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Máire Mhac an tSaoi appointed Adjunct Professor of Irish Studies at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 5 April 2005
The Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway has announced the appointment of the distinguished poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi to the position of Adjunct Professor of Irish Studies. Máire Mhac an tSaoi is one of a handful of major poets who transformed poetry in Irish in the period during and after the Second World War. Her work is particularly significant in that it anticipates the emergence of women's voices at the forefront of Irish poetry in both Irish and English during the 1970s and 80s. A generation before the groundbreaking achievements of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Eavan Boland and others, and in more daunting circumstances, Máire Mhac an tSaoi's poetry speaks to and from the intimate experience of women at a time when women's voices were marginalized both in literature and in Irish society. Her most famous poem 'Ceathrúintí Mháire Ní Ógáin', is a powerful challenge to the orthodox morality of Ireland in the 1940s and subsequent decades: Beagbheann ar amhras daoine, Beagbheann ar chros na sagart, Ar gach ní ach a bheith sínte Idir tú agus falla- I care little for people's suspicions, I care little for priests' prohibitions, For anything save to lie stretched Between you and the wall- The intellectual integrity and emotional independence that characterise her poetry is evident again in Máire Mhac an tSaoi's public life. In reviewing her autobiography The Same Age as the State¸ Seamus Heaney says 'there is truth to experience here, a forthrightness about passion and transgression that is thrilling and exemplary'. Throughout the book, she speaks frankly of her own experience as a civil servant and career diplomat during a period of dramatic change and political turbulence in Ireland, Europe, and the developing world. During her time in the Department of External Affairs, she was, in her own words, the 'token woman' on Ireland's first delegation to the United Nations. As chargé d'affaires at the Irish Embassy in Madrid, she was invited to the Palacio del Oriente, where she met with General Franco, an experience she describes as 'both baroque and absurd'. She also spent time with her husband Conor Cruise O'Brien in the Congo, Ghana, and elsewhere in dramatic times and dangerous circumstances. One of the most powerful passages in The Same Age as the State recounts a violent incident in Katanga and an apparent attempt to assassinate Dr O'Brien. Ms Mac an tSaoi's appointment is a timely one, according to Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. "While she is highly regarded by other poets and by critics, the full extent of Máire Mhac an tSaoi's contribution to twentieth-century Irish literature and politics has yet to be fully appreciated and acknowledged. In recognition of her achievement, as a groundbreaking poet and as a public figure who participated significantly in some of the key moments of recent Irish, European, and world history, it is entirely appropriate that she be appointed to this honorary position." ENDS
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NUI Galway awarded €490,000 from Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund
Tuesday, 24 May 2005
Six researchers at NUI Galway were recently successful in winning funding under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund. The projects are supported under the Proof of Concept Phase 1, which aims to support academic researchers to establish the commercial potential of a scientific concept which is seen to address a viable market. The novel projects are across strategic commercial areas such as biomedical sensors, implantable medical devices, controls for waste water treatment plants, software development, optics and biomaterials. The six researchers are Professors Chris Dainty and Gerry Lyons, Drs Desmond Chambers, Vincent O'Flaherty, Dimitrious Apatsidis, Yury Rochev. Successful projects under this programme will bring the research to a stage where a robust prototype will be developed. The proposed projects cover a wide range of potential applications and the funding was won against strong competition involving all the third level colleges in Ireland. Séamus Bree, Director West Region, Enterprise Ireland said that innovation was the key to the future of Irish industry. "It is vitally important that we build and maintain a momentum in the development of intellectual property through the Third Level colleges. The commercialisation of technology from our strengthening research base is a key priority so that more growth-oriented companies will emerge in cutting edge sectors. I look forward to research initiatives such as these funded under the commercialisation fund in NUI Galway, resulting in either new campus companies or licensed technology into SMEs." Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "We are delighted to receive this substantial award aimed at developing applied research which is critically important to the future economic growth of Ireland as we move from a manufacturing base to product design and intellectual property creation. Because of its strong research base, NUI Galway is ideally placed to support the Government's enterprise strategy of developing a knowledge-based society." Ends
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NUI Galway launches historic On-line Photographic Archive
Monday, 23 May 2005
In 1996 the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway acquired the Ritchie-Pickow Photographic Archive, along with tapes of sound recordings. 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. On Monday 30th May 2005, the James Hardiman Library will launch a resource, housed on the library's web-pages, which will allow access to the 1,887 images which make up the Ritchie-Pickow photographic collection. It provides researchers world-wide with the facility to search for and view the images, as well as giving background information on each image. The resource will be launched by Dr Hugh Maguire of the Heritage Council who supported the provision of an archivist to preserve and make accessible this collection in digital format. Professor Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, lecturer in the History Department, NUI Galway and a grandson of Elizabeth Cronin, one of the vocalists recorded by Jean Ritchie, will also speak at the launch. It was under his auspices that the collection found its way into the Library Archives. 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 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 uileann pipe players, such as Seamus Ennis, the McPeake trio, Leo Rowsome; vocalists, including Elizabeth Croinin and Sarah Makem and story tellers, such as Paitsín Faherty from the Aran Islands. As well as assisting his wife in her research George Pickow also did features on aspects of Irish life – Christmas celebrations with straw boys and wren boys, life on the Aran Islands, Dublin scenes, the American Ambassador and his family in Ireland, the development of Dublin Airport, operations of the Garda Síochána at Dublin Castle, and Irish sporting activities, such as road bowling, hurling, coursing, hunting and racing. Photographs were also taken of traditional Irish crafts, including spinning, weaving, thatching and crios and sliotar making. Ends
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NUI Galway raises $1.2m towards further development at Huston School of Film & D
Friday, 6 May 2005
-Anjelica Huston, Merv Griffin, Ray Bradbury receive Honorary Degrees from NUI Galway at LA Gala event- Los Angeles — NUI Galway has raised more than $1.2 million towards the further development of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media. The fundraising culminates in the Huston Gala, a black-tie event to be held today (Friday) at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The Gala follows a conferring ceremony at which honorary degrees will be conferred upon actress, Anjelica Huston, broadcaster, Merv Griffin and author Ray Bradbury, all of whom have strong west of Ireland connections. This event marks the first time that NUI Galway has held an honorary degree conferment outside of Ireland. The Honorary Conferring and the Huston Gala are the centrepiece of a programme of business, cultural and academic events during the first week of May to mark the continued growth and influence of the Huston School. The honorary degrees will be conferred by the Chancellor of the NUI, Dr Garret FitzGerald. The honorary graduates chosen all have strong Irish roots and are renowned for their significant contribution to social, cultural and artistic development of both Ireland and the U.S. Celebrities from the world of stage and screen will attend the Honorary Conferring ceremony and Huston Gala. Gráinne Seoige, Sky News Ireland and NUI Galway graduate, will present the Gala programme. The Huston School of Film & Digital Media, launched in Los Angeles in 2003, is the first dedicated school of film and digital media to be located on campus at an Irish university. NUI Galway will use the recently raised funds, which have been secured through private donors, to further develop the ongoing programmes at the School including an ambitious programme of invited residencies. These would bring students into direct contact with a stimulating range of Irish and international film artists. NUI Galway President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said, "We are very proud to honour these individuals who have made significant artistic and humanitarian contributions, and who have achieved fame the world over. With this honour, we pay tribute to the great tradition of the creative arts at the heart of Los Angeles. And we share in that heritage by awarding them the highest honour that the University can bestow, thereby associating their names forever with National University of Ireland, Galway and the Huston School. "We are fortunate at NUI Galway to have created a haven where we can nurture and develop the talents of individuals interested in pursing a career in film. The Huston School represents a bold and unprecedented move forward for Irish filmmakers and cinematic traditions, for all those who dream of telling their stories in fresh and compelling ways." Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media Rod Stoneman says, "The Huston School of Film and Digital Media is developing a new breed of Irish film makers. We are giving these individuals the opportunity to develop their raw talent in order to pursue a career in the film industry. We hope that the School can help filmmakers react critically and constructively to the changes which are taking place in film. It offers a wide-ranging exposition of the full range of international filmmaking and allows course participants to develop their own distinctive voices. With new courses coming on stream, we hope to continue to challenge and develop talented students in the future." Among the courses provided in the Huston School are a Masters programme in Screenwriting and a Masters in Film Studies, now in their second year, along with a Higher Diploma in Arts Policy and Practice. The School plans to start an innovative Masters in Public Advocacy and Activism in 2006. This will be an advanced course for people working in international and local advocacy, including the fields of community and environmental rights, among others. Also in 2006 the School will add a Masters in Production and Direction to its portfolio, with teams from these two courses working together to produce short films on social issues. Funds raised through the Gala from donors throughout Ireland and the US will be spread out over the next five years, providing considerable capital and revenue funding for the School as it initiates new courses in production and direction. The LA programme of events includes an illustrated lecture on 'James Joyce's "The Dead" and Cinema', by Professor Kevin Barry, Department of English, NUI Galway; and a screening of 'The Abyss' (1910) with original score performed live by ConTempo, NUI Galway's Ensemble in Residence. To further support its significant numbers of alumni located in North America, NUI Galway will also host an alumni brunch, the day following the Gala. For further information on the NUI Galway Huston Gala visit www.hustongala.com. ENDS
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Discovering novel drugs to treat cancer
Tuesday, 28 June 2005
- NUI Galway Researcher wins Donegan Medal - A postgraduate researcher at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) NUI Galway, has identified a molecule which could be used in the future as a novel drug in cancer treatment. Ailish O'Connell was awarded the Donegan Medal for her research presentation at the Royal Academy of Medicine (RAMI) summer meeting in Galway organised by NCBES Director, Professor Terry Smith. Ailish's research is in an area called apoptosis, which is a natural process whereby cells in the body die when they are damaged, are not functioning or no longer needed. A common factor in cancers like leukaemia is an upset in the balance between cell growth and cell death by apoptosis. If the natural process of cell death does not occur, cancerous cells survive for longer than they should, and acquire further mutations. Ailish, whose research is supervised by Dr. Catherine Stenson-Cox at the NCBES, has studied the process of cell death by treating leukaemic cells with chemotherapeutic agents (similar to chemicals used in chemotherapy for cancer patients). By studying the pathway by which human leukaemic cells die following this treatment, Ailish has identified a novel pathway (part of the cell death process) that hasn't been known before and has found a specific type of molecule, a serine protease, which Ailish and her team believe is critical in this cell death pathway. Serine proteases (SPs) are a family of enzymes with many functions, but their role in cell death is only now being uncovered. "Very few with apopotic function have been isolated to date, but modulation of some family members have already been used in therapies for emphysema and some are in clinical trials for solid cancerous tumour treatment," says Ailish. "They have huge therapeutic potential and there is a lot of commercial interest in this area of research." The serine protease discovered in Ailish's research was tracked in the cell through the process of cell death using a fluorescent tag provided through collaboration with the US Company Immunochemistry Technology Inc., based in Minnesota. All indications point to this SP being instrumental in the novel apoptosis pathway discovered by Ailish. The SP Ailish is looking at chops up proteins in cancerous cells causing cell degradation and the cell is then digested by the body's immune response. The aim now is to characterise and re-introduce the serine protease molecule into leukaemic, and other cancerous cells to selectively activate cell death which could lead to novel anti-cancer therapies. The research is funded through an SFI basic Research Grant, administered through the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) awarded to Dr. Catherine Stenson-Cox in 2004. *Professor Donegan was a former Professor of Physiology at NUI Galway. The competition for the medal is a national one open to all PhD students who haven't presented to a learned Society previously. Ends
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