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REDDSTAR Shines at the ISCT 2014 Paris Conference
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
REDDSTAR Co-ordinator and Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway, Tim O’Brien, and Orbsen Therapeutics’ Head of Research, Dr Steve Elliman took part in an interactive workshop during the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) 20th Anniversary meeting. The workshop showcased ‘EU-funded projects on Cellular Therapies’ and was held in Paris recently. REDDSTAR (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration) is an EU funded project which will develop and test stromal cell therapy to treat for diabetes mellitus. The objective is to control blood glucose while also addressing a range of diabetic complications. Steve Elliman added, “The 20th ISCT Meeting in Paris featured some outstanding updates in the translational development of cell therapies. I personally enjoyed the Plenary Session of the development of cell therapies for leukaemias and inherited immunodeficiences, which included an inspirational discussion of the challenges and successes of gene-modified cell therapies by Professor Adrian Thrasher from Great Ormond Street Hospital in the London and Professor Bruce Levine from University of Pennsylvania. In addition, there was a well-attended and detailed discussion of the development of clinical MSCs for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which was very informative for groups entering the clinical phase of cell therapy testing.” In response to the EU-funded projects’ workshop and REDDSTAR’s involvement, Massimo Dominici, MD, President of the International Society for Cellular Therapy 2014-16 remarked, “The presence of highly valuable speakers representing EU funded research projects represented true added value within our 20th Anniversary Meeting. The feeling I have is that cell therapy in Europe has grown incredibly and, certainly, the EU FP7 granting has provided the proper boost in translating basic concepts into clinical realities for still as yet untreatable diseases. As a global society, ISCT looks forward to showcasing again these EU-based achievements in our future events worldwide.” The REDDSTAR-sponsored session (Workshop 5) was chaired by Dr Mark Lowdell of the Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, UK and Dr David Gancberg from Directorate Health, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission. In addition to Professor O’ Brien and Dr Elliman, the workshop also featured Prof. Anne Dickinson, MD, of Newcastle University, UK, a project leader in Celleurope and Dr Pierre Layrolle, Co-ordinator of Reborne based at INSERM in Toulouse. -Ends-
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Limited Places Still Available for NUI Galway Engineering Summer School
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics still has a few spaces available on their one-day Engineering Summer School. The summer school is specially designed to give prospective students a real taste of university life through a wide range of hands-on practical activities and students interested in attending have a choice of two different days to participate, Thursday, 19 June, or Friday, 20 June. The summer school, which will take place in the new state-of-the-art Engineering Building on campus, is a free event which provides second-level students the opportunity to learn more about the various fields of engineering which can be studied in NUI Galway. “We have seen a huge interest once again this year amongst both senior and junior cycle second-level students in our Engineering Summer School, but we have a few remaining spaces which students can apply for”, according to Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. “The places in the free summer school are competitively awarded so we would invite any students who would be interested in learning more about Electronic, Mechanical, Civil, Biomedical or Energy Systems Engineering to apply for these last few places.” Interested students find out more information at http://www.nuigalway.ie/summer-schools/ and can apply by email to firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday, 6 June. -Ends-
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Free Lunchtime Film Screenings at NUI Galway to Celebrate Ageing
Monday, 12 May 2014
The third ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’, organised by The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, is offering free lunchtime screenings of international films and documentaries celebrating ageing across the life-course from 19-23May as part of the Bealtaine Festival. The lunchtime screenings are open to the public and will begin each day at 1pm, apart from Tuesday, 20 May which will take place at 2pm, in IT125G, IT Building, NUI Galway. Each film will be followed by a short audience discussion and refreshments. Film themes include retirement, adventure in later years, attachment to home-place, technology, carers, and reminiscence. A short, informal audience discussion follows each film. Additional attractions include a pre-screening reading of a short story about ageing by Galway writer, Moya Roddy, on Monday 19 at 1 pm. Galway tour-guide, Brendan Hynes will take audience members for a Corrib riverside walk and talk on Friday 23, post-screening. Preceding Tuesday’s films is the launch of the Galway Age Friendly Alliance Strategy. The Galway Age Friendly City and County Alliance is a partnership of key local groups that is committed to making the City and County better places in which to grow older. The new Strategy will be launched at 12.30pm on Tuesday, 20May by sports commentator and raconteur Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh in IT125. Programme: Monday - Short film: ‘Analogue People in a Digital Age’ by Keith Walsh [13 mins]. An Irish bar discussion on coping with technology. Main film: ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ (2011), starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith [124 mins]. The exotic lives of India’s hotel for the well-heeled British retirees are portrayed in rich performances by an all-star cast. Tuesday - Short film: ‘4 Bhanrion’ ( as Gaeilge with sub-titles) by Vittoria Colinna, starring Geraldine Plunkett [15 mins]. A deadly game of poker dictates which sister will mind mammy in her dotage. Main film: ‘Song for Marion’ (2012), starring Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave [93 mins]. Singing in her community choir, whilst dying of cancer is a life-changing experience for all, especially for Marion’s husband Terence Stamp. Wednesday – Short film: ‘Blue Rinse’ by Matt Leigh [11 mins]. Life inside a Dublin hairdressing salon for older women. Main film: ‘The Trip to Bountiful’ (1985), starring Geraldine Page, Rebecca de Mornay [107 mins]. Based on Oscar-nominated screenplay, Geraldine Page won an Academy award for best actress for her performance. A longing to see her home-place before she died leads Page to recount the story of her life in this poignant tale. Thursday - Short film: ‘Forty Foot’ by Paul McGrath and Leticia Agudo [9 mins]. Stories from the swimmers who use Dublin’s famous 40-foot sea spot. Main film: ‘Harry and Tonto’ (1974), starring Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, Larry Hagman [111 mins]. Evicted from his home, Art Carney embarks on a road trip across America with his cat ‘Tonto’. Friday - Short film: ‘Foxes and Donkeys’ (2013) by Eileen Gibbons [13 mins]. Stories by residents of St Brendan’s Nursing Home, Loughrea. Main film: ‘My Afternoons with Margueritte’ (2010, French with English sub-titles), starring Gerard Dépardieu [82 mins]. The highly watchable Dépardieu’s performance as an illiterate and lonely man befriending an older and well-read woman makes this a gentle gem. The screening venue has all facilities available to hand; including cafés, restrooms, and a lift is available to the lecture theatre for easy access. The lecture theatre is wheelchair friendly. Films are courtesy of Screenclick; Bord Scannán na hEireann/The Irish Film Board; film collector Liam Bluett, and Directors. Reel Lives Film Festival poster designed by artist Marina Wild, NUI Galway. Soft drinks and confectionary are courtesy of the Students’ Union Shop NUI Galway. Spot prizes are sponsored by NUI Galway’s Kingfisher Sports Centre, and Masterchefs Hospitality NUI Galway. Further information contact event organiser, Alison Herbert at 091 495461 or 087 2830757, www.icsg.ie. -Ends-
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Explore Galway’s Natural History with the new NUI Galway Guidebook!
Monday, 19 May 2014
A new guidebook has been published by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences to help people explore the natural history of the Galway area. The booklet was produced as part of NUI Galway’s EXPLORE initiative that promotes and sponsors innovation through student and staff collaboration. Entitled Self Guided Fieldtrip – Galway Area, the booklet was compiled by Alina Wieczorek, a third year undergraduate student with the School of Natural Sciences, and Professor Martin Feely, Earth and Ocean Science at NUI Galway. The tour includes a visit to the James Mitchell Museum, in NUI Galway’s Quadrangle Building, to introduce the rocks, minerals and fossils of the Galway area and from around the globe. The guide highlights the natural history of the coastal zone stretching from Galway city westwards to Salthill and beyond. The reader can explore that history using the map and the many field illustrations of bedrock geology, as well as the flora and fauna that live on the bedrock; highlighting the many links between the Natural Sciences of Geology, Botany and Zoology. Those who use the guide are encouraged to share and discuss their discoveries through the webpage, www.exploregalway.npage.eu. A downloadable version of the guide is also available on this webpage. A hard copy is available from NUI Galway’s James Mitchell Museum in the Quadrangle Building, or the Zoology Museum in NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, or the Earth and Ocean Sciences office on the second floor of NUI Galway’s Quadrangle. The museums are open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. -Ends-
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Risks for psychosis could be identified through tell-tale signs in IQ, memory or social intelligence tests
Monday, 19 May 2014
The study’s findings, led by NUI Galway Professor Gary Donohoe, have been published in the leading international peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry A new study has revealed that genetic variants associated with risk for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are also associated with performance on measures of IQ, memory and social cognition. The discovery was made by NUI Galway Professor of Psychology Gary Donohue, in association with colleagues from Trinity College, Dublin and has just been published in leading journal, JAMA psychiatry. Professor Gary Donohoe said: “These findings support the view that the genetics of schizophrenia and cognition overlap. The findings also raise the possibility that the risk of developing schizophrenia may be identified by changes in cognitive ability; tell-tale signs found in IQ, memory or social intelligence tests. These cognitive deficits often appear before the emergence of clinical symptoms and go on to predict individual levels of disability. Understanding how genetic variants contribute to this aspect of disability, both individually and interaction, is an important step towards understanding the underlying biology and developing better and more personalized treatments.” Schizophrenia or bipolar disorder affects about one in 50 Irish adults. Treatments are available, but the successful treatment rates vary. It is as yet unknown what causes or triggers schizophrenia. Disability in these disorders is significantly affected by difficulties with a wide range of neuropsychological problems, including general cognitive ability, memory function, and cognitive abilities relevant to engaging and dealing with others. Dr. April Hargreaves and Dr. Kristen Nicodemus were joint first authors on the paper. The study also included contributions from a broad network of collaborators in Europe and the US. Co-first author Dr. Hargreaves said ‘what is perhaps most novel about the study is the move from focusing on single genetic variants to considering the effects of multiple, related risk variants at the same time. The fact that we were able to account for a greater proportion of the variance in cognitive performance by looking at multiple variants, suggests that this approach represents an important next step in modeling the genetic complexity of cognition and identifying risk factors for psychosis’. The study, which was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board, assessed performance on a number of cognitive functions known to be affected in psychosis. A total of 424 patients participated in the study, including 340 with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and 83 with bipolar or major depressive disorder with psychotic features. Patients were given individual scores based on their loading for genetic variants interacting with ZNF804A, the first genome wide significant variant to be identified for schizophrenia. Across patient groups, higher scores on this ZNF804A interaction pathway were associated with poorer performance on multiple cognitive measures, including both general cognitive ability and a measure social cognition, often popularly referred to as social intelligence. -ends-
Medical Device Week at NUI Galway
Monday, 19 May 2014
Week designed to educate the public about medical devices in creative ways The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway will be celebrating Medical Device Week from 3-6 June. The Week is designed to educate the public about medical device research in unique ways, with each day assigned a different theme for various topics. The week kicks off on Tuesday with the theme of ‘New Foundations’ which involves a seminar series entitled ‘Engineering the Nanobiointerface’ at the new Biosciences Building. Invited speakers include: Professor Joachim Spatz from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany; Professor Laura Ballerini from the University of Trieste, Italy; and Dr Matteo Palma from Queen Mary University of London, UK. Tuesday’s activities will end with a wine reception to celebrate “Chimera: Art of Exploration”, an exhibition which will be open to the public from 12-4pm, Wednesday to Friday. The exhibition is of art work by professional artists Paul Maye, Siobhan McGibbon, and Marie Connole. Additionally, the exhibition will present works by students of the Centre for Creative Arts and Media, GMIT, who are participating in a short research project to create works in response to what they have seen and experienced in the NFB research laboratories. Medical devices from local companies including Boston Scientific, Vornia, Aerogen, and Osteoanchor will be displayed as well as artwork from staff in the Biosciences building inspired by their research. The week continues on Wednesday with”Reaching Out” entailing a public lecture at 1:00 at the Galway City Museum. During this lecture NFB PhD students will give an informal talk about the future of medical devices with regard to hernias, cardiovascular problems, orthopedics, and Parkinson's disease. Also on Wednesday, NFB researchers will visit local primary schools to present to children concepts of the anatomy, physiology, and disease of the heart through a series of hands-on activities. A link to the outreach activity can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrv_wx27qwQ Thursday is “Translation” involving a seminar series, ‘Medical Devices and Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products – Challenges and Opportunities in the Post Recession Era’, at the Biosciences Building. Invited speakers from the medical device industry will be presenting from companies such as Covidien, DSM, and Orbsen Therapeutics. The week concludes Friday with “Meet the Curator” encompassing guided tours of the Chimera art exhibition. For further details and a full programme please go to www.nfb.ie or call 091 495833. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Alumni Annual Golf Outing
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
NUI Galway’s Alumni Association will hold its annual golf outing in Galway Golf Club, Salthill on Friday, 6 June. According to NUI Galway Alumni Board Chairman, Sean O’Rourke, “this is a great opportunity for alumni and friends to get together for an afternoon of friendly competition. It also affords graduates the potential to reminisce on their time spent at NUI Galway, hear about developments on campus and catch up with former classmates and friends old and new.” The entry fee of €30 includes green fees and prizes and is open to all graduates and friends of NUI Galway. Bookings can be made singly, in doubles, threesomes or foursomes. For further details and booking information, contact Alumni Office on 091 493750 or book online at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni. -Ends-
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Winners announced for the First All-Ireland Apps Competition
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
The results of the first ever All-Ireland apps competition were announced this week. The initiative, Apps4Gaps, was launched by the Minister of State Brian Hayes T.D. in October 2013. The aim of the competition was to develop ideas and create applications (apps) that would provide innovative and fresh ways of exploiting the Open Data available from the 2011 Census, and which could benefit society in such areas as transport, housing, planning, education, communications and health. The judges, drawn from the public, business and education sectors, included Soheila Dehghanzadeh of Insight at NUI Galway, Michael Meagher of Microsoft, Shawn Day of Digital Humanities at University College Cork, Enzo Lieghio of Hewlett Packard, and Kevin Healy and Fiona O'Callaghan, both of the Central Statistics Office. The results of the final judges’ deliberations for the four were: Best Working App (Student) with a prize fund of €1,500 and judged overall winner of the Alice Perry medal was “Some1LikeMe”, created by Jack O’Sullivan and Peter Roe from Kilkenny College in Castlecomer. Best Concept entry (Student) was “The Relocator” from Conor Mulcahy, Eoin Hayes and Robert Fitzgerald of Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom, Co. Limerick Best Working App (Open) was the “Census Explorer” created by Gavin McCardle, Thomas Holz and Jennifer Treanor from Dublin. Best Concept entry (Open) was the “Attack of the Nearly Dead” from Barry and Katie Kennedy of CoderDojo Limerick. Apps4Gaps is co-organised by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, with sponsorship from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Partners for Apps4Gaps included the Department of Education and Skills, as well as the Department of Education Northern Ireland. The Apps4Gaps prizes will be presented during Maths Week in October 2014. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Celebrate Societies Success at Special Ceremony
Thursday, 22 May 2014
NUI Galway has won more BICS national society awards than any other college in Ireland Galway’s President, Dr Jim Brown recently hosted an event for the Societies to congratulate them on their successes this year. Present at the ceremony were the societies who won University Awards and those who represented NUI Galway at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards in Belfast. The two societies who won at the BICS, Astronomy Society won the Best New Society Award and the Rovers Society who won in the Best Photo category, were presented with their national trophies by Dr Browne. Since BICS inauguration in 1999 NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 35 trophies, with the next competitor standing at 24. Also receiving awards from Dr Browne were representatives from the Drama Society who won two awards at the national Drama Awards ISDA. Joe Power from County Down won best supporting actor for his role in Calisto 5, which also won the Award for Best Sound. The production was directed by Emily Murray from Cork. NUI Galway’s Choral Society gave a special performance at the ceremony, celebrating their success at Galway Choir Factor which they won recently. In his remarks Dr Browne congratulated the societies on their contribution to campus life and the over 900 students on committees who work tirelessly to enhance the learning opportunities for the students on the campus. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer said: “I would like to thank the University for its commitment to the students and the cultural life of the University by its support of the societies with exceptional facilities and resources.” -Ends-
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NUI Galway Raises Awareness on Child to Parent Violence with International Conference
Monday, 26 May 2014
NUI Galway will host the Child to Parent Violence: Innovations in Practice, Policy and Research conference, bringing together a variety of national and international speakers. The conference, which will take place from12-13 June, aims to raise awareness and to share information about best practice when it comes to responding to the problem of child to parent violence. Parents living with child to parent violence (where a son or daughter under the age of 18 years uses violence and controlling behaviour towards parents) often feel alone, frightened, ashamed and do not know where to turn for help. Practitioners, researchers and policy makers are often uncertain about how best to respond to the emerging problem of child to parent violence. The conference is part of the EU funded DAPHNE programme across five countries called the Responding to Child to Parent Violence (RCPV) project. The RCPV project team consists of a team of international academics and practitioners led by Dr Paula Wilcox at the University of Brighton. The RCPV aims to reflect a wide range of expertise on intervening with child to parent violence, (CPV) as well as geographical and cultural diversity across Europe. Dr Paula Wilcox will be one of the keynote speakers at the conference, which will also include: Peter Jakob, Partnership Projects, UK; Eddie Gallagher, Who’s in Charge, Australia; Michelle Pooley, Brighton and Hove City Council; Rita O’ Reilly, Parentline; Dr John Sharry, Parents Plus; and Norah Gibbons, Chairperson of Tusla – the Child and Family Agency. The conference is booked out with 200 practitioners, academics and policy makers scheduled to attend. Declan Coogan, lecturer in social work in the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway is the RCPV Project Leader for Ireland. Waterside House COPE Galway, the Domestic Violence Refuge and Centre in Galway, is also part of the project as a local community partner. Mr Coogan said, “More and more parents are talking about child to parent violence which has been a hidden but growing social problem in Ireland and across Europe. Practitioners working with families in Ireland are increasingly hearing parents describing their experiences of child to parent violence. The conference will assist Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Juvenile Justice Practitioners and others working with children and families across a range of services increase their awareness and skills development when faced with child to parent violence. The conference is also aimed at academics, researchers and policy makers as we try to better understand and respond to this problem throughout Europe.” One of the responses to CPV in Ireland is the Non Violent Resistance programme adapted for use in Ireland by Declan Coogan. This intervention is being used by a number of agencies in one to one and group settings with two day training in the programme being rolled out since last year. The Non Violent Resistance Handbook for Practitioners will also be launched at the end of the conference. With financial support from the DAPHNE programme of the European Union. -Ends-
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