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At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Major Award for Cancer Researcher at NUI Galway
Monday, 10 December 2012
A Galway cancer researcher has been awarded a Research Fellowship Award of €230,000 to develop new strategies to help improve treatments for patients with colon cancer. Dr Aideen Ryan from Ballinasloe in Co. Galway, received the award from the Irish Cancer Society. Colon cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in Ireland and represents a significant health problem. In many instances, colon cancer spreads to other organs, which is called metastasis. When this happens it is most likely to result in death. New ways to tackle the problem of colon cancer metastasis have had very little success, but Aideen’s research is taking a fresh approach by focusing on the cancer cells interaction with the immune system. Aideen collaborates with mentor Professor Laurence Egan at NUI Galway, and collaborators Professor Matthew Griffin also of NUI Galway and Dr Aileen Houston at UCC. Their previous research has shown how the body’s own immune system affects how colon cancer cells spread. The team aims to discover the factors that control the immune systems interaction with colon cancer. Dr Ryan states: “Blocking these factors would enable us to develop new drugs that could, in turn, be used to make our immune response to cancer stronger. This novel approach to cancer treatment could potentially result in better treatments and consequently a better prognosis and quality of life for patients with colon cancer.” -ends-
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Treating Autism, Can Stem Cells Help?
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Stem Cell Scientists and Autism Research Groups at TCD and NUI Galway to outline New Research Project Public Forum, Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, 7pm, 12 December, 2012 Often seen as an alternative to embryonic stem cells, iPS - or induced pluripotent stem cells - are adult stem cells reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state. IPS cells are increasingly of interest to scientists studying brain disorders such as autism, since accessing brain tissue is so difficult. Recent breakthroughs in autism genetics research have revealed that a small but significant minority of individuals with autism may have rare genetic changes that are potentially causative of their condition. The TCD autism research group, which has investigated the genetic causes of autism for over a decade, has teamed up with scientists at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI Galway to apply stem cell technology to further the understanding of autism that may lead towards the identification of better treatments. In a first for Ireland, REMEDI has already begun producing iPS cells from the skin cells of people with autism and their siblings. This new research project hopes to find out how rare genetic changes might impact on the functioning of brain cells using iPS cell models. This research may ultimately help to identify drugs that could help to treat symptoms of the disease pathology. TCD’s Autism Research Group, and REMEDI scientists are reaching out to families who may be willing to participate in this innovative research. A public forum entitled ‘Treating Autism, Can Stem Cells Help?’ will be held on Wednesday, 12 of December at 6pm at the Science Gallery at TCD. Professor Louise Gallagher, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Principal Investigator of the TCD Autism Research Group will discuss the recent breakthroughs in autism genetics emerging from the work of the TCD group and how this has begun to inform some understanding of the causes of autism; REMEDI’s Outreach Officer Danielle Nicholson will explain about Stem Cell technology and Professor Sanbing Shen, Professor of Stem Cell Biology at REMEDI will discuss the work from his lab which has begun producing iPS cells from the skin cells of people with autism and their siblings. The event will be chaired by Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway. “Our research in autism genetics over the last 10 years or more has revealed interesting rare genetic causes of autism. By applying this new and exciting technology to further investigate autism we may identify the underlying mechanisms of these genetic anomalies in causing autistic spectrum disorders”, explains Professor Louise Gallagher. Over the years we have been indebted to over 300 individuals with autism and their parents and families who have participated in our active research programs and biorepository collections. We are hoping that this exciting public forum will provide a further opportunity to engage with the autism community and provide information about this exciting initiative in autism research. Professor Sanbing Shen explains the science: “We are in the very early stages of research, but by reprogramming skin cells, we may provide a way to study neuronal cells in autism and to test new therapies. These iPS cells can specialize into different cell types raising the possibility to treat patients with their own stem cells. This is exciting news for people who are affected by conditions that have no treatment.” The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine was awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka “for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent”. This Irish initiative now hopes to bring this science to bear on autism. The prevalence of autism is on the rise. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 110 children will be diagnosed with autism. Among boys the incidence is 1 in 70. “Although there are no comparable studies on autism in Ireland, it is believed the prevalence is similar to that found in the US,” says Dr Geraldine Leader. “A diagnosis of autism can have a devastating effect on a family and the lack of autism services in Ireland places an enormous burden on parents. Neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism affect individuals and their families across the life span. Yet parents and families are the true advocates for those diagnosed. Stem cell research like this is the cutting edge of science, and is one of many opportunities which we would like to provide to families.” NUI Galway has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland. The REMEDI team, which includes Professor Timothy O’Brien and Professor Frank Barry, are partnering with academics and clinicians from all over Ireland including Trinity College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons and Galway University Hospitals, to study iPS cells and their clinical potential in the treatment of many different diseases. For more information on the public forum visit http://sciencegallery.com/events/2012/12/treating-autism-can-stem-cells-help -ends-
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NUI Galway Sailing Yacht Awarded ‘Boat of the Year’
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
NUI Galway’s sailing campaign has been named the Irish Cruiser Racing Association's (ICRA) ‘Boat of the Year’. The prize was presented to NUI Galway in Kilkenny at the recent association’s annual conference which was attended by Ireland’s leading sailors, race organisers and industry professionals such as Olympic race officer Jack Roy and Volvo Ocean Race champion Damian Foxall. ICRA is the organising authority of Irish yacht racing. Nine boats from around Ireland were shortlisted for their ‘Boat of the Year’ award for having excelled at national and international level. Ultimately the judges favoured NUI Galway for the award on the basis of the exceptional level of preparation, training, competitive racing and achievement from the young crew. NUI Galway’s sailing yacht is a Reflex 38 based out of Galway Bay Sailing Club who raced in the 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race. The crew finished sixth place in the overall standings, and first in their class, in the race. The team, one of the youngest to compete in the competition, was the second Irish boat to cross the finishing line in their 38-ft racing yacht which they chartered especially for the race. They were also the Class 1 winners in the Wales to Wicklow Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) race which they did as preparation for Round Ireland race. The boat was also raced by a number of the NUI Galway students in the 2012 Irish Cruiser Racing Nationals in Howth and Cork Week with the boat owner Martin Breen. The NUI Galway crew is made up of students and graduates from various disciplines including engineering, science and commerce and include Ben Scallan, Eoghan McGregor, Eoin Breen, Joan Mulloy, Mark Armstrong, Ruaidhri De Faoite, Conor Kinsella, David Fitzgerald, Louis Mulloy and Cathal Clarke. Kathy Hynes, Sports Officer NUI Galway, said: “This group of young people represent the future of sport through energy, passion and their high skill level ensure that NUI Galway sport is moving in the right direction.” -ENDS-
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Central Bank of Ireland issues €15 silver proof collector coin
Wednesday, 12 December 2012
The Central Bank of Ireland today (12 December 2012) issued its latest collector coin, a €15 silver proof coin featuring the design of a wolfhound, at NUI Galway. The coin is the final in a series of three which pays tribute to the original 1928 coins designed by Percy Metcalfe and which featured iconic Irish animals including the Irish hunter horse and the salmon. The €15 coin features the design of a wolfhound alongside its pup and is the work of coin designer Emmet Mullins. Speaking at the launch, Governor Patrick Honohan said: ‘We are delighted to be in Galway today to mark the issue of the final €15 coin honouring Percy Metcalfe’s 1928 designs. Today’s coin launch coincides with a number of Central Bank events taking place in Galway including the first meeting of the Board of the Central Bank – the Central Bank Commission - outside of Dublin and a consumer protection road-show for retail intermediaries. I would like to thank Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway for hosting today’s events and for the warm welcome we have received. The collector coin has an issue limit of 8,000 units and is available to the public at a cost of €46 per coin. Each coin is accompanied by a numbered Certificate of Authenticity specifying the quality of the coin and the limited issue. The coin can be purchased by downloading an order form from the Collector Coin section of our website or by calling 1890 307 607 (lo-call within Ireland) or (+353 1) 219 8000. It may also be purchased directly from the Central Bank’s premises in Dame Street, Dublin.
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New Way to Gather Views on EU Policy
Monday, 17 December 2012
Researchers at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in NUI Galway are leading a European Union, multi-million euro initiative aimed at government transparency and giving citizens a voice in creating policies. The project, entitled ‘Puzzled by Policy’ has now launched a new widget (http://join.puzzledbypolicy.eu) that provides a fun way for users to find out about immigration policy and become actively involved in the immigration policy-making process. Immigration is traditionally a highly contentious topic, but one that is relevant to all, including immigrants and citizens, employers and employees, NGOs and public-sector bodies. Immigration policy can impact on all aspects of life, from social welfare and housing, to education, employment and healthcare. This unique widget encourages users to explore their opinions on various immigration topics, as well as enabling them to see how their views compare to those of policy-makers, NGOs, and other immigration stakeholders. While the ‘Puzzled by Policy’ widget is customised for Greece, Hungary, Italy and Spain, users from other countries may also participate at a European level. To facilitate wide and diverse participation, this innovative widget has been designed so that it can be embedded on any website, blog or Facebook page. This enables existing communities to become more informed on immigration policy, while becoming actively engaged on particular issues. NGOs, immigrant organizations, academic institutions and think-tanks are already successfully using the widget to engage their communities. DERI’s Deirdre Lee, who is leading the ‘Puzzled by Policy’ project, comments: “The Puzzled by Policy project aims to help end the detachment and disillusionment of citizens in the policy making process of the EU by improving information resources and tools. DERI is providing the models, technologies and tools for more effective and efficient public administration systems. This is all part of a larger move toward eGovernment, which embraces the world wide web for better governance.” Deirdre Lee added: “eGovernment offers the ability to transform not only the way in which most public services are delivered but also the fundamental relationship between government and citizen.” With over 140 researchers, DERI is one of the world’s leading international web science research institutes, established as a CSET in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland. DERI’s researchers have a specific focus on the Semantic Web and Networked Knowledge, which provides the framework to link information in a way that allows us to use, analyse and retrieve this information more efficiently. -ends-
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Neuroscience at NUI Galway Gains International Excellence Status
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
The Galway Neuroscience Cluster, based within the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway, last week gained the status of Centre of Excellence in Neurodegeneration (COEN) after a national and international review process. By gaining COEN status, the Galway Neuroscience Cluster joins a select group of international centres that are entitled to apply for research funding that is awarded through this international initiative. Leader of the Neuroscience Cluster, NUI Galway’s Dr David Finn, said: “This is a very significant achievement by the Neuroscience Cluster and it represents international recognition and approval of the quantity and quality of our research over the past 5-10 years. I would like to acknowledge the efforts and support of all members of the Neuroscience Cluster and University which have contributed significantly to this exciting development.” The overall aim of the COEN initiative is to build collaborative research activity in neurodegeneration research across borders, focusing on critical mass and excellence. Congratulating those involved NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: "NUI Galway’s designation as a Centre of Excellence in Neurodegeneration is a wonderful endorsement of the calibre of research underway at this University. It underscores the growing international reputation of our University and its researchers. This designation will enable the Galway Neuroscience Cluster to further develop and to join an elite group of international centres working on advancing new therapies for a range of medical conditions." The news came on the eve of the annual research meeting of the Galway Neuroscience Cluster last Thursday at NUI Galway. This meeting showcased the best of neuroscience research in the University. Attendees included undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as post-doctoral research scientists and academic members of staff from a number of different disciplines and research centers within university. The research presented encompassed a number of different areas within neuroscience. The presentations included the genetic approaches taken to improve the symptoms of Huntington’s disease, the potential use of marine products in neuroscience, the use of new delivery methods for therapies in Parkinson’s disease, the development of relevant models to study chronic pain as well as a keynote lecture given by Professor Ciaran Regan of UCD on the development of potential therapies for autism spectrum disorders. Awards for the best postgraduate oral and poster presentations at the meeting were also presented by Dr John Newell of the Clinical Research Facility in Galway who sponsored the meeting. The poster prize was won by Jason Ridge (Anatomy and Psychiatry, NUI Galway) whose work detailed the changes in size of certain brain regions in patients with schizophrenia. Ben Newland (Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, NUI Galway) won the oral presentation prize for presenting his work on the development of a new strategy to delivery genes for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Nikita Burke (Physiology and Centre for Pain Research) won the runner-up prize for her work on the effects of early life stress on the perception of pain. The mission of the Neuroscience Cluster is to develop Neuroscience in Galway through research, education and community initiatives. The Cluster is truly multidisciplinary in membership, bringing together researchers from a range of clinical and preclinical disciplines, which enable the investigation of nervous system disease at a number of levels. Cluster Leader Dr David Finn added: “I would like to congratulate the prizewinners and all those who presented and contributed to a fascinating meeting and I look forward to the continued growth and success of neuroscience at NUI Galway in 2013 and beyond.” ENDS
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Galway Has Potential to become Europe’s ‘Silicon Valley’ says Science Person of the Year
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
A well-known local science advocate believes that Galway should emulate its international status as an arts city by striving to become the European equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley. Brendan Smith, Community Education and Outreach Officer for the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway, was presented with the Science Person of the Year Award at the recent Galway Science and Technology Festival. He was given the award for delivering a range of pioneering science and technology learning initiatives to schools, colleges and to communities. Brendan Smith believes passionately that the city possesses many of the key ingredients needed to transform the region into a leading global hub for smart technologies’ innovation and development. According to Brendan Smith: “Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest information technology corporations as well as thousands of small start-ups. These organisations have established a symbiotic relationship with third-level colleges in the vicinity that provide the stream of young enthusiastic inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists needed to sustain their existence and success. Brendan says Galway bears an uncanny resemblance to San Francisco possessing many of its main traits in abundance. Located on the west coast of the United States, the area is famed for its natural beauty that has engendered a quality of life ethos amongst the inhabitants. The city of San Francisco has also long being characterized by political, environmental and social liberalism; possessing a strong progressive artistic, music, cultural and community solidarity ethos with a youthful, student, cosmopolitan and outward-looking population. Many of the leading corporations in the biomedical and information technology sectors such as Avaya, Boston Scientific, Cisco, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, Medtronic and SAP, are already based in Galway with established links to research institutes located in GMIT and NUI Galway such as DERI, Ryan Institute and REMEDI which are providing the scientific expertise to sustain their presence in Galway and underpin their status as leaders in cutting edge product development. There is also the presence locally of indigenous high-tech manufacturing and services industries comprising Irish-owned companies such as Creganna and Storm Technologies. Galway can rightly claim to be the country’s first and premier ‘Digital City’, building on an unbroken tradition of computing innovation that dates back to 1971 when Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), then the world’s largest minicomputer company, opened its first European manufacturing facility in Mervue. This proud technology heritage is exemplified by the fact that the ‘Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland’, which pays tribute amongst other things to the oftentimes hidden role of Ireland, women and youth in communications development, is based in the city at DERI in NUI Galway. “What is also an abiding feature of Galway is the deep sense of ‘community solidarity’ as well as the high level of volunteerism that exists amongst many of the prime ‘movers and shakers’ in the industrial, political, educational and local government sectors. These individuals have over the years collaborated under the auspices of the Galway Education Centre, Junior Achievement and the Galway Science and Technology Festival, to deliver important learning initiatives in schools and colleges across the Western region.” “In a modern industrial urban version of ‘Meitheal’ that was once the hallmark of traditional Irish rural community support, these visionaries have promoted and harnessed an army of young professional mentors from industry and third level colleges who give their time and energies to teach in primary and post-primary classrooms delivering science courses whilst acting as positive ‘role models’ for our young generation.” Such courses will equip our children with a range of skills, from using mathematics to fostering critical thinking, necessary for transforming Ireland from being a nation of ‘digital users’ into a nation of ‘digital creators’ that would export worldwide a series of beneficial Irish-made smart tech products and services. These formal learning programmes are now being complimented by the activities of electronic and computer coding volunteer clubs such as 091 Labs and Coderdojo which are often established by young people themselves to provide informal after-school digital maker’s environments where participants are encouraged to be creative and to experiment in new processes and ideas, writing software for instance for online games or to control the movements of robots. The success of these initiatives is best shown by the dramatic uptake by schools in these mentoring courses as well as by the tens of thousands that attend the science shows and exhibitions during the annual two week Galway Science and Technology Festival. -ends-
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NUI Galway Announces Date for Alumni Awards 2013
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
NUI Galway has announced that the 2013 Alumni Awards will be presented at the annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 9 March, 2013. The Gala Banquet will again be held in the Bailey Allen Wing located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 70,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of 74 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, Michael D. Higgins, Ciarán FitzGerald, Sean O’Rourke, Professor Frank Gannon, Dr Luke Clancy and Gráinne Seoige. Speaking on the announcement of the Awards, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: "Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University's more than 70,000 graduates worldwide and we look forward to announcing the award winners early in the New Year.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends ENDS
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American Student Awarded Prestigious Scholarship to Study at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Robin Tipps, a Sociology-Criminology student from the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship to study Public Law at NUI Galway next September. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship, awarded by the US-Ireland Alliance, funds one year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland to students who satisfy requirements for an Irish master's degree. The George J. Mitchell Scholarship honours the former U.S. senator's contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and was established in 1999. This year 12 scholars representing a cross-section of American students have been awarded the scholarship on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service. Among their achievements, they count breaking the cryptic code of Rhode Island founder Roger Williams, tutoring underserved children and improving the performance of biofuels. Robin, a member of the Quapaw Tribe, was raised in Ardmore, Oklahoma and will graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in sociology-criminology in 2013. He has been the Senior Vice-Chair of Investigations for his University’s Integrity Council and hopes to become a tribal attorney and the chairman of his tribe. His many service activities include work at the same-day surgery clinic at Norman Regional Hospital and as Collections Assistant at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. The son of a Quapaw mother and a Caucasian father, Robin has thought a great deal about Native American identity. He grew up 300 miles from tribal headquarters, and the annual ritual of Pow Wow took on great meaning for him, as it was the time when he could connect most easily with his Native American heritage. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public law at NUI Galway, express her delight that Robin had chosen the Public Law programme, the second winner of a prestigious Mitchell scholarship to do so in three years. “Robin will be a very welcome addition to the class and I hope he will find the many opportunities presented to students on the programme to attend conferences and engage with public bodies beneficial to his future career.” -ENDS-
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New Adjunct Professorship Appointed to NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Dr Patrick O’Brien, Group Director of Strategic Business and Marketing for Wood Group Kenny and a member of the Executive Management Team of MCS Kenny, has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway. Dr O'Brien, a chartered engineer with close to 30 years industry experience, was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering degree, Master of Engineering Science and PhD by NUI Galway. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. Dr O'Brien plays an active role in a number of industry bodies and he is a board member of Subsea UK. Throughout his career, Dr O’Brien has gained extensive experience primarily in the design of compliant pipeline systems that connect from the seafloor to an offshore oil and gas floating platform. One of his major achievements is the development of the engineering algorithms for the world leading Flexcom riser analysis software. He is the author of many technical papers and he has chaired numerous industry conferences on riser technology. His specialties include: flexible pipe technology, riser mechanics, riser design, nonlinear structural analysis, subsea industry knowledge, strategic and creative thinking, and business networking. NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has had ongoing research links with MCS Kenny since it was first founded as a campus spin-off in the 1980s. Currently Dr O’Brien is working with NUI Galway’s Dr Annette Harte and Adrian Connaire, PhD researcher, on a project which aims to greatly increase the efficiency of the current approaches to modeling the mechanical response of highly compliant marine risers. This new appointment will mark the beginning of a new phase in the relationship between the University, MCS Kenny and the Wood Group Kenny in the field of research and development in the offshore arena. Commenting on his appointment, Dr O'Brien said: “There has been a long tradition of collaboration between the University and MCS Kenny, and this appointment greatly strengthens that link. The company is currently working on two joint research projects with the engineering school, and we will look to build on that going forward. I am honoured to accept this position, particularly as NUI Galway is my alma mater, and I look forward to contributing ongoing lectures which bring my company's extensive experience of the offshore oil and gas industry to the engineering school's students, a timely input given recent announcements of the oil and gas potential offshore Ireland.” -ENDS-
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