Ireland’s Leading Stem Cell Scientist Applauds Nobel Laureates

Ireland’s Leading Stem Cell Scientist Applauds Nobel Laureates-image

Monday, 8 October 2012

Ireland’s leading expert in stem cell science, Professor Frank Barry of NUI Galway, has sent congratulations to the Nobel Prize winners Professor Shinya Yamanaka and Professor John Gurdon. The two pioneers of stem cell research will share the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology, it was announced today.   “The discoveries made by these two scientists, although many years apart, both changed the way we think about cells and how they regulate their behaviour,” said Professor Barry. The discovery of methods in cell reprogramming, in particular, has had a huge impact. It has given us extraordinary new insight into what stem cells are and how they work.  It has also given us powerful new tools to study human development and what causes certain diseases.  We at REMEDI send our heartfelt congratulations to Drs. Gurdon and Yamanaka.  The award of the Nobel Prize in Medicine to them is richly deserved.” Professor Frank Barry is Director of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway and also Scientific Director of the University’s Regenerative Medicine Institute. His particular research interest is in the therapeutic application of adult stem cells, especially mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from bone marrow. For 10 years he has directed a series of research programmes focusing on the isolation and characterization of adult stem cells, and on the development of methods for their delivery in a variety of clinical indications. This has included cardiovascular and arthritic diseases. He has also developed approaches for the use of MSCs for the delivery of specific therapeutic genes, for example in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition he has an interest in proteomics and mass spectrometry for the identification of surface molecules on cells. Some of his more recent work is focussed on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), along with NUI Galway’s Professor Sanbing Shen. -ends-

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Camouflage for Cardiovascular Stents

Camouflage for Cardiovascular Stents-image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

NFB and Microbiology Researcher to Lead €1.2 million EU Project on Stent Development A new type of cardiovascular stent, coated in antibodies to improve biocompatibility and effectiveness, is now under development in Ireland and Poland. Scientists at National University of Ireland Galway are to lead a €1.2 million EU project which aims to reduce re-narrowing of arteries and the need for further interventions, through the development of novel cardiovascular stent materials. National University of Ireland Galway’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster, and the University’s microbiology department will head the four year project. This is the fifth successful EC funded grant that NFB has secured in the last two years. “About half of all deaths from cardiovascular diseases are due to coronary artery disease, which occurs when the coronary arteries become hardened and narrowed due to the build-up of plaques on their inner walls or lining,” explains National University of Ireland Galway microbiologist Dr Gerard Wall, who is leading the project. “This EU project brings together researchers from important medical device clusters in Ireland and Poland, involved at all stages of the stent design and development pipeline, to develop a novel product to reduce restenosis, which is one of the major current limitations of stent performance.” “Our plan is to create a new type of coating on the stents using human antibody fragments,” explains Dr Wall. “Once the stent is in place, we hope these antibodies will attract a layer of the patient’s own epithelial cells. This should effectively camouflage the stent as far as the body is concerned, and it will no longer be such a foreign object. Our theory is that this will reduce the potential for rejection, the level of clot build-up, and also significantly improve the long-term outcome of surgical interventions.” Coronary heart diseases, including myocardial infarction, are commonly triggered by the build up of plaques in the inner walls of coronary arteries, leading to stenosis and reduced blood flow to the heart. This is the most common cause of death in Europe, accounting for approximately two million deaths each year. This condition can be successfully treated by angioplasty to reopen blockages and the insertion of a stent to keep arteries open. However, not all stents continue to perform perfectly over time. Cells such as macrophages and smooth muscle cells can grow over the stent surface and cause clot formation, once again clogging the arteries. While anti-clotting drugs can be used, the risk of rejection of the foreign stent material remains a problem. The project brings together three academic partners National University of Ireland Galway, and Poland’s Wrocław University of Technology and Wrocław Medical University. These are joined by Vornia, a Galway-based start-up biomedical company and the multi-national stent manufacturer Balton, which has its headquarters in Poland. The project is funded under the Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) scheme of the EU’s FP7 2012 People Work Programme. The programme will provide cross-sectoral research training, career development opportunities and knowledge sharing pathways to 16 researchers involved in the project, in addition to hosting networking and dissemination events open to 30-40 additional researchers in the partner groups. “The project is an excellent example of the importance of strong industry-academia cooperation in the development of commercially viable products,” adds Dr Wall. “Both university and industry-based researchers will spend considerable time working in the opposite work sector during the project as both sectors recognise that genuine partnership in this manner is the best way to nurture creative research ideas into leading edge products that have unmet clinical need.”  -ends-

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NUI Galway Host RIAI Exhibition Awards Tour

NUI Galway Host RIAI Exhibition Awards Tour-image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) Premier Awards Exhibition 2012will be on view in NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, winner of the 2012 Best Sustainable Project and the RIAI Public Choice Award, which runs until 26 October. The 2012 Exhibition is a major component of the RIAI efforts to illustrate and inform members of the public of the impact of good architecture on their lives. With over 120 entries for this year’s award, the 14 different categories include housing, conservation, sustainability, accessibility, retail, leisure, public choice and culture.  Founded in 1839, the RIAI is the regulatory and support body for architects and architectural technologists in Ireland. The organisation promotes the activities and achievements of the Irish architectural profession - both in Ireland and abroad - through a wide variety of initiatives including the prestigious Irish Architecture Awards and through publications. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Having received two awards from this year’s competition we are delighted to host such a diverse and highly regarded exhibition. The show, which is open to the public, features 120 entries across the design spectrum. Their collective display in the area of sustainability ties in perfectly with the ethos of the Engineering Building.” The exhibition is opened Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. -ENDS

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European Commission Directorate-General Visits NUI Galway

European Commission Directorate-General Visits NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

                       EU briefing for students of Ireland’s only conference interpreter training programme The European Commission's Directorate-General for Interpretation, Mr Marco Benedetti today visited Galway where he met President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne plus staff and students of the MA/PDip (Conference Interpreting) currently being taught at the University. Mr Benedetti addressed a group of language students at NUI Galway on issues related to the use of languages and multilingualism in the EU, with a special emphasis on interpretation. Emphasising the importance of interpreter training, Marco Benedetti said: “The primary responsibility for training conference interpreters lays with the member states and in particular their universities. NUI Galway and in particular Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is the only Conference Interpreter training course on the entire island of Ireland and the only source of Irish language interpreters in the world so its activities should be nurtured.” “The Directorate General for Interpretation has been able to build up its interpreting resources for Irish and in fact for English over the past few years largely due to solid relationship with the MA in Conference Interpreting at NUI Galway,” said Susan Folan, Programme Director at the University. “Cooperation began in 2008 with DG Interpretation providing regular teaching assistance by experienced staff interpreters and trainers from the institutions. Every year students of the MA in Conference Interpreting come to Brussels for a study visit, including practical work experience, in real meetings, in a dummy booth,” she said. To highlight the importance that prospective employers place on language skills in today’s market, a career event will take place later today (Tuesday, 9 October) in the Siobhán Mc Kenna Theatre at NUI Galway. Mr Benedetti and Joan Flanagan, Education Officer of the Parliament Representation in Ireland will outline the employment opportunities available to language graduates in the European Union, while speakers from SAP Software Solutions will discuss opportunities at home and abroad in multilingual  tech support. During his Irish visit, the Directorate-General in his Government meetings with Lucinda Creighton, Minister for European Affairs at the Department of the Taoiseach, will discuss the finalisation of preparations for interpretation during the Irish Presidency of the European Union from January 1 to June 30, 2013. This is will also be an opportunity for the Director-General and the minister to exchange views on multilingualism, language teaching and interpreter training in Ireland. The EU has always considered cultural and linguistic diversity a richness and a strength and as something to be safeguarded. Reliable interpreting services will be essential to the Irish Presidency and NUI Galway is committed to providing the requisite skills to their graduates to enable them to avail of these opportunities. ENDS

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Appleton Medal Presented to Professor Colin O’Dowd by Institute of Physics

Appleton Medal Presented to Professor Colin O’Dowd by Institute of Physics-image

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Professor Colin O’Dowd was in London last week to collect the Appleton Medal, awarded to him by the Institute of Physics for his ‘distinguished research in environmental and atmospheric physics’. In particular, the NUI Galway physicist was lauded for his work on the formation and transformation of aerosols, the tiny particles which can effect cloud formation and impact climate change. Sir Edward Appleton was a British physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for his achievements in ionospheric physics. His experiments proved the existence of a layer of ionised gas in the upper atmosphere, known now as the Appleton layer. The Institute of Physics, which has its headquarters in London, awards the medal every two years to identify and honour physicists who are today making remarkable contributions to science. Professor O’Dowd is internationally renowned for his research into atmospheric composition, air pollution and climate change and has previously received the Smoluchowski Award and a Doctorate of Science from the University of Manchester for his research achievements.  Much of his work involves NUI Galway’s Mace Head atmospherics research station, which is one of the most advanced and sophisticated research stations of its kind. Data from Mace Head, located in Connemara, is used by climatologists and modellers around the world to predict global climate change. Previously, Professor O’Dowd’s research has been recognised through the award of Fellow of both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Meteorological Society and with Membership of the Royal Irish Academy, the latter being regarded as the highest academic honor within Ireland.  -ends-

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Free App Provides Health, Wellbeing and Leisure Directory

Free App Provides Health, Wellbeing and Leisure Directory-image

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A new app developed at NUI Galway now provides a directory of numbers for local hospitals, pharmacies, GPs, support and leisure services. The free app was launched this week by Helplink, a new Irish social enterprise which provides easily accessible and affordable online counselling, as well as other award winning affordable or free health and support services nationwide. The launch of the app marks the first consolidated listing of mental health, health, leisure, charity and support services in Ireland, both private and public. Lochlann Scott, Managing Director of Helplink and psychological studies graduate from NUI Galway explains the motivation behind the app: “We at Helplink want to be at the forefront of e-health and tele-health, this App brings us one step closer to achieving this. On a number of occasions over the past few years I have needed to access numbers or addresses for local hospitals, pharmacies, GPs etc but I was frustrated that I had to pay significant amounts of money through my phone to get them. I thought services like these should be easy to find and free. I am proud to say that we at Helplink in conjunction with NUI Galway and Enterprise Ireland have created just that; a directory that is comprehensive, easy to use and free.” The technology was developed by researchers at the discipline of Information Technology in NUI Galway. Research engineer Stephanus Meiring explains, “We were able to pack a lot of functionality into this app. You can call your chosen listing’s number directly, send an email, get a Google map up of their location or get the main contact details sent to your phone for free. The main challenge was to enable the app to run across a multitude of smartphone platforms” NUI Galway’s Dr Michael Schukat, Principal Investigator on the project, added that, “As an academic institution it is important for us to collaborate with industry and the Enterprise Ireland Innovation voucher scheme provides us with this opportunity.” There are many ways of using the directory, you can download the Helplink directory App for free from the 'App store' or 'Google Play' store. You can use the mobile browser by clicking on the icon on the website, or you can simply just use the directory page from your home or office computer by using the directory page at “The new app is just one of a number of award winning services offered by Helplink. The others, like our affordable online counselling and innovative employers’ assistance programmes, have been established with the goal of providing affordable and accessible mental health and healthcare services nationwide”, added Lochlann Scott. For more about Helplink or to find quick links to the app visit ENDS

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Nobel Prize Winner to Visit NUI Galway

Nobel Prize Winner to Visit NUI Galway -image

Thursday, 11 October 2012

NUI Galway’s Law Society, in conjunction with its Literary and Debating Society, will host a public address by world renowned economist Professor Edmund Phelps on Monday, 15 October. In 2006 Professor Phelps was granted the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences for his analysis of intertemporal trade-offs in macroeconomic policy. During the address the Law Society and the Literary and Debating Society will present its prestigious President’s Medal to Professor Phelps. Professor Phelps’ work has had a profound impact on economic research as well as policy. Born in Evanston, Illinois, he went to Amherst College for his undergraduate education in 1951, where in his second year he quickly became aware of an important unsolved problem with the existing theory, and the existing gap between microeconomics and macroeconomics. In 1959 he received his PhD from Yale where he studied under future Nobel Prize winners James Tobin and Thomas Schelling.   In 1961 Professor Phelps published a famous paperon the Golden Rule savings rate, one of his major contributions to economic science, which started a wave of research on how much a nation ought to spend on present consumption rather than save and invest for future generations. From the 1980’s he increased his collaborations with European universities and in 1990 took part in a mission where he designed a proposal for the reform of the USSR. Cathal O'hÁodhagáin, Auditor of NUI Galway’s Law Society, said: “It is an honour and a privilege for our society to host such a brilliant mind as Professor Phelps. His economical works has rightly led to him being honoured with a Nobel Prize and it is apt that the 2012 Noble Prize winner for Economic Science will be announced this Monday, the same day as his address in NUI Galway. We look forward to welcoming him as our honoured guest.” Professor Phelps holds many honorary doctorates and professorships. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Science and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association, and in 2001 a Festschrift Conference was held in his honour. In 2008 he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur and awarded the Premio Pico della Mirandola and the Kiel Global Economy Prize. The same year UBA Law School established the Catedra Phelps and the Phelps Medal for Innovation. In 2010 he was appointed Dean of New Huadu Business School at Minjiang University in Fuzhou and awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the Université libre de Bruxelles. In 2011, Professor Phelps received the Louise Blouin Creative Leadership Award and was named a Full Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Maria Keenan, Auditor of the Literary and Debating Society at NUI Galway, said: “During the event Professor Phelps will be presented with President's Medal. We pride ourselves on awarding these medals to those we view as having put the power of such platforms to their optimum use within the wider spheres of society, understanding that discourse is the only real means by which resolution can be found. To this end, the society's highest accolade, the President's Medal, is awarded to those the society views as having particularly excelled in their chosen fields. Previous recipients of the award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Brian Friel and Bob Dylan.” The address will take place at 2pm, in the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway. -ENDS-

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TV3’s Apprentice Finalist is Guest Speaker at NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day

TV3’s Apprentice Finalist is Guest Speaker at NUI Galway Postgraduate Open Day-image

Monday, 15 October 2012

NUI Galway will host this year’s Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 31 October, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. Joanne Sweeney-Burke, an NUI Galway graduate, business-woman, entrepreneur, and finalist in TV3’s The Apprentice, will be guest speaker at the event and will talk about how postgraduate studies furthered her own career. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. With almost 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, 70 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day. Throughout the day postgraduate students will have the option of attending talks on funding opportunities and applications available to them, career prospects and progression, CV clinics and there will also be information on how to apply for a postgraduate course. Speaking ahead of the Postgraduate Open Day, Joanne Sweeney-Burke said: “Postgraduate study gives your career path a clear focus. It defines your areas of expertise, intellectual offering but also demonstrates a level of achievement that employers will welcome. A postgraduate qualification also eases your path into the workforce by making you 'employable and career ready'. After completing my BA in English, Sociology & Politics I chose a Higher Diploma in Applied Communications and three days after walking out of NUI Galway I walked into my first job as a Broadcast Journalist. Following up with a Masters in Journalism, eleven years on I haven't been unemployed for a single day. I know my postgraduate qualifications have had a huge bearing on my career path, subsequent job opportunities and ultimately to owner of Media Box.” 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 Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. According to John Hannon, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre: “In the current economic climate, there is increased interest among undergraduate students in staying in education by pursuing postgraduate studies. A postgraduate qualification can provide a real career boost. Undoubtedly, it can maximise career prospects and earnings.” To book your place at the Open Day visit or you can register on the day. -ENDS-

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World Experts on Pain to Attend Galway Scientific Meeting

World Experts on Pain to Attend Galway Scientific Meeting-image

Monday, 15 October 2012

Leading experts on the assessment and management of headache and pain affecting the face and mouth will attend the Irish Pain Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Galway on Saturday, 20 October.  Coinciding with the Global Year Against Headache, the meeting will discuss new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of common, but often debilitating conditions such as migraine. Less common conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia which is associated with severe facial pain will also be discussed. Clinical experts and scientists from a range of professional disciplines such as pain medicine, surgery, nursing, physiotherapy and psychology will present their research findings to an audience of scientists and health practitioners.  Dr Brian McGuire from the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and member of the Irish Pain Society committee, said: “Persistent or chronic headache and orofacial pain cause a great deal of suffering and disability. We are very fortunate to have the Irish Pain Society meeting in Galway this year and the speakers include many world experts in the field of pain research, promising to be an outstanding scientific meeting”.  The meeting will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway and further details can be found at -ENDS-

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NUI Galway student Scoops Top Award at Irish Blog Awards

NUI Galway student Scoops Top Award at Irish Blog Awards-image

Monday, 15 October 2012

NUI Galway student, Mona Wise scooped the boards at the first ever Blog Awards Ireland event held in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare on Saturday night. In addition to winning ‘Best Blog Award’ for ‘’ a blog on food, family and lifestyle, Ms Wise also won awards for the best blog by a journalist, best photography blog and best food and drink blog. Designed to recognise the passion and enthusiasm that blogging brings to the Irish media landscape the inaugural Blog Awards Ireland received over 1400 nominations for blogs in 30 categories including lifestyle, food/drink, personal, photography and health/wellbeing. Over 250 blogger and blog owners from all over Ireland people attended Saturday’s awards ceremony with many more attending ‘virtually’ on twitter. Speaking after the awards ceremony, a delighted Mona said, “I’m absolutely speechless and humbled to have been awarded the top prize, especially against the so many wonderful blogs which have been shortlisted. It’s a fantastic recognition of my efforts as a blogger and I’d like to thank the many people who read and interact with my blog for their support and inspiration.” Mona, who is completing her final year of a creative writing BA Connect Degree in NUI Galway, began writing her blog just over 18 months ago. It has attracted a growing following and brought her to the notice of The Sunday Times who offered her a weekly column in May 2012. Together with her husband Ron, she has recently published her first book, The Chef and I- A nourishing narrative. Part memoir part cookbook it depicts their life together and the many wonderful meals they have shared as a family. ENDS

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