Noel O'Gorman with Supervisor Shirin Moghaddam
UPSTaRT participant Noel O'Gorman with Supervisor Dr. Shirin Moghaddam.
Monday, September 26, 2022

Student: Noel O’Gorman

Year: 1st Year

Course: LM124 BSc in Mathematical Science, Department of Mathematics and  Statistics

Supervisor: Dr. Shirin Moghaddam

Title: Prostate Cancer Evaluation in Men With Elevated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)

Objectives: To identify factors that lead to a raised level of PSA in men with negative prostate biopsy.


'Hi, my name is Noel O’Gorman. This summer I was part of a research group in the Undergraduate Programme of Summer Training and Research Track (UPSTaRT). The research group I was involved with were investigating potential biomarkers that may have a link to prostate cancer. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level in the body is used by doctors to decide whether a patient needs a prostate biopsy. These biopsies are painful and often have follow-on complications. By linking new biomarkers with prostate cancer, doctors could use these non-invasive tests before resorting to biopsies, saving many patients a great deal of unnecessary pain and stress.

My work in the research group mainly involved using R (a programming language) and statistics to visualise and modelling a large database of information. This involved creating regression models and graphs displaying distributions of the biomarkers. I presented the results at meetings each week with the other members of the research group, sharing our findings and deciding what to focus on next. In addition, I had the opportunity to present my findings to Prof William Watson (Professor of cancer biology, UCD) and Dr. Amirhossein Jalali (School of Medicine, UL) and received constructive feedback. At the end of the summer, I also created an interactive dashboard in Tableau. Using the dashboard, I could focus and filter data to create interesting comparisons, for example, comparing the rate of prostate cancer in 40-60 year olds versus 60 year olds and older.

The UPSTaRT scholarship gave me the opportunity to work on a multidisciplinary project, learn new programming languages as well as visualize and model data. I was able to see how the research process works and also worked with a real dataset for the first time. All these things will be invaluable for me in the future, as I continue working in mathematical and statistical sciences. I would like to thank the University of Limerick Faculty of Science and Engineering and my supervisor Dr. Moghaddam for allowing me this opportunity to learn.'