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November 2015 Sports Aerodynamics Student Scoops Threesis Prize
Threesis is focused on taking students and staff out of their comfort zones to present their research to a general audience using only three slides over three minutes to three judges. The focus is on impact; how research at NUI Galway impacts upon our daily lives, those of our family and our broader community.
The competitors had come through a series of heats already held on campus, to take on the final challenge at a public event in An Taibhdhearc.
The winners were judged on how well they conveyed and communicated their subject to a sell-out audience. Paul Mannion’s presentation was on the ‘GEEC 2.0 - Galway Energy Efficient Car Design and Development’ which is currently in construction phase and aims to improve fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamic design. A postgraduate research student from New Inn, Co Galway, Paul is studying sports aerodynamics at NUI Galway. He is a member of the GEEC 1.0 team, a car designed and built by NUI Galway engineering students, which competed in the Shell Eco Marathon in Rotterdam in May of this year and is currently Ireland’s most fuel efficient vehicle.
Second prize went to Juhi Samal a third year PhD student at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway with her presentation ‘Biomaterial pills for Parkinson’s’. Originally from Odisha in India, Juhi moved to Galway in 2013, when she was awarded the Hardiman Fellowship. Her PhD focuses on developing solutions for neurodegenerative disease. In particular, her research is investigating delivery of neurotrophic factors to the brain, to modify neuronal dysfunctions in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD). Juhi was also recently awarded first prize at the 27th European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) Conference held in Krackow, Poland for this same research.
Liam Lachs, a final year Marine Science student from Killarney, Co. Kerry, took the third prize with his presentation ‘How does cold wet Ireland have colourful coral reefs?’ Liam began a project last summer assessing the distribution of vulnerable deep sea coral ecosystems at the continental margin West of Ireland. This work involved a three-week coral survey on the RV Celtic Explorer and has developed into a final year project. With a great appreciation of the environment and oceans from years of surfing around the Irish west coasts and living near the sea, Liam is assured that coral ecosystems are worth a global conservation effort. Liam is interested in furthering the understanding of the forces behind coral distribution and their responses to climate change.
Isma Liza Mohd Isa, won the audience prize for her presentation ‘Biomaterials Approach for Treating Back Pain’. Isma, originally from northern Malaysia is a third year student, is also based at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices. A mother of two children, Isma is focusing her research on the development of a biomaterial implant to relieve back pain caused by intervertebral disc damage. Her aim is to construct a therapeutically implantable device that can reduce inflammation and pain, as well as promote disc repair.
Research areas represented at the Threesis 2015 final included science, engineering, information technology, humanities, social sciences and medicine, with topics ranging from novel tests for early detection of breast cancer to blue ecosystem services.
The three judges; Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, Dr Miriam Haughton, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway and Mr Declan Courell, Registrar at St Angela’s College in Sligo had the responsibility of choosing the overall winners of the night. Jonathan McCrea was Master of Ceremonies for the event. Jonathan is a multi-award-winning TV and radio broadcaster, who presents The Science Squad on RTÉ, The Lie on TV3 and Futureproof on Newstalk 106-108fm.
Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “I am incredibly proud of our research community. This event highlights some of the fantastic research we have across our campuses in NUI Galway and in St Angela’s College Sligo. A clear indicator of our success as a University is how relevant our research is to our community and how it positively impacts upon society. Our final event showcased this exquisitely; both from the perspective of our excellent presenters to the engagement and encouragement of our audience.”
Other finalists at the event included; Mihael Arcan (Insight, NUI Galway), Mimi Xiao (Economics, NUI Galway), Claudia Kinmonth (Moore Institute, NUI Galway), Declan O'Loughlin (Engineering, NUI Galway), Aoife Murray (Mc Keown Library, St Angela's College Sligo), Daniel Norton (J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway), Cliona Hensey (French, NUI Galway), Hannah Durand (School of Psychology, NUI Galway) and Maria Gallo (Office of the President, St Angela’s College Sligo).
For further information on the event visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/threesis/