CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices and Arch Therapeutics Execute Collaboration Agreement

CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices and Arch Therapeutics Execute Collaboration Agreement-image

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

CÚRAM Initiates Another Multi-Year Grant-Funded Research and Development Collaboration Arch Prepares for First Human Trial with R&D Support CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, a new center of excellence for research, and Arch Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCQB: ARTH) ("Arch" or the "Company"), developer of the AC5 Surgical Hemostatic Device™ (“AC5TM”), have executed a definitive collaboration agreement that provides Arch grant funding for highly skilled personnel and infrastructure support. Through this collaboration, CÚRAM will work with Arch to advance AC5 through the first clinical trial, leading up to potential commercialization as well as develop pipeline applications for new indications and products. CÚRAM, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded research centre, aims to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing and collaborating on the development of “smart” medical devices. Strong collaborations with industry partners and hospital groups will enable their rapid translation into clinical settings. The Centre brings together researchers from NUI Galway, UCD, DCU, UL, UCC and RCSI. The Centre will include almost 40 industry partners and support product development and the creation of new spin-out companies. Partners will include indigenous Irish companies and multi-nationals. Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM, said: “CÚRAM has come along at a pivotal point in the medical device industry in Ireland and Europe, as there are large markets with unmet clinical needs. CÚRAM plans to enhance technology that exists and introducing technology that does not yet exist. Our significant collaboration with Arch Therapeutics and other industry partners is very exciting. Leaders within CÚRAM have a successful history working with Arch, and we are delighted to support their drive to commercialization for what should be very important products for the healthcare industry.” Arch Therapeutics’ Chief Executive Officer, Terrence W. Norchi, MD, noted: “Signing of the collaboration agreement marks the beginning of this new partnership, which aims to develop affordable transformative solutions for disease. This collaboration represents a direct, forward-looking approach to the changing global dynamics of both industry and academic R&D, presenting a unique opportunity for Arch Therapeutics and CÚRAM. The planned research and development support to Arch, as well as the partnership with a seasoned and renowned team, represents a unique, collaborative approach to developing innovative solutions in healthcare.” Terrence Norchi further noted: “Arch intends to launch a first product in Europe next year provided clinical data are supportive. We believe that building a larger R&D footprint in Ireland will enhance our strategy while reallocating resources to the Irish economy.” -ends-

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Italian Expert to speak at NUI Galway Seminar on Art and Medicine in Italy

Italian Expert to speak at NUI Galway Seminar on Art and Medicine in Italy-image

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

An Italian feast will take place later this month at NUI Galway as part of the ITALIAN ART & MEDICINE seminar where guest lecturer Professor Alessandro Riva from the University of Cagliari, Italy and founder director of the Museum of Susini’s Anatomical Waxes*, in Cagliari, will discuss the artistic and scientific value of Anatomical wax modelling in Italy in the 18th-19th centuries. The seminar and free gastronomy reception will take place on Wednesday, 24 June, 2015. This open symposium will focus on interlinking aspects between art and medicine in Italy between the 18th and 20th Centuries. The event is not necessarily for specialists and it will be of interest to a wide audience. The organisers include the NUI Galway staff Dr Fabio Quondamatteo and Prof Paolo Bartoloni, along with the Galway Clinic Consultants Dr Antonio Terranova and Dr Fabio Bartolozzi, who are all also part of a Cultural Group called Italiani a Galway (www.italianiagalway.com). The symposium will feature expert presentations including current Professor of Italian Studies at NUI Galway, Professor Paolo Bartoloni, who will present on relations between Literature and Medicine and the former Professor of Italian Studies at NUI Galway, Professor Catherine O’Brien, will talk on aspects of illness in the life and work of Amedeo Modigliani. Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Dr Fabio Quondamatteo said: “The organisers are tremendously proud to announce that an exhibition of high definition images of the Susini’s Anatomical Waxes will be associated with this event and that this will be the first time all the images of the Cagliari Collection are exhibited outside Italy. The Organisers are also extremely grateful to the University of Cagliari and in particular to its President Prof Maria Del Zompo, for facilitating this and for their enthusiastic support for this event.” An Italian gastronomy reception will begin after the presentations, which is generously sponsored by local eateries and businesses including Mona Lisa, Il Folletto, Il Vicolo, Pizza Pasta Napoli, Da Roberta’s, Poppyseed, and Moycullen McCann’s Supervalu. Starting at 3pm on 24 June, admission to the event is free however registration is a must before 15 June. Please visit www.conference.ie for online registration. ENDS

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Seminar on sexual health research to explore issues of consent

Seminar on sexual health research to explore issues of consent-image

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A research seminar takes place in NUI Galway today focussing on sexual health research with university students, and in particular the issue of sexual consent. The seminar, ‘Sexual Health and Alcohol Use: The Need for Evidence-Based, Theory-Led Strategies to Address Sexual Assault and Promote Active Consent Among Young Adults’ is organised by the School of Psychology at NUI Galway in conjunction with Galway Alcohol Forum and Healthy Cities Initiative. The results of multidisciplinary research carried out across several institutions in social marketing, theatre and drama studies, and psychology will be presented at the event. This includes survey data from approximately 1,500 students across two institutions on sexual assault, on how consent is typically expressed, frequency and comfort of engaging in different sexual activities, associations between alcohol use and sexual behaviour, and other topics in the sexual health field. “We wish to promote the idea of consent being active, on-going, and clearly expressed, as our research suggests that it is currently a grey area for many students”, explains Dr Pádraig McNeela, Lecturer at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. “It is important to consider how this lack of clarity might contribute to the problem of sexual assault, and a culture that might perpetuate gender-based harassment and violence. It is also essential that we promote a positive approach to sexual relationships where people feel confident to express their preferences and make informed decisions.” In addition, it will show how these quantitative findings, when combined with qualitative exploration of attitudes and expectations for consent, have the potential to be employed in new strategies that promote active consent. Specifically, the seminar will report on a community theatre project that inspired students to create a dramatic representation of the ‘grey areas’ associated with consent; and the ‘Smart Consent’ workshop that brings students into contact with theory and evidence using innovative techniques. In addition to funding from the Galway Alcohol Forum, the researchers have the support of the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme, NUI Galway Students’ Union, NUI Galway Student Services, and the Confederation of Student Services in Ireland. “We also hope to discuss these initiatives in light of social marketing survey findings demonstrating that, for students, sexual health is a key priority that requires action,” added Dr McNeela. -ends-

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Drive from Galway to Dublin for just 13 cent

Drive from Galway to Dublin for just 13 cent-image

Thursday, 4 June 2015

NUI Galway students’ car excels in international energy-efficiency competition A team of NUI Galway engineering students have achieved the equivalent of 8,000 miles per gallon in the Galway energy-efficient car (the Geec), which they designed and built. The team returned last week from Rotterdam, where they raced the car in the European round of Shell Eco-marathon, a global competition to find the world’s most fuel-efficient and energy-efficient cars. Team NUI Galway was the first Irish entry ever to participate in the event. At Shell Eco-marathon Europe, a future generation of engineers and scientists aged 16-25 from 26 countries in Europe and beyond competed against each other. With Rotterdam as the host city, Shell brought the competition closer to the public with a fit-for-purpose street circuit. The Geec, a three-wheeled battery-electric car, completed four 16km competition runs of 10 laps each on the urban track. The winners were the teams that could drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1 litre of fuel or (in the Geec’s class) 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity. The Galway energy-efficient car’s final energy consumption score was equivalent to almost 8,000 miles per gallon – over 100 times more efficient than most cars on the road. “We aimed to break the barrier of €1 for a Galway-Dublin drive, but the finished Geec would use just 13 cent,” said Dr Rory Monaghan, NUI Galway, one of the team’s mentors. “We have learned an awful lot about how to design, build and drive an ultra-efficient vehicle. This is just the beginning.” The car has been in development for two years, and the final success wasn’t without incident. “Early on in Rotterdam, the car’s power electronics failed during testing,” said Geec team member, student Barry Flannery, from Oranmore, Co. Galway. “It was scary, but we managed to work through the problems step by step and achieve an incredible score.” After three runs the Geec’s best score had risen to 202 kilometres per kilowatt-hour. The NUI Galway team decided to go all-out on their final run, made overnight modifications to the drivetrain, and planned a new driving strategy. The risky approach paid off – the Geec’s score jumped to 287 on the final day of competition, to finish 23rd out of 51 in its class. “Using the brake negatively affects the efficiency of the car,” explained student Maryrose McLoone, from Glenties, Co. Donegal, who drove the Geec on the final run, “so it was important I was able to manoeuvre between other cars while also driving efficiently and safely. I had to stay aware of my lap time, my motor speed and other cars around me.” Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, was hugely proud of his students: “To finish on the top half of the leader board is a truly great achievement by NUI Galway students in this our first outing in this event. I’m delighted for all who have been directly involved in this tremendous project.” Shell Ireland’s Managing Director, Ronan Deasy, said the Geec team had made a big impression with the organisers and other competitors at the Rotterdam event. “Their energy, enthusiasm and professional approach, meant that Ireland’s first entry in the Eco-marathon was really noticed and positively commented upon. The Geec team’s result was fantastic and sets them up well for next year’s competition in London,” he said. The Geec team was generously supported by Shell E&P Ireland, Wood Group Kenny, Belcross Enterprises, Central Bearing Supplies, Smurfit Kappa, Sinbad Marine, Maxon Motor, QuickTec Computers, and Enform Plastics. For more information on NUI Galway’s eco-car, please visit the team website, www.theGeec.ie, find theGeec.ie on facebook, or follow @theGeec on twitter. ENDS

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Students bound for Bali as delegates at International Student Energy Summit

Students bound for Bali as delegates at International Student Energy Summit-image

Friday, 5 June 2015

Two engineering students from NUI Galway have been selected as delegates to represent Ireland at the International Student Energy Summit (ISES) from 10-13 June. The event is a global forum focusing on sustainable resource management and the role that students will play in defining the future of energy development. ISES targets international, multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate students interested in energy. ISES takes place every two years at academic institutions around the world. Billy Delaney from Newbridge, Co. Kildare and Kate Kerrane from Thurles, Co. Tipperary will travel to Bali to attend the event. Both are undertaking a Bachelor of Energy Systems Engineering at NUI Galway and are active members of the Energy Society on campus, which organises Ireland’s only student run energy event, the annual Energy Night. NUI Galway’s Dr Rory Monaghan is Director of Energy Systems Engineering Bachelors and Masters Degrees: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our student energy leaders to plug into the global sustainable energy community. It puts NUI Galway, which is already at the forefront of student involvement in Irish energy issues, on the map globally, and will no doubt be of great benefit to Billy and Kate in the future.” ISES 2015, “Connecting the Unconnected”, is being hosted in Bali, Indonesia, by the Bandung Institute of Technology, which is the oldest technology-oriented university in Indonesia. The conference itself will consist of keynotes from leading experts and thought leaders, panel sessions designed to encourage debate, specialised breakout sessions and interactive program elements to give students hands on experience. The students, who will start their final year of the four-year degree in September, are currently on placement as a part of their course. Billy is completing his placement in Arup and Kate is in ESB Networks. “We are very grateful for the sponsorship and support they have received from our placement companies and also from the College of Engineering and Informatics and the Societies Office at NUI Galway, to avail of this opportunity”, explained Kate Kerrane. “We would not have been able to take this opportunity if it wasn’t for such support.” You can follow the journey to Bali on twitter, @delaney_billy and @k8kerrane. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Pays Tribute to Jean Ritchie

NUI Galway Pays Tribute to Jean Ritchie-image

Friday, 5 June 2015

It is with sadness that NUI Galway noted the passing of noted folk-singer and collector Jean Ritchie earlier this week. Jean Ritchie, who brought hundreds of traditional songs from her native Appalachia to a global audience, died at the age of 92. In 1996 the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway, under the auspices of Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín of the University’s History Department, acquired the Ritchie-Pickow Photographic Archive, along with tapes of sound recordings. These included many of the singers and musicians that Jean recorded as part of a project to trace the roots of many of the songs and tunes she would have grown up with in the Southern Appalachians. The photographs were taken and the recordings made by the US husband and wife team, George Pickow and Jean Ritchie on visits to Ireland in 1952 and 1953. Jean Ritchie, singer, folklorist and dulcimer player was born on 8 December 1922 in Viper, Kentucky. She was the youngest of a family of 14 children, known as 'The Singing Ritchies'. Jean graduated from the University of Kentucky and in 1952 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to enable her to research the origins of her family's songs in Great Britain and Ireland. Ritchie's late husband George Pickow, a photographer, accompanied her and they spent approximately eighteen months recording folk songs and traditional musicians and taking photographs. The photographs include images of many well-known uilleann pipe players, such as Seamus Ennis, the McPeake trio, Leo Rowsome; vocalists, including Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin from West Cork, Sarah Makem and story tellers, such as Paitsín Faherty from the Aran Islands. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne: “We in NUI Galway are deeply honored by our association with the late Jean Ritchie and George Pickow. Their names will forever be associated with NUI Galway, through the deposit in 1996 of the very significant collection of George's photographs and Jean’s sound recordings made during Jean’s Fulbright year in Ireland and Britain in 1952-53. This is a unique folk collection, linking the Irish song tradition and that of Appalachia. The Ritchie-Pickow collection is of considerable interest to scholars and researchers, and forms an integral part of the James Hardiman Library's Archives and Special Collections.” Building on the Ritchie/Pickow archive housed in NUI Galway's library, The ‘Jean Ritchie Scholarship’ was launched last February during a visit to Berea College, Kentucky, by Mary McPartlan, Traditional Artist in Residence and University teacher and Anna Cunningham, Director of International Affairs, NUI Galway. The Scholarship offers a full tuition waiver to one outstanding Berea College graduate pursuing a one year MA programme in NUI Galway. Permission was granted by Jean Ritchie and her family to name this scholarship in her honour during the visit. Ar dheis dé go raibh a h-anam uasal ENDS Tugann OÉ Gaillimh ómós do Jean Ritchie Is oth linn a chloisteáil anseo in OÉ Gaillimh gur bhásaigh an t-amhránaí tíre agus an bailitheoir amhrán Jean Ritchie níos túisce an tseachtain seo. Bhásaigh Jean Ritchie in aois a 92; roinn sí na céadta amhrán traidisiúnta óna Appalachia dúchasach le lucht éisteachta domhanda. Sa bhliain 1996, faoi choimirce an Ollaimh Dáibhí Ó Cróinín ó Roinn Staire na hOllscoile, ghlac Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin seilbh ar Chartlann Ghrianghraf Ritchie-Pickow, mar aon le téipeanna de thaifid fuaime. Chuimsigh siad seo go leor de na hamhránaithe agus na ceoltóirí a bhí taifeadta ag Jean mar chuid de thionscadal a bhí sí ina bhun le déanamh amach cé as a dtáinig go leor de na hamhráin agus na tiúineanna ar fhás sí aníos leo sna Sléibhte Apaláiseacha Theas. Ar chuairteanna go hÉirinn i 1952 agus 1953 a thóg an lánúin phósta as Meiriceá, George Pickow agus Jean Ritchie na grianghraif agus na taifid. Rugadh Jean Ritchie, amhránaí, béaloideasóir agus seinnteoir dulcaiméara ar an 8 Nollaig 1922 in Viper, Kentucky. Ba í ab óige de cheithre pháiste dhéag ar a dtugtaí na ‘Singing Ritchies’. Bhain Jean céim amach in Ollscoil Kentucky agus sa bhliain 1952 bronnadh Scoláireacht Fulbright uirthi le cur ar a cumas taighde a dhéanamh ar bhunús amhráin a muintire sa Bhreatain Mhór agus in Éirinn. Bhí fear Ritchie, George Pickow, grianghrafadóir, atá é féin anois ar shlí na fírinne, ina cuideachta. Chaith siad thart ar ocht mí dhéag ag taifead amhráin tíre agus ceoltóirí traidisiúnta agus ag glacadh grianghraf. Cuimsíonn na grianghraif íomhánna de phíobairí iomráiteacha cosúil le Seamus Ennis, an McPeake trio, Leo Rowsome; amhránaithe cosúil le Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin as Iarthar Chorcaí, Sarah Makem agus scéalaithe cosúil le Paitsín Faherty as Árainn. Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Is mór an onóir dúinn anseo in OÉ Gaillimh go raibh ceangal againn le Jean Ritchie agus le George Pickow, atá beirt ar shlí na fírinne anois.  Beidh ceangal idir iad féin agus OÉ Gaillimh go deo, mar gheall ar an mbailiúchán an-suntasach a cuireadh ar fáil i 1996 de ghrianghraif George agus de thaifid fuaime Jean a rinneadh an bhliain a raibh scoláireacht Fulbright ag Jean go hÉirinn agus go dtí an Bhreatain Mhór in 1952-53.  Bailiúchán tíre uathúil is ea é seo, a dhéanann nasc idir traidisiún amhránaíochta na hÉireann agus traidisiún Appalachia.  Bíonn an-spéis ag scoláirí agus ag taighdeoirí i mbailiúchán Ritchie-Pickow, agus tá sé mar lárchuid de Chartlanna agus Bailiúcháin Speisialta Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin.” D’fhonn forbairt a dhéanamh ar chartlann Ritchie/Pickow atá i leabharlann OÉ Gaillimh, seoladh ‘Scoláireacht Jean Ritchie’ i mí Feabhra seo caite le linn do Mary McPartlan, an tEalaíontóir Traidisiúnta Cónaitheach agus teagascóir Ollscoile agus Anna Cunningham, an Stiúrthóir Gnóthaí Idirnáisiúnta, OÉ Gaillimh a bheith ar cuairt ar Berea College, Kentucky.  Clúdaíonn an Scoláireacht costas iomlán an teagaisc do chéimí amháin den scoth in Berea College atá ag tabhairt faoi chlár bliana MA in OÉ Gaillimh. Le linn na cuairte thug Jean Ritchie agus a teaghlach cead dúinn an scoláireacht a ainmniú in ómós di.  Ar dheis dé go raibh a h-anam uasal CRÍOCH

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New €6 million EU Horizon 2020 research project launched using stem cell therapy to treat diabetic kidney disease

New €6 million EU Horizon 2020 research project launched using stem cell therapy to treat diabetic kidney disease-image

Monday, 8 June 2015

· Project is 4th clinical trial funded by EU testing next-generation stem cell therapy discovered by NUI Galway spin-out, Orbsen Therapeutics A new €6 million research project (NEPHSTROM) has been funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme to evaluate the clinical safety and efficacy of a next-generation cell therapy discovered by Galway-based Orbsen Therapeutics, to combat diabetic kidney disease. The project will be led by Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. The four-year project will test the next-generation stromal (stem) cell therapy, called Cyndacel-M, in a four-site clinical trial treating patients in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Italy The ‘stromal’ cells will be purified from healthy donor bone marrow using Orbsen Therapeutics’ patented technology, and expanded into multiple ‘off-the-shelf’ doses for clinical use. By 2016, first-in-man trials will see the stromal cells injected into patients with diabetic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease is marked by the gradual destruction of kidney tissue over time and is a major cause of sickness and death in the EU. Inflammation (the body’s immune response where blood flow increases to tissue causing swelling) plays a large part in the majority of kidney disease and this can lead to kidney damage, scar tissue formation (fibrosis) and loss of kidney function. Diabetic kidney disease is a common complication of diabetes mellitus, and it is estimated that by 2040 it may affect in the region of 200 million people. In most cases of diabetic kidney damage there is no effective medical treatment. The mainstay treatments are drugs, dialysis and kidney transplants, all of which have significant costs and only provide limited protection against adverse outcomes. The ambitious new research project called NEPHSTROM (Novel Stromal Cell Therapy for Diabetic Kidney Disease) is a collaboration of 11 European partners (www.nephstrom.eu) and builds on pre-clinical research carried out in an existing EU-funded project known as REDDSTAR (www.reddstar.eu). REDDSTAR is also coordinated by Professor Timothy O’Brien and funded by the EU Framework 7 programme. NUI Galway’s Professor O’Brien comments: “If predictions prove correct, then our healthcare systems are facing a huge task in managing the complications caused by ever-increasing numbers of patients with diabetes mellitus. Chief among such complications will be kidney disease, which has a huge financial cost in terms of current treatments, and takes a massive personal toll on patients. Diabetes is currently the most common cause of end stage kidney disease resulting in the need for dialysis or transplantation. We are confident that by harnessing the most modern approaches in stromal cell therapeutics there may well be a way to halt the progression of diabetic kidney disease using this therapy.” Spin-out company pioneering next-generation stromal cell therapy NEPHSTROM will assess next-generation stromal cells that are purified using a patented method developed by Orbsen Theraputics, a spin-out from NUI Galway. Orbsen Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Stephen Elliman - who discovered the Cyndacel technology - explains: “NEPHSTROM is Orbsen’s forth clinical trial funded by the European Commission in the last three years. The data that led to the NEPHSTROM approval was developed via independant testing of Orbsen’s Cyndacel-M in the laboratory of Professor Hans-Joachim Anders at the Ludwigs-Maximillian University in Munich within the REDDSTAR EU network – highlighting the success of that first project. Cyndacel-M represents a significant advance in terms of stromal cell purification and safety. Whereas competitor technologies are based on a 50-year-old isolation technique, which produces a mixed group of cells for therapeutic use, Orbsen’s Cyndacel technology permits best-in-class purification, which we predict will lead to better safety and efficacy outcomes for patients.” NEPHSTROM will also develop and validate a new combined manufacturing platform that improves the consistency and reduces the cost of the Cyndacel-M therapeutic to a level that enables its routine clinical use. The project will develop the first “closed-automated” GMP method of stromal cell isolation and expansion that will expand the Cyndacel-M therapy to clinically and commercially relevant numbers. The project will establish an EU network of four GMP cell-production centres, using these technologies, to produce large amounts of therapeutic agent in a consistent manner, following shared protocols. This will be critical to upscaling, delivering the multi-centre trial in NEPHSTROM and meeting the demand for cells in more advanced clinical trials. Cyndacel-M will be manufactured in GMP production centres in Galway, Leiden, Birmingham and Bergamo. First-in-man clinical trial In the second year of the project, a clinical trial will take place in Galway, Belfast, Birmingham and Bergamo, among 48 patients. The placebo-controlled trial will see Cyndacel-M injected into the patients’ bloodstream. Results will be measured in terms of improvements in kidney performance as measured by urine and blood samples. If successful, the researchers will see the disease significantly slowed or halted altogether. One of the world’s most renowned experts in kidney disease, Professor Giuseppe Remuzzi, from the Istituto Di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri (IRFMN, Bergamo, Italy), will lead the clinical trial across the four centres, set to commence in May 2016. According to Professor Remuzzi: “The core of the NEPHSTROM project is the first-in-man clinical trial with innovative stromal cell therapy in patients with diabetic kidney disease. The clinical experience with stromal cells is still in its infancy, mainly focused on developing novel therapeutic solutions for patients with bone marrow or organ transplantation as well as for those with a small number of autoimmune diseases. Nobody so far has attempted to provide evidence that this cell-based therapy is capable to halt progression of diabetic kidney disease in humans. The NEPHSTROM clinical trial has adopted an approach similar to that pursued to explore the pathophysiology of rare conditions. It is a small but intensively studied clinical trial which will allow determination of the effective dose of Cyndacel-M cells, and how they might function to protect the diabetic kidney. The complementary skill, expertise and human resources of the four European participating centres contribute to create a strong and critical network to document the clinical feasibility of this innovative therapy, eventually providing the background insights to design future larger clinical trials in diabetic patients with kidney disease.” NUI Galway’s Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) - which is the only licensed cell manufacturing facility in Ireland - the Galway Blood and Tissue Establishment at UHG which is licensed to procure stem cells, and the HRB Galway Clinical Research Facility which has specialised facilities for stem cell clinical trials will play crucial roles in the Galway arm of this multicenter clinical trial. -ends-  

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NUI Galway Team Awarded Prize at Enactus Ireland National Competition for Social Entrepreneurship

NUI Galway Team Awarded Prize at Enactus Ireland National Competition for Social Entrepreneurship-image

Monday, 8 June 2015

A team of 47 students from NUI Galway were recently awarded the runner-up prize at the prestigious 2015 Enactus Ireland National Competition for Social Entrepreneurship. Enactus is an international, not-for-profit organisation which provides a platform for third-level students to create community development projects, while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders of the future. The national competition is an annual event where students come together to present their projects to show how they are transforming lives through entrepreneurial action. NUI Galway was one of the founding university teams of Enactus Ireland and this year marks its fourth year of involvement. Teams from Ireland’s seven universities and Dublin Institute of Technology gathered in Dublin to compete to represent Ireland at the Enactus World Cup, which will be held this year in October in Johannesburg, South Africa. Michael Campion, Faculty Advisor to the NUI Galway team said: “It’s been a privilege to support the Enactus team as they worked on a set of projects which have made a significant impact in empowering some members of the community. From working with young people with mental health issues in developing a vertical garden, to creating a training programme for catering staff to become aware of how to better respond to people with basic day-to-day communication challenges. These students channelled their creativity and passion to develop fabulous, sustainable solutions. To make it all happen, they partnered with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the HSE, Croí, Café Togo and Aramark. Taking the runner-up prize in the competition is a great recognition of all the hard work that the students have put in over the past year, something that is not easy while balancing with their academic studies. They are a credit to themselves, their families and to NUI Galway.” -Ends-

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One of World’s Most Influential Scientists to Speak at NUI Galway

One of World’s Most Influential Scientists to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Professor Svante Pääbo, the first person to sequence the DNA of Neanderthal people NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences will hold two special Neanderthal-related events organised on the eve of NUI Galway awarding an Honorary Degree to Professor Svante Pääbo, Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and the first person to sequence the DNA of Neanderthal people. The first event by Professor Pääbo is a lecture on Archaic Genomics, which will take place on Thursday, 11 June at 4pm in the McMunn Theatre, Arts/Science Building at NUI Galway. Swedish biologist Svante Pääbo is a founder in the field of palaeogenomics, the study of ancient DNA preserved in fossils. He first began this work studying ancient Egyptian mummies, before progressing to much older extinct mammals. In 2010 his research team made scientific history when they published the first draft genome sequence for Neanderthals. This was followed up with the discovery of a completely new, and hitherto unknown group of humans (Denisovans) based on DNA extracted from a c.41,000 year old fossil finger bone found in a cave in Siberia. Professor Pääbo has received numerous prizes and awards for his work and his research has captured the wider public imagination. In 2007, Time magazine included him in their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. On Thursday, 11 June at 6pm, NUI Galway will launch a new museum display, William King and the Naming of Neanderthal People. The display will commemorate former NUI Galway Professor of Geology William King’s achievement and also tell the story of our closest evolutionary relatives, the Neanderthals. The study of human evolution began in earnest in 1863 when William King, Professor of Geology at Queens College Galway, proposed the name Homo neanderthalensis for fossil human remains discovered in the Neander Valley of Germany. His suggestion was both extraordinary and revolutionary for its time. To his lasting credit, King remains the first scientist to name a new and extinct species of human. The launch will take place in the James Mitchell Geology Museum in the Quadrangle on campus. To coincide with these events in NUI Galway, the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, through the Royal Irish Academy, has published a paper by event organiser Dr John Murray and his colleagues highlighting William King's contribution to the early study of human evolution. It has been made freely available online at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/IJES.2015.33.1. Dr Murray said: “William King's suggestion that Neanderthal people represented a separate species from ourselves sparked one of the longest standing debates in human evolutionary studies: how precisely are Neanderthals related to modern humans? Professor Pääbo has done more than any other scientist in the modern era to tackle that question head-on.” Professor Svante Pääbo will be conferred with a Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on Friday, 12 June. -Ends-

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Conference to debate new approaches to protecting children and supporting families

Conference to debate new approaches to protecting children and supporting families-image

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Protecting children and early interventions that can keep children out of state care will be the focus of a two-day conference which opens tomorrow. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will host its 7th Biennial Family Support Conference on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 June. The conference is called ‘Building Family Support Systems’ and will touch on topics from concealed pregnancies to child-to-parent violence, with a special talk by Garry Hynes, the multi-award winning theatre Director. The focus of the event is a new programme of prevention and family support from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. Known as ‘Meitheal’, the programme aims to put in place a system for protecting children, preventing problems in their lives and supporting their parents and families the system will involve local networks of services working together to help families before problems require their entry to the Child Protection system and acting as a ‘step-down’ support for families exiting that system. The new programme also emphasises supporting parents, and encouraging active participation by children, young people and parents in decisions affecting them. The conference will stimulate debate on a number of opportunities and challenges concerning the nature of family support including the interface between child protection and strengthening children’s rights and participation, both learning from and informing the experience of other jurisdictions. Keynote speakers from the US, UK and Ireland and from UNICEF’s prestigious Office of Research-Innocenti will lead the discussions, while Irish and international practitioners and researchers will provide 30 workshops on key conference themes. Following the tradition of introducing a perspective from a leading figure in wider society, Garry Hynes, the multi-award winning Artistic Director of Druid Theatre and NUI Galway Alumnus, is the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre’s special guest this year. Gary will offer some unique insights on life, family and civic society in drama and in Ireland. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair at the Child and Family Research Centre NUI Galway, commented: “We have for the first time, since the foundation of the State, a commitment to embed support structures for families in local communities, so that when children and parents need help they know where to get it and more importantly they get what they need, when they need it and where and how they need it. If Tusla get this right, it will transform the Child Welfare system, so that the right of children to be protected and to a family life can be fully realised. At the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre we are delighted to be Tusla’s research partner in this exciting new venture.” The conference is hosted as part of the ‘Five Nations Family Support Initiative’ in conjunction with representatives from across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. The aim of this new initiative is to collectively discuss and advance Family Support policy and practice issues which will be progressed and developed on an international stage. The full list of conference plenary speakers includes: Ms Jasmina Byrne, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti. Dr John Canavan, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway. Dr Deborah Daro, Chapin Hall, University of Chicago. Professor Nick Frost, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University; Professor Nóirín Hayes, School of Education, Trinity College, Dublin. Professor Ursula Kilkelly, School of Law, University College Cork. -ends-

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