Abstracts

Alison Hughes
College of Science
Development of a Natural Marine Products Library


Drug Discovery is a massive and challenging area of science. As our knowledge of disease increases, so does the demand for treatment. Many successful drugs available on the market come from natural products e.g. aspirin, penicillin and morphine. Natural products have a major advantage as drugs because they are found within biologically systems and so are less likely to cause unwanted side-effects in humans. This project aims to compile a compound library of natural products found in marine organisms, or specifically marine micro-organisms. Marine chemistry in Ireland has remained relatively unexplored so this project is a great opportunity to discover what our waters have to offer in terms of new compounds and drug discovery. These compounds are sent to collaborators all around the world to be screened for bioactivity. Through this, we can determine whether these compounds elicit an effect on various diseases and could therefore act as potential therapies/treatment. It is generally expected that for every 100,000 compounds screened, 1 will be active. This is why drug discovery has become such a high-throughput business; the more compounds being tested, the better chance of finding a novel drug. And with Ireland being an island surrounded with water, it is fair to say 'there are many fish in the sea.'

Jessica Lane
College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences
Role of the Nurse in the Prevention & Management of Neutropenia


Prevention of complications is a major focus of nursing care for hospitalized neutropenic patients. Nurses are responsible for the care of their patients 24 hours a day and often spend more time with the patient than other members of the multi-disciplinary team. The management of neutropenia seems to be led by tradition and theoretical considerations rather than evidence based practice. The focus of this Literature review was to explore the research behind the practices used when caring for the neutropenic patient. Neutropenia is a common disease of oncology patients following chemotherapy or radiation therapy as these cytotoxic treatments destroy both unhealthy and healthy white blood cells. Neutropenia can be fatal if signs of infection are not detected promptly and the infection is untreated as a result. Nurses have a key role in relation to managing neutropenia. Care of the neutropenic patients involves; protective isolation, low microbial diet, used of protective equipment and oral hygiene. These interventions are used to prevent infection and improve quality of life for neutropenic patients. However the literature revealed that practices are not supported by high levels of evidence. The scientific basis for low microbial diets is lacking and there are no recent studies that associate the low microbial diet with lower risk for infection. The research indicated that oral hygiene is beneficial in reducing the risk of oral mucositis and infection while greatly improving the quality of life of neutropenic patients. There were conflicting views in the literature regarding protective equipment and isolation. While some studies deemed these precautions beneficial, others found no value in the precautions. It is evident that further research needs to be undertaken in order to fully evaluate the benefits of the daily interventions nurses implement when caring for neutropenic patients.

Fionn Delahunty & Darren Kelly 
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
Report from a Survey on Technology Usage Among University Students


This paper reviews a survey conducted in 2014 on a sample of university students (N=1353). The paper reviews smartphone and tablet usage among the sample size. We compare these results to national and international statistics on smartphone and tablet usage. We show that some categories and operating systems of phones are more popular among college students than others. This research was conducted in NUI Galway and funded by Explore initiative 2013.

Amy Rossiter
College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences
An evaluation of the prevalence of childhood trauma in individuals attending an adult mental health service


In recent years there has been an increased awareness of the prevalence of childhood trauma, especially childhood sexual abuse and its detrimental impact on an adult’s mental health. Despite this increased awareness, there still remains a paucity of studies examining emotional neglect and physical neglect in childhood. Even fewer studies have compared two different enquiry formats of childhood trauma. This study compared the prevalence of childhood trauma recorded in individuals clinical notes to those with a structured validated questionnaire. We also aimed to ascertained which forms of childhood trauma were less likely to be reported to the treating mental health team and established which demographic or clinical factors were associated with reporting. We demonstrated high rates of childhood trauma amongst adults attending mental health services and our research supports the use of a standardized questionnaire for the assessment of childhood trauma when performing a comprehensive mental health history.

Jordan Markey
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
Why were questions around language so important in Galicia in the period from 1867 to 1914?


Language played an important function in nation building and relations between ethnic and sovereign bodies in the province of Galicia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This revolves along the struggles of ethnic Ruthenians to build a nation around the revision of language. Polish and Russian intervention occurred as a result in attempting to adjust the balance of power in the region. The result of these struggles would result in a Ukrainian state and renewed tensions between ethnic Poles and Russians. This paper looks at why a single linguistic change caused division in the region and how the Ukrainophile movement managed to use language to its advantage in forming a state.

Claire Gibbons & Conor Lyons
College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences  
Assessing parental knowledge and attitudes towards HIV status disclosure in schools


HIV as a disease can be managed effectively. Social stigma is now one of the biggest hurdles that most HIV positive patients must overcome. Despite increased information available to the public, levels of understanding have yet to caught up. Research is lacking in the area of parental attitudes towards disclosure of a child's HIV status in schools. Similarly, we could find no research evaluating knowledge of the risks of transmission in a paediatric environment. As part of our project we surveyed a cohort of parents at a general paediatric clinic and assessed their attitude towards HIV disclosure and their knowledge on the transmission of HIV. Our aim was to establish a link between a lack of knowledge on the risks of transmission and attitudes towards disclosure. By identifying gaps in the public's knowledge on HIV, and highlighting common misconceptions about HIV, a targeted information campaign could be organised.

Carmen Kealy
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
The Importance of Play and Early Years

Ireland recorded the highest level of 0-14 year olds among the EU 25 Member States in 2004 (Dunne et al., 2007), which may account for the increasing interest and corresponding literature in the area of child’s well-being. Despite the growing output of academic writings on the topic, a clear understanding of well-being has not yet emerged, leading to a multiplicity of ways, in which well-being is defined and conceptualised.  The ‘Growing Up in Ireland’ Study (2009) identified their child cohort of 9 year olds happiest, when with family and friends, engaged in social interaction and physical activities. Nevertheless, Ireland's youth suicide rate is the fifth highest in Europe and it is believed that youths are most at risk when experiencing social instability, limited education , poor employment , low self-esteem and a history of mental illness (Pisa,2013). Current debates and research suggest that pressure to perform at a young age has damaging long-term effects. Although Irish policy corresponds with 22 European countries regarding the entry to the primary curriculum at age 6, the majority of children here appear to enrol earlier (Department of Education and Skills, 2013).  By far the most important predictor of adult life-satisfaction is emotional health, both in childhood and subsequently. Intellectual performance of a child is the least important childhood predictor of life-satisfaction as an adult.  The presentation aims to argue the negative effect of current Irish policy implementation with regards to early primary school enrolment and explore the importance of play and early years as positive force in relation to children’s well-being.

Peter Houston
College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences
An in vitro model of heart valve disease: A pilot study

Introduction: Myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) is one of the most common degenerative cardiac diseases in both human and veterinary medicine. Aim of project: We examined an in vitro tissue construct of mitral valve disease to determine if it is applicable for use as a model for human heart disease. Methods: Valve endothelial and interstitial cells were isolated from healthy canine valves to produce models using fibrin–based 3D culture techniques. Four groups were studied, controls and wounded constructs at days 0 & 6. Specimens were processed for transmission electron microscopy, and images taken at 3k and 8k. Micrographs were analysed stereologically in order to provide data on volume fractions of Cells : Tissue, Live Cells : Total Cells, Mitochondria : Cell, and rER: Cell Results: Ultrastructural investigation revealed a patchy endothelial surface overlying a fibrin extracellular matrix containing a variable number of cells of either fibroblastic or smooth muscle phenotype. Stereological analysis reveals that volume of cells and number of viable cells within constructs trends towards a decrease with increasing length of culture and with wounding. Mitochondrial volume decreases sharply from day 0 controls over all other groups. The volume fraction of rER:cell shows a trend towards an increase following wounding. Conclusion: Cellular changes in this novel construct are associated with both time and wounding. Stereological results strongly suggest trends which are indicators of both cellular health and function. Scoring damage results in an increase in the volume of cellular rER which may suggest that the valve construct is attempting self-repair. This construct provides an interesting model for the study of valve disease. Further research on a greater is needed to provide data which can be analysed to give statistical significance.

Dave Joyce
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
A tribute to the good taste and common sense of the audience: Yeats, Synge, the early Abbey Theatre and the Playboy riots (1905 – 1909)


At the end of the 19th century, particularly during the 1870’s and 1880’s, Home Rule was the main issue that Irish nationalism was devoted to. Home Rule was the goal to make Ireland a self-governing country separate from Britain. This was based on the fact that they considered Ireland to be a separate nation and its people a separate people. In 1890 the Home Rule party was in crisis following the split into the Parnellites and the anti-Parnellites.  John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World was first performed in Dublin in January 1907, following these first performances there was an incitement to riot due to portrayals of Western Ireland and how morality was perceived in the play. Dublin theatregoers in the successive nights that followed were greeted by scores of policeman surrounding the Abbey Theatre.  This was in stark contrast to the activity taking place inside the theatre. This paper examines Yeats, Snyge and the Playboy riots of 1907. 

Morgane Clarke
College of Science
Investigation of the Role of DNA Methylation in Regulating Toll-Like Receptor Activity

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are pattern recognition receptors that recognise components of bacteria and viruses. TLR stimulation orchestrates the immune response via production of inflammatory cytokines. TLR expression and activity varies with inflammatory disease progression. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that can regulate gene expression. DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) catalyses the addition of a methyl (-CH3) group from S-adenosylmethionine to the 5’ position of cytosine in the context of CG dinucleotides in a DNA sequence. DNMT inhibitors such as 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine (5azadC) have been developed. Our hypothesis is that DNA methylation may regulate TLR activity and as a result, inflammation.  A THP-1 monocytic cell line was treated for 72 hours, with or without 5azadC prior to a 6 hour stimulation with TLR 2,4 & 5 ligands ; heat-killed Listeria monocytogenes (HKLM), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Flagellin, respectively. Quantitative PCR was used to measure relative mRNA expression of TNFα following RNA isolation and cDNA synthesis.  5azadC treatment resulted in a significant increase in TNFα basal expression vs. untreated cells (p = 0.0009). HKLM, LPS & Flagellin stimulation resulted in a significant increase in TNFα expression (p < 0.0001 in each case) vs. untreated cells, which was further amplified by pre-treatment with 5aza2dC (p = 0.0107, p = 0.0002, p = 0.0033, respectively).  Our findings indicate that DNA methylation is implicated in the regulation of the activity certain TLRs. Therapeutic targeting of the epigenome may provide new opportunities for targeting the innate immune system for halting the progression of chronic inflammatory disorders.

Heidar Al - Hashimi 
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
Community Profile of Athlone Accommodation Centre at Lissywollen


This profile highlights the community needs as well as effects and impact of long staying process on Asylum seekers living in Direct Provision system in Athlone Accommodation Centre at Lissywollen. The first part of this profile will introduce and define key terms used repeatedly. This research is investigating the historical background, interpreting what meant by Asylum seeker & Refugee in Irish law and focusing on HIGH LEVEL Criticism of the Direct Provision System. In the second part, for the purpose of this profile, the research investigates more specific details on Lissywollen Accommodation Centre such as geographical location, housing, population demographics, and other concerned issues. Moreover, in the third part, this research identifies services that have been performed by vital organisations to residents. SWOT Analysis of this community takes part to identify and categories the significant internal and external factors they face. At the end of this profile, this research comes to conclusion and recommendations build on the information that has been investigated. The main conclusion of this profile is that the community of AAC is excluded socially although the vital work done occasionally by community organisations. Along years of waiting with uncertainty, their physical and mental Health Well-Being is at risk of illness.

Cormac McGarry
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
All the Heroes Wear Black: Superhero Cinema in the Post-Millennial Age


All the Heroes Wear Black is an essay aimed at using a structured psychochronographic meander to unpack the emergence of the existential hero as he/she exists as an immanent marker in contemporary superhero cinema. This essay takes Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of the chronotope as its main methodological instrument, particularly as we aim to chart a diachronic progression from the Golden Age of Comics to superhero cinema in the contemporary historical moment. We will employ this methodology as a redress to the principal deficiency of genre theory; namely that it tends to toward the synchronic and examines articles in a condition of staid ageing. By taking heroism as a symptomatic and productive index that changes as it moves through various chronotopes of the superhero genre, we will illustrate that applying a diachronic methodology to a closed semantic field will help us to redress not only the deficiencies of traditional genre theory, but also to understand the contours around which heroes undertake an existential struggle to assert a delineation between mask and man. In following these contours, we will be able to glimpse more fully the social and ideological changes in our own world that have been refracted onto the silver screen, wherein our heroes no longer wear white hats or their underwear on the outside; but instead, in the moment of our contemporary superhero cinema, all the heroes wear black.

Fionnuala Nic Pháidín
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
The verbs of existence in Spanish and Irish: a comparative analysis of ser and is in predicate adjective constructions.


Spanish is currently the second largest language in the world in terms of native speakers and thus is one of the most studied languages on a global level. However, many language learners stumble at the first hurdle with Spanish, on discovering that this language has not one but two verbs to express the concept of “to be”. One of the few languages in the world which also makes a distinction between “being” and “existing” is Irish. In spite of this uncommon similarity, no comprehensive study of the verbs of existence in Irish and Spanish has ever been undertaken. Indeed, the only treatment of the issue are Ó Máille’s cursory comments on temporary and permanent states which date from the year 1912. My project will draw on a corpus of contemporary narrative sources to build on Ó Máille’s observations, and will fill a gap in our knowledge by compiling new comparisons of the expression of “to be” in Irish and Spanish. Thus, this paper will analyse and compare the Spanish ser and estar with the Irish copula is and substantive verb bí, focusing on the choice of verb in predicate adjective constructions. I will argue that an analysis of the specific adjectives with which either of the two verbs of existence may be used will identify hitherto unknown parallels that will broaden our overall understanding of the phenomenon. Ultimately, by producing a comparative analysis of is and ser, this project will provide new pedagogical material for effective language learning.


Hazel Wolstenholme
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
The Role of Acculturation, Family Functioning and Health Self-Efficacy in Adolescents Living in Ireland


Immigration is a growing phenomenon both in Ireland and internationally. The change from Ireland as a culture of emigration to one of immigration is relatively recent, providing an interesting context for acculturation research. International research has shown associations between immigration, family functioning, and health. However, less is known about the current situation in Ireland particularly in relation to adolescents. Adolescence is an interesting and important developmental stage as autonomy regarding one’s own health becomes important and in the context of immigration, development may be influenced by two contrasting cultures with differing beliefs and values at home and in school. Berry’s (1997) acculturation framework outlines four acculturation strategies which refer to the extent that an individual identifies with the host culture and their original culture. These are integration, assimilation, separation and marginalisation. Using this framework, the current study examines acculturation styles of adolescents living in Ireland and how these styles relate to quality of life regarding physical, emotional, social and school functioning. It also aims to examine the influence of family functioning and health self-efficacy on this relationship and to make comparisons between immigrants from non-Anglo cultures, other Anglo cultures and Irish-born adolescents. This research is important in developing our understanding of immigration and psychological acculturation processes in Ireland in order to develop effective integration policy.

Phoebe McKenna
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
Social Cognition, Parental Relationships & Schizotypy


Schizophrenia is a highly prevalent and costly psychotic disorder which pervasively affects the sufferer’s ability to find employment and integrate socially. Indeed, social cognition (the human capacity for perceiving other people’s intentions and feelings) is one of the main deficits seen in this disorder. However, there is limited research assessing factors that influence social cognition and research is limited by confounds like medication usage. However, traits and experiences which resemble the symptoms of schizophrenia can be observed in healthy populations and these are predictive of future psychotic disorder; individuals with these so-called schizotypal traits can be usefully studied for schizophrenia research. Furthermore, given that early social environment affects social cognition development and the emergence of both schizophrenia and schizotypal traits, it may be useful to assess whether factors such as attachment to one’s parents affect social cognition and these traits.  The current research aims to add to the conflicting findings regarding whether social cognition deficits are observed in individuals at risk for schizophrenia, and whether any observed relationship is associated with poorer attachment to one’s parents. We are assessing this in 130 young adults using a number of validated psychometric measures. We expect that higher levels of schizotypal traits will be associated with impaired emotion recognition and a tendency to attribute negative outcomes to other people, and that these will be associated with poor attachment to one’s parents. This work can add valuable evidence regarding the nature of social cognition deficits in schizophrenia and may shed new light on the impact of social environment on schizophrenia development.

Cillian Moran
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
Historical Impacts of EU Constitutional Reform and Implications for EU law


For centuries Europe has been a continent scarred by conflict between nations. Consequently, as states have been formed, different approaches to democracy have developed, and enshrined in constitutions that also incorporate cultural aspects of each country. The last major European conflict, in the 1940s, left a significant impact on the European political landscape, which continues until this day.  With the establishment of the European Union, there was a belief that thousands of years of cultural differences and conflict would be overcome, and an era of eternal peace and economic prosperity would usher in. Yet It appears that following the establishment of the European institutions and the European Constitutional order, these national differences are holding back the Union from achieving it’s true potential. While there is talk about reforming the European system, from examining nations approaches to democracy, it appears the European Union is inherently unstable due to the complicated attempt to account for so many nations own institutional structures.  Ultimately the Union may collapse unless there is significant reform of the European constitutional structure, given it’s unprecedented level of growth and incorporation of 28 democracies.  It is clear that European history has had significant impact of the shape that the Union currently has, and how it will develop in the future years. Yet will any constitutional reform of the Union’s structures make a continent with a turbulent history any more acceptable to each states citizens ? And what other systems can we look to as a source of potential change?

Jack O'Meara
College of Engineering & Informatics
Fabrication of electro-spun poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid scaffolds functionalised with dextran sulphate for tendon repair


The current gold standard for treatment of tendon injuries is the autograft, but it presents serious issues such as donor site morbidity and lack of tissue availability. Although small injuries can be naturally healed, the spontaneous healing process can lead to scarring and formation of adhesions to surrounding tissues that will impair movement and strength. Recent tissue engineering efforts to restore injured tendons have been based on implantation of synthetic materials or natural materials in combination with functional molecules to attempt to restore functionality without the presence of scar tissue. This study is an in-depth investigation into functionalised poly (lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) scaffolds for the purpose of tendon repair. A focus will be put on the biophysical and biological modifications resulting from the functionalization of these scaffolds with dextran sulphate. In developing an implantable tissue scaffold, it is aimed to replicate the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the tissue of interest. This augment the bioactivity of the scaffold and encourages the proliferation of cells in vivo, thereby regenerating the tissue. The project is based on the hypothesis that dextran sulphate will enhance the scaffolds functionality. As such, the aim of the project is to characterize both functionalised and non-functionalised PLGA scaffolds, to investigate the effects of dextran sulphate on the clinical performance of pre-existing tissue engineered scaffolds. This investigation is aiming to derive statistically significant data that will prove the efficacy of functionalization.

Nigel da Silva Lima, Lucas Bezerra Maia, Robero Matheus & Owen Molloy
College of Engineering & Informatics
A Browser-based Activity Monitoring and Analysis Tool


Many small lean six-sigma / process improvement projects initially put a big effort into capturing accurate process models which represent the process under analysis. Generally the investment in these models is not sufficiently leveraged during the subsequent phases of the project, even though it represents the common conceptual model. This project is aimed at turning the process model into a dynamic data capture and presentation tool. Based on the BPMN standard, the process model will become a process dashboard, capable of being used in data capture as well as providing real-time analytics information. This system could be applied in hospitals to monitor queues and patient flow, or in other businesses and factories to monitor and capture production for small process improvement projects, without installation of large-scale electronic data capture systems. The aim is to produce a mobile-responsive design, to allow users to input data and follow processes from a variety of hand-held, portable devices. The client software is being developed using HTML5 and Javascript primarily.

Alina Madita Wieczorek
College of Science
Feeding Patterns of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula) Inhabiting Inshore Nephrops norvegicus Fishing Grounds


The lesser spotted dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula), an abundant predator in Irish coastal areas, is a common bycatch of inshore Nephrops norvegicus pot fishing. Dogfish are commonly discarded alive after being enclosed in pots together with Nephrops norvegicus and associated by-catch of decapods and fish, which make up part of their diet. To get insight into interactions during enclosure time feeding patterns of the lesser spotted dogfish inhabiting Nephrops norvegicus fishing grounds were explored using stomach content and stable isotope analysis. Specifically it was investigated whether predation on Nephrops norvegicus was increased while trapped together in pots and whether dogfish target pots. The lesser spotted dogfish stomach contents revealed an increase in predation on Nephrops norvegicus, which however had minor effects on fisheries. While stable isotope analysis combined with stomach fullness indices gave evidence that it might be of advantage for the dogfish to be trapped in the pots further behavioural studies are required to determine whether they actively target pots. Stable isototpe analysis showed that the main prey species of the lesser spotted dogfish were soft-bodied filter feeders and that stomach content analysis yielded erroneous results by over estimating hard-bodied prey species. While applying and evaluating new techniques, which yielded pertinent results this study resulted in an important contribution to advances in the field of stable isotope analysis and science in general.

Kristine Kenny
Education Department
Inviting global perspectives into the diverse Irish classroom: restraints of a Westernised curriculum at Junior Certificate level 

Within Irish education, criticisms have emerged regarding the role of schools and the Irish curriculum in developing citizenship, and specifically of a focus on Irish identity within both schooling and the curriculum (Brady, 2013; Bryan & Bracken, 2011; Mayhew, 2005; Ryan, 2003; Carter, 1995; Banks, 1993, 1991). The homogeneity that once comprised the Irish classroom has become increasingly diverse, and it must be considered that some work regarding diversity and inclusivity is already in place in schools, as demonstrated in the NCCA’s ‘Guidelines for Schools on Intercultural Education’ (2006; Leavy 2005). This paper would argue the position that current criticisms represent a need to explore the inability of a ‘Westernised’ curriculum to cater for diversity within Irish classrooms. The struggle of ‘Global Development’ to insert itself into a curriculum which it is argued, is ingrained with a focus on Irish identity to the detriment of and exclusion of intercultural explorations is evidenced; with specific reference to Junior Certificate Level. Some methods are suggested, in conclusion, for the successful integration of Global Development into the Irish classroom in order to allow students to challenge their own perspectives on cultural and intercultural issues and to allow students the opportunity to interact with cultural identities, other than their own.

Veasna Sum-Coffey & Rachel McCole
College of Science
Cloning fragments of Syndecan 2 to create an SDC2-Fc fusion peptide

Syndecan 2 is part of the syndecan proteoglycan family, which are transmembrane type 1 receptors. It has been found to be overexpressed in colon cancer; therefore, it could be used as a novel therapeutic drug. Syndecan 2 has also been shown to reduce inflammation response, promote angiogenesis and cell migration of tumor cells; therefore, our fusion peptide acts as an antagonist to compete against the cancer cell’s syndecan 2. The aim of our project is to engineer an Fc-SYND2 peptide for use in cancer therapy. We generated syndecan 2 fragments, cloned it into an Fc vector, and expressed it in HEK293 cells. An Fc-fusion peptide has been known to stabilize its partner peptide and allow for longer plasma half; thereby allowing the drug to stay longer in the blood with slower renal clearance.

Evandro Costa, Juraci Carlos de Castro Nobrega, Benjamin Lair & Evandro Augusto Neves Costa
College of Engineering & Informatics
Ferrocement hull: A Small Contribution for Shipbuilding in Riverside Communities

In the this present work is shown the research development to build a Ferrocement hull where the first one objective is find minor cost, taking in consideration easy construction form, minimum time to executing this hull. This final product have by objective take to the rivers communities a new method of the naval construction that come to be a cheap substitution for the woods hull and aluminum that exist. For this objective was developed a methodology specific about the production process where the first one step is the time table with all the steps that will be followed. Basically the methodology is the same find in Nóbrega, but in this case was used Maxsurf and Rhino software to calculate all the Naval Structure, hydrostatic date as stability and trim, also all design of the hull as geometry of the ship is obtained from the MaxSurf. The material and price was taken from the marketplace (about 160 euros). The build was developed by Naval engineering students from the Federal University and ENSTA Bretagne University over orientation of the Teachers from UFPE. Important is that this project is part of the CAPES program called BRAFITEC, where the UFPe and ENSTA Bretagne University worked together.

Mark Roche
College of Engineering & Informatics
Digital Control of a Magnetic Suspension System


The main aim of this paper is to facilitate an introduction to digital control for power engineering applications for undergraduate students. It does this through the design of a digital controller for a magnetic suspension system from an existing analogue controller. The suspension system levitates a steel ball, the position of which is recorded using a light and sensor. These systems are naturally unstable, as indicated by Earnshaw’s theorem, and therefore require control. The controller is initially modelled in MATLAB/Simulink due to the ease at which different control blocks can be connected and simulated. It is then discretised, using information such as the control ‘tunings’. The controller for the electromagnet is implemented on an Arduino micro-controller, using a digital signal processing style approach, both of which should be familiar to undergraduates of electrical engineering. The control algorithm on the Arduino is of equation form. Here, the current input, along with previous input and output values, are mathematically processed and output to a power amplifier, which controls the strength of the electromagnet. The Arduino controller accepts an input and generates the output voltages necessary according to the model to stabilise the system. At the time of writing, the Arduino is being integrated with the existing system for a live demonstration. This would complete the aim of the project and tie together all of the elements, i.e. the electromagnet, power amplifier, and digital controller. It builds on the educational foundation of the original system to provide a demonstration of digital control principles.

Jason Walsh
College of Business, Public Policy, & Law
How to Understand Financial Markets


The financial markets are difficult to understand. There are so many facets and variables plugged into the markets that it can boggle the mind. Finding a starting point is probably the most difficult task to undertake and just as difficult is sourcing literature that says, “Start here!” I decided that I would find that starting point for myself. From January 2013 to January 2014, I tracked the Dow Jones Industrial Average market index every single day for a year. The idea was to capture the full annual cycle of the Dow. I recorded opening, closing, high and low prices every day to understand trends. I had to unearth the multitude of reports that impact the Dow and why, and research many other inputs like: the frequency of critical data releases, Quantitative Easing, interest rates, employment reports, CPIs, PMIs and risk management. To test my results, I apply all of this information on a practice trading platform to test my level of skill and knowledge. The results were often counterintuitive. Sometimes the market would react in the opposite way one would expect, so that required further research to understand why this was. Other times it reacted in an expected way. All just the tip of the iceberg. I would love to share my research at the Undergraduate Research Conference. The financial markets are a fascinating place and my one year tracking the Dow Jones has really helped me with my current studies on the B.Comm.

Elaine Higgins
College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences
Exploring the aesthetic font preference of adults with mild intellectual disability


Society is obsessed with aesthetic appeal, it influences our choices, opinions and wants. If we think something looks nice we are more likely to engage with it. When it comes to reading material people with intellectual disabilities are not asked about their preference when it comes to the type of font that is used. Instead easy read fonts are suggested in the literature. Yes, they may make the information easier to read but does not take into account aesthetic appeal and the person may not take an interest in the material as a result. My research aims to explore the font preference of adults with an intellectual disability and determine from a sample of 30 adults with a mild intellectual disability- is there an overall preference for a font. This has the potential to have positive effects for participants- printed materials and signage may be changed to suit their preference. It also will acknowledge that their opinion is important and will be listened to. This research may help inform future research on whether or not this preference has an impact on accessibility of information. I plan to carry out an experimental study involving 30 participants with ID and see what preference if any they have.

Cáit Ní Nialláin
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
The Distorted Male Gaze in a Growing Cyber Society


The male gaze was first formulated by Laura Mulvey in her article ‘Visual Pleasure in Narrative Cinema,’ published in 1975. She proposed that the patriarchy could not be filtered from the male gaze in cinema and that the camera is used as an object of sexism as a result. I plan to discuss how pornography has commoditized sexuality and narrowed it down greatly in a vertical integration type manner and how this influences the male psyche. I will analyse the respective male gazes developed by the protagonists of Lars and the Real Girl(2007), Her(2013)and Don Jon(2013). I will accomplish this by reading extensively on the history of feminists’ approaches to pornography, the various applications of the male gaze and the gradual evolution of cyberspace. Through this study I will explore the parasitic effect pornographic consumption has had on the male gaze, turning sex into a commoditized product. This gaze is transferred from the filmic viewpoint of the camera to the groomed viewpoint of the male character who has consumed so much pornography as to become synonymous with the camera’s probing view. This osmosis type effect breaches not only sexual relations but sabotages entire relationships for these characters as they become incapable of fulfilling fundamental social contracts of courtship. The viewpoint of the camera ironically seems to pity the men they capture on screen in the aforementioned films. This paper will show how Mulvey’s theory has gained new meaning in our growing cyber society.

André Luiz Santos Alves, Francisco David Meneses dos Santos & Francisco Carvalho de Arrunda Coelho 
College of Engineering & Informatics
Contribution to research of concrete strength prediction by ultrasonic pulse velocity test: influence of cement consumption


The non-destructive testing (NDT) are tests that when are applied cause little or no damage to the evaluated structure. To get good results, some researchers say that two or more NDT should be applied in a structure. This study aims to evaluate the accuracy of the ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) used alone to determine the strength of concrete, using as main variable the cement consumption. Therefore, three concrete with different mix design have been made by varying the cement consumption (322, 437 and 544 kg/m³) and keeping constant the mortar content. For each mix design it has been shaped 40 cylindrical samples (CS) (10x20 cm) that were analyzed at the ages of 3 days (4 CS), 7 days (4 CS), 14 days (8 CS), 28 days (12 CS), 91 days (8 CS), 182 (4 CS). Each CS has been analyzed by the “resistance to axial compression” test and “ultrasonic pulse velocity” test. The results have showed that the compressive strength for a given age, was directly proportional to cement consumption. It has also been noticed that the VPU suffered no variation for a given age in concrete with different cement consumption, emphasizing the value of the VPU was directly proportional to the age of the samples, as expected. Through the analysis of the results, it has been noticed that the variation in cement consumption in high proportions has significant influence on concrete strength but has little or no influence on the VPU.

Sinead Gaffney
Education
The Home Economics teacher as leader within the school community: A reflection


Teaching is a dynamic and multifaceted profession, this together with the rapid pace of societal change has brought about the need to reconceptualise the teacher as leader. There is much debate as to what constitutes a teacher leader. This study makes a valuable contribution to research in the field as currently no research of this nature exists in the Irish context. This research examined pertinent literature (Mc Beath, 2014, Robinson, 2012, Mc Gregor, 2010, Magee, 2007) from both the Irish and international contexts. The Teaching Council (2012) advocate that all teachers engage in critical reflection and develop as transformative leaders working collectively in enhancing teaching and learning and contributing to organisational development. The research aims to develop an understanding of the Home Economics teacher as leader within the school community. A qualitative autoethnographical reflection was the approach employed. It provides an idiomatic insight focusing on the researcher’s subjective experience, analysing the complex experiences which have contributed to her personal and professional development and ultimately, the development in her conceptualisation of the teacher as leader. The reflections were analysed under four themes: the mission and philosophy of Home Economics, the changing culture of teaching, Home Economist as reflective practitioner and the teacher as leader. The findings of this research reveal significant developments in the researcher’s conceptualisation of the Home Economics teacher during the B.Ed (Home Economics) degree programme. Key recommendations highlight the need for all teachers as “community of learners” to make a commitment to critical reflection as this plays a pivotal role in enhancing teaching and learning.

Maria Ní Fhlatharta
College of Business, Public Policy, & Law
Questioning Constitutionally, the fifth amendment, disability and false confessions


Over the last two decades, there has been a shift in law and policy from treating the issues of persons with disabilities as one of charity, to an urgent human rights matter that must be addressed. Many nations should be commended for the improvements seen in anti-discrimination law, education rights and allowances for reasonable accommodations, which is creating a growing culture of community inclusiveness as opposed to the isolated and institutionalised status quo. The rights of persons with disabilities continue to be realised within mainstream society, however this is not universal through all areas of society. There is a tendency to ignore issues of disability in the criminal justice system for example. While the disability rights movement and prisoners rights movement have both gained traction over the last number of years there has been a failure to recognise the intersection between the two. This has had exceptionally negative consequences for a number of people with disabilities, as will be examined in detail throughout this paper. Specific focus is given to issues and barriers at the point of entry to the criminal justice system. The research takes a specific look at the link between false confessions and intellectual disability and examines what reasonable accommodations could be implemented to make the criminal justice system accessible to all.

Edel Browne
College of Science
Free Feet: A device to reduce freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease


My project involved the development and testing of "Free Feet". Free Feet is a visual cueing system designed to treat gait freezing in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition and gait freezing is a very common and debilitating symptom which occurs in ~72% of cases, and it is described as “being stuck to the ground”. Gait freezing (FoG) is caused by a deficiency in the neurotransmitter dopamine in the midbrain. Dopamine is responsible for control of muscular action, so loss of the chemical in PD patients leads to FoG. Free Feet aims to reduce the severity of FoG, and it consists of a laser diode, battery and tilt switch. It is attached to the instep of the user’s shoe. The idea is that if the user focuses on the dot that Free Feet emits, they change the part of the brain that they are using from the midbrain, to the Frontal Lobes. As automatic walking is controlled by the midbrain, and non-automatic (which we practise when we are focusing on something like the dot) is controlled by the frontal lobes. There is more dopamine available in the frontal lobes, there is more ability for movement to occur, and I found from my studies that there was an average decrease in freezing severity of 39% among my test group, which consisted of 5 females and 3 males, carried out in collaboration with the Galway Parkinson’s Association.

Chris Moran
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
Their Dark Materials': How the National Theatre’s adaptation captured the essence of Philip Pullman’s 'His Dark Materials'


In 2003, England's National Theatre undertook the mammoth task of adapting Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy into two, three-hour-long plays. Combing puppetry, projection, and a cinematic soundtrack, each play contained 53 scene-changes, facilitated by the Olivier Theatre's drum-revolve stage. Although many previews had to be cancelled due to technical difficulties, Nicholas Hytner's production was lauded by critics and audiences alike, with even Pullman remarking, ‘They did it about as well as you can possibly do it in the theatre. Because it worked in the way theatre works.’ My research seeks to examine both Wright’s dramatic text and Hytner’s theatrical realisation to determine how they ‘captured the essence’ of the trilogy – that is, how both storytelling mediums 'work in the way they work'. By focusing on specific scenes and themes recurring in the novels and the plays, I will examine the process of adaptation through consideration of structure, characterisation, and the theatricalisation of Pullman’s story.

Sarah Carthy
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
“What they did was worse”: Do advantageous comparisons influence our moral judgement when confronted with acts of violent extremism?

History is decorated with instances of individuals justifying seemingly immoral acts through colouring their behaviour against that of another; “I hit him because he hit me”, “we dropped an airstrike because they fired rockets”. When playing the comparison game, a lot can be justified and often is. This mechanism is known as advantageous comparison; it is a key perpetrator in the removal of guilt or shame in moral decision-making. This is known as moral disengagement. Research has identified this model as instrumental in understanding extremism and radicalization in racism. However, here lacks an empirical basis for the efficacy of the individual mechanisms involved. How effective is advantageous comparison in influencing individuals’ willingness to justify an act of violent extremism? Research in the field has asked if individual differences such as personality traits could influence susceptibility to moral disengagement mechanisms. My research looks at advantageous comparison and its relationship with individuals’ moral identity salience. If being a moral person is important to somebody, will they be less susceptible to radicalization through advantageous comparison? This research will test advantageous comparison by means of a 4-minute video documenting the Gaza Conflict. The experimental group will be exposed to advantageous comparison but the control group will not. Will the experimental group justify the violent acts more than their controls? Will their moral identity salience interact with their justifications? The most detrimental threats to humankind are those which are morally justified; this research aims to recreate those threats. And trigger those justifications.

Katie Fallon
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
The appropriate balance between justice and peace in conflict resolution efforts?

The relationship between justice and peace has been intensely debated within peace and conflict studies. While the close relationship between the two is accepted, the question of ‘an appropriate balance’ remains a highly contested concept. Should peace be accepted at any price even if it involves granting amnesty to those guilty of war crimes? Or should accountability be pursued at the expense of a peace process in order to establish a society based on a foundation of justice and respect for human rights? This paper examines the cases of restorative and retributive justice in order to answer these questions. It concludes that tackling issues of justice should be a priority before, during and after conflict. However there is deep complexity in a debate that is categorized both by principles and strategy. Adhering to principles leaves less room for compromise, focusing on strategy on the other hand leaves room for a wide variety of compromises provided they lead one step closer to the end goal. There can be no clear answer to the exact ‘appropriate balance’ applicable to all cases. However ‘the passage from negative peace to positive peace runs through justice’ and neither value can ever be fully realised without the other.

Niall McHugh
College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies
To what extent was the New Deal successful in overcoming the consequences of the Great Depression of 1929?

The question posed by this paper is to what extent were the policies and changes brought about by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal successful in overcoming the consequences of the Great Depression. A great deal has been published on this topic, but there is little consensus on this issue. Many approach this question with a political agenda, which heavily influences their rationale. Others focus on the personalities of those involved. This paper aims to look at the impact the various programs had in an objective manner and make assessments based on that. Material examined in this paper includes various primary sources such as government memorandums and newspapers, as well as a variety of books on the topic, such as Anthony J. Badger's 'The New Deal'. The primary argument of this presentation is that The New Deal had a mixed record of accomplishments and failures, but it ultimately provided crucial economic security for countless Americans.

Eunice Phillip
School of Nursing
Triage: Factors influencing its ability, accuracy of Decision Making and Reliability triage scale in the Emergency Department

Aim: To analyse and present a synthesis of existing literature on the influence of experience on triage nurses’ ability to make triage decisions, its accuracy and the reliability of Manchester Triage system (MTS) in the Emergency Department.
Background: Decision making is the most significant process in the prioritizing of different patients’ presentation in the Emergency Department. Factors, not limited to knowledge, education, experience, overcrowding, lack of resources, ineffective use of triage scale and many others has been identified through several studies as affecting the accuracy of this process. Many 5-tier triage scales have been introduced to standardize and support these time –critical decisions. Identifying the key influencing factor in triage decision making remains debatable among researchers.
Methods: Research papers that investigated how triage nurses’ arrive at triage decisions about the acuity of presenting patient cases and the effectiveness of 5-tier triage scale in supporting triage decision were sought. Qualitative and quantitative research papers from 1998-2013 were retrieved from PubMed, CINAHL, Medline, ScienceDirect, PsychINFO and Google Scholar electronic databases. The following search terms were used by the reviewer: ‘clinical judgement’, ‘clinical decision’, ‘decision making’, ‘triage’, ‘prioritise’, ‘Manchester triage system’, ‘emergency department’, emergency room and ‘emergency department’.
Results: Ninety seven research papers were electronically retrieved from the search. Detailed assessment of these papers yielded a total of thirteen research papers that were included in the review. Twelve of these were primary research papers and one systematic review. This review is synthesized under two dominant themes generated from analysis of these research papers. These are (a) influence of experience on accuracy of triage decision making and (b) reliability of Manchester triage system as a triage tool.
Conclusion: This review revealed that emergency and triage experience is influential on the ability of triage nurses to prioritize patients in the emergency department. This reliance on these experiences alone cannot account for the accuracy of the acuity ratings. Also MTS is revealed as a reliable tool of support in establishing acuity level in emergency department especially in more urgent conditions and in children if implemented accurately.
Recommendations: Acquisition of triage experience should be supported in practice by allowing new emergency nurses to participate in triaging of patients. Continuing education tailored to recognising subtle critical presentations not well defined in triage tools should be incorporated for both new and experienced nurses to reduce undertriage. The reviewer suggests that further research is needed to investigate the ineffectiveness of MTS in detecting less urgent conditions. This will help ascertain if a review of the systems’ guidelines is necessary.