Working Life: I hope this project helps to get students and staff back onto campus

John McSharry, Schools of Microbiology and Medicine, APC Microbiome Ireland, College of Medicine and Health, UCC.
Working Life: I hope this project helps to get students and staff back onto campus

John Mac Sharry, UCC. Picture: Tomas Tyner


This morning I am working from home. As it is summer the kids are in bed, otherwise it’s time for the school run or activities.


Teleconference with Prof Douwe Van Sinderen, School of Microbiology and APC Microbiome Ireland, and project collaborators from Netherlands and Australia on an exciting project on the effect of antibiotics on your gut microbiome and immune system. APC Microbiome Ireland is a Science Foundation Ireland-funded centre where we study the microbes that live in and on us to see how they affect our health.


A Teams call to catch up with our international team in the school of medicine and Prof Paula O’Leary, the Dean. We discuss incoming students to our medical programmes and the guidance needed for them to come to Ireland due to Covid-19.


I cycle in to work and grab a coffee and cake in Sicilian Delights coffee shop on Magazine Road. Great coffee, lovely staff.


I check emails and catch up with correspondence. Currently, we’re setting up a multi-university project called UniCoV. This involves using self-antigen testing and saliva sampling for staff and students. It is a very exciting study and I hope it helps to get students and staff back onto campus for teaching, and help detect asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2. The project in UCC is run with Dr Michael Byrne in student health. Prof Mary Horgan and I are the investigators. I catch up with the team in the lab, we discuss lab logistics and timelines for sample collection. There is a great team involved so it’s an enjoyable and productive discussion.


Quick lunch in Sicilian Delights with a coffee and pistachio cheesecake.


Back in the office to check emails and organise paperwork. I review a journal for a science publication. It is an interesting topic on the bacteria (microbiome) in your gut that affect your immune system.


I head back to the lab to check on how the day’s experiments went. All is working well and the lab process for the UniCoV is in place.


Cycle home for dinner with my wife Lisa and children Hugh and Elizabeth, where we discuss our day. After dinner we go for a swim in the sea to cool down.

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