Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Scientists from the Apoptosis Research Centre at NUI Galway have found that targeting the IRE1 stress response pathway may improve the response to chemotherapy and reduce relapse for patients with triple negative breast cancer. These first in world research findings were published today (15 August 2018) in the internationally renowned Nature Communications journal. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is one of the most aggressive and difficult to treat forms of breast cancer. This type of breast cancer accounts for around 15% of all breast cancers diagnosed and occurs more frequently in younger women. Unlike other forms of breast cancer, there are no targeted therapies available for triple negative breast cancer. Currently, chemotherapy is the mainstay treatment, and although initially successful, a large percentage of TNBC patients relapse within one to three years of treatment and have a poor long-term prognosis. The exact mechanism of the tumour relapse post chemotherapy remained unknown until now. In this study, the research team, led by Professor Afshin Samali at NUI Galway have shown for the first time that IRE1, which is a cellular stress sensor that normally acts to alleviate short-term stresses within cells, such as lack of nutrients or oxygen, is a central driver of treatment-related relapse. Professor Afshin Samali, Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “This study is the result of extensive laboratory experiments, analysis of breast cancer patient samples, testing pre-clinical models of triple negative breast cancer and collaboration with our international and industry partners. The new era of precision oncology aims to tailor treatments to individual cancer patients and here at NUI Galway, we are excited to identify a new therapeutic strategy for triple negative breast cancer patients who are most in need of better treatment options. Furthermore, this strategy may benefit many other cancer patients whose cancer cells rely on activated cell stress responses to survive.”  Dr Susan Logue, first author of the study at NUI Galway, said: “This work has uncovered a previously unknown role for IRE1 and suggests that it may represent a good therapeutic target for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer. While further research is needed, this work is a great example of how curiosity-driven basic research can lead to translational outcomes with real potential to impact on patient treatment.” The team discovered that chemotherapy can activate the IRE1 stress response in triple negative breast cancer, leading to the production of survival signals that are pumped out of the cell to support the growth of new cancer cells. Most importantly, the study showed that this process can be halted by specifically inhibiting IRE1 using a clinically-relevant, small molecule drug called MCK8866 that not only improves the effectiveness of the initial chemotherapy treatment, but also reduces relapse of this aggressive form of breast cancer.    Using triple negative breast cancer cells treated with chemotherapy, the research team found that blocking IRE1 activity reduced the production of survival signals, and in turn reduced the growth of new cancer cells by 50%. Furthermore, in a pre-clinical model of TNBC, the drug increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment, leading to regression of 8 out of 10 cancers compared to regression of just 3 out of 10 cancers using chemotherapy alone. The combination of the MCK8866 drug with chemotherapy also reduced tumour relapse in this pre-clinical model of triple negative breast cancer. In addition to these laboratory-based experiments, an analysis of 595 patient tumours revealed that triple negative breast cancer tumours displayed the highest IRE1 activity compared to other subtypes, suggesting that IRE1 may be of particular importance in TNBC. This discovery suggests that combining chemotherapy with IRE1 inhibitors could offer substantial benefits for triple negative breast cancer patients.   The study was funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Irish Cancer Society and Horizon 2020 with initial funding from Breast Cancer Now. To read the full study in Nature Communications, visit: http://www.nature.com/ncomms -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

NUI Galway and Complete Laboratory Solutions (CLS) recently announced a new CLS MedPharma Student Excellence in Microbiology Award. The award is open to Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology students. Criteria for the award is specifically based on a student’s performance in the analytical microbiology and laboratory quality management modules. Colin O’Toole, Director of Analysts on Contract at CLS, said: “We have been working with NUI Galway since CLS MedPharma was first established here in Galway city in 2008 and likewise at our first facility in Ros Muc in Connemara since 1994. In the intervening years over 40 NUI Galway graduates have been recruited at CLS. The Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology equips graduates with the practical techniques and skills required for a career in science and this is down to the exceptional work of Dr Cyril Carroll and Dr Gerard Fleming, Directors of the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology. Supporting the next generation of microbiologists is very important to us and I am excited to celebrate our tenth year at CLS MedPharma by recognising talented students this year.” Dr Cyril Carroll, Co-Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology course at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted that CLS MedPharma has chosen to mark their 10 years by supporting our talented scientists here at the University. This course which is now in its 30th year gives Microbiology graduates a thorough training in a wide range of analytical techniques and the ancillary skills necessary for careers in manufacturing and service industries, especially the healthcare, food, biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors.” The CLS MedPharma Student Excellence in Microbiology Award winning student will be announced in conjunction with the NUI Galway conferring ceremony in October this autumn. -Ends-  

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Researchers from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and the Herpetological Society of Ireland have just published the first record of a spider feeding on a reptile in Ireland. The Noble False Widow spider, which has colonised much of Ireland since first being recorded here twenty years ago, has been observed feeding on Ireland’s only native terrestrial reptile, the Viviparous lizard. The report has just been published in the Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy journal. The unusual scene was recorded in a private garden in Killiney, Co. Dublin in May 2017 when the 8.5cm juvenile Viviparous lizard was found entangled on a web with the 3.3cm Noble False Widow spider feeding on its flesh. The somewhat gruesome scene is not uncommon in the tropics, where a handful of spider species are known to occasionally feed on birds, rodents or reptiles but it is not something we are accustomed to in Ireland.   Noble False Widow spiders are remarkably adaptable and possess fast-acting neurotoxic venom that can cause neuromuscular paralysis in terrestrial vertebrates (organisms that possesses a spinal column or vertebra and lives predominantly on land) and occasionally feed on small reptiles. Dr Michel Dugon from the Venom Systems Laboratory in the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says: “This report is quite significant for two reasons. One, it is the first time a terrestrial vertebrate has fallen prey to a spider in Ireland and second, the Viviparous lizard is a protected species in Ireland while the Noble False Widow is a recent alien species that is still actively colonising Ireland. This poses the question of the delayed impact of overlooked invasive species on iconic native organisms. It also raises the question of the true impact of the Noble False Widow on our native ecosystems.” John Dunbar, lead author of the study and PhD researcher at the Venom Systems Laboratory in NUI Galway, said: “While Black Widows are known to prey on small reptiles, there are only two previous accounts from other species of False Widow spiders preying on a lizard in Iran and on a snake in Bulgaria. Surprisingly, this is the first time the False Widow spider that is currently colonising Ireland has been documented preying on vertebrates. In addition to its venom possessing a powerful vertebrate specific neurotoxin, it can produce very strong silk which gives it a real advantage over our native spiders in entangling large prey.” Co-authors Collie Ennis and Rob Gandola from the Herpetological Society of Ireland, caution: “With the Noble False Widow spider following the increasing urban spread into our countryside, the possibility of them coming into contact with native wildlife will no doubt increase.” The researchers added: “We are right in the middle of the lizard birthing season and this is when most lizard sightings are made and when juveniles are likely to turn up in gardens. Female lizards give birth to between 6-11 babies that are jet black and about 40mm long. It’s the juveniles that disperse to new areas but given their tiny size you can see how this is a dangerous endeavour. We’d ask people who are lucky enough to have lizards near or on their property to keep a watch out and report any sightings of Noble False Widows predating on lizards. It would be really helpful to get an idea of how frequent these interactions occur and even the size classes involved, it may not only be young lizards that fall prey.” Noble False Widow spiders have made regular headlines in recent years as they have become more prevalent in Irish homes. While not thought to be life threatening to humans, a bite from the Noble False Widow delivers a fast acting neurotoxic venom which can cause pain and discomfort for a few days. The Venom Systems Laboratory at NUI Galway is the only one in the world currently working on extracting venom from the Noble False Widow spider for potential therapies. This particular species of spider is having a detrimental effect on other local species and other spiders in Ireland due to their competitiveness and fast breeding nature. The Noble False Widow lives for five to seven years whereas most other spider and bug species in Ireland only lives for a maximum of one year. In Ireland, Noble False Widow spiders live close to buildings and houses inhabited by people. Dublin, Cork and Wexford have the highest number of Noble False Widows to date. To report Noble False Widow spider and Viviparous lizard sightings in Ireland, contact michel.dugon@nuigalway.ie or 091 494491. To read the full report in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy journal, visit: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3318/bioe.2018.05 -Ends-

Monday, 23 July 2018

Robot submarine and detailed seabed maps used to find sensitive underwater habitat  A team of marine scientists have returned to Galway after spending three weeks at sea investigating Ireland’s deep ocean territory 300 miles off the west coast. The deep sea expedition led to new discoveries using the Marine Institute’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Holland 1 onboard the ILV Granuaile. The high definition ROV-mounted video captured a number of ‘firsts’ in Irish waters, including a species of octocoral of the genus Corallium, which grows into huge fans with a delicate porcelain-like skeleton, and a species of black coral different to others described to date, which may prove to be an entirely new species. The survey confirmed Irish deep-waters as a haven for these rare and delicate deep-sea black corals. The team of scientists also reported areas of potential ‘sponge reef’ on the Rockall Bank, a highly unusual accumulation of living and dead sponges forming a complex habitat for many other creatures. Such formations are very rare and have previously only been recorded in Canadian waters. Cold water coral reefs are ecosystems that host a diverse range of marine animals including sea fans, sponges, worms, starfish, crustaceans and a variety of fish species, making them vitally important habitats for marine biodiversity. These fragile deepwater reefs are commonly associated with topographic features subject to strong bottom currents, for example continental margins, seamounts and mid-ocean ridges, because as filter feeders, the corals depend on suspended food particulate matter. The high resolution bathymetric dataset acquired as part of the national seabed mapping programme –Integrated Mapping For the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource (INFOMAR) - was used to target potential locations of reef habitat for this survey by identifying specific seabed morphological features likely to support cold water coral. The last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in our understanding of the cold water coral reef ecosystems, their susceptibility to environmental change, and their low resilience to human impact. Professor Louise Allcock, NUI Galway, who is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Marine Institute to study the pharmaceutical potential of deep-sea corals and sponges added: “This project highlights collaboration and cooperation between Irish and international marine scientists, helping us to further our understanding of these sensitive ecosystems and has also been able to provide training opportunities and sea-going experience for young scientists.” Chief Scientist on the SeaRover survey, David O’Sullivan, Marine Institute said: “We are very pleased to discover what appear to be new coral species and a rare sponge reef, neither of which have been previously documented in Irish waters. These sensitive habitats are very important and this study is key to getting a better understanding of Irelands’ deep sea. Our key objective is to discover, protect and monitor Ireland’s rich offshore marine biodiversity so we can manage our marine resources effectively. Without a knowledge of what lives on our seabed we are at risk of never fully understanding and appreciating Ireland’s invaluable marine environment.”  Dr Kerry Howell, Plymouth University said: “This is the first time I have seen a sponge reef like this in nearly 20 years of studying the deep NE Atlantic. This is an important find. Sponges play a key role in the marine ecosystem providing habitat for other species and recycling nutrients. They may even be a source of new antibiotics. These new data will help us to better understand where and why these reefs occur.” The ‘SeaRover’ survey is the second of three planned expeditions jointly funded by the Irish Government and the EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The cross government initiative is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, and Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) as part of the Marine Institute’s implementation of the Marine Biodiversity scheme.  Survey operations were coordinated and led by the DCCAE funded INFOMAR programme, which is a joint venture between the Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute. This year’s expedition extended the habitat exploration area to the Rockall Bank, the farthest offshore extent of Ireland’s Economic Exclusive Zone. Scientific experts onboard to witness the exciting findings were from the Marine Institute, National Parks and Wildlife Service, National University of Ireland Galway and Plymouth University. Ends

Friday, 13 July 2018

A study carried out by Dr Elaine Dunleavy in the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, has uncovered an unexpected new link between genes that normally function in energy production, and male fertility. Results from the research were published today (13 July 2018) in the renowned scientific journal, Nature Communications. The study was carried out on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which serves as an excellent model organism in which to study gene function. In the cell, the function to produce energy is carried out in a compartment called the mitochondrion, while the genetic material (DNA) is housed in a different compartment, the nucleus. The authors identified a previously unknown and surprising role for a set of mitochondrial proteins in the nucleus. Senior author of the study, Dr Elaine Dunleavy at NUI Galway, said: “We were surprised to uncover a new nuclear function for proteins that normally function exclusively in the synthesis of ATP, the cell’s energy production. Our use of the fruit fly allowed us to carry out genetic experiments that would have been very difficult to perform in humans.” The results provide insights into how cells arrange DNA to produce the male sex cell, sperm. Dr Dunleavy found that the fruit fly was unable to arrange its DNA to produce sperm cells if it didn’t have this particular protein. In the past century, global fertility rates have reduced dramatically. Given that approximately 60% of genes found in the fruit fly are also found in humans, the findings are potentially relevant to human sperm development and fertility studies to further investigate disrupting this pathway on individuals who experience fertility problems. Professor Noel Lowndes, Director of the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “Dr Dunleavy, our newest recruit to the Centre for Chromosome Biology, has made a surprising link between the cell’s energy production machinery and the production of sperm, which has resulted in a highly impactful publication in one of the world’s major journals. In the Centre we take advantage of simple cellular systems to discover new biology of relevance to humans and, in this case, the work of Elaine and her team will have impact in the field of human fertility.” Dr Dunleavy’s work studies the genetics of fruit flies as a way to understand human health and as a model to understand the cell division that gives rise to eggs and sperm. Her research aims to discover the genes that are important for fertility in males and females and understanding how the genes work in the fruit fly will help explain how they work in humans. To read the full study in Nature Communications, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05093-9  For more information about the Centre for Chromosome Biology, visit: www.chromosome.ie -Ends-

Monday, 9 July 2018

MaREI secure €4.4 million to support Ireland’s indigenous biomass and bioenergy industry The Research Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) has secured an additional €4.4 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners under the Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency (SEFE) SFI Spokes Programme, to be based at NUI Galway. Speaking at the launch Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Seán Kyne TD, said: “Climate Action has never been more important to the continued growth and prosperity of our nation as it is now. Ireland has an abundance of natural resources with enormous potential for sustainable energy output, but we need to continue to invest in more efficient technologies for harnessing this potential. I am delighted to see researchers from the SFI Research Centre, MaREI exploring new and innovative technologies to support Ireland’s ambition of meeting national environmental, energy and climate targets, as well as those set by the European Commission.” The Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency research programme led by Professor Henry Curran at NUI Galway and Professor Jerry D Murphy, UCC, leverages the scientific expertise of ten of Ireland’s top academics in bioenergy research across four Universities (NUI Galway, UCC, UL, TCD) and Teagasc. The programme of work will include the technical and commercial expertise of 10 national and international companies. This four-year collaborative programme aims to identify viable routes to increase the efficient utilisation and supply of sustainable energy, and to support Ireland’s ambition to meet National and EU environmental targets. The Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency Spoke, which is affiliated to the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, and run by MaREI funded researchers, has an ambition of developing new processes, technologies and markets through the co-operation of a number of scientists from various disciplines across a number of institutes and working with 10 innovative companies to support Ireland’s energy transition. Professor Henry Curran from the School of Chemistry and Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The granting of the Spoke award by SFI and the national and multi-national industry commitment endorses and strengthens the research being undertaken in sustainable energy systems by the participating universities and Teagasc.  I look forward to collaborating on world class research that will underpin the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future.” Professor Murphy, Director of MaREI and head of the bioenergy research group, stated: “The benefit of the SFI Research Centres has been immense for research and innovation; Ireland now has a one-stop-shop system for research expertise that includes the best researchers across the island, coupled with the most relevant industrial partners. This removes the previous competition between researchers and enhances research impact through multi-disciplinary, multi-institute input into industrially relevant cutting edge work. This partnership will bring together the top academics and industry in bioenergy and biofuels, with an overarching ambition of meeting the national objective of decarbonising energy and facilitating Ireland’s transition to a low carbon technology.” The Spoke research teams will collaborate in developing technologies capable of converting a wide variety of residues and by-products to homogenous energy carriers and optimising performance of internal combustion engines using advanced fuels including biofuel blends. The Spoke work programme will complement existing MaREI activities in the bioenergy sector as well as adding new competencies in the area of advanced thermal treatment, combustion modelling and design. The outputs of the Spoke work programme will contribute in a measurable way toward important EU and national environmental and economic objectives in the areas of energy decarbonisation, wastewater treatment, sustainable transport, resource recovery, clean air and water, rural development and diversification of agriculture. The technologies to be advanced by the SEFE Spoke will address some of the drawbacks associated with Ireland's reliance on imported biofuels and intermittent renewables by improving the efficiency and reducing the carbon intensity of power generation and transport from combustion and boosting the supply of renewable heat, which makes up 41% of Ireland’s energy consumption, as well as meeting sustainable waste management challenges. Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir, Co-Director of MaREI, commented: “I am particularly enthused by the industry support for this project. Our research in MaREI is greatly enriched through the partnership we have with our industry partners. In addition to deepening our collaboration with Gas Networks Ireland, this project enables us to benefit from collaborating with a wide range of new partners including ABP Food Group, Arigna Fuels, Siemens and NVP Energy. This investment will in turn enable these industry partners to harness and benefit from the research and innovation capacity we have in MaREI.”   Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ciarán Seoighe welcomed the announcement, saying: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support the Sustainable Energy and Fuel Efficiency Spokes project, which comes at a time when the need for new and innovative means to tackle climate change are sorely needed. The Spokes Programme offers a valuable means for research-active companies to align with any of the 17 SFI Research Centres and utilise the world-renowned expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure therein. Partnerships such of this support Ireland’s drive towards an environmentally sustainable future and places us at the forefront of renewable energy research.” -Ends-

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Research to investigate a yet unknown mechanism that guides specialised cells to revert to unspecialised stem cells that directly contribute to tissue regeneration Professor Uri Frank from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway has received an Investigator Award through the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership, for his research into the ‘Mechanisms that induce dedifferentiation to drive regeneration in the absence of stem cells.’ The study will address the mechanisms that are activated following tissue and organ loss, driving specialised cells in the body, like muscle cells and neurons, to exit their status and become unspecialised stem cells. These stem cells can then contribute to the regeneration of lost body parts. Since humans and other mammals have poor capabilities to regenerate, these experiments will be performed on Hydractinia, a native Irish marine invertebrate, closely related to jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals. Like many of its kin (collectively known as cnidarians), Hydractinia can regenerate any lost body part, including the head, and is easy to maintain and manipulate in the laboratory. Professor Frank’s team discovered that Hydractinias, which normally regenerate by using resident stem cells, can activate a ‘plan B’ to regenerate in the absence of stem cells. A yet unknown mechanism guides specialised cells to revert to unspecialised stem cells that directly contribute to tissue regeneration and the research funded by Wellcome aims to identify this mechanism. All animals, humans and jellyfish included, are related, having descended from a single common ancestor. Therefore, they share many genetic and cellular mechanisms. Hydractinia's stem cells should be very similar to their human counterparts, and studying them may provide information on human stem cells and help develop new strategies to be used in regenerative medicine. Speaking about his SFI-HRB-Wellcome Partnership award, Professor Uri Frank, a developmental biologist from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “This funding will allow us to study the molecular mechanisms that drive decision-making in cells.” Professor Noel Lowndes, Director of the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “This large and highly prestigious award makes it a total of four Wellcome funded researchers based in NUI Galway’s Centre for Chromosome Biology. Professor Frank now joins Professor Brian McStay (Investigator Award), Dr Elaine Dunleavy (Research Career Development Award) and Professor Ciaran Morrison (Seed Award) as Wellcome Trust Awardees.” Dr Ciarán Seoighe, Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are delighted to partner with the HRB and Wellcome to co-fund research that can bring significant societal benefit to Ireland. Professor Uri’s work is a prime example of this. The SFI-HRB Wellcome Biomedical Partnership Awards demonstrate what can be achieved through collaboration between funding agencies that share a common ambition of supporting impactful research.” The Centre for Chromosome Biology is the leading unit in Ireland for fundamental research into the structure of chromosomes and how they are replicated, repaired and segregated during cell division. This award is co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board under the SFI-HRB Wellcome Research Partnership. For more information about the Centre for Chromosome Biology, visit: http://www.chromosome.ie Videos of Professor Uri Frank’s research: Stem cell migration towards an injury site in the cnidarian Hydractinia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ4mPgFxR8Q Hydractinia polyps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZVDLVRL13c Appearance of stem cells in a Hydractinia embryo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbnDhp_xEzw -Ends-

Monday, 9 July 2018

Following the recent increase in lion’s mane jellyfish sightings and stings experienced by swimmers across parts of Ireland, jellyfish research experts from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and UCC have issued the following information. If you are stung, the Irish Water Safety authority recommends that you rinse the affected area copiously with seawater and apply a cold pack. You must seek medical attention at the nearest emergency department if you are  Research published by NUI Galway in the international journal Toxins in 2017 showed that the best first aid treatment for a lion’s mane sting is to rinse with vinegar (or the commercial product Sting No More® spray) to remove tentacles, and then immerse in 45°C (113°F) hot water (or apply a heat pack) for 40 minutes. Dr Doyle will meet with the Beaumont Poison Centre at Beamount Hospital Dublin to discuss these findings in the next few weeks. The lion’s mane jellyfish is a large jellyfish (up to 1 metre bell diameter) with thousands of long tentacles located beneath the bell. In Irish and UK waters, lion’s mane jellyfish can be encountered from June until late September. It is one of the least abundant jellyfish in Irish and UK waters, typically occurring as single individuals rather than in blooms or aggregations. Despite being one of the least abundant jellyfish, relatively high densities of large lion’s mane jellyfish have been recorded close to high population areas in recent weeks, and therefore stings have been a recurrent concern. Five people have now been hospitalised after being stung. Jasmine Headlam, PhD and Fullbright Researcher from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, says: “We often see lion’s mane jellyfish on the east coast, where the water is cooler, around hotspots like the Forty Foot diving area in Dun Laoghaire and popular beaches like Bettystown, Co. Meath and Clogherhead, Co. Louth. In the last few weeks we’ve had reports of large adult lion’s mane from the west coast in places like Salthill, Kinvara, Carna and Oranmore in Galway as well as Newquay in Clare and even Cork harbour. We urge sea swimmers and coastal visitors to report any sightings with photographs if possible to the National Biodiversity Data Centre website and the Big Jellyfish Hunt Facebook page. “Lion’s mane stings, though not generally considered fatal, can cause a lot of pain. Stings from large lion’s mane can be particularly dangerous, as the thousands of thin tentacles can each extend to several meters long. Initially, a sting may result in itching or localised pain that may radiate to other areas of the body, potentially progressing to severe pain within 20 minutes or more. In some cases, stings can result in Irukandji-like syndrome. This syndrome, named after a type of box jellyfish, can involve symptoms including back pain, nausea, abdominal cramps, sweating and hypertension.” Dr Tom Doyle, zoology lecturer at UCC’s school of biological, earth and environmental sciences, added: “Lion’s mane are spreading geographically, with sightings in the Celtic Sea and Atlantic waters in recent weeks. It is not correct to say this is the first time they have been spotted on the west coast, as we had reports for the last two years, but they are particularly large and mature. The typical jellyfish lives in the water column for six to eight months, having been released as a juvenile in December, but we believe these jellyfish may have over-wintered and may be on their second season.” Jasmine Headlam will travel to Hawaii in 2019, as a Fulbright Marine-Institute awardee, to investigate the venom of the lion’s mane jellyfish in state of the art facilities with Dr Yanagihara at University of Hawaii at Manoa. -Ends-

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Bridging the gap between medicine and science through teaching future medics and facilitating cutting-edge research Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD will today (Monday, 2 July) officially open NUI Galway’s €34 million Human Biology Building, bringing together the existing disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University. The building will be home to undergraduate and post-graduate teaching and will carry out cutting-edge research by academics from throughout the campus in the areas of Science and Medicine, and Engineering. The Human Biology Building, funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and NUI Galway will create a platform for discovery, development and delivery. It will also build on the output of NUI Galway’s cluster of world-leading biomedical research groups in areas such as regenerative medicine and stem cell research, cancer biology (particularly breast and prostate cancer) biomechanics and biomaterials. Speaking at the opening, Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD, said: “I’m delighted to officially open this building and its facilities, which will extend the capacity for and delivery of biomedical research at NUI Galway. NUI Galway researchers are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our times and the opening of this new building will, I hope, help to strengthen the university’s deserved international reputation as being amongst the very best in the provision of research-led education.” Teaching The Human Biology building has been designed and developed as a joint teaching and research facility to provide these long established disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology & Therapeutics, a platform to deliver: core pre-clinical teaching to Medical and allied Health Science students core teaching to Science, Biomedical Science and Engineering students provide a purpose-designed venue for discipline-specific training at undergraduate and postgraduate level and enhance learning and teaching within a research-led environment There is currently teaching to over 200 medical undergraduates in the building along with transformative clinical teaching also taking place in state-of-the art laboratories. There are an additional 100 final year Science undergraduate students studying the three disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology & Therapeutics along with postgraduate students on taught masters programmes from areas of Science and Medicine. Research The building will house academics from various research groups on campus such as CÚRAM, REMEDI, School of Psychology, and Galway Neuroscience Centre. There are also PhD students working in the three disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology and Therapeutics through research funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC), Health Research Board (HRB), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners. The opening of the Human Biology Building sees the completion of a capital projects programme undertaken by the University some decades ago, which was enabled by a combination of philanthropy and State support, while funding from the European Investment Bank, in its first ever loan to the University, assisted in the completion of this new building. In recent years the University has opened a new Engineering building, a new Biomedical Sciences building, and a unique clinical and translational research facility. Taken together these three facilities along with the new human biology building complete an ecosystem of education, research, innovation and healthcare in the West of Ireland.   NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to mark the opening of our new Human Biology Building, which will transform the learning environment for our health science students.  By having access to the best facilities, our students will be supported to realise their potential and make a real impact in their chosen field. Investment in education is vital for our regional development and continued funding is imperative so that our new buildings can be great places to learn, teach and research in. Our students compete with the best of the world and so must we.” The Building The Human Biology Building is a five-storey state-of-the-art building with a gross floor area of 8,200m².  It is strategically located in the University’s south campus with close proximity to University Hospital Galway. The building has been developed on a previously developed site on which stood the former National Diagnostics Laboratory building. It was designed by award-winning architects, Scott Tallon Walker Architects, in conjunction with international design firm, Building Design Partnership, while BAM Building Ltd. was the contractor. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway, said: ‘The Human Biology Building will provide the next generation of scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals with a world class learning environment and will also provide our academics and researchers with state of the art facilities to further the teaching and research mission of the University. The structure of the building is state of the art, will greatly facilitate enhanced interactions between staff and students, and will provide superior technical and operational capabilities that underpin a research and innovation intensive environment.”   ENDS Seolann an tAire Sláinte an tÁras Bitheolaíochta Daonna in OÉ Gaillimh Ag líonadh na bearna idir an leigheas agus an eolaíocht trí liachleachtóirí na todhchaí a theagasc agus taighde ceannródaíoch a éascú Bitheolaíochta Daonna €34 milliún OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Dé Luain, 2 Iúil), ina dtabharfar le chéile disciplíní na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe san Ollscoil. Tabharfar faoi theagasc fochéime agus iarchéime san áras agus déanfaidh acadóirí atá ag obair ar an gcampas trí chéile taighde ceannródaíoch ann i réimse na hEolaíochta agus an Leighis, agus na hInnealtóireachta. Éascófar ardán d’fhionnachtain, forbairt agus seachadadh san Áras Bitheolaíochta Daonna, atá maoinithe ag an Údarás um Ard-Oideachas (HEA). Cuirfidh sé freisin leis an aschur ó na grúpaí taighde bithleighis is fearr ar domhan, a bhfuil braisle díobh in OÉ Gaillimh, i réimsí cosúil le leigheas athghiniúnach agus taighde gascheall, bitheolaíocht ailse (go háirithe ailse bhrollaigh agus phróstataigh), bithmheicnic agus bithábhair. Ag caint dó ag an oscailt, bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Aire Sláinte, Simon Harris: “Tá an-áthas orm an t-áras seo agus a áiseanna a oscailt. Cuirfidh sé le cumas OÉ Gaillimh taighde bithleighis a dhéanamh agus a thabhairt chun críche. Tá taighdeoirí in OÉ Gaillimh ag dul i ngleic le roinnt de na saincheisteanna is tábhachtaí lenár linn agus tá súil agam, le hoscailt an árais nua seo, go láidreofar cáil idirnáisiúnta na hOllscoile mar áit ina bhfuil oideachas taighdebhunaithe ar ardchaighdeán á chur ar fáil.” Teagasc Dearadh agus forbraíodh an tÁras Bitheolaíochta Daonna mar áis taighde agus teagaisc araon chun go gcuirfear ardán ar fáil do dhisciplíní fadbhunaithe na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe chun na nithe seo a leanas a chur i gcrích: teagasc croíláir réamhchliniciúil a sholáthar do mhic léinn Leighis agus mic léinn Eolaíochtaí Sláinte gaolmhara teagasc croíláir a sholáthar do mhic léinn Eolaíochta, Eolaíochta Bithleighis agus Innealtóireachta ionad atá tógtha go speisialta a chur ar fáil d’oiliúint atá sonrach don disciplín ag leibhéal fochéime agus iarchéime agus cur le foghlaim agus teagasc laistigh de thimpeallacht atá á treorú ag taighde Tá breis agus 200 fochéimí leighis á dteagasc faoi láthair san fhoirgneamh, agus tá teagasc cliniciúil bunathraitheach ar siúl sna saotharlanna nua-aoiseacha. Anuas air sin, tá 100 mac léinn fochéime Eolaíochta sa bhliain deiridh i mbun staidéir ar thrí dhisicplín na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe in éineacht le mic léinn iarchéime ar chláir mháistreachta mhúinte i réimse na hEolaíochta agus an Leighis. Taighde Beidh acadóirí ó ghrúpaí taighde éagsúla ar an gcampas lonnaithe san fhoirgneamh, leithéidí CÚRAM, REMEDI, Scoil na Síceolaíochta, agus Ionad Néareolaíochta na Gaillimhe. Tá mic léinn PhD ann freisin i mbun taighde i dtrí dhisicplín na hAnatamaíochta, na Fiseolaíochta  agus na Cógaseolaíochta & Teiripe, ar taighde é atá á mhaoiniú ag Comhairle Taighde na hÉireann (IRC), an Bord Taighde Sláinte (HRB), Fondúireacht Eolaíochta Éireann (SFI) agus ag comhpháirtithe tionscail. Tá clabhsúr curtha ar chlár tionscadal caipitil na hOllscoile le hoscailt an Árais Bitheolaíochta Daonna, ar clár é ar tugadh faoi os cionn scór bliain ó shin agus ar tacaíodh leis trí dhaonchairdeas agus tacaíocht Stáit. Chabhraigh maoiniú ón mBanc Eorpach Infheistíochta, i bhfoirm a chéad iasachta riamh don Ollscoil, chun an foirgneamh nua seo a chríochnú. Le blianta beaga anuas, tá áras Innealtóireachta nua oscailte ag an Ollscoil, chomh maith le háras nua do na hEolaíochtaí Bithleighis, agus áis uathúil do thaighde aistritheach agus cliniciúil. Nuair a chuirtear le chéile na trí shaoráid seo in éineacht leis an áras bitheolaíochta daonna nua, tá mórchóras iomlán againn don oideachas, taighde, nuálaíocht agus cúram sláinte in Iarthar na hÉireann.   Seo mar a labhair Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Tá an-áthas orainn ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar oscailt an Árais Bitheolaíochta Daonna nua. Fágfaidh sé go n-athrófar ó bhonn an timpeallacht foghlama dár mic léinn eolaíochta sláinte.  Agus teacht ag ár mic léinn ar na háiseanna is fearr dá bhfuil ar fáil, cabhrófar leo barr a gcumais a bhaint amach agus tionchar ceart a bheith acu sa réimse a roghnaíonn siad. Tá infheistíocht san oideachas ríthábhachtach dár bhforbairt réigiúnach agus is den riachtanas é go leanfar leis an maoiniú ionas gur ionaid den scoth a bheidh inár n-árais don fhoghlaim, don teagasc agus don taighde. Ní mór dár mic léinn dul in iomaíocht le scoth na mac léinn ar fud an domhain, agus is amhlaidh dúinne." An Foirgneamh Foirgneamh cúig stór úrscothach atá san Áras Bitheolaíochta Daonna, agus tá oll-achar urláir 8,200m² ann.  Tá suíomh straitéiseach aige i gcampas theas na hOllscoile, agus tá Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh in aice láimhe. Tógadh an foirgneamh ar shuíomh a raibh forbairt déanta cheana air agus is ann a bhí an Diagnóslann Náisiúnta, mar a bhí, roimhe sin. Is iad na hailtirí, Scott Tallon Walker Architects, a bhfuil go leor duaiseanna bainte acu, a rinne an dearadh ar an bhfoirgneamh i gcomhpháirt leis an ngnólacht deartha idirnáisiúnta, Building Design Partnership, agus is é BAM Building Ltd. a bhí ina chonraitheoir. Dúirt an tOllamh Timothy O’Brien, Déan Choláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte in OÉ Gaillimh: Cuirfear timpeallacht foghlama den scoth ar fáil san Áras Bitheolaíochta Daonna don chéad ghlúin eile eolaithe, dochtúirí agus gairmithe cúraim sláinte. Bainfidh acadóirí agus taighdeoirí leas freisin as na háiseanna úrscothacha, rud a chuirfidh le misean teagaisc agus taighde na hOllscoile. Tá struchtúr an fhoirgnimh go hiomlán nua-aoiseach agus cuirfidh sé go mór leis an gcaidreamh idir an fhoireann agus na mic léinn. Tá deiseanna teicniúla agus oibriúcháin ar ardchaighdeán ar fáil ann chomh maith a thacóidh le timpeallacht dhian taighde agus nuálaíochta.   CRÍOCH

Thursday, 28 June 2018

To celebrate the first ever International LGBT+ STEM Day, members from the LGBT+ Network in NUI Galway will host a number of events on campus on Thursday, 5 July, to demonstrate its commitment to supporting its staff and students who are members of the LGBT+ community and who significantly contribute to the University’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines. Chris Noone, Co-chair of LGBT+ Staff Network and lecturer in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “The NUI Galway LGBT+ Staff Network is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for staff of all sexual identities and genders at the University and to advocate for and raise awareness of LGBT+ issues. It is well documented that staff and students within the STEM disciplines face added difficulty in being out compared to those in other disciplines and we are proud to support International LGBT+ STEM Day and House of STEM, an Irish-based network dedicated to connecting and supporting LGBT+ scientists in Ireland. “NUI Galway is home to many members of the LGBT+ community who contribute to our teaching and research in STEM disciplines. Our students go on to contribute to STEM research and industry and are valued members of the LGBT+ community in Ireland. For example, NUI Galway graduate, Shaun O’Boyle founded House of STEM and is spearheading the development of International LGBT+ STEM Day.” LGBT+ Staff Network members who will talk about their work at NUI Galway include: Dr David McNamara, Co-chair of LGBT+ Staff Network and lecturer in Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway. Talk title - An Energetic Geologist David is a structural geologist whose research mainly focuses on energy and mineral resources with the aim of assisting in their sustainable and environmental extraction to work towards decarbonisation of our society. He recently returned to Ireland after seven years researching energy in New Zealand.  Social Media handle @mcnamadd - Twitter, Facebook Cameron Keighron, LGBT+ Network Steering Committee member and Masters student in Regenerative Medicine, NUI Galway. Talk title - The perspective of an early stage researcher Having completed his undergraduate studies in Biotechnology at NUI Galway, Cameron is currently studying for his Masters in Regenerative Medicine at the University and hopes to build his research career from there. He has been involved in a few research projects at NUI Galway over the last number of years, most notable the D1 Now study, which aims to improve health outcomes for young adults with Type 1 Diabetes. He is a member of the LGBT+ Staff network steering group and the Vice Chairperson of AMACH! LGBT. Social media handle – Twitter: @CameronKeighron and Instagram: @Queertransboy The LGBT+ Staff Network will also host talks by those working in the Galway STEM industry and in STEM research abroad: Aoife Fitzgibbon-O’Riordan and Elizabeth Flanagan, Co-founders of Togán Labs Talk title: Queering entrepreneurship: starting up in a toxic startup world.  Togán Labs is a boutique open source software development and consulting firm specialising in the Internet of Things. It was set up in Cork by Aoife and Elizabeth in 2016.  Social Media handle: @ToganLabs Steve Muir, EA Games Talk title - Diversity and Inclusion at EA Steve is a Gaymer who moved to Galway from Glasgow in 2011 to work in the gaming industry. Social media handle - Twitter: @ScottishSteveo Dr Stefaan W. Verbruggen, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. Talk title: A window on the womb: how strong is a baby's kick? Dr Stefaan W. Verbruggen is currently based in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, New York where his research focuses on the mechanobiology of cancer, and how it metastasises to bone from other areas of the body. Prior to his fellowship, Dr Verbruggen conducted his PhD research in the Biomechanics Research Centre at NUI Galway, followed by postdoctoral research in the Developmental Biomechanics Lab at Imperial College London. Social Media handle: @docbruggsbunny Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway will open LGBT+ STEM Day in the Alice Perry Engineering Building at 1pm on Thursday, 5 July and events will take place directly afterwards. For more details about LGBT+ STEM Day, visit: https://lgbtstem.eventbrite.ie For more information about the Office for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/equality/ -Ends-

Thursday, 7 June 2018

NUI Galway recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the Cell EXPLORERS Network, an expanding group of scientists and students from ten Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Ireland who are committed to bringing science out of the lab and into the classroom. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland and coordinated from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, Cell EXPLORERS is a science outreach and public engagement initiative.   Cell EXPLORERS aims to inform, inspire and involve people in the excitement of science, increase the general public’s engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and advocates for its importance in society.   Professor Ciaran Morrison, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, said: “The programme is unique, and has involved 850 team members to reach more than 21,000 members of the Irish public since 2012. It is a unique collaborative approach between 10 higher education institutions that has an impact both on the young people reached but also on our students and researchers. Dr Grenon has also started to develop education research to inform the future development of the programme. The overall impact of Cell EXPLORERS has in fact won her a Societal Impact Award from NUI Galway in 2017.”   Delegates from across Ireland attended the meeting to consolidate the recent expansion of the project, from five partner institutions, to a current total of ten HEIs nationally. The Cell EXPLORERS project now covers twelve counties, including nine of those previously identified as having poor exposure to STEM-related activities. The first year of activity for the Network has resulted in the direct engagement of 6,700 young people and their families by over 250 volunteer scientists who continue to give their time, passion and knowledge to inspiring the next generation of scientific explorers.   Dr Muriel Grenon, Founding Director of Cell EXPLORERS, said: “It is so important to engage our young people in STEM from an early age to break the stereotypes around science and scientists. It was great to meet with all the coordinators to discuss the impact that we see in the classroom and plan for the future of our community of practice.”   The research developed by Cell EXPLORERS aims to evaluate the impacts of the programme on all participants. In particular, it focuses on understanding how demonstrator scientists impact on the opinions and attitudes of children to science and scientists, which could strongly affect the dissemination of science education and public engagement activities in Ireland. Some of this research – assessing the impact on young children’s confidence in conducting science – has won postgraduate researcher and NUI Galway Cell EXPLORERS volunteer coordinator Sarah Carroll a poster prize at the third Scientix (the Community of Science Education in Europe) Conference in Brussels last month.   Cathy Foley, Senior Executive at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “This project is a strong example of public engagement at work and the well-developed model could be used in many other settings across a myriad of subject areas. The programme will inform best practice for the involvement of HEIs in public engagement in science: this Network meeting is a first step in achieving that.”   The long-term goal of Cell EXPLORERS is to strengthen its nationwide programme by incorporating best practice from both its team’s experience and research findings to making the Irish public the most scientifically-informed globally.   -Ends-

Thursday, 10 May 2018

NUI Galway will host a research seminar presented by Nobel laureate, Professor Paul Modrich of Duke University Medical Center and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US. Professor Modrich will talk about ‘Mechanisms in human DNA mismatch repair’. Professor Paul Modrich was one of three scientists to share the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for landmark discoveries over four decades of work in DNA repair.  His host at NUI Galway, Professor Robert Lahue, trained as a postdoctoral fellow in Modrich’s laboratory. The Nobel Committee cited one of the Lahue-Modrich publications as groundbreaking. The Nobel Committee recognised Professor Modrich’s work on mismatch repair, which acts as a genetic spellchecker to preserve the DNA. Defects in mismatch repair are now known to cause certain hereditary forms of colorectal cancer. Genetic testing of cancer patients helps identify those with mismatch repair defects, providing information, which is important in guiding their treatment. Professor Robert Lahue from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, said: “The research community at NUI Galway is tremendously excited about Professor Modrich’s visit and seminar.  He is a world leader in the area of DNA biochemistry and cancer biology. We are fortunate to have him visit, to present a seminar and to interact with members of our Centre and other researchers at NUI Galway.” -Ends-

Monday, 21 May 2018

Researchers from the School of Physics at NUI Galway have carried out a biological monitoring study among the Irish adult population on non-occupational exposure to glyphosate, an active ingredient in chemical pesticides used to control weeds. This is the first study in Ireland describing glyphosate exposures among this population and the results suggest low exposure. The study investigated the background level of human exposure to glyphosate in Ireland and results from the study were recently published in the international journal, Environmental Research. The research was carried out by Michelle Leahy as part completion of her MSc in Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety and by Exposure Science PhD student Alison Connolly from the School of Physics at NUI Galway. The herbicide glyphosate is the active ingredient in over 750 products including Roundup®. Glyphosate is the highest volume herbicide used globally and extensively in agriculture and horticulture to combat weeds, and is sprayed as a pre-harvest drying treatment on certain food crops. It is also widely sprayed in parks, public spaces, lawns, gardens and roadsides. Dietary exposure through pesticide residues that remain on fruit, vegetables and grains after spraying, or home use of glyphosate based pesticide products, are thought to be the most common exposure routes among the general population. The NUI Galway researchers and collaborators from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Great Britain measured glyphosate in urine samples provided by 50 Irish adults to estimate background levels of exposure among this population. Environmental and dietary exposure to glyphosate can be determined by measuring levels in biological samples such as urine. Of the 50 samples analysed, 10 (20%) of the participants urine samples had detectable trace levels of glyphosate. The median concentration of the detectable data (10 samples) was 0.85 µg L-1. This is more than 1000 times lower than the Acceptable Daily Intake level of 0.5 mg/kg body weight/day set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for glyphosate.  Commenting on the study, research project supervisor Dr Marie Coggins and Exposure Science lecturer at the School of Physics at NUI Galway, said: “Biomonitoring data across Europe on chemicals such as pesticides is rare. In this study detectable levels of pesticides in urine were low, however, further studies such as this one are required to fully characterise chemical exposures in humans to support risk assessment and to inform policy.” To read the full study in Environmental Research, visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118302251    -Ends-

Friday, 4 May 2018

Pint of Science Galway brings scientists out of the lab and in to your local pub NUI Galway scientists will talk about a variety of topics at pubs across Galway City and County, as part of the three-day Pint of Science Festival, where thousands of scientists around the world will speak about their research. The world’s largest festival of public science talks will take place from the 14-16 May. Galway will join nearly 300 cities and 21 countries around the world taking part in the festival. Seven scientists from NUI Galway will take to the stage in pubs across Galway to talk about their research and members of the public will have the chance to ask them questions. Topics will range from: Barnacles, Bacteria, and Beyond; Galway beneath our feet: Reconstructing Parts of our History; and Democracy in Education: Responsibilities as Citizens. The festival brings a unique line up of talks, demonstrations and live experiments to Galway alongside the main talks, and each event will also include a range of science-inspired activities including geeky puzzles and engaging stories. Pint of Science Galway events will take place in Campbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford with the theme ‘Natural Sciences and Practical Applications’, The Oslo bar event is themed ‘Shaping Future Generations: Education and Society’ and the Róisín Dubh with the theme ‘Innovating Women in Geoscience’. Ivor Geoghegan, PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “We are excited to bring Pint of Science back to Galway. People can expect to hear fascinating stories of the research currently ongoing in Ireland from the comfort of their local pub.” Festival co-founder Dr Praveen Paul says: “There is so much fascinating research happening right under our noses that we don't know about. Some can get lost in translation leading to fake news. Pint of Science allows people direct access to inspiring scientists and encourages open discussion, all in the most familiar of places, the pub! It's great to see this enthusiasm for knowledge shared across the world.” Pint of Science was established six years ago by a group of UK-based postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers and has grown into one of the world’s biggest science festivals. The founders, Dr Praveen Paul and Dr Michael Motskin, have brought a personal touch to science, giving everyone the chance to meet the people behind the incredible research taking place across the globe. Tickets are €2 per event and on sale at: https://pintofscience.ie/events/Galway or www.pintofscience.ie -Ends-  

Monday, 21 May 2018

NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences Bio-EXPLORERS programme, in collaboration with Kitchen Chemistry, is now taking bookings for its three Summer Science Camps. Attendees can choose to attend the first camp from 2-6 July, the second from 9-13 July, or the third camp from 16-20 July.   The camp is open to all young budding scientists aged between 8 and 13 years old and participants will get a chance to work as real scientists by performing and analysing experiments in a real research environment.    The Bio-EXPLORERS programme is composed of two science communication and public engagement initiatives: Cell EXPLORERS directed by Dr Muriel Grenon and Eco-EXPLORERS directed by Dr Michel Dugon. With Dr Michel Dugon, the host of the RTÉ’s Bug Hunters, children will participate in activities such as discovering live local and exotic plants and animals, studying their habitats, and understanding how they interact with their environment. With the dynamic team of Cell EXPLORERS, children will learn how cells make our bodies work. They will run their own experiments, build models, observe their own cells under microscopes and extract DNA from cells. Each camp will also include a session with Kitchen Chemistry, from NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry, who run fun, hands-on experiments that bring chemistry to life!   The primary goal of these NUI Galway science outreach programmes is to inspire interest in science among young people and to impact positively on science education. All three programmes run activities designed to engage children in a hands-on way and stimulate their interest in exploring science-related themes. They have engaged thousands of children in the West of Ireland and are very active during the Galway Science and Technology Festival. Bio-EXPLORERS have run successful summer and Easter science camps since 2014, in addition to the very popular ‘Scientist for a Day’ one-day workshops during mid-terms, run in conjunction with Kitchen Chemistry. These camps provide a fun take on science where children can get involved and experiment as real scientists do. Small participant numbers, hands-on activities and a good ratio of well-trained, interactive demonstrators maximize the learning environment.   This year’s summer camps will each run over five days from 9.30am to 4.30pm daily and places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. The cost is €150 per child for this course packed with fun and exciting activities.   Visit www.cellexplorers.com for details on the camp and links to register. For any queries email cellexplorers@nuigalway.ie.   -Ends-