O'Donovan Rossa Teams up with NUI Galway

O'Donovan Rossa Teams up with NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

One of the most famous GAA clubs in Ireland, O'Donovan Rossa GAC Belfast, is teaming up with one of Ireland’s leading universities NUI Galway. NUI Galway is to become a club sponsor for the nextyear in a partnership that will promote both sport and education. Tipperary hurling manager and Professor of Economics at NUI Galway, Eamon O’Shea was in Belfast today for the announcement, along with the University’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh. O'Donovan Rossa was represented by members of the clubs under-16 hurling and football teams who tried on their new kit. Speaking at today’s announcement, Professor O’Shea said: “It’s a real privilege to meet these talented young players. Investing in and fostering young sporting talent is very important. Not only does it improve outcomes on the pitch, but dedication to sport is later reflected in a commitment to education and developing a career. Sport can teach people so much, particularly in regard to focus, determination, resilience, team work and communication.” Sport is central to academic life at NUI Galway where students can avail of excellent facilities and over 50 sports clubs offer a chance to balance study with the best of sporting activities. Last month, O’Donovan Rossa tasted All-Ireland success when it won the Intermediate hurling club All-Ireland in Croke Park. The underage section of the club has been exceptionally strong especially over the past 10 years, with the minor teams winning the Antrim A finals in both footballer and hurling in 2014. Paddy Trainor Chairman of Rossa juvenile committee believes“Developing a strong link with a world-renowned institution like NUI Galway will ensure our underage teams will keep developing .We know that many of our young players will be going to university in the near future so it is great for them to have this positive connection with  third-level education.” The announcement comes at a time when universities in the Republic are becoming more accessible to students from the North. According to NUI Galway’s University’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “The recent introduction of new A Level equivalences in the Irish system mean almost all courses are now within the reach of students with three A-Levels. Universities in the south, especially our own which is in the top 2% globally, have great reputations for excellent teaching and career prospects. Combined with low fees, the relatively affordable cost of living and its sheer proximity, NUI Galway is becoming an option really worth considering.” The O'Donovan Rossa under-16 team will tog out competitively in their new kit for the first time on Thursday to take on Glenariff in the Antrim under 16 hurling league. -ends-  

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Finalists in the Debating Science Issues Competition are Announced

Finalists in the Debating Science Issues Competition are Announced-image

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Organ donations and embryonic stem cells will be themes in final debates The eighth All-Ireland Finals of Debating Science Issues (DSI) will take place on Wednesday, 29 April at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin. The competition originated at NUI Galway as a regional event. Through a process of single elimination, the field of 32 secondary schools narrowed to just four representing all four provinces in Ireland. Ballinrobe Community School will be one of four provincial schools competing at the Finals event. This is the first time that a school from County Mayo will represent the west of Ireland. Other schools competing in the Finals include: Clonakilty Community School, Co. Cork; Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast; and St Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth. This All-Ireland science debating competition encourages young people to engage in dialogue on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. On the day, there will be two semi-final rounds of debate focussing on the moral obligation to research with embryonic stem cells to develop new medical treatments. The winners of the two semi-final rounds will go on to debate the allocation of organs donated for transplantation. “Ballinrobe students have worked very hard in this competition, and to reach the finals, is a major achievement for them. Not only has it had visible effect on their confidence, but it has also elevated the level of interest in scientific issues across the school community,” said Eoin Murphy, science teacher with Ballinrobe Community School and NUI Galway graduate. Preceding the competition, all participating schools avail of a three hour workshop addressing an area of biomedical research and the surrounding societal and ethical issues. A workshop to highlight the implications and the treatment of lifestyle-related diseases was facilitated at the Ballinrobe Community School last year by REDDSTAR’s Dissemination Officer Danielle Nicholson, Coordinator of the Debating Science Issues project. The nine DSI partners in 2015: REDDSTAR coordinated at NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU; The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Amber at Trinity College; W5 in Belfast; INSIGHT at UCD; Cork Institute of Technology; and the University of Ulster, Coleraine. The DSI 2015 Finals have been supported by Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme project award. More information on the competition can be found at www.debatingscienceissues.com. -Ends-

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Public Talk on Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950

Public Talk on Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950-image

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Piggins, Noggins & Hens Indoors The public are invited to attend a special lecture about how life was lived in cottages and farmhouses in Ireland from 1700–1950. The richly illustrated lecture will be given by Claudia Kinmonth, Ireland’s leading historian of indigenous furniture. The event takes place at 5.30pm on Wednesday, 22 April, in the Moore Institute Seminar Room (G010), Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway. Dr Kinmonth will describe the main features of Irish farmhouse furniture, such as dressers, multi-purpose settles and beds. She will also explore her new research on small furnishings, before the advent of electricity and running water. These include vessels for carrying water or milk ‘piggins’, how they were made and how women carried them on their heads. The lecture will also describe how people tended young animals indoors, in the so called ‘byre dwelling’, and the adaptations this required. Dr Kinmonth will shed new light on drinking vessels (noggins), the dash churn for making butter as well as hen coops and ways of cooking over the open fire. Currently, Dr Kinmonth is a Moore Institute Visiting Fellow at NUI Galway where she has been using special collections in the James Hardiman Library to expand her account of Irish furniture. Director of the Moore Institute, Professor Daniel Carey, spoke of the appeal of the upcoming event: “The talk will offer a unique insight into domestic life in Ireland from the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. There are also going to be examples of small furnishings on display, which will be of particular interest to the audience.” The story of Irish furniture from 1700 to 1950 conveys a vivid sense of how life was lived at home in the cottages and farmhouses of rural Ireland. Ingenious and unique furniture designs were developed in the country and used by a majority of the population in this period. Dr Claudia Kinmonth is the author of Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950, published by Yale University Press in 1991, the standard work on the subject. Her book won two major literary awards. She is currently revising the book for a second edition and doing new research to expand it. The talk at 5.30pm on Wednesday 22 April in the Moore Institute Seminar Room is free and open to all members of the public. For further information contact 091 493902. -ends-

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NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Spring Open Day

NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Spring Open Day-image

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

NUI Galway’s annual Spring Open Day will be held on Saturday, 25 April from 10am to 3pm. The University will welcome thousands of CAO applicants, fourth and fifth year students, parents/guardians, mature students teachers and Guidance Counsellors to campus. The Open Day is an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families, to learn more about the over 60 degree courses on offer at NUI Galway, talk to lecturers and view the campus facilities. NUI Galway, one of Ireland’s top universities for graduate employability, increased its CAO first preference again this year, highlighting its popularity with Leaving Certificate students. With emphasises on careers and employability, the degree courses on offer are designed to develop students academically and professionally. NUI Galway’s partnerships and links with industry has played a huge part in preparing graduates for the workforce. Throughout the Spring Open Day lecturers and current students will be on hand to talk to students and parents at the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, with over 80 subject-specific exhibition stands to answer questions on degree courses of interest, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. Degree course taster sessions will run throughout the day, designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway, with hands-on interactive Science Experience workshops a particular highlight. A wide range of short subject talks and career and sports talks, together with interactive Engineering and IT Zones will also form part of the packed programme for the day.  Tours of the campus will feature the state-of the-art sports complex and gym, the Engineering Building and tours of student accommodation. Popular highlights for parents will a ‘A Parent's Guide to University’ which will provide parents with information on important issues such as fees and funding, careers, accommodation, career destinations and support services for their sons and daughters. Bríd Seoige, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “Attending the Open Day is the perfect opportunity for parents and students to get a taste of university life and to gain access to all of the information they need to make that important decision. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along, talk to our lecturers and current students, find out about the courses, check out the facilities and decide for yourself whether NUI Galway feels right for you. Spring Open Day has proved invaluable in the past to many students, particularly those considering their options before the CAO change of mind deadline of 1 July.” Talk highlights include: Scholarship schemes for 2015 including the NUI Galway Performance Points Scheme in Sports and Creative Arts. Career talks - “Where are the jobs? What are my employment prospects after University?” Taster sessions designed to give a real insight into studying at NUI Galway and will include: Physics – ‘A brilliant career from lasers to the Universe’, an interactive session with photonics, Android GoPhoton! Apps and more. Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – an introduction to Medicine and the Healthcare Programmes. Arts – the new BA Joint Honours, BA Connect Programme in Drama, Theatre and Performance studies. NUI Galway is an internationally recognised university with a distinguished reputation for teaching excellence and research. Currently ranked third of the Irish universities in international rankings, NUI Galway is only one of two Irish universities to be awarded the prestigious top rating of five stars in the latest QS Stars rating system. Five stars are awarded for exceptional developments in education, including teaching and research activity, as well as for top quality facilities. The University is also one of the top two universities in Ireland for student retention and graduate employment. NUI Galway recognises the academic excellence of new undergraduate students annually with the presentations of Excellence Scholarships valued at €2,000 to students who achieve exceptional Leaving Certificate results, while generous Sports Scholarships are awarded to high performing athletes. To get the most out of the Open Day visitors are encouraged to view the timetable of talks at www.nuigalway.ie/opendays and plan your day or call 091 494 145 or email visit@nuigalway.ie for more information. -Ends-

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Warming seas pose habitat risk for fishy favourites

Warming seas pose habitat risk for fishy favourites-image

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Popular North Sea fish such as haddock, plaice and lemon sole could become less common on our menus because they will be constrained to preferred habitat as seas warm, according to a study published this afternoon in Nature Climate Change and authored by a team including Professor Mark Johnson of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway. The team took survey data dating back as far as 1980 and used the change is distribution between decades to derive predictive models. In the last 40 years the North Sea has warmed four times faster than the global average and further warming is predicted over the coming century. The North Sea is associated with fish landings valued at over $1 billion, leading to great interest in how changing environmental conditions will impact on commercial species. Fish distributions are limited by a number of factors, including water temperature, and some species can only thrive in certain habitats and depths. The research developed models that combining long-term fisheries datasets and climate model projections to predict the abundance and distribution of the consumers’ favourite fishes over the next 50 years. As the North Sea warms, species appear to choose habitat of a suitable depth over the benefits of moving to cooler waters. Due to higher temperatures in the future, many of the species studied are may reduce in relative abundance. “The modelling technique we used allowed us to look at important variables as we try to predict what will happen should the North Sea continue to warm. It turns out that the right depth is more important than temperature, so that the fish are more likely to stay where they are than move. This will mean that populations will be living at higher temperatures, with the effect of this depending on how well species can cope with the warmer temperatures”, explained Professor Johnson. The modeling technique used in this analysis performed remarkably well when tested on available long-term datasets. This provides real confidence in the model’s ability to predict future patterns of fish distributions around the UK and similar processes may be at work around the coasts of Ireland. Louise Rutterford, postgraduate researcher at the University of Exeter, said: “Our study suggests that we will see proportionally less of some of the species we eat most of as they struggle to cope with warming conditions in the North Sea. We provide new insight into how important local depths and associated habitats are to these commercial species. It’s something that is not always captured in existing models that predict future fish distributions.” Dr Steve Simpson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology & Global Change at the University of Exeter, said the findings are important for both consumers and the fishing industry: "We will see a real changing of the guard in the next few decades. Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place. For sustainable fisheries, we need to move on from haddock and chips and look to Southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration.” ‘Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas’ is published in the journal Nature Climate Change. ENDS

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Tusla Announces Details of a Comprehensive Programme of Early Intervention and Preventative Work involving NUI Galway

Tusla Announces Details of a Comprehensive Programme of Early Intervention and Preventative Work involving NUI Galway-image

Monday, 13 April 2015

€8.3 million Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) funding grant will: Help young people and families get supports early and at local level Embed MEITHEAL - Tusla led national practice model Promote enhanced interagency cooperation Tusla – Child and Family Agency today (Monday 13th April 2015) announced details of a comprehensive programme of early intervention and preventative work. The Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) Programme will take place over three and a half years (2015 – 2018) and will embed early intervention and prevention within the Agency.   The aim of the programme is to prevent risks to children and young people arising or escalating through building sustainable intellectual capacity and manpower within Tusla and partner organisations to perform early intervention work. The work is being made possible as a result of a once-off non-discretionary grant of €8.3 million from Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) and is supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, TD says: "This extensive programme builds on the change of emphasis in the development of child welfare and protection services over recent years. It constitutes a significant step in achieving the policy objective of moving towards a stronger focus on prevention and early intervention rather than crisis management. This was a key rationale for the Government's establishment of the Child and Family Agency at the beginning of 2014 and is clearly reflected in the statutory responsibilities it has been assigned. I commend Atlantic Philanthropies for the substantial support it is providing to the programme and thank it for the very considerable investment it has made to the cause of developing parenting and family support services in Ireland over many years. I wish Tusla well in the important and challenging work that lies ahead" President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said at the launch: “Our University is very pleased to be centrally involved in the efforts of Tusla: Child and Family Agency to develop a robust and effective Early Intervention & Prevention Work Programme. Parenting and family support is a key element of all aspects of Tusla’s Child and Family Services Work, including social work activity, early years support, community-based youth work, foster care, residential care, special care and services to women in domestic abuse situations.Supported by a major investment from Atlantic Philanthropies’ NUI Galway will work with Tusla to support the national implementation of a new Prevention, Partnership and Family Support model through the research and evaluation expertise of our UNESCO Child and Family Research Centreand through the project management expertise of Galway University Foundation.  This is a truly transformative project which goes to the heart of developing effective supports for children and young people in Ireland. Our leading researchers, working with social and community partners will produce high-calibre research and public policy which will have positive societal impacts.” Norah Gibbons, Chairperson, Tusla explains: “The AP grant is a once in a generation opportunity to change how we do child protection and family support. It will enable Tusla to build sustainable capacity to deliver early intervention and preventative work, which would not have been possible without the support of AP. “Importantly, it will create space to develop and embed a new way of working without detracting resources from existing services to children and young people at risk.” Throughout the programme of work, emphasis will be placed on the training and building of capacity within Tusla and external partners.  This will include the development of a strategic approach to commissioning children’s services from the community and voluntary sector.  The approach will ensure that resources available for children, young people and families are used in the most efficient, equitable, proportionate and sustainable way.  The rollout of Meitheal, the national practice model for family support led by Tusla – Child and Family Agency, is a key component of the work.  The model enables children, young people and their families to get supports locally when needed through a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies, working in a cooperative and coordinated fashion with Tusla. Commenting Fred McBride, Chief Operations Officer Tusla says “The primary aim of the programme is to stop problems getting worse or, indeed, to stop problems arising in the first place. Tusla is acutely aware of the need to provide accessible services to children, young people and their families who are not at crisis point. “This will be achieved through the provision of parenting and family supports designed to prevent problems from arising or from escalating.   These supports will be delivered by a range of statutory and non-statutory agencies, working in a cooperative and coordinated fashion. “It also involves the creation of 26 new posts, 24 of which Tusla has committed to maintaining after the initial three year period which will ensure the continuation of the programme in the long-term.” International evidence shows that effective early intervention and preventative strategies are a core feature of the lifecycle approach to preventing poverty and disadvantage and Tusla remains committed to constantly improving our services to ensure the best outcomes for children, young people and families. -Ends- 

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Findings highlight over 13% increase in reported workplace bullying INMO to launch a ‘Code of Advice’ for members  The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), in partnership with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland (NCI), has published findings of a large-scale survey of nurses and midwives in Ireland on the current levels of workplace bullying being experienced by its members. The survey, which provides an updated analysis of one conducted by the University of Limerick (UL) of nurses, in conjunction with the INMO, in 2010, highlights that over the past four years there has been an increase of over 13% in perceived incidences of bullying. The study was headed by Professor Maura Sheehan at NUI Galway who has published widely on issues of workplace discrimination and injustice. Some of the key findings are as follows: Over the past 4 years there has been a 13.4% increase in perceived incidences of bullying (the ‘likelihood’ of bullying); Almost 6% of respondents (nurses and midwives in Ireland) reported that they are bullied on an almost daily basis; The percentage of non-union members who experience almost daily bullying is almost double that of union members; and, Government cutbacks are a probable explanation for the significant rise in reported bullying between 2010 and 2014. According to Ms Sheehan: “The finding that almost 6% of respondents perceive to be bullied on an almost daily basis is very disturbing.  The personal consequences in terms of health, well-being and family relationships of people who experience workplace bullying are extremely serious.” Ms Sheehan went on: “Almost all organisations (93.5%) have a formal anti-bullying policy in place.  Clearly there is a significant gap between the presence and implementation of such policies.  There needs to be a fundamental culture change in hospitals and care facilities – a zero tolerance policy for any bullying must be implemented.  This must apply to all employees, no matter how senior, specialised and experienced.” Workplace bullying was found to have negative consequences both personally and professionally for example: Having more time off work through sickness; Thinking or talking about leaving the job; Decreased job satisfaction; Increased levels of stress leading to reduced performance at work; and, Actively searching for work elsewhere. Phil Ni Sheaghdha, INMO Director of Industrial Relations said: “Unfortunately this result is not a surprise as it confirms some of the information our members have been reporting to us. They believe the problem has been accelerated due to the effects the cutbacks in health care have had in the workplace, particularly as the activity levels have increased, hospitals are constantly overcrowded and staffing levels have reduced.  Employers need to be proactive now and become aware of trends and intervene early to ensure policies are fit for purpose and managers are trained to intervene early and appropriately.” The INMO will now seek an early engagement with employers on these issues and we will also launch a ‘Code of Advice’ for members being bullied with key points as follows:                                                                                                S – Stay calm and walk away A – Act to document incidence F – Follow bullying procedures E – Engage support.   An Executive Summary of the survey on bullying in the workplace can be found on www.inmo.ie   after the press conference.    -Ends-  


NUI Galway researcher identifies ‘off-switch’ to reduce the spread of bowel cancer

NUI Galway researcher identifies ‘off-switch’ to reduce the spread of bowel cancer -image

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Research funded by Irish Cancer Society and led by NUI Galway wins prestigious European Association for Cancer Research Award Irish researchers have found that switching off a specific protein in bowel cancer cells can stimulate an anti-tumour immune response which can reduce the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The breakthrough research by Dr Aideen Ryan of NUI Galway, which was funded by the Irish Cancer Society, has been awarded the prestigious European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) Young Investigator Award. Dr Ryan works in the area of Biosciences as an Irish Cancer Society Research Fellow with the Immunology Group in REMEDI. Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting both men and women. With approximately 2,400 new cases and almost 1,000 people dying from this cancer each year, bowel cancer represents a significant health concern in Ireland. To date, therapeutic developments to tackle the problem of bowel cancer spreading to other parts of the body have had very little success and new methods are urgently needed to improve survival for patients. This award winning research found that the activity of a key protein known as NF-kappaB, with the help of a type of immune cell, called tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs), promotes the spread of cancer cells from the bowel to the abdominal cavity. TAMs are present within or close to tumour tissue and can act in tumour-promoting or a tumour-killing manner, depending on their surrounding environment. Dr. Ryan and colleagues in NUI Galway found that TAMs can be switched from being tumour-promoting to being tumour-killing by turning off the NF-kappaB protein in bowel cancer cells, thereby causing a significant reduction in bowel cancer spread to the abdominal cavity. Dr Ryan said “I am delighted to have been presented the EACR Young Investigator Award for this research. Our findings have, for the first time, uncovered the effect of targeting the NF-kappaB protein in bowel cancer cells. We are continuing this important research in order to develop a new treatment approach for bowel cancer which could potentially result in better treatments for patients with this disease.” This research adds to recent developments in bowel cancer research conducted with the support of the Irish Cancer Society whereby Irish scientists are now developing a simple and inexpensive blood test which can be used as an early detection tool for bowel cancer. Irish Cancer Society funding, provided through the Society’s Research Fellowship Programme to Dr Gregor Kijanka, Dublin City University, was instrumental in the initial development and validation of this new test. Commenting on the research, Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research, Irish Cancer Society said, “We are delighted to see that the Society’s investment in bowel cancer research is generating exciting new findings which will make a difference to patients. We congratulate Dr Aideen Ryan on receiving the EACR Young Investigator Award which is testament to the significant contribution she has made to the area of bowel cancer with her ongoing research. This research, which was made possible by Irish Cancer Society research funding, opens new avenues for the development of novel treatment approaches which will hopefully benefit bowel cancer patients in Ireland.” The announcement of Dr Ryan’s award comes as the Irish Cancer Society launches Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. The campaign is calling on men and women throughout Ireland to be aware and act on the early signs and symptoms of bowel cancer. These include: A change in your normal bowel motion, such as diarrhoea or constipation Feeling you have not emptied your bowel fully after a motion Pain or discomfort in your abdomen (tummy) or back passage Trapped wind or fullness in your tummy Weight loss Tired and breathless (due to anaemia from blood loss) Rectal bleeding or blood in stools A lump in your tummy area Dr Ryan’s research was published in Oncogene, one of the world's leading cancer journals, and Dr Ryan was awarded the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) Young Investigator Award at the annual Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR) conference. This award is presented to outstanding young researchers in the field of cancer research for a recent, significant contribution to the field. Anyone who is concerned about Bowel Cancer should call the Irish Cancer Society’s National Cancer Helpline on 1800 200 700. ENDS

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‘Nanomedicine’ shines light on combined force of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine

‘Nanomedicine’ shines light on combined force of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine-image

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Nanomedicine has published a special focus edition on the combined force of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine; two fields that continue to develop at a dramatic pace. Titled ‘Engineering the nanoenvironment for regenerative medicine’, the issue is guest edited by Professor Matthew Dalby of the University of Glasgow, UK, and associate editor of Nanomedicine, with Dr Manus Biggs of the of the newly established Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway. It comprises nine primary research articles and three reviews covering topics relevant to the current translation of nanotopography and nanofunctionalization for nanoscale regenerative strategies in medicine. Indeed, the field of ‘nanoregeneration’ has grown exponentially over the last 15 years, and fields of study focusing on the nanobiointerface now include nanotopographical modification, formulation of existing biomaterials and modification of the extracellular matrix, as well as the development of targeting techniques using nanoparticles. Nanoscale platforms are becoming increasingly recognized as tools to understand biological molecules, subcellular structures and how cells and organs work. Therefore, they could have real applications in regenerative medicine and increase our knowledge of how stem cells work, or in drug discovery and cell targeting. “The fields of nanomedicine and regenerative medicine continue to evolve at a dramatic pace, with new and exciting developments almost a daily occurrence. This special focus issue highlights the translational research, reviews current thinking and ‘shines a light’ on the future potential of a field where nanomedicine converges with regenerative medicine,” said Michael Dowdall, Managing Commissioning Editor of Nanomedicine. “We feel this is an important subject for our readers to have a comprehensive and contextual overview of. The special focus issue helps provide this context for researchers, by framing the potential applications of nanomedicine/nanoengineering in terms of the current ‘state of the art’ regenerative medicine techniques.” Dr Biggs commented: “This special issue on regenerative medicine within the nanorealm focuses on basic and translational aspects of nanofabrication and nanofunctionalization strategies, and also gives perspective to future developments in biomedical nanotechnology and the challenges associated with clinical translation. Critically, leading experts in the field have contributed to the special issue, in which we outline the latest developments in nanomedicine.” Members of RegMedNet, the online community for those working in the field of regenerative medicine, can access select articles from the special focus issue through the online platform. A full listing of articles included in the issue is available at: http://www.futuremedicine.com/toc/nnm/10/5 -Ends-

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Learn how to unlock the DNA code at NUI Galway

Learn how to unlock the DNA code at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

To celebrate International DNA Day 2015 on Saturday, 25 April, NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences will hold a special event for second-level students in senior cycle Biology. ‘DNA day – Learn how to unlock the DNA code’ is a free three hour practical experience in the NUI Galway Biomedical Sciences laboratories. Human DNA contains the blueprint for many aspects of what makes us who we are - what our eye, skin and hair colour will be, how tall or short we may grow to be, and even if we are more susceptible to getting certain diseases. During the workshop students will learn how scientists identify differences in the DNA code and how we can use these techniques to diagnose genetic disorders or determine if one person may be more susceptible to a disease than another. The DNA workshop is organised by Dr Derek Morris, Programme Director for the BSc in Biomedical Science and Dr Muriel Grenon, Director of the Cell EXPLORERS Science Outreach Programme, both from the School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. Dr Derek Morris, a human geneticist, will discuss his research which focuses on understanding how small changes in our DNA code can put us at risk of lots of common illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, cancer and schizophrenia. By studying the DNA code in different people, Dr Morris aims to identify genes that are responsible and develop new methods of diagnosis and treatment that can help patients. The DNA day practical experience will teach students about the power of genetics by providing them hands-on experience of DNA analysis in a research laboratory setting. They will be mentored by a team of young postgraduate researchers into performing authentic experiments individually. The practical activities proposed have been optimised by a group of final year Biochemistry students as part of the Cell EXPLORERS science outreach programme. The activities have been designed to introduce these topics in a fun and exciting way, allowing the students to take the lead and providing a real insight into science at university level. Dr Morris said: “The amazing instruction book contained in each of our cells is celebrated every year on DNA Day, 25 April. This is a special day in DNA’s history as on this day in 1953 the structure of DNA was published and on the same day in 2003 it was announced that the Human Genome Project, a mission to sequence all the human genes, had been completed. These remarkable achievements have led to huge advances in the fields of genetics and have allowed scientists to uncover many of the mysteries of how DNA controls our make up and impact on our health.” This event will take place on Saturday, 25 April, from 2-5pm and coincides with the NUI Galway Open Day. Students attending this event can spend the day on campus and also find out more about at the third-level courses available at NUI Galway, such as the flagship Biomedical Science undergraduate course. To register go to www.cellexplorers.com, download the application form and return it by post before Friday, 17 April to: Dr Derek Morris, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway. -Ends-  

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NUI Galway Courses Shortlisted for Prestigious Postgraduate Awards

NUI Galway Courses Shortlisted for Prestigious Postgraduate Awards-image

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Two NUI Galway postgraduate courses have been shortlisted for the national postgradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards 2015. The award winners will be announced on Thursday, 30 April at a reception in the Mansion House in Dublin. The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. The Higher Diploma in Software Design & Development (Industry Stream) is shortlisted in two categories: Postgraduate Course of the Year in Engineering Award and also in the Postgraduate Course of the Year in IT Award. The MSc (Biotechnology) programme is shortlisted in the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Science category. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to again make the shortlist for these important national awards; it’s great that the calibre of our postgraduate courses is being acknowledged, as is their effectiveness in terms of employability, and interaction with industry and business. The courses in question are accepting applications now and those interested can apply online via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie/nuigalway. This year we’re also offering generous full-time taught masters scholarships for first-class students, so that’s another reason to consider NUI Galway for postgraduate studies.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway. For further information on any of the postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-495148 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/courses. -Ends-  

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Overwhelming Majority of People in Favour of National Registry and Biobank for Autism in Ireland

Overwhelming Majority of People in Favour of National Registry and Biobank for Autism in Ireland-image

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The findings from the national stakeholder consultation process present “compelling evidence of the timely need to create a comprehensive registry and biobank.” 93% of respondents to a national survey believe that a registry and biobank for autism in Ireland is needed, according to the findings from a nationwide stakeholder consultation process launched today on World Autism Awareness Day. The consultation process engaged with all stakeholders affected by or involved with autism or other related neurodevelopmental disorders including self-advocates, families, clinicians, health professionals, service providers, advocacy agencies and researchers. The aim of the initiative is to advance world-class clinical, biomedical and environmental research in Ireland and inform best practice in health, education and service provision for individuals with ASD/ NDD and enable the best possible quality of life. The Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Group at Trinity College Dublin partnered with the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway and the US-based Autism Speaks for this initiative. The consultation process was launched following a private members bill, The Autism Bill, brought forward to Government in 2013 and the National Review of Autism Services in 2012, both of which called for the creation of a national database for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). The authors of the report and the respondents believe the biobank and registry would support policy decisions by providing reliable information on the scale of these conditions in Ireland as well as their social and economic costs. The key concern most respondents had was around the area of data privacy and protection and in particular who would have access to the data. Currently in Ireland there is no effective health information system or biobank gathering essential data for ASD/NDD, nor are there any accurate prevalence rates, despite the fact that ASD and NDD are lifelong conditions which have significant implications for families, state services, society and the individuals themselves. Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Trinity, Louise Gallagher said: “It is clear from the responses of those who took part in the national survey and the regional town hall meetings that there is a huge and positive appetite for the establishment of a registry and biobank for Autism in Ireland. Parents said it was the first time they had ever been asked what would make their child’s life better.” Professor Gallagher continued: “It is now timely to act and invest resources to build this registry and biobank with the potential to alleviate the rising financial and resource challenge on Irish public health system and align with upcoming government health strategies, e.g. Progressing Disability Services for Children and Young People. This is Ireland’s opportunity to propel world-class research and its application for the public good with an innovative unique registry and biobank for a major public health challenge.” Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway commented that: "The lack of reliable and systematic information on ASD/NDD not only affects children with these conditions but also impacts adolescents, adults and older adults. There are huge gaps in service provisions and care for adults and the elderly with ASD. They can be left undiagnosed, receive inappropriate services or struggle with no access to proper enabling environments which would assist with employment and independent living. The development of an autism specific registry and biobank targeted at the health, educational and long term needs of the Irish autism community will be a vital resource to inform service planning and delivery and will also support a range of important research questions.  The Irish Autism Registry and Biobank will be transformative in accelerating the pace of autism research in Ireland.” June O’Reilly, parent and chairperson of the stakeholder advisory group spoke about the benefits from a parent’s perspective: “When you receive a diagnosis for your child there are so many questions that you search for answers to in order to maximize your child’s potential. Questions like what interventions should my child be getting, what type of education would be best, or how will they progress as they get older.  The registry gives all stakeholders an opportunity to work in partnership and address these questions.  It will help indicate the most effective approaches, throughout the lifespan from early intervention and treatments for young children through to adulthood, giving informed feedback to parents and stakeholders about best outcomes.” She continued: “I am excited about the registry and biobank as I see it impacting best-practice service provision and education for our children, leading to research discoveries in new treatments and empowering our children who have immensely inspirational strengths and talents.” Dr Amy Daniels, Assistant Director of Public Health Research from the US-based Autism Speaks said: "We are excited to present these findings from the stakeholder consultation, as they document an overwhelming support from the community for developing a national registry for autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities in Ireland. From the perspective of the advocacy community, our hope is that the registry will be a valuable tool for informing how best to enhance services and the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families now and in the future." The collaborative research team are currently in the process of developing and implementing a pilot registry and are working on this with OpenApp, who provide Quality Assurance and Disease Registry type software solutions for Healthcare within the Irish and other health service settings. The full report on the Consultation for a National registry and Biobank for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders is available here: www.iarb.ie/national-stakeholder-consultation-report/  -Ends-  

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