Monday, 22 September 2014

In conjunction with NUI Galway Autumn Open Days, the University will hold a special event for its graduates on Saturday, 4 October. The Open Days will feature tours of the campus, facility tours, and taster sessions of what is involved in attending NUI Galway today and graduates are invited to participate. As well as the rest of the activities associated with the Open Day, a special series of lectures for Alumni will take place in the Aula Maxima from 2pm. These will include contributions from Professor Hubert McDermott from the Department of English, Professor Alan Ahearne from the School of Economics, amongst others. The Literary and Debating Society have also organised a ball for society members past and present. As well as some familiar faces, there will be a four-course meal, debating and entertainment. For booking details visit www.literaryanddebating.com. For Dublin Alumni, a special evening of Druid's production of Tom Murphy's double bill Brigit and Bailgangaire will take place in the Olymypia Theatre on Saturday, 4 October. To book tickets visit www.nuigalway.ie/alumniday. Sean O'Rourke, Chair of the NUI Galway Alumni Board, said: “NUI Galway Day is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the links that all Galway graduates share with their alma mater. There are over 80,000 NUI Galway graduates worldwide and I would encourage all of them to celebrate their shared Galway heritage.” A special new online graduate worldwide alumni contact map will be live soon at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni. There will be live online links on the day and graduates can also contact each other via our Linkedin and Facebook sites. For more information contact the Alumni Office at alumni@nuigalway.ie or 091 493750. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr Damien English T.D., and Professor Orla Feely, Chairperson of the Irish Research Council, recently presented NUI Galway researcher Dr Aideen Ryan with an award in recognition of her selection and participation in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Since 1951, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have been bringing together the most esteemed scientists of their times with outstanding young scientists from all over the world. This year, 600 young researchers representing almost 80 countries took part in the Meeting. Dr Ryan was one of four young Irish researchers who were chosen in a competitive process to attend the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting dedicated to Physiology and Medicine. The select group of scientists had the opportunity to present and discuss their research in master classes hosted by 37 Nobel Laureates. Dr Ryan works within the Immunology group of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway with Professor Laurence Egan, Dr Thomas Ritter and Professor Matthew Griffin and her research, which looks specifically at colon cancer, is supported by an Irish Cancer Society Research Fellowship. Colon cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in Ireland and represents a significant health problem. Dr Ryan’s research is taking a fresh approach by focusing on the cancer cells interaction with the immune system. Dr Ryan, who is originally from Ballinasloe in Co. Galway, explains her work: “What fascinates me is the interaction of cancer cells with our immune cells. Understanding how our immune system allows the cancer to spread may allow us to develop ways to stop the process.” The aim of her research is to find ways to help the body’s immune system detect and destroy cancer cells. “Our work in the lab has shown that we can target some of the signals coming from tumours and that this could help our immune cells to flourish.” Dr Ryan’s recent research work, published in the journal Oncogene, has provided new insights into how the body’s immune system affects the spread of colon cancer cells and it is hoped that this work will inform the development of new drugs that could be used to strengthen our immune system’s response to cancer. This novel approach to cancer treatment could potentially result in better treatments and consequently a better prognosis and quality of life for patients with colon cancer. -ends-

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Research & Innovation Links on Agenda for Inaugural Visit to Galway Today on the NUI Galway campus, the recently-elected Mayor of Boston, Martin J. (“Marty”) Walsh will be hosted by the University President, Dr Jim Browne at an event that will include NUI Galway research leaders, colleagues from IDA Ireland as well as high-level representatives from IDA and EI client companies with strong Boston-Galway connections. This occasion will focus on the opportunities for further collaboration between Boston and Galway in the context of the global knowledge-based economy, specifically on the development of research and innovation links between Galway’s University and organisations in the Boston area. In advance of the Mayor’s visit, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Galway and Boston share many strong links in culture, in education and in business life. I am delighted to welcome Mayor Walsh to NUI Galway and I look forward to working with him to build on our regions’ shared heritage to create stronger, more dynamic research and academic links between Boston and Galway.” Elected in November 2013, this is the first official visit of Mr Marty J. Walsh as Mayor of Boston to the home of his emigrant parents. The ten-day trip will see the Mayor attend meetings with representatives of government, business and industry throughout the country. Mayor Walsh's parents, both from Connemara in County Galway, emigrated from Ireland in the 1950s and went to Boston. Having met in a dance hall, John and Mary Walsh married and settled in St. Margaret’s Parish, Dorchester where he and his brother Johnny grew up, and where his mother still lives. Catherina Blewitt, West Regional Manager for the IDA, said: “On behalf of IDA Ireland I am delighted to welcome Mayor Walsh to Galway and to introduce him to client companies of IDA Ireland and to indigenous companies with strong Boston connections. There has been significant two-way activity between Greater Boston and Galway and we look forward to working with Mayor Walsh to strengthen our ties, forge new ones and encourage further investment activity for the mutual benefit of both locations” The meeting at NUI Galway included senior representatives from the University, IDA Ireland as well as representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce West Branch and companies such as Boston Scientific, Fidelity, SmartBear Software, Aspect Software, Marvao Medical Devices, Covidien, Wayfair. Earlier in the day the Mayor will have been the guest of Galway County Council at their meeting also on the NUI Galway campus. ENDS   Cuairt Mhéara Bhostúin ar OÉ Gaillimh Ceangal Taighde & Nuálaíochta ar an gClár Oibre don Chéad Chuairt ar Ghaillimh Ar champas OÉ Gaillimh inniu chuir Uachtarán na hOllscoile, an Dr Jim Browne fáilte roimh Mhéara nua Bhostúin, Martin J. (“Marty”) Walsh ag ócáid ina raibh láithreacht ag ceannairí taighde OÉ Gaillimh, comhghleacaithe ó IDA Éireann mar aon le hionadaithe ardleibhéil ó chliantchuideachtaí IDA agus EI a bhfuil ceangal láidir acu le Bostún agus le Gaillimh. Díreoidh an ócáid seo ar dheiseanna chun an comhoibriú idir Bostún agus Gaillimh a láidriú i gcomhthéacs an gheilleagair dhomhanda eolas-bhunaithe, go háirithe ar cheangal taighde agus nuálaíochta a fhorbairt idir an Ollscoil agus eagraíochtaí i réigiún Bhostúin. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, faoi thábhacht na cuairte: “Is iomaí ceangal láidir atá idir Gaillimh agus Bostún maidir le cultúr, oideachas agus gnó. Tá an-áthas orm fáilte a chur roimh an Méara Walsh chuig OÉ Gaillimh agus táim ag súil le hoibriú leis chun tógáil ar an oidhreacht roinnte atá idir an dá réigiún chun ceangal taighde agus acadúil níos láidre agus níos dinimiciúla a chruthú idir Bostún agus Gaillimh.” Toghadh an tUasal Marty J. Walsh ina Mhéara ar Bhostún i mí na Samhna 2013, agus is í seo an chéad chuairt oifigiúil aige ar áit dúchais a thuismitheoirí a chuaigh ar imirce go Meiriceá. I gcaitheamh na tréimhse deich lá a bheidh sé anseo freastalóidh an Méara ar chruinnithe le hionadaithe rialtais, gnó agus tionscail ar fud na tíre. Ba de bhunú Chonamara i gContae na Gaillimhe iad tuismitheoirí Marty, agus d'fhág siad Éire sna 1950idí le dul go Bostún. Chas John agus Mary Walsh ar a chéile i halla damhsa agus phós siad i bParóiste St. Margaret, Dorchester, áit ar rugadh agus ar tógadh Marty agus a dheartháir Johnny. Tá a mháthair Mary fós ina cónaí ann. Dúirt Catherina Blewitt, Bainisteoir Réigiúnach an Iarthair leis an IDA: “Thar ceann IDA Éireann tá fíoráthas orm fáilte a chur roimh an Méara Walsh go Gaillimh agus é a chur in aithne do chliantchuideachtaí de chuid IDA Éireann agus do chuideachtaí na tíre seo a bhfuil ceangal láidir acu le Bostún. Bhí gníomhaíocht shuntasach sa dá threo idir Mórcheantar Bhostúin agus Gaillimh agus táimid ag súil le hoibriú leis an Méara Walsh chun an ceangal atá againn cheana a neartú, chun naisc nua a chruthú agus chun breis infheistíochta a spreagadh amach anseo a rachaidh chun tairbhe don dá cheantar.” I láthair ag an gcruinniú a bhí ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh bhí ionadaithe sinsearacha ón Ollscoil, ó IDA Éireann chomh maith le hionadaithe ó Bhrainse an Iarthair de Chumann Lucht Tráchtála Mheiriceá agus cuideachtaí cosúil le Boston Scientific, Fidelity, SmartBear Software, Aspect Software, Marvao Medical Devices, Covidien, Wayfair. Níos túisce sa lá d'fhreastail an Méara ar chruinniú de chuid Chomhairle Contae na Gaillimhe a bhí ar siúl ar champas OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith. CRÍOCH

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Over 30 alumni who graduated from the very first Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and the Masters of Industrial Engineering (MIE) at NUI Galway recently celebrated a 40 year reunion in Galway. The occasion enabled the former classmates to reconnect and reflect on their journeys since completing the MBA in what was then UCG. “It is testament to the vision and foresight of the team at NUI Galway in the early 1970s to lead the way in management development by introducing the first MBA outside of Dublin. Over 40 years later, there are over 530 MBA alumni, with many achieving significant career success nationally and internationally. The programme recently attained AMBA accreditation which is the global mark of excellence for MBA education and places NUI Galway’s programme in the top tier of MBA programmes worldwide,” said Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Director. Helen Ryan, former CEO of Creganna Tactx, was the keynote speaker at the event and Helen recounted the success story behind the global medical device company based in Parkmore in Galway. A clear strategy and vision, sound financial management, recruiting and investing in the right people, and being brave and ambitious in business planning are the key success factors identified by Helen learned from her time with Creganna, which saw it grow from having less than 100 staff when she joined to being a global business today with over 1200 employees. The alumni group was also addressed by the inaugural NUI Galway MBA Director, Professor Jim Doolan, a Harvard MBA graduate himself, who reflected on the need for management education in the western region of Ireland in the 1970s and how NUI Galway was one of the first in Europe to offer the MBA programme at that time. The 1974-1976 MBA drew students from across the country and had a significant impact on management education in the region at the time and one which continues today. Commenting on the changing landscape of management education and the MBA in particular, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “MBA programmes have proliferated across the world since NUI Galway introduced the MBA in 1972. Obviously much has changed in terms of the curriculum since then and yet some key management principles are still as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. One of the biggest differences now is the diversity of typical MBA class groups where there is greater gender, age and international diversity and a much greater focus on globalisation in the curriculum compared to 40 years ago.” ENDS

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Dr Michel Dugon, from NUI Galway’s discipline of Zoology, and his creepy-crawly friends will tour schools around Ireland to teach kids about bugs, biodiversity and ecology. Dr Dugon is also the presenter of Bug Hunters, an educational TV series in 30 episodes currently airing on RTÉ2 and RTÉJr. In each episode, Michel and three young naturalists explore parts of the Irish wilderness to unearth some of the most fascinating, colourful and strange-looking creepy-crawlies. A specialist of venomous and poisonous animals, Dr Dugon is also a fervent advocate of Irish wildlife: Dr Dugon said: “Ireland is home to over 12,000 species of bugs, including 400 species of spiders, 100 species of bees and over 2,000 species of beetles. Contrary to common belief, Irish ecosystems are very rich and divers and very accessible as well.” Bug Hunters features some of the most prominent and species-rich ecosystems in Ireland, from the mountains of Wicklow to the streams of Connemara and the rock formations of the Burren. To promote knowledge about local ecosystems, Dr Dugon has created Eco EXPLORERS, an NUI Galway-backed science outreach initiative. Last year alone, he visited 44 schools in six counties and over 7,000 pupils followed his workshops and holiday camps on ecology and biodiversity. Dr Dugon also uses live exotic animals in his workshops and said: “Exotic bugs are fantastic models to teach kids about important concepts like biodiversity, ecology, and evolution. People don’t forget their first encounter with a tarantula or a giant millipede. It is also an excellent occasion to re-establish the truth about misunderstood critters.” The second season of Bug Hunters is being aired simultaneously on RTÉ2 and RTÉJr. Episodes are available online on the RTÉ player at http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10324438/. For more information on Bug Hunters contact Dr Dugon at Michel.dugon@nuigalway.ie or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thebughunters. -Ends-

Thursday, 25 September 2014

There is a formula for happiness after all. The equation has been described by Professor Ray Dolan, Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London. Professor Dolan presented some of his latest research findings on Tuesday, 23 September, at NUI Galway in a lecture jointly hosted by the University’s School of Psychology, the Discipline of Psychiatry, and the Galway Neuroscience Centre. In a talk entitled ‘Value Encoding in the Human Brain’, Professor Dolan explained how he and his team of researchers believe that happiness is governed primarily by expectation and surprise, work which they have published recently in the prestigious international journal The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Dolan and his team used a combination of behavioral neuroscience, computational modeling and neuroimaging approaches to study emotional reactivity in the form of momentary happiness in response to reward. He also presented results from other work that may help to explain why some people have a propensity to gamble and take risks, while others avoid risk. He explained how the chemical transmitter dopamine in the brain is likely to play a key role in determining whether and how someone will gamble. Furthermore, dopamine’s actions in the brain also appear to play a critical role in learning. Professor Dolan demonstrated how a decline in dopamine levels with ageing can result in impaired learning. In turn, drugs that elevate levels of dopamine in the brain can act as cognitive enhancers. Professor Dolan, who is a native of Monivea in Galway and a graduate of NUI Galway (known then as University College Galway), is a clinician scientist with a primary interest in the neurobiology of emotion and how emotion impacts on cognition, including decision making.  He has published over 500 peer reviewed papers in scientific journals and is consistently ranked among the top five most cited neuroscientists in the world in the field of neuroscience and behaviour. He has received numerous awards including the Alexander Von Humboldt Research Award (2004), the Golden Brain Award from the Minerva Foundation (2006), the International Max Planck Research Award (2007). In 2011 he was made a Visiting Einstein Fellow to the Humboldt University, Berlin. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2000 and Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2010. Recently, he received an NUI Galway Alumni Award. NUI Galway’s Professor David Finn, Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, said, “We were honored to welcome Professor Dolan back to NUI Galway to talk to us about his very exciting recent research findings. Neuroscience research and teaching is currently very vibrant at NUI Galway and we aim to train the next generation of leaders in brain research.” -ends-

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is delighted to announce the appointment of Oliver Daniels as CEO. Oliver Daniels will lead the €75 million SFI Research Centre as it firmly positions Ireland at the heart of global data analytics research. He joins Insight from Avaya, where he has served as R&D Leader of Research & Development for Contact Center Applications at Avaya for the last five years. Oliver Daniels was responsible for leading the software engineering teams as they developed innovative applications for both cloud and on premise solutions. At Avaya, he has leveraged his 27 years of enterprise software experience with Avaya, and Nortel, to create industry-leading contact centre solutions and drive innovation in customer experience technology. Prior to Avaya, Oliver Daniels served as R&D Leader for Nortel, and has also served as CEO of Accendo Technologies, an Irish start-up. Oliver has held a wide variety of senior roles in technology and management, serving Nortel, ADC, and Saville Systems, based in Ireland, the UK, and France. Oliver Daniels is credited as a co-inventor in several contact centre patent applications, he holds a B. Comm from NUI Galway. Insight is a joint initiative between researchers at DCU, NUI Galway, UCC and UCD, and other partner institutions. Established in July 2013, it has brought together a critical mass of more than 200 researchers to develop a new generation of data analytics technologies in a number of key application areas. Data analytics – the study of ‘Big Data’ - is a global challenge that involves turning vast quantities of ubiquitous raw data into knowledge that will inform people and improve society, business, and health. The sector is growing by an estimated 30% annually and Insight is playing a key role in developing the research strengths and specialised skills needed for Ireland to remain globally competitive. Through dynamic partnerships with some 30 industry partners, the multi-location research centre aims to leverage further investment from Europe, help create high value jobs in Ireland, and deliver economic and societal impact. Speaking about the appointment, John Tracey, Chairman of the Insight Governance Board, said: “We are delighted with the appointment of Oliver Daniels as Insight’s new CEO. As the largest publicly funded research project in Ireland, Insight’s success critically depends on further deepening the close co-operation between industry and the universities. Oliver’s extensive industry and R&D experience, at the highest level, will allow Insight to achieve further success.”   John Tracey also thanked Professor Barry Smyth who has held the role of CEO since Insight’s inception: “Barry led the university groups that successfully established Insight and has led the centre since it commenced in mid-2013. I want to thank him sincerely for the major contribution he has made to Insight to date and will continue to make in the future.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government said: “SFI-funded research centres, like Insight, were established to further Ireland’s competitive advantage in specific research areas. As big data continues to grow exponentially, there is a real opportunity for Ireland to compete and win. Under the stewardship of a leader of Oliver’s calibre, I have no doubt that Insight will be positioned to capitalise on this growth, deliver cutting-edge research and develop opportunities for industry collaboration and commercialisation. I also want to thank Professor Barry Smyth who led the Insight bid, established the Insight Centre and contributed significantly to its scientific and commercial success to date. I am confident that Barry and his colleagues in Insight will continue to research, innovate and keep Ireland to the fore in the rapidly growing field of big data analytics.” Oliver Daniels takes up the role from 21 October, 2014, and will be based at Insight NUI Galway. -ends- Oliver Daniels Ceaptha ina Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar Ionad Anailísíochta Sonraí Insight Tá an-áthas ar Ionad Anailísíochta Sonraí Insight a fhógairt go bhfuil Oliver Daniels ceaptha ina Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar an ionad. Beidh Oliver Daniels i gceannas ar an Ionad Taighde de chuid Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta na hÉireann ar fiú €75 milliún é agus é mar aidhm aige Éire a dhaingniú mar chroílár domhanda an taighde anailísíochta sonraí. Sular ceapadh sa phost seo in Insight é bhí sé ag obair in Avaya le cúig bliana anuas mar Cheannaire Taighde agus Forbartha d'Fheidhmchláir Ionaid Teagmhála. Bhí Oliver Daniels freagrach as na foirne innealtóireachta bogearraí a stiúradh agus iad i mbun feidhmchláir nuálacha a fhorbairt do réitigh néil agus ar an láthair araon. In Avaya, d'úsáid sé an taithí i mbogearraí fiontraíochta a fuair sé thar 27 bliain le Avaya, agus le Nortel, chun réitigh ionaid teagmhála ar thús cadhnaíochta a chruthú agus chun nuálaíocht a chur chun cinn i dteicneolaíocht eispéiris an chustaiméara. Sula ndeachaigh sé ag obair in Avaya, d'oibrigh Oliver Daniels mar Cheannaire Taighde agus Forbartha le Nortel, agus bhí sé freisin ina Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar Accendo Technologies, gnólacht nuathionscanta Éireannach. Is iomaí ról sinsearach sa teicneolaíocht agus sa bhainistíocht a bhí ag Oliver, agus é ag obair in Nortel, ADC, agus Saville Systems, bunaithe in Éirinn, sa Ríocht Aontaithe agus sa Fhrainc. Is comhchumadóir é Oliver Daniels i roinnt feidhmchlár paitinne ionaid teagmhála, agus tá B. Comm aige ó OÉ Gaillimh. Is comhthionscnamh é Insight idir taighdeoirí in DCU, OÉ Gaillimh, UCC agus UCD, agus institiúidí comhpháirtíochta eile. Bunaíodh é i mí Iúil 2013, agus tá tairseach chriticiúil de bhreis is 200 taighdeoir tugtha le chéile aige chun glúin nua teicneolaíochtaí anailísíochta sonraí a fhorbairt i roinnt príomhréimsí feidhmchláir. Is dúshlán domhanda é anailísíocht sonraí - staidéar ar ‘Olltiomsú Sonraí’- a bhaineann le méideanna ollmhóra sonraí loma uileláithreach a athrú go heolas a rachaidh i bhfeidhm ar dhaoine agus a fheabhsóidh cúrsaí sochaí, gnó agus sláinte.  Tá fás 30% ag teacht go bliantúil ar an earnáil agus tá ról lárnach ag Insight i bhforbairt na láidreachtaí taighde agus na sainscileanna a theastaíonn chun go bhfanfaidh Éire iomaíoch ar bhonn domhanda. Trí chomhpháirtíochtaí dinimiciúla le 30 comhpháirtí tionscail, tá sé d'aidhm leis an ionad taighde ilsuímh tuilleadh infheistíochta a fháil ón Eoraip, poist ardluacha a chruthú in ‏Éirinn, agus tionchar geilleagrach agus sochaí a chur i bhfeidhm. Ag labhairt dó faoin gceapachán, dúirt John Tracey, Cathaoirleach Bhord Rialachais Insight: “Táimid thar a bheith sásta le ceapachán Oliver Daniels mar Phríomhfheidhmeannach nua Insight. Tá Insight ar an tionscadal taighde is mó a fhaigheann maoiniú poiblí in Éirinn, agus tá a rath ag brath go géar ar níos mó forbairt a dhéanamh ar an dlúth-chomhoibriú idir an tionscal agus na hollscoileanna.  Tabharfaidh taithí fhairsing Oliver ar an tionscal agus ar thaighde agus ar fhorbairt deis do Insight níos mó rath a bhaint amach.”   Ghlac John Tracey buíochas chomh maith leis an Ollamh Barry Smyth a bhí ina Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar Insight ó bunaíodh é: “Threoraigh Barry na grúpaí ollscoile a bhunaigh Insight agus bhí sé i mbun an t-ionad a stiúradh ó lár 2013.  Ba mhaith liom buíochas ó chroí a ghlacadh leis as an obair mhór atá déanta aige le Insight go dtí seo agus as an obair a dhéanfaidh sé leis amach anseo.” Dúirt an tOllamh Mark Ferguson, Ard-Stiúrthóir Fhondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann agus Príomhchomhairleoir Eolaíochta don Rialtas: “Bunaíodh ionaid taighde maoinithe ag SFI, cosúil le Insight, chun cur le buntáiste iomaíoch na hÉireann i réimsí taighde ar leith. De réir mar atá fás as cuimse ag teacht ar olltiomsú sonraí, tá an-deis ag Éirinn a bheith san iomaíocht agus an ceann is fearr a fháil. Faoi cheannas duine de mhianach Oliver, níl aon amhras orm ach go mbeidh deis ag Insight teacht i dtír ar an bhfás seo, taighde ceannródaíoch a chur ar fáil agus deiseanna a fhorbairt do chomhoibriú agus do thráchtálú tionscail. Ba mhaith liom chomh maith buíochas a ghlacadh leis an Ollamh Barry Smyth a bhí ina cheann feadhna ar thairiscint Insight, a bhunaigh Ionad Insight agus a chuir go mór lena rath eolaíoch agus tráchtála go dtí seo. Tá mé muiníneach go leanfaidh Barry agus a chomhghleacaithe in Insight ar aghaidh i mbun taighde, nuála agus go gcoinneoidh siad Éire chun tosaigh i réimse na hanailísíochta olltiomsaithe sonraí, réimse atá ag fás go tréan.” Cuirfidh Oliver Daniels tús lena phost an 21 Deireadh Fómhair 2014, agus beidh sé lonnaithe in Insight OÉ Gaillimh. -críoch-

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Dilip Thomas, a final year PhD student with the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at the National University of Ireland Galway, has been awarded the best poster prize at the prestigious Gordon Research Conference. The conference titled ‘Signal Transduction in Engineered Extracellular Matrices’ was held 6-11 July in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. Thomas received a competitive travel bursary to present his work at the conference. The bursary was awarded by the British Society of Matrix Biology (BSMB) and is given to researchers at an early stage of their career. The award supports members of the society who have been accepted as a presenting author at an international meeting with a matrix biology theme. Dilip’s research work is a collaborative project between the NFB and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. The project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under the supervision of Professor Abhay Pandit (NFB) and Professor Timothy O’Brien (REMEDI). The project involves novel methods of treating hind limb ischemia which occurs when the blood supply is lost to a limb. Delayed treatment of the condition leads to morbidity, amputation and even death, with around 50,000 cases in the US annually. Dilip’s work entails promoting new blood vessel growth to the limb using cell transplantation and biomaterials. Dilip received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from the University of Mumbai, India. He went on to receive a Master of Engineering degree in Biochemical Engineering from University College London (UCL) in the UK. Prior to his academic achievements, he worked at Sharon Biomedicine Ltd, India as a Research and Development assistant in the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) manufacturing and testing division. Professor Pandit commented on the award: “The scientific sessions of this conference are extremely contextual, informative and will help Dilip to interact with leading international experts working in the field of regenerative medicine.” -ends-

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway has announced details of a special entrance maths examination to give students a second chance to pursue a career in engineering. The exam, which takes place on Wednesday, 20 August, is for students who achieve the CAO points for an undergraduate engineering degree course at NUI Galway but who have not met the obligatory maths requirement. This year, NUI Galway will hold an intensive preparatory course for applicants intending to sit the exam. This free course will run from 14-19 August. For more than 20 years NUI Galway has provided this special entrance exam to help applicants who did not achieve the required grade C3 or better in higher level mathematics. Those who took lower level maths in the Leaving Cert may also apply for the exam. Students who pass this examination will be deemed to have satisfied the maths requirement and, providing they have the necessary points, will receive an additional CAO offer at Round Two. From 14-19 August, in addition to preparing students for the special entrance examination, lecturers will demonstrate the relevance and application of mathematics to engineering. The aim of the preparatory course is to bridge the gap between the Leaving Certificate lower level and that required to be successful in the entrance exam. This will be achieved by tackling a variety of problems of increasing difficulty. Learning how to approach a problem and apply the knowledge available will be emphasised. “The nature of engineering programmes is that they are focused on the development of analytical and problem solving skills, and thus require significant use of mathematics and applied mathematics,” said Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. “Every year we see a number of promising students who perform poorly on the day of the Leaving Cert exam. Our Special Entrance Maths Examination provides these students with a second opportunity to demonstrate that they have reached the necessary standard in maths. Over the years, we have had some exceptionally talented students graduate and pursue successful careers in engineering because they were given the second chance which this exam represents.” “Demand for engineering programmes at NUI Galway continues to rise year on year and the College of Engineering has expanded its degree programmes to meet requirements. NUI Galway realises its role in providing world-class graduates to meet the needs of industry and the economy”, continued Professor Lyons. NUI Galway offers students an undenominated entry to engineering. This course is specifically designed for students who are interested in becoming an engineer, but uncertain as to which field they want to specialise in. This course offers students the option of studying engineering in a general way for one year before going on to specialise in their chosen field in year two. To apply for the special maths exam please visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/prospectivestudents/specialentrancemathsexamination/. Those interested in the revision maths course and the examination should call 091 492 101 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/prospectivestudents/specialentrancemathspreparatorycourse/ for further details. -Ends- Seans Eile á thabhairt ag OÉ Gaillimh do Mhic Léinn na hArdteistiméireachta trí Scrúdú Speisialta Matamaitice a Reáchtáil Tá Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh i ndiaidh sonraí a chur ar fáil faoi scrúdú speisialta iontrála matamaitice, scrúdú a thugann seans eile do mhic léinn tabhairt faoi ghairm na hinnealtóireachta. Beidh an scrúdú ar siúl Dé Céadaoin, an 20 Lúnasa, agus tá sé dírithe ar mhic léinn a bhaineann na pointí cuí don CAO amach chun cúrsa céime san innealtóireacht a dhéanamh in OÉ Gaillimh ach nach bhfuil an marc riachtanach acu sa mhatamaitic. I mbliana, beidh dianchúrsa ullmhúcháin ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh roimh ré dóibh siúd ar mian leo an scrúdú a dhéanamh. Beidh an cúrsa saor in aisce seo ar siúl ón 14-19 Lúnasa. Le breis agus scór bliain anuas, tá an scrúdú speisialta iontrála seo á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh chun cabhrú le hiarratasóirí nár éirigh leo an grád riachtanach C3 nó os a chionn a bhaint amach sa pháipéar matamaitice ardleibhéil. Féadfaidh daoine nach ndearna ardleibhéal matamaitice san Ardteistiméireacht cur isteach ar an scrúdú chomh maith. Má fhaigheann mac léinn pas sa scrúdú seo beidh an riachtanas matamaitice sásaithe aige/aici agus gheobhaidh sé/sí tairiscint eile ón CAO i mBabhta 2, chomh fada is go bhfuil na pointí riachtanacha aige/aici. Ní hamháin go n-ullmhófar daltaí don scrúdú speisialta iontrála, ach léireoidh léachtóirí an tábhacht a bhaineann leis an matamaitic san innealtóireacht agus an úsáid is féidir a bhaint aisti. Is é an aidhm atá leis an gcúrsa ullmhúcháin seo cur lena mbíonn foghlamtha ag daltaí ag an ngnáthleibhéal san Ardteistiméireacht, le go n-éireoidh leo sa scrúdú iontrála matamaitice. Cuirfear é seo i gcrích trí dhul i ngleic le fadhbanna éagsúla ag leibhéil éagsúla deacrachta. Cuirfear béim ar conas tabhairt faoi fhadhb agus an t-eolas atá ar fáil a chur i bhfeidhm. “Is é mianach na gclár innealtóireachta go bhfuil siad dírithe ar fhorbairt a dhéanamh ar scileanna anailíseacha agus ar  scileanna chun fadhbanna a réiteach, agus dá bhrí sin caithfear úsáid shuntasach a bhaint as matamaitic agus as matamaitic fheidhmeach,” a deir an tOllamh Gerry Lyons, Déan na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice in OÉ Gaillimh. “Gach bliain feicimid daltaí cumasacha nach ndéanann chomh maith agus a d’fhéadfaidís ar lá an scrúdaithe Ardteiste. Tugann an Scrúdú Speisialta Iontrála Matamaitice deis eile do na daltaí seo léiriú go bhfuil an caighdeán riachtanach sa mhatamaitic bainte amach acu. Thar na blianta, d’éirigh le roinnt mac léinn a raibh cumas eisceachtúil iontu, céim a bhaint amach agus dul sa tóir ar shlí bheatha dóibh féin san innealtóireacht mar go bhfuair siad an dara deis leis an scrúdú speisialta iontrála seo.” “Tá an t-éileamh ar chláir innealtóireachta in OÉ Gaillimh ag dul i méid ó bhliain go bliain agus tá Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta tar éis na cláir chéime a leathnú chun freastal ar na riachtanais seo. Tuigeann OÉ Gaillimh a ról maidir le céimithe den scoth a chur ar fáil chun freastal ar riachtanais an tionscail”, a dúirt an tOllamh Lyons. Tá cúrsa neamhainmnithe san innealtóireacht ar tairiscint do mhic léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá an cúrsa seo dírithe go háirithe ar mhic léinn a bhfuil suim acu a bheith ina n-innealtóirí ach nach bhfuil cinnte cén réimse ar mhaith leo díriú air. Tugann an cúrsa seo deis do mhic léinn staidéar ginearálta a dhéanamh ar an innealtóireacht ar feadh bliana sula roghnaíonn siad a réimse speisialtóireachta i mbliain a dó. Chun iarratas a dhéanamh ar an scrúdú speisialta matamaitice téigh chuig: http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/prospectivestudents/specialentrancemathsexamination/. Ba chóir dóibh siúd ar spéis leo an cúrsa ullmhúcháin matamaitice agus an scrúdú glao a chur ar 091 091 492 101 nó féachaint ar http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/prospectivestudents/specialentrancemathspreparatorycourse/ chun eolas breise a fháil. -Críoch-

Monday, 11 August 2014

Researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway have identified an enzyme that has a key role in the spread and survival of blood cancer cells. The discovery, which focussed on the cancer multiple myeloma, has just been published by the internationally acclaimed journal, Blood. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood which results from an overproduction of plasma cells, the white blood cells that produce antibodies. It leads to problems such as anaemia, bone damage, kidney failure and elevated calcium levels. There are about 240 new cases of multiple myeloma diagnosed each year in Ireland. The research team was led by Health Research Board (HRB) Clinician Scientist, Professor Michael O’Dwyer and Professor Lokesh Joshi of the University’s Glycoscience Group, which is supported by Science Foundation Ireland. The group studies the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body, and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. Dr Siobhan Glavey, a medical doctor funded by the HRB, also had a key role lead in the study and was lead author on the paper. HRB Clinician Scientist, Michael O Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at the National University of Ireland Galway says; “While treatments for multiple myeloma have improved over the last decade, and most patients are living longer, there is no cure. Our research is crucial because it sheds new light on the biology of multiple myeloma which could lead to new strategies to overcome resistance to treatment.” “Working in close cooperation with Dr Irene Ghobrial from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard in the US and colleagues from the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK, we focused on alterations in a process called glycosylation, a process whereby proteins and lipids are modified by specific sugars, because of its role in cell-cell interactions and the spread of cancer cells in the blood.” “In essence, we have linked the overproduction of a specific enzyme called sialyltransferase to disease progression and worse outcomes in multiple myeloma. The increase in this enzyme activity causes a series of knock on effects; increasing glycosylation, which in turn increases the interaction of the cancer cells with receptors on the walls of blood vessels called selectins which then encourages their circulation, spread and retention in the bone marrow.” “Our aim now is to prevent these interactions that cause the spread using specific enzyme and selectin inhibitors”. Dr Graham Love, CEO of the HRB, commented on the importance of the research: “Understanding what causes multiple myeloma to progress, or generate worse outcomes, is the first step towards improving treatment. This discovery reinforces the transformational role our Clinician Scientists have in bringing real clinical questions to a research environment and delivering results back to the bedside.” -ends-

Monday, 11 August 2014

NUI Galway launches online service to compliment telephone hotline for incoming students NUI Galway will launch a dedicated Online Question and Answer service to compliment the first year student telephone hotline on Wednesday, 14 August. This online initiative will facilitate students and their parents with the option to ask questions on a dedicated forum, while the hotline service team will be available to answer caller queries. With NUI Galway anticipating an intake of over 3,000 new students in September, a team of specially-trained team of staff and students will be on hand to answer any questions students and parents may have. The hotline will be available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, and on Saturday 16 and 23 August, 10am to 1pm. The availability of these services coincides with the period of frantic activity and decision making that immediately follows the release of the Leaving Certificate results.  Both the hotline and the online service will be active throughout first year orientation week commencing on September 1, and both will remain in service for two weeks after lectures begin on September 8, providing students with two options to direct any conceivable query they encounter as they embark on their journey to NUI Galway.  The team will provide an efficient, responsive service and are expected to deal with numerous issues that are of concern to incoming first year students. Anticipated queries include: points requirements for courses; first round offers; registering as a student of the University; start dates; fees and accommodation options.  A designated website for first years will also update on a daily basis detailing the information sought and fed through the hotline. It will be a portal of specific information aimed at demystifying the first few weeks of university life.  Stephen O’Dea, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway, says: “The next few weeks is a very exciting time for all Leaving Certificate students as the culmination of years’ of hard work come to fruition. The next step for many is the transition into third-level education which is a significant milestone, not only for the students themselves, but also for their families, and we at NUI Galway understand the impact of this change, especially for those entering into university for the first time. In order to help those who are deciding to embark upon a university degree programme, we will provide support, information and guidance through our First-Year Student Hotline, to answer any questions that individuals might have about any aspect of university life. We invite all students, parents and advisors to avail of this service to make the passage to NUI Galway as smooth as possible.” Students, parents and advisers can contact the First Year Student Hotline at 091 493999, ask a question Online at http://www.nuigalway.ie/askus or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/ -Ends- Seirbhís nua Ceisteanna & Freagraí ar líne ar fáil do Mhic Léinn Nua OÉ Gaillimh Seolann OÉ Gaillimh Seirbhís Ar Líne mar thaca leis an mBeolíne do Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana Seolfaidh OÉ Gaillimh seirbhís Ceisteanna agus Freagraí ar líne chun cuidiú leis an mBeolíne do Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana Dé Céadaoin, an 14 Lúnasa. Cuideoidh an togra ar líne seo le mic léinn agus lena dtuismitheoirí trí cheisteanna a fhreagairt ar fhóram ar leith, agus beidh foireann na beolíne ar fáil le glaonna a fhreagairt. Beidh os cionn 3,000 mac léinn nua ag tosú in OÉ Gaillimh i Meán Fómhair agus beidh foireann oilte comhaltaí foirne agus mac léinn ar fáil le ceist ar bith a d'fhéadfadh a bheith ag na mic léinn ná ag a gcuid tuismitheoirí a fhreagairt. Beidh an bheolíne ar fáil ó Luan go hAoine, ó 9am go 6pm, agus Dé Sathairn, an 16 agus an 23 Lúnasa, ó 10am go 1pm. Beidh na seirbhísí seo ar fáil sa tréimhse chorraitheach sin ina mbíonn ar dhaltaí cinneadh a dhéanamh i ndiaidh dóibh torthaí na hArdteistiméireachta a fháil.  Beidh an bheolíne agus an tseirbhís ar líne ar oscailt i rith thréimhse na seisiún eolais do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana, ag tosú an 1 Meán Fómhair, agus beidh siad ag feidhmiú ar feadh coicíse i ndiaidh an dáta a gcuirfear tús leis na léachtaí, an 8 Meán Fómhair. Beifear in ann a rá le mic léinn gur cheart dóibh glao a chur ar an mbeolíne nó úsáid a bhaint as an tseirbhís ar líne má bhíonn ceist ar bith acu agus iad ag tabhairt faoina saol in OÉ Gaillimh.  Cuirfidh an fhoireann seirbhís éifeachtach ar fáil dóibh sin a éilíonn í agus meastar go mbeifear ag plé le hábhair go leor a bhíonn ag déanamh imní do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana. Meastar go mbeidh ceisteanna á gcur faoi na hábhair seo a leanas, i measc ábhair eile: na pointí atá riachtanach do chúrsaí ar leith; tairiscintí sa chéad bhabhta; clárú mar mhac léinn san Ollscoil; dátaí tosaithe; táillí agus roghanna lóistín.  Tabharfar láithreán gréasáin ar leith atá ann do mhic léinn na chéad bhliana cothrom le dáta gach lá chomh maith. Beidh eolas le fáil ann faoi na ceisteanna a bhí ag na daoine a ghlaoigh ar an mbeolíne nua. Is tairseach eolais ar leith a bheidh sa láithreán gréasáin agus beidh sé de chuspóir aige cuid den cheo a bhaineann leis an gcéad chúpla seachtain ar an ollscoil a scaipeadh.  Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Stephen O’Dea, Oifigeach Iontrála in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is athrú mór saoil atá i ndán do dhaltaí na hArdteistiméireachta agus luach a gcuid saothair amach rompu anois i ndiaidh na blianta a bheith caite acu ag obair go crua. Is é an chéad choiscéim eile don chuid is mó acu anois an t-athrú ón dara leibhéal go dtí an tríú leibhéal. Is athrú suntasach é seo ní hamháin dóibh féin ach dá dteaghlaigh chomh maith agus tuigimid in OÉ Gaillimh an tionchar a bhíonn aige seo orthu go háirithe orthu siúd atá ag tabhairt aghaidhe ar an ollscoil den chéad uair riamh. Chun cuidiú leo siúd a bheas ag tabhairt faoi chéim ollscoile, cuirtear tacaíocht, eolas agus treoir ar fáil trí Bheolíne do Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana, chun aon cheist faoi aon ghné de shaol na hollscoile a fhreagairt dóibh. Tá fáilte roimh gach mac léinn, tuismitheoirí agus a lucht comhairlithe úsáid a bhaint as an tseirbhís chun cuidiú leis an aistear chuig OÉ Gaillimh.” Féadfaidh mic léinn, tuismitheoirí agus lucht comhairlithe teagmháil a dhéanamh le Beolíne Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana ar 091 493999, ceist a chur ar líne ag http://www.nuigalway.ie/askus nó cuairt a thabhairt ar http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/ -Críoch-

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

NUI Galway’s award winning app,the first official third-level app designed for students to calculate Leaving Certificate points, is available for students and parents to download.  The app, iPoints, is a must for all Leaving Certificate students expecting their results on Wednesday, 13 August and is available to download for free through iTunes. Since launching the app last year it has been downloaded over 8,000 times, with an average of 200 downloads every month. NUI Galway, in partnership with former Information Technology student Paul Herron, developed the iPhone app. The app will allow Leaving Certificate students to quickly and easily calculate their points when they receive their exam results. Paul, originally from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, explained: “This app aims to simplify the point calculation process for students to relieve some of the stress of Leaving Cert’ results day.” CAO points are calculated based on a student’s six highest results in one sitting of the Leaving Certificate. Students using the app will simply enter their results for each subject, indicating whether it is higher or ordinary level. The app calculates the number of points attained in each subject, and indicates the total. The app calculates 25 additional points to be added for Higher Maths if relevant, and allows for Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) scores to be included. The app also gives students the option to share their results by text message, or through social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, if they wish. Commenting on the app, Stephen O’Dea, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway said: “Technology is continually shaping the way we live and manage our lives and the iPoints points calculator is another useful tool in our increasingly busy lives, and as every Leaving Cert’ student knows, results day is very hectic indeed. As NUI Galway has a well established reputation in software development, the app’s benefits to all Leaving Cert’ students, is a compelling indicator of what can be achieved in third level education.” The iPoints app won two major online marketing awards since launching last year, one at the prestigious Digital Media Awards, in the hotly contested ‘Best Use of Mobile’ category and one at the Appy Awards. NUI Galway is the only third-level institution to offer a points calculator app to students. The NUI Galway iPoints app is available for all iPhone users on the iTunes store now www.tinyurl.com/NUIGalwayApp  -Ends-

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has welcomed the appointment of its Honorary Chairman, Professor William Schabas, to a new UN Commission of Inquiry.  The independent Commission of Inquiry will investigate purported violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and particularly in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on 13 June. Professor Schabas will head up the three-person commission, details of which were announced last night (11 August). The Canadian is renowned for his work on international criminal and human rights law, and was Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway from 2000 to 2009 prior to the appointment of Professor Michael O’Flaherty to the post. He served on the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission until 2004, and was also a member of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in Human Rights. The Commission aims to establish the facts and circumstances of violations and crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible. It will also make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways to protect civilians against any further assaults. Commenting on the appointment, Professor Ray Murphy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, who recently returned from the region, said: “I cannot think of a more qualified person to lead this Inquiry. The Inquiry will play a vital role in establishing the facts and identifying those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. This is a most important step in ensuring all those responsible for violations are held accountable.” -ends-

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Too little and too much are both harmful, researchers find Results from the largest study of its kind ever conducted -- involving 18 countries and more than 100,000 people -- indicate that the current recommended maximum sodium intake for the population is actually too low and may even be unsafe. However, high sodium is also harmful, so an ‘optimal’ range is the best target. Two reports from a global collaborative study involving hundreds of investigators from 18 countries, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, are shaking up conventional wisdom around salt consumption. NUI Galway’s Professor Martin O’Donnell played a lead role in the study, and is first author on one of the reports. The Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study, led by investigators from the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, followed more than 100,000 people for nearly four years. The study assessed sodium and potassium intake and related them to blood pressure as well as to deaths, heart disease and strokes. The salt debate Professor Martin O’Donnell, formerly of McMaster University, is now Professor of Translational Medicine at NUI Galway and Associate Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility Galway. An expert in cardiovascular health, he explained the debate around salt intake: “A much debated question is how low should we go with our salt intake? Most of the current guidelines recommend very low salt intake, which the vast majority of people don’t achieve.” While too much salt has long been recognised as a serious health risk, the researchers have also found that there may be a risk from eating too little. In fact, Professor O’Donnell suggests that what is now generally recommended as a healthy daily ceiling for salt consumption appears to be set too low. “Low sodium intake does reduce blood pressure modestly, compared to moderate (or average) intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including elevations of certain hormones that are associated with an increase in risk of death and cardiovascular diseases. The key question is whether these competing physiologic effects result in net clinical benefit or not,” O’Donnell said. Current intake of sodium is typically between 3.5 and 4 grams per day and some guidelines have recommended that the entire population lower its sodium intake to below 2.3 grams per day, a level that fewer than 5 per cent of people now consume. Professor O’Donnell continued: “In the PURE study, we found the lowest risk of death and cardiovascular events in those who consumed moderate amounts of sodium intake (3 to 6 grams per day), with an increased risk above and below that range. While this finding has been reported in previous smaller studies, PURE is the largest international study to study sodium intake and health outcomes, and adds considerable strength to the contention that moderate sodium intake is optimal.” However, he also emphasised: “Our findings do not mean that people should become complacent about salt intake, high salt intake is a health risk especially in those with high blood pressure. People should avoid adding salt to their foods, as many foods already contain salt, and should reduce or avoid processed foods that contain high salt. Moderate salt intake is only one part of a healthy diet, other aspects of a balanced diet are important, such as increasing fruit and vegetable intake.” The blood pressure effect The researchers showed that the effects of increasing sodium intake on raising blood pressure – a risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, stroke and other problems – become most apparent as intake rises above 5 grams per day, especially among people who already have high blood pressure, or who are older than 55, or both. “But the blood-pressure effects are more modest at average levels of sodium consumption (3 to 5 grams per day) and not evident at low levels of intake below 3 grams of sodium per day (a level that is higher than the maximum currently recommended by many guidelines), says Andrew Mente, Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University, and lead author of one of the new reports. The study also found an association between increasing potassium intake and lower blood pressure.  “While there has been much focus on reducing salt in the diet, an important and ignored approach to lowering blood pressure is increasing the amount of potassium consumed. A balanced approach is what is likely to have the greatest benefit in lowering blood pressure,” says Mente. “This can be achieved by moderation in salt intake, combined with eating lots of fruits and vegetables.” The studies were funded from more than 50 sources, including the PHRI, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. “The findings of both studies are robust, globally applicable and collectively question established dogma and recommended policies. This also means that salt reduction should be primarily targeted at those who have high blood pressure and those who consume a lot of salt,” says Salim Yusuf, the Principal Investigator of the global PURE study, senior author of both reports, and Director of the Population Health Research Institute, which designed and coordinated the study. Sweet Spot Taken together, the papers show there is a ‘sweet spot’ for sodium consumption, where too much or too little can be damaging, while a moderate amount between 3 and 6 grams is optimal for the general population The good news is that most people in the world consume an amount in the optimal range, the researchers found. In an accompanying editorial in the NEJM, Professor Suzanne Oparil from the University of Birmingham, Alabama, urged reconsideration of current guidelines and recommended randomized trials comparing clinical outcomes in people who consume usual salt intake to low intake. -ends-

Friday, 15 August 2014

The J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway is delighted to host the 11th Irish Society of New Economists Conference on 4-5 September, 2014. The Irish Society for New Economists was formed to encourage research, information and social links among new economists in Ireland and Europe. The conference will feature more than 74 economists presenting their research from 33 universities and research organisations throughout Ireland, the UK, continental Europe and the United States. Topics covered will range from banking, financial markets, and economic growth to health economics, education, employment, crime and energy and marine economics. Research findings will be of considerable importance to assist in addressing public policy issues such as enhancing future regional growth, inequality, unemployment, energy systems and obesity related policy issues. The conference will be opened by Professor Alan Ahearne, Head of Economics at NUI Galway. “We are delighted to host the 11th Irish Society of New Economists Conference in Galway this year and look forward to hearing about the exciting research results of so many outstanding new economists from all around the world.” Two distinguished keynote speakers of note will include: Professor Ciaran O’Neill of NUI Galway and Professor John FitzGerald from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). A unique feature of the conference will be a networking session between some of the sponsors and the presenters. The conference is sponsored by the IDA, National Treasury Management Agency, McNamara Economic Research, SSIS, Hays Recruitment, Teagasc, NUI Galway’s Department of Economics, Whitaker Research Institute, and J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, Irish Economics Association, Bluebird Care, AbbiVie, Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service, Allergan, PMCA Economic Consulting. The members of the local organising committee of this year’s conference at the University are Michelle Queally, Aine Roddy, Patricia Carney and Aoife Callan.   ENDS

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The continuing popularity of NUI Galway was reflected by CAO offers issued today, with the vast majority of courses maintaining or increasing points from 2013. Across all five colleges, points have risen. Medicine, Biomedical Science, Arts (Psychology), Occupational Therapy, Biopharmaceutical Chemistry and Speech and Language Therapy all requiring greater than 500 points for entry with Mathematical Science and Commerce (International) with French in the high 400s. Courses on the rise Prospective students have shown particular interest in Commerce, especially those with an international language, reflecting awareness of the need for language mobility in a global jobs market. Commerce (International) with German and Commerce (International) with Spanish both rose by ten points, to 460 and 470 points respectively. Meanwhile NUI Galway’s new degree programme, Commerce with Irish, opened with 420 points in its first year, while the more traditional Commerce (Accounting) programme also rose 10 points to 470. Business Information Systems increased by 20 points, while Corporate Law and Civil Law also saw significant increases for the second consecutive year. Changes to the HPAT exam have resulted in a reduction in points nationally for entry onto medical programmes. This trend is reflected in a points decrease for medicine to 721, including HPAT*. Nursing remains at 450 points, while Midwifery rose 5 points to 455.  In Arts, the degree programme Arts (Mathematics and Education), which delivers two qualifications in one, rose 40 points to 405. Other Arts degrees enjoying points increases this year include Arts with Irish Studies up 10 points, Arts (Public and Social Policy) up 35 points, and Arts with Latin American Studies up 25 points and the Irish-language degree, Na Dána (Cumarsáid) which rose 60 points to 360. In Engineering, Mechanical Engineering rose 25 points to 425, while Biomedical Engineering rose 15 points to 420, and Civil Engineering rose 15 points to 415. Project and Construction Management also saw in increase in points. Science courses, equally, show increased demand. Recognising NUI Galway’s national and international leadership in biomedical science programmes, Biomedical Science remained the course with the second highest points for the University, at 540. Biopharmaceutical Chemistry increased 5 points to 510 while Biotechnology maintained 465 points. In the field of Science, Physics also rose 20 points to 420. NUI Galway’s Admission Officer, Stephen O’Dea, said: ‘For the second year running, NUI Galway’s courses in Commerce and Law have seen a steady increase in their points indicating a continued growth in interest in these areas. International Commerce programmes remain popular and this year, our new course, Commerce with Gaeilge, has performed particularly well (420 points), offering students a unique pathway into business and teaching. Science courses are also on an upward trend. NUI Galway’s strength and reputation in Biosciences is also reflected with Biomedical Science (540) continuing to perform well and Biopharmaceutical Chemistry increasing to 510 points. Physics also increased by 20 points this year to 420. Engineering courses continue to perform well with NUI Galway’s market focused Biomedical Engineering increasing to 420 points. The BA Connect suite of courses provides an attractive learning experience for students as recognised by an increase in the points for Irish Studies, with Film Studies and Children’s Studies maintaining their points level year on year. Psychology also finished at a high 525 points. Occupational Therapy and Speech & Language Therapy maintain their popularity with students, both courses requiring more than 500 points." He concluded, “Incoming students will be well placed to benefit from NUI Galway’s significant capital investment programme in embracing innovation, entrepreneurship and research.” With NUI Galway anticipating an intake of over 3,200 new students in September, a hotline is in place for students, parents and teachers. The First Year Student Hotline number is 091 493999 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/. A team of specially-trained students will service the hotline Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, and also on 23 August, 10am to 1pm. -ENDS- An-tóir ar OÉ Gaillimh de réir thairiscintí an CAO Is léir ó thairiscintí an CAO inniu go bhfuil tóir i gcónaí ar OÉ Gaillimh. D’fhan na pointí do go leor cúrsaí mar a chéile nó, go deimhin, d’ardaigh siad ó 2013. Tháinig ardú ar na pointí sna cúig choláiste. Teastaíonn os cionn 500 pointe chun Leigheas, Eolaíocht Bhithleighis, Na Dána (Síceolaíocht), Teiripe Shaothair, Ceimic Bhithchógaisíochta agus Teiripe Urlabhra agus Theanga a dhéanamh agus teastaíonn os cionn 400 go láidir chun Eolaíocht Mhatamaiticiúil agus Tráchtáil (Idirnáisiúnta) a dhéanamh le Fraincis. Pointí ag ardú Tá suim ar leith curtha ag na mic léinn sa Tráchtáil, go háirithe na cúrsaí a bhfuil teanga idirnáisiúnta i gceist leo, rud a léiríonn go dtuigeann siad an riachtanas a bhaineann le teangacha sa mhargadh domhanda. Chuaigh Tráchtáil (Idirnáisiúnta) le Gearmáinis agus Tráchtáil (Idirnáisiúnta) le Spáinnis suas deich bpointe, go 460 agus 470 pointe faoi seach. Tá Tráchtáil le Gaeilge á tairiscint den chéad uair i mbliana agus teastaíonn 420 pointe chun é a dhéanamh agus d’ardaigh an clár traidisiúnta Tráchtála (Cuntasaíocht) 10 bpointe chomh maith go 470. Chuaigh Córais Faisnéise Gnó suas 20 pointe, agus tháinig ardú suntasach ar Dhlí Corparáideach agus ar Dhlí Sibhialta chomh maith don dara bliain as a chéile. Leis na hathruithe ar an scrúdú HPAT tá laghdú tagtha ar líon na bpointí a theastaíonn chun clár leighis a dhéanamh ar fud na tíre. Tá sé seo le sonrú sa laghdú atá tagtha ar na pointí chun leigheas a dhéanamh go 721, HPAT* san áireamh. Tá Altranas fanta ag 450 pointe, agus chuaigh Cnáimhseachas suas 5 phointe go 455.  Sna Dána, d’ardaigh an clár céime sna Dána (Matamaitic agus Oideachas), a chuireann dhá cháilíocht ar fáil in aon chlár amháin, 40 pointe go 405. I measc na gcéimeanna eile sna Dána ar ardaigh na pointí dóibh i mbliana tá na Dána le Léann Éireannach a chuaigh suas 10 bpointe, na Dána (Beartas Poiblí agus Sóisialta) a chuaigh suas 35 pointe, agus na Dána le Staidéar ar Mheiriceá Laidineach a chuaigh suas 25 pointe agus an chéim trí Ghaeilge, na Dána (Cumarsáid) a chuaigh suas 60 pointe go 360. San Innealtóireacht, chuaigh Innealtóireacht Mheicniúil suas 25 pointe go 425, agus chuaigh Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis suas 15 phointe go 420, agus chuaigh Innealtóireacht Shibhialta suas 15 phointe go 415. Tháinig ardú ar na pointí do Bhainistíocht Tionscadail agus Foirgníochta chomh maith. Tá méadú tagtha chomh maith ar an éileamh ar chúrsaí Eolaíochta. Mar aitheantas ar cheannródaíocht OÉ Gaillimh sna cláir Eolaíochta Bithleighis, is é an cúrsa san Eolaíocht Bhithleighis an cúrsa leis na dara pointí is airde san Ollscoil, ag 540 pointe. Chuaigh na pointí in airde 5 phointe do Cheimic Bhithchógaisíochta go 510 agus d’fhan an Bhiteicneolaíocht ag 465 pointe. Maidir leis an Eolaíocht, d’ardaigh na pointí d’Fhisic 20 pointe go 420. Dúirt Oifigeach Iontrála OÉ Gaillimh, Stephen O’Dea: ‘Don dara bliain as a chéile, tá ardú seasta tagtha ar líon na bpointí a theastaíonn do chúrsaí OÉ Gaillimh sa Tráchtáil agus sa Dlí rud a léiríonn go bhfuil tóir i gcónaí ar na réimsí sin. Tá an-tóir ar an Tráchtáil Idirnáisiúnta agus i mbliana, d’éirigh thar barr leis an gcúrsa nua, Tráchtáil leGaeilge (420 pointe), clár a thabharfaidh deis ar leith do mhic léinn aghaidh a thabhairt ar ghairmeacha le gnó agus le teagasc. Tá níos mó tóir anois ar chúrsaí Eolaíochta freisin. Tá láidreacht agus cáil OÉ Gaillimh sna hEolaíochtaí Bitheacha le sonrú sa tóir atá i gcónaí ar an Eolaíocht Bhithleighis (540) agus méadú go 510 pointe tagtha ar an gCeimic Bhithchógaisíochta. Chuaigh na pointí d’Fhisic suas 20 pointe i mbliana chomh maith go 420. D’éirigh go maith leis na cúrsaí Innealtóireachta agus d’ardaigh Innealtóireacht Bhithleighis, atá dírithe ag OÉ Gaillimh ar an margadh, go 420 pointe. Tá an-tóir ag mic léinn ar an taithí foghlama a chuireann cúrsaí an BA Connect ar fáil, rud atá le sonrú ón ardú sna pointí don Léann Éireannach, agus Staidéar Scannán agus Staidéar Leanaí ag fanacht mar a chéile bliain i ndiaidh bliana. Tá na pointí don tSíceolaíocht ard i mbliana chomh maith ag 525 pointe. Tá tóir i gcónaí ag mic léinn ar Theiripe Shaothair agus ar Theiripe Urlabhra agus Theanga, agus os cionn 500 pointe ag teastáil don dá chúrsa seo. Dúirt sé freisin, “Bainfidh mic léinn tairbhe as an gclár suntasach infheistíochta caipitil in OÉ Gaillimh a chuireann ar a gcumas aghaidh a thabhairt ar nuálaíocht, ar fhiontraíocht agus ar thaighde.” Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag súil le níos mó ná 3,200 mac léinn nua i Meán Fómhair, agus tá beolíne socraithe anois do mhic léinn, do thuismitheoirí agus do mhúinteoirí. Is é uimhir na Beolíne do Mhic Léinn na Chéad Bhliana 091 493999 nó téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/new-students/. Beidh foireann de mhic léinn oilte i mbun na beolíne ó Luan go hAoine, 9am go 6pm, agus beidh siad ar dualgas an 24 Lúnasa freisin, 10am go 1pm. -CRÍOCH-

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

On Tuesday, 9 September NUI Galway will host a public forum on Diabetes, delving into what research is doing to help advance treatments for complications of Type 2 diabetes. ‘Diabetes- It’s Complicated’ will take place in Room 243, Áras Moyola from 6.30-8.30pm.   This free event is organised as part of the EU-funded project Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration (REDDSTAR), and co-ordinated by Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospital. During the forum REDDSTAR's partners will discuss their current research projects investigating diabetic retinopathy, bone fracture repair and wound healing. Participants will also learn about stem cells and why they are therapeutically interesting. NUI Galway's Discipline of Podiatry will explain the current standard of care for diabetes-related foot ulcers, and DEXLIFE will be investigating ways to prevent the progression from pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. Speakers include: NUI Galway’s Professor Tim O’ Brien, Dr Cynthia Coleman and Professor Caroline McIntosh; Dr Steve Elliman, Head of Research at Orbsen Therapeutics; Dr Donal O’Gorman, Centre for Preventative Medicine at Dublin City University and DEXLIFE; and Professor Noemi Lois of Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Experimental Medicine. In conjunction with this event, a free foot screening will be offered from 3-5.30pm in the NUI Galway Podiatry Skills Laboratory on the third floor of Áras Moyola on campus. To schedule a 20 minute foot screening, please email REDDSTAR Dissemination Officer, Danielle Nicholson at danielle.nicholson@orbsentherapeutics.com or 091 528778.  Pre-register for your place at the event at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/diabetes-its-complicated-tickets-11763379585?aff=efblike -Ends-

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Laoise Breathnach, Principal of Scoil Iognáid, recently came up with an idea to start a project with NUI Galway student teachers to provide a series of enrichment workshops that would serve the needs of gifted pupils as Gaeilge. Laoise teamed up with Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir from NUI Galway’s School of Education to undertake an EXPLORE innovative project. This EXPLORE project set out to challenge student teachers on the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas in NUI Galway to design and deliver a series of resources, lessons and workshops for a group of gifted pupils. Almost 12 months on and as a result of the great work of Daltaí Tréitheacha exceptional pupils can now avail of relevant courses and workshops as Gaeilge. This is the first time NUI Galway student teachers provided a series of enrichment workshops in a Gaelscoil in Galway city, serving the needs of gifted pupils in the language they use daily, Gaeilge. The student teachers proposed a series of workshops over a number of weeks in Forensic Science, Code Breaking, Language Acquisition, Cultural Studies, Music and Dance, and the response from all involved was very enthusiastic.  The preservice student teachers benefited greatly from the experience, one declaring the EXPLORE project was one of best opportunities he had as a student at the University, and another saying that the whole experience taught her the importance of differentiating and addressing the needs of all pupils in the class. Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir added: “The project was a huge success, it was a unique and rich learning experience for the student teachers, so much so that they recommended it should be an integral part of the Initial Teacher Education Programme. And indeed, with funding, it could be included on a core module on the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas.  All students will be able to benefit from the experience.”  Following the success of the EXPLORE project, the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme is interested in expanding the scheme to more schools throughout Galway.  For further information contact Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, Scoil an Oideachais, NUI Galway at sinead.nighuidhir@nuigalway.ie, 091 492861 or visit www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore. A video about the project can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/94993436. -Ends- Daltaí Tréitheacha. An bhfuil aithne agatsa ar pháiste cumasach, ildánach? An féidir breis a dhéanamh le freastal ar a gcuid riachtanais? Ba ag Laoise Breathnach, Príomhoide Scoil Iognáid,  a bhí an smaoineamh an chéad lá, le tionscadal a bhunú i gcomhar le múinteoirí faoi oiliuint ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, chun ceardlanna saibhriúcháin a sholáthar as Gaeilge do dhaltaí tréitheacha. In éineacht le Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir ó Scoil an Oideachais, OÉ Gaillimh, thug Laoise agus na mic léinn ar an Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas faoi thionscadal EXPLORE. An aidhm a bhí ag an tionscadal comhoibritheach, núálach seo ná dúshlán a chur faoi bhráid na muúinteoirí faoi oiliúint, le ceachtanna, ceardlanna agus áiseanna a chruthú agus a dhearadh do dhaltaí le cumas eisceachtúil. Beagnach bliain ar aghaidh anois, agus de thoradh an tionscadail seo, cuireadh ceardlanna trí Ghaeilge ar fáil do Dhaltaí Tréitheacha. Den chéad uair i mbliana, chuir múinteoirí faoi oiliúint ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, ceardlanna saibhriúcháin ar bun i nGaelscoil i gCathair na Gaillimhe, ag freastal ar riachtanais na ndaltaí le cumas eisceachtúil sa scoil sin, ina ngnáth-theanga foghlama, an Ghaeilge. Eolaíocht Fhoiréinseach, Briseadh Cóid, Sealbhú Teanga, Oideachas Cultúrtha, Ceol agus Damhsa a bhí mar ábhar do na ceardlanna agus bhí an-rath ar an sraith. Bhain na mic léinn féin an-tairbhe as an taithí freisin, duine amháin a dúirt go raibh an tionscnamh Explore ar ceann de na deiseanna ab fhearr dá bhfuair sé mar mhac léinn ollscoile, agus duine eile a d’aithin go mbíonn dúshláin bhreise ag teastáil ó na daltaí tréitheacha chun iad a spreagadh agus nach leor é freastal ar an meán. Dúirt Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir: "Bhí an-rath ar an tionscadal, thug sé taithí dhomhain, shaibhir ar leith do na mic léinn, agus mhol siad gur cheart go mbeadh sé mar chroí chuid den chúrsa Oiliúint Tosaigh do Mhúinteoirí. Go deimhin, le maoiniú, d'fhéadfaí é a chur mar lár chuid de mhodúl ar an Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas, agus beidh buntáiste agus tairbhe ann do gach mac léinn." Ag leanúint ón rath a bhí ar an tionscadal EXPLORE seo, tá súil an scéim a leathnú go níos mó scoileanna ar fud na Gaillimhe. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil, déan teagmháil le Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, Scoil an Oideachais ag sinead.nighuidhir@nuigalway.ie, 091 492861, nó www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore. -Críoch-

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

         Distinguished Political Scientist to speak on "Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to                            Iraq and Northern Ireland" as part of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative Distinguished Irish political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania, Visiting Fellow at the Moore Institute,will give a public lecture on ‘Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland’ in NUI Galway at 4pm on Wednesday 27 August, 2014. This talk is part of the President of Ireland’s ‘Ethics Initiative’, and is organised by the Conflict, Rights and Security Research Cluster of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute in association with the Moore Institute. Brendan O'Leary is Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous highly regarded books and articles on conflict and peacemaking and has been deeply and directly involved in efforts to secure peace and design new structures of government in Northern Ireland and Iraq. He was born in Cork, Ireland, and his childhood and teenage years were mostly spent in Nigeria, Sudan, and Northern Ireland. Before going to University of Pennsylvania, O' Leary was on the faculty of the London School of Economics and Political Science between 1983 and 2003, where he had been Professor of Political Science, Head of its Government Department, and an elected Academic Governor. Between 2012 and 2014 he was also Professor of Political Science at Queen's University Belfast. O'Leary's professorial career has been combined with political advisory work. He was a political advisor to the British Labour Shadow Cabinet on Northern Ireland between 1987-8 and 1996-7, advising Kevin McNamara and the late Marjorie ("Mo") Mowlam. He advised Irish, British, and American ministers and officials and the Irish-American Morrison delegation during the Northern Ireland peace process, appearing as an expert witness before the US Congress, and being a guest at the White House. His ideas on power-sharing are said to have been extremely influential, and his work with Professor John McGarry on police reform was singled out in the press for influencing the commission on police reform which reported in 1999. O'Leary has also worked as a constitutional advisor for the European Union and the United Nations in the promotion of confederal and federal re-building of Somalia, and for the United Kingdom's Department of International Development in constitutional consultancies on power-sharing in coalition governments in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, and in Nepal.  Between 2003 and 2009 he was regularly an international constitutional advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, assisting in the negotiation of the Transitional Administrative Law (2004); electoral systems design (2004-5); the Constitution of Iraq (2005), and the Constitution of the Kurdistan Region (2005-). He has been an expert witness on Iraq to branches of the US Government, and to the United Kingdom's Iraq Commission. For the UN he contributed to its 2004 United Nations Human Development Report on Culture and Liberty. In 2009-2010 O'Leary was seconded to the UN as the Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing in the Standby Team of the Mediation Support Unit of the Department of Political Affairs. Dr Niall O Dochartaigh of the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, commented: “The topic could hardly be more urgent – how do we deal with the political fractures in deeply divided societies that are one of the main sources of violent conflict in the twenty first century? As perhaps the single most influential and internationally-respected Irish political scientist Brendan O’Leary has taken his work far beyond the walls of academia and directly influenced the design of stable structures of government for divided societies. His work is ground-breaking, original, and intensely engaged with public debate. It is often provocative and challenging and always illuminating. We are delighted that such an active and distinguished scholar of deeply divided societies will give this public lecture in NUI Galway on such an important and timely topic. We are also proud to make a contribution to the excellent work being done across all of the universities on behalf of President Higgins’ ‘Ethics Initiative’. Events such as this, the academic and political contribution of engaged scholars such as Professor O’Leary and initiatives such as President Higgins’ all make vital contributions toward the cultivation of an informed and critically engaged citizenry.” The lecture is open to the public, but early attendance is advised. It will begin at 4 pm (sharp) on Wednesday, 27 August in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Ends

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

NUI Galway researchers have asked the public to help in a quest to find out more about our elusive and unique Irish stoat. One of Ireland’s true native species, the Irish stoat (Mustela erminea hibernica) has been present on the island since before the last Ice Age. It is recognised as an endemic subspecies, quite distinct from those found in Britain and further afield. The research project is being undertaken by the Animal Ecology and Conservation group at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Vincent Wildlife Trust, a charity that has been at the forefront of mammal conservation in Ireland and the UK for over 35 years. Stoats are predators and belong to the weasel family, the mustelids. While there are no weasels in Ireland, other mustelids found here include badgers, otters and pine martens. The Irish stoat is an important element of Irish biodiversity and a protected species, yet relatively little is known about them. Currently, there is no population estimate available and there is a real need for information on their distribution, ecology and habitat requirements. The project is being conducted by NUI Galway PhD student Laura O’Flynn and Lecturer in Zoology, Dr Colin Lawton. A key element of their research incorporates the use of ‘Citizen Science’, which is an opportunity for members of the public to pass on their sightings and experiences of the animal. Dr Lawton explains how the public can help: “We are hoping individuals all over the country will contribute to this vital conservation research. Stoats are about a foot long, with orange-brown fur and often their most recognisable trait is their quick bounding movement when running and hunting. Any information on the locations where stoats have been seen, the habitats they most frequently use or any insights into their behaviour will be of great use to the research team.” Dr Lawton added, “We have had great success using Citizen Science in the past to determine the most up to date ranges of grey and red squirrels in Ireland, and in tracking down the dormouse, a new mammal species to the country. Now we hope to find out what we can about one of our true native species, the Irish stoat, and see if they are in need of any conservation help, or indeed if they are causing any problems to farmers or gamekeepers.” There are a number of ways in which you can submit information to the project, by email at irishstoatsurvey@gmail.com, by phone on 091 492903 or 086 0660208, or on Facebook at the Irish Stoat Project https://www.facebook.com/irishstoat -ends-

Monday, 25 August 2014

A new atlas, providing one of the most thorough audit ever of marine life in the Southern Ocean, was launched in New Zealand today. Leading marine biologists and oceanographers from all over the world, including NUI Galway’s Dr Louise Allcock, spent the last four years compiling information on more than 9,000 species. The species, which range from microbes to whales, include seaweeds, crustaceans, molluscs, corals, anemones, worms, moss animals, urchins, starfish, sea squirts, plankton, jellyfish, fish, seals, and birds. In 66 chapters, the scientists examine the evolution, physical environment, genetics and possible impact of climate change on marine organisms in the region. Dr Louise Allcock, a Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway, is author of two of the chapters. Her first chapter focuses on octopuses, a subject on which she is one of the world’s leading authorities.  In a second chapter she explores bipolarity, the phenomenon where a species exists both in Antarctica, and the Arctic. According to Dr Allcock: “The study of bipolar species is fascinating because it tells us quite a lot about evolution and speciation. There are probably far fewer bipolar species than some people have suggested, but they are a very real transient natural phenomenon. As a species becomes widely dispersed, for a while it can be bipolar, but because of limited gene flow between the polar populations, these populations eventually diverge and each becomes a species in its own right.” Published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the new Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean is an unprecedented international collaboration involving 147 scientists from 91 institutions across 22 countries. It is the first time that such an effort has been undertaken since 1969 when the American Society of Geography published its Antarctic Map Folio Series.   Chief editor, Claude De Broyer, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, said: “This is the first time that all the records of the unique Antarctic marine biodiversity, from the very beginnings of Antarctic exploration in the days of Captain Cook, have been compiled, analysed and mapped by the scientific community. It has resulted in a comprehensive atlas and an accessible database of useful information on the conservation of Antarctic marine life.” The data, and expert opinions, in the Atlas will help inform conservation policy, including the debate over whether or not to establish marine protected areas in the open ocean. Sophisticated environmental models coupled with existing species distribution data provide a valuable outlook on the possible future distribution of key species as they adapt to climate change. New advances in genetics have shed light on some of the best known species from the Antarctic sea floor. The giant isopod crustacean Glyptonotus antarcticus is one of those. The animal lives on the edge of the continent at depths of up to 600 metres. Previously considered to be a single species with a circumpolar distribution, molecular barcoding suggests it may, in reality, be a group with up to eleven species inhabiting much smaller geographic regions.  Author, and editor, Huw Griffiths, of the British Antarctic Survey, said: “The book is unique and contains an amazing collection of information and photos. It’s been an enormous international effort and will serve as a legacy to the dedicated team of scientists who have contributed to it. The Atlas is a must-read for anyone interested in the animals living at the end of the Earth.” The Atlas contains around 100 colour photos and 800 maps. It was launched at the SCAR 2014 Open Science Conference in Auckland, New Zealand today. -ends-

Monday, 25 August 2014

A symposium on youth development and sport, organised by UNESCO experts, takes place on Thursday, 28 August. The symposium is organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University. It kicks off the Croke Park Classic Weekend, which will feature an American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida. According to the symposium organisers, with half of the world’s population aged 25 or younger, there is a pressing need for innovative strategies to engage youth. And with 85% of all youth living in less developed countries, active engagement of youth is essential to international security, stability, and regional capacity building. Dr Mark Brennan of Penn State University explains how sport can help: “We believe that a dedication to youth citizenship sponsored through sport and recreation will bring communities together and create a prosperous and peaceful environment for all.” ‘The UNESCO Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation’ will look at the effects sport can have on youth in terms of leadership, peace building, empowering women and social inclusion. Key speakers will include, among others: Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, Penn State University. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway. Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster. Don Mullan, author, founder of the Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field Project. Alan Kerins, Irish GAA star and founder of Alan Kerins Projects; Hugo MacNeill, Irish rugby star, Managing Director Goldman Sachs; Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos (the organisation founded by J.K. Rowling which works to support children in institutions.) NUI Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan, the first person to be awarded the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement in the Republic of Ireland, commented: “We are focussed on knowledge creation around ‘what works’ in the real world of practice and on utilising community based approaches to working with and for young people.” Explaining the organisers’ approach, University of Ulster’s Professor Alan Smith, said: “The symposium will bring together a range of voices, from youth involved in citizenship and peacebuilding projects, to policy makers and organisations tasked with building resilient and thriving communities.” The Symposium will result in significant policy initiatives and a major formal declaration on utilising sports and recreation as mechanisms for youth development worldwide. This declaration will be announced at halftime during the Croke Park Classic football match and presented to the UN, UNESCO, and UNICEF as a platform for them to build global programming and policy. The UNESCO Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation will be held on Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 9am to 4.30 pm at Croke Park, Dublin. Click here for full symposium agenda.  ENDS

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway and Irish start-up Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. have successfully executed a new and exciting scientific proof-of-concept involving the use of sound waves to dispense living stem cells. Using the Poly-Pico micro-drop dispensing device, the researchers were able to isolate individual adult stem cells from a bone marrow sample. The ability to isolate individual stem cells in a quick, scalable and cost-efficient manner is attractive to scientists working in the field, as current methods are often time-consuming and costly. Individual cells can then be replicated into exact copies of themselves for experimental purposes, or various drug compounds could be applied to the individual cells to see what effects occur. Further down the line, there is the tantalising prospect of perhaps being able to use such dispensing devices as a form of tissue engineering. Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-up (HPSU) company, which spun out from the University of Limerick and is now based in Galway. The company has developed a unique, accurate and highly versatile device, which uses sound energy to accurately dispense a wide range of fluid / materials at very low volumes (picolitre to nanolitre). The novel technology uses disposable cartridges to dispense materials such as proteins, antibodies, DNA and other compounds for biological applications as well as providing industrial solutions for the precise dispensing of adhesives, lubricants; and coatings. Now, for the first time, REMEDI scientists have successfully used the same technology to dispense stem cells, thereby demonstrating a capability of the instrument which will open up further applications in life sciences. In the proof-of-concept experiments, living stem cells were dispensed one at a time onto different surfaces using the sound wave technology.  The delicate stem cells remained viable and continued to grow after being dispensed. “This gives us some ideas about new uses for the instrument”, says Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway.  If we can deliver stem cells accurately and rapidly, we can potentially engineer new tissues in the laboratory based on complex arrays of dispensed cells.  If we try to look into the future, it is possible to envisage that human tissues could be manufactured using this kind of technology, thus avoiding the need to identify tissue donors for transplants.” Alan Crean, CEO of Poly-Pico Technologies, commented: “We are delighted to see this new technology opportunity emerge at the interface between biology and engineering.  We look forward to working with REMEDI and NUI Galway on developing stem cell applications using our acoustic methods. There are other exciting applications of Poly-Pico’s unique technology in, for example, drug screening and DNA amplification. Our objective here is to make our technology available to companies, and researchers, and add value to what they are doing. This is one example of such a success.”  This proof-of-concept was carried out under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund. The technology was then advanced using an Innovation Voucher, an Enterprise Ireland initiative developed to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and small businesses. ENDS

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The GAA was put forward as a shining example for fostering youth engagement at an international UNESCO symposium in Croke Park today. The symposium was organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University, USA. Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development at Penn State University, believes other countries can learn from the GAA’s model. According to Professor Brennan: “The Gaelic Athletic Association is a true grassroots organisation. It empowers, involves and invigorates not just individual young people but their families and wider communities. We hear a lot about the ‘fabric’ of society. Organisations such as the GAA are examples of a wonderful type of clever stitching which can make this fabric strong and support young people as they develop. Sport has such potential to strengthen society around the world by engaging young peoples around the world and nations can learn from each other about what works best.” Speaking at the symposium, NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea, who is also the Tipperary Hurling Manager, spoke of the importance of sport. “How we contextualize a child’s engagement with sport can impact how they learn about success and failure. Sport is mainly about failure - learning to go back on the pitch and say, ‘look, things will get better’. If at the end we can say we stayed the course, took the knocks, were resilient, it doesn’t matter how we end up. The journey is the critical piece in how children develop in sport.” Delegates heard that involvement in sport is key for positive youth development. Apart from obvious physical health gains through fitness, it also has a positive effect on mental health and enables both dealing with stress and coping. Sport enables young people to learn and deal with success and disappointment, which is a useful preparation for later life. Of particular importance, delegates heard, was the mentoring aspect of sport and also the potential for developing emotional intelligence. Other speakers at the event included Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway and Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster. Some of the representatives from sport included Alan Kerins, former GAA Intercounty hurler and footballer, and founder of Alan Kerins Projects, and Hugo MacNeill, Irish rugby star and Managing Director Goldman Sachs. Attendees heard that youth citizenship, sponsored through sport and recreation has the power to bring communities together and create a prosperous and peaceful environment for all. A declaration was put forward, which contained a ‘call for all youth worldwide to receive the attention needed for them to be empowered to take ownership for their lives and development of their societies’.  The declaration will be signed on Saturday, at half time during the American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida. -ends-

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and Former President Mary Robinson is among the keynote speakers at NUI Galway Symposium An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD today opens an international symposium on Women's Leadership, Peace and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Region at NUI Galway, organised in partnership with Georgetown Women’s Institute, Washington DC. The symposium will mark the first year of former President Mary Robinson’s role as UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and will hear from global experts on the conflict. Two decades of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have resulted in the loss of up to five million lives.  Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women and children, have been subjected to sexual and gender based violence.  Emerging from the conflict presents massive and complex challenges for the region. In February 2013 a new Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and Region was agreed by the Congo and its neighbouring countries. Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, was appointed UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region in March 2013, with a wide-ranging mandate to support and encourage signatories to implement the PSC Framework.  Speaking about the NUI Galway Symposium, the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said: “Ireland has always supported the most vulnerable populations during conflicts; in particular women and children. This unique event will shine a light on the appalling suffering and turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding region. Women and children have borne the brunt of this terrible conflict, and as such, it is fitting that this international gathering will examine the vital role of women as leaders in managing the transition towards a brighter future for the coming generations.” At the end of the first year of the mandate of the UN Special Envoy, the two-day symposium at NUI Galway focuses on women’s leadership and participation in the implementation of the Framework for peace in the DRC region. Speaking at the symposium, UN Special Envoy, Mary Robinson commented: It is much harder in practice rather than in theory to engage women fully in peace making and peace building, yet their role is essential for sustainable peace. We need to be determined, creative and imaginative to ensure the full involvement and empowerment of women in conflict resolution.” The role of women in leading the peace process in the DRC region has emerged as a prominent theme of Mary Robinson’s first year as UN Special Envoy. As symposium organiser, Dr Niamh Reilly of NUI Galway explains: “This unique event in Ireland shines a light on the root causes of the appalling suffering and turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding region. Women and children have borne the brunt of this terrible conflict, and as such, it is fitting that this international gathering will examine the vital role of women as leaders in managing the transition towards sustainable peace for the coming generations.” The two-day symposium reflects the growing partnership between NUI Galway and the Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This important symposium represents the first major academic showcase of the NUI Galway-Mary Robinson Centre partnership. We are delighted to host this timely review of the tremendous work Mary Robinson has done as UN Special Envoy for the DRC region, and look forward to developing an extensive academic programme with the Centre.” Keynote speakers at the Women’s Leadership symposium include: MARY ROBINSON, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General to the Great Lakes Region and former President of Ireland   MELANNE VERVEER, Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and first United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues ROSE MUTOMBO KIESE, President, Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (National Network of Congolese Women’s Organisations) BINETA DIOP, African Union Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security and founder and Chair of the Executive Board of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS). A new research report, “Women’s Leadership and Participation in the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities", will be launched at the symposium. This joint NUI Galway-Georgetown University report, by Niamh Reilly at NUI Galway and Roslyn Warren at Georgetown University, documents Mary Robinson’s work on the ongoing implementation of Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and Region and makes recommendations for the year ahead. -ends-

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D. acknowledged the role of NUI Galway in revolutionising education in Ireland at the ACE (Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship) Conference at Farmleigh House in Dublin yesterday. Over the last six years, NUI Galway has worked with seven other Irish Higher Education Institutes as part of the ACE Consortium, to introduce enterprise and entrepreneurship education in non-business courses. “We all know that business students learn valuable financial and management skills. But it is also vital that those studying other disciplines such as engineering, creative industries and healthcare learn essential business skills. By learning to think in an entrepreneurial way, graduates are better prepared for the world of employment or self-employment” explained Michael Campion of NUI Galway’s Discipline of Management. At the ACE Conference the CEEN (Campus Entrepreneurship Enterprise Network) was established. This will provide a network for educators to share resources and support the introduction of enterprise education in non-business disciplines across their campus. In addition to driving the entrepreneurship agenda in third level education, the CEEN will work with primary and secondary educators to integrate entrepreneurship and enterprise education into Irish education.  “Irish education must be innovative. It needs to adapt to meet the changing needs of graduates. It is not enough to teach technical skills. Entrepreneurship is a mind-set. It is a suite of skills. It is an ability to assess problems and find solutions. By teaching entrepreneurship, we give our children the toolkit they need to design their own future. This is the era of the ‘Entrepreneurial Graduate’ in Irish Education and NUI Galway is proud to lead this way in this major educational change” concluded Mr Campion. -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Two final year BSc (Business Information Systems) students at NUI Galway were awarded a Merit Award at the recent Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Lorcan Farrell and Domhnall Walsh, both from Galway City, received the award for their project ‘Ice Eyes’. ‘Ice Eyes’ the is an innovative solar powered cat’s eye road marker that is equipped with the technology to identify the temperature of the road and signal to drivers via a blue LED light when the temperature of that road has fallen below freezing. The aim of the project was to reduce the amount of accidents on Irish roads and all over the world during the cold seasons. Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway said: “This success reflects how our students expand existing technology boundaries and it demonstrates the richness of their innovative capacity. I am very proud of our students and their achievement of a merit award.”  This year celebrates the 32nd year of the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The Awards are part of a major drive aimed at tapping into the potential for students and young people to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into commercial businesses. This is Ireland’s largest and longest established third-level student enterprise competition. The awards are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Intel and Grant Thornton and are open to all third level colleges across the Island of Ireland.   The awards were presented by Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland and Dougie Howlett, from Munster Rugby. Each team received a tablet from Intel and Intellectual Property Consultancy from Cruickshank.  -Ends-

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Numerous scientists around the world are working to better understand the complex sugars, or glycans, which coat every living cell in our bodies. Glycans are involved in the interactions between cells and physiological processes, such as fertilisation, cancer, and stem-cell differentiation. Some of the leading experts in this field will convene at NUI Galway from August 6-9, 2014. The goal of the 5th Warren Workshop will be to highlight the capabilities and limitations that exist in the detection, identification, and quantification of these carbohydrates. Professor Rob Woods, School of Chemistry, NUI Galway, explains the complexities involved in understanding the chemistry involved in glycosience: “Glycans are very complex and each one is unique. It’s almost like our cells are covered in snowflakes, each having its own unique fluctuating shape. So how do proteins or anitbodies identify and bind to glycans?  If we could better understand this, we could use this this knowledge to develop carbohydrate-specific biosensors for use in disease diagnosis and treatment”. The driving force for the Warren Workshop series is the need for detailed structural analysis of glycans in the context of complex biological systems. The workshop will bring together experts from around the globe in the discipline to establish workflows for tackling these huge challenges. Speakers will be coming from Ireland, the US, Switzerland, England, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel. Professor Pauline Rudd, National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBERT) notes that NUI Galway, DCU, UCD, TCD and NIBRT all have strong programmes in applied glycoscience, especially in technology development, analytics, molecular modelling, carbohydrate recognition, oligosaccharide synthesis and glycan pathway modelling. In addition, bioinformatics programmes have been pioneered by Irish scientists. This meeting focuses on many of these topics, and particularly on new technologies of direct relevance to Pharmaceutical companies.  In light of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry being awarded for Computational Simulations, the 5th Warren Workshop will also include a session on computational glycoscience. Professor Woods’ research group at NUI Galway is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and closely integrates strong computational and experimental skill sets: “Because of the mind-blowing complexities involved, we need the most advanced computational simulations to help us better understand how glycans are interacting and communicating within our bodies”. The team in Professor Wood’s lab is investigating antiviral agents to block viral infections and applying their findings to influenza; chosen because of the potential for a pandemic. The group is also working on the development of diagnostics for cancer markers with a focus on pancreatic cancer, one of the more virulent forms of cancer with a mortality rate of over 90%. Early detection of all cancers, preferably by non-invasive surveillance, is needed for all cancers, but particularly for the most aggressive forms. For further information on the 5th Warren Workshop visit http://glycomics.ccrc.uga.edu/warren-workshop/  -ends-

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The new secure bicycle compound at NUI Galway was officially launched on the 18th June. Coinciding with this year’s National Bike Week the compound is open to staff and students who want to cycle to work and leave their bike in a secure location. A University ID card is all that is required to access the facility. With space for more than 320 bikes there are separate entrances and exits for cyclists use only with a permanent pumping station due for installation in the coming weeks. The high security compound is one of a number of facilities aimed at encouraging staff and students to cycle to campus. Bicycle lockers are currently on trial and additional bike racks are being installed at a variety of locations around the campus.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Elsevier Publishers, one of world’s leading scientific publishers, have announced an ambitious collaboration with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. The centre established by Science Foundation Ireland is a joint initiative between researchers at NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork, University College Dublin and other partner institutions. The collaboration with Elsevier will focus on developing new scientometric techniques - that is, techniques for measuring the progress and impact of scientific and scholarly work. A team at Insight NUI Galway will work on the development of a novel platform for incorporating various sources of scientometric information, both traditional (e.g. bibliometric) and new (e.g. social media) in order to capture a holistic view of scientific practice and discourse. “While the use of citation data for measuring scientific impact is well established”, explains Professor Siegfriend Handshuh of Insight, “it is far less clear how science propagates its influence through other channels, such as news publications, social media, government policy documents and so on.” Elsevier are at the forefront of the development of several scientometric tools such as PURE, a platform to measure an organisation's research and collaboration strategies and accomplishments. It is envisaged that the collaboration with Insight will lead to the development of novel scientometric services to complement and extend existing products such as PURE. “Elsevier is delighted to be working with the new Insight Centre on this project” said Nick Fowler, Elsevier’s Managing Director of Academic and Government Institutional Markets, who is responsible for PURE and other products. “Working with an academic research partner lets us take on projects with a higher risk and reward than we normally could. That higher risk/reward approach is also enabled by the generous matching grant from the Irish government, otherwise we would not be able to dedicate four Ph.D. researchers for three years to such a project.” “This is a very important collaboration for Insight”, according to Professor Handschuh, “as researchers, we have an interest in improving the way scientific information is communicated, used and measured. Partnering with Elsevier has given us an insight into real problems, real data  and challenges we would not have foreseen.”  -Ends-