Experts Convene to Explore Molecules’ Influence on Disease

Experts Convene to Explore Molecules’ Influence on Disease -image

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

International experts will gather at NUI Galway later this month to further the scientific knowledge-base surrounding microRNA profiling. MicroRNAs are a class of newly discovered molecules within our cells that control the activity of genes. The regulation and function of microRNAs is still poorly understood, but they are required for the normal functioning of our bodies. When their behaviour is perturbed, disease, such as cancer, can arise. As a result, there is enormous interest worldwide in developing microRNAs as diagnostic markers and even as therapeutics to treat a range of conditions. The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) practical course entitled ’MicroRNA-profiling, from in-situ hybridization to next-generation sequencing’ takes place at NUI Galway from 21 to 27 May. MicroRNA research at NUI Galway has been a growing area since 2006, supported in part by a Transfer of Knowledge Grant from the EU (under Marie Curie Framework 6). Research groups in the Schools of Medicine and Science (headed by Professor Michael Kerin, Dr Linda Howard, Dr Nicola Miller and Dr Sanjeev Gupta, amongst others) are investigating microRNAs. Their work is focussed on diagnostics for cancer, regenerative medicine and a broad range of basic research areas from cell death to cell cycle regulation. These NUI Galway researchers will support a team of international experts who will come to Galway to train a group of 22 scientists from all over the world in the latest techniques for investigating microRNAs, as part of the EMBO course. The course will bring to NUI Galway basic and clinical researchers with interests ranging from marine algae, and viniculture to regenerative medicine and cancer therapy to learn the latest advances in microRNA techniques. The course instructors are drawn from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Cambridge Cancer Centre, University of Cambridge and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and include Dr Eric Miska and Dr Greg Hannon, two very highly respected scientists in the microRNA field. The core of the team are experts from the EMBL-Gene Core, led by Dr Vladimir Benes who will share their extensive experience in techniques ranging from microarrays, in situ hybridization and RNA sequencing. Dr Howard Fearnhead, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, School of Medicine at NUI Galway said, “MicroRNAs are small RNAs that are critically involved in controlling an enormously wide range of cellular processes through direct posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. The realisation that these, and other small RNAs, are so important has driven an explosion of research activity that aims to identify, characterize and understand microRNA regulation and function. With this increase in interest comes the need to provide training in the cutting edge research technologies. The course at NUI Galway fulfils this requirement very well by bringing together highly motivated non-experts and a team of international experts to study, discuss and share a fascinating area of modern cell biology.” The meeting is co-organised by Dr Howard Fearnhead, NUI Galway, in collaboration with Dr Vladimir Benes, and Dr Mirco Castoldi, EMBL-Heidelberg, and Dr Donal O’Carroll, EMBL-Montorotondo. -Ends-

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Eighth International Economics Colloquium to take place at NUI Galway

Eighth International Economics Colloquium to take place at NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Eighth International Colloquium on Economic Growth, Structural Change and Institutions will be held in NUI Galway later this month. Jointly organised by the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway and the Department of Economics of the University of Brasília, the Colloquium will bring together a unique group of international scholars from North and South America, Europe, India and Japan. The event will take place from the 26 to 28 May in MY243 Lecture Theatre, Áras Moyola in NUI Galway. The main objective of the Colloquium is to contribute to the understanding of the ongoing economic crisis from the point of view of growth, structural change and institutions. The Colloquium aims to provide a platform for productive exchange of analysis and research results focusing on both theoretical and policy aspects of the theme. It also aims to stimulate the exchange of ideas from within the discipline of economics and other related disciplines to reinforce the multi-disciplinary approach to the study of Political Economy. The sessions of the Colloquium is organised along the following sub-themes: Economic Expansion, Demand Management and Structural change: Lessons from the Crisis; Growth and Income distribution: Theory and Policy; Institutions, Growth and Development; Interaction between the Real and the Financial Sector: Implications for Theory and Policy; Political Economy of Development: Gender, Power and Identity; Special session on ’Growth and Income distribution’; and Special session on ’Crisis in Economics: The Way Forward’. Speaking about the upcoming Colloquium, the organiser, Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, Lecturer of Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The Colloquium is an annual event hosted in different countries throughout the world and, and we are delighted that NUI Galway was invited to host the International Colloquium 2011. The Colloquium brings together outstanding international scholars in the field of Economic Growth, Structural Change and Institutions from Europe, North and South America, India and Japan, which on this year will address the implications of the global economic crisis. The Colloquium has been facilitated by the generosity of the University, J. E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change, reflecting the research activities of NUI Galway.” For further information or to register for the conference visit -Ends-

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Calling NUI Galway Classes of 2001 and 2006

Calling NUI Galway Classes of 2001 and 2006 -image

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

NUI Galway invites all graduates from the classes of 2001 and 2006 to attend its Reunion BBQ and Disco on Saturday, 11 June. The reunion begins at 7:00 pm and brings together those classes celebrating their 10th and 5th reunions for a fun, informal evening in the Students’ Union Bar overlooking the River Corrib - a perfect location for the Reunion BBQ event. Entertainment will be provided by College Bar regular DJ Byrno who will play hits from the late 1990s and 2000s. Emma Goode, Alumni Project Manager, encourages alumni to come along: “Reunion is that perfect excuse to put the date in your diary and say ’Right, that’s the day we’ll all get together again’. Busy lives mean that old friends fall out of touch and we’re told regularly that graduates look for these occasions to pull out the stops. Many alumni from the classes of 2001 and 2006 have already booked their places and they never regret making the effort. You never know who’ll be there.” The Alumni Association serves over 80,000 alumni worldwide with an extensive range of programmes administered by the Alumni Office. These include Alumni Clubs, both national and international, Alumni Publications, Reunions and Alumni Awards. Graduates who are interested in getting involved with any of the above programmes are encouraged to contact the Alumni Office for further details. Register at or for further information contact Colm O’Dwyer in the Alumni Office on 091 493750 or email 

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Student Entrepreneurs Set to Bank € 15,000 in final of Student Enterprise Awards

Student Entrepreneurs Set to Bank € 15,000 in final of Student Enterprise Awards -image

Monday, 16 May 2011

Six teams are keenly contesting the final of the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards in anticipation of securing an investment of € 15,000 into the winning project. The competition is the initiative of the NUI Galway Students’ Union, with the support of NUI Galway and has the goal of fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst the students of the University. The competition successfully attracted entrants from across all of the colleges and schools of the University, from which six ideas were chosen to progress to the final stage. As part of the final assessment of their entries, students have received an investment of € 500 into their projects, and also have received the assistance of mentoring from the highly specialised team of mentors, which is comprised of a combination of members of the academic staff of the University and members of the local business community. The finalists are required to prepare their final business plans for submission on Friday, 28 May ahead of the final presentation of their ideas to the judging panel on Wednesday, 8 June. The winners will be announced at the final awards ceremony dinner on Friday, 10 June in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Peter Mannion said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” -Ends-

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Ocean Energy Focus of NUI Galway Public Lecture

Ocean Energy Focus of NUI Galway Public Lecture -image

Monday, 16 May 2011

NUI Galway will hold a public lecture by Professor Tony Lewis, Director of the Hydraulics & Maritime Research Centre, UCC, on Ocean Energy later this month. The lecture entitled The Status of Ocean Energy Development in Ireland will take place on Monday, 23 May, 2011 in Room IT125, IT Building at 2pm. Professor Lewis has been at the forefront of ocean research nationally and internationally for over 20 years. He has just returned from the most recent meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change in Abu Dhabi. Despite the global recession, rising energy demand and limited fossil fuel energy supplies will ensure that focus is maintained on research in renewable energy. Ireland has enviable natural resources and has particularly ambitious targets regarding renewable energy, both wind and ocean. In his lecture, Professor Lewis will summarise the latest national and international developments in ocean energy and government strategies to meet the challenges ahead. “Energy supply and sustainability are key challenges for the future,” says Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway. “While Ireland is very heavily dependent upon energy imports, we have unique advantages in terms of climate and location for the development of renewable energy sources. Professor Lewis is ideally positioned to help us all understand the challenges and opportunities.” For further information on the lecture contact Tina Earls, College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway, at or 091 493143. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Gives Students a Chance to Name Sea Creature

NUI Galway Gives Students a Chance to Name Sea Creature -image

Monday, 16 May 2011

This summer, as part of the Vents & Reefs (VENTuRE) expedition, Marine Scientists from NUI Galway and University College Cork (UCC), are amongst a team that are heading out to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to check out a newly discovered hydrothermal vent ecosystem. Here, on the mid-Atlantic ridge at a depth of almost 3000 metres, the Marine Institute’s Holland I ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) will be sending images to scientists at the surface of a whole new world. This new ecosystem is such an exciting discovery that National Geographic Television will be there to film the whole experience. Patrick Collins, a researcher with the Benthic Ecology Unit at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, is the lead Marine Biologist with the Vents & Reefs campaign, and has organised a very exciting competition for second level students in Ireland. Over the course of the three week cruise, he will be collecting and identifying many previously undiscovered animals. As part of this competition one of these could end up with a students name on it. Patrick Collins says “This is an extremely important discovery, and one that we think people will be very excited about. We are asking for secondary school students across Ireland to use their imaginations and understanding of the sea to design their own deep sea hydrothermal vent creature. We’d like to see carefully thought out illustrations along with a description of the creature’s habitat, diet, life and evolutionary history, and whatever else you think is important. One lucky winner will actually have one of the new species that we discover at the vents named after them. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!” This competition is open to all secondary school students across Ireland and the UK. Entries must contain at least one clearly labelled, hand-drawn or computer illustration accompanied by a separate A4 page (max 400 words) containing a comprehensive description of the creature’s name, its habitat, diet, etc. Completed entries should be posted to: Sarah Knight, Ryan Institute, Orbsen Building, NUI Galway. Competition deadline is June 15, 2011, and the winner will be announced after the Celtic Explorer returns to Ireland in August. Full competition details are available at The team are very grateful to the Marine Institute who are funding the cruise, and to National Geographic Television, who will be documenting the cruise, for their involvement and additional funding support. -Ends-

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2011 International Seminar on John McGahern Announced

2011 International Seminar on John McGahern Announced-image

Monday, 16 May 2011

NUI Galway and Leitrim County Council have announced that the fifth International Seminar on John McGahern, commemorating the work of the renowned Irish writer, will take place from 21 to 23 July in Co. Leitrim. Last year’s International Seminar attracted more than 150 participants from Ireland and overseas. The theme of the seminar this year is McGahern and Creativity, and the keynote lecture will be given by Colm Tóibín, whose novel Brooklyn has just been shortlisted for this year’s International Impac Dublin Literary Award. Dr John Kenny, John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing at NUI Galway, says: “The role of creativity in all areas of innovative thinking is increasingly recognised, from the sciences to the arts and the economic endeavours linked with these. We should of course be careful about a catch-all or reductive approach to creativity, but we should also be suspicious about the sort of romantic approach that sees creativity as something indefinably ’special’, as if all a writer like McGahern had to do was walk the lanes of Leitrim waiting for beautiful thoughts to strike him. It is a familiar but vital truth that the creation of literature is at least as much about regular perspiration at the desk as it is about any kind of dreamy inspiration, and McGahern’s devotion to his craft provides an ideal context for the exploration of this idea. Our seminar promises to be an exciting investigation of how McGahern’s own talent and creative force of personality was formidably combined with the clever hard work required to become one of the greats.” Other speakers at the event will include the poets Gerald Dawe, Paula Meehan and Bernard O’Donoghue. The short-story writer Ēilis Ní Dhuibhne and the poet John McAuliffe will be reading their new work from volume 4 of The John McGahern Yearbook, edited by John Kenny, which will be launched at the Seminar. The Yearbook is a lavishly illustrated hardback and includes proceedings of the 2010 Seminar as well as a range of articles by writers and critics. The Seminar will also include a feature presentation by educator Michael Lally titled Zen McGahern, and the architectural historian Seán Rothery will be giving a talk on the nature of McGahern’s small towns. There will also be a viewing of McGahern’s screenplay, The Rockingham Shoot, after which a closing plenary lecture will be delivered by Professor Luke Gibbons. The Seminar will involve guided visits to John McGahern’s home places in Aughawillan, Ballinamore and Mohill in Co. Leitrim, and also to Cootehall in Co. Roscommon where a public discussion of McGahern’s first novel, The Barracks, will be held. As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern’s own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture. In addition to the public seminar, NUI Galway has organised the fourth intensive International Summer School on McGahern’s work and its contexts which will form part of the University’s 28th International Summer School in Irish Studies. The Summer School is designed for advanced level students and researchers who are interested in the writings of John McGahern, his life and times in 20th-century Ireland, and related areas of creative writing. The Summer School incorporates the International Seminar and continues at the County Library, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim the week after the Seminar. The 2010 Summer School was attended by students from Britain and the United States as well as Ireland. Contributors to this year’s Summer School, directed by Dr John Kenny, will include Professor Denis Sampson, author of Outstaring Nature’s Eye: The Fiction of John McGahern; Dr Stanley van der Ziel, editor of McGahern’s Love of the World: Essays; and Dr Frank Shovlin of the Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool. Guest writers, including Kevin Barry, Martin Dyar, Mike McCormack and Belinda McKeon, will discuss the creative as well as critical implications of McGahern’s legacy. Historian Liam Kelly will give a feature talk on the local dimensions of McGahern’s thought and work. There will also be an opportunity at the Summer School to experience local social and cultural events. Announcing the McGahern events, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: “The University is pleased to collaborate with Leitrim County Council in the Fifth International Seminar on John Mcgahern, which is designed to recognise and promote the work of John McGahern among scholars and readers of his work. The Seminar location in the heart of McGahern country in Leitrim, provides an unique opportunity to explore and engage with McGahern’s exceptional understanding and literary portrayal of Irish rural life”. Speaking about the 2011 programme, Leitrim County Manager, Jackie Maguire, said: “Leitrim County Council is delighted to be again working in partnership with NUI Galway in organising the fifth International Seminar and Summer School. The Seminar is an important part of Ireland’s literary calendar and presents a wonderful opportunity for people to engage richly with the work of John McGahern in the heartland of Leitrim”. For further details on the International Seminar & Summer School on John McGahern contact 091 495442 or visit -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Funding for Irish Biomedical Research Projects

NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Funding for Irish Biomedical Research Projects -image

Friday, 13 May 2011

Two NUI Galway researchers, Professor Abhay Pandit, Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) and Professor Rhodri Ceredig of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (Remedi) were among five awardees funded under an innovative new research programme funded by the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology (COSAT) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) this week. The research projects, all in the biomedical sphere, were launched by the Minister for Research and Innovation Mr Sean Sherlock TD. The Healthcare Innovation Programme Award (HIPA), which was established by SFI with the support of COSAT is aimed at encouraging biomedical exploration in the specific areas of immune-modulated inflammatory diseases, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, graft-vs-host disease, psoriasis, lung disease, renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. Speaking about the significance of the programme, Minister Sherlock said “Given that inflammatory disorders are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, there is now an urgency in expediting the discovery of novel therapeutic targets in inflammation, in developing new treatment approaches and in moving to translate these developments to clinical applications.” The Minister added “This timely partnership identifies Irish based researchers who will help accelerate the translation of basic research into therapies useful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases” Professor Pandit, in collaboration with Professor John Laffey, Department of Anaesthesia, NUI Galway will conduct a study on a novel treatment for acute lung injury. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and acute lung injury (ALI) constitute the leading cause of death in paediatric and adult critical care; it is a devastating disease process for which no therapy exists. This study will use biomaterial-based nanospheres to deliver the optimal dosage of the SOD gene, to the lung using a nebulizer. This is a non-invasive approach, which will ensure translation to the clinical setting. Speaking about the award, Professor Pandit said “We are delighted, and very grateful, to receive this grant supporting our research. We at the NFB are keen to translate our research to the clinical setting and this award supports that ambition.” Professor Ceredig in collaboration with Professor Benjamin Bradley of the Institute of Technology, Tralee will conduct a drug discovery programme using by-products obtained from processing of natural materials. Some of these products have been shown to have immune-modulatory activity. Using a screening assay whereby whole blood is incubated in the presence of these materials, the funds will be used to identify novel immune-modulatory drugs from these natural sources. There are so many examples where novel drugs, such as aspirin and penicillin have been discovered from natural sources. Speaking about the award, Professor Ceredig said “We are honoured to receive this prestigious award for a collaborative venture between NUI Galway and the Institute of Technology, Tralee. We are hopeful that this form of collaboration will result in the discovery and development of novel therapies for immune and inflammatory diseases.” -Ends-

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New National Initiative for Irish Citizens Launched

New National Initiative for Irish Citizens Launched -image

Friday, 13 May 2011

We the Citizens is a new, national, independent initiative to show how Ireland could benefit by citizens coming together in new ways of public decision-making. Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and endorsed by the IUA, the main objective of the new initiative is to renew trust in politics at this time of social and economic crisis in Ireland. A number of citizen information events will take place throughout Ireland in May and June and these will culminate in a national citizens assembly at the end of June. Cork - Wednesday, 18 May at 7pm in the Clarion Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork City Galway - Tuesday, 24 May at 7pm in the Radisson, Lough Atalia Road, Galway Blanchardstown - Tuesday, 31 May at 7pm in the Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 Tallaght - Wednesday, 1 June at 7pm in the Maldron Hotel Tallaght, Whitestown Way, Tallaght Donegal - Tuesday, 7 June at 7pm in the Radisson, Paddy Harte Road, Letterkennny, Co Donegal Athlone - Tuesday, 14 June at 7pm in the Sheraton, Gleeson St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath Each event will close with a political comedy performance and Gary Cooke and Barry Murphy of Après Match fame are among some of the special guests lined up. To secure your place, or for further information, visit or call 01 6706362. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Research Council Fellowships

NUI Galway Researchers Awarded Research Council Fellowships -image

Monday, 9 May 2011

Six NUI Galway Researchers have been awarded Fellowships by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET). Over € 3.3 million will be made available under the IRCSET Empower scheme to support a total of 37 researchers who will carry out a research and professional development programme over the next two years. The NUI Galway recipients include Dr Fiona Brennan, Dr Olivier LeRoux, Biology; Dr Rory Coffey, Dr James Murphy, Earth/Environmental Sciences; Dr Alexander Rahm, Mathematics and Dr Micheal Scanlon, Chemistry. IRCSET programmes are aimed at knowledge creation within Ireland for the future benefit of society and the smart economy. The EMPOWER Scheme is targeted at developing the country s international reputation as an important location in which to carry out world class research, so that Ireland retains and attracts the highest level Research and Development capabilities for the future. The scheme was open to applicants worldwide who wish to carry out research in Ireland. Announcing the posts, Martin Hynes, Director of IRCSET commented: “Now in its ninth year, the EMPOWER Scheme continues to assist in building the strong Irish research system by facilitating talented young researchers to develop their careers in Ireland. These individuals both contribute to and gain from the experience of established research teams, developing the necessary skills to equip them for successful careers in a wide range of employment sectors. The scheme also facilitates international mobility within the research community by attracting researchers from other countries to Ireland. Each year it attracts a large number of applications from very high-quality candidates worldwide, and the scheme’s international assessment committee continue to be impressed by the exceptionally high calibre of the successful candidates.” Congratulating the six NUI Galway researchers, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway Professor Terry Smith said; “The IRCSET Empower scheme is an important scheme which gives our researchers at an early stage of their research career the opportunity to build upon and broaden their research and professional skills, which contribute to the excellent research being undertaken at NUI Galway.” All applications to this highly competitive scheme were subject to assessment, strictly on merit, by international assessment committees who are specialist in each domain. The decision to grant funding is based on research career to date, project description, proposed research environment and references from recognised research leaders. Further details are available at -Ends-

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