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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First Year Student Hotline Launched at NUI Galway

First Year Student Hotline Launched at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A new dedicated First Year Student Hotline has been launched by NUI Galway and will be open for calls from Wednesday (11 August) at 9am. The initiative, the first of its kind across the sector, has been specially designed to help incoming first year students make the transition to third level education. The hotline will be open to the students, their parents and their advisers and will run until 24 September, 2010. A team of specially-trained staff and students will service the hotline Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, and Saturday 21 and 28 August, 10am to 1pm. The availability of the hotline coincides with the period of frantic activity and decision making that immediately follows the release of the Leaving Certificate Results. The hotline will be active throughout first year orientation on 11 and 12 September and it will remain in service for 2 weeks after lectures begin on September 13, providing students with a place to direct any conceivable query they encounter as they embark on their journey to NUI Galway. The hotline team will provide an efficient, responsive service to callers and are expected to deal with numerous issues that are of concern to incoming first year students. Anticipated queries include: points requirements for courses; first round offers; registering as a student of the University; start dates; fees and accommodation options. A new designated website for first years will also be created and updated on a daily basis detailing the information sought and fed through the new hotline. It will be a portal of specific information aimed at demystifying the first few weeks of university life. Dr Martina Ní Chuláin, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway says: "We understand that this is such a difficult but yet exciting time for students entering University and we hope that this new initiative will provide a mechanism for quickly addressing any queries or concerns that students or their parents have. We at NUI Galway are committed to making the transition into University as easy as possible for our students and their families we look forward to taking to your calls". Students, parents and advisers can contact the First Year Student Hotline at 091-493999 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/. -Ends-

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Connect with Social Networking Gurus from Facebook and Google at NUI Galway

Connect with Social Networking Gurus from Facebook and Google at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Social media experts and social networking enthusiasts will descend on NUI Galway from 26-27 August for BlogTalk, an event to discuss current online trends and future developments in social media. BlogTalk will be held on the NUI Galway campus over two days, and will consist of keynote talks, discussion panels, and plenty of networking opportunities for those attending. The invited keynote talks will be given by Stowe Boyd, an authority on social tools and originator of the term 'advisory capital'; Dan Gillmor, a noted Silicon Valley journalist, author of We the Media, and director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship; and Don Thibeau, director of OpenID, an easy and safe log-in system for websites used by Yahoo, Google and many others. Other notable speakers include Blaine Cook, former lead developer with Twitter and now with BT; Charles Dowd, manager for Facebook's Platform Operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Ade Oshineye, developer advocate with the Google Social Web team. Some of the topics to be discussed will include: the need for a new kind of media literacy in our increasingly networked age; how businesses and third parties can benefit from the Facebook Platform by integrating Facebook with their own services; ensuring that citizens can trust that their identity and data is being protected by government websites; and new research data from NUI Galway illustrating how Twitter has gone beyond early adopters and trend followers to become a mature service with a constant growth rate. Irish social media gurus will also give talks, including Darragh Doyle, communications manager with boards.ie; Fergus Hurley, founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley startup Clixtr; and Ted Vickey, former executive director at the White House Athletic Center and a frequent speaker on LinkedIn. Galway native Hurley will talk about his experiences in setting up a consumer Internet startup in Silicon Valley, raising money from venture capitalists and what he's learnt from the journey. Ted Vickey will help attendees learn how to get maximum impact for their CV using the LinkedIn business networking site. The evolution of open spaces for collaborative creative activities will also be covered, using the Galway-based 091 Labs as an example. Conference chair John Breslin of NUI Galway, says: "This is a great opportunity to learn from the experts on social networks and to imagine about what is coming down the road in terms of social media. Also, the schedule has been arranged so that there will be plenty of time to meet the speakers and other like-minded people". Early bird registration is open at www.blogtalk.net until Wednesday, 18 August, and costs €149 for two days (€99 for students and unemployed). There is also a special hotel rate of €89 available for the nights of the 25 and 26 August with The House Hotel; just quote BlogTalk when booking. The event is being sponsored by socialmedia.net, a campus startup company blogging about the future of social media, and the NUI Galway Millennium Fund. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Special Maths Exam Offers Leaving Cert Students Second Chance

NUI Galway Special Maths Exam Offers Leaving Cert Students Second Chance-image

Monday, 9 August 2010

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of a Special Entrance Maths Examination which will give students a second chance to pursue a career in Engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 25 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate Engineering Degree courses at NUI Galway but have not met the obligatory maths requirement. This year, NUI Galway will hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from Thursday, 19 August to Tuesday, 24 August. For more than 20 years, NUI Galway has provided this special entrance exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade C3 or better in Higher Level Mathematics. Those who took Lower Level Maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round 2. In addition to preparing students for the Special Entrance Examination, lecturers will demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to Engineering. The aim of the preparatory course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the entrance exam; this will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, says: "The nature of engineering programmes is that they are focused on the development of analytical and problem solving skills, and thus require significant use of mathematics and applied mathematics. Every year we see a number of promising students who perform poorly on the day of the Leaving Cert exam. Our Special Entrance Maths Examination provides these students with a second opportunity to demonstrate that they have reached the necessary standard in Maths. Over the years, we have had some exceptionally talented students graduate and pursue successful careers in Engineering because they were given the second chance which this exam represents". Demand for Engineering programmes at NUI Galway continues to rise year on year and the College of Engineering has expanded its degree programs to meet this rising demand. Engineering is at the heart of the emerging 'Smart Economy' and NUI Galway realises its role in providing world-class graduates to meet the needs of Industry and the Smart Economy. New courses such as Energy Systems Engineering, which is designed in response to a growing demand for professional engineers to work in the energy sector have continued to meet this growing demand. NUI Galway also offers students an 'undenominated' entry to Engineering which allows them to delay their choice of final discipline. There is also demand for Engineering Innovation, which aims to create a new type of electronic engineer with skills in innovation and entrepreneurship. Applications for the Special Maths Examination will be accepted at the Admissions Office reception desk up to 9am the morning of exam. Those interested in the revision maths course and the examination should call 091 492101 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering/specialmaths.html for further detail. -ends-

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Liverpool Football Club Visit NUI Galway

Liverpool Football Club Visit NUI Galway-image

Monday, 9 August 2010

Michael D Higgins, Galway United President; Steven Irwin, Reserve Team Captain, Liverpool FC; Dr James J. Browne, NUI Galway President; Rhys Meynell, Galway United; and John McMahon, Reserve Team Head Coach, Liverpool FC at the NUI Galway reception for Liverpool FC who used the University training facilities ahead of the Liverpool XI versus Galway United match at Terryland.

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Canadian Ambassador Presents Irish Language Scholarships

Canadian Ambassador Presents Irish Language Scholarships -image

Friday, 6 August 2010

Scholarships for six foreign students learning Irish in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway His Excellency Patrick G. Binns, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, has presented six scholarships to Canadian students attending an Irish language course in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway, An Cheathrú Rua in the Connemara Gaeltacht. These awards are made available to students registered in certain Canadian universities and offer an opportunity to participate this summer in approved Irish language courses in a Gaeltacht setting. The scholarships are provided by the Ireland Canada University Foundation. At present there are 64 foreign students learning Irish on a month-long course in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. This course is of significant advantage to the Connemara economy with the students living and socialising locally. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge's Chief Executive, Peadar Mac an Iomaire said: "It is an honour to have the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland with us in An Cheathrú Rua on this the 33rd year of Irish language courses for foreign students at this centre. We are grateful for the support that the Irish government provides to enhance the links between NUI Galway and people in Canada and in universities all over the world who are eager to broaden their knowledge of the Irish language." Historical links between Ireland and Canada go right back to the sixteenth century. Irish people, mainly from the Southeast of the country, used to cross to Newfoundland in search of codfish. This emigration predated the well-recounted exodus during the Great Famine. It is appropriate that these links are today being enhanced and developed in the Irish language sector. At present, four million Canadians or 13% of the population of Canada claim Irish heritage. The Ireland Canada University Foundation provides exchange programmes between Irish and Canadian universities and these programmes are open to all academic disciplines. The Foundation was established in 1994 by Dr Craig Dobbin, Newfoundland and former Irish President, Dr Patrick Hillary. In 2004 the Foundation was given recognition in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin M.P., Prime Minister of Canada. -Ends-

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Recently Discovered Hurling Films Screened for First Time in Eighty Years

Recently Discovered Hurling Films Screened for First Time in Eighty Years-image

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Recently discovered short films by NUI Galway academic, Dr Seán Crosson, will be screened for the first time in over 80 years at the Kilkenny Arts Festival. The series of short films featuring hurling were made for American cinema audiences by the Hollywood majors Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount pictures between the 1930s and the 1950s and copies have recently been acquired by the Irish Film Archive. The series of short films will be screened by the Irish Film Institute, entitled Ireland's Athletic Assault and Battery"?: Hollywood and Hurling on Monday, 9 August, as part of the Festival. While researching Hollywood's treatment of the GAA, Dr Crosson, Director of the MA in Film Studies Programme at the NUI Galway Huston School of Film and Digital Media, discovered the films in an archive at the University of Madison in Wisconsin. During the 1920s, '30s and '40s the GAA organised annual tours to the United States for the All-Ireland winners in both hurling and gaelic football to promote the games stateside. These visits inspired some American producers to consider hurling in particular as a subject for their work. While both Pathé and Fox Movietone newsreels covered several of the games, hurling would also appear in a number of short films released in cinemas in the 1930s including two segments of sports series narrated by seminal American broadcaster Ted Husing, Ted Husing's Sports Slants and Sports Thrills. These films were made by the Vitaphone Corporation for Warner Bros, in 1931 and 1932 respectively. The MGM produced Pete Smith Specialty Hurling (David Miller, 1936) film resulted in a deputation from the GAA visiting the Irish Film censor to demand that objectionable images be removed from the film. These films were joined in 1955 by the Oscar nominated Paramount Pictures short Three Kisses (Justin Herman, 1955), a film featuring the legendary Cork hurling team of the 1950s. Dr Crosson noted: "These films have important historical value, representing some of the very few examples of moving image footage of Gaelic games we have from this period, including the 1930 All-Ireland champions Tipperary on tour in the United States. However, they also provide a fascinating insight into an evolving Irish-American identity on screen in this crucial transitional period for this community in the United States". -Ends-

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Stress and Anxiety Topic of Discussion at NUI Galway

Stress and Anxiety Topic of Discussion at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The 31st World Conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR) will take place in NUI Galway, from tomorrow (4 August) to Friday, 6 August. The conference will be hosted by the Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress (CROLS) in the University. During STAR 2010, a strong emphasis will be on applied and experimental research on stress and anxiety. Contributors will also focus on social, political, and policy-related aspects of major world events, such as terrorism, natural disasters, global warming, and the worldwide economic recession. The three-day event will incorporate a sequence of cutting-edge keynote addresses from leading figures in stress research. Professor Michael Eysenck, University of London and Roehampton University, UK who is renowned for his research in memory and cognition, will give the distinguished Spielberger address, focusing on new theories on anxiety and cognition, and drawing on his many years of research experience and publication of over 40 books. Professor Charles D. Spielberger, University of South Florida, will deliver another keynote address on the scientific study of emotions. Professor Spielberger is one of the world's most prominent research psychologists who, across a 50-year career, has published over 400 scientific papers. He has also served as president of both the American Psychological Association and the International Stress Management Association. Dr Brian Hughes, Director of CROLS, NUI Galway says: "Stress and anxiety are universal experiences and the problems they create are extensive. This is why it is so important that they be researched extensively. We are delighted to be holding the World Conference on Stress and Anxiety Research in Galway this year. Leading figures from the behavioural, social, and health sciences will be coming to Galway to share the latest research findings in this important area." "As well as the stress of everyday life, it is important for us to understand more about how people are affected by extreme or traumatic stressors. Researchers will be reporting findings about the human impact of the earthquake in Haiti, missile attacks in the Middle East, and stressful occupations such as firefighting, police work, and military aviation", Dr Hughes added. The conference will be attended by over 250 researchers in the social, behavioural, and health sciences from across the world. Delegates will present research focusing on stress, anxiety, depression, coping, mental health, ergonomics, psychosomatics, therapeutics, education, and psychophysiology. Other keynote speakers at STAR 2010 include: Douglas Carroll, University of Birmingham; Jack James, NUI Galway; Jian Li, University of Wuppertal; Germany, Daniel W. Russell, Ohio State University, USA; and Charles D. Spielberger, University of South Florida, USA. A host of pre-conference workshops will also take place running in parallel sessions allowing for a very high level of knowledge dissemination. Across its 30 year history, the conference has traversed the globe, being held in Europe, Australia, Africa, and North America. STAR 2010 marks the first visit of the conference to Ireland. The Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress (CROLS) at NUI Galway is an integrated, interdisciplinary research consortium comprising of collaborators from across the behavioural and social sciences, medicine and health sciences, business, public policy, and law. Ends

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July 2010

Significant Opportunities for Cod Farming – Minister Told at NUI Galway

Significant Opportunities for Cod Farming – Minister Told at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mr Sean Connick, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today (27th July) visited EIRCOD, a state-of-the-art cod breeding project at the NUI Galway Carna Laboratory in Connemara. The project is aimed at designing, establishing and operating a cod broodstock programme customised for the Irish environment and underpinning the native fish farming industry. "The benefits from supporting the development of an emerging cod farming industry in Ireland are many," said Minister Connick, whose Department has already highlighted the need to research and develop alternative aquaculture species on a commercial and profitable scale in its recent Food Harvest 2020 Report. "In addition to the obvious socio-economic benefits accrued by coastal communities, such an industry would contribute positively to Ireland's aquaculture and seafood sectors by offering species diversification and high value added products." The scientists, working in NUI Galway and University College Cork on the EIRCOD project, were funded under the Sea Change national marine knowledge, research and innovation strategy, co-ordinated by the Marine Institute. "Sea Change supports a range of fishery and aquaculture projects, all designed to build a better understanding of factors that contribute to improving the competitiveness of Ireland's marine food sector," said Dr. Peter Heffernan of the Marine Institute. "There is a strong scientific link between the EIRCOD project and another Sea Change-funded project in Cork on fish genetics where scientists at UCC are developing new DNA tools to help identify unique strains of cod." Leading fish geneticist Professor Tom Cross who, with his team at UCC, are partners in EIRCOD stated "we are using the latest genomic approach to assist the NUI Galway cod breeding programme and increase knowledge of wild stock structure. This invokes next generation sequencing of part of the cod genome allowing us to detect many thousand microsatellites and SNPs (as used in human forensics) and also functional genes involved with traits important in farmed production." As well as being partners in EIRCOD, the UCC group is also funded by the Beaufort Fish Population Genetics Award from the Irish government with Dr Phillip McGinnity as Principal Investigator. The first three years of EIRCOD saw the transfer from NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) Carna Lab to the Trosc Teo fish farm in Connemara, Co. Galway of specially bred juvenile cod, reared from eggs collected from the Celtic Sea off the South coast of Ireland. The parentage of these fish is known and the growth performance of the different groups are monitored up to market size with the better performing groups being selected for use in future breeding activities. These fish are being selectively bred as a specific Irish strain. As part of this work, the researchers track and benchmark the Celtic sea cod in the farm situation and compare performance with farmed and wild stocks in Ireland and elsewhere. Majbritt Bolton-Warberg, a fish biologist at NUI Galway's MRI facility in Carna explains: "It appears that these Celtic sea cod, grown in Irish waters and at our higher water temperatures, display faster growth rates in the early years of life than those in more northerly European countries. This gives a significant commercial competitive advantage to Ireland". By 2011 the EIRCOD project will have had adult cod at sea for the past four years with in excess of 50 unique family groups, many of which will be reaching their sexual maturity. It will therefore be possible for researchers to selectively breed these fish for the first time; identifying and actively selecting the best performers and applying classical breeding techniques that have been used for centuries in agriculture to give a better performing stock and applying them to fish farming. According to Dr Richard Fitzgerald, Senior Scientist with the EIRCOD project at NUI Galway, "the work of the EIRCOD partnership has underpinned the ongoing development of an innovative sustainable and profitable cod farming industry in Ireland through this strategic breeding programme. In addition, we are putting the final touches to a report 'An Economic Assessment of Cod Farming in Ireland' where we have identified several opportunities for the cultivation of cod on the western seaboard of Ireland." The EIRCOD project is funded by the Marine Institute and the Marine Research Sub-programme of the National Development Plan and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. It is led by NUI Galway's Martin Ryan Institute in Carna, Co. Galway with partners UCC, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Irish Seafood Producers Group, Trosc Teo and Dr Ashie Norris, consultant. The project builds on work carried out by the Martin Ryan Institute and Trosc Teo over in the past with the assistance of the relevant state agencies Údarás na Gaeltachta, Marine Institute, and BIM. -Ends-

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HSE West Ambulance Officers made Honorary Clinical Fellows of NUI Galway

HSE West Ambulance Officers made Honorary Clinical Fellows of NUI Galway-image

Monday, 26 July 2010

In recognition of their contribution to the undergraduate teaching programme at NUI Galway, three Ambulance Officers from the HSE West area have been made Honorary Clinical Fellows of the University. The Ambulance Officers, Gabriel Glynn, Vincent O Connor and PJ Commins, were involved in establishing and delivering an innovative special study module in Pre-hospital emergency care to second year NUI Galway medical students under the direction of the University's Dr Gerard Flaherty, Lecturer in Medical Education and Clinical Skills and Coordinator of the Special Study Module programme. The Pre-hospital emergency care module provides students with basic training in immediate care such as basic life support and spinal immobilisation. The students are also given an opportunity to accompany paramedic crews on routine and emergency calls in the capacity of supervised observers. The students benefit by developing a greater understanding of the challenges of pre-hospital emergency care and a deeper appreciation of the role of multidisciplinary team members in an emergency environment. Commenting on the success of the Pre-hospital emergency care module, NUI Galway's Dr. Flaherty said, "Feedback from the module has been overwhelmingly positive to date and it has been the most popular choice of module for second year students over the two years that it has been running. The module is another excellent example of seamless and fruitful partnership between the HSE and the School of Medicine. Both groups will benefit greatly from this academic initiative." Chief Ambulance Officer, HSE West, Mr. Paudie O Riordan said, "The Ambulance Service places great value on the relationship that has built up over the two years with our colleagues in the School of Medicine at NUI Galway. The relationship has benefited the Ambulance Service greatly and we are delighted at the positive response from the students". ends

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