St Aloysius College, Athlone (second level) and National University of Ireland, Galway.
PhD in political theory and bioethics
School of Political Science & Sociology, NUI Galway; Department of Philosophy, NUI Galway; School of Nursing and Human Sciences, Dublin City University; School of Advanced Studies & Royal Holloway, University of London; Università di Bologna, Italy and Ghent University, Belgium
Lecturer in Bioethics, DCU and Head of Irish Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (unescobioethicsireland.eu)
- Visiting Lecturer in Bioethics, School of Nursing & Human Sciences, Dublin City University, Rep. of Ireland.
- Head, Irish Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (UNESCO Bioethics Ireland), Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA), National University of Ireland (Galway), Rep. of Ireland.
Imagining what the future might bring and writing about it
I grew up on a farm in County Roscommon, worked as a (wedding) video cameraman for a while, then ended up working in academia working on philosophy, politics and bioethics. I am working in universities in Galway and Dublin and also spend some of my time abroad in Belgium, Serbia, Portugal, Italy and the UK. I spend my time, and work, exploring what the future might bring in terms of biotechnology (especially genetics and human enhancement) and what ethical, legal and social issues this might cause.
Researcher and lecturer in bioethics and political philosophy
I am a researcher in political theory and bioethics with the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis, NUI Galway and lecturer in bioethics in DCU. My research is on the ethical, legal and social (justice) implications of new biotechnologies, especially human biomedical interventions. I also work with the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and the Royal Irish Academy’s Life and Medical Sciences Committee in coordinating educational, research and public engagement initiatives in Ireland and across Europe.
To find out more about my work, you can have a look at the following websites!
My Typical Day
Public speaking, writing (everything from articles to emails!), reviewing new literature and news in biotechnology.
My work is split into a few different areas. I lecture and prepare lectures and correct assignments. My research is essentially reading, searching for new perspectives and data in genetics and writing on legal and ethical implications – mostly these days on genome editing (CRISPR), electronic personal health records and human enhancement. My UNESCO work is on coordinating research across Europe on ensuring there is a ethically and legally safe form of electronic health records for people fleeing war-torn regions of the world. I also give talks both in Ireland and abroad (typical days here are mostly spent on trains, buses and waiting in airports!).
What I'd do with the money
I would donate it as prize money for a competition about genetics and bioethics for second level students
I would donate it as prize money for a competition about genetics and bioethics for second level students. The competition would be to design a poster that would outline any revolutionary scientific or technological development in human healthcare and to identify a short list of key ethical, legal and social justice concerns and opportunities that it might create. The plan would be a nationwide call for posters – with advertised deadlines within the school year, and the top 5 entries winning €100 each, shared throughout social media and displayed and discussed at a subsequent UNESCO Bioethics conference.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, friendly, quiet
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Boards of Canada
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Travelling abroad for work
What did you want to be after you left school?
Film-maker and novelist
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not much - I think!
What was your favourite subject at school?
Science (without a doubt my favourite)
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Helping build up an emerging European research network looking at new genome editing technologies
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My Science teacher - Ms Carmel Wims, NASA and Star Trek!
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
A bad, unpublished novelist!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To travel in space someday - to finish an overdue book - to travel across parts of the world by foot
Tell us a joke.
What does a molecular biologist wear on a night out? Designer genes.