Student rapporteurs of “Schrödinger at 75 – The Future of Biology” reflect on the future of science at the mini-symposium

Posted on: 17 October 2018

Dearbhaile Casey and Jessica Dolliver became winners of the student mini-symposium “Schrödinger at 75: Do We Now Know the Future of Life?” which was held on 5 October in the Schrödinger Lecture Theatre at the School of Physics.

Over 20 students shadowed the speakers at “Schrödinger at 75 – The Future of Biology” international conference organised by Trinity on 5-6 September 2018. The purpose was to mark the 75th anniversary of a series of visionary public lectures entitled “What is Life?” in Trinity by Nobel laureate, physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who was then Director of Theoretical Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).  When Schrödinger gave his original lectures in 1943 in Trinity, the basis for heredity was the urgent unsolved question.

Student rapporteurs submitted essays and presented their reflections on the talks by the brightest scientific minds working on some of the biggest questions in science including the basis of the mind and consciousness, ageing, gene editing, synthetic biology, bioenergetics and the origin of life—and recaptured the spirit of Schrödinger’s lectures by exploring the future of biology. There were:

 The Future of Complex Systems – Roisin McMackin, PhD student, Neurology

  • The Future of the Brain – Alan O’Doherty, Chemistry; Yasmine Tadjine, Science
  • The Future of Ancient DNA – Maeve McCann, Genetics; Elaine Moloney, Dental Science
  • The Future of Extinction – Andrew Mooney, PhD candidate, Zoology
  • The Future of Future of Structural Biology – Jessica Fletcher, PhD student, Dental Science
  • The Future of Ageing – Jamie Sugrue, PhD student, Biochemistry & Immunology; Laura Perez Denia, PhD student, Gerontology
  • The Future of Immunology, Cillian Gartlan, SF Science
  • The Future of Medicine, Padmaja Naik, PhD student, Histopathology, Medicine
  • The Future of Gene Editing – Ellen Tuck, Genetics; Rachel Coomey, Medicine
  • The Future of Artificial Intelligence – Nam Le Hai, PhD student in Evolutionary Computation, Natural Computing Research and Applications, University College Dublin
  • The Future of Life – Dearbhaile Casey, Genetics; Peter West PhD candidate, Philosophy
  • The Future of Science Communication – Fiana Ní Ghrálaigh, Psychiatry
  • The Future of Bioenergetics – Áine McCabe, SS Biochemistry; Elle Loughran, Genetics
  • The Future of Infectious Disease – Danielle Olavario, Microbiology
  • The Future of Plant Life – Jessica Dolliver, Final year, Botany
  • The Future of Zoology – Kate Duggan, SF Human Genetics
  • The Future of Learning & Memory – Tristram Ryan, SS Human Health & Disease


The panel consisting of Professor Lydia Lynch (conference speaker), Professor Aoife McLysaght, Professor Luke O’Neill, Professor Tomás Ryan and Professor Emma Teeling (conference speaker, UCD) judged the presentations and lauded all the talks singling out for a €500 prize two rapporteurs – Dearbhaile Casey and Jessica Dolliver.

Student mini-symposium was kindly supported by Novartis.

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