Dr Deirdre Coffey is currently Assistant Professor in the School of Physics at University College Dublin. Her research interests are in the area of star and planet formation, using high resolution observations from world-class telescopes including those of the European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency. She was awarded a BSc in Experimental Physics by University College Dublin, a HDipEd by Trinity College Dublin, and MSc (Distinction) in Optoelectronics by Queen’s University Belfast. She studied for her PhD at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and was awarded the degree by Trinity College Dublin in 2006. Her post-doctoral career includes positions at Arcetri Observatory, Florence, Italy funded by a Marie Curie Research and Training Network, and the Italian Space Agency. She returned to the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies on an Irish Research Council fellowship. In 2012, she joined the staff of the School of Physics at University College Dublin. Currently, she is National Program Manager for the European Space Agency's upcoming space mission 'Ariel' to probe exoplanet atmospheres; she is Chair of the Astronomical Society of Ireland (representing professional astronomers on the whole island); and she is a committee member of the Institute of Physics in Ireland.