Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Research conducted by NUI Galway academic Dr John Murray has led to the recovery of a medal, thought long-lost, belonging to a Great War veteran from Dublin who was decorated for bravery. The soldier, James Murray, first joined the British army as a young man and fought with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). After returning to civilian life, he married his first wife Mary in 1904 and they had two children. They lived in some of the poorest tenement slums in Dublin and by mid-1909, through a combination of sickness and tragedy, James had lost his entire first family. He remarried in 1912 and started a second family. During the First World War James re-enlisted with his old regiment and participated in both the Battle of Messines and the Passhendaele offensive in 1917. He received two separate commendations for gallantry and also the Military Medal for Bravery during those significant actions. Dr Murray of NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, has been researching his great grandfather James Murray over a number of years and commented: “During the Great War James had to leave behind a very young family, including my own grandfather Michael who was only three years old. They must have waited very anxiously at home for him during all of the times he faced extreme danger in the trenches of the Western Front. He was immensely brave and experienced a number of highs and lows in life. It was a privilege to unearth his life-story, and also something of an emotional roller-coaster.” James Murray was reunited with his young family following the Armistice and returned to working class life in Dublin. He died in 1949 and his widow Jane survived him by some 28 years. Tragedy struck in 1963 when her dilapidated tenement home on Fenian Street catastrophically collapsed, killing two young girls. Jane lost everything in that disaster, and the event helped to precipitate the Dublin housing crisis of the 1960s, which eventually led to the clearing of the remaining tenement slums and the reshaping of Dublin’s urban landscape. During the course of his investigation Dr Murray discovered, quite by chance, that eight years previously someone else had been searching for information online about the very same Great War soldier. Gerard ‘Del’ Delaney, originally from Dublin and now living in the UK, had inherited some old medals from his mother and one of them, a WW1 Victory Medal, clearly bore James Murray’s name and regimental number on the rim. With help from a member of an online military discussion forum, the pair made initial contact. Del, himself a decorated former soldier with the Royal Logistic Corps who actively participates in commemorations and archaeological excavations on the Western Front, said: “I was never quite sure how James’s medal came to be in my family’s possession, particularly as no clear relationship could be traced back to him. When John and I first spoke by phone, I immediately realised the importance of returning this precious item to James’s direct descendants.” Del and John finally met for the first time in Dublin last year and Private James Murray’s Victory Medal was presented back to the Murray family. On the occasion of its return, John commented: “My entire family had believed that so much of the story had been lost, particularly in the Fenian Street tenement collapse. We are all deeply grateful to Del for very kindly returning James’s Great War medal and providing us with a tangible link to our shared past. This literally feels like finding a needle in a haystack.” Del Delaney also added: “It has been a privilege for me to have been a custodian of James’s medal and I am delighted that it is back in the family’s possession. You never know, the publicity surrounding its return may go towards helping establish the whereabouts of James’s other medals - stranger things have happened!” Full details of James Murray’s remarkable life, the Fenian Street tenement collapse and the return of his Victory Medal are published in the current edition (September/October) of the magazine History Ireland. Editor Tommy Graham commented: “This is an amazing story, combining 'big picture' events like the Boer War and the First World War with the detail—and many tragedies—of Dublin working class life. And it has a happy ending of sorts, with the rediscovery of James Murray's First World War Victory Medal by his surviving family.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Professor Conor Brady, the former Editor of The Irish Times, has been appointed an Honorary Professor at NUI Galway. Professor Brady will work with NUI Galway in the development of a new innovation stream on the University’s MA in Journalism programme, designed to prepare graduates to work in future roles as digital content creators and innovators in the media industry. Professor Brady will also lecture in the history of media to BA Journalism students and will chair the University’s Editorial Advisory Board, a group of external journalists and editors that advises the university on best practice in journalism education. Head of Journalism and Communication Tom Felle said: “Professor Brady would bring a wealth of experience to his new role. NUI Galway has a long history of journalism education and our BA Journalism – relaunched in 2019 – is the top points programme in the country in its category. Our prestigious MA Journalism and MA Sports Journalism and Communication now attract graduates from around the world. “2020 marks the start of a major period of expansion for NUI Galway in media and the creative industries. We have ambitious plans to develop new streams in global financial journalism; climate action; human rights; and a very specialised programme in digital journalism incorporating social media as well as data analytics. We are delighted that Conor has agreed to join us to help us achieve our goals at NUI Galway as we strive to develop an international centre of excellence in journalism and wider media education in the West of Ireland.” Professor Brady said: “I am greatly honoured to be invited to contribute to the development of journalism and media studies at the vibrant and progressive NUI Galway. The technologies, the delivery vehicles, of 21st Century journalism are changing constantly. But it is essential in parallel to preserve Irish journalism’s legacy values of truthfulness, courage, respect and fairness and to ensure that they are embedded in contemporary practice.” Conor is one of Ireland’s more experienced journalists and editors. He served as Editor of The Irish Times from 1986 until 2002, and previously worked for RTÉ and the Sunday Tribune. He worked in a number of postings for the Times including in Northern Ireland, the London Bureau, and the European Desk. He reported on the conflict in Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe, in the 1970s, and was chair of the World Editors’ Forum from 1996 to 2000. Professor Brady has previously held academic positions as Visiting Professor at John Jay College, City University of New York, and as a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Smurfit Business School in UCD. He was a member of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission from 2005 to 2011. He is chair of the Top Level Appointments Commission (TLAC), which selects leadership for senior public service positions. He is a director of the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and is vice chair of Midlands Radio 103. Professor Brady is also co-founder of Caliber AI, an Enterprise Ireland-funded project, currently developing artificial intelligence to assist in the pre-publication detection of defamatory or toxic content.  -Ends-

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Researchers from five universities awarded prestigious Lero Director’s Prizes Three NUI Galway researchers, Professor Kieran Conboy, Dr Darragh Mullins, and Mariead O’Connell, were among eight researchers from five leading Irish universities who were awarded Lero Director’s Prizes at an online ceremony today. This is the second year of the annual awards presented by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software, to honour members working across its 11 academic partner institutes nationwide. Awards were presented to academics, researchers and support staff from NUI Galway, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, Maynooth University and Dublin City University. The Lero Director’s Prizes were presented at the annual gathering of Lero members which was held online this year for the first time in the centre’s 15-year history. Closing the conference, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Lero, told members that their resilience and dedication has meant that Lero has continued and, in many cases, expanded its ground-breaking work despite the COVID-19 pandemic: “I am constantly impressed by the women and men who are the backbone of our world-leading research centre. Their resilience, ingenuity and ambition to provide research-based solutions and insights to resolve problems, have not been derailed by a pandemic that has transformed so many other facets of modern living. “This year, Lero celebrates the 15th anniversary of its foundation. Since 2005, Lero has established itself as one of the top software research centres in the world and this is because of its people. 2020 has brought unique challenges to our members and our world. Today we recognise the resilience and ingenuity of Lero’s academics and researchers in providing scientific and technological solutions to global issues. We also acknowledge their dedication to the centre, to engaging the public and industry and to diversity and inclusion in our work and in our world,” Professor Fitzgerald said. This is the first year that the Professor Rory O’Connor Prize for Outstanding Service to Lero was presented, in memory of the late Lero and DCU researcher. “The Professor Rory O’Connor Prize for Outstanding Service to Lero is a highlight of the Lero Director’s Prize programme and we are very grateful to the family of our late colleague Rory for allowing us to name this prize in his honour. Such was the strength of nominations in this category, we decided to present two awards – one to Lero Principal Investigator Professor Kieran Conboy of NUI Galway and a second to Dara O’Connor, a member of the centre’s support team based in University of Limerick,” Professor Fitzgerald stated. The Lero Director’s Prize for Research Excellence was awarded to Dr Jim Buckley of University of Limerick. Earlier this summer, Dr Buckley received a Science Foundation Ireland COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding award for COVIGILANT, a research project with colleagues in UL and NUI Galway to gather evidence informing and optimising Ireland’s digital contact-tracing strategy and practice. Lero Director’s Prizes for Education and Public Engagement were awarded to Dr Darragh Mullins of NUI Galway and Professor Markus Helfert and his team at Maynooth University. Lero Director’s Prizes for Diversity and Inclusion were presented to PhD students Abeba Birhane of University College Dublin and Mairead O’Connor of NUI Galway. -Ends-

Friday, 4 September 2020

GIAF’s once-off autumn programme welcomes audiences to safely experience visual arts, music, theatre, and talks live in person while facilitating those who may prefer to engage from home Galway International Arts Festival’s Autumn Edition began on Thursday 3 September, with an exciting programme which includes both live arts and an enhanced digital component, giving audiences a choice as to how they wish to engage with it, in person (both indoors and outdoors) or at home digitally.  The aim is that while moving forward and bringing live experiences back to the fore, no one is left behind, especially those who are unable to travel to Galway or are currently staying at home.  Acutely aware of public health concerns, the programme is designed to be presented within public health and Government guidelines, allowing for limited attendance and social distancing. The centrepiece of the programme will be the world unveiling of a major new visual arts commission for Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. Presented outdoors in Galway city and in Connemara, John Gerrard’s Mirror Pavilion installation, using cutting edge digital technology, will be one of the largest outdoor installations ever to be seen in Ireland and will be in situ on the Claddagh Quay from 3-26 September (this will move to Connemara in October). From 5 September at the Festival Gallery explore new work from Hughie O’Donoghue and Three Women from American video art pioneer Bill Viola. The first weekend of First Thought talks will take place 5 & 6 September. A mix of live in-person, from the Black Box Theatre, and other online talks will explore the big issues and challenges of 2020 including:  Pandemic Reflections 1: The Spanish Flu: Dr Ida Milne, Fergal Bowers  Dr Catriona Clear / Pandemic Reflections 2: Covid-19: Prof Luke O’Neill, Dr Catherine Motherway, Prof Paul Moynagh, Dr Mary Favier, David McCullough / Black Lives Matter: Experiences of Racism in Ireland: Tobi Lawal, Felicia Olusanya, Amanda Adewole in conversation with Roisin Ingle/ The State of the UK: John Lanchester, Fintan O’Toole, Martina Fitzgerald/ Bloody Sunday 1920: Prof Paul Rouse, Associate Prof Anne Dolan, Prof Diarmuid Ferriter/ Climate: What has changed or can change?: Includes Minister Eamon Ryan, Tara O’Neill, Mai Sheehan / What May The Post– Pandemic Future Hold? Fintan O’Toole in conversation with Catriona Crowe / Italia 90: Colm Toibin, Eamon Dunphy, Mark Duncan. Meanwhile host Tiernan Henry talksfavourite music and memories with special guests  in a new series of live Vinyl Hours conversations at Róisín Dubh, Dominick Street, on 6 September the first of his guests, renowned Irish conductor and GIAF regular with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra David Brophy will be talking all things music. The full programme is available at https://www.giaf.ie. "While this has been a very challenging time for everyone, we were determined to present a programme in Galway this year despite everything and we are set to do just that with our Autumn Edition. We wanted this to be a love letter from the arts to our audience during a very difficult period for people. We have had to radically rethink how we do things but one thing's for sure, we look forward to safely gathering again to celebrate great art with everyone - either in person or online – this Autumn.”John Crumlish, Chief Executive, Galway International Arts Festival. “Over the last few months the importance of culture has been more evident than ever before as we all embraced our favourite art forms to help us through such a difficult time. We are hugely excited to re-establish live experiences between artists and audiences alongside online experiences for those who cannot join in person. As the country emerges from lockdown, we hope Galway International Arts Festival will help elevate the mood of the nation and enrich many hearts and minds as we present this Autumn Edition. It will also be a particular thrill to unveil the spectacular Mirror Pavilion by John Gerrard on the Irish landscape.”Paul Fahy, Artistic Director, Galway International Arts Festival Attend and experience in person, in Galway:  Galway International Arts Festival Autumn Edition will kick off on 3 September with the unveiling of Mirror Pavilion, a major new commission from internationally renowned Irish artist John Gerrard known for his spectacular, large scale outdoor works such as Western Flag in the Coachella desert, California. Presented by GIAF and Galway 2020 as part of Galway’s European Capital of Culture. The Pavilion is a beautiful and striking structure, with three sides and the roof clad in a highly reflective mirror and the fourth wall a high–resolution LED wall. This structure will host two new artworks Corn Work and Leaf Work which will unfold on the LED screen presented in two locations; Corn Work at the historic Claddagh Quay in Galway City (3-26 September) and Leaf Work at the spectacular 4,000–year–old Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara (11-31 Oct). The works reflect and respond to the landscape of both locations. Mirror Pavilion is a response to the escalating climate crisis and fearlessly pushes the boundaries of digital art using simulation. Gerrard has taken digital technology, usually employed by the commercial gaming industry, to create virtual worlds that simulate extremely detailed and authentic landscapes. The characters and landscapes we see on the LED screen may look like video or film but they are not. Commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival for Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture, the Festival is delighted to honour that commitment to premiere Mirror Pavilion in Ireland this year. Watch John Gerrard in his studio, talk about creating Mirror Pavilion in this short video. A ‘one-night-only' peek at a new Enda Walsh play, Medicine, at a work-in-progress stage. Medicine will see Domhnall Gleeson return to the stage, alongside Clare Barrett, Aoife Duffin and jazz percussionist Sean Carpio.  Produced by Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival, Medicine is devastatingly funny and profoundly moving, and examines society’s response to mental health concerns while deconstructing the fabric of theatrical performance. Please note this development showcase will not be streamed and there is a limited audience capacity to facilitate social distancing.  (26 September, 4pm, Black Box Theatre – SOLD OUT) Visual arts programming is always a key element of the Galway International Arts Festival programme. Last summer GIAF moved into a new Festival Gallery space in the heart of the city centre. Housed in An Post’s network of buildings just off William Street, the unused space behind the main GPO was completely transformed by the Festival team. GIAF is delighted that An Post has made the space available again and will this year host a major new exhibition by celebrated Irish artist Hughie O’Donoghue. This exhibition features a number of large-scale works. (5-26 September, Festival Gallery).  Internationally acclaimed video artist Bill Viola’s work focuses on the fundamental human experiences. Audiences this Autumn can explore his workThree Women, which is part of the Transfigurations video series (5-26 September, Festival Gallery). There is a new Room to explore, Changing Room written by Enda Walsh and designed by Paul Fahy, the seventh in their series.This latest addition to the evolving Rooms series sees Enda once again collaborate with GIAF’s Artistic Director to share the story of a character who has inhabited that room. (9-20 September, Bank of Ireland Theatre, NUI Galway – SOLD OUT). Always a hugely popular part of the festival, First Thought Talks returns exploring the big issues and challenges of the day with speakers including Samantha Power, Professor Luke O’Neill, Marion McKeone, Colm Tóibín, Gaia Vince, Eamon Dunphy and Fintan O’Toole.  A selection of talks will be live-streamed and some guests will join by video link. First Thought Talks are presented in association with NUI Galway. Meanwhile host Tiernan Henry talksfavourite music and memories with special guests Julie Feeney, David Brophy and Liz Nugent in a new series of live Vinyl Hours conversations. (6 & 12 September, Róisín Dubh, Dominick Street). These will be available to listen to on the Festival’s new First Thought podcast. Experience through headphones, as you walk through the streets of Galway, Cascando by Samuel Beckett directed by Gavin Quinn, from Pan Pan who make their long–awaited GIAF debut this year. The audience are led through the city streets, the unhurried pace of Andrew Bennett’s deep and riveting voice provide a rhythm for their steps, as they listen to Voice’s struggle to tell a story. Along this journey, the tremendous pulse of Jimmy Eadie’s music threatens to overwhelm, rising in a wave of crashing strings. (17-20 September, 1pm, 4pm & 7pm and 19 September, 11am, 1.30pm & 4pm. Meeting point at the Galway Rowing Club, Wood Quay – SOLD OUT). To celebrate 250 years since the birth of Beethoven, ConTempo will perform a series of live concerts featuring some of his most-loved pieces for strings quartets. (22-25 September, St Nicholas’ Church). Experience GIAF online at home: Galway International Arts Festival is acutely aware that some may not be in a position to experience these in person in Galway this autumn. With that in mind the Festival presents an enhanced digital programme for audiences who cannot visit Galway to attend in person this year, or may prefer to engage from home. A selection of these will be live streamed on our online platforms, some digital only. Additional events will be presented on Facebook Live and Instagram. Check the Festival’s online platforms for regular updates. Watch a Mirror Pavilion video series on the ‘Making of Mirror Pavilion’ featuring stunning footage from both locations at Galway City and Connemara, allowing you to experience this groundbreaking work from the comfort of your home. Continue your exploration of visual arts with a virtual tour of Hughie O’Donoghue’s new show as you are ‘walked’ around the stunning Festival Gallery space and watch a conversation with the artist discussing his spectacular new exhibition. GIAF also welcomes back renowned photographer Sarah Hickson who has been working on a festival commission around those who have lived / are living in Direct Provision in Galway. This online only exhibition brings together photographs that resonate with the theme of ’home’ and explore personal stories of displacement, migration and belonging. This Festival commission will conclude in 2021. (Experience online only from 14 September) A number of First Thought talks will be broadcast across GIAF’s social media channels and on YouTube. For full details see giaf.ie. This year the Festival is also launching a First Thought Podcast series, which invites listeners to discover new perspectives, people and more, through conversations on creativity and the big issues of the day. Pop your headphones in and listen anywhere.  Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, Education Partner NUI Galway, Festival Energy partner Flogas and Drinks Partner Heineken®. ENDS  

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Results may help identify patients for novel treatments to halt the growth of cancerous cells  A new study by molecular biologists at NUI Galway has uncovered genetic differences which could be used to identify patients who would benefit from drugs which stop the growth of cancerous cells. The research team from the University’s Centre for Chromosome Biology has been studying the molecular response of cells to a drug that blocks the first step of DNA replication.  The research paper, published in the prestigious journal Cell Reports, states that its findings can be applied to help develop novel cancer treatments. When both normal and cancer cells divide their DNA needs to be replicated, so that both mother and daughter cells get a complete copy of the DNA.  CDC7 is a protein that is needed at an early stage in the process of DNA replication and new drugs that block the action of CDC7 are being developed as anti-cancer therapeutics. But they can also impact the growth of normal cells. Previous research from Professor Corrado Santocanale’s team at the Centre for Chromosome Biology in NUI Galway showed that CDC7 targeting drugs can kill cancer cells while temporarily blocking the growth of normal cells.  Dr Michael Rainey, honorary research lecturer at the Centre for Chromosome Biology and the main contributor to the study, said: “These drugs are likely to have significantly less of the toxic side effects associated with other chemotherapeutic drugs that kill both normal and cancer cells. “But now our research has given us two other key findings on CDC7 targeting drugs and their impact on cells.  “We have uncovered a molecular pathway which influences whether cells either stop growing or die when treated with CDC7 targeting drugs. Even more importantly, we identified a number of genes that are required for the cell growth block - and if these genes are mutated cells can actually grow in the presence of the drugs.” Professor Santocanale and Dr Rainey say these findings pave the way for the identification of cancer patients who may benefit from CDC7 targeting drugs. It would also help to identify those patients who would not respond to treatment with these drugs and can instead be redirected to alternative treatments.  Dr Rainey added: “Using sophisticated molecular genetic technologies we have screened all human genes and found a number of genes that are critical for the cells to stop growth in the presence of CDC7 targeting drugs. Excitingly this work has also helped us to understand how cells coordinate the process of DNA replication and the partitioning of DNA into mother and daughter cells.” Professor Santocanale, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the Centre for Chromosome Biology and Discipline of Biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, added: “Many novel drugs are being developed worldwide to fight cancers. However, because cancers are very different at the molecular level, not all patients respond to treatment in a similar manner. So, for each new drug, the big challenge is to identify the molecular signature that allows us to predict whether a tumour will respond to treatment or fail treatment.  “Major advancements and investments in genomics technology have been pivotal in increasing our molecular understanding of how cells copy the genetic information and in understanding how CDC7 targeting drugs work, which is essential to maximise their therapeutic potential.” This study is published in the prestigious journal Cell Reports and is available at https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(20)31085-8 Ends

Thursday, 17 September 2020

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, will once again collaborate with artists Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly to create interactive art and science workshops for children. Having participated in CÚRAM’s Artists in Residence programme in 2017-2018, Cleary Connolly developed AfterImage, an art-science project with Galway’s Westside community. The Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is a welcome opportunity for further collaboration between CÚRAMs researchers and award-winning artists. The project, Wavelengths will enable school children to meet the artists, Cleary Connolly over Zoom, and be shown their exciting Science Foundation Ireland supported exhibition, Invisible Light, at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork. Participants will see fantastic artworks and Cleary Connolly will introduce the electromagnetic spectrum, using every day and familiar objects to help demystify each type of light. “We are very excited to be working once again with Cleary Connolly on this talk and seeing their new work at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork.  Anne and Denis have an amazing way of connecting art and science while making complex scientific ideas accessible and fascinating to any audience,” says Andrea Fitzpatrick, Artist in Residence programme manager at CÚRAM.  Like the visible spectrum, the electromagnetic spectrum is divided into seven sections or types of lights, most of which we cannot see. Although most of this light is invisible to the naked eye, scientists have devised many ways of seeing them and using them in medicine, astronomy, meteorology, security, etc. Now Cleary Connolly explores these invisible forms of light as art. Researchers from CÚRAM, SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, Dr Vijaya Krishna Kanala and Vaishali Chugh, will be participating in the online experience to explain how they use ultraviolet light and fluorescence in the laboratory for the imaging of cells in their research. Funding for the project has been provided by NUI Galway to celebrate Galway’s designation as European Capital of Culture. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM, says: “This project is another great opportunity for our researchers to communicate their work to new audiences. It exemplifies CÚRAM’s commitment to developing relationships with the community through art and science, and we are delighted to partner with talents such as Cleary Connolly.” CÚRAM’s public engagement programme ‘Breaking Barriers’ supports the Science Foundation Ireland goal of having the most engaged and scientifically informed public. Wavelengths will take place online over Zoom on Monday, October 12th and Tuesday, October 13th and is suitable for 5th and 6th class students.  Full details, including how to book, are available on the Baboró website at https://www.baboro.ie/festival/programme/wavelengths

Monday, 24 August 2020

13 gold medals were awarded to students in the area of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2020 NUI Galway has been acknowledging student excellence through the award of gold medals in Medicine for over 100 years, and this year, in partnership with the Community Knowledge Initiative, an additional gold medal was awarded to a student in the Health Sciences for their Civic Engagement contribution. Civic Engagement activities can take many forms including student volunteering, service learning, collaborate research projects and other activities that benefit both the community and the university including its’ students and staff. Orlaith Lyons, a final year Speech and Language Therapist from County Clare, was awarded the inaugural Gold Medal in Health Sciences for her outstanding record of civic engagement service and achievement. Orlaith has been volunteering with the civil defence providing emergency first aid to the public for community and national events year-round, and has training in search and rescue and has various qualifications for local/national missing person’s searches, body recoveries and severe weather events. Orlaith acts as casualty for major emergency simulations, and Fire Service and Civil Defence training and volunteers with Hear Me! and Communication Partner Programme  to raise awareness of communication disabilities. As part of her Speech and Language qualification she provides six weekly visits to a person living with aphasia to learn how they communicate and live, and since COVID-19 began she has been providing meals on wheels to those who are cocooning.  Speaking on the award of her gold medal Orlaith said: “It is an honour to be announced as the inaugural winner of the CKI Civic Engagement Gold Medal Award. Emerging as a new graduate, my civic engagement achievements will enable me to bring transferable and desirable skills to the work force. Many hours spent at Civil Defence training, community duties and emergency call-outs have instilled in me a combination of skills, values, and self-motivation. Leadership, team work, communication and problem solving skills will be transferable to all aspects of my life and my career as a Speech and Language Therapist. The academic team of the NUI Galway Speech and Language Therapy Department fostered my self-confidence, adaptability and work ethic. This gave me the boost I needed to take on new roles and responsibilities in Civil Defence and the Equestrian Club as the course progressed.” Professor Caroline McIntosh, Head of the School of Health Sciences and Professor of Podiatric Medicine at NUI Galway, said: “This civic engagement medal will be awarded annually to the graduate with the most outstanding record of service to his/her community, and to society in general. We hope that this medal will encourage our students to become more active in their communities, to give of their time and energy to work in collaboration with our patients, the communities in which they live, patient representative organisations and other community groups.”   Dr Lorraine McIlrath, Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) Co-Ordinator at NUI Galway, acknowledged the calibre of all the applicants for the gold medal: “The Community Knowledge Initiative has supported the Civic engagement Medal in Medicine since its inception in 2013, and we are now delighted to support the new Medal for Civil Engagement in Health Sciences. The standard of applications means that all applications are so deserving and we are delighted to award this inaugural medal to Orlaith Lyons, a BSc Speech and Language Therapy Student.” This year, building on a tradition of rewarding excellence for over 100 years, a total of 13 gold medals in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences were awarded to final year students. Twelve medals were awarded to final year Medicine students including a second Gold Medal for Civic Engagement. This medal was awarded to Dr Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh from Dublin for his fundraising and his dedication to the representation of student voice through NUI Galway’s Student Union, and the NUI Galway Healthcare Society. The twelve gold medals include awards for General Practice, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Paediatrics, Radiology, Psychiatry, Surgery, Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, and the IUMC Comerford Award, the John D. Kennedy Award for Health and Disease, and the John Flynn Medal for Health and Disease and the James Devaney Medal in Perioperative and Intensive Care Medicine. -Ends-

Monday, 24 August 2020

NUI Galway spin-out company Aquila Bioscience have been successful in their bid to become an approved supplier of PPE to the Education sector allowing up to 4,0000 educational institutions to avail of their decontamination product. Their pioneering decontamination technology Anti Bioagent Decontamination (ABD), which was developed in collaboration with the Czech University of Defense and Defense Forces Ireland to deal with biological contamination, is essential PPE that protects against harmful bacteria and viruses such as coronavirus.   ABD’s are class I sterile medical devices and are used in emergency situations. It is the only product available in the market that can be used on sensitive skin surfaces like the eyes, nose and mouth, and it can also be used on surfaces not suitable for biocide decontamination. ABDs are ideally suited for keeping staff and students safe, particularly those with underlying health conditions or special needs. Including ABD Devices into every first aid kit, Isolation room, classrooms, office, and community areas ensures all staff and students will benefit from the technology and it will help save lives while supporting the education sector in keeping institutions open. Unlike standard wipes and sanitisers, ABDs are free from alcohol, biocides and other toxic chemicals and so do not cause skin irritation or destroy skin cells. The wipe is made of biodegradable material and is environmentally friendly. ABDs are contained within individual pouches and so are easily distributed throughout schools. Cormac Lynch, CEO of Aquila Bioscience, said: "Being approved by the Department of Education to supply our ABD Devices is welcomed, and is a significant decision that will enhance the safety and protection of all staff and pupils in Ireland as our schools reopen." For more information visit https://aquilabioscience.com/abd-devices-for-the-education-sector/ -Ends-

Friday, 21 August 2020

Students are being asked to adhere to public health advice and University guidelines and to act and behave responsibly  NUI Galway has today (Friday August 21st 2020) announced that students will be asked to commit a new community promise – Cúram Dá Chéíle as part of the University’s COVID-19 response plan. NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said the University was asking the university community to support the need for a deepened sense of maturity and responsibility for the collective good for the new academic year. “We are asking each student to commit to be part of our university community, to behave appropriately, to consider others, to follow our advice and public health guidelines, to act responsibly and to respect everyone in the university and the wider community. "This commitment asks students to respond in an open, positive, and respectful way if their actions are challenged and to avoid scenarios and environments that run counter to these principles. “Cúram dá Chéile sets a challenge. It has the power to be a guiding light - for our university, as a civic institution, to show solidarity with the wider community and reduce the spread of Covid-19.” -Ends-

Friday, 21 August 2020

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, is now enrolling for its Teachers in Residence Programme for the fifth year, with applications being accepted up to Monday, 28 September, 2020. This year the programme will provide and develop resources to help teachers overcome the extra challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to COVID-19, this year's programme will use a blended learning approach. The online sessions will be held twice a month, from 7-8pm. Teachers will receive 10 ECTS through the NUI Galway's Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development fully funded by CÚRAM. During the residency, teachers will speak directly with world-leading researchers to learn about the medical device's research at CÚRAM to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, in support of encouraging multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. Participants will learn about and receive resources for the classroom including science engagement activities, science capital teaching approaches, and lesson plan kits developed by teachers for teachers, that are linked with the primary and junior cycle science curricula. "We are delighted with the innovation and creativity shown by the primary and secondary teachers who have participated in this programme", said Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM. "If we can continue to support and inspire our teachers by providing access to current, cutting edge Irish research and work with them to incorporate it into classroom activities, our hope is that they, in turn, can inspire their students for years to come. We also want to provide practical support through resources that can be used in classrooms and online to cater to current challenges that teachers will face as schools reopen in September." The programme has places available for five primary and five secondary school teachers and will run from October 2020 over ten evenings until March 2021. Teachers will work directly with CÚRAM researchers to develop high-quality content for the classroom that is relevant, engaging, and practical to use. The material generated during the residency will be shared with all participants and their schools. Lesson plan kits developed from previous years' teachers, including homeschooling resources, can be downloaded at http://www.curamdevices.ie/curam/public-engagement/teachers-in-residence/. CÚRAM is a partner in the Department of Education and Skills' Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) STE(A)M in Junior Cycle initiative. The goal of the initiative is to provide Professional Learning Experiences (PLEs) for Junior Cycle teachers that allow for interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges in subject-specific and cross-curricular contexts. To apply for a place in the Teachers in Residence Programme or find out more, please contact sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

NUI Galway’s Societies Office is partnering with local artists and creators for the first NUI Galway Virtual Summer Festival. The festival will run from 26-29 August and feature a selection of theatre, visual art, music, film, gaming, and social events for all age groups and interests. Festival Director and NUI Galway Societies Officer Riona Hughes said: “This event is designed to celebrate Galway’s wealth of artistic and creative talent both within the University and in the wider community, and the creative community has responded to the pandemic with an exciting virtual programme. We hope you will join us at www.nuigalwayevents.ie." The Festival will include a number of theatre performances including the Irish Student Drama Association (ISDA) Awards which will be hosted online, allowing an opportunity to see Ireland's top student productions as they compete for the coveted Irish Student Drama Awards. The twelve performances, ten of which are original works, will be screened twice each over the course of the festival before the Awards ceremony is streamed live on Saturday, 29 August, at 9.30pm. According to Kate O’Mahony, NUI Galway ISDA Festival Director: “We were very disappointed when we could not host the Awards ceremony this year but are delighted that we are able to host a virtual version as part of the NUI Galway Virtual Summer Festival, as the event is very important in the student drama societies’ year. A number of well-known theatre figures began their careers in student drama, including Pauline McLynn, Fiona Shaw and Donal Gleeson. We look forward to sharing student theatre with a wide audience.” The festival runs from August 26th -29th. For a full list of events and booking details for the Virtual Summer Festival visit www.nuigalwayevents.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Study published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology identified technologies which could be used in response to COVID-19 and future pandemics NUI Galway Professor of Medical Device Technology and Consultant Physician University Hospital Galway, Professor Derek O’Keeffe, is among a 60-person expert task force organised by the team at the Harvard Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to examine the role of mobile health (mHealth) technologies in the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, ‘Can mHealth Technology Help Mitigate the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic?’ was published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology today (Wednesday, 12 August). The aim of the study was to review mHealth technologies and explore their use to monitor and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force identified technologies that could be deployed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and would likely be suitable for future pandemics. They found that mHealth technologies are viable options to monitor COVID-19 patients and be used to predict symptom escalation for earlier intervention. Professor O’Keeffe said: "Digital health technology, which has shown tremendous promise for many years, is now ready to be a major tool in helping us to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. In this comprehensive study, we reviewed the full spectrum of mHealth systems and research enabling us to identify both what can be used to address COVID-19 now and also in the future. The research focussed on all aspects of COVID-19 care from using novel technologies to help improve diagnostic triage to the physiological monitoring of field hospital patients and front line workers using wearable sensors and AI tools. "The alarming growth of COVID-19 cases has highlighted the shortcomings of healthcare systems, governmental policies, and wider societal issues. Therefore in this important research work we have developed a framework to rapidly assess digital health solutions to help the public, patients and clinicians to deal with this pandemic. Clinically we have divided our findings into the distinct domains of preventative, acute and recovery care. Our approach gives authorities an evidence based toolbox to implement state of the art remote patient and frontline worker vital sign monitoring solutions. In addition we outline the ideal criteria and examples of both occupational and general public contact tracing solutions, such as the recent HSE COVID-19 Tracker App." Paolo Bonato, PhD, Director of the Spaulding Motion Analysis Lab, was the lead author on the study. “To be able to activate a diverse group of experts with such a singular focus speaks to the commitment the entire research and science community has in addressing this pandemic. Our goal is to quickly get important findings into the hands of the clinical community so we continue to build effective interventions,” said Dr Bonato. Telehealth usage and mHealth technologies has gained the attention of the public at large. While telehealth has allowed patients to stay connected for ongoing appointments and check-ins, wearable mHealth technologies provide a significant opportunity for data collection and mHealth technology could be used to monitor patients with mild symptoms who have tested positive for COVID-19. These patients are typically instructed to self-quarantine at home or undergo monitoring at community treatment centers. However, a portion of them eventually experience an exacerbation, namely the sudden occurrence of severe symptoms, and require hospitalisation. In this context, mHealth technology could enable early detection of such exacerbations, allowing clinicians to deliver necessary interventions in a timely manner thus improving clinical outcomes. The Task Force paper concluded that Smartphone applications enabling self-reports and wearable sensors enabling physiological data collection could be used to monitor clinical personnel and detect early signs of an outbreak in the hospital/healthcare settings. They also reported similarly, in the community, early detection of COVID-19 cases could be achieved by building upon prior studies which showed that by using wearable sensors to capture resting heart rate and sleep duration it is possible to predict influenza-like illness rates as well as COVID-19 epidemic trends. Professor O’Keeffe continued: "Practically we have identified several Telemedicine options for the provision of chronic clinical care using state of the art wearable physiological sensors. We have also looked to the future horizon at emerging mHealth technology solutions (e.g. robotics) to establish what new techniques we could harness to improve our management COVID-19. Finally we have highlighted the importance of cross platform data integration, AI tools and privacy issues to ensure the use of optimum mHealth solutions." “The better data and tracking we can collect using mHealth technologies can help public health experts understand the scope and spread of this virus and most importantly hopefully help more people get the care they need earlier. Our hope is to build on more studies from here and continue to expand our understanding,” said Bonato Individuals can visit https://spauldingrehab.org/research/programs-labs/motion-analysis to learn more about the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Tá an tOllamh Breandán Mac Suibhne ceaptha ina Stiúrthóir Léinn ar Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh. Is é Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge príomhaonad na hOllscoile a bhfuil de chúram air ról na hOllscoile maidir le feabhsú, forbairt agus cur chun cinn na Gaeilge agus an Ardoideachais i nGaeilge a stiúradh; ar sprioc í sin atá sainmhínithe sa reachtaíocht. Is ráiteas tábhachtach ag an Ollscoil é Stiúrthóir Léinn a cheapadh ag leibhéal Ollaimh chun tacú le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge sa tír i gcoitinne agus sna Gaeltachtaí go háirithe. Is de bhunadh iarthar Dhún na nGall é Breandán agus tá sé ag teacht go OÉ Gaillimh tar éis saol acadúil a chaitheamh sna Stáit Aontaithe agus in Éirinn. Is scoláire agus staraí mór le rá é ar shochaí agus ar chultúr na hÉireann sa nua-aois. Ainmníodh a leabhar The End of Outrage: Post Famine Adjustment in Rural Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2017) mar Leabhar Neamhfhicsin na Bliana de chuid an Irish Times in 2017, ba é an chéad údar é ar ar bronnadh Duais Dhébhliantúil Michel Déon don Neamhfhicisin de chuid Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann agus ghnóthaigh sé Duais Donnelly do Leabhair faoin Stair agus faoin Eolaíocht Shóisialta ón gComhdháil Mheiriceánach do Léann na hÉireann. Ba é Mac Suibhne agus an criticeoir Seamus Deane céad eagarthóirí an Field Day Review (2005-), iris faoin bpolaitíocht agus faoin gcultúr liteartha. Agus fáilte á cur aige roimh an gceapachán nua, deir an tOllamh Cathal O’Donoghue, Déan na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh: “Is deis ollmhór é an ról ceannaireachta seo chun uaillmhianta na hOllscoile maidir leis an nGaeilge a mhúnlú agus a stiúradh agus chun ceannaireacht a thabhairt don fhoireann ghairmiúil is mó sa tír a bhfuil d’aidhm acu an teanga a chur chun cinn. Tá an-taithí agus an-chumas ag an Ollamh Mac Suibhne le tionchar suntasach a imirt sa ról seo.” -Críoch-

Monday, 10 August 2020

Call for the public to help discover if recreational water users are more at risk of picking up lethal bacteria A team of researchers at NUI Galway is calling on swimmers and surfers to take part in a project to find out if recreational water users are more at risk of picking up superbugs. The Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbial Ecology Research Group at the University is launching the PIER study (Public Health Impact of Exposure to antibiotic Resistance in recreational waters), funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Researchers are hoping to recruit 300 people to take part – one group of 150 sea swimmers, surfers and people who regularly use the sea, lakes or rivers for recreation, along with a second group of 150 people who rarely take to the water. Anyone aged 18 or over who lives on the island of Ireland can take part and those interested in supporting the research can find out more and sign up at the PIER website www.nuigalway.ie/pier A key part of the project will be understanding how superbugs get into human populations, particularly to help scientists learn how to control the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is hoped that the findings of this study will contribute to improving policy regarding environmental monitoring of antibiotic resistance and the release of waste containing superbugs to recreational waters. Professor Dearbháile Morris, Principal Investigator on the PIER project says: “In healthy people antibiotic resistant bacteria behave very similarly to other common bugs, they live harmlessly on the skin, in the nose or in the bowel. This is called colonisation. As long as a bug stays on the skin or in the bowel, it usually does not cause a problem. “However, once a superbug gets into a wound, into the bladder or into the blood, it can cause an infection that can be difficult to treat. This mostly happens in sick or vulnerable people with weaker immune systems, such as those in intensive care, the very old or the very young, and special antibiotics are then required for treatment, as ordinary antibiotics do not work.”   Professor Morris continues: “Unfortunately, superbugs can transfer easily from healthy colonised people to vulnerable people. The more people who are colonised with antibiotic resistant bugs, the higher the risk that these bugs will spread to vulnerable people and cause serious infection.” Dr Liam Burke, Co-Investigator on the PIER project, says: “Some superbugs are now very common in the environment due to increased antibiotic use in humans and animals and the release of sewage, manure and effluent containing antibiotics and antibiotic resistant superbugs, which can end up in our lakes, rivers and seas. “Although bathing waters are routinely tested for some bacteria, they are not tested for antibiotic resistant bacteria, so we don’t really know to what extent they are present. PIER will look into whether people who regularly use Irish waters for recreation are at risk of becoming colonised with superbugs.” For more information and to register to take part visit www.nuigalway.ie/pier. -Ends-

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

NUI Galway Societies win three awards at 24th annual awards NUI Galway has retained its position as the top ranked third level institution for societies after collecting the two top best society awards at the national society awards. At an event livestreamed by the Board of Irish College Society (BICS) Awards from the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone, NUI Galway brought its tally for awards since 1996 to 75. Following detailed entries for the awards including a portfolio and short video presentation, NUI Galway excelled in three categories at the 2020 awards night: Best Society in a Charity of Civic Field – Sláinte Society Best Society in a Cultural, Academic or Social Field – Dramsoc Best Event – Akumakon, Anime & Manga Society Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer and BICS Executive Member, said: “As a member of the BICS Executive and co-host of the event I am thrilled we were able to produce such an interactive event for our 23 member colleges and even more so that NUI Galway once again proved what a top class institution it is for the whole student experience. “Months of planning went into the interactive awards night for students and staff. We featured an impressive new set-up with over 250 groups streaming the awards live, at zoom parties or in person at socially distancing parties implementing all Government Covid-19 guidelines. “It’s yet another demonstration of the can do attitude of colleges and universities in the face of such challenging times. “As NUI Galway Societies Officer I could not be more proud of our societies and I am humbled with the way they have coped with lockdown and continue to engage with us and their members, under very trying circumstances - it augurs well for the coming semester.” Ms Hughes congratulated all NUI Galway societies nominated for awards. Ms Hughes added: “We want to build on the successes of our societies and we are deep in to planning for the NUI Galway Virtual Summer Festival from August 26-29 which will feature a wide array of events from NUI Galway and the creative Galway community. Anyone who is interested can get details on www.socs.nuigalway.” Ends

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Investigators at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, have demonstrated the efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) delivery using a three-dimensional microgel platform, to assist with tissue repair in patients suffering from critical limb ischemia and other peripheral arterial diseases. Peripheral arterial disease is a chronic vascular disease characterised by impaired circulation to the lower extremities. Its most severe stage, known as critical limb ischemia (CLI), puts patients at an increased risk of cardiovascular events, infected and non-healing wounds, amputation, and death.   CLI affects millions of patients globally. Advancing age combined with other risk factors such as diabetes and smoking suggests that the condition will only increase in the near future. CÚRAM’s research in innovative ‘smart’ medical devices and implants aims to benefit patients with chronic soft tissue ailments such as CLI, as well as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, neural, renal and respiratory diseases. This study, ‘Temporal Changes Guided by Mesenchymal Stem Cells on a 3D Microgel Platform Enhances Angiogenesis In Vivo at a Low-Cell Dose’ published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), one of the most influential journals on scientific progress, illustrates how a low dose of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) embedded in a three-dimensional microgel cell delivery platform, can induce rapid blood vessel regeneration and tissue repair. Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells found in the bone marrow that are important for making and repairing skeletal tissues. Therapeutic factors secreted by mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) promote the regeneration of blood vessels. Still, delivery of these stem cells to the patient in isolation and outside of their normal environmental conditions offers only a limited benefit to patients, with issues such as poor graft survival. The delivery of stem cells on an extracellular matrix (ECM)-based platform; however, changes cell behaviour and enhances the potential for tissue repair, reduces inflammation and further tissue damage. “Our fundamental research adds to current knowledge about cell encapsulation strategies by highlighting the importance of preconditioning or priming the capacity of biomaterials through cell-material interactions. Obtaining therapeutic efficacy at a low-cell dose in the microgel platform is a promising clinical route that would aid faster tissue repair in patients suffering from peripheral arterial diseases such as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI)” said Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM and lead author on the paper. Further basic investigation of the biochemical nature of the 3-D delivery platform and its influence on the over or under expression of cellular receptors will be the focus of a future study. From a cell therapy point-of-view, the 3-D model platform developed during this research offers a significant benefit over other cell delivery platforms with the use of a twenty-fold lower cell dose than that of the gold-standard used in pre-clinical ischemia studies. This illustrates the importance of preconditioning the MSCs on a 3-D microgel platform that allows the use of a low-cell dose as a localised therapy to reverse ischemia. According to Professor Pandit: “These findings will be increasingly significant, as future studies will investigate ECM-based three-dimensional niches using our platform technology for engineering constructs that will allow replication of native cellular microenvironments for enhancing the regenerative capacity of stem cells. Besides, we are very keen on transferring this technology to the clinic with our clinical collaborators.” The multi-disciplinary research team led by Professor Pandit involved Professor Tim O’Brien, Co-PI at CÚRAM and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, CÚRAM researchers Dr Dilip Thomas, Dr Grazia Marsico, Dr Gianluca Fontana and Dr Isma Liza Mohd Isa, Dr Arun Thirumaran and Dr Xizhe Chen, Dr Bart Lukasz and Dr Brian Rodriguez from the Conway Institute, University College Dublin and Professor Martina Marchetti-Deschmann from the Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics, TU Wien of the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. This research was supported by Science Foundation Ireland and co-funded by the ERDF as well as through EMBO short-term fellowships with use of core-facilities and technical assistance at NUI Galway. The full paper can be accessed at www.pnas.org. For further information, please contact Claire O’Riordan at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 27 July 2020

NUI Galway and the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC), affiliated with the Ministry of Education in China, have announced the acceptance of ten Chinese students to pursue a PhD at NUI Galway. Eight of these students have been accepted for PhDs under supervision of academics at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences while a further two students will receive supervision from the School of Engineering. Each of the ten successful applicants will receive full scholarship support. All eight students intending to study at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway will come from Xiangya School of Medicine of Central South University and are preparing for careers as academic clinicians. Xiangya School of Medicine of Central South University was founded in 1914 and is one of the earliest medical schools to introduce western medicine into China. Following a rigorous selection process in China the students have been chosen after to undertake projects proposed by researchers at NUI Galway. The CSC is the Chinese Ministry of Education’s non-profit organisation that provides support for international academic exchange with China. The CSC provides both funding for Chinese citizens and residents to study abroad, and for students and scholars from around the World to study in China. In welcoming this announcement Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences and Director of the Confucius Institute for Chinese and Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galwaysaid: “This is the first year of a new partnership with Xiangya School of Medicine of Central South University and we look forward to the arrival of these outstanding students in Galway.  This partnership will promote joint clinical research between the EU and China. It is proposed that NUI Galway will host an annual symposium for the Chinese Scholarship Council PhD fellows commencing in 2020/2021.” Professor Becky Whay, Vice-President for Internationalisation at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to welcome these students who have gone through a rigorous competitive process to be selected to study with our academic teams here at NUI Galway. We look forward to the outputs of their research and the cultural interchange this scheme provides.” Professor Sanbing Shen, Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and Associate Director of Confucius Institute of Chinese and Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway, said at the announcement: “We are grateful to Chinese Scholarship Council for promoting Ireland-China scientific exchanges and to Professor Xiaochuang Wu and Xingcan Zhou at the Xiangya School of Medicine of Central South University for initiating this program. We look forward to welcoming the CSC-funded students to NUI Galway and to turning this program into a successful example of friendship and international scientific collaboration.” -ENDS-  

Friday, 24 July 2020

Livestock farming contributes one third of Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, posing a unique challenge to achieve a national commitment to achieving net zero GHG emissions post 2050. The EPA-funded SeQUEsTER project seeks to chart potential pathways for Irish agriculture and land use that can deliver net zero GHG emissions. There are a number of challenges and some fundamentally differing perspectives on Ireland’s role in global actions on climate change and food security. To that end, SeQUEsTER will launch The Sequester Journal, a new blog series that will feature high profile national and international experts from academic, social and political spheres. Contributing authors to date include: CCAFS Flagship Leader for Low Emissions Development, Dr Lini Wollenberg; Basque Centre for Climate Change Livestock GHG Modelling Specialist, Professor Agustin del Prado; Professor of European Agricultural Policy at Trinity College Dublin and member of the Climate Change Advisory Council, Alan Matthews; Molecular ecologist and agro-ecosystem analyst at the James Hutton Institute, Dr Pietro Iannetta; and Life Cycle Assessment Scientist for AgResearch New Zealand, Dr Andre Mazzetto. The series will cover topics related to four themes: The potential role of Ireland’s farm forestry in an EU Green Deal. Opportunities for Ireland’s bio-economy in an EU Green Deal. The importance of a carbon neutral Irish agriculture sector: An international perspective What can Ireland learn from other countries as it transitions agriculture towards carbon neutrality Principal investigator on the project, Dr Dave Styles, who has contributed the blog’s inaugural piece, highlighted the importance of encouraging dialogue, saying:  “The significant changes required to meaningfully tackle the climate emergency will entail disruption, challenges and opportunities. There is an urgent need to engage the public in the choices we face if we wish to prosper through the transformations necessary to leave a decent world for future generations to enjoy.” NUI Galway Postdoctoral Researcher and Model Integration Lead, Dr Colm Duffy, also emphasized the need for engagement: “We are acutely aware that we need to effectively communicate our work to all stakeholders, and we are endeavouring to make our work and our research team as accessible as possible.” The Sequester Journal’s first edition will be live from Friday, 24 July, and engagement from the public is welcomed to provide a broad spectrum of perspectives and balance to this crucial debate. To access the blog or find out more about the sequester project visit https://www.plantagbiosciences.org/project/sequester/category/blog/ and follow https://twitter.com/SeQUEsTER_proj on twitter. For more information or to contribute an article to the blog contact Dr Colm Duffy at colm.duffy@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Attendees will hear from a number of experts including Dr David Nabarro, Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19 The Centre for One Health at NUI Galway will launch its Spotlight Series on Monday, 27 July, from 2.30- 4pm with a live online event ‘COVID-19: A One Health Challenge’. The One Health concept recognises that human health is linked to the health of animals and the environment we share. It is essential to take a One Health approach to tackle many of the human health challenges we face in today’s world. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have spread from bats via an intermediary host to humans and therefore COVID -19 is an example of a zoonotic disease, which is a disease spread from animals to humans. Professor Dearbháile Morris, Director of the Centre for One Health and Head of the Discipline of Bacteriology, School of Medicine, NUI Galway, said: “It is estimated that six out of every ten known infectious diseases in humans originate in animals, and three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in people are spread from animals. Therefore is it only by taking a One Health approach that we can adequately address issues such as COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics.” To register for this free event which will be delivered on Zoom visit https://bit.ly/2ZwdARC. For further details, contact Professor Dearbháile Morris at dearbhaile.morris@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

The ENLIGHT consortium of nine European universities, including NUI Galway, has been selected in the framework of the second call for "European Universities", the European Commission's pilot program for new multilateral networks. ENLIGHT, the European university Network to promote equitable quality of Life, sustainability and Global engagement through Higher education Transformation and will receive start-up funding of €5 million. ENLIGHT unites nine universities of Galway, Ireland; the Basque Country, Spain; Bordeaux, France; Bratislava, Slovakia; Göttingen, Germany; Groningen, The Netherlands; Tartu, Estonia; Uppsala, Sweden; and Ghent, Belgium. The nine ENLIGHT universities have set a common goal to fundamentally transform higher education and to empower existing and prospective students with the right knowledge and skills to become engaged professionals and respond to the major, complex societal challenges of the 21st century. The ENLIGHT network embodies the geographical, cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe, and aims to make full use of this wealth and diversity to offer new, flexible international study opportunities tailored to individual’s needs. Speaking today, NUI Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “NUI Galway is delighted to further its work with the ENLIGHT consortium.  All nine universities are based outside of capital cities and therefore have a particular perspective on the world. Together, we are regional drivers of development, working closely with our cities to tackle societal challenges and see international ambition as a means of maximising regional impact.  At NUI Galway, we serve our region best – and respect it – by being open to highest standards of excellence and co-operation.  We will benefit from this funding as the consortium will learn collectively to address shared challenges consistent with our values as a university community.” The ENLIGHT universities aim to create new learning formats in which students focus on real social needs together with researchers, citizens and companies. In addition, students will not only given the opportunity to sharpen their knowledge with advanced research, but will also be stimulated to look beyond the boundaries of their own discipline, to think innovatively, work together, deal with diversity and to broaden their horizons within and outside Europe. Vice President International at NUI Galway, Professor Becky Whay commented: “The current pandemic has highlighted the need for international co-operation to tackle global problems, and with our ENLIGHT partners, we are committed to tackling barriers to education that may emerge.  We hope that receiving this funding at this time will prove a watershed moment for us to work towards more inclusive internationalisation through online co-operation to tackle shared challenges.”  Over the next three years, ENLIGHT will pilot new learning formats across five focus themes: Climate Change, Health and Well-Being, Inequalities, Digital revolution, Energy and Circularity. In the long term ENLIGHT wants to create an open space between the nine universities without barriers for learning, teaching and working together. The ENLIGHT project was realised in close co-operation with the student representatives of all ENLIGHT universities, with the student network continuing to play a central role in addressing the needs of current and future student generations. More information on ENLIGHT is available at https://enlight-eu.org. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Tá OÉ Gaillimh ar na naoi n-ollscoil Eorpacha i gcuibhreannas ENLIGHT Roghnaíodh an cuibhreannas ENLIGHT ina bhfuil naoi n-ollscoil Eorpacha, lena n-áirítear OÉ Gaillimh, sa chreat den dara gairm ar “Ollscoileanna Eorpacha”, clár píolótach an Choimisiúin Eorpaigh do líonraí iltaobhacha. Gheobhaidh ENLIGHT, an Líonra Ollscoileanna Eorpacha chun caighdeán cóir beatha, inbhuanaitheacht agus rannpháirtíocht Dhomhanda a chur chun cinn trí Chlaochlú Ardoideachais, maoiniú tosaigh ar luach €5 milliún. Tugann ENLIGHT naoi n-ollscoil le chéile mar atá ollscoileanna i nGaillimh, Éire; Tír na mBascach sa Spáinn; Bordeaux sa Fhrainc; an Bhratasláiv sa tSlóvaic; Göttingen sa Ghearmáin; Groningen san Ísiltír; Tartu san Eastóin; Uppsala sa tSualainn; agus Ghent sa Bheilg. Cuireann naoi n-ollscoil ENLIGHT comhchuspóir rompu an t-ardoideachas a chlaochlú ó bhonn agus an t-eolas agus na scileanna cuí a sholáthar do mhic léinn reatha agus ionchasacha d’fhonn go mbeidh siad ina ngairmithe tiomanta agus go ngabhfaidh siad i ngleic le príomhdhúshláin chasta na sochaí san aonú céad is fiche. Cuimsíonn an líonra ENLIGHT éagsúlacht thíreolaíoch, chultúrtha agus teangacha na hEorpa, agus cuireann sé roimhe gaisneas iomlán a bhaint as an saibhreas agus as an éagsúlacht seo le deiseanna staidéir ilchineálacha idirnáisiúnta, atá curtha i bhfeiliúint do riachtanais an duine aonair, a thairiscint. Ag labhairt dó faoin ábhar inniu, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá lúcháir orainn in OÉ Gaillimh ár gcuid oibre leis an gcuibhreannas ENLIGHT a chur chun cinn a thuilleadh. Tá lán na naoi n-ollscoil lonnaithe lasmuigh de phríomhchathracha agus tá dearcadh faoi leith ar an saol acu dá bhrí sin. Le chéile, cuirimid borradh faoi fhorbairt ar bhonn réigiúnach, oibrímid go dlúth lenár gcuid cathrach le dul i ngleic le dúshláin shochaíocha agus breathnaímid ar uaillmhian idirnáisiúnta mar bhealach leis an tionchar réigiúnach is mó a bheith againn. In OÉ Gaillimh, is trína bheith oscailte do na caighdeáin bharr feabhais agus chomhoibrithe is airde a dhéanaimid an freastal is fearr – agus a léirímid an meas is fearr – ar ár réigiún. Bainfimid tairbhe as an maoiniú seo mar go bhfoghlaimeoidh an cuibhreannas le chéile maidir le dul i ngleic leis na dúshláin chéanna atá ag teacht lenár luachanna mar phobal ollscoile.” Cuireann ollscoileanna ENLIGHT rompu formáidí foghlama nua a chruthú ina ndíríonn mic léinn ar fhíor-riachtanais na sochaí in éindí le taighdeoirí, saoránaigh agus cuideachtaí. Ina cheann sin, ní hamháin go dtabharfar an deis do mhic léinn cur lena gcuid eolais le hardtaighde, ach spreagfar iad le breathnú thar chríocha a ndisciplín féin, le smaoineamh go nuálach, le hoibriú as lámha a chéile, le dul i ngleic le héagsúlacht agus lena gcuid dearcthaí a leathnú laistigh agus lasmuigh den Eoraip. Dúirt an Leas-Uachtarán Idirnáisiúnta in OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Becky Whay: “Léirigh an phaindéim reatha an gá le comhoibriú idirnáisiúnta chun dul i ngleic le fadhbanna domhanda, agus i dteannta lenár gcomhpháirtithe ENLIGHT, táimid tiomanta do dhul i ngleic le constaicí oideachais a d’fhéadfadh a theacht chun cinn. Agus an maoiniú seo faighte againn ag an am seo go háirithe, tá súil againn go mbeidh sé ina chor cinniúnach dúinn dul i dtreo idirnáisiúnaithe níos cuimsithí trí chomhoibriú ar líne chun dul i ngleic na ndúshlán céanna. As seo go ceann trí bliana, triailfidh ENLIGHT formáidí foghlama nua ar bhonn píolótach i gcúig phríomhthéama mar atá: Athrú Aeráide, Sláinte agus Folláine, Neamhionannais, Réabhlóid Dhigiteach, Fuinneamh agus Ciorclaíocht. Ar bhonn fadtréimhseach is mian le ENLIGHT spás oscailte idir na naoi n-ollscoil a chruthú ionas nach mbeidh aon bhac ar an bhfoghlaim, ar an teagasc, ná ar an oibriú le chéile ann. Cuireadh an tionscadal ENLIGHT i gcrích i ndlúth-chomhpháirtíocht le hionadaithe mac léinn de chuid gach ollscoil ENLIGHT, agus tá ról lárnach ag an líonra mac léinn i gcónaí maidir le haghaidh a thabhairt ar riachtanais na glúine reatha mac léinn agus na glúine a leanfaidh ina diaidh amach anseo. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoi ENLIGHT ar fáil ag https://enlight-eu.org. -Críoch-

Monday, 20 July 2020

Friday 17 July: Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, has been appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children. The position will focus on the human rights of victims of trafficking in persons, and Professor Mullally was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, following an open competitive selection process. As Special Rapporteur Professor Mullally will be responsible for taking action on human rights violations committed against trafficked persons and on situations in which there has been a failure to protect their human rights and to take effective preventive action. She will undertake country visits in order to study the situation in situ and formulate recommendations to prevent and/or combat trafficking, and protect the human rights of victims of trafficking in specific countries and/or regions, and will also submit annual reports to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.  She will also present to the UN Security Council on the links between human trafficking and armed conflict. Special Rapporteurs are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights, and are a central element of the United Nations human rights machinery. Professor Mullally said: "Human Trafficking is a serious violation of human rights, often targeting people living in poverty, victims of discrimination, and people fleeing situations of armed conflict or persecution. COVID-19 has limited access to critical support services for victims of trafficking, and deflected resources away from preventive action. Closures of borders and limited access to safe, regular migration, combined with increases in unemployment and poverty, all increase risks of sexual, labour and other forms of exploitation. Children who are increasingly in online environments and not attending school regularly, are particularly at risk of trafficking. "It is critical now that effective protection measures are taken to vindicate the human rights of victims of trafficking, and that Governments and the international community take seriously their obligations to prevent human trafficking." Professor Mullally was previously a member and President of the Council of Europe monitoring body, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Persons. She is a member of the National Group of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague. In 2009-19, she was a Fulbright Scholar and Senior fellow in residence at the Gender and Sexuality Law Center at Columbia University. She has also held visiting positions at Harvard Human Rights Program, Cornell Law School, National Law School of India University and University of Peshawar. She served as a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission from 2014-19 and Chairperson of the Irish Refugee Council 2006-8. She has undertaken human rights advisory roles in many parts of the world, in conflict and post-conflict settings, working with UN bodies and civil society organisations. She has published widely in the fields of gender and human rights, migration and refugee protection.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Three NUI Galway start-ups, Feeltech, Nua Surgical, BlueDrop Medical, are among the 2020 winners of Health Innovation Hub Ireland’s (HIHI) call for innovative ideas from companies, start-ups and SMEs. The nationwide health innovation competition is directed at companies who have an innovative product, solution or service that are at pre-commercial or late development phase with the potential to significantly impact Irish healthcare. FeelTect’s technology, Tight Alright, is a wireless, pressure sensing device for measuring and monitoring sub-bandage pressure during compression therapy, primarily for the millions of people worldwide with venous leg ulcers (VLUs). Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that stem from venous insufficiency, which affects the circulation of blood to the lower limbs. The tiny valves that normally force blood back up towards the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool up in the legs, and the veins of the legs become distended, resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the lower limbs. NUA Surgical are developing Stericision, a novel medical device in obstetrics to make caesarean delivery a safer and  superior surgery. The project has received significant support and funding from Enterprise Ireland through the Commercialisation Fund which will assist the team in taking the unmet need from idea through to concept and design development, in preparation for establishing a new MedTech start-up company. Bluedrop Medical is focused on developing and commercialising an internet of things enabled device which can predict the formation of diabetic foot ulcers. Bluedrop Medical’s device can enable diabetic foot ulcers to be detected early; when treatment is easier and outcomes and costs are greatly improved. The home based system performs a daily scan of the patient’s feet and sends the data to the cloud for analysis through advanced algorithms capable of detecting abnormalities. By detecting skin damage early, the technology could enable healthcare providers to prevent hundreds of thousands of amputations, improving lives and significantly reducing costs. There were 15 ultimate winners with strong competition amongst this year’s entries. HIHI will now match the winning companies with relevant clinical teams, overseeing a study of each product in an Irish clinical setting. These pilot and clinical validation studies provide critical test beds to support Irish companies going to market and can identify any further refinements in the development cycle. The Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar said: “Irish start-ups are working at the cutting edge of healthcare, coming up with innovative solutions to improve the patient experience and patient outcomes. These successful 15 innovators have been chosen for their use of technology to make it easier for patients to manage chronic conditions, and to help with early diagnosis and prevention. I wish them the very best. The Government will continue to promote and invest in the life sciences sector, for the benefit of our economy and our wellbeing.” Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “HIHI has done tremendous work over the last number of years in bringing industry and the health service together to validate innovative products and services. Innovation is essential as we reimagine our health service and implement Sláintecare and I am pleased to see the wide range of ideas put forward, including in the area of digital health, that have been successful in this call. The strength of the Hub is in collaboration and in developing enduring partnerships – both with industry and importantly with the health services - these are key to its success.  I wish all concerned well in the implementation of these ideas.” Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist at Saolta University Healthcare Group, commented: “NUI Galway and Saolta University Health Care Group are happy to host the Galway component of HIHI, which is a major element of the medtech system in the West of Ireland. HIHI is a major part of the link between academia, business and clinic, a partnership which is so crucial to the translation of innovative ideas for patient and economic benefit.” HIHI is a joint initiative of the Department of Health and Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation. Its activity is strengthened through the support of Enterprise Ireland and the HSE.  HIHI offers companies the opportunity for pilot studies and provides the health service with access to innovative products, services and devices. Since it was launched in September 2016, HIHI has managed 300 company engagements, 193 of these have resulted in follow-up support activities and 60 of these have developed into active projects within the Irish healthcare system. HIHI also recently triaged almost 200 innovative healthcare solutions through its Covid-19 Innovation Portal. Irish companies are developing innovative healthcare solutions for patients at home and internationally, by supporting these companies through HIHI, we are strengthening our economy while improving patient care. For further information on the winning companies visit https://hih.ie/engage/health-innovations-2020/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

NUI Galway Clinician Scientist Dr Emer McGrath has been awarded a Clinician Scientist Fellowship as part of the Health Research Board (HRB) €3.7 million investment in twelve new Health Research Fellowships. Dr McGrath was awarded €655,524 for her research into blood-based biomarkers for early detection of preclinical neurocognitive disorders. The Clinician Scientist Fellowships are designed to support health and care practitioners as they transition towards research leadership, while balancing their clinical commitments. The award to Dr McGrath will fund a new Academic Consultant Neurologist post based at NUI Galway and Galway University Hospital. Dr McGrath will lead a large, international, cross-collaborative research study involving a team of investigators based at the HRB-CRFG, NUI Galway, the Framingham Heart Study, Boston University, the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Canada, Trinity College Dublin and the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas San Antonio. Speaking about the fellowship Dr McGrath said: “Dementia is a major health problem and a significant contributor to death and dependence worldwide. Often by the time a person shows signs of the disease, irreversible brain injury has already occurred and the opportunity for early disease modification has been missed. If we could identify people at high risk of developing dementia at an early, preclinical stage (e.g. by detecting elevated levels of proteins or biomarkers in the blood) we would have the greatest opportunity to prevent this disease.” In an innovative programme of research, the research team will investigate selected promising blood-based biomarkers and determine whether these biomarkers vary in people with and without features of early stage dementia on specialised brain scans, and whether these biomarkers can predict who will develop dementia in the future using the large, international PURE study. The results of this research will be used to develop a risk score for predicting an individual’s risk of developing dementia in the future. The results of this research are expected to have important public health benefits including:  development of a risk score which can be used to calculate a person’s likelihood of developing dementia in the future; tailoring approaches to treatment based on an individual’s biomarker signature; and improving the ability to find new treatments for dementia, by allowing better selection of individuals for clinical trials. Dr Annalisa Montesanti, Programme Manager, HRB said: “These postdoctoral awardees have come through a very competitive process and represent the very best of the new crop of health researchers working in the Irish health research system. The standard was so high that the international review panels for each fellowship scheme could have recommended more applications for funding if budget had been available. These are significant achievements in these researchers’ careers.” The HRB awards were made under two postdoctoral training schemes, Applying Research into Policy and Practice Fellowships, and Clinician Scientist Fellowships. Seven of the awards were made under the Applying Research into Policy and Practice scheme.  Five of the awards were made under the Clinician Scientist Fellowship scheme. -Ends-

Monday, 13 July 2020

Throughout the month of June, the Accountancy and Finance department at NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics held their annual ‘KPMG-led Summer School in Data and Analytics’ and their inaugural ‘Disruptive Technologies Summer School’. The summer schools are co-ordinated and delivered by academics and programme directors, and are on offer to students currently enrolled in all three of the postgraduate programmes within the department: The Master of Accounting; MSc in Corporate Finance; and MSc International Accounting and Analytics. Speaking following completion of the 2020 KPMG Summer School in Data and Analytics, Laurence May, Head of KPMG in Galway, and Adjunct Professor in Accounting and Finance at NUI Galway, noted: “This year’s Summer School was the third year of our partnership with NUI Galway on delivery of this programme, with it going from strength to strength each year. The programme was mainly classroom based in its first two years, but in response to the measures introduced to mitigate the impact of the global pandemic, we switched to an online delivery model this year. We were very pleased with how well this went, with the revised online programme being very well received by participants. I would like to thank NUI Galway Faculty Staff and our guest lecturers, including many colleagues from KPMG, for their flexibility and commitment to delivering the programme in these challenging times.” This year’s KPMG Summer School guest speakers included: Helen Kelly, KPMG; Conor Clifford, Medtronic; Mathieu D’Aquin, NUI Galway; Mark Gantly, NUI Galway; Marie Joyce, NTR; Giovanni Tummarello, Siren; Joe Smyth, Genesys; Niamh O’Brien, KPMG; and David Cunningham, Sedicii. Andrea Crean, Lecturer in Accountancy and Finance at NUI Galway and co-coordinator of the programme, said:;”At the start of this year, in conjunction with KPMG, we were planning for the third year in-house running of the KPMG-led Analytics in Accounting and Auditing Summer School. In mid-March, due to a global pandemic and the restrictions that ensued, our summer school was switched from an on campus to an online delivery model. With the expertise of Laurence May and his team in KPMG, and the excellent range of guest speakers who were only happy to accommodate the running of this online platform, this made the transition to the first virtual KPMG Summer School seamless. The delivery was hugely successful with fantastic feedback from participants. It is ironic that, while many elements of the summer school focus on the benefits of technology in this current era, without the use of this technology, the switch from in-class to online delivery would not be possible.” The second Summer School held recently, was the first ever Disruptive Technologies Summer School designed and delivered by NUI Galway Lecturer in Accounting Sharon Cotter, who said: ”The rapid scale of development and adoption of techniques such as robotic process automation, machine learning, and powerful data analytics tools means that accountants today and in the future, need to be tech savvy as well as proficient in fundamental accounting concepts in order to survive and thrive as trusted business partners.” Guest speakers for the Disruptive Technologies Summer School included: Don Hicks, Grant Thornton; April Morris, California State University; Marsha Maly, Intuity Technologies; John Munnelly, Chartered Accountants Ireland; Cathal Nolan, PWC;, Seamus Conaty, PWC; and Paul Doyle, Hewlett Packard. More information on the programmes offered by NUI Galway Accountancy and Finance department can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/cairnes/subjectareas/accountancy-finance/. -End-

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) has bestowed NUI Galway’s Professor Brian McStay with the lifetime honour of EMBO membership in recognition of his achievements in the life sciences, it was announced today. Professor McStay graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Genetics and from University of Edinburgh with a PhD. After post-doctoral research in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle USA, he then started his own research group in the University of Dundee. Since 2008 he has been a Professor in the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway. Speaking after today’s announcement, Professor McStay said: “I am delighted that the work in my laboratory at the Centre for Chromosome Biology on the inner workings of the nucleolus in human cells has been recognised by my peers.” Professor Noel Lowndes, Director of the Centre for Chromosome Biology and a member of EMBO since 2003, said: “I would like to welcome Brian as NUI Galway’s second elected member of EMBO. Brian is now just one of seven others in Ireland who are members of the organisation. Election to the membership of EMBO is the highest honour within European life sciences ranging from Bioinformatics to Zoology and I am delighted to welcome my Centre for Chromosome Biology colleague to the membership.” EMBO Members actively participate in EMBO initiatives, for example by serving on EMBO Council and committees, by mentoring young scientists, or supporting activities such as the promotion of sound science policy. Members also guide and support the organisation in ensuring the highest quality in the selection of future members, postdoctoral fellows, and courses and workshops. “The new Members have contributed to the success of research in the life sciences in Europe and around the world,” said EMBO Director Maria Leptin. “As EMBO Members they can help to shape the future through EMBO’s work to support talented researchers, bring ideas together, and promote an international research environment conducive to excellent science.”  -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Tá mac léinn óg ón gCeathrú Rua ar dhuine de ghrúpa mac léinn ón BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge) in Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh a bhain duais don iriseoireacht raidió trí Ghaeilge amach ag na Smedias le gairid. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge atá ag riaradh na céime seo a chuireann béim láidir ar an gcraoltóireacht bheo agus taithí phraiticiúil a thabhairt do na mic léinn. Fuair an grúpa d’ochtar an duais aitheantais seo don chlár Coolchaint a craoladh ar stáisiún na hOllscoile Flirt Fm ar an 3 Márta i mbliana. “Is iontach an t-aitheantas é seo do na mic léinn go háirithe”, a dúirt duine dá dteagascóirí Norita Ní Chartúir. “Tuigeann muid an tábhacht a bhaineann leis an taithí seo a roinnt le mic léinn óga agus iad a spreagadh i dtreo na craoltóireachta trí Ghaeilge sa todhchaí. Tá aitheantas ag dul freisin do mo chomhghleacaí Fionn Ó Sealbhaigh a dhéanann cúram do chúrsaí fuaime agus teicniúla.” Cúrsaí imirce, Brexit agus an fhoireann peile Gaeil na Gaillimhe a bunaíodh sa mbliain 2016 i nGaillimh a bhí á bplé sa gclár buacach seo. Is é an t-imreoir rugbaí, réalt óg na Ceathrún Rua, Colm De Buitléar a láithrigh an clár. Craoladh an clár seo mar chuid den chraoladh nádúrtha a dhéantar sa gcéim seo idir mhic léinn bhliain 2 agus 4. An aidhm atá leis an gcraoladh seo ná mic léinn a chumasú don saol craoltóireachta. Déantar sin trí sárscileanna praiticiúla a thabhairt dóibh sa gcraoltóireacht raidió. Ceithre bliana a mhaireann an BA (Cumarsáid & Gaeilge). -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

School of Education lecturer to become first NUI Galway General Editor of Ireland’s principal educational research journal Dr Tony Hall, Senior Lecturer in Educational Technology and Deputy Head NUI Galway’s School of Education, has been appointed the new General Editor of Irish Educational Studies, the official research journal of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI), and Irish educational research community.  Founded in 1981, the journal covers all aspects of educational research, including the history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and technology of education. IES publishes research from across all sectors in Irish education and internationally: early years, preschool and primary education, secondary, further, post-compulsory and third-level education; and the broad repertoire of educational research methodologies.  The international profile of the journal has grown in the last decade, with c.50% of citations outside of Ireland, and a significant increase in its impact factor this year. Dr Hall’s appointment marks the first time that a NUI Galway academic will serve in the chief editorial role for Ireland’s flagship educational research publication. Speaking of his appointment, Dr Hall said: “I am delighted to take up the role of General Editor of Irish Educational Studies. I would like to acknowledge the work and support of the previous General Editors, Professor Paul Conway and Dr Aisling Leavy, and the support and efforts of all editors, reviewers and contributors to the journal over the almost 40 years since it was founded. Working with the IES Editorial Board, the ESAI President and Executive, and the Irish and international educational research and teaching community, I look forward to further enhancing the position and profile of IES as the principal scholarly publication for educational research in Ireland.” Welcoming Dr Hall’s appointment, Head of the School of Education at NUI Galway, Professor Gerry Mac Ruairc said: “The breadth and depth of Tony’s scholarship positions him as an excellent fit for the role of General Editor. As a colleague and on behalf of all of us in the School of Education we wish him every success in this new role and we look forward to supporting him as he brings the Journal on the next stage of its journey. It is particularly great for the School and the University to have the new custodian of the premium journal on our team at NUI Galway - well done Tony.”  Dr Enda Donlon, President of the Educational Studies Association of Ireland, said: “Tony is a scholar of national and international high standing, who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this role. We are delighted to have an academic of Tony's calibre as the next General Editor of Irish Educational Studies, and know he will do a superb job of this over the coming years.” Dr Hall will officially take up the chief editorial role for IES in September 2021, for an initial term of three years. The IES journal is available online at www.tandfonline.com/toc/ries20/current.   -Ends-

Monday, 6 July 2020

NUI Galway researchers and company partners have been awarded over €10.3 million in Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF). The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund was established under Project Ireland 2040 and is run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with administrative support from Enterprise Ireland. Two of the funded projects will see teams at NUI Galway partnering with AuriGen Medical, an NUI Galway spin-out company specialising in electrophysiology and structural heart, dedicated to transforming the management of persistent atrial fibrillation. A third DTIF supported project will see the collaboration between teams at the NUI Galway Centre for Cell Manufacturing (CCMI) and ONK Therapeutics Ltd, also Galway based. ONK Therapeutics is also an NUI Galway spin out who are a clinically focused company who have developed a disease-specific cell product approach to tough to treat cancers.  Professors Martin O’Halloran, Adnan Elahi and Leo Quinlan will co-lead the project that will allow the Translational Medical Device Lab (TMD-Lab) to continue and grow its research collaboration with AuriGen Medical. The project will support the development of a novel medical device for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation and ultimately stroke. The project will explore the fundamental science of electroporation on both a cellular and tissue level, while also translating this basic science into a refined and optimised patient treatment. The TMD-Lab has significant experience in ablation, working across Radio Frequency, Microwave and Electroporation technologies, with a range of national and international industry partners. This large three year project will allow the team to further cement its expertise in this growing medical device field, and become a European leader in ablation research. The second project in collaboration with AuriGen Medical will support the development of sensors for monitoring the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation, and long-term patient management to prevent stroke and other heart diseases. The sensors and monitoring system will aid in delivering effective treatment and allow for data-driven disease management in associated long-term heart conditions. Led by Professor William Wyns and Dr Atif Shahzad from the Smart Sensors Laboratory, the team will extend its existing expertise and knowledge in the area of novel biosensors and AI driven connected health solutions to deliver on this multifaceted technology challenge.   Enterprise Ireland Distruptive Technologies Department Manager, Imelda Lambkin, extended congratulations to Professor Wyns and Dr Shahzad and AuriGen Medical, commenting: "I congratulate AuriGen Medical and their research partners in the Translational Medical Device and Smart Sensors Labs at NUI Galway on their success in the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. Such collaboration between an NUI Galway spin-out company and its high quality academic research teams is exactly what we look for in this Fund, where we are focussed on developing game-changing technologies with the potential to disrupt markets. We look forward to supporting the team in achieving their global ambition of bringing novel cardiac implants to fruition.” Dr Janusz Krawczyk and Professor Michael O’Dwyer will co-lead the DTIF project- Towards safe and effective off-the-shelf cellular therapy for cancer- which will see a collaboration between the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland and ONK Therapeutics Ltd. The project will concentrate on the development of highly potent, safe, standardized, off the shelf therapy using modified Natural Killer cells.  Natural killer cells, also known as NK cells, are a type of cytotoxic lymphocytes critical to the innate immune system. The modification with Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CAR-NK) will improve their therapeutic efficacy. With the expertise and proprietary technologies of both partners within this consortium, they will develop modified NK cells that may be capable of tackling multiple types of cancer. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist at Saolta University Healthcare Group acknowledges the key role of collaborations between NUI Galway and industry for medical advancement: “Funding, like the Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund, makes it possible for innovative academic teams to partner with local indigenous industry to develop essential medical innovations. It provides the supportive environment for collaborative break-throughs. Galway has extraordinary talent and I look forward to the results of these complex projects.” -Ends-

Monday, 6 July 2020

Have your voice heard in Ireland’s First Annual Youth Mental Health Conference YOULEAD, a mental health research group led NUI Galway’s School of Psychology, is collaborating with SPUNOUT.ie to look for young people to share their opinions on Irish mental health services and supports. These submissions will form part of Ireland’s first Youth Mental Health Conference in the autumn. The first Youth Mental Health Conference will consist of a series of online lunchtime events from 5-9 October, leading up to World Mental Health Day on Saturday, 10 October. Throughout the conference national and international experts will be discussing their understanding of the mental health needs of young people, and the resources young people need. During the week, YOULEAD will dedicate time during one of the lunchtime sessions to presenting the experiences of young people using mental health services/supports in Ireland, with the aim of providing a platform for young people to share their experiences with others. The goal is to showcase multiple voices of young people, reflecting their experience of mental health services. A number of submissions will be performed by actors with the performance being shown online during the conference. As this is a creative piece that will be performed, artistic license might be used. So, words, sentences or quotes, combined with other pieces, may be used to form a cohesive artistic piece. Professor Gary Donohoe, Established Professor of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “A crucial element for developing the mental health services needing by young people is knowing what they think and what they have experienced. This is as much to identify the positives we can build on as the negatives we should address. We'd like to give as many young people as possible a chance to share their experiences with us.” YOULEAD are asking young people, aged between 18-25 years and living in Ireland, to submit a word, sentences or story on your opinion of mental health services/supports in Ireland. Pieces can include, but is not limited to: What is/was your experience of mental health services/supports? What would your ideal mental health service look like? What advice would you give to someone trying to access support services in Ireland? To submit please complete the YOULEAD form on the SPUNOUT website at https://spunout.ie/opinion/article/share-your-experience-using-mental-health-services-supports. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 31 July. For further information on the first Youth Mental Health Research Meeting visit https://www.nuiglaway.ie/youlead/events. To register for the Meeting visit https://bit.ly/2BkHyit. For further queries please contact gary.donohoe@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-