The Fascinating Beast Known As Yeast

FEATURED EVENT - Beer, Bread and Biotech

Have you ever wondered why beer bubbles, why cheese doesn’t taste like milk, why bread rises, or what’s in your medicines? Beer, Bread and Biotech is an exhibition that charts the past present and future of our relationship with a surprising ally in food production, economics and health – the humble yeast. From the history of fermented food production thousands of years ago and the rise of the brewing and distilling industries in Cork, to current research on biofuels, medicines, and sustainable products, Beer, Bread and Biotech opens up a fascinating world of research that affects our daily lives, sometimes without us even noticing.

Interactive exhibits will include a look at some magical microbes under the microscope, using yeast to blow up balloons, an exhibition to show how many daily products rely on yeast biotechnology, the science of fermentation, and a dough demonstration. An art competition will encourage all attendees to use some of our more colourful yeasts to create magic art, which will need 2 or 3 days to grow before our expert panel select a winner and award a prize.

Researchers from the Yeast Biotechnology Research lab in UCC will be on hand to guide you through the science, the history, the visuals, and some samples of yeast biotechnology. Their current research focusses on expanding the range of products that yeast can make. These include replacements for petroleum and palm oil, new medicines and nutritional supplements, new flavours and aromas, and yeasts with the ability to improve the processes involved in making beer and wine.

Beer, Bread and Biotech will be an inviting and engaging introduction into the exciting and inspiring research that this team of science superheroes are working on. We’ll be in St Peter’s, North Main Street between 6pm and 8.30pm on Friday 28th September and we hope to see you there – bring your friends, your family, your curiosity, your questions and your imagination!

For more information on the Yeast Biotechnology team in UCC, visit

Keep up-to-date with their news and progress on Facebook at

Follow their EU funded research projects on Twitter: @YeastdocEU or @ChassyProject

Learn about Research... In the Pub!


PubhD is a monthly, free, event where people can come together to listen to 

  • 3 researchers
  • from 3 different backgrounds,
  • speak about their work in 10 minutes,
  • with an additional 20 minutes for friendly questions and answers.
  • All over a pint!

PubhD aims to bring academic research to the public in a laid back friendly and approachable environment, cutting all the jargon and complicated explanations to make every topic approachable to everyone! From professional researchers and students (of all disciplines) to the general public, if you want to hear about some interesting work being carried out in research, we would love to see you there! This special #CorkDiscovers event will take place on Friday, the 28th September 2018 at 7:00 pm in the Old Oak (113 Oliver Plunkett Street).

Three speakers are covering topics from high protein dairy powders, and how corals are being impacted by climate change to the madness of Irish mammies.

1. Orla Power – Unlocking the potential of high protein dairy powders

High protein milk powders offer a numerous health and nutritional benefits however their use in manufacture is limited by the fact that they are not readily soluble. Agents called chelators added liquid high protein milk to improve solubility result in an increase in thickness and hence cause issues in manufacture. Her work aims to address these concerns and allow milk to be utilized to its full potential.

2. Eadaoin Regan –  The Real Mother Ireland?: Matriarchal Madness in the works of George Egerton

Éadaoin Regan has just completed her first year of doctoral research in the School of English, UCC. Her project focuses on narrative representations of psychological disorder in Irish women’s literature, 1850-1914.

For the Cork Discover event, Eadaoin will be speaking on George Egerton’s depiction of the complexity of Irish mothers in terms of nationalism, religion, and domesticity.

3. Luke O’Reilly – Cold-water Corals off the Irish Coast

Luke studies deep Cold-water corals reefs ~340km off the Irish Coast. I acquire cores through these structures and put them through a series of techniques such as CT scanning. This research is critical in understanding climate change and global warming, as the area in which these corals occur, is relatively untouched from human impact.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Cork Discovers is Putting BIG Companies under The Microscope!

FEATURED RESEARCHER - Professor Irene Lynch-Fannon

Cork Discovers will be leading a talk and panel discussion entitled ‘Creating Corporate Sustainability- Can Women Make a Difference?’ on Friday, September 28th as part of the festival of research. This interactive event will ask the audience to think about how corporations act and discuss if we, as stakeholders, consumers, community activists, owners and employees can make them act in better ways which protect our environment, the people who work for them and their communities. Some of the questions and topics that will be considered on the night include:

  • Who makes the decisions in companies and why?
  • Can we influence those who control companies to act in more sustainable ways and if so how?
  • Can women make a particular difference?
  • In our research we show how in particular cases in Ghana and in Bangladesh women have been effective as activists where their water supplies (Ghana) and their working conditions were intolerable.
  • In Europe there is a move to insist that women are represented on corporate boards…and in the US different types of corporations are used which are designed to change the way corporate decision making is motivated. We ask whether this make a difference? (We are not sure).
  • So then we ask, are women more ethical, more responsible than men?
  • Do we expect them to be and if so why?
  • What if Lehman Brothers was Lehman Sisters? Is that a silly question?

Professor Irene Lynch-Fannon, who will be leading the event, is an academic corporate lawyer and a qualified solicitor with many publications including a new collection of essays published by Cambridge University Press called Creating Corporate Sustainability: Gender as an Agent for Change. We wanted to get to know more about the researcher behind the research so we caught up with Professor Lynch-Fannon to ask her some questions:

 Professor Irene Lynch Fannon, UCC (Pic Arthur Ellis)

Professor Lynch-Fannon, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I did a law degree in UCD graduating in 1982. I qualified as a Solicitor in 1985 and then decided to go to Oxford to do a Masters in Law. My parents thought I was crazy but I wanted to be an academic and needed the qualification to progress to a university career. I got a job in UCC in 1987. I was thrilled. Originally I thought I would stay in UCC for a few years but I met my husband in Cork (he is from New York) and so we stayed for 30! I did a doctorate at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville USA and I travel to the US and Europe a lot for my research engaging with other academics and practitioners in Europe and the US.

What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?

A lawyer- I like rules that make people act in ways which are fair and honest.

When and why did you know that you wanted to be a researcher?

When I was about 20 at university in UCD- I wrote a brilliant essay on Civil Disobedience which won a Bank of Ireland prize.

What’s your favourite thing about being a researcher?

Being able to think and write about law and being creative about how it can be used to change things for the better. Examples are corporate rescue rules which help rescue companies and businesses going bust, rules which give employees rights and now, I hope, rules which make corporations act sustainably. 

How will your research impact other people’s lives? 

I am hoping that people who control corporate wealth and power will be encouraged by new legal frameworks to cause corporate decisions to be made in more ethical and sustainable ways.

What is the big aim and ambition for your research?

I really want to bring ethics back into corporate decision making and make ethics centre stage. It can’t be all about getting rich and richer, it has to be about making quality things, preserving our environment and sharing wealth. The Big Short was one of the most depressing films I have ever seen, and leaves a lot of questions which need new answers. My colleague Catherine O’Sullivan contributed a brilliant piece to our new book about how, after the financial crisis there was a focus on women as business leaders, based on the assumption that women were more ethical than men. This is one of the questions we would like people to think about. Films like Erin Brokovich tell stories about how bad corporate actions can be and about how one woman made such a difference. Corporations can’t act without humans- managers, shareholders, investors and so that is where the focus should be. But is there something about a corporation that makes people act in ways which are unsustainable or to put it simply downright mean or selfish to others? Does getting rich or making a profit provide an excuse for everything?

Creating Corporate Sustainability- Can Women Make a Difference?’ will take place in the Western Gateway Building from 19:30 – 20:30 pm and anyone over 16 with an interest in corporate decision making and sustainability is welcome to attend. Please arrive early as this event will not be ticketed but will be on a first come first serve basis.

Bright Club is Bringing Comedy to The World of Research!


Cork Discovers is delighted to team up with Bright Club for the Cork leg of European Researchers’ Night on September 28th, 2018. Bright Club is a variety night for lateral minds, where researchers become comedians for a night! The event will feature academics from science, humanities, and social science using stand-up comedy to explain their work . With comedy, music and more besides, Bright Club is the only variety night where you’ll furrow your brow before laughing your face off. In each event half of the line-up is academic and the other half are professionals. See if you can spot who is who.  Check out this video for a taste of what to expect from a Bright Club event:

Dr. Jessamyn Fairfield, the founder and director of Bright Club Ireland is a physicist specializing in nanomaterials and neuromorphic devices. She is originally from the U.S., and grew up in Los Alamos, the home of the atomic bomb. Her research is about building electronics to emulate the brain, but in addition to research and teaching, Jessamyn loves to talk about science. Jessamyn uses comedy to communicate difficult topics, and humanize things which can be hard to talk about. She tells us how comedy has influenced her life, whilst sharing a personal story about her late father, the challenges they faced, and how humour always carried them through. Here’s Jessamyn speaking at TEDxTUM:

Since Bright Club came to Ireland in 2015, the event has only taken place a handful of times in Cork. The headliner for Bright Club at Cork Discovers will be Matt Sadlier, a psychologist and comedian who has headlined at the International and the Comedy Crunch, known for his clever and upbeat sense of humor.

More acts will be announced soon, so be sure to visit Bright Club Ireland website or follow Bright Club on Facebook or Twitter for further details! And keep an eye on our Cork Discovers Programme for updates on times and venues.

You think that the European Union is boring? Are EU having a laugh?

FEATURED RESEARCHER - Dr Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan

Cork Discovers – a world of research, is delighted to have UCC Lecturer, Dr. Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan involved with Cork’s first ever European Researchers’ Night, to be held on Friday, 28th September. Emmanuelle will be running an event called ‘Hello Europe, Ireland calling!’ that will include games, quizzes, drawing tables and smoothie making competitions all designed to understand and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being in the European Union. But before we get into the nitty-gritty about the event, we wanted to get to know more about the researcher.

Emmanuelle was born in France where she grew up dreaming of becoming a ballet dancer. She now claims that she didn’t have the physical aptitude to realise that vision. And so her vision changed and she graduated in European law and political science. She currently lectures in European political science with the Department of Government, UCC. About 10 years ago Emmanuelle realised that she wanted to be a researcher. She loved speaking to different people and trying to understand why certain events were happening. In Emmanuelle’s own words:

‘A researcher, unlike a journalist, can take more time to analyse an event from all perspectives and try to identify explanatory factors.’

Through years of lecturing and researching the European Union, Emmanuelle wondered why there was and continues to be so little known about the EU. She found that it was poorly understood and that some people even considered it boring. In 2017, she was successful in getting a grant to teach primary school kids about Ireland and the European Union. As Emmanuelle put it:

“It’s not about selling the EU to kids. It’s about getting them to think about the pros and cons of belonging to the EU club.”

Before we go any further make sure to take the time to watch the video below as there are some fabulous moments!

As part of Cork Discovers, Emmanuelle and her co-host Trish Collier from Kilmurry National School will be hosting the ‘Hello Europe, Ireland calling!’ event from UCC’s Western Gateway on Western Road so make sure to drop by and say ‘Hello Europe’!

The event is best suited to children from 6 to 15 years old as well as their parents. It is planned to start at approx. 5pm and will run for up to 2 hours.  The event, as with all of the Cork Discovers events, is free however there will be limited spaces so make sure to get their early. Keep an eye on the programme closer to the event for the latest updates and information.

Cork Set to Host it's First European Researchers' Night!

NEWS - Cork to Host Major Event

Cork is getting set to host its first European Researchers’ Night under the banner Cork Discovers – a world of research. On the night there will be a series of free events, at venues within the University College Cork campus and across the city, designed to illustrate how research impacts on our daily lives.

An international team of researchers will host a programme of interactive and entertaining events to demonstrate what they really do for society as well as answering some interesting and amusing questions. Do you want to know how to build your own Star Wars set? ‘Have you ever wondered if scientists really can “un-extinct” an animal?’ Or why elephants have long noses, or why bananas don’t grow on humans? Come along to Cork Discovers and find out! There is sure to be something of interest to participants of all ages.

European Researchers’ Night is a Europe-wide event, dedicated to raising public awareness of the positive role of research in society. It takes place every year on the last Friday in September. This year 27 countries and over 300 cities will be involved, making it a truly international celebration of the positive impact of research on the modern world. In Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and Science Gallery Dublin will host another European Researchers Night event under the banner PROBE, so wherever you are in the country make sure to get involved.

The Cork Discovers Night has been funded through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions call under the Horizon 2020 programme following a successful application submitted by project partners from UCC Academy, Teagasc, Cork City Council and coordinated by University College Cork.

Questions and active participation will be encouraged. The goal is to develop inquisitive minds so unleash your curiosity and put our researchers to the test. Great entertainment is guaranteed!

Cork Discovers takes place on Friday 28th September 2018 and in advance, there will be a series of school visits and other outreach events. Further details will be announced throughout the summer.

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