KILMALEY medical student, Orla Hennessy (pictured) has won a place at the University of Cambridge in the UK as part of the Amgen Scholarship programme. Orla, has just completed her second year of medicine at NUI Galway and will spend the summer as a researcher in Cambridge.
One of Europe’s most competitive science scholarship programmes, the Amgen Scholarship offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work in world-class labs across the continent. It is one of the only pan-European undergraduate research programmes open to students across multiple countries and offers the chance to take part in original research at labs at the University of Cambridge, Karolinska Institute or LMU Munich.
Orla will work with Professor Martin Bennett in Cambridge’s Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Her interest in cardiovascular medicine has a family link as both her parents are doctors and her father, Terry is a cardiologist.
Orla was only 16 when she sat her Leaving Cert. She knew by then that she wanted to do medicine, but was not sure she could do it, as she explains: “I saw how hard my father worked and how much of himself he put into his work. I wasn’t sure I could do that, but I was encouraged by my parents and my teachers. I came to realise that medicine was much bigger than what my father did and that I did not have to be a clinician. I could be a researcher or a bit of both. Medicine was not just my Dad’s job. It was so much more.”
Last summer she won a Health Research Board summer scholarship to do a research placement in Galway which looked at the skin ulceration in the early stages of diabetes.
Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway, Dr Sean Dinneen outlined that their faculty is actively engaged in innovative research in many areas, with particular emphasis on cancer, gene and stem cell therapy and biomedical engineering science.
“This investigative ethos is part of our undergraduate degree programme and we encourage students to undertake research opportunities. Orla should be commended for winning a sought after research scholarship,” he added.