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Monday, 24 April 2017

Patient’s Perspective of the Live-Saving Research in New Film

A new film has been produced, with the support of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway, featuring the extraordinary work of the Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI). Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective brings viewers, from the perspective of a current patient, Christopher McEvilly from Oughterard in Co. Galway, into the life-saving research and work carried out by the BCNI. The film’s producer, Dr Seán Crosson, Acting Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway, said: “The Huston School was delighted to be able to support the production of this important film as part of an ongoing research and outreach project in the school exploring the role of digital media in healthcare. As evident in the film, the BCNI is providing Irish blood cancer patients with access to novel and innovative cancer treatments through the provision of early phase clinical trials. Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective gives an insight into one clinical trial patient’s perspective of this life-saving process.” Professor Michael O'Dwyer, Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland at NUI Galway, said: “A new diagnosis of blood cancer can be frightening and unsettling. This short film captures perfectly one patient’s perspective and positive experience of clinical trials and should help other patients who find themselves in this situation. We are very thankful to Seán and Dieter of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media for making this uplifting film.” The Huston School of Film & Digital Media is the leading centre for research and teaching in film and digital media in the West of Ireland. The school offers teaching and research programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels (up to PhD), including pioneering MA degrees in Film Studies: Theory and Practice, Film Production and Direction, Digital Media, Arts Policy and Practice, Public Advocacy and Activism, and Film and Theatre. Clinical Trials – A Patient’s Perspective is directed by Huston School lecturer Dieter Auner and produced by Huston’s Acting Director Dr Seán Crosson. To view the film visit: http://www.bloodcancers.ie/bloodcancers/clinicaltrials/ where further information on the BCNI and clinical trials is also available. For more information about the Huston School of Film & Digital Media visit: www.filmschool.ie.  -Ends-

Monday, 24 April 2017

Public Lecture on Travel-Writing on Eastern Europe at NUI Galway

Monday, 24 April 2017

Become a Scientist at NUI Galway’s Bio-EXPLORERS Summer Science Camps

Friday, 21 April 2017

NUI Galway Hosts Innovative Career Development Event with Major Industry Employers


News Archive

Friday, 21 April 2017

Free access available for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades at NUI Galway in one of the few such testing facilities available worldwide The Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy in Ireland (MaREI) at NUI Galway will provide test facilities for technology developers to test their tidal turbine blades as part of ‘MaRINET2’, a €10.5 million project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project is inviting an open call to offshore energy technology developers with applications closing on the 20 May 2017.* Currently, in Europe, there is approximately 100 megawatts of tidal stream capacity and 32 megawatts of wave energy capacity when taking into account devices in the water, under construction and permitted. It is expected that between 2015 and 2020 the European ocean energy industry could spend a further €1 billion in research and development, and €3 billion to €4 billion to deploy the projected capacities. With this momentum, the industry association, Ocean Energy Europe, estimates that 100 gigawatts of wave and tidal energy capacity can be deployed in Europe by 2050, that’s almost 1000 times more capacity than is currently available. This industry target is consistent with recent studies on the practical deployment potential of ocean energy in Europe. The global market for ocean energy could see 337 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2050, a third of this would be in Europe. Jamie Goggins, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering at NUI Galway, and lead Principal Investigator of the Structures and Materials research area in the MaREI, is responsible for the large structures test facility located at the University that is available under the MARINET2 programme. Commenting on the project, Dr Goggins said: “It is great to have our large structures test cell available for free access for offshore energy technology developers. We have experience of testing both wind and tidal turbine blades and structural components for a number of leading companies. We have invested over €1.5 million in this facility in recent years and understand that it is one of the few, if not the only, test facility in the world available for accelerated life testing studies of full scale tidal turbines under fatigue loading. We look forward to welcoming technology developers to our laboratory under the MARINET2 programme to use the facilities in the Alice Perry Engineering Building.” Today 45% of wave energy companies and 50 % of tidal energy companies are from the new EU member states, EU13. According to the Ocean Energy Strategic Roadmap ‘Building Ocean Energy for Europe’, the right support over the coming decade will enable Europe to maintain leadership in a global market, worth a potential €653 billion in investments between 2010 and 2050, and an annual market of up to €53 billion, hugely benefiting the European economy. Reducing costs and increasing performance through innovation and testing is one of the six essential priority areas identified by the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Ocean Energy (TP Ocean) to be addressed to improve ocean energy technology and decrease its risk profile. To address the need of industry and researchers, a team in the MaREI Centre based at NUI Galway has developed the capability - infrastructure, personnel and knowledge - to conduct static and fatigue testing of full scale tidal turbine blades in the large structures test cell at the University. These types of facilities are becoming essential to tidal turbine developers as the testing is an important step in the certification of their tidal turbine blades for use in full-commercial projects. This state-of-the-art facility, located in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at NUI Galway, is now available to technology developers across Europe as part of the MARINET2 TNA programme. MaRINET2 Project Coordinator, Jimmy Murphy from UCC highlighted the value of the project for the offshore renewable energy sector: “Over the next four years, MaRINET2 will be an important instrument in reducing the cost of development in Europe’s offshore renewable energy sector. It will keep innovative new technologies progressing towards the marketplace, and keep Europe at the cutting edge of development globally. It will also strengthen Europe’s network of world-leading offshore renewables research infrastructure.” Christophe Maisondieu the Marinet2 Access Coordinator for Ifremer (the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) welcomed the project: “The first Marinet project supported 178 projects over a period of four and a half years, and had a considerable impact on research into offshore renewables in Europe. We look forward to building on this success in MaRINET2, and help develop exciting new renewable energy technologies from around Europe.” For details on eligibility criteria, how to apply, and available testing infrastructures please visit the Marinet2 website at www.marinet2.eu. -Ends-  

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, has announced funding to facilitate the commercialisation of research from NUI Galway.  Eight projects have been funded through the SFI Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) programme, which is run in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and supports researchers undertaking applied research projects that demonstrate potential for strong economic impact. A total of €782,279 was awarded to NUI Galway in areas of research including renewable energies, anti-microbial resistance, sustainable agriculture and Parkinson’s Disease. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice President for Research at NUI Galway, welcomed the awards: “Our research often leads to the development of a new or innovative technology, product, process or services. This funding will give these eight researchers the opportunity to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their idea and the commercial opportunities associated with their work. There is huge potential here for both economic and societal impact.” Speaking of the Awards, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “I am delighted to announce this investment in research commercialisation and entrepreneurship training, through the SFI TIDA programme. It will enable the research teams to take the first steps in developing new discoveries and inventions with commercial potential. As outlined in the Irish Government’s science strategy, Innovation 2020, we are committed to having one of the most highly skilled and innovative workforces in the world. With SFI-funded researchers receiving entrepreneurship training as part of these awards, we are helping to bring scientific and technological research to market.” The SFI TIDA programme is designed to enable researchers to focus on the initial stages of an applied research project, facilitating researchers with the opportunity to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their project, directed toward the development of a new or innovative technology, product, process or service that has potential for further commercial development. Speaking at the announcement, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is committed to investing in the translation of world-class research from the laboratory to market. We regularly see high quality research discoveries that are likely to have strong economic impact potential; a key objective for Science Foundation Ireland is to increase the number of these discoveries that secure follow-on public or private investment. The SFI TIDA programme plays a key role in this process by providing funding to develop technologies, and by delivering training in entrepreneurship to support Ireland’s next generation of technology start-ups.” The NUI Galway research activities awarded TIDA funding are: Dr Brian Ward, School of Physics, College of Science, NUI Galway Development of an instrument to improve the characterisation of turbulence at tidal energy sites, to assist the tidal renewable energy industry in optimising turbine efficiency. Professor James O’Gara, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway Evaluate new antimicrobials, biomaterials and therapeutic approaches for the treatment and prevention of antimicrobial resistant infections. Dr Sara Farrona, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway The use of beneficial microorganisms to increase crop resistance and yield under SFI’s Sustainable Agriculture category – Enhancing plant growth and resilience by Ensifer – mediated seed priming Professor Paul Murphy, College of Science, NUI Galway Design and synthesis of carbohydrate based therapies for fibrosis. Dr Daniel O’Toole, College of Medicine, NUI Galway Development of a nebulised recombinant SOD protein for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Dr Thomas Barry, School of Natural Science, NUI Galway Culture independent diagnostics technologies for the rapid detection of Non Tuberculosis Mycobacteria associated with water distribution system contamination. Dr Andrew Flaus, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway Optimised chromatin substrates for epigenetic drug screening. Dr Leo Quinlan, School of Medicine, NUI Galway Electrical stimulation cueing for freezing of gait correction in people with Parkinson’s Disease. -Ends-

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Research article published by CÚRAM Investigator the most highly cited article in Cancer Discovery, the premier journal of America Association for Cancer Research The Cancer Discovery review article, ‘Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Activated Cell Reprogramming in Oncogenesis’ published by Professor Afshin Samali has become the most highly cited article published by the Cancer Discovery journal in 2015. Professor Afshin Samali, Principal Investigator at CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, is based at NUI Galway where he is Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC). Professor Samali’s research is focused on the fields of cell stress and cell death. His work asks fundamental scientific questions pertaining to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress signaling, its role in the life/death decisions that a cell makes and the associated implications for human disease. Professor Samali from CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said: “Cellular stress responses are mechanisms activated by cells in response to stressful stimuli, including extremes of temperature, exposure to toxins, and mechanical damage and are crucial in determining cell fate in response to the stress. My research goal is to uncover the signalling pathways that are activated during endoplasmic reticulum stress and the unfolded protein response (UPR) and to understand the links between these stress response pathways and cell death and how these processes contribute to human diseases.” Currently Professor Samali’s team is working on describing ER stress signalling in health and disease and investigating the role of the IRE1 enzyme, one of three major ER stress sensors in breast cancer and targeting IRE1 in pre-clinical models of breast cancer. The team are also investigating how the unfolded protein response (UPR) controls cell death and survival, and how it is regulated and how cell stress responses influence pro-inflammatory processes and the tumour microenvironment in cancer. “We are interested in identifying and validating new ER stress and cell death related targets for drug discovery efforts. The goal is to develop approaches and compounds that have therapeutic potential for use in a number of different cancers, for example breast cancer, colorectal or paediatric cancers”, Professor Samali added. Cancer Discovery is the premier cancer information resource published by American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  Professor Samali’s publication will be highlighted in a special print collection which will include the four most highly cited original research articles and the single-most highly cited review article from each of AACR’s journals.  To read Professor Afshin Samali’s paper visit: http://cancerdiscovery.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2015/05/13/2159-8290.CD-14-1490 -Ends-


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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Frozen Ocean – A Photographic Diary of a Winter Expedition into the Antarctic Sea Ice

The public are invited to a fascinating public lecture of a winter expedition with the German icebreaker “Polarstern” to Antarctica. The talk will be delivered by Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany on Wednesday, 14 September, at 7.30pm in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre in the Arts Millenium Building at NUI Galway. Professor Lemke has participated in nine polar expeditions with the German research icebreaker “Polarstern”, and has collections of stunning photographs depicting the Antarctic landscape and intriguing experiences to share. He is visiting Galway to participate in the Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme which is a week-long intensive, accredited workshop examining how climate and oceans interact, with particular examples from the Atlantic Ocean and higher latitudes. The lecture is open to members of the public and is part of a workshop organised by Dr Pauhla McGrane of the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) being held in Galway, from 12-19 September,offered to international postgraduate students of marine, atmosphere and climate-related sciences. “Polar regions play an important role for our climate, but direct observations are difficult to obtain and can only be achieved with greatest effort. This is especially true in wintertime” said Professor Lemke. “Severe blizzards, being trapped between thick ice floes and forced to drift with the ice, the darkness of the polar night and temperatures around minus 30°C. This presentation will take you along on an extraordinary winter expedition into the Antarctic Ocean. It shows the beauty of the frozen ocean, presents some insight into polar and climate research, and demonstrates everyday life on a research icebreaker,” he continued. High latitudes have received attention recently because of significant changes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean, and on land, especially in the Arctic. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased about twice as fast as the global air temperature. The Arctic sea-ice extent in summer has decreased by 35% since 1979, and the sea-ice thickness during late summer has declined in the Central Arctic by about 40% since 1958. A warming has also been observed at depth in the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. But surprisingly there is no negative trend observed in the Antarctic sea ice. Both, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, and the sea level is rising. Most of these observed trends are in agreement with warming scenarios performed with coupled climate models, which indicate an amplified response in high latitudes to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the ecosystem and the human society are still only marginally understood. Results will be shown from the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a winter expedition the speaker has lead into the ice-covered Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Dr Pauhla McGrane, coordinator of SMART said: “We are delighted that Proffessor Lemke has agreed to provide his unique insight into carrying out climate research in hostile polar environments, particulaly when accompanied by such beautiful stark images. This is especially relevant as this year we will run the second North South Atlantic Training Transect on-board the RV Polarstern from Germany to South Africa which will train 24 postgraduate students, including seven Irish students, in researching climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions at sea. These innovative offshore international collaboarations, developed with AWI, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and funded by the Nippon foundation are essential in developing excellent climate and ocean scientists to measure and understand our changing planet”. Professor Lemke continues to work on the observation of climate processes in atmosphere, sea ice and ocean and their simulation in numerical models for the polar components of the climate system. On six expeditions on Polarstern he acted as chief scientist.  For more than 30 years he served on many national and international committees on polar and climate research. He was the Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007. The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore in 2007. For the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2013 Proffessor Lemke worked as Review Editor of Chapter 4 and as Lead Author of the Technical Summary. All members of the public are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards. The Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme is a collaboaration between SMART, NUI Galway, AWI and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) that is funded by the Nippon foundation under NF POGO Regional Training fund.  -ends-