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NUI Galway Welcomes Prof Benjamin Hudson for Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture

NUI Galway Welcomes Prof Benjamin Hudson for Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture-image

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the NUI Galway will host the inaugural Máirtín Ó Briain Lecture to be given by Professor Benjamin Hudson. The lecture titled “Macbeth – Making a Monster” will start at 4pm in the McMunn Theatre on Tuesday, 29 April and will be followed by refreshments. Members of the public are particularly welcome. The lecture will mark the tenth anniversary of the death, at the age of 53, of the Irish scholar and academic Máirtín Ó Briain. Máirtín Ó Briain was a renowned scholar of Irish language and literature, an internationally acknowledged expert on the Fiannaíocht tradition of Ireland and Scotland, a member of The Irish Manuscripts Commission, and of the Irish Folklore Society. Máirtín was held in the highest regard by his colleagues but especially by his students, many of whom went on to pursue careers in the field of Celtic Studies. Professor Hudson is Professor of History and Medieval Studies at Penn State University and an internationally acknowledged expert on the Atlantic, especially the maritime sphere of Ireland, Britain, and the Isle of Man in the Middle Ages. He is the author of a large number of books including Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), and Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). More information is available from Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Department of Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway at 091 493369. -ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture Fógartha ag Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh An tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal ‘Macbeth - Making a Monster’ Tionólfar Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain faoi choimirce Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr mar chomhartha ómóis do Mháirtín Ó Briain. Is é an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, Penn State University a thabharfaidh an léacht Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn in OÉ Gaillimh. Deich mbliana go ham seo a d’imigh uainn, in aois a 53 bliain, an scoláire teastúil Máirtín Ó Briain. Mar chomhartha ar an meas agus ar an ngean a bhí ar Mháirtín, agus mar chomóradh ar thráth a imeachta uainn, reáchtálfaidh Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Léacht Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Lecture ina onóir. Deis a bheas i Léacht Uí Bhriain an réim idirnáisiúnta a bhain le saothar an Bhrianaigh a mhóradh agus a chuimhne a bhuanú. Cé gur beag réimse de Léann na Gaeilge ón Oghamchraobh aniar nach raibh suim agus saineolas ag Máirtín ann, ba í an Fhiannaíocht a chéadrogha agus sméar mhullaigh an léinn aige. Is é a sheanchara dílis an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise in Penn State University, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal “Macbeth – Making a Monster”.  Tá aithne idirnáisiúnta ar an Ollamh Hudson mar shaineolaí ar mhuirchríoch an Atlantaigh sa Mheánaois, go mór mór ar an trácht mara idir Éirinn, Manainn, agus an Bhreatain. I measc a chuid leabhar, tá Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), agus Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn, a thabharfar an léacht. Beidh sólaistí le fáil ina diaidh. Cuirfear fáilte chroíúil roimh chuile dhuine go mór mór roimh an bpobal. Tá eolas breise le fáil ó Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Roinn na Gaeilge, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí, agus na gCultúr, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091-493369. -críoch-

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NUI Galway’s 6th International Disability Law Summer School, the Biggest Worldwide, Opens for Registration

NUI Galway’s 6th International Disability Law Summer School, the Biggest Worldwide, Opens for Registration -image

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Titled ‘Access to Justice and Political Participation’ the Summer School will run from the 16th to the 20th of June 2014   The 6th International Disability Law Summer School, hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, will take place from the 16-20 June 2014. Registration is now open for the biggest such Summer School in the world, with a focus on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Entitled ‘Access to Justice and Political Participation’, it will focus on facilitating access to justice for all and encouraging political participation. The aim of the five-day Summer School is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to help them translate the generalities of the UN Convention into tangible reform for persons with disabilities. Over 100 delegates from 38 countries are expected to attend this year’s event. The participants include persons with disabilities, their families, civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Most of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform. The keynote speaker for the Summer School will be Amita Dhanda, Professor of Law and Head of the Centre for Disability Studies, NALSAR, University of Law, Hyderabad, India, who has published extensively on the legal position of persons with mental disabilities. Dr Dhanda has also actively engaged in the work of the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee negotiating the UN Convention. Mr Donal Toolan, founder member of the Forum for People with Disabilities will respond to the keynote address. Most presentations will either be given by, or responded to, by disabled activists from around the world. A notable feature of the annual Summer School is a Moot Court exercise based on the UN Convention. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, said, “Above all, the School belongs to people with disabilities and their allies and is structured in such a way as to enable people explore for themselves the relevance of the Convention in their own lives and in the process of change. It sees people with disabilities as agents of change whether in Ireland, Kenya or India. It sees people with disabilities as providers and advocates for solutions – instead of as problems.” The Summer School is in part supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies, The Soros-Open Society Institute, The Department of Foreign Affairs (Irish Aid), The FP7 Marie Curie DREAM project of the European Union and NUI Galway. Registration for the Summer School is now open and will cost €330. Further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp or phone Niamh Lally on 091 494270. Participant accessibility (physical or communicational) requests and enquiries are welcomed.

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8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass Hears From ALISON CEO Mike Feerick on Disruptive Innovation

8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass Hears From ALISON CEO Mike Feerick on Disruptive Innovation-image

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mr. Mike Feerick, MBA (Harvard Business School) and CEO of ALISON and Ireland Reaching Out addressed a group of more than 70 MBA students, MBA alumni and business leaders on the role of disruptive innovation. The 8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in association with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter.   ALISON, the company which Mike Feerick founded, has become a world leader in offering free courses online and was the first MOOC (massive open online course).  This disruptively innovative approach to education has seen him open up the education market through offering courses with no fees and operating a business model that generates operating income from advertising revenue.  Mike said that Innovation centred on "offering new tools for old problems" and believes that "innovation is like a flood, it comes into your business every way except through the front door".  Commenting on the role that education has as a means to empowerment, he signalled the commoditisation of some forms of education that were happening currently and a levelling of the playing field in the sector.  Mr. Feerick found that MBA graduates had a unique ability to process and distil large amounts of data in a time where data was everywhere.   The seminar with lots of audience interaction, participation and questions was very well received.  “This is the 8th event in the NUI Galway Executive MBA Masterclass series which offers MBA students and graduates a chance to hear from leading national and international business experts and we are pleased to run the series in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter” said Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director.  - ends -      

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NUI Galway Singers Win Choirfactor Competition

NUI Galway Singers Win Choirfactor Competition-image

Monday, 14 April 2014

The NUI Galway Singers were singing on high after winning the top prize in the 2014 Galway Choir factor Competition which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday night ( 12th April) Directed by Peter Mannion, the choir saw off stiff competition from GUH Choral Society, Avaya Voice, Something to Sing About, The Medtronic Chorale, The Boston HP Party and the Galway Golf Club Choir to claim the Choirfactor trophy. Specially formed for last year’s Choirfactor competition, the NUI Galway Singers comprises lecturers, administration staff and post graduate students. The 55 member choir delighted Saturday night’s audience with their programme which include Paul Simon’s ‘Homeless’, a Britney Spears Medley and ‘Diffusa est gratia’ by Giovanni Nanni. The choir have performed at the Kiltimagh and Sligo Choral Festivals and their next project is to record a cd of choral music ‘as gaeilge’. Adjudicators for the competition Brendan O’ Connor, Maire Ni Dhuibhir and Dottie Knauer congratulated the NUI Galway Singers for their award winning performance and applauded all the choirs for the very high standard of choral singing. The NUI Galway received a specially commissioned Liam Butler trophy and all choirs received an inscribed commemorative piece of the occasion. Organised by SCCUL Enterprises in conjunction with Corrib Lions Club as a fundraising initiative for Kilcuan Retreat Centre in Clarinbridge, the event attracted a capacity audience of over 700 people. Guest performers on the night were the Marine Institute Singers directed by Carmel Dooley, who won the title at last year’s inaugural event. Speaking after the event, SCCUL Enterprises Chairman John Lenihan thanked the seven choirs and the choir directors who participated in the event for their dedication and commitment to the novel initiative.  “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the seven choirs who took part in the competition. Their conductors Seamus Leonard, Peter Mannion Eoin Grealis, Annemarie Taylor, Pat Lillis, Lisa Seery and Dympna O’Beirne worked extremely hard over the past eight weeks to create a show stopping performance here tonight." Liam Bluett,  General manager of SCCUL Enterprises, paid tribute to the staff of  Ballybane Enterprise Centre for their hard work in organising the competition. “I’d like to thank Michael Smith and the staff of Ballybane Enterprise Centre who worked day and night over the past couple of weeks to ensure everything was in place for this event. I’d also like to thank the members of the Corrib Lions Club for their support in staging this event." A special word of thanks is due to the joint MC’s Brian Duffy and Trisha Murphy, Ed Shiels and musical advisors John Grealish and Christine Canavan for their invaluable expertise,” concluded Liam. Funds raised from the Galway Choir Factor competition will be used to enable a wide variety of groups such as carers, the elderly, multiple sclerosis sufferers, people living with cancer and those bereaved by suicide to benefit from healing therapies and wellbeing workshops in the SCCUL Sanctuary in Kilcuan, Clarinbridge.   ENDS

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NUI Galway Statement on the Passing of the Honourable James M. Flaherty

NUI Galway Statement on the Passing of the Honourable James M. Flaherty-image

Friday, 11 April 2014

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne has expressed his sadness at the news of the passing of former Canadian Finance Minister, The Honourable James M. Flaherty. Jim Flaherty was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at NUI Galway on 29 June 2012, in recognition of his key role as Minister for Finance in steering Canada through the tumult of the Great Recession. Canada, with a well-regulated banking system, was the first major industrial economy to recover its pre-crisis levels of output and jobs.   This achievement, guided by Jim Flaherty, was all the more remarkable given the deep recession in the United States, Canada’s main trading partner.  Dr Jim Browne said “Jim Flaherty was a man of huge vitality and energy. Throughout his long tenure as Canadian Finance Minister, he advocated balanced economic growth, built on a foundation of rigorous regulation. He championed the cause of Ireland both within the IMF and as Chair of the G7, when few others had the courage to do so. His loss will be deeply felt in the West of Ireland, his ancestral home.” On behalf of NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife Christine and their three sons. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.   -ends-

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NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement

NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement -image

Thursday, 10 April 2014

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny present at the signing of US$16m (€11.7m) collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland NUI Galway has signed an agreement with the Mayo Clinic to bring intellectual property (IP) to Ireland allowing the development and commercialisation of a novel medical technology. The agreement, supported by Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital in Dublin, Ireland and Aisling Venture Capital New York will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this morning. (9am) The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in a collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014). Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide with substantial hospitalisation costs, but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone. Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “This exciting agreement builds on the many links between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Seek Participants For Project On Chronic Pain In Children

NUI Galway Researchers Seek Participants For Project On Chronic Pain In Children-image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Children in Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Galway who experience chronic pain are invited to help develop an effective pain management programme Researchers with the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are currently inviting children aged from 7-12 years who have experienced chronic or recurrent pain for a period of three months or more, and their parents, to help develop an effective pain management programme for young children which will be computer-based and accessed online.  Group sessions will be run at a number of locations across Ireland including Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast. Children with any type of chronic or persistent pain including abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and combined or widespread pains, are invited to participate. Children and their parents will use art materials to think, draw or write about ideas or topics which they think are important for children and parents dealing with chronic pain. Participants will be shown a computer-based programme designed to support pain management and are invited to give feedback, based on their personal experiences of chronic pain management.  The project will involve just one meeting with a group of children and one meeting with a group of parents to enable the researchers to decide what course of action would work best for this type of treatment programme. Group sessions will be fun and interactive, lasting 30-40 minutes. Participant views and personal experiences are extremely valuable and their input will greatly enhance research in the development of an intervention for children who suffer with chronic pain. They may also benefit from sharing their experiences and thoughts about chronic pain management with others in a similar situation, in a casual environment, while offering complete confidentiality. NUI Galway PhD student and group facilitator, Angeline Traynor said: “Chronic pain is increasingly prevalent in young people and can have a significant impact on the day-to-day quality of life. The most common types of chronic pain in children are abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and combined or widespread pains.” Ms Traynor continued, “Given the impact of chronic pain and the increasing focus on technology as a means of treatment delivery, it is essential to identify and address the needs of young children with respect to pain management. Participation is voluntary and anything you say during the group session is strictly confidential. These sessions will give children and their parents the chance to inform our research by telling us of their own personal experiences with chronic pain management.” This programme is part of a PhD research project being carried out at NUI Galway by PhD student Angeline Traynor with Dr. Brian McGuire of the university’s School of Psychology and the Centre for Pain Research. The study is supported by Galway University Foundation. Each group session will include 6-8 other volunteer participants and will be led by Ms. Traynor and Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. Refreshments will be provided to participants. If you would be willing to help with this important study or would like further information, please contact Angeline Traynor at a.traynor2@nuigalway.ie or 086 0378562 or go directly to www.helpkidswithpain.com  

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NUI Galway Hosts Events Across Campus to Highlight Disability Awareness Week

NUI Galway Hosts Events Across Campus to Highlight Disability Awareness Week -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Students of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy programme, along with staff of NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, recently held the a Disability Awareness Week - Access All Areas Funded through the EXPLORE project at NUI Galway, the week saw a range of inter-disciplinary events organised all over campus with the aim of raising awareness around disability, diversity and equality in access to higher education and inclusion in society. More specifically, this project aimed at increasing staff, student and public awareness about people with disabilities, with a view to combating stereotypes and promoting the contributions of people with disabilities through a campus-wide awareness week. At the beginning of the week the innovative 'Going to College' Project was showcased. This is a pioneering education initiative supporting the full inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities into NUI Galway. Students currently enrolled at NUI Galway as part of this project, as well as their mentors spoke and shared their experiences. An Employability Seminar was organised on the second day of the week. At the morning seminar attendees, mostly students, heard from representatives from local, national and international organizations working to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. The seminar also addressed issues such as disability awareness within the corporate environment. Speakers included Pauline Dwyer of Employability Galway, Claire Hurley from the NUI Galway Career Development Office, a representative from the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability, and members from the Kanchi initiative, a social enterprise that works with businesses to encourage the employment of persons with disabilities. Highlights during the week included: a seminar on ‘Mental Illness or Psychosocial disability- What’s the difference?’; an Introduction to Irish Sign Language class, a Disability Awareness Workshop; a Disability Equality e-learning module, designed by the National Disability Authority; and a tandem cycle event around campus, organised by the Galway Visually Impaired Activity Club. Students also presented the outcomes of their Accessibility Audit of NUI Galway. The cast of the Blue Teapot Theatre Company also spoke about the recent production, ‘Sanctuary’, a poignant, funny and bittersweet play that explores the lives and relationships of people with intellectual disabilities and the obstacles they must overcome to be together. PhD Candidate Siobhán Purcell of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at NUI Galway discussed how disability is represented in the Irish literary tradition, particularly exploring the works of Joyce and Beckett. The Awareness Week was an opportunity for the LLM students to apply what they have learnt in practice and work towards dismantling the barriers to inclusion and participation faced by persons with disabilities. The week was effective and meaningful in terms of introducing the disability friendly environment in the college. The Disability Support Office and local organisations also significantly contributed to the week which will be repeated on an annual basis. Throughout the week, the students manned a stand to provide information about the week and from which they also made a film asking students to comment on what disability meant to them. The video is available to view at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gmo1762o53umfjw/WhatDoesDisabilityMean.m4v -Ends-   

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NUI Galway Appoints Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College Of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

NUI Galway Appoints Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College Of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

NUI Galway has appointed Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Professor Timothy O’Brien is recognized as an international expert on vascular wall gene delivery. Professor O’Brien returned to Ireland in July 2001 as Professor of Medicine and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Metabolism at University College Hospital Galway.   Professor O’Brien has since established a gene therapy research group the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). As Director of REMEDI, he has played a key role in establishing both the new Bioscience Building at NUI Galway the Clinical Research Facility in the hospital. Speaking about his appointment Professor O’Brien said, “NUI Galway has a long and proud tradition of serving the local, national and global communities by educating the health care providers of the future. I look forward to building on that success and working with colleagues across the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Healthcare systems to integrate the education of our future health care providers. In particular, I look forward to working closely with our colleagues in the West Northwest Hospital group to this end. This success in our education programmes is recognised by prestigious scholarship schemes such as the Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and we will strive to continue and expand on our traditional success in that programme.” Professor O’Brien continued, “The College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences will continue to promote excellence and international competitiveness in selected research areas. We will pursue an innovation agenda with a focus on generation of impact. The research themes will be aligned with University and National priority areas and approaches will emphasize collaboration between our faculty members, hospitals and industry.  We will strive to enhance patient care and contribute to economic recovery in Ireland through our research performance. In addition, we will work to contribute to the Irish Government’s aim to win €1.3 billion in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme.” A native of Cork, Professor O’Brien received an honours MB BCh BAO degree from UCC in 1984. He went on to do an internship and general professional training at Cork University Hospital and one year as Registrar to Professor DJ O’Sullivan. He completed a two year residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1990 followed by a sub-specialty fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN in 1992. He was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in Ireland and London in 1986 and 1987, respectively and to Fellowship of the American College of Physicians in 1995 and the American College of Endocrinology in 1996. He was awarded MD (1993) and PhD (1997) degrees from the National University of Ireland. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology and Metabolism in the USA and is a registered specialist in both specialties in Ireland. Since returning to Ireland Professor O’Brien has been a principal or co-applicant on grants worth in excess of €73 million. He has been a reviewer for 16 international journals, was a member of an American Heart Association Study Section, has acted as an invited reviewer on an NIH study section, and has been a reviewer for the Wellcome Trust and the Finnish Academy of Science. He served as associate editor of Endocrine Practice, the journal of the American College of Endocrinology from 1999-2006 and the e-journal of Translational Medicine. To date Professor O'Brien has published 240 original papers in peer-reviewed journals.  He has contributed to 21 books, and has been invited to present his research at over 150 national and international scientific conferences. He is an author on seven patent applications. He is the Director of the MSc in Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway and has supervised 18 PhD students to graduation. Professor O’Brien is Director of the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) and he is also a co-founder of a spin-out company, Orbsen Therapeutics. Professor Timothy O’Brien will succeed Professor Gerry Loftus who recently retired.

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Leaving Cert Students! Get your revision on track at NUI Galway’s Taster Day!

Leaving Cert Students! Get your revision on track at NUI Galway’s Taster Day!-image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

NUI Galway is holding a University Taster Day for Leaving Certificate students during the Easter break. The Taster Day will combine a series of revision sessions on aspects of the Leaving Certificate curriculum, together with some taster workshops in Arts subjects not covered in the curriculum. Participants will gain unique insights into Leaving Cert subjects in revision sessions taught by University lecturers. A choice of 23 subjects is on offer in areas such as English, Irish, French, History, Geography and more. Students will also enjoy taster workshops in University level Arts subjects like Psychology, Economics, Drama, Film Studies and Sociology and Politics. Organiser of the University Taster Day, Joe Mac Donnacha explained: “Students are focused on their revision for the Leaving Certificate at this time of year. The aim of the NUI Galway Taster Day is to help them maximize their revision in key subject areas, while also giving them an enjoyable introduction to some of the subjects taught on the University’s Arts degree.” The Arts degree at NUI Galway is the second largest undergraduate course in the country, attracting over 1,000 new students every year.   Commenting on the ongoing popularity of the Arts degree at NUI Galway for students, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: “Arts and Social Science students are very creative. More start-up enterprises are founded by Arts graduates than Business graduates. You find successful Arts and Social Sciences graduates in almost every walk of life. Of course, we need scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs but we also need those people who understand and can critique human behaviour, social values and cultural creativity. That is what Arts graduates are trained to do.” The NUI Galway Taster Day runs from 9.30am to 3.15pm on Wednesday, 23 April, in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. Advanced booking is essential for this FREE revision session and taster day. Bookings can be made online at:  www.nuigalway.ie/university_taster_day. Enquiries should be directed to 091 494 145 or email visit@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

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EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn to Open 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers Association Conference at NUI Galway

EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn to Open 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers Association Conference at NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

‘Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley’ is the theme of the Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference NUI Galway will host the 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference from the 11-12 April. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn and President Jim Browne of NUI Galway will officially open the Conference entitled “Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley”. The Irish Science Teachers' Association is the professional association of science teachers in the Republic of Ireland. It is over 50 years in existence and is the longest established provider of Continuous Professional Development for science teachers, with internationally renowned speakers invited to present frontier science to teachers. The Conference will host a total of 30 exhibitors in the area of science education. On Saturday 12 April there will be a full day of events in the Arts/Science Building at NUI Galway, starting with parallel talks and workshops in the morning and plenary sessions in the afternoon. Topics vary from ‘The Physics of Cancer’ to ‘Life Saving Chemistry’. Professor Donal O’Shea will give a talk on Childhood Obesity and FameLab science communicator Fergus McAuliffe will also be on stage. Workshops in biology, chemistry and physics will be conducted by teams from the Professional Development Service for Teachers, and there will also be short presentations on EU linked projects such as SCIENTIX, TEMI (Teaching Enquiry with Mystery Incorporated) and Chain Reaction. Primary Science is also included, as Dr Maeve Liston from Mary Immaculate College will present a practical workshop for primary school teachers. In the first plenary session of the afternoon the Nottingham based Professor Martyn Poliakoff, of Periodic Table Videos fame, will give a talk entitled ‘From Test-Tube to YouTube’. This will be followed by the launch of the Hyland Report which looks at International best practice in the design of science syllabi for second level schools. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will provide the keynote address at the opening of the Conference and added, “I am delighted to be able to join you for the Irish Science Teachers’ Association Annual Conference this year. The work you do as an association and as individual teachers every day in the classroom, provides the foundation upon which Irish children and young adults are successfully equipping themselves for careers as researchers, academics, scientists in industry and informed citizens. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn continued, “Science and innovation are at the core of our daily lives and will, I believe, unlock a bright new future for generations. As teachers you have the privilege and responsibility to inspire and nurture our young people. I have great confidence in your ability and willingness to step up to the challenge, and continue to produce Europe’s brightest and best young scientists.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome the Irish Science Teachers’ Association to NUI Galway for your annual conference. This University has a long and proud tradition of scientific excellence in teaching and research. From our popular degree courses to world-leading research, science has been a cornerstone of the University for well over a century. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Irish Science Teachers’ Association continued success for the future. The work that you do to ignite curiosity and inspire young scientists is pivotal to the future of science and technology in Ireland.” The first lecture will be presented by Professor Elaine Fox from the University of Oxford and is entitled: ‘Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain; From Pessimist to Optimist, can we really change?’ It will take place at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday 11 April at 8pm. Professor Fox’s work has been discussed in New Scientist, The Economist and the New York Times. There will also be an update from ISTA members on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment development groups in relation to new syllabi at the Annual Business Meeting; this is the only session that is for members only. The closing talk will be given by the well renowned Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey in which he will address the question: ‘Is Life Quantum Mechanical?’ Events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building. The Association for Science Education representatives from the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland will attend the conference and Professor Teresa Kennedy from the USA will represent ICASE. Both events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building. The organisation, led by Mary Mullaghy, National Chairperson of ISTA, is one of the pioneers of collaborative learning in association with the Department of Education and Skills, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, State Examinations Commission, Professional Development of Secondary Teachers, Institutes of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Technology Exhibition, BT Young Scientist, SciFest, industry and third level institutions. Many organisations communicate their outreach initiatives through the association as there is an extensive communication network. A Conference dinner and awards ceremony will take place in Hotel Meyrick and will be attended by some of the founding members of the Association including Sr Mercedes Desmond aged 92 years. Advance booking is advised. Full programme details and bookings are available on www.ista.ie and on social media @IrishSciTeach and Facebook. For registration visit http://istaannualconference2014.weebly.com

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NUI Galway To Host 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology

NUI Galway To Host 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology-image

Monday, 7 April 2014

Major International Conference at NUI Galway relating to Ageing, the Life Course and Meaning will look at the theme “Meaning and Culture(s): Exploring the Life Course” NUI Galway will host the 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, which is also the 2nd Conference of the European Network in Aging Studies. The conference entitled Meaning and Culture(s): Exploring the Life Course will take place in the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway from the 10 – 12 April. This major international conference provides further evidence of the University’s global reputation in questions relating to ageing and the life course. The conference theme reflects the fact that the process of ageing is not the same everywhere. In some societies older people are powerful and revered. In others, ageing may be feared as a period of exclusion and decline. How people get older thus depends not only on key factors such as health, but also on issues including the values and ideas attached to ageing in the societies in which they live and how they are expected to contribute to their communities. The conference, jointly organised by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, explores older people’s different ways of interpreting their own life-courses, as positive or negative, the contrasting ways we age in different cultural environments, as well as expectations or stereotypes that affect older people’s possibilities for participating in society and their experience of ageing. Over 200 papers presented by more than 250 delegates from all over the world will interrogate the opportunities, challenges and disputes connected with values and practices affecting people’s life-courses. How connected are they with economic assumptions that appear to reject people after they have left work or with youth cultures demanding that everyone should aim for physical beauty? Three keynote speakers will participate, all of whom are outstanding scholars and acknowledged international leaders in the thriving field of cultural gerontology. Harry R. Moody, recently retired as Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs at AARP, USA, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Gray is Green: Elders and the Care of the Earth”. It will take place in the Arts Millennium Building, Ó hEocha Theatre (AM250) at 1.45pm on Thursday, 10 April. Aagje Swinnen from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Healing Words: Critical Inquiry of Poetry Interventions in Dementia Care”, on Friday, 11 April at 1.30pm. And on Saturday, 12 April, Stephen Katz from Trent University, Canada, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Music, Performance and Generation: The Making of Boomer Biographies”, at 12.45pm in the Ó hEocha Theatre. Professor Ricca Edmondson, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway said, “The scientific study of ageing focuses increasingly on values, ideas and habits associated with the ageing process: where they come from, what impacts they have, and how they can be changed. Our conference brings together international experts from disciplines ranging throughout the humanities and social and behavioural sciences to explore these key issues.” Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway said, “Exploring the cultural aspect of ageing is crucial to understanding how our life-courses take shape. It helps us to understand better how social processes enhance or undermine the implications of ageing for all of us. This conference can make an important contribution to public and political debate on the status of older people, not just in Ireland but also in many other countries.” The conference runs from the 10-12 April with registration at the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=213  

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NUI Galway Researchers to Represent Ireland at European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference

NUI Galway Researchers to Represent Ireland at European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference -image

Monday, 7 April 2014

Two PhD researchers in NUI Galway’s Civil Engineering department have been chosen to represent Ireland at the 23rd European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (EYGEC) to take place in Barcelona this September. Martin J. Timoney from Keash, Ballymote, Co. Sligo and Brian Sheil, from Mullagh, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, were recently chosen on the basis of their presentations at a national qualifying competition held at the headquarters of Engineers Ireland in Dublin. The annual conference is open to researchers and practitioners, aged 35 or younger, and working in the area of geotechnical engineering. Geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering which looks at the behaviour of soil during construction. In his research, Martin is investigating methods of testing the strength of soil stabilised with a binder, a technique that is used to improve soft ground for roads and buildings. Brian’s research involves studying the behaviour of monopile foundations used for offshore wind turbines. Both students are supervised by Dr Bryan McCabe, lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at NUI Galway and hope to submit their PhD theses in the coming months. -Ends-

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NUI Galway’s Prof Pat Dolan Invited to Join President Higgins at London Youth Event, Part of State Visit to the UK

NUI Galway’s Prof Pat Dolan Invited to Join President Higgins at London Youth Event, Part of State Visit to the UK-image

Monday, 7 April 2014

Professor Pat Dolan holds the UNESCO Chair on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at The Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway Ireland's UNESCO Chair on Children Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway, Professor Pat Dolan, has been invited to attend a special Youth Workshop as part of the State Visit of President Michael D. Higgins to the United Kingdom.  The event is part of the President’s ongoing ‘Being Young and Irish’ initiative. ‘Take Charge of Change Together’ will bring together young people from the islands of Ireland and Britain to discuss the challenges they face and to explore new ideas that promote collaboration and advance youth participation and leadership across these islands.   Mayor of London Boris Johnson will welcome President Higgins to the event at City Hall, London on Wednesday afternoon. (April 9th) The President be briefed by the young people on the content of their workshop and, following his speech, will present certificates and awards to some of the young people present. The event is co-hosted by Gaisce – The President’s Award, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the British Youth Council.  All of those taking part are aged between 16 and 24 and have been nominated by Gaisce – The President’s Award, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, the British Youth Council, the Being Young & Irish initiative and Irish Community groups in Britain. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway, on accepting the invitation, said “The ‘Take Charge of Change Together’ Event is a further opportunity during this historic State Visit to examine and explore the many common challenges faced by young people on these islands. The strong ties that bind our nations are the product of many years of courageous leadership; I trust that these young leaders will, in turn, will strengthen those bonds in coming years through a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities of young people engaging in civil society.” The UNESCO Centre, part of NUI Galway’s new Institute for the Social Sciences, undertakes research, education and training in the area of Family Support and Youth Development with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention for children and young people experiencing adversity. The Centre is committed to promoting child and youth engagement in policy, programme design and services. ENDS

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NUI Galway Leads the Way With 4 Postgraduate Courses Shortlisted for Postgraduate Awards

NUI Galway Leads the Way With 4 Postgraduate Courses Shortlisted for Postgraduate Awards-image

Monday, 7 April 2014

Four NUI Galway postgraduate courses have been shortlisted for the national gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014. The award winners will be announced on Wednesday, 30 April at a reception in the Mansion House in Dublin.  NUI Galway, with four courses shortlisted, leads the way among higher education institutions shortlisted. This year saw 111 courses nominated in the Awards. The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students.  Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner.  NUI Galway courses shortlisted for the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Business Award include the MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the MSc in Marketing Practice. Two NUI Galway courses are nominated as Best IT Course: MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Software Design and Development – Industry Stream). The Masters in Surgery programme is shortlisted in the Postgraduate Course of the Year in (Health) Sciences Award category.  NUI Galway’s MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Software Design and Development – Industry Stream) are also shortlisted for the Best New Course category. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to again make the shortlist for these important national awards; it’s great that the calibre of our postgraduate courses is being acknowledged. We hope to repeat last year’s success at the Postgraduate Awards. The shortlisted courses in question are accepting applications now so those interested can apply via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie.  This year we are also offering full-time taught masters scholarships for first class students, a further reason to consider NUI Galway for your graduate studies.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science.  These areas have been augmented with innovative Research Centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine.  Almost 3,500 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway.  For further information on any of the postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-495148 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/courses.  -Ends-            

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Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change Gives Lecture at NUI Galway

Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change Gives Lecture at NUI Galway -image

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Ireland has one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emission rates says Professor John Sweeney, Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change Ireland’s leading expert on climate change, Professor John Sweeney, delivered a lunchtime talk hosted by the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway entitled, Ireland and Climate Change: Adapting in an Environment of Uncertainty. The event drew a large public attendance followed by a lively discussion at the end. Professor Sweeney talked about extreme events, how recent storms and high rainfall are weather patterns, driven by jet stream irregularities and an unusually close-to-earth moon. But he also reminded us that sea-level is incontrovertibly rising, at an accelerated rate in recent decades, largely due to accelerated ice cap melting. Thus any coastal storms will have an increasingly powerful effect due to higher sea-level. Professor Sweeney quoted the 2013 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report: the observed accelerated increase in global temperatures is “at least 95%” likely to be mainly due to human activity, especially burning fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions are far greater in the northern hemisphere: Ireland has one of the largest per capita emission rates and very few countries, not even Ireland, have so far taken serious measures to reduce these emissions. Increased temperatures and rainfall may become more seasonal, so Ireland is projected to have hotter, drier summers and wetter winters with an increased storm incidence. Professor Sweeney emphasised that the Irish government and local authorities need to focus on damage limitation, in terms of future flood prevention and location of housing development or septic tanks in relation to rising water tables and flood risk, but also –critically – summer water budget management. All products bought require large water budgets to grow or manufacture, some much more than others. Water use efficiency requires more attention. An increase in rainfall seasonality is also likely to affect our high-conservation habitats, especially wetlands such as bogs. Provision is required to maintain their hydration in the face of increased summer drying conditions. NUI Maynooth’s collaboration with NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, Plant Ecology Research Unit (PERU) and Applied Ecology Unit (AEU) has demonstrated that many vulnerable Arctic-Alpine species are projected to contract in range with a rise in temperature, but other, currently more southerly-distributed native species, may expand throughout the island. This has particular implications also for invasive species and even indigenous pests. During the public lecture, Professor Sweeney also highlighted some positive spin-offs of projected warmer summers; grain crops –and even grass– may increase yield, though potatoes require adequate summer rain for best performance. As more southern regions heat up, we may also benefit from increased tourism. But without informed leadership to recognise the reality of observed and projected climate changes, measures will not be taken in advance of future events in order to reduce damage repair costs and even mortalities. Professor Sweeney ended by warning against believing sensationalist media; scientists are poor communicators, needing reference to complex data, in the face of sound-bites aimed to sell news. As members of the public, we need to develop discernment in what we read and hear about climate change, and to take individual action to reduce our carbon – and water – footprints, as well as educating our peers and superiors. The event was organised by Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, Plant Ecology Research Unit (PERU) and Dr Mike Gormally of the Applied Ecology Unit (AEU), School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway.

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MICHAEL ON A MISSION TO TRANSFORM CANCER CARE

MICHAEL ON A MISSION TO TRANSFORM CANCER CARE-image

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bernie Ní Fhlatharta meets Professor Michael O’Dwyer, haematologist and researcher Galway City Tribune, Friday, March 21, 2014 A drug that could save people’s lives is the goal of a Galway consultant who is at the heart of groundbreaking research into the treatment of blood cancer. Professor Michael O’Dwyer considers himself lucky that he is not only doing one job he loves but two. He is a Consultant Haematologist at University Hospital Galway and he is also based at the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC), a wing in the new Biomedical Science Building which opened in NUI Galway last month. There he heads up research into blood cancers, in particular multiple myeloma and leukaemia, work that he hopes will one day lead to the development of a drug that will target these types of cancers. Eighteen months ago, he obtained a prestigious Clinician Scientist Award from the Dublin-based Health Research Board to develop his translational research programme, and his close links with the pharmaceutical industry might some day lead to his findings translate from science bench to bedside. Michael, whose father, Eamonn was a Professor of Obstetrics at UCH for over 35 years, loves research work and appreciates that if medics are to cure life-threatening diseases, it can only be done through research and development. In the United States about $230m has been raised for this research alone – his research work was awarded €1.7m recently and already they are at phase one of clinical trials here in Galway. “I have the best of both worlds in that I get to see patients and I also get to come here (to NUI Galway) to research blood cancers,” he says. He explains it very simply: “Cancer cells produce abnormal sugars on their surface making them sticky, which helps them to travel around in the body and stick to the walls of organs. “These cells become resistant to chemotherapy and standard cancer treatments. Our research here in Galway is revealing the role these abnormal sugars and enzymes play in cancer. There is evidence that these sugars are important in the development of leukaemia for example and in the spread of cancer.” The first part of that research was identifying the sugars and the next part will be finding out how to inhibit or prevent them from being produced in the first place. In doing that, they will be less able to spread and will be easier to treat. Michael stresses that these cancer-related sugars are not thought to be linked to lifestyle or diet and are just an intrinsic part of the disease. He believes that research will lead to the development of a drug that will prevent the formation of these sugars and therefore stop cancers metastasising. That would be a dream come true for him and he is currently working with a US pharmaceutical company to bring that vision closer to reality. The ultimate plan is to provide results in the laboratory so that these strategies can be transferred to clinical trials in his native Galway. “We are now conducting phase one of these clinical trials and this is the only centre in the world doing this, as in working with blood cancer patients.” He explains that patients give their informed consent and that there’s no obligation on anyone to take part in these trials. In the last two years 16 patients have been put on the clinical trial but this number will be increased significantly in the future. The research team includes Dr Siobhan Glavey, a PhD student who is based in the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Harvard, while the man who was responsible for getting Michael into research on his return to Galway is Professor Lokesh Joshi, Professor of Glycobiology. “My interest in studying sugars in blood cancers came originally from discussing it with him,” Michael explains. Michael studied medicine in NUI Galway but like many other graduates went abroad – he went to the United States in 1998, to do a fellowship in haematology in Portland, Oregon. There he was fortunate that he got to work on the development of a blockbuster drug now used in the treatment of cancer – and incidentally made in Ringaskiddy in County Cork. “From that I developed a deep interest in research, particularly in the development of targeted therapies. Chemotherapy is a non-specific treatment and I was amazed with that particular treatment which had little or no side effects. It made an impression on me and my intention was to stay involved in the research of these types of drugs.” Michael returned to Galway in 2002 to take up a clinical job and five years later was appointed Professor of Haematology, which allowed him one day a week in research. He is deeply grateful to be able to work in his native city in the hospital and also in research, something he says is possible thanks to the good reputation of NUI Galway’s biomedical department, one that has been greatly enhanced with the opening of the new building at Corrib Village in Dangan. There are state-of-the-art laboratories with top-class equipment in the new facility and this is where he now heads up the research project. When Michael started his research work in Galway it was in the Orbsen Building on the NUIG campus until the team moved to their new home just before Christmas. He now has a growing group of researchers and he is also involved in other research for a small Irish company as well as being associated with a start-up company that has, in the pipeline, “very small molecule drugs that we believe could have great promise in the treatment of blood cancers”. Michael agrees that it’s hard to compete with bigger universities when it comes to mainstream research as larger institutes have more resources but he believes that it’s important for an institution to play to its strengths. “And here in Galway we have strengths that wouldn’t necessarily be mainstream like the glycosciences, where we have a particular expertise in this niche area. It’s then possible to be competitive in those areas. Another example is stem cell research.” He has three brothers in medicine (one is a GP, one is an anaesthetist in the UK and another is an A&E Consultant in Kilkenny) and a brother practising as a barrister. He could have followed in his father’s footsteps as he won the Gold Medal in Obstetrics and in Pathology when he graduated but he preferred and chose pathology. Blood cancers account for the top four or five cancers globally and multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in Ireland, where about 240 new cases are diagnosed every year. Michael says that while great strides had been made in the treatment and survival of patients with multiple myeloma, there was still room for improvement, which is why he remained dedicated to his research. “It is vital that scientists across the entire Irish research spectrum work together to find new treatment approaches and improve patient outcomes. “Our goal is to discover new ways to reduce the ability of the cancer cell to move to other sites within the body and identify new ways to make the cancerous cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs,” he says. Michael is married to Clodagh Wade and they live in Salthill with their two young children aged seven and ten. He admits that the plan had always been to return to Galway when the right job turned up and luckily for him and his young family it did. “When I came back it was not with the intention of doing any academic work but once I got bitten by the bug (in the US), I got drawn back to research and I consider myself lucky to be able to do that here in Galway. “Ultimately, it would be fantastic to be in a position to see it (the new drug) in action on patients,” he says with a quiet determination. Michael also lectures third and final year medical students as well as giving tutorials in the college. Yet, for all his responsibilities, he comes across as a relaxed man who is at ease with himself and the world. One thing for sure, he is very content being exactly where he is — at the cutting edge of research that will undoubtedly one day save lives.

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