NUI Galway Professor Raises Profile of Research on Ageing

NUI Galway Professor Raises Profile of Research on Ageing-image

Monday, 30 August 2010

Research on ageing led by Professor Tom Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, has been profiled in a new brochure that seeks to raise the profile of social science research in the UK. Published jointly by the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Society of Gerontology, and Age UK, the brochure was recently launched in the House of Commons, London and is part of the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series. The brochure highlights projects undertaken by researchers on ageing that have had a significant impact on public policy or social behaviour, and helped society to address some of the challenges that are associated with demographic change. The research by Professor Scharf is a study of the experiences of older people living in some of England's most disadvantaged urban communities. Having collected an array of information from older residents in neighbourhoods in London, Liverpool and Manchester, Professor Scharf drew from the older people's daily experiences of poverty, social isolation, loneliness, and crime to help shape public perceptions of the ageing of some of Britain's most disadvantaged citizens. This research has been used by charities, local authorities, and national government in their efforts to improve the quality of older people's lives. In particular, Professor Scharf's research has encouraged policy-makers to consider intervening earlier in individuals' lives, for example, at times of bereavement or when chronic health problems begin, in order to prevent the onset of disadvantage. Commenting on the research, Professor Scharf said: "It's more important now than ever before for scientists to emphasise the value of their work to a general audience. Policy makers often need good research evidence delivered in simple, jargon-free language. If researchers are to have a positive impact on policy, they have to think of new and creative ways to communicate their findings". Professor Scharf will speak about his research at a forthcoming seminar entitled Maximising the Impact of Research: Perspectives from Social Gerontology on Monday, 13 September at 12 noon in Room MY336, Áras Moyola at NUI Galway. The seminar is open to all. For further details on the seminar please contact the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at 091 495461 or icsg@nuigalway.ie. The Making the Case for the Social Sciences: Ageing brochure is available for download here. -Ends-

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Bone Cancer Specialist to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture

Bone Cancer Specialist to Deliver Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture -image

Monday, 30 August 2010

NUI Galway will host Ireland's largest surgical conference, the 35th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium, from 3-4 September 2010. Dr Patrick Boland, a senior member of the Orthopaedic Service in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York Hospital, will deliver the Memorial Lecture at 5pm on the first day of the conference. The annual event provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information. It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900. Dr Patrick Boland will speak on the topic: "Living with Metastatic Bone Cancer". He specialises in the management of malignant and benign tumours of the bone, including those of the spine and pelvis, and in soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities. Soft tissue sarcomas are particular types of malignant tumours which can develop from soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. Dr Boland also has special training in limb salvage surgery, which is the removal of limb cancers while preserving the function of the limb. He has a special interest in the management of tumours of the sacrum, a large triangular bone located at the base of the spine and connected to the pelvis. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway, Michael Kerin says: "We are delighted to welcome Dr Boland to our University. He is involved in such extensive research activities, including on-going clinical research in sacral tumours and in the assessment of quality of life in patients with metastatic bone cancer, that he offers a great insight in this important area of surgical medicine". On the second day of the Surgical Symposium, Brendan Moran, Consultant Surgeon at North Hampshire Hospital NHS Trust, Basingstoke, UK will present a lecture entitled: "The Learning Curve in Colorectal Cancer Surgery - Grappling with New Technology". -Ends-

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Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine signs a MOU with NUI Galway

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine signs a MOU with NUI Galway -image

Thursday, 26 August 2010

The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway have formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), one of the leading institutes in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in the USA. Speaking at the signing, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB, NUI Galway, said: "This agreement facilitates the establishment of student and faculty exchanges, research collaborations and the co-development of any specific tissue engineering and regenerative medicine-related projects which may have academic, clinical and commercial implications". The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The centre has built up a significant reputation in the development of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine and is renowned for development from concept to translation in the clinic. Professor Timothy O'Brien, Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: "I look forward to the potential that this agreement offers to both REMEDI and WFIRM to accelerate the translation of regenerative medicine from basic research to the clinic". The agreement between the institutions was established through Professor David Williams, who is based at Wake Forest University and who is also Scientific Advisor to the NFB and Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of NFB at NUI Galway. The NFB is a Science Foundation Ireland funded strategic research cluster which has established a critical mass of biomaterials research in Galway. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Receives Grants for Ageing Research

NUI Galway Receives Grants for Ageing Research-image

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

NUI Galway has been granted funding for two research projects focussing on older people by The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI). The Centre recently granted four projects funding amounting to almost €300,000 on a national level, and NUI Galway projects account for half of them. The research is aimed at improving the lives of older people and informing future policy for an ageing population in Ireland. NUI Galway's Professor Eamon O' Shea, from the Irish Centre of Social Gerontology is Principal Investigator on "Social Exclusion and Older People in Diverse Rural Communities". This project brings together multidisciplinary researchers from NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast with community organisations Rural Community Network and FORUM Letterfrack. The group will examine social exclusion among older people living in diverse rural areas and investigate ways to prevent social exclusion. The second project, also a collaboration between NUI Galway and Queens University Belfast, entitled: "Older Women Workers' Access to Pensions: Vulnerabilities, Perspectives and Strategies" will examine the position of older women workers, both rural and urban, in relation to their access to economic security, most particularly in the form of pensions. This is key policy consideration in Ireland due to the current economic and financial crisis. NUI Galway's Principal Investigator on this project is Dr Nata Duvvury, of the School of Political Science and Sociology. There are over one million people aged 60 or older living on the island of Ireland and this number is set to increase in the coming decades. This demographic shift will require creative policies to respond to the needs of an older population. New policies will, in turn, require improved research relating to ageing if they are to be well-designed and effective. The CARDI Grant Programme has funded 18 projects to date and aims to promote north-south research partnerships that bring together different subject areas to look at issues affecting older people in new ways. A focus of the programme is to support research that seeks to involve older people and to inform better policy making relating to ageing issues and older people. Professor Bob Stout, Queen's University Belfast, Co-chair of CARDI, said: "The four grant winners will examine crucial issues of concern for older people including social exclusion, financial security and health and social care. They also have a strong focus on the policy implications of their research work and show a commitment to partnership and interdisciplinary work, all of which underpin CARDI's mission". CARDI is a not for profit organisation developed by leaders from the ageing field across Ireland (North and South) including age focused researchers, academics, statutory, voluntary and community sector representatives with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies. It is overseen by a Steering Group and hosted by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland. For Further information go to www.cardi.ie/grantprogramme. -Ends-

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Information Evenings for New NUI Galway Students

Information Evenings for New NUI Galway Students-image

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

NUI Galway is hosting its eleventh annual series of information evenings across Ireland for students starting their studies at the University in September 2010. Parents are also invited to the information evenings or 'Student Send-Offs'. At the evening sessions, representatives from Student Services, Students' Union and Academic Staff will advise students on what to expect when arriving at NUI Galway and will answer any questions relating to university life. The topics covered will include Accommodation, Finance and the Students' Assistance Fund, Safety, Careers, Counselling, Clubs and Societies, and the Students' Union. The 'Student Send-Offs' will take place at 7pm in the following venues: · Westmeath, Monday, 30 August: Radisson SAS Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. · Dublin, Tuesday, 31 August: Bewleys Hotel, Dublin Airport. · Donegal, Wednesday, 1 September: Pier One, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal. · Mayo, Thursday, 2 September: TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. · Sligo, Friday, 3 September: Sligo Southern Hotel, Strandhill Road, Sligo Town. · Galway, Monday, 6 September: O'Flaherty Theatre, The Concourse, Arts/Science Building, NUI Galway. · Clare, Tuesday, 7 September: Temple Gate Hotel, The Square, Ennis, Co. Clare. · Galway, Wednesday, 8 September: O'Flaherty Theatre, The Concourse, Arts/Science Building, NUI Galway. Matt Doran, Administrative Officer, Student Services at NUI Galway, said: "This is an opportunity for parents and students to get first hand information and advice from University staff and the Student Representatives. It is an ideal opportunity to have your questions answered". For further information on the information evenings or to register in advance please contact Eimear on 086 8585171 or email studentsendoff@nuigalway.ie. For any other queries contact the NUI Galway First Year Hotline on 091 493999. -Ends-

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NUI Galway to Host Inaugural Geography and Archaeology Event

NUI Galway to Host Inaugural Geography and Archaeology Event-image

Friday, 20 August 2010

The School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway will next week (Tuesday, 24 August) host the University's first Annual Symposium on Environment, Society, and Development. The theme of the one-day inaugural Symposium is "Geographing the Future" and will focus on thinking critically through and developing alternatives to the various geo-political, social, economic and environmental processes that shape the world we live in. The Symposium coincides with the close of the inaugural year of the MA in Environment, Society and Development at NUI Galway. Proceedings will consist of panel discussions, keynote addresses, and themed panel sessions on topics in the field. Professor Neil Smith, City University New York, will deliver the keynote address entitled "For (Political) Climate Change". Other distinguished participants include Professor George Michael Dillon, Professor of Politics and International Relations at Lancaster, UK, and Professor Gerry Kearns, Cambridge University, London. Dr Anna Stanley, Lecturer in Human Geography and Symposium organiser, says: "Geography at NUI Galway is fast becoming a centre for excellence in the study of Environment, Society and Development; a centre operating at the forefront of scholarly research, teaching and civic engagement with the ability to attract world class students and scholars. The symposium will provide a unique and truly interdisciplinary forum within which participants can engage the most pressing issues of our day and challenge themselves to propose sustainable and just alternatives". Another event to be hosted by the School of Geography and Archaeology next week (Friday, 27 August), will be a conference surrounding early modern Ireland entitled, "People, Places and Memory", supported by the Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group (IPMAG). This is the first time cutting-edge research by postgraduate students on early modern Ireland, c. 1550 – 1800 will be showcased at NUI Galway. The speakers represent young researchers from a number of different subjects such as history, archaeology, place-name studies and architecture. The meeting will offer participants the chance to lectures on themes ranging from the Munster and Ulster plantations through to the Cromwellian land settlement in Co. Clare and the mass-rocks of the penal period. The keynote speaker for the Early Modern Ireland Conference will be Dr Audrey Horning, University of Leicester, who has written and lectured widely on the archaeology of Ulster in the 16th and 17th centuries as well as on historical memories and how they impact on popular perceptions of the past in Ireland, Britain and the United States. -ENDS-

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NASA Researcher to Deliver NUI Galway Lecture

NASA Researcher to Deliver NUI Galway Lecture-image

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

NASA researcher and NUI Galway graduate Dr Jacqueline Keane will deliver a public lecture on the origins of the Earth's water. The lecture, hosted by the NUI Galway Centre of Astronomy in conjunction with the Galway Astronomy Club, will take place at 8pm on Monday, 23 August, in the Dillon Theatre, Arts/Science Building. During the lecture Dr Keane will present an overview of the University of Hawai'i NASA Astrobiology Institute studies which range from the interstellar medium to the interior of planet Earth, all designed to explain 'the origin, history, and distribution of water and its relation to life in the Universe'. She will also show pictures of many of the telescopes on Mauna Kea Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai i. The University of Hawai i investigates the astrophysical, cosmochemical, geological, and biological processes that link the history and distribution of life in the universe to that of water. NUI Galway Bachelor of Science and Masters of Astronomy graduate, Dr Jacqueline Keane is an Assistant Astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy and the University of Hawai i NASA Astrobiology Institute. Dr Keane, originally from Oranmore, Co. Galway, has previously worked with the European Space Agency Infrared Space Telescope studying the formation of water ice and organic molecules on interstellar dust grains in cold molecular clouds. Upon receiving her Ph.D., Dr Keane was the recipient of a research fellowship from the National Research Council that took her to spaces sciences division at NASA-AMES in California where she worked with the NASA infrared space-based telescope, Spitzer, for over three years. She is an expert in infrared space and ground-based observing and is the lead researcher for the UHNAI ground-based comet observing campaigns using an array of telescopes on Mauna Kea, the world's premier observation site. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Andrew Shearer, Director of Centre of Astronomy, NUI Galway, said: "The Centre for Astronomy is please to welcome Dr Jacqueline Keane back to Galway for a short visit. Since leaving NUI Galway ten years ago she has worked with some the most advanced astronomical instrumentation at ESA and NASA. Her talk will look at the origin of the Earth's water and what are the chances of finding life on other planets". For further details on the lecture andy.shearer@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Students Sweep JCI Awards for Ireland's Outstanding Young People

NUI Galway Students Sweep JCI Awards for Ireland's Outstanding Young People-image

Friday, 13 August 2010

Three of the seven recipients of the Ireland's Outstanding Young People Award, coordinated by Junior Chamber International (JCI) are NUI Galway students. JCI, the world s largest leadership and personal development organisation for young people, recently held their annual 'Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the Year' Awards ceremony in Limerick where seven young Irish nominees were recognised for outstanding personal achievements. National nominees are eligible to go forward to the JCI World Outstanding Young Person of the Year to be held in Osaka, Japan in November. The winners included NUI Galway's Melanie Hennessy from Ennis, Co. Clare, a 20 year-old Medical student who helped set up a school in Nepal. Melanie also established her own University society, Draíocht, to generate funds to build an orphanage for the children of Nepal where she is currently working on improving the lives of these children. Mary Collins, a second-year Arts student from Claremorris, Co. Mayo, spearheaded the successful establishment and ongoing success of the St Patrick's Scout Group Venture section in Galway and also engineered and co-ordinated two outstanding fundraising and house building projects in Zambia and Honduras, raising €230,000. 18 year-old Sean Kearns, a second-year Nursing student from Tuam, Co. Galway, has been involved in a variety of voluntary experiences at NUI Galway. Sean established a University society, 'Best Buddies', a friendship programme that pairs college students in fun, enriching one to one friendships with students who have an intellectual disability; he was the organiser of "Ban the R Word" Campaign at NUI Galway. Speaking at the Awards ceremony President of JCI Ireland, Mark Kelly, said: "The Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award ceremony was an amazing night. It is a great opportunity for us to recognise so many great young people out there that are doing astonishing work accomplishing greatness and the awards help in highlighting these remarkable achievements. The JCI Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award recognises these young people and JCI encourages them and others to seek excellence and serve others". Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, Lorraine Tansey, said, "There is a tremendous voluntary ethos at NUI Galway and we are proud of the achievements of Melanie, Sean and Mary." For more information on the Outstanding Young Persons of the Year awards or any JCI events, visit the JCI Ireland website www.jci-ireland.org. -Ends-

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Children's Open Day at Zoology Museum in NUI Galway

Children's Open Day at Zoology Museum in NUI Galway-image

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Zoology and Marine Biology Museum at NUI Galway will host an open day for children aged between 7 and 12 years to celebrate 'Wild Child Day' of National Heritage Week on 21 August from 10.30am-12.00pm. Since it officially opened in September 2009, the museum has been home to many fine exhibits from glass models of marine invertebrates to a stuffed capybara, the favourite food of the anaconda. Visitors can wander around the Museum exploring the different exhibits, be drawn in by the beady eyes, scaly crocodiles, the skull of a minke whale, or the tooth of an elephant that is much bigger than you would expect. There is also an extensive collection of glass models of marine life from the renowned Blaschka collection, dating from the 1880's. In addition to the exhibits in glass cases, there will be some live specimens of scorpions, tarantulas, spiders, centipedes and snakes on display for children to see. Currently, a project is underway to label all the exhibits to increase information and interaction with visitors. Many of the specimens are routinely used for teaching purposes with second and third year zoology students. During the open day there will be a member of staff on hand to explain exhibits to children. Eoin Mac Loughlin, Senior Technical Officer in Zoology, NUI Galway, says: "Our Zoology Museum is a great asset to Galway, the nearest thing to it is the National History Museum in Dublin. It is interesting to young and old alike. It offers inspiration for Art students and a place to explore for children. Looking at the stuffed animals and glass models, children become captivated and learn to engage with their natural environment and wildlife, which is what National Heritage Week is all about". The Zoology and Marine Biology museum at NUI Galway has in its possession four genuine Charles Darwin specimens that have just recently been restored and put on display in the museum. They include a grison, an Azara's fox, a Patagonian cavy and a guira cuckoo originally given by Darwin to the Zoological Society of London in 1837. National Heritage Week is coordinated by the Heritage Council, the statutory body charged with identifying, protecting, preserving and enhancing Ireland's national heritage. National heritage includes monuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects, architectural heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, heritage gardens and parks, and inland waterways. For further information on the open day contact the Galway Civic Trust 091-564946. For more information on National Heritage Week visit http://www.heritageweek.ie. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Involved in European Radiation Research

NUI Galway Involved in European Radiation Research-image

Thursday, 12 August 2010

NUI Galway is one of the partners in a new European multi-million euro research project, investigating methods of screening radiation exposure. The project known as BOOSTER (Bio Dosimetric Tools for Triage and Responders) is an EU initiative to increase the security of citizens in the event of the malevolent use of radiation which focuses on speeding up the triaging process, which is the prioritisation of victims for treatment immediately following exposure to radiation. The €3.5 million project will have a duration of three years, (2010-2013). The new tools for screening radiation will be developed and integrated into a toolkit for the first responders in EU member states to use. The authorities responsible for responding to emergency situations vary. The task may fall to fire services, civil defence or occasionally the military. To determine the amount of radiation to which a person has been exposed, standard practice involves taking blood or another bodily fluid, looking at it under a microscope and documenting changes in chromosomes. This process typically takes up to three days to yield results and is very labour intensive. Since 2004, researchers in Biochemistry at NUI Galway have been working to reduce the period of time it takes to determine the amount of radiation to which a person is exposed. This work will now feed into phase one of the project. By counting the centrosomes, which are sub-cellular structures that control how cells divide and which multiply after irradiation, it is hoped that it will be possible to reduce the waiting time for results to less than one day. Dr Ciaran Morrison, a senior lecturer in the Centre for Chromosome Biology, who is leading the project at NUI Galway, explains: "There is urgency in triaging people exposed to radiation because it is necessary to quickly identify those who need no further intervention, those who will require close follow up, and those who will require hospitalisation. Serious exposure to large amounts of radiation can cause death in a short space of time, so rapid triaging is critical". Automation of the process to reduce labour intensity is another facet of the project, endeavouring to prepare the system for semi-industrial quantities of people, to cope with the event of a large-scale civilian disaster such as a nuclear power plant explosion. A more efficient process would also have applications for employees working in an environment where regular exposure to radiation is likely and civilian surveillance necessary. Dr Ciaran Morrison added: "It is exciting to see that the basic cell biology research we have done at NUI Galway, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board, can have a wide range of unanticipated applications in the real world". Ends

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