St. Columba's College, UCC.
Pretty much only Tyndall
BioPhotonics group in Tyndall National Institute.
Favourite thing to do in my job: Assembling and programming experimental instruments
About Me: Tinkering and engineering is my hobby...
I moved to Ireland in 1998. Went to school in Dublin where I did both my Junior and Leaving Certs. After that, I moved to Cork and started college. I’m still here…
I now live just outside Glanmire with my wife, who is a nurse, and kids who all attend a local primary school.
As a hobby, I’m mostly work on my project car. This type of hobby has taught me a lot, from simple things like how parts are screwed together to making my own parts using a welder or a 3D printer as well as soldering together and programming the engine management computer. Once I even got to kick out a windscreen… it is not as easy as Hollywood films make it out to be.
I used to play basketball, but now I just coach junior’s rugby and make others do the push-ups.
My Work: In my job, I work with lasers, lenses and mirrors. I avoid smoke at all costs. I am trying to find a way to diagnose illness, such as cancer, using nothing but visible light!
Most of the stuff that we see around us every day has a colour (yes, including water). The colour of objects is the direct result of what they are made of. When you look at a piece of wood, a rusty chain on your bike or a piece of Lego, you can easily figure out what that stuff is made from. It’s not too different when we look at living things or even organs in our bodies. Their colour, which let’s face it… is mostly red, really depends on what types of biological compounds that are present. Because of this phenomenon, diseased biological tissue, such as cancer, has a slightly different colour to the healthy tissue surrounding it. Unfortunately, this difference in colour is so slight, that a human eye cannot see the difference. Fortunately for us, we can design and build optical systems with cameras and sensors capable of detecting these slight differences. These kind of systems can then be used by surgeons to help them identify cancerous tissue and remove it from very delicate organs such as a human brain.
My Typical Day: My day, as everyone else's, usually starts with a coffee, checking the email and the calendar for meetings. Then I usually work on figuring out what parts need to be bought, look at the results from previous experiments and figure out how experiments can be made better.
What I'd do with the money: Maybe a few Arduino boards with screens to give students a chance to do some basic programming? These boards have a simple USB interface and are really cheap, so are the screens. The compiler is free and can be installed on any PC.
Since most of the modern everyday electronics has a micro-controller that controls the appliance, it could be good to give the student a sense of how this stuff actually works and more importantly that they can program similar devices themselves, without having to go to college first.
A simple arduino board with a screen can be programmed to do simple stuff like turning on and off a light (LED), read temperature or level of light in the room and show the results on the screen.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I tinker with lasers to help surgeons.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Quit a better paying, toxic role.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Just the array of things I could build myself.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Applied maths was fun.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No, I was boring
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Better work ethic, live somewhere sunny, surf more.
Tell us a joke.
A proton and a neutron walk into a bar.... :|