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Contact the Cell EXPLORERS ATU Donegal team and arrange a school visit |

The Cell EXPLORERS ATU Donegal team brings the Fantastic DNA School Roadshow to primary schools around Letterkenny.

Visits are taking place during National Science Week in

November 2023.


The Cell EXPLORERS Atlantic Technological University Donegal (formerly known as Letterkenny IT) was established in May 2017. The team is based in the Science Department of ATU Donegal and was developed through collaboration with the department head, Dr. Joanne Gallagher. You can look up their activities by following them on Twitter or Facebook. The Cell EXPLORERS ATU Donegal team is coordinated by Mary Carr, Lecturer in the Science Department. The team members who demonstrate in schools are undergraduates, postgraduates and Academic staff from the Science Department with an interest in science outreach. You can find out more about the ATU DonegalScience Department and the research that they do here.


The team will be bringing again the Fantastic DNA School Roadshow to primary schools around Donegal coming Autumn, around the time of National Science Week 2023! Learn more about the past school visits of the team and the evaluation feedback they have received in the infographic section.

The Team

The Team


Meet the Cell EXPLORERS ATU Donegal team. Mary Carr is the coordinator of the team. She is supported by Dr. Joanne Gallagher, the head of the Science Department. They are both excited about bringing science to the local community. 


With volunteer student and staff demonstrators, the ATU Donegal Cell EXPLORERS team will be engaging primary school children around Letterkenny, telling them about DNA and helping them perform DNA extractions in their own classrooms! 

ATU Donegal Team training visit 2017

Mary Carr


Department of Science

ATU Donegal


Mary completed a BSc. in biotechnology from DCU. After working for a number of years in the Biopharmaceutical Industry, she changed career and began teaching. After a few years teaching at Secondary level, she returned to college and completed an MSc in Biotechnology from University of Ulster. She joined the Lecturing staff in LYIT in 2004. As well as co-ordinating Cell Explorers, she is involved in the coordination of SciFest and is a member of the LYIT Green Campus committee.


Dr. Joanne Gallagher

Head of Science Department

ATU Donegal

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Dr. Gallagher has a PhD in biotechnology from Dublin City University. After a postdoctoral position and lecturing in UCD, she joined Letterkenny Institute of Technology in 2006.

Joanne is regularly involved in public engagement in science through the coordination of ScienceFest, Science Week activities or visiting secondary schools to promote the study of science at third level. 

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School visits

School Visits

The Letterkenny IT team was established in May 2017 with a first training visit by the NUI Galway team coordinators at Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin, Letterkenny. The team visited a further two schools in May and November, in Letterkenny and Stranorlar.

  • In 2019, ATU Donegal team hosted 9 schools, engaging with 207 children with Fantastic DNA sessions

  • In 2020 the team delivered 4 Fantastic DNA visits to 4 schools, reaching 84 pupils. The team then re-trained to deliver the new remotely delivered Fantastic DNA in a Box session.

  • In 2021 the team continued to deliver Fantastic DNA in a Box visits to schools in their area. In fact - the remote feature of the kit allowed the ATU Donegal team to reach further than ever before!

  • In 2022 the ATU Donegal team reached 299 children in 13 schools and delivered both in-person and online Fantastic DNA visits.

The team will be visiting more schools starting coming October and November around the time of Science Week 2023. If you would like the team to visit your school, please contact Mary by email at

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Schools visited by CE ATU Donegal in 2022

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Schools engaged by CE ATU Donegal in 2021

Check the team impact and the feedback from schools!

All children and teachers visited have a chance to provide us with feedback on the visit. This helps us to evaluate the quality and impact of our visits!

A summary infographic is generated for each team every year. It shows the metrics of the team activity, highlighting children's and teacher's experience by summarising their feedback and includes pictures from school visits.

Click on the links to discover the ATU Donegal team visits over the past years:


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