Monday, 22 May 2017

Conference Aims to Give a Voice to Those Who Have None

NUI Galway conference to explore how to conduct research that engages with minority population groups on issues that impact them on a daily basis NUI Galway is bringing together world leaders in the field of participatory health research to explore how best to use participatory methods that empower groups, often ignored, to have a voice that can be heard. On the 23 May, the School of Psychology will host a one day conference to discuss the challenges of some of the greatest health problems we face and give those most affected a chance to share their perspectives on possible solutions.  Participatory Health Research is becoming increasingly important when planning health care resource allocation. The ‘International Collaboration for Participating Health Research Conference’ will include 20 experts in the field of participatory research. The conference will focus on underserved groups including transgender young people, asylum seekers, children living with chronic pain and those living with Aphasia.  The conference will give international experts a chance to share research from Canada, Europe, the UK, Australia and Ireland, through key note speakers, presentations and workshops sharing skills and insights. Audience participation at every stage will be encouraged. Speaking in advance of the conference, Dr Siobhán O’Higgins from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “This is a great opportunity for researchers and students to meet people who have been leading the way in Participative Health Research globally.”  International guest speakers at the Conference will include:  Dr Jon Salsberg, McGill University, Canada, will discuss how best to work with communities so that they can articulate their needs to academies and be heard. Professor Anne MacFarlane, University of Limerick, will discuss the views of migrants and asylum seekers generated during the EU RESTORE project. Dr Anne O’Kelly, NUI Galway, will share insights gained from children and young people about their experiences of parental divorce. Dr Lisa Gibb, University of Melbourne, Australia, will talk about scaling up participatory research projects with children and the global network of participative researchers involved in ‘Kids in Action’. Dr Harry Shier, Centre for Education in Health and Environment (CESESMA), Nicaragua, will facilitate a workshop on what one needs to be an effective participative researcher. Dr Tina Cook, Northumbria University, UK and Dr Sarah Banks, Durham University, UK, will facilitate a Dilemmas Café – exploring ethical challenges in participatory research. For conference information and registration, visit: -Ends-

News Archive

Thursday, 18 May 2017

NUI Galway will host a public lecture entitled, ‘Evidence-based humanitarian work and research ethics’, presented by Dr Dónal O'Mathúna from DCU on Thursday, 25 May. Dr O’ Mathúna is a Senior Lecturer in Ethics, Decision-Making and Evidence at the School of Nursing and Human Sciences in DCU, Director of the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Ethics, Chair of the Disaster Bioethics COST Action and Convenor for Cochrane Ireland.* The public lecture will focus on how humanitarian work and disaster responses are increasingly encouraged to be evidence-based and, as a consequence, more research and other evidence-generation activities are being conducted in disaster and humanitarian settings. This has led attention to the ethical issues in such research, and how they should be addressed. Questions have been raised about whether current research ethics governance is suitable for such research. Dr Dónal O’Mathúna will discuss these trends and report on initiatives he is involved with that attempt to facilitate appropriate research ethics engagement in disaster and humanitarian research. The event is organised by UNESCO Bioethics Ireland, based in the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis at NUI Galway, and the NUI Galway Research Ethics Committee. UNESCO Bioethics Ireland is the recently established Irish Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, held by Professor Amnon Carmi and under the European Division of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics. UNESCO Bioethics Ireland at NUI Galway focuses on key concerns that include issues of safeguarding human well-being, ensuring fairness, safeguarding personal information and privacy, preventing harm, deeper questions of legitimate reach of biomedical intervention in shaping human beings in arguably new ways. Pressing issues include the regulation of development and research of new biomedical treatments and interventions; regulation of choosing traits for future offspring (via pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) - and who should decide; new developments in gene editing and assessing emerging international responses; ongoing issues in terms of surrogacy, the future of embryonic stem cell research, abortion, online security of sensitive personal health information, changing conceptions of traditional notions such as the family, genetic information, incidental findings and the rights to know and not to know, issues of asymptomatic conditions and the potential for discrimination in employment and insurance. Dr Oliver Feeney, Head of the Irish Unit at NUI Galway, said: “The initiative will promote excellence in bioethics education and reflection on future bioethical directions, particularly with regard to ethical questions raised by new biotechnologies and its implications for society. UNESCO Bioethics Ireland will encourage and help coordinate interdisciplinary research in topical bioethical issues as well as cataloguing the current state-of-the-art of research in the Irish context. In its work, the Irish Unit will seek to reduce the distance between bioethical, medical and scientific experts and the wider society, and will seek to foster greater understanding and clarity on these pressing questions of our time.” In addition to the public lecture, there will also be a roundtable workshop earlier in the day from 2pm-3.30pm featuring a mix of presentations and discussions to exchange information from the participants’ bioethical-related work and on the needs of the bioethics community in Ireland. The public lecture will take place from 5pm-6pm on Thursday, 25 May in the Bridge Room 1001, First Floor, Hardiman Research Building and will be followed by a drinks reception. Attendance is free and no registration is required. The roundtable workshop will take place in Room AM205 in the Hardiman Research Building. If you would like to attend this event, please contact For more details visit: -Ends- 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

International journal features NUI Galway research on producing higher value chemicals that could be used in drug discovery projects for Type-2 Diabetes and Gaucher Disease Researchers from the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway have produced research that has been published this week in the international journal Synthesis, and has been featured on the journal’s front cover. The research involved the development of a strategy to convert biomass to high value molecules for investigation in new drug discovery projects such as Type-2 Diabetes, Gaucher’s disease and Fabry disease. Synthesis is devoted to the advancement of the science of synthetic chemistry and papers featured in the journal are noted as being ‘original papers of exceptional high quality and significance to the scientific community’. Professor Paul Murphy, Head of the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, and a PhD researcher from the School, Rekha Chadda from Co. Sligo, worked together to develop a new strategy to convert mannose, a naturally occurring sugar manufactured from wood-based or other biomass, into higher value chemicals, called glycomimetics, that can be useful in drug discovery. Professor Patrick McArdle from the School of Chemistry, performed X-ray crystal structure analysis, which helped them confirm the molecular structure of substances produced in the research. Some glycomimetics are in clinical use and are used for the treatment of patients with Type-2 Diabetes, Gaucher’s disease (a genetic disorder) and Fabry disease (an inherited disorder that results from the build-up of a particular type of fat). A glycomimetic (UV4) is currently in clinical trials with a view to the therapy of infection caused by the Dengue virus and there is potential in treatment of other infections.    Professor Paul Murphy at NUI Galway, said: “The research demonstrates the value of Synthetic Chemistry. We used a renewable molecule, the sugar mannose, from biomass as a basis for generating higher value molecules that have potential in drug discovery projects. In future we would like to expand the application of the strategy to make other important molecules for drug discovery projects as well as see if the approach can have application in synthesis of pharmaceuticals.”    The team used a new strategy, not investigated previously, to produce the glycomimetics. These new agents are now available for evaluation of their potential in drug discovery and this will be shortly investigated. Synthesis is a practice used by chemists to discover and manufacture drugs in everyday clinical use. It is also used to produce materials, such as plastics, which find everyday applications in people’s lives. In this research, Rekha Chadda took a substance prepared from mannose and subjected the substance to two old chemical reactions combined in a novel way. The reactions are known as allylic azide rearrangement and Huisgen cycloaddition, and were originally developed more than 50 years ago by US and German scientists. This research study was funded by NUI Galway (PhD scholarship to Rekha Chadda), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the European Regional Development Fund. View the paper on: or see attached pdf file. -Ends-

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Professor Donncha O’Connell of the School of Law at NUI Galway has been appointed by the Government to the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The Commission, which has been established in response to recent controversies involving An Garda Síochána and is modelled on the Patten Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, will be chaired by Kathleen O’Toole, the Chief of the Seattle Police Department and former Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate. The other members are: Ms Noeline Blackwell, Mr Conor Brady, Dr Johnny Connolly, Dr Vicky Conway, Mr Tim Dalton, Sir Peter Fahy, Dr Eddie Molloy, Ms Tonita Murray, Dr Antonio Oftelie and Ms Helen Ryan. Professor O’Connell recently completed a four-year term as Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway. He is also a Commissioner (part-time) of the Law Reform Commission and served, for four years, as a board member of the Legal Aid Board. He was, previously, a member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights that advised the EU Commission on a wide range of human rights issues. He was also the Senior Irish member of FRALEX, a legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in Vienna for a period of time. Speaking after the announcement of the Commission’s membership, Professor O’Connell said: “It is a great responsibility to be asked to serve on the Commission on the Future of Policing and I look forward to working with Kathleen O’Toole and the other members in an open-minded and rigorous manner so as to make credible and constructive proposals on the future of policing in Ireland.” Professor O’Connell joined the staff of NUI Galway in 1993 having studied at NUI Galway, The Honorable Society of the King’s Inns, Dublin and the University of Edinburgh. He took leave of absence in 1999 to become the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) returning to NUI Galway in 2002. He was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in the academic year 2009-2010. Professor O’Connell has served on the boards of a number of non-governmental human rights organisations including: INTERIGHTS, Amnesty International – Ireland and the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd. He was also, for nine years, a board member of Druid Theatre Company. More recently, he was a member of the Gender Equality Task Force in NUI Galway chaired by Professor Jane Grimson. He lives in Moycullen and comes originally from Swinford, Co. Mayo. -Ends- 

Events Calendar

Upcoming Events Time / Date Location
Driftwood 20:00 Saturday,
22 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall
Driftwood 16:00 Sunday,
23 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall
Driftwood 20:00 Tuesday,
25 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall
Driftwood 20:00 Wednesday,
26 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall
Driftwood 20:00 Thursday,
27 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall
Driftwood 20:00 Friday,
28 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall
Driftwood 14:00 Saturday,
29 July 2017
Bailey Allen Hall

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The public are invited to a fascinating public lecture of a winter expedition with the German icebreaker “Polarstern” to Antarctica. The talk will be delivered by Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany on Wednesday, 14 September, at 7.30pm in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre in the Arts Millenium Building at NUI Galway. Professor Lemke has participated in nine polar expeditions with the German research icebreaker “Polarstern”, and has collections of stunning photographs depicting the Antarctic landscape and intriguing experiences to share. He is visiting Galway to participate in the Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme which is a week-long intensive, accredited workshop examining how climate and oceans interact, with particular examples from the Atlantic Ocean and higher latitudes. The lecture is open to members of the public and is part of a workshop organised by Dr Pauhla McGrane of the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) being held in Galway, from 12-19 September,offered to international postgraduate students of marine, atmosphere and climate-related sciences. “Polar regions play an important role for our climate, but direct observations are difficult to obtain and can only be achieved with greatest effort. This is especially true in wintertime” said Professor Lemke. “Severe blizzards, being trapped between thick ice floes and forced to drift with the ice, the darkness of the polar night and temperatures around minus 30°C. This presentation will take you along on an extraordinary winter expedition into the Antarctic Ocean. It shows the beauty of the frozen ocean, presents some insight into polar and climate research, and demonstrates everyday life on a research icebreaker,” he continued. High latitudes have received attention recently because of significant changes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean, and on land, especially in the Arctic. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased about twice as fast as the global air temperature. The Arctic sea-ice extent in summer has decreased by 35% since 1979, and the sea-ice thickness during late summer has declined in the Central Arctic by about 40% since 1958. A warming has also been observed at depth in the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. But surprisingly there is no negative trend observed in the Antarctic sea ice. Both, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, and the sea level is rising. Most of these observed trends are in agreement with warming scenarios performed with coupled climate models, which indicate an amplified response in high latitudes to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the ecosystem and the human society are still only marginally understood. Results will be shown from the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a winter expedition the speaker has lead into the ice-covered Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Dr Pauhla McGrane, coordinator of SMART said: “We are delighted that Proffessor Lemke has agreed to provide his unique insight into carrying out climate research in hostile polar environments, particulaly when accompanied by such beautiful stark images. This is especially relevant as this year we will run the second North South Atlantic Training Transect on-board the RV Polarstern from Germany to South Africa which will train 24 postgraduate students, including seven Irish students, in researching climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions at sea. These innovative offshore international collaboarations, developed with AWI, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and funded by the Nippon foundation are essential in developing excellent climate and ocean scientists to measure and understand our changing planet”. Professor Lemke continues to work on the observation of climate processes in atmosphere, sea ice and ocean and their simulation in numerical models for the polar components of the climate system. On six expeditions on Polarstern he acted as chief scientist.  For more than 30 years he served on many national and international committees on polar and climate research. He was the Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007. The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore in 2007. For the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2013 Proffessor Lemke worked as Review Editor of Chapter 4 and as Lead Author of the Technical Summary. All members of the public are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards. The Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme is a collaboaration between SMART, NUI Galway, AWI and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) that is funded by the Nippon foundation under NF POGO Regional Training fund.  -ends-