Gavin McLaughlin

BSc in Bioanalytical Science, 2012 

“If you had said to me when I took my Leaving Certificate at school that I would end up studying for a PhD, I would have laughed at you.” Gavin McLaughlin always had a strong interest in science but little did he realise when he began his BSc in Analytical and Forensic Science at LYIT he would eventually be writing the kind of research papers he was studying then.

GavinGavin, recently completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry, which focused on the synthesis and characterisation of novel recreational drugs, and is now beginning an interesting career in Forensic Science. It was during his fourth year at LYIT, when he took his BSc (Honours) in Bioanalytical Science, that his interest in research into chemical sciences was sparked.

“The fourth year contained a research project which gave me a real taste for research,” he says. “You design your own project, carry out a literature review and conduct the experiments before writing a thesis. The facilities were state-of-the-art too. They had just built a number of new laboratories for teaching and research, including a modern instrumentation suite with some of the best and latest technologies around. In fact, each discipline now has its own dedicated lab.”

Gavin had already taken his BSc in Analytical and Forensic Science at LYIT*. “This was the perfect course for me”, he says, “as it gives you such a solid overview of the chemical and biological sciences and their application to the area of pharmaceutical and forensic science, something I am passionately interested in.”
Another huge advantage he discovered at LYIT was the class sizes, which were much smaller than at university.
“It means you get a hands-on experience in the lab you can’t get in the university setting,”
Gavin says, “Each student has time to develop their laboratory skills and become competent with scientific instruments.”

Having graduated in 2012, Gavin moved to Ulster University at Coleraine to study for a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Thanks to a collaboration between the two institutions he was able to conduct his research in the science laboratories at LYIT. “They had the core facilities required to conduct the research, which was into the chemical analysis of drugs, and the lecturers and technical staff were happy to give me any assistance I needed,” he says.

After completing his Masters, Gavin was the beneficiary of another such collaboration. After being awarded the President Seed Fund Scholarship, he studied for a PhD at Athlone Institute of Technology, whilst also being engaged as a research assistant at Trinity College Dublin. It’s been a long and exciting journey since
his passion for science led Gavin to LYIT and the course which provided the backbone of his success. “The science courses offered at LYIT,” he says, “provide the student with the fundamental skills required for a science career in industry and academia.”
*This course is now replaced by LY867 Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Science.