Cancer Scientist Brings Expertise from Italy to NUI Galway

Monday, 26 May 2008

An extensive research project by a team of European scientists could help develop methods of treating cancers with less toxicity than drugs currently in clinical use. The research, just published as the cover story in the scientific journal Nature Chemical Biology, was led by Professor Corrado Santocanale in Italy at Nerviano Medical Sciences-Oncology. Professor Santocanale is now based in Ireland with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering (NCBES) at NUI Galway as Chair of Molecular Medicine. The research project was aimed at identifying protein kinase inhibitors for development into new anticancer drugs. The finding showed that a small-molecule inhibitor of Cdc7 kinase prevents DNA synthesis with a novel molecular mechanism and has anti-tumour activity. According to Professor Santocanale, "The search for new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of a wide range of cancers is a key field of investigation. In this work we demonstrate for the first time the pharmacological inhibition of the Cdc7 kinase (a protein that acts as a switch to initiate DNA replication) kills tumours cells including those that have become resistant to some of the most common anticancer drugs. He continued, "Importantly we found that the treatment with a small molecule Cdc7 inhibitor lead to tumour growth inhibition in animal models. Clinical studies investigating this novel generation of drugs for the treatment of human cancers will be soon initiated and the expectation is that they will offer a novel therapeutic option to cancer patients." Professor Santocanale is currently establishing core research related to new drug targets for cancer therapy. Santocanale also aims to implement a translational research programme linking come of the basic research of the NCBES and the clinical research based in University College Hospital, Galway, with the goal of identifying potential targets for drug discovery. For Santocanale, "The most interesting part of the research process is to start with ideas originated from basic biological discoveries and see it develop into a drug that has the potential to improve the outcome of cancer patients". Professor Santocanale brings huge expertise to NUI Galway from his collaboration with Nerviano Medical Sciences, the largest pharmaceutical R&D facility in Italy, and one of the largest Oncology-focused, integrated discovery and development companies in Europe. -ends-

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An Líon is Mó Daltaí Riamh Páirteach i gComórtas Ealaíne na Scoileanna

Monday, 26 May 2008

Ghlac an líon is mó daltaí riamh – os cionn 400 dalta – as 13 mheánscoil ar fud na Gaillimhe páirt i gComórtas Ealaíne OÉ Gaillimh do Dhaltaí Céad Bhliana. Is cuid de Chlár Rochtana Conair na hOllscoile é an comórtas ealaíne atá deartha le spéis a spreagadh san oideachas tríú leibhéal i measc daltaí as Scoileanna roghnaithe i gContae, Cathair agus ceantair Ghaeltachta na Gaillimhe. Tá an tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas ag tacú leis an gclár trí spriocmhaoiniú do thionscnaimh speisialta. Fiafraíodh de dhaltaí iad féin a chur in iúl trí mheán na hEalaíne, an Cheoil, na Drámaíochta agus na Scríbhneoireachta agus léargas a thabhairt ar an gcúis ar mhaith leo freastal ar OÉ Gaillimh, céard a chiallódh sé agus cén tionchar a bheadh aige ar a dtodhchaí. Dúirt Ashla Ward, ó Oifig Rochtana OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil "an comórtas seo deartha ar mhaithe le daltaí a spreagadh tosú ag smaoineamh ar a dtodhchaí, a stádas reatha foghlama a nascadh le sprioc fhadtréimhseach agus machnamh a dhéanamh ar a bheith ag staidéar ag an tríú leibhéal. D'éirigh thar cionn leis an gcomórtas seo le sé bliana anuas. Tá an-obair déanta ag múinteoirí agus ag daltaí chun píosaí ealaíne den scoth a chruthú don chomórtas". Ag an dara leibhéal, tosaíonn Clár Rochtana Conair OÉ Gaillimh le Comórtas Scoile do Dhaltaí Céad Bhliana agus leantar leis an gcomórtas do dhaltaí sa dara, sa tríú, sa chúigiú bliain agus i mbliain na hArdteistiméireachta, le sraith gníomhaíochtaí cosúil le turas mórthimpeall ar an gcampas, meantóireacht agus Ceardlanna Scileanna Staidéir. Is é an príomhchuspóir a bhaineann le Conair idirghníomhaíocht rialta leis an Ollscoil agus leis na daltaí a spreagadh. Cuireadh go mór le héifeachtacht an tionscnaimh seo bunaithe ar thacaíocht leanúnach lucht bainistíochta agus comhaltaí foirne sna scoileanna rannpháirteacha. - críoch -

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Virtual Technology Stimulates Children's Interest in the Natural World

Friday, 23 May 2008

Science and nature education in the classroom moves into virtual territory with the launch of Brigit's Virtual Garden by NUI Galway. The habitats and features of local visitor attraction, Brigit's Garden, have been digitally recreated in a 3D virtual space. The first public demonstration of the interactive Brigit's Virtual Garden takes place on Wednesday, 28 May, at 3pm in Brigit's Garden, Rosscahill, Co. Galway. Brigit's Virtual Garden is an educational tool, alive with virtual versions of the insects and plants of the 'real' garden. The user navigates the virtual space by controlling the movements of 'Rua' the fox who takes them on an interactive tour of the 3D garden. The virtual garden was designed as part of a project called the Digital Hedge School (DHS), which is a collaborative effort between Brigit's Garden and several partners from NUI Galway including the Environmental Change Institute (ECI), the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), and the Education Department. The DHS project team have been working together for two years to create intergenerational programmes for primary, secondary, and third level students, by exploring the potential of novel technologies to enhance children's environmental education. This year's participants in the DHS project were 4th and 5th class students from St. Patrick's National School, and transition year students from the Presentation Secondary School. Students from both the Galway City schools completed an eight-week training programme in environmental peer education. The students involved in the Digital Hedge School Project spent time in Brigit's Garden taking digital photographs and drawings insects, water bugs, flowers and trees. The students were then shown how to upload their work into the virtual garden. Access to Brigit's Virtual Garden will be available to teachers involved in the project, for use in the classroom as a tool for supporting the educational experience of students visiting Brigit's Garden. "Incorporating technology into environmental education is the way forward in terms of relating to younger generations", says Professor Gerard Jennings, Director of the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway. "The creators of Brigit's Virtual Garden have been very successful in providing a technology that stimulates children's interest in the natural environment and encourages them to step outside the classroom and explore the world around them." The collaborators look forward to celebrating the success of the hard work of all of the students involved at the launch of Brigit's Virtual Garden, which is free and open to all. For more information on the project or the launch event please contact Dr. Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer for the Environmental Change Institute, on 091 495061. -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Symposium on the Future of Universities

Friday, 23 May 2008

NUI Galway is to hold an international conference on 5-6 June entitled 'Critical Thinking: The Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities'. The event aims to raise fundamental questions regarding the challenges and opportunities faced by universities and other providers of higher education in Ireland and beyond. At this two day event, a range of distinguished experts will deliver presentations on issues including higher education management and policy, globalisation, linking teaching and research, and fostering civic engagement. According to Dr. Kelly Coate, Lecturer in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and conference convener, NUI Galway, "This symposium will bring together key commentators on higher education in order to pose a fundamental question: what is the purpose of universities in the 21st Century? How is this purpose changing, and what are the drivers of change? Does the university as such have a distinctive role to play in society? We want to spark debates and raise some provocative questions, and we have chosen a diverse range of high-profile plenary speakers who will give contrasting perspectives." The Symposium will be opened by Michael Kelly, Chairman, Higher Education Authority Ireland and Dr. James Browne, President, NUI Galway. In addition, there will be keynotes from Professor Mary Evans, Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics, and author of the book Killing Thinking: The Death of the Universities; and Michael Shattock, author of the OECD Review of Higher Education in Ireland and the book Managing Successful Universities. Dr. Coate added, "Some of the speakers will be quite critical of recent trends in higher education, whereas others will be advocating that certain changes are necessary. Given that some of the speakers are at the forefront of implementing these changes, we think this will be a very good opportunity to hear what they have to say and put questions to them. Participants will also get the chance to discuss some of the key issues in higher education today through workshop sessions facilitated by experts in the field." 'Critical Thinking: The Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities' commences on Thursday, 5 June at 9am and continues on Friday 6 June, in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. For further information or to book a place visit www.conference.ie. -ends-

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NUI Galway Film Graduate Receives Award from Spike Lee at Cannes Film Festival

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A young Irish filmmaker and graduate of NUI Galway's Huston School of Film & Digital Media is among the winners of the first Babelgum Online Film Festival. The winners were announced by Spike Lee at a ceremony during the Cannes Film Festival. The Babelgum Online Film Festival is the first of its kind, and provides a unique distribution opportunity for the newest filmmaking talent. Brian Deane (29), originally from Glanmire in Cork, was awarded the Babelgum Social/Environment Award for his first movie, the short film Without Words. Along with winners from six other categories, Brian received a cheque for €20,000. Over a thousand entries from 86 countries were uploaded for this, the first Babelgum Online Film Festival. Visitors to the Babelgum website decided the competition shortlist, which was then judged by the festival jury, led by renowned director Spike Lee. The other jurors consist of film experts from across the globe, including directors of established film festivals. Last autumn, Brian graduated with an MA in Production and Direction from the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway. Commenting on Brian's win, Rod Stoneman, Director of the School, said, "Without Words is a marvellous example of an imaginative film based on an issue from Public Advocacy. With its memorable symmetrical form it focuses on the tragedy of non-communication between two friends." Founded in 2003, the Huston School of Film & Digital Media offers a range of one-year postgraduate courses in Film Studies; Screenwriting; Production and Direction; Arts Policy and Practice; Public Advocacy and Activism; and Digital Media. In autumn of 2008, the first undergraduate course offered through the CAO system will come on stream, the BA with Film Studies. Brian Deane's Without Words can be viewed on the School's website www.filmschool.ie -ends-

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