World Expert in Pain Research Speaks at NUI Galway

World Expert in Pain Research Speaks at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway organised its annual Research Day on Tuesday 27 January with overwhelming success. The day started with a keynote lecture by Professor Herta Flor, a world-renowned leader in the field of pain-related neuropsychology. Professor Flor is the Scientific Director of the Department of Neuropsychology at the University of Heidelberg and Central Institute for Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany. Professor Flor’s research focuses on improving our understanding of the development and maintenance of chronic pain by looking at how learning experiences and memory cause changes in the brain areas known to be associated with the experience of pain. Based on her research findings, she has developed and evaluated innovative treatments for chronic pain such as the use of virtual reality applications. In her presentation, Professor Flor highlighted that chronic pain is associated with maladaptive plastic changes in the brain, showing more widespread activation. Importantly, these changes seem to be influenced by a variety of learning experiences and by memory of events that occurred in the past. This knowledge has led to the development of successful and promising behavioural training interventions such as the Behavioural Extinction Training and mirror treatment. The other keynote speaker was Dr Line Caes, who recently joined the School of Psychology and the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. Dr Caes’ research focus is on paediatric pain experience with a special interest in the social context and influences of these experiences. Dr Caes drew attention to the important role that parents’ overprotective behaviours, and feelings of distress in response to their child’s pain, play in how a child adjusts to pain. The research meeting also featured short oral and poster presentations showcasing local pain-related research from a psychological, neuroscience, and biomaterials perspective. The prize for best short oral presentation was awarded to Dr Kieran Rea for his talk on fear-conditioned analgesia and the possible pharmacological manipulation of this effect – work funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Dr Bright Okine and Angeline Traynor were the recipients of the awards for best poster presentation. Angeline Traynor won the prize for best clinical poster for her research on a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention for adults with chronic headache. Bright Okine received the prize for best basic science poster for his Science Foundation Ireland funded work on the role of a putative novel cannabinoid receptor in the medial prefrontal cortex in regulation of pain. Professor David Finn and Dr Brian McGuire, Co-Directors of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway said: “We were delighted to be able to welcome to Galway Professor Flor who is a leading authority on the neuropsychology of pain. At least 13% of the Irish popoulation suffer from chronic pain. Pain research is very vibrant at NUI Galway and we will continue in our efforts to better understand pain at both the basic science and clinical levels.” For more information about NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre_pain_research/ and for information about the Galway Neuroscience Centre visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/neuroscience -ends-      

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The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative to discuss how human rights can inform healthcare

The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative to discuss how human rights can inform healthcare-image

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The issue of delivering healthcare fairly, using a human rights framework, will be discussed at NUI Galway on 6 February. The public event is part of the The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative and President Michael D. Higgins will open the event. The event is being organised by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and its College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Speakers and panel experts will come from medicine, law, ethics, international development, health policy and activism backgrounds. The panels and audience will discuss the links between health and human rights, and applications of human rights concepts and methods in addressing health challenges in Ireland and globally. There is a growing debate worldwide about the need to conflate the issues of healthcare and the principals of human rights. Commentators see human rights as having the potential to deliver an ethical means to improve health and wellbeing for nations worldwide. With each government limited by economic constraints there is a need to decide what can and should be provided for. A human rights framework may be the ideal prism through which to view healthcare and achieve a sense of fairness. Professor Sofia Gruskin from the University of Southern California is a world-expert on the topic and will deliver the keynote address called ‘Health and Human Rights”. Her address will identify and discuss the complex interactions between health and human rights, with particular emphasis on the use of human rights norms and standards for public health thinking and practice. Health topics including HIV, sexual and reproductive health, non-communicable disease, child and adolescent health, and health systems strengthening, will be used to illustrate and explore practical applications of human rights to public health. Professor Michael O’Flaherty is Director of the Irish Centre of Human Rights, and co-organiser of the event: “This is a debate worth having, as the demand for access to healthcare grows worldwide. The outbreak of Ebola in parts of West Africa has thrown into sharp relief global human rights issues in terms of access to healthcare. In Ireland, debate in this area moves from access to medical cards to the need for ambulance services. Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is currently examining the system of emergency health to see if it protects and fulfils human rights, with a particular focus on the right to health.” The afternoon session will address the ethical implications of adopting a rights based approach to health, the keynote on which will be delivered by Professor George Ulrich, Riga Graduate School of Law. Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer in Social and Preventive Medicine at NUI Galway, and co-organiser of the conference explained: “Public health and human rights are both concerned with improving the wellbeing of the population. The World Health Organisation describes how ‘the right to health means that states must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible’. To make this achievable we need ethical ways to address inequalities in access to, availability, affordability and quality of both health services and other services that impact on health: a rights based approach.” Other speakers will include: Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway; Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Equality and Human Rights Commission; Cliona Loughnane, Irish Heart Foundation; Jane Ann McKenna, Médecins Sans Frontières; Dr Shaun O'Keeffe, Chair of the Clinical Research Ethics Committee, University Hospital Galway; Dr Sara Burke, Health Policy Analyst; and Professor Peter Bartlett, Professor of Mental Health Law, University of Nottingham. Although the event is free and open to the public, attendees must pre-register. For full details of the event and to register visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=409 -ends- The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative The President on many occasions, prior to and following his inauguration, has said that his would be a “Presidency of ideas – recognising and open to new paradigms of thought and action” and that he would seek to develop a public discourse that places human flourishing and an ethic of active citizenship at its heart. Over the past year President Higgins has been working with third level bodies and NGOs across the island of Ireland to create a programme of over 50 nationwide events aimed at stimulating discussion and debate on ethical themes, questions and concerns.  The initiative is due to culminate with a national seminar at Áras an Uachtaráin in Spring 2015. The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative is the second in a series of public seminars and reflections that President Higgins intends to hold during his term in Office

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Contract signing for Human Biology Building at NUI Galway

Contract signing for Human Biology Building at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Construction work has commenced on NUI Galway’s new Human Biology Building. The project cost will be in excess of €30m and is funded approximately one third by public exchequer funding including €7m as announced recently in Budget 2015, with the remaining two thirds funded from University sources. The project will help to sustain up to 200 construction jobs at its peak.  The Human Biology Building is a five-storey building plus roof level plant enclosure with a gross floor area of 8,200m² located adjacent to the Áras na Mac Léinn and Áras Uí Chathail buildings. The building will house the existing University disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology & Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The purpose of the building will be to provide a facility in which these disciplines will, within a research-led environment: Deliver core preclinical curricula to Medical and Health Science students Deliver core curricula to Science, Biomedical Science and Engineering students Provide a venue for discipline specific training at 3rd and 4th Level The building has been designed as a teaching and research facility with accommodation including undergraduate teaching laboratories, research laboratories, offices, open plan write-up spaces, meeting rooms, tiered lecture theatres and other ancillary areas. The site is a previously developed site on which stood the former National Diagnostics Centre. The construction contract has been awarded to BAM Building Ltd. with the construction period anticipated to be 19 months. The Design Team for the project comprises: Project Management PM Group Architects Scott Tallon Walker Buildings Services Engineers BDP Civil/Structural Engineers O’Connor Sutton Cronin Quantity Surveyors & Cost Control AECOM ENDS  

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NUI Galway Launches 15th Múscailt Festival Programme

NUI Galway Launches 15th Múscailt Festival Programme-image

Monday, 26 January 2015

NUI Galway’s 15th annual NUI Galway Arts Festival programme, Múscailt, was launched today by Dr Anne Byrne, Head of School, Political Science and Sociology. The Festival, which runs from 9-13 February, will contain a superb programme of art, music, performance, song, talks and workshops, with many free events to which the public are welcome. This year’s theme ‘Float Away’ will transform the campus with ‘Creatures from the River’, floating willow sculptures on either side of O’Shaughnessy pedestrian bridge, made by Colours Street Theatre. ‘A Wonderful Watery World’, balloon sculptures by Ana Bella of Fiesta House will also feature inside and outside Áras na Mac Léinn. Art and music feature highly in the programme and often at the same time. This year’s flagship exhibition will be ‘Dreaming Vessels’ by the Galway Chapter of the Irish Woodturners’ Guild, in the Hardiman Research Building. This is a giant installation presenting the form of a Claddagh Hooker, overlaid with individual turned bowls or vessels, raising questions on the nature and value of handmade objects today. The opening of ‘Dreaming Vessels’ will take place at 7.30pm on Monday, 9 February and will be heralded by two pieces from Galway-Ensemble-in-Residence ConTempo Quartet and a reception to mark the launch of the festival. Events throughout the week include: Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) will perform the musical, ‘Cabaret’, at the Black Box Theatre from 10-14 February at 8pm. Set in a Kit-Kat Klub in Berlin during the rise of Nazi Germany, it is exciting, witty and provocative, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Tickets for the show are €12/10 and €8 for groups of four or more. An exhibition by Photosoc, 'Focus 15' will open on Monday, 9 February at 7pm. The exhibition will take place in the Atrium of Áras na Mac Léinn with a receptions and live music. On Monday, 9 February, RETREAT by Conor McGrady, will open at 5pm in the University’s Art Gallery with ConTempo featuring at the opening. The exhibition includes a series of drawings examining architecture as a means of containment and control that operates to affect a sense of social order. On Tuesday, 10 February, Athenry Guitar Orchestra will play in the Atrium of Áras na Mac Léinn at 6pm for the joint opening reception of ‘Catching Dreams’, by Kathy Ross, and ‘Flow’, a group exhibition on the balcony by the painting and drawing classes of NUI Galway, coordinated by Marina Wild, who also created the artwork for this year’s festival. Learn to sing lenten liturgy in Gregorian chant with Batsheva Battu on Tuesday at 1pm in the View in Áras na Mac Léinn. The Witless Band Competition final takes place in the Students’ Union Bar on Tuesday, 10 February at 8pm with judges and the public vote to decide the winning act. A Victorian Fun Fair will be held in the Bailey Allen Hall on Wednesday, 11 February from 12-5pm, complete with tea, games, art, science, literature, song, pies and cakes, run by the Victorian Society. NUI Galway’s international students will also present a mini-festival of food, music and dance on Thursday, 12 February evening at the Bailey Allen Hall. Arts in Actions presents ‘Around the House’, a concert by students and staff of Cork School of Music, CIT, at 1pm on Thursday, 12 February. Fleadh na Gaillimhe Fundraiser will take place on Friday, 13 February at 8pm, featuring a stellar line-up including Máirtín O’Connor, Mary McPartlan, Maigh Cuilinn Comhaltas and NUI Galway’s own TradSoc. Ticket for the event for the concert will cost €15. The SOLO SHOW will showcase seven original ‘five-minute monologues’ from staff and students at 1pm on Friday in The Cube. Talks throughout the week include: “Megalithic Art and the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition” by Lynda McCormack; “Historical Background to Contemporary Woodturning” by Ambrose O’Halloran; and “From Workhorse to Racehorse, a slide show presentation tracing the evolution of the Galway Hooker” by Cóilín Ó hIarnáin. Commenting on this year’s line up, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer, said: “Our theme this year, ‘Float Away’, reminds us that a brush with the creative arts can be a sweet release from the routine and pressures of everyday life and may be the dawning of a new adventure. Everyone is welcome to participate.” All exhibitions are open Monday to Saturday. For a copy of the programme or further information contact the Arts Office at or 091 495098, or visit www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. Tickets and information for society events will be available from the Socsbox at 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Cabaret tickets are also available from the Town Hall Theatre (091-569777 or www.tht.ie). Tickets for the Fleadh Fundraiser are available at OPUS II, High Street, Galway; Salthill Post Office; the Town Hall Theatre; and The Forge, Moycullen. More information on Fleadh Fundraiser is available at www.galwayfleadh.ie or 085 8408746. -Ends- Seolann OÉ Gaillimh Clár an 15ú Féile Múscailt Inniu sheol an Dr Anne Byrne, Ceann na Scoile Eolaíochta Polaitiúla agus na Socheolaíochta clár an 15ú Féile Múscailt, féile ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh an Fhéile ar siúl ón 9-13 Feabhra agus cuimseofar clár iontach ealaíne, ceoil, taibhléirithe, amhránaíochta, cainteanna agus ceardlanna agus beidh go leor imeachtaí saor in aisce ar fáil don phobal. Is é ‘Ar Foluain’ téama na bliana seo agus athrófar an campas le ‘Creatures from the River’, dealbha sailí ar foluain ar gach taobh de dhroichead coisithe Uí Sheachnasaigh, curtha le chéile ag Colours Street Theatre. Beidh ‘A Wonderful Watery World’, dealbha balúin le Ana Bella as Fiesta House le feiceáil laistigh agus lasmuigh d'Áras na Mac Léinn.  Beidh ealaín agus ceol go láidir ar an gclár agus iad ar siúl go minic ag an am céanna. I mbliana is é ‘Soithigh na Samhlaíochta’ le Craobh na Gaillimhe de Chuallacht Deilte Adhmaid na hÉireann an príomhthaispeántas, agus beidh sé le feiceáil in Áras Taighde Uí Argadáin. Saothar mór millteach é seo i bhfoirm Húicéir an Chladaigh, le babhlaí nó soithigh dheilte, ag tarraingt aird ar cheisteanna a bhaineann le nádúr agus leis an luach atá ar rudaí lámhdhéanta sa lá atá inniu ann. Osclófar ‘Soithigh na Samhlaíochta’ ag 7.30pm Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra agus seinnfidh an ConTempo Quartet, Ensemble Cónaithe na Gaillimhe, dhá phíosa ceoil agus beidh fáiltiú ar siúl chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar sheoladh na féile. I measc imeachtaí na seachtaine beidh siad seo a leanas: Cuirfidh Cumann Ceoldrámaíochta Ollscoil na Gaillimhe (GUMS) an ceoldráma, ‘Cabaret’, ar stáitse sa Dubhlann idir an 10-14 Feabhra ag 8pm. Tá an ceoldráma seo suite in Kit-Kat Klub i mBeirlín le linn theacht chun cinn Ghearmáin na Naitsithe; tá sé spreagúil, tráthúil agus gríosaitheach, agus tá ceol ann le John Kander agus liricí le Fred Ebb. Cosnóidh ticéid don seó €12/10 agus €8 do ghrúpaí de cheathrar nó níos mó. Casfaidh Ceolfhoireann Ghiotáir Bhaile Átha an Rí san Fhorhalla in Áras na Mac Léinn ag 6pm Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra don chomhoscailt ar ‘Catching Dreams’, le Kathy Ross, agus ‘Flow’, taispeántas grúpa ar an mbalcóin de ranganna péintéireachta agus líníochta OÉ Gaillimh, comhordaithe ag Marina Wild, a rinne an obair ealaíne d'fhéile na bliana seo chomh maith. Osclófar dhá thaispeántas chomh maith Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra - seó bliantúil líníochta, péintéireachta agus dealbhóireachta Artsoc ag 6pm agus ina dhiaidh sin ‘Focus 15’, taispeántas an Photosoc ag 7pm. Beidh an dá thaispeántas ar siúl san Fhorhalla in Áras na Mac Léinn, agus beidh fáiltiú agus ceol beo ann ar an oíche. Ag 5pm Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra, osclófar RETREAT le Conor McGrady, i nDánlann na hOllscoile agus seinnfidh ConTempo ceol ag an ócáid. Sraith líníochtaí atá sa taispeántas a bhreathnaíonn ar ailtireacht mar bhealach srianta agus smachta a fheidhmíonn chun dul i gcion ar an ord sóisialta. Eagróidh an Cumann Victeoiriach Aonach Siamsaíochta Victeoiriach i Halla Bailey Allen Dé Máirt, an 10 Feabhra ó 12-5pm, áit a mbeidh tae, cluichí, ealaín, eolaíocht, litríocht, amhránaíocht, pióga agus cácaí. Foghlaim le liotúirge a chasadh i gcantaireacht Ghreagórach le Batsheva Battu ag 1pm Dé Máirt sa View in Áras na Mac Léinn. Beidh craobhchomórtas na mBannaí Witless ar siúl i mBeár Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn Dé Máirt, an 10 Feabhra ag 8pm agus beidh an buaiteoir á roghnú ag moltóirí agus ag an bpobal. Cuirfidh mic léinn idirnáisiúnta OÉ Gaillimh mionfhéile bhia, cheoil agus dhamhsa i láthair tráthnóna Déardaoin, an 12 Feabhra i Halla Bailey Allen. Cuirfidh Arts in Action ‘Around the House’ i láthair, ceolchoirm le mic léinn agus le foireann Scoil Cheoil Chorcaí, CIT, ag 1pm Déardaoin, an 12 Feabhra. Beidh ócáid bailithe airgid Fhleadh na Gaillimhe ar siúl Dé hAoine, an 13 Feabhra ag 8pm, áit a mbeidh scoth na n-aíonna cosúil le Máirtín O’Connor, Mary McPartlan, Comhaltas Mhaigh Cuilinn agus TradSoc OÉ Gaillimh. Cosnóidh ticéid don cheolchoirm €15. Taispeánfaidh an SOLO SHOW seacht ‘monalóg nua cúig nóiméad’ ó chomhaltaí foirne agus ó mhic léinn ag 1pm Dé hAoine sa Cube. I measc na gcainteanna a bheidh ar siúl le linn na seachtaine beidh siad seo a leanas: “Megalithic Art and the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition” le Lynda McCormack; “Historical Background to Contemporary Woodturning” le Ambrose O’Halloran; agus “From Workhorse to Racehorse, a slide show presentation tracing the evolution of the Galway Hooker” le Cóilín Ó hIarnáin. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, faoi chlár na bliana seo: “Is é ‘Ar Foluain’ téama na bliana seo agus cuireann sé i gcuimhne dúinn gur féidir linn éalú ó ghnáthnósanna agus strus an tsaoil trí bhlaiseadh a fháil de na healaíona cruthaitheacha agus go bhféadfadh sé gur tús le haistear nua a bheadh ann chomh maith.Tá fáilte roimh chách a bheith páirteach.” Beidh na taispeántais ar fad oscailte ó Luan go Satharn. Tá cóip den chlár nó eolas breise le fáil ón Oifig Ealaíon ar 091 495098, nó téigh chuig www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. Beidh ticéid do na himeachtaí ar fáil ón Socsbox ag 091 492852 nó socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Beidh ticéid don cheoldráma ‘Cabaret’ ar fáil ó Amharclann na Cathrach chomh maith (091-569777 nó www.tht.ie). Beidh ticéid ar fáil d'Ócáid Bailithe Airgid Fhleadh na Gaillimhe in OPUS II, an tSráid Ard, Gaillimh; Oifig Poist Bhóthar na Trá; Amharclann na Cathrach; agus an Forge, Maigh Cuilinn. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin Ócáid Bailithe Airgid sin ar fáil ar www.galwayfleadh.ie nó 085 8408746. -Críoch-  

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NUI Galway Postgraduate Spring Open Day

NUI Galway Postgraduate Spring Open Day -image

Monday, 26 January 2015

NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 4 February, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. Joanne Sweeney-Burke, an NUI Galway graduate and CEO of of Media Box and Digital Training Institute, and also was a finalist in TV3’s The Apprentice, will be guest speaker at the event and will talk about how postgraduate studies furthered her own career. NUI Galway has one of the broadest portfolios of postgraduate teaching and learning in the country and the Postgraduate Open Day will give potential students the opportunity to meet and hear from academic staff and current students. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, 70 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day. Visitors will have the option of attending talks on funding opportunities and applications available to them, career prospects and progression, CV clinics and there will also be information on how to apply for a postgraduate course. Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rate graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of students with a postgraduate qualification in employment has grown consistently in recent years. NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allow you to take the first step in building your career. Bríd Seoige, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “A postgraduate qualification broadens your skills-set, defines your areas of expertise, increases your specialist knowledge, and can improve your job prospects: over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating.” To view NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Ends-

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International imaging effort unlocks brain secrets

International imaging effort unlocks brain secrets-image

Thursday, 22 January 2015

 New insights may help scientists better understand disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy An international study, which included researchers from NUI Galway, has identified significant genetic factors that influence the size of structures within the brain. It is hoped these new insights may help scientists better understand disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. The research was published today in Nature magazine. NUI Galway professor of psychology, Professor Gary Donohoe, led the Irish contribution to the study, which involved a consortium of almost 300 scientists from 193 institutes - including NUI Galway. The consortium, known as the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis), shared results from analyses of genetic data and MRI scans from more than 30,000 individuals worldwide. The study looked at the size of sub-cortical brain regions that are involved in some basic functions such as memory, movement, learning and motivation. Abnormalities in these brain regions are associated with neurological and mental health disorders. According to Professor Donohoe: “For years, scientists have been fascinated by the development of different brain structures and how this changes in brain-based disorders. In this study, we have used MRI scans to look at how the size of different brain regions is influenced by our genes and obtained some fascinating results. We have found, for example, one gene variant that affects the size of the Putamen, a region near the centre of the brain which resembles the stone in the middle of a fruit.The Putamen is partly responsible for movement and learning, and is implicated in Parkinson’s disease. This finding opens up new avenues for research in this disease by giving new clues about the biological mechanisms involved.” The research was in part funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board in Ireland and involved collaboration between researchers at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. “Knowledge about the genetic basis of these structures provides important insights into how the brain develops”, said Professor Donohoe. “These insights are important both to understanding normal human development and to understanding the basis of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. Given the likelihood that thousands of variants are involved, large scale international efforts such as in this study are an important step in unravelling this genetic and biological complexity so as to develop new and better treatments.” “ENIGMA’s scientists screen brain scans and genomes worldwide for factors that help or harm the brain”, said ENGIMA co-founder Professor Paul Thompson from University of Southern California. “This crowd-sourcing and sheer wealth of data gives us the power to crack the brain’s genetic code.” Dr Sarah Medland of QIMR Berghofer in Australia, was senior-author on the study, and added: “Unless you know what ‘normal’ development looks like it’s hard to know how disease manifests in these sub-cortical regions. Previously it has been too expensive for any one institute to collect enough scans and genetic data to make this kind of study possible. By working together in large collaborative projects we can tackle these types of problems and further our understanding of the biology of the brain.” Five genetic variants identified The study identified five genetic variants that influence the size of structures within the brain. Of the genetic associations found, the largest effect was seen for the Putamen, a subcortical region located at the base of the forebrain, which is important for movement and reinforcement learning. This variant is located within the KTN1 gene that encodes the protein Kinectin, a receptor important for cell function. In follow up protein expression work this variant was found to alter the expression of KTN1 in frontal cortex. The study also found evidence of several variants being associated with hippocampal volume (a brain region synonymous with memory encoding and retrieval), one of which has previously been implicated in risk for schizophrenia. The article published in Nature today is ‘Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures’. This research at NUI Galway was undertaken by the Cognitive Genetics and Therapy Group (Principal Investigators: Prof Gary Donohoe and Dr Derek Morris; http://www.nuigalway.ie/psychology/coggene_group.html) and the Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory (Principal Investigators: Prof Colm McDonald and Dr Dara Cannon; http://clinicalneuroimaginglaboratory.com/). More information about the ENIGMA project is available at http://enigma.ini.usc.edu/ -ends-

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Free Introduction to Computer Classes at NUI Galway

Free Introduction to Computer Classes at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 19 January 2015

NUI Galway’s free Click and Connect introduction to computer classes will resume again on the week beginning 26 January. The classes run for two-hours once a week, over a four week period, providing eight hours of training in total. The classes are aimed at those with little or no computer experience and cover topics such as introduction to the internet, online shopping and booking tickets, setting up and managing email, and using the computer in conjunction with a digital camera. In addition to the Click and Connect programme there will be a slightly more advanced Second Steps programme available to new and past learners. This programme is aimed at those whom have some computer experience or previously completed the Click and Connect programme and are seeking more computer knowledge. Second Steps is a follow up to Click and Connect providing more training to broaden learners understanding on topics such as internet, file management, and using tablets as an alternative to computers. As many of the participants have little to no computer experience the classes are run in a relaxed fun environment, which gives confidence to the new learners. Student volunteers will be on hand to provide one-to-one support to the learners in the classes. Each class is small with a maximum of twelve people and each learner is given a supporting booklet with instructions so that they can continue to develop their skills at home. All who complete receive a certificate of attendance. These free computer classes have provided training to over 600 people since the classes began.         The manager of Click and Connect is Pat Byrne, a lecturer in the discipline of Information Technology in NUI Galway. She is delighted with the feedback received from those who have completed the programme. “Our Click and Connect classes have been very successful to date, with many of our learners being older people who have not had the opportunity to use computers at school or in the workplace. They now find that a new world is opened up to them when they are shown how to use the internet. They are able to compare prices and shop online, follow their hobbies and access government services. They are also enabled to have better communication with family and friends using email and Skype. Whether they are looking for a job or searching for a new recipe, access to the internet makes their life so much easier. Everyone can pick up these basic skills and our classes provide a supportive environment in which to do so.” The classes are funded by a small grant from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and are offered free to participants. For further information or to book a place on one of the classes, call 087 0571967, 087 3823370 or 091 493332. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Welcomes Minister Damien English

NUI Galway Welcomes Minister Damien English-image

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Briefings on the University’s extensive research activities and industry collaborations Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D. visited NUI Galway on 8 January for a briefing on the University’s extensive research activities and industry collaborations. Minister English was welcomed to campus by University President, Dr Jim Browne and Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi. Detailed discussions were held with research leaders in the University and some of the key industrial partners. Discussions centred on research in biomedical science and engineering, medical devices, clinical research, life course and society, big data, neuroscience and graduate studies around key enabling technologies and smart specialisation. After his visit Minister English stated: “The huge potential for day to day social and economic benefits from NUI Galway’s research were of particular interest to me, and were clear to see. It was a pleasure to meet with senior industrial collaborators and to see first-hand that NUI Galway researchers and industries have a very healthy and productive relationship that benefits Galway City, the West and our country overall. From my visit it is clear that NUI Galway are to the fore in drawing down National and EU monies for vital research projects and matching this with private investment.  I look forward to NUI Galway excelling under the new Horizon 2020 funding stream.” Industry partners who attended included representatives from HP, Alkermes, Altocloud, Aerogen Ltd, Avaya and Fuijitsu.    Speaking after the Minister’s visit, NUI Galway’s Professor Lokesh Joshi said: “The Minister is keen to promote the culture of innovation, enterprise, education and excellent research across Irish educational institutions. I believe he was pleased to see that NUI Galway is living his vision of integrating these principles. The Minister was impressed with the breadth of excellent research activities and in particular the connection between research and its impact on society through industry, clinical and government policies.”  The Minister met two recently announced European Research Council (ERC) starter grant awardees. Dr Eilionóir Flynn of the Centre for Disability Law is undertaking a project which aims to make visible the experiences of people with disabilities who have been denied legal capacity. Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine, has a project underway which seeks to clarify how much sodium (salt) intake is optimal for health.  Senior representatives from Insight, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Data Analytics, were on hand to brief the Minister. The newest SFI Research Centre at NUI Galway, CÚRAM, was represented by Professor Abhay Pandit who spoke about the next generation of medical devices. A number of other research leaders briefed the Minister on the latest developments in their areas. This was Minister English’s second visit to campus since he became Minister for State last summer.   -ends- 

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NUI Galway Introduce New Pilot Scheme for A-Level Students

NUI Galway Introduce New Pilot Scheme for A-Level Students-image

Monday, 5 January 2015

NUI Galway today announced a new one-year pilot scheme for GCE A-Level students for entry in September 2015. This initiative is intended to increase the number of Northern Ireland students attending NUI Galway with approximately 200 places across more than 50 undergraduate programmes, with the exception of Medicine due to the HPAT (Health Professions Admission Test) requirement, will be made available to students sitting 3 or more A-Levels under the scheme. Currently the A-Level to Leaving Certificate points conversion model is based on 4 A-Levels being the equivalent to 6 Leaving Certificate exams. Approximately 80% of A-Level students only sit 3 A-Levels, which means the maximum number of points for these students is 450 points. In addition to this, a student might earn up to 65 points if they sat a fourth AS-Level, but this cohort is in the minority. For each course, A-Level students will be ranked in order of their achievement in their best 3 GCE A-Level exams and places would be offered to the applicants who rank highest, to fill agreed scheme quota places per programme. As with CAO applicants, all other minimum entry requirements will also need to be met, including: Applicants must meet all matriculation requirements for that programme Meet all other course specific requirements, e.g. minimum grade language requirements. Speaking on the new initiative, Registrar and Deputy President Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh explained: “Historically, the percentage of students from Northern Ireland and the UK studying at Universities in the Republic has been surprisingly low. There are many reasons for this and one of those is the grade equivalences between A-Levels and Leaving Certificate points. At NUI Galway we have seen a big increase in the level of interest in our courses from A-Level students. We are committed to urging the Irish Higher Education sector to review our entry routes for these students. This pilot is an important first step in opening up entry routes to broader cohorts of students at NUI Galway.” Applications for the students chosen course can be done through the CAO by 1st February 2015 and entry onto the scheme will be automatic, once eligibility has been established. For further information see on Central Admissions Office (CAO) see www.cao.ie. For more information on courses available at NUI Galway visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/alevelentryscheme or visit the University YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/thinkingaboutnuig -Ends- Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh tús le Scéim Phíolótach nua do dhaltaí A-Leibhéal Inniu, d'fhógair OÉ Gaillimh scéim phíolótach nua bliana do dhaltaí A-Leibhéal GCE d'iontráil i mí Mheán Fómhair 2015. Táthar ag súil go gcuirfidh an tionscnamh le líon na ndaltaí as Tuaisceart Éireann a fhreastalaíonn ar OÉ Gaillimh trí thart ar 200 áit a chur ar fáil ar bhreis is 50 clár fochéime do dhaltaí atá i mbun trí cinn nó níos mó A-Leibhéal. Ní bheidh feidhm ag an scéim do chúrsaí Leighis mar gheall ar an riachtanas HPAT (Tástáil Iontrála na nGairmeacha Sláinte). Faoi láthair is ionann ceithre ábhar A-Leibhéal agus sé ábhar Ardteistiméireachta nuair atá na pointí á gcur le chéile. Déanann thart ar 80% de dhaltaí A-Leibhéal trí ábhar A-Leibhéal, rud a chiallaíonn gurb é 450 pointe an t-uasmhéid pointí is féidir leo a bhaint amach. Lena chois sin, d'fhéadfadh dalta 65 pointe breise a bhaint amach dá dtabharfadh sé/sí faoin gceathrú AS-Leibhéal, ach is beag duine a dhéanann é seo. Do gach cúrsa, rangófar daltaí A-Leibhéal de réir chomh maith is a éiríonn leo sna trí scrúdú A-Leibhéal GCE is fearr atá acu agus tairgfear áiteanna do na hiarratasóirí is fearr a chruthaíonn, chun an cuóta áiteanna comhaontaithe a líonadh. Mar atá i gcás iarratasóirí CAO, beidh ar na daltaí seo na híosriachtanais iontrála ar fad a chomhlíonadh chomh maith, lena n-áirítear: Caithfidh iarratasóirí na riachtanais mháithreánacha ar fad a bhaineann leis an gclár faoi leith a chomhlíonadh Caithfidh iarratasóirí gach riachtanas sonrach a bhaineann leis an gcúrsa a chomhlíonadh, e.g. riachtanais íosghráid teanga. Ag labhairt dó faoin tionscnamh nua, dúirt an Meabhránaí agus Uachtarán Ionaid, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “Go stairiúil, tá an céatadán de dhaltaí ó Thuaisceart Éireann agus ón Ríocht Aontaithe a dhéanann staidéir in Ollscoileanna sa Phoblacht thar a bheith íseal. Is iomaí cúis leis seo agus ar cheann acu sin tá na comhionannais ghráid idir A-Leibhéil agus pointí na hArdteistiméireachta. In OÉ Gaillimh tá méadú mór feicthe againn ar an spéis atá daltaí A-Leibhéal a chur inár gcúrsaí. Táimid meáite ar iarraidh ar an earnáil ardoideachais in Éirinn athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar na bealaí iontrála do na daltaí seo. Is céim thábhachtach í an scéim phíolótach seo maidir leis na bealaí iontrála in OÉ Gaillimh a oscailt amach do réimse níos leithne daltaí. Is féidir le daltaí iarratas a dhéanamh ar a rogha cúrsa tríd an CAO faoin 1 Feabhra 2015 agus cuirfear isteach ar an scéim iad go huathoibríoch, chomh luath is a bheidh incháilitheacht dearbhaithe. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil féach ar láithreán gréasáin na Lár-Oifige Iontrála (CAO) ar www.cao.ie. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi chláir atá ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/alevelentryscheme nó chuig cainéal YouTube na hOllscoile www.youtube.com/user/thinkingaboutnuig - Críoch -

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