Matthew Murphy summer studentship summary

My 6 week elective at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston was an exceptional experience. The Mater-DFCI/UCD-Harvard Summer Studentship Porgram was set up by Dr O’Gorman, Dr Amanda McCann and Prof Pat Murray in Dublin and Prof Ken Anderson in Boston. It was named the Gerry Kelly Summer Studentship Program after a patient of Dr O’Gorman’s who died of aggressive MM in 2011. I was chosen as one of two students to represent UCD at DFCI working with Prof. Anderson, a leader in the field of Multiple Myeloma (MM) research and treatment. I learnt how MM affects patients lives and how novel therapies can enhance the lives of people living with MM.

It was inspiring to see that here are still clinicians who have the ability and skill to work clinically while also being involved in Laboratory work. This bench-to-bedside approach was so direct and allowed me to see how clinical practice leads approaches to research and how research can be used in clinical trials to improve patient outcomes. Being given a research project at Harvard Institute of Medicine whilst at DFCI gave me the drive and determination to realise my own capabilities and to represent UCD at an International level.

I came to realise that, whilst there are differences between the Healthcare Systems in the USA and Ireland, fundamentally the disease and the people who are affected share more similarities than differences. The human element of patient contact was so touching. To be involved in life-changing decisions and care was a real privilege.
Boston itself is a beautiful city. Whilst we were there we took part in July 4th celebrations, which are spectacular. We enjoyed the sandy beaches of ‘The Cape’ and the ‘electric’ Boston Red Socks baseball games. The bostonians are some of the most welcoming people I’ve met- particularly if your Irish! All in all this experience was exceptional in every aspect and at every level. I’m so grateful to all those who gave me this opportunity. Thank you so much Dr OGorman again for this superb opportunity.

Matthew Murphy

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