Ronan Egan

ronan lab selfie We interviewed Ronan, a microbiology student at the University of Northampton, to ask him some lab questions. here are his answers. We asked him if has ever spilt a lab experiment..it turned out that he hadspilt blood everywhere! We also asked him what his favourite microbiology fact was was…he likes macrophages and how they work!

Hi,

I’m Ronan.

Answer 1: My favourite microbiology fact relates to the immune system (immunology). Some immune cells, called Macrophages, have the ability to not only destroy invading bacteria but present pieces of it to other cells of the immune system in order to alert other nearby cells to the presence of that particular bacteria. So an extremely fast response can be activated. In fact we are constantly under attack from germs but because of cells like these we live relatively symptom free.

Answer 2: I first became interested in Science and microbiology when I was 6/7, I was given my first microscope and chemistry set around this age and used to look at bugs and mix chemicals together (I was told off for stinking the house out a lot). I also owe a lot to my secondary school science teachers.

Answer 3: I haven’t had many accidents in the lab as I make sure to know my surroundings. However, in my first year I was working with a bacteria that likes blood. I arrived to the lab much earlier than I had expected that morning and half way through mixing the blood into my test tubes my wake up alarm started ringing really loudly and I panicked and spilt blood everywhere. So I stopped what I was doing and disinfected the area to make sure no unwanted organism to grow on the spillage. Attached is a picture of it.

Answer 4: Currently I am researching how the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae deals with stresses. For example, if the protective outer layer of the cell becomes damaged a repair response is activated. The gene I am studying is part of a ‘machine’ thought to be responsible for repairing this damage and making sure the cell wall repair response isn’t activated by accident when another response is needed. To complete this work I am using a technique called quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) which measures how genes go from ‘on’ to ‘off’ using chemicals (probes) that ‘light up’ when a target gene is switched on. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is evolutionarily similar to our own cells (both yeast and humans are eukaryotes – pronounced “you carry oats”) and so using this organism gives me clues as to how our own cells work under similar conditions.

Thanks for the questions!

Ronan Egan

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