Tuesday, 14 November 2017

NUI Galway has announced the appointment of a leading expert in environmental biotechnology, Professor Piet Lens, Established Professor of New Energy Technologies at the University’s College of Science. Professor Lens will spearhead a €5 million research project, through an investment under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship Programme, to develop novel bioreactor concepts that will recover energy from waste and wastewater. The project will add new biofuels generated from waste products to Ireland’s energy mix, and in turn support the Government’s strategy for an energy self-sufficient Irish bioeconomy. Biotechnology harnesses organisms from natural environments to provide foods and medicines and for tasks such as cleaning toxic waste or detecting harmful substances. New technologies have enabled modern biotechnology to become an important part of the ‘smart economy’ in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, the food industry and the environment. Speaking about Professor Lens’ appointment, Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Lens as he joins our vibrant research community here in Galway. Professor Lens is recognised as a world-leader in the area of environmental engineering and his appointment is an invaluable addition to the ongoing energy research at NUI Galway. His research will develop new technologies to generate energy which will positively impact sustainable food production, environmental protection and climate change.’ There is much media debate about methane emissions from Ireland’s agricultural industry. Cutting-edge technologies can take waste products and use them to produce fuel and other valuable products, while reducing pathogen levels and greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable, biomethane is an important energy source in countries like France, Germany and the UK, while in Ireland preparations are at an advanced stage for State-support incentives for energy production in this way. Within the NUI Galway Ryan Institute, Professor Lens’ programme of work will focus on four components of biotechnology; Research into new bacteria from marine and deep sea sediments for potential energy generation; Demonstrating how bioenergy production processes work using novel analytical techniques and innovative mathematical models; Developing new bioreactor configurations and process trains to make the energy production processes work; Application at pilot and full-scale industrial sites to translate the research findings into marketable bioenergy production technologies, including patenting and licencing. This work is very much aligned with the environmental dimension of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which focus on the sustainable management of natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Piet Lens, said: “Receipt of such a significant grant provides an important opportunity to create an enormous impact in the field of bioenergy production. I’m extremely delighted to be awarded this Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship at NUI Galway, which has a long standing reputation as a world-class research hub in the field of anaerobic digestion and environmental microbiology. I’m committed to contributing to further developments in this area and to supporting a strong national and international network of academic and industrial partners linked to this university.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Professor Piet Lens to NUI Galway through the SFI Research Professorship Programme. Professor Lens is a world-leading researcher dedicated to developing novel bioprocesses for the recovery of resources such as energy, metals and nutrients from waste. His work will contribute to the greening of our economy and Ireland’s energy sector, and will support the implementation of a circular economy in Ireland through the invention and application of new technologies. His appointment epitomises Science Foundation Ireland’s commitment to fund world-class research with impact in the energy and environment sectors.” Professor Lens will collaborate nationally with research teams in NUI Galway, the MaREI and BEACON Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres, and the Energy and Dairy Processing Technology Centres. Professor Lens will lead a Seminar entitled ‘Trends in Environmental Biotechnology’ on Thursday 23 November at NUI Galway. To hear Professor Lens speak about his project, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2eVd--_7y4 -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Policy-makers around the globe will have a series of concrete recommendations for reform of law, policy and practice on legal capacity resulting from VOICES project NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy project, The Voices of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination (VOICES) will hold its final workshop on the 22 of November in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway.  The VOICES project takes an innovative approach to law reform by developing recommendations for how the law should change based on the stories of those with lived experience of disability. People with disabilities, activists, researchers and practitioners have worked together to co-author chapters for an edited collection to be published in 2018. This final workshop will draw together the four core themes of the project; criminal responsibility, contractual capacity, consent to treatment and consent to sex, and will feature a mix of personal narratives, art and theoretical perspectives.  The workshop will be a conference style event and is open to the public where all 28 co-authors from 10 different countries will share their experiences of the project and discuss common themes across the chapters in the book. Speakers include people with disabilities, academics, and activists with experience of using stories to drive social change. A keynote speech will be given by Dr Michael Bach, Managing Director of the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society in Canada. For over 30 years Dr Bach has undertaken research and development in Canada and internationally on ways to advance the full inclusion and human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Principal Investigator on the VOICES Project and Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming this diverse mix of participants back to NUI Galway for the final workshop of this project. Participants from Ireland, the UK, Canada, Kenya, Australia, India, Bulgaria, Sweden, China and the Czech Republic will all gather in Galway to share their experiences and put the finishing touches to what promises to be a fantastic book. As a result of their work, policy-makers around the globe will have a series of concrete recommendations for reform of law, policy and practice on legal capacity.” The VOICES project is funded by a European Research Council Starting Grant, awarded to Dr Eilionóir Flynn, the youngest person to ever receive such an award. This is a free event and further information is available at www.ercvoices.com or by contacting Clíona de Bhailís on ercvoices@nuigalway.ie or 091 494272. Participant accessibility requests and enquiries are welcomed. -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Building on its existing reputation as an environmentally-friendly and societally responsive university, NUI Galway has launched a wide-reaching Sustainability Strategy. The strategy illustrates an ambitious vision for the campus to become a role model for the transition to a more sustainable future. The document was officially launched by Senator Alice Mary Higgins at an event held on campus on 15 November 2017 and attended by staff, students and the wider Galway community. The strategy sets out a vision to establish NUI Galway as a leading green, smart and healthy campus. Its successful implementation will ensure that NUI Galway’s reputation around the world is enhanced, that graduates are valued for their world-readiness, that research tackles societal challenges, and that the campus will be a role model for sustainability. The university already has a groundswell of research, events, activities, societies and building initiatives which are related to sustainability. The university offers almost 200 courses covering environmental and/or sustainability issues, and has won the top award for most biodiverse campus at Ireland’s Intervarsity BioBlitz competition. Earlier this year it announced plans to divest from fossil fuel shares. Building on this momentum, the strategy identifies 20 measures for success, under six themes, which serve as indicators for much more extensive work under each theme. An example from each, to be implemented by 2020, include: Research and learning: A 15% increase in sustainability research Energy and greenhouse gas emissions: A 33% reduction in total energy consumption Nature and ecosystems: Compile and implement a biodiversity management plan Health and wellbeing: Strengthen mental health and resilience Built Environment: Reduce water consumption by 20% Governance and leadership: Flagship project with Saolta University Healthcare Group, HSE Community Healthcare Organisation 2, and Galway City Council Attending the launch, Senator Alice-Mary Higgins from Seanad Éireann, said: “It is wonderful to see NUI Galway recognising the crucial role that they and other third level institutions can and should play in shaping a sustainable future on our shared planet. This strategy demonstrates more of the positive joined up thinking seen in the University’s recent commitment to divestment from fossil fuels following a successful campaign by staff and students. While the proposals in this plan are well-grounded in Galway and the campus community, they are also a commitment to partnership with the wider world. The UN Sustainable Development Goals have set out an important blueprint for Ireland and many countries and remind us that sustainability is not only about the environment, it is also about social sustainability. It is therefore great to see holistic proposals in this strategy that range from crucial climate change research to new mental health initiatives with space for new and innovative ideas to emerge.” Speaking at the launch the University’s Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “We live in times of extreme pressure on the resources of our planet, as well as the increased pressures of society which permeate through to each individual. Today, from this campus which is more than 170 years old, we are putting in place a strategy that addresses today’s reality and puts down our ideas for a more sustainable future. This is, and has been, a collaborative, community effort, and it is only by coming together and working together that we can achieve our desired future.” NUI Galway has already instigated demonstrator projects to inspire sustainable behaviour change and to pilot elements of the Sustainability Strategy. For example, the Battle of the Buildings Project aimed to make students and staff more aware of the energy use of campus buildings and to encourage energy-efficient behaviour through collegial competition. Community effort The strategy is the culmination of a long process of consultation with thousands of members of the NUI Galway staff and students, as well as partners such as the Saolta University Healthcare Group. “Through the consultation process, we spoke with people about sustainability in its broadest sense. We looked across the spectrum, from the built environment to wellbeing, from what we teach in the lecture halls to student engagement in our local communities, from research on energy and ecosystems to governance and leadership. This strategy is the culmination of all of that, and our Learn, Live, Lead approach to Sustainability hopefully gives us the foundation to build an even longer-term strategy and become an exemplar in this space”, explains Dr Frances Fahy, Senior Lecturer in Geography at NUI Galway, and member of the Community and University Sustainability Project (CUSP), which led the strategy creation. The NUI Galway Strategic Plan, Vision 2020, outlines a vision of ‘creating a sustainable campus where all resources are used efficiently and where facilities are managed and services consolidated as efficiently as possible’. To develop and realise this vision, the Community and University Sustainability Project (CUSP) was established in 2015 under the direction of the Registrar and Deputy President. CUSP is supported by the University, Students’ Union, Saolta University Healthcare Group, HSE Community Healthcare Organisation (CHO) 2 and Galway City Council, and is funded through the Students’ Projects Fund. The CUSP team is composed of more than 20 students and staff, from across the campus community and Galway University Hospitals. To mark the launch of the strategy and to recognise the community aspect of the initiative, a special event called ‘Galway City’s Sustainability Stories’ was held on campus. With Galway City having been awarded the title European Green Leaf 2017 this year, the event featured short presentations from organisations involved in sustainability throughout Galway City, in different ways and at different scales. Read the report here http://www.nuigalway.ie/sustainability/ -Ends-

Monday, 13 November 2017

Researchers from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway have published their latest research findings based on the experiences of children, young people and their families involved in Meitheal*, the Tusla-led early intervention national practice model. The research is part of a comprehensive programme of early intervention and preventative work undertaken by Tusla as part of the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support (PPFS) Programme. This research provides an overview of the interim findings of the report entitled, ‘Meitheal Process and Outcomes Study’, for which data collection is ongoing. This is a longitudinal study with three waves of data collection that focuses on gathering data at a pre, post and follow-up stage. This report focuses specifically on data gathered on the implementation and impact of Meitheal. The NUI Galway study shows that families benefit most when there is a trusting relationship with the practitioners supporting them, when they are asked their views about what is causing the difficulties and what would help resolve these when agencies work together. It is important to understand the strengths and needs of the wider family and not to concentrate solely on the child or young person in question experiencing difficulties. The research also shows that the mothers’ well-being has a big impact on the well-being of children and young people.  This research was carried out by Dr Carmel Devaney, lecturer and principal investigator on a number of research and evaluation projects under the Prevention, Partnership and Family Support Programme, and postdoctoral researchers Dr Leonor Rodriguez and Dr Anne Cassidy at NUI Galway. Speaking about the study, Dr Carmel Devaney said: “The findings highlight the importance of the supportive empathetic relationship between practitioners and families. Family members also reported their appreciation of being included in the process of identifying their needs and deciding on a helpful response to these. Children and young people highlighted that they felt listened to, with some noting definite improvements in their lives as a result of taking part in Meitheal. “While it is too early to determine the impact of Meitheal on the system of help provision in the Irish context, its introduction has heightened the visibility of the work that Tusla carries out with families who do not meet the threshold for an intervention by Child Protection and Welfare services.” This report is part of the wider programme of research and evaluation that the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway are involved with, in relation to Tusla’s Programme of Prevention, Partnership and Family Support. Further research on the impact of Meitheal and its outcomes will be published in mid-2018. To read the report in full, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Commission hosts consultative event as part of national consultation in preparation of new programme of law reform The Law Reform Commission is hosting a consultative meeting in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 22 November at 5pm. The Commission would like to hear from local stakeholders, legal professionals and members of the public about areas of law that may be in need of reform.  The Law Reform Commission is currently engaged in preparing a Fifth Programme of Law Reform, which will form the basis of its work over the next several years. The meeting will provide a forum for suggestions and discussion of current legal issues, and forms a very important part of the Commission’s preparations for projects to be included in its new Programme of Law Reform. As part of this consultative process, the Commission has begun a series of consultative events across the country, including Dublin, Limerick, Dundalk and Cork, seeking ideas and discussion of legal issues from a broad range of stakeholders and interested parties. These events will provide a forum for suggestions and for discussion of current legal issues, and will play a very important role in the Commission’s preparation of its Fifth Programme of Law Reform. The Commission encourages those interested to attend the consultation most convenient to them. Under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975, the Commission is required to prepare from time to time a Programme of Law Reform, which forms the principal basis on which it carries out its statutory mandate to keep the law under review with a view to its reform and modernisation. The new Programme of Law Reform will, as provided by the 1975 Act, be prepared by the Commission in consultation with the Attorney General for submission by the Taoiseach to the Government for ultimate approval. Speaking in advance of the consultative event to be held in NUI Galway, Professor Donncha O’Connell who (with Tom O’Malley, also of the School of Law in NUI Galway) is a member of the Commission, said: “Engaging with members of the public and legal professionals around the country allows the Commission to know what law reform issues are of most pressing concern to people and this can be critically important information in setting priorities for the Commission. We hope that there is a strong and diverse attendance at our Galway meeting and look forward with great interest to hearing as wide a range of views as possible.” The meeting is expected to run from 5pm until approximately 7pm and will be followed by a reception hosted by the Commission. Those who would like to attend are invited to contact the Commission by emailing events@lawreform.ie -Ends-

Monday, 13 November 2017

Recent measurements in homes in the West of Ireland have found radon levels equivalent to receiving in excess of 20 chest x-rays per day Researchers at the School of Physics in NUI Galway have found that radon gas levels in houses and buildings in certain parts of Ireland are in excess of levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The National Radon Control Strategy for Ireland has identified knowledge gaps, including the optimum specifications for passive soil depressurisation systems that take account of Irish building practices. The NUI Galway research project, OptiSDS is investigating several of these knowledge gaps. The World Health Organisation has categorised radon as a carcinogen, in the same group as asbestos and tobacco smoke. In Ireland, up to 250 cases of lung cancer each year are linked to exposure to radon. There is a synergistic effect between radon and tobacco smoke. This means that smokers are at much greater risk of developing radon related lung cancer than non-smokers. There is no scientific evidence linking radon with any other types of respiratory illnesses or other cancers. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It has no taste, colour or smell. It is formed in the ground by the radioactive decay of uranium which is present in all rocks and soils. You cannot see it, smell it or taste it. It can only be measured with special detectors. Outside radon is diluted to very low levels. Radon can enter a home from the ground through small cracks in floors and through gaps around pipes or cables. Indoor radon levels can vary across the country from low levels to tens of times in excess of the reference level set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Recent measurements in homes in the West of Ireland have found radon levels equivalent to receiving in excess of 20 chest x-rays per day. Dr Mark Foley Academic Director of the Masters in Medical Physics at NUI Galway, said: “This Environmental Protection Agency funded OptiSDS project is a good example of collaborations between engineers and scientists in NUI Galway and also with collaborators across Europe to address knowledge gaps in radon research. Through outreach events we are also promoting public awareness of radon risk, radon measurement, radon mitigation and radon preventative techniques.” Dr Jamie Goggins, Principal Investigator in the Centre for Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) at NUI Galway, said: “One of the main aims of the project is to determine the effectiveness of soil depressurisation systems at extracting radon from under buildings. We are doing this through controlled laboratory tests at NUI Galway, in the development of robust numerical simulations and using a specially designed pilot house in a high radon area in Spain, in collaboration with Professor Luis Quindos in the University of Cantabria. It is imperative that we design and construct safe, healthy, comfortable and energy efficient buildings.” The OptiSDS research project will feature on the RTÉ One show, ‘10 Things to Know About’ series opener today, Monday 13 November at 8.30pm, a week after European Radon Day. This research project is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information about the OptiSDS project, visit: https://www.nuigalway.ie/science/schoolofphysics/research/optisds / -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Grant will support groundbreaking research in global health and development NUI Galway announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr Jim Duggan from the University’s College of Engineering and Informatics will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled HealthSIM. The HealthSIM project focuses on the challenge to strengthen health systems by using computer science and analytics methods to support the design of health supply chains to enhance supply chain performance, and improve decision making in order to reduce disease morbidity and mortality, and ensure that the right medication arrives for the right person at the right time. The idea underpinning this research proposal is to design, implement and test a cloud-based public health supply chain simulator. In effect, this will create a virtual laboratory for public health officials in low and middle income countries, and in turn support learning, information sharing, and decision making within the health supply chain. In welcoming the funding, Lead Investigator on the project, Dr Jim Duggan from NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to receive this generous funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work on a project with such high impact potential. The project is highly interdisciplinary, and involves collaboration with our colleagues in the School of Medicine, and also our international partners from our recent EU-funded PANDEM* project. The project highlights the exciting potential of collaborating with public health professionals to apply computer science and mathematics to help address sustainable development challenges.” Grand Challenges Explorations supports innovative thinkers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges. Dr Jim Duggan’s project is one of 51 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 19 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To receive funding, Dr Jim Duggan and other Grand Challenges Explorations winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of four critical global health and development topic areas. The foundation will be accepting applications for the next Grand Challenges Explorations round in February 2018.  This is the second Grand Challenge NUI Galway is undertaking. In 2013, a team worked with a group of female smallholder farmers in Tanzania to design and develop their own labor-saving agricultural tools using the latest 3D printing tools. The University’s Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi, commented: “Grand Challenges Explorations is identifying some of the most pressing problems of our times and rallying scientists and innovators around the world to come up with real solutions. We look forward to the work Jim Duggan and his team will do to help create a smoother pipeline in the supply of lifesaving medicines and care.” -Ends-

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

NUI Galway postgraduate courses have been shortlisted for the national gradireland Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards 2017. The award winners will be announced on Friday, 24 November at a reception in Dublin. The postgraduate courses that have been shortlisted are: The MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis, School of Psychology, is shortlisted as the Postgraduate Course of the year in Arts & Humanities The Masters in Health Sciences (Children's Palliative and Complex Care), School of Nursing and Midwifery is shortlisted for the Postgraduate Course of the Year Award in Health Sciences sponsored by AbbVie The Masters in Health Sciences (Children's Palliative and Complex Care), School of Nursing and Midwifery and the MSc (International Accounting & Analytics), J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics are both shortlisted for Best New Course The MSc in International Management (IM), J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics is shortlisted for the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Business, Finance & Management NUI Galway’s Student Recruitment Office has also been shortlisted for the Best Postgraduate Prospectuses for 2017 sponsored by VS Direct The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We’re delighted to again make the shortlist for these important national awards; it’s great that the calibre of our postgraduate courses is being acknowledged, as is their effectiveness in terms of employability, and interaction with industry and business. These courses are now accepting applications and those interested can apply online via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie/nuigalway. We also offer generous full-time taught masters scholarships for first-class students, so that’s another reason to consider NUI Galway for postgraduate studies.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Over 4,800 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway. -Ends-

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Research will help to understand the mechanisms of immune regulation and contribute to the development of new treatment strategies for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rejection of transplants Researchers from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Advanced Glycoscience Research Cluster (AGRC) have been working together to examine how sugar (carbohydrate) molecules attached to the surfaces of immune cells participate in the normal protective functions of those cells. The researchers have published two new studies in the leading open access journal Frontiers of Immunology, which demonstrate that chains of sugar molecules, referred to as glycans, attached to proteins and other components of the cell surface, play an essential role in the function of two very important cells of the immune system. In the first study, PhD student Joana Cabral with Professor Matthew Griffin at REMEDI and Professor Lokesh Joshi at AGRC in NUI Galway, discovered that a specialised type of immune cell, the regulatory T cell (or T-reg), has a distinctive pattern of glycans on its surface compared to other T cell types. T-regs are known to play a policing role in the immune system that prevents inappropriate activation that can lead to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes or to rejection of transplants. By using enzymes to ‘trim away’ the sugar molecules from the surface of T-regs, the research team, in collaboration with Dr Jared Gerlach of AGRC, observed that the ability of T-regs to suppress strong immune activity was heavily dependent on their normal glycan pattern. Insights from the research help to better understand the mechanisms of immune regulation and can contribute to the development of new treatment strategies for a range of diseases that involve over- or under-activity of the immune system. In the second study, PhD student Kevin Lynch, working with Professor Thomas Ritter and Dr Aideen Ryan from REMEDI and Professor Lokesh Joshi investigated how a commonly used steroid medication alters the pattern of sugar molecules on immune cells known as dendritic cells (or DCs). The main function of DCs is to stimulate T-cells to act against foreign molecules (antigens) associated with infectious microbes or, alternatively, to prevent T-cells being activated against harmless antigens, a process known as immune tolerance. The research team found that after steroid treatment, DCs develop an increase in specific surface glycans that make them more likely to cause immune tolerance, a finding that may help to design new treatment approaches to prevent or treat autoimmune diseases and rejection of transplants. The group also found that when the same sugar molecules are removed from the surface of DCs, they become more powerful at stimulating active immune responses. This insight may be of particular relevance to cancer treatments which aim to increase T cell activation against antigens contained in tumours. Commenting on the publication of the studies, Professor Matthew Griffin at NUI Galway, said: “The fascinating results we observed by manipulating the surface glycan patterns of T-reg are a beautiful example of the complexity of molecular interactions between different cells of the immune system. The work could not have been successful without a close collaboration between researchers from two very different disciplines. These collaborations have been built, in particular, on NUI Galway’s investment in infrastructure for Biomedical research and on Science Foundation Ireland’s funding support for research clusters in regenerative medicine and glycoscience and, more recently, the CÚRAM centre for research in medical devices.” Professor Thomas Ritter at NUI Galway, commented: “These results could have important implications for both the field of immunotherapies and cancer treatment. The importance of sugar residues in controlling how immune responses occur is under-studied and warrants further investigations.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “In contrast to the current state of gene and protein biology, many of the details of sugar-based structure and function throughout biology remain mysterious. The results of these studies underscore the importance of understanding complex glycans and their specific cues within the larger mechanisms of cellular interaction. This work provides new avenues for potentially enhancing or regulating elements of immune function. These findings could only have been made possible through collaboration with Professors Ritter and Griffin and the persistence of our respective research teams, all made possible by Ireland’s continuing support of high quality scientific research.” Professor Michael O’Dwyer, Consultant Haematologist at NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital, and an internationally recognised expert in blood cancers, commented: “I am very excited about these results regarding the restoration to immunity after removal of sugar residues on antigen-presenting cells. I am currently working with Professor Ritter and Dr Ryan to investigate the role of glycans in the immune response to blood cancer. The exciting findings of this work, which show that the manipulation of sugar residues on stem cells helps to restore anti-cancer immune response, will be presented later this month at the annual meeting of the American Haematology Society.” The research studies were supported by individual and centre grants from Science Foundation Ireland as well as a PhD fellowship to Dr Cabral through the Irish Government’s PRTLI5 initiative. -Ends-

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Deloitte is pleased to announce that it will be partnering with NUI Galway on the University’s new BComm Global Experience course. As part of the partnership, Deloitte will provide funding over five years to support students while studying abroad. The new Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) course at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics in NUI Galway offers the opportunity of a work placement and a study abroad in the same year. The global experience is fundamental to the educational experience and offers students the opportunity to experience new cultures and to work in new environments. NUI Galway partners with universities in a variety of countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Sweden, the UK and the USA, amongst others. The Deloitte funding will be used as a grant to support students travelling abroad during the third year of the course. Brendan Jennings, Managing Partner, Deloitte commented: “At Deloitte, we see first-hand, and on a daily basis, the ever increasing need for international experience and an ability to work across borders. Our clients are operating in a more globally connected way than ever before, and therefore we need to work this way also. We are delighted to support the NUIG Deloitte scholars in gaining this important and valuable experience. We very much believe that it will equip them well in their future business careers.” Speaking at the launch, Professor John McHale, Dean of the College of Business Public Policy and Law at NUI Galway, said:  “We are delighted to announce this exciting partnership with Deloitte. We are very proud for our BComm (Global Experience) students to have the title ‘Deloitte Global Scholars’, a title representative of the high academic calibre of our students, and the endorsement shown by Deloitte in supporting students reach their full potential.”  The first Deloitte Global Scholars will be travelling abroad in September 2018. NUI Galway anticipates that in excess of 500 students will avail of the Deloitte funding over the five years of the partnership. Ends

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

NUI Galway Cell EXPLORERS science outreach network will bring its ‘Fantastic DNA’ national roadshow to schools during this month’s Science Week. For the fifth year in a row the Cell EXPLORERS roadshow, established by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, will once again visit primary schools across Ireland bringing hands-on experiments to over 3,500 school children this term and during this month’s Science Week. The Cell EXPLORERS national network has continued its expansion this year with the inclusion of five new partner teams with NUI Galway, the IT Carlow, Letterkenny IT, Maynooth University, the National Virus Reference Laboratory UCD and UCC. The new teams are joining the network of five existing teams, Athlone IT, UL, IT Tralee and Dundalk IT. Last year, 125 scientists visited 43 schools throughout the country, reaching 1,881 children to teach them about cells and DNA through hands-on activities. According to the statistics, 64% of the children visited last year had not previously met a scientist. Overall, pupils’ feedback was positive, highlighting that their favorite part of the session was the opportunity to use scientific equipment and doing the experiment themselves. “The scientists were brilliant at explaining and it was all fun experiments”, said one sixth class pupil in Co. Kerry. “I liked meeting the Cell EXPLORERS because I never met a scientist who was a girl before”, commented another fifth class pupil from Co. Roscommon. Teachers hosting the ‘Fantastic DNA’ session indicated that it had a made a real impact on the pupils, giving them the opportunity of doing hands-on science and having fun in their classrooms. A teacher from Co. Kerry said: “I thought that today's session was fantastic. The children learned so much and also a greater interest in science was instilled in them.” Teachers also highlighted as major benefits the opportunity for each child to do an experiment and for interacting with local 3rd level scientists, both characteristics of Cell EXPLORERS visits. Dr Muriel Grenon, Founding Director of Cell EXPLORERS said: “We have been piloting a unique way of directly involving Irish higher education institutions in engaging young people in science for five years with the support of Science Foundation Ireland. The expansion of the programme, based on volunteering activities of university students and staff, has grown beyond our expectation. The success of the program is due to our collaborators, based in 10 higher education partner institutions. The participation benefits that we bring to children, teachers and our team members are key motivators for our coordinators to be part of the network despite of the additional workload.” Dr Claudia Fracchiolla, National Coordinator of the Cell EXPLORERS network also commented: “Preliminary research suggests that the programme provides a unique opportunity to the children but also provides benefits to our team members. Volunteers participating in the program develop transferable skills, as well as personal development, which are important outcomes for tomorrow’s researchers, educators, and communicators. Our volunteers would recommend participating in the programme to a friend, and strongly believe that universities and institutes of technology must engage in science outreach.” Cell EXPLORERS activities, and the expansion of the programme to other institutions, is funded by a two-year award from Science Foundation Ireland, NUI Galway and the NUI Galway Foundation.  For more information or to book a show at your school, visit www.cellexplorers.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter @cellexplorers. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is seeking over 1,000 participants across Ireland to take part in an online study to understand the relationship between major life events such as bereavement and compulsive hoarding. The study will be the largest of its kind ever conducted in Ireland. The researchers are looking for people with all levels of hoarding to participate, ranging from people who may just have cluttered, disorganised homes to those who may have a serious difficulty, as well as people who do not hoard. People who hoard often have very cluttered homes as they keep things that may seem useless to other people, buy things they don’t need, and feel they can’t throw anything away. However, hoarding is more common than was previously thought and it is not well understood. Previous research has shown that hoarders often feel a very strong emotional attachment to their belongings, and they might feel the need to save things should they need them in the future. This NUI Galway study is interested in looking at how people’s life experiences relate to hoarding. It seeks to understand whether the experience of losing a loved one or other major life events might make people more likely to accumulate belongings and have difficultly throwing things away. The researchers believe that this might be the key to understanding and helping people with this difficulty.  The study is being carried out by Dr Elizabeth Kehoe, a doctoral student on the clinical psychology training programme at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway and Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the clinical programme. Speaking about the study, Dr Kehoe said: “We are interested in the emotional reasons why people hoard, and with this study we will investigate the link between bereavement and other difficult life events, and hoarding. For example, belongings might bring a sense of comfort or safety following a loss.” Dr Jonathan Egan Director from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, and a Chartered Clinical and Chartered Health Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland, said: “The team are really interested in a holistic view of why we collect things and why it can increase at times following a bereavement or personal upset. We want to hear from a large range of people, from those who would rate themselves as ‘life-long-Magpies’ to those who have noticed that it is becoming difficult to part with newspapers and other non-essential house-hold items, or even that their house is becoming very crammed and it affects the ability to share their home with guests.” To participate in the study visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/nuighoarding -Ends-

Monday, 6 November 2017

New research published in The Lancet medical journal this week shows that climate change is already a significant public health issue and a looming global health emergency. Professor Paul Wilkinson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one of the authors of ‘The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change’ report, will tell an audience in NUI Galway today about the various ways climate change is already affecting the health of people across the planet today. The report builds on the work of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change, which concluded that anthropogenic (produced by human activity) climate change now threatens to undermine the last 50 years of gains in public health. The organiser of the Irish launch of the Lancet Countdown 2017 report, Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and the Ryan Institute Centre for Health from Environment, said: “Climate change is already a huge issue for millions of people and we are beginning to feel the health effects in Ireland. We need urgent action to improve our health and prevent loss of life globally and locally.” Leading doctors, academics and policy professionals from 26 partner organisations have contributed analysis and jointly authored the Lancet report. The authors are clear the necessary response to climate change still provides an opportunity to realise substantial gains in public health. The potential benefits and opportunities are staggering, including cleaning-up the air of polluted cities, delivering more nutritious diets, ensuring energy, food and water security, and alleviating poverty, alongside social and economic inequalities. Professor Charles Spillane, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “For the next two weeks the world’s governments will meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP23 inter-governmental meeting in Bonn this year to advance climate action following the 2015 Paris Agreement, on the topic of climate change impacts on global health. The Lancet Countdown report provides the evidence that policymakers need to act on, to accelerate action in all countries to reduce emissions and improve public health, while strengthening the resilience of the world’s most vulnerable communities to adverse impacts of climate change. All societies need to rapidly step onto low-carbon pathways based on clean energy and sustainable diets, to ensure that public health gains are maintained and improved over the decades ahead.” The Chair of the Lancet Countdown’s High-Level Advisory Board, Christiana Figueres, highlighted that: “Tackling climate change directly, unequivocally and immediately improves global health. It’s as simple as that.” For more information about Lancet Countdown, visit: http://www.lancetcountdown.org/ -Ends-

Monday, 6 November 2017

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is inviting people with intellectual disabilities, and their families in Galway, Limerick, Clare and Tipperary to participate in a year-long study about the provision of future residential care for older adults with an intellectual disability.  As people with an intellectual disability get older, and their care needs increase, it may be a requirement to move from their homes to nursing homes or other residential placements. This study aims to explore where people would prefer to live when they are older and, importantly, how those decisions are made. The study aims to gather people’s opinions about future residential care and accommodation for older adults with an intellectual disability.   Elaine Rogers, Clinical Psychologist and principal researcher of the study at NUI Galway, said: “Many people with intellectual disabilities have never been asked where they would like to live when they are older. We are encouraging people with intellectual disabilities, their families and all stakeholders to get involved in the data we are gathering until the end of December 2017. It is important that people participate as the information may be used to inform service developments.”  Dr Jonathan Egan, Director of Clinical Practice in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “For me this research is both important at an advocacy level for Chartered Clinical Psychologists and service providers across Ireland, but also because I have a brother with an intellectual disability who is middle-aged and my parents are getting older. I think that this is a subject which needs an integrated-intergenerational approach involving the family and service providers in a person-centred approach around the changing needs of the person with an intellectual disability. In a way, this is also a real measure of how we, as a society demonstrate to all citizens who need our considered support, respect and love in order to improve both ours and their quality of life across the entire life-span.” People with an intellectual disability over 40 years of age, their families, and stakeholders, are encouraged to participate in the study. Taking part would involve a one-to-one interview.  For further information about the study please contact Elaine Rogers, Clinical Psychologist, NUI Galway at e.rogers3@nuigalway.ie or at 087-7911331. -Ends- 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Beidh Lá Oscailte bliantúil na nIarchéimithe ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh Dé Máirt, an 7 Samhain, ó 12-3pm i Halla Bailey Allen, Áras na Mac Léinn. Is ócáid thábhachtach an Lá Oscailte do dhaoine gairmiúla, do chéimithe agus d’fhochéimithe reatha atá ag díriú ar a bhfuil amach rompu, agus a bhfuil rún acu a gcuid cáilíochtaí a thabhairt suas chun dáta, cur lena gcuid scileanna, cur lena gcuid saineolais agus, dá réir sin, cur leis na deiseanna fostaíochta atá acu. Beidh eolas á thabhairt ag an Lá Oscailte faoi os cionn 170 clár iarchéime lánaimseartha agus páirtaimseartha de chuid OÉ Gaillimh, agus beidh eolas le fáil ann faoi rogha leathan máistreachtaí taighde agus dochtúireachtaí. Beidh níos mó ná 100 seastán ann a mbeidh eolas le fáil acu faoi na deiseanna iarchéime san Ollscoil agus beidh idir chomhaltaí foirne acadúla agus mhic léinn i láthair le ceisteanna faoi chúrsaí ar leith a fhreagairt. Ag labhairt di faoin tairbhe a bhaineann le cáilíocht iarchéime, míníonn Valerie Leahy, Oifigeach Earcaíochta Iarchéime, an fáth ar cheart do mhic léinn cuimhneamh go láidir ar a gcuid roghanna tar éis na céime, “Léiríonn taighde go dtagann méadú suntasach ar chumas tuillimh agus ar na deiseanna le dul chun cinn a dhéanamh i ngairmeacha tar éis cáilíocht iarchéime.  Lena chois sin, cuireann sí le hinfhostaitheacht.” Bíonn an-tóir ar Ghaillimh ag mic léinn. De thoradh an fógra a rinneadh le gairid go raibh OÉ Gaillimh ainmnithe mar Ollscoil na Bliana 2018 mar aon leis an Ollscoil a bheith rangaithe ar an 1% is fearr ar domhan de réir Ranguithe Domhanda QS, is féidir le mic léinn a bheith cinnte go bhfaighidh siad cáilíocht ó ollscoil atá aitheanta as ardchaighdeán teagaisc agus taighde. Le cinneadh a dhéanamh tabhairt faoi cháilíocht iarchéime, tá sé fíorthábhachtach oiread eolais agus is féidir a fháil faoin bpróiseas iarratais agus faoi na roghanna maoinithe atá ar fáil. Tugann an Lá Oscailte na daoine agus na heagraíochtaí ar fad a chuireann tacaíocht ar fáil do mhic léinn iarchéime le chéile ar aon láthair amháin. Beidh eolas faoi chláir nua do 2018 le fáil ag an Lá Oscailte lena n-áirítear cláir Mháistreachta i nGnóthaí Rialúcháin na Teicneolaíochta Leighis agus Caighdeáin; Cillmhonarú agus Cillteiripí; Micreascópacht agus Íomháú; Cosliacht; Ceannaireacht Chomhshaoil; Gnó agus Fáilteachas; Cuntasaíocht agus Anailísíocht Idirnáisiúnta; agus Agrai-Eolaíochtaí Bitheacha. Le spléachadh a fháil ar chláir iarchéime nua eisiacha OÉ Gaillimh, agus le háit a chur in áirithe ag an Lá Oscailte féach www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day -Críoch- 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

New research from the Discipline of Pathology at NUI Galway’s Lambe Institute for Translational Research led by Dr Sharon Glynn, has identified that a protein in the body called inducible nitric oxide synthase or iNOS is a key cause for the aggressive spread of triple negative breast cancer, which results in increased risk of early death from the disease. Almost 30% of women in the Western world are diagnosed with this form of breast cancer, which currently cannot be treated or stopped with therapies such as tamoxifen and is limited to treatment through chemotherapy and surgery. These findings will lead to new research to determine what drives this aggressive form of the disease and to develop new therapies and improve survival. Triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive form of breast cancer is frequently diagnosed in younger women ranging from their thirties and upwards. Based on this research Dr Glynn’s laboratory has had two landmark papers published in the international journals, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Oncotarget, which investigates the role of iNOS and the protein COX2 in this type of breast cancer. iNOS and COX2 are normally activated when the body experiences inflammation and wound healing. Dr Glynn’s research shows that when both proteins are expressed together in triple negative breast cancer, they lead to faster tumour growth and help the tumour to spread around the body. In the first study, published in Oncotarget, Dr Glynn and her NUI Galway colleagues Dr Pablo Garrido, Dr Aideen Ryan and Professor Grace Callagy found that women with increased expression of iNOS were at greater risk of their breast cancer spreading to other parts of their body, leading to poor survival rates. They conducted a study of 206 women across the Western seaboard diagnosed with breast cancer at Galway University Hospital between 2000 and 2016, and found that iNOS was a factor in the poor survival rate of Irish breast cancer patients with triple negative breast cancer. It made the cells more resistant to treatment such as chemotherapy, aiding in tumour cell growth and a much higher risk of the disease spreading, leading to death. Speaking about the research, Dr Sharon Glynn at NUI Galway, said: “The results from both studies will be used to develop screening methods to identify which patients are at increased risk of developing the lethal disease. The team are also focused on developing new therapeutic drugs that shut down both of these proteins and reduce the spread of cancer which can lead to premature death in the future. Both proteins have been identified as key drivers in the spreading or metastasis of triple negative breast cancer, and targeting them may save the lives of these patients.” The second study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was edited by the Nobel Laureate, Dr Louis Ignarro, a world expert in nitric oxide biology. Dr Glynn collaborated with Dr Debashree Basudhar and Dr David Wink at the National Cancer Institute in the US and demonstrated for the first time that patients who express high levels of iNOS in conjunction with high levels of the protein COX2, are at an increased risk of tumour progression throughout the body and high risk of death. The study was carried out with patients from Maryland in the US. It found that five years post-diagnosis, less than 40% of women with high levels of iNOS and COX2 survive, compared to 95% of women with low levels of both proteins. To read the full study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, visit: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/10/26/1709119114.full To read the full study in Oncotarget, visit: www.impactjournals.com/oncotarget/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5b%5d=19631&path%5b%5d=62719 -Ends-

Thursday, 2 November 2017

NUI Galway will hold its annual Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 7 November, from 12-3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day is an important event for professionals, graduates and current undergraduates who are focusing on their future, with the aim of upgrading their qualification, broadening their skills-set, increasing their specialist knowledge and ultimately improving their job prospects and earning power. The Open Day will showcase over 170 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, and an extensive range of research masters and doctoral research options. Over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University,    with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. Speaking on the value of a postgraduate qualification, Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, explains why students should seriously consider their options after their degree “Research has shown that earning power and career progression greatly increases after obtaining a postgraduate qualification. Furthermore it can enhance employability.” Living in Galway is an exciting prospect for many students. The recent announcement that NUI Galway is the Sunday Times University of the Year 2018 aligned with the University ranking in the Top 1% in the world according to QS Global Rankings means that applicants can feel confident that they will receive a qualification from a university noted for quality in teaching and research. A key part of the decision to pursue a postgraduate qualification is finding out as much as possible about the application process and the funding options available. The upcoming Open Day brings together all the key people and organisations that provide support to postgraduate students. The Open Day will showcase new programme offerings for 2018 including Masters programmes in Medical Technologies Regulatory Affairs and Quality; Cellular Manufacturing and Therapies; Microscopy and Imaging; Podiatric Medicine, Environmental Leadership; Business and Hospitality; International Accounting and Analytics; and AgriBiosciences. To explore NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes, and to book your place at the Open Day visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day/ -Ends- 


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