction from people more experienced than you, don’t be afraid of making mistakes but be afraid of not learning from them. 

My Main Tasks

My main tasks/skills are organisation, patience, motivation, competence and persistence are very important skills to do a Ph. D.


Keeping yourself motivated 24-7 is challenging and at the beginning I found the writing aspect quiet tough but once you get started it’s OK.

Who Influenced Me

I think my interest in biology for the leaving cert really steered me towards science based course in college so I have my Biology teacher Joe Carroll to thank for that. My uncle is also involved in microbiology research in the States so I suppose he influenced me to stay in research.

Work/Life Balance

Absolutely, work hard play hard, I play tag rugby at least twice a week all year round and while sometimes work is required on the weekends I’m still able go out.  

Most Useful Aspects of my Education

Composing a Literature review in third year of college and the Final Year Project as well as spending my summers working in the local North Cork Creamery lab has really helped me in my work today.

Useful Work Experience

Any lab based work experience would be of great help.

Top Tips!

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes but be sure to learn from them.