Zak Dunphy who is also a WIT Vikings Sports Scholarship student receives an award at the Department Of Science industry sponsored awards
Zak Dunphy, a past pupil of De La Salle College, Waterford and St. Pauls BNS, is a student at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) to be awarded the Source Bioscience - Excellence in Undergraduate Biology Research, at the WIT Industry Sponsored Awards.
The awards took place on the 10 June 2021 for his final project - "Microbiological Quality of Water - Optimisation of a molecular technique for identification of false negative results in Colilert."
The third year student was a WIT Emerging Talent Sports Scholar, who won an All-Ireland Basketball College Championship with WIT Vikings while studying the BSc in Molecular Biology with Biopharmaceutical Science.
Summary of project
Zak explains what his project was about: In simple terms, they are different techniques for testing for the presence or absence of E.coli in water. The gold standard technique, Colilert, has short comings and reports false negatives. The project looked at using different techniques to identify these potential false negatives and found that microbiological techniques take 7 days, while a molecular technique (PCR) takes just 1 day. This can help reduce waterborne illness and disease in recreational water sources like beaches and swimming pools.
Zak was unaware that he had been shortlisted for the award until he received an email out of the blue from his programmer leader Dr Nabla Kennedy, after completing the semester.
“I'm absolutely delighted, thrilled and honoured to receive this award, especially after the very challenging year we had with COVID-19. I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr Audrey Hearne for her help and guidance, and Source BioScience for the recognition and the award.”
His dreams for the future include: completing his studies, gaining experience and employment in the industry locally, before climbing the ladder, and researching the microbiome.