Kirsty McCready

PhD Student in Biosciences


What is your research background and current field of research?

I am a PhD student in the Seed Revolution lab within the Plant Science department of Biosciences. My research interests lie in the blue skies area of science; investigating the fundamental evolutionary and developmental biology of plants. For my PhD I’m investigating where the seed evolved from, using a fern as a model system. My research involves both lab-based molecular biology and genetic transformation, as well as bioinformatic work such as RNA-sequencing analyses and phylogenetic tree building.

Which BEAR Services have been most helpful to you in your research?

I work with large genomic datasets that are far too large to store on my device and require processing that my laptop simply could not handle. The Research Data Store and BlueBEAR HPC have been critical to enabling me to store terabytes of files and process these files efficiently. Without BlueBEAR, my work would not be possible.

How widespread do you think BEAR Services are known in your School and how do you plan to spread the word?

Most people that I speak to in Biosciences are aware of BlueBEAR, but many are hesitant to use it as it can appear quite overwhelming at first (especially accessing via the terminal). I hope I can reassure people that it isn’t as scary as it may seem at first (I was scared too!) and direct them to the many resources that BEAR services offer – such as the Introduction to BlueBEAR training and regular drop-in sessions. Raising awareness of the BlueBEAR portal as a more user-friendly starting point also may make a big difference.

How can researchers in your school/college contact you?

Via email:

What's an interesting fact about you?

I lived in the Ecuadorian amazon rainforest for 14 months.