Thursday, 15 February 2018

Irish Embassy in Paris to host NUI Galway Art Collection

Looking West - Súil Siar – Vues de l’Ouest is the title of an exhibition of nine artworks from NUI Galway’s art collection to be housed in the Irish Embassy in Paris for a two year period. A preview prior to its departure will take place in the newly refurbished art gallery in the Quadrangle at the University from the 21–24 February, from 12–4pm. This is the first exhibition of a body of work from the collection to travel overseas. The artworks will go on display in the Embassy building, which is located close to the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris. Fionnuala Gallagher, Arts Officer at NUI Galway, said: “It is a special treat to have these artworks on display in such a beautiful, light-filled building, in the heart of Paris. We hope that the paintings settle in well and that they inspire further exchanges between Ireland and France and between artist and viewer.” The Embassy chose the nine artworks from a curated list of 20 pieces (10 by living artists, 10 by deceased artists) with a connection to the West of Ireland. They represent the variety and originality of NUI Galway’s substantial art collection. Looking West offers a unique glimpse into modern and traditional Irish art, from Grace Henry and her contemporary Lily Williams via Gerard Dillon, John O’Leary and Brian Bourke to young artist Moira Comiskey. It captures the changing Irish landscape, weather and soul, with places and portraits in styles ranging from realism to abstraction and media across painting, drawing and printmaking. All are welcome to attend the opening reception with Gearóid Ó Conluain, An Rúnaí of NUI Galway with special guest Honorary Consul Catherine Gagneux on Wednesday, 21 February, at 12 noon. View the entire art collection at -Ends-

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Researchers at NUI Galway identify a new function for the gene centrobin that could help understand developmental disorders that affect multiple organs in the body  A new study carried out by researchers from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, has uncovered a new function for a gene called centrobin that implicates it in human health, with potential roles in the developing heart, kidney and eye, as well as in cancer. The study was published today (13 February 2018) in the prestigious Journal of Cell Biology. Most cell types in the body carry an antenna-like structure called the primary cilium that detects signals from outside the cell, such as specific molecules or fluid flows. Problems with primary cilia lead to developmental disorders that affect multiple organs in the body, including the kidney, eye, brain and heart. Changes to cells that occur in cancer can also involve primary cilia. In this study the NUI Galway researchers describe a new role in making primary cilia for a gene called centrobin.  The NUI Galway researchers used a cutting-edge technique of genome manipulation, CRISPR, to remove the gene centrobin from human cells, and found that cilium formation was blocked. In collaboration with a group from the University of Ulm, Germany, they found that centrobin loss in zebrafish embryos caused developmental disorders that reflected ciliary problems, such as mis-positioning of the heart or the pancreas.  The study was directed by Professor Ciaran Morrison from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, who said: “This work is exciting because it suggests that centrobin might play a new role in human health. Much remains to be discovered about how cilia work in the body and our identification of centrobin as a player in this process opens new possibilities for understanding primary cilia.”  The first author of the study was Dr Yetunde Adesanya Ogungbenro, a graduate of Dundalk IT who recently completed her PhD at NUI Galway with postgraduate funding from the Irish Research Council.  Other collaborators involved in the study included Imperial College London, and Mr Pierce Lalor and Professor Peter Dockery from NUI Galway’s Discipline of Anatomy. To read the full study in Journal of Cell Biology, visit: -Ends-

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

A new online treatment programme, set up by expert psychologists and physiotherapists, aims to help those who are managing multiple chronic health conditions The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, with the support of the Health Research Board, is currently recruiting people with chronic pain and at least one other long-term condition to take part in a research study. The study is open to people all over Ireland and will take place over the coming months. GPs and other health professionals around the country are also being encouraged to refer suitable people to the study. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) trial will provide eight online sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. At the moment, such supports are scarce and generally aimed at the self-management of single specific chronic conditions, such as chronic pain alone. Research has shown that having multiple chronic conditions, also known as multimorbidity, is associated with a number of negative outcomes, such as a decline in physical and mental functioning, a decreased quality of life and a greater risk of mortality. The ACT trial is based on emerging clinical science that demonstrates the usefulness of managing health conditions through mindfulness and psychological wellbeing. The free online sessions in the ACT programme will focus on values and goals that are individual to each person in the trial. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. In addition, mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy will help identify both negative thinking patterns and the development of effective challenges. Dr Brian Slattery, coordinator of the study at the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, says: “We know that psychological therapies provided to people with chronic conditions are beneficial, but can be hard to access. In this trial, we will offer this online programme to people all over the country, with any combination of conditions, to try alongside any existing treatments they are already using.” People who take part in the ACT trial will not need to attend any clinic or the University at any stage. All materials are tailored for those wishing to learn effective ways of managing their health conditions. Participants can access physiotherapy and all medical services as usual while involved in the trial. Study supervisor, Dr Brian McGuire from the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway, said: “This is a promising new online pain management programme and we are hopeful it will be of benefit to people with multimorbidity.” For further information and suitable patient referrals, please email and visit: -Ends- 

Monday, 12 February 2018

Dr Dearbháile Morris from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway has received the largest single award of funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for her research examining the role the environment plays in the transmission of antimicrobial resistance. The EPA awarded a total of €11.2 million to fund new environmental research projects with Dr Morris receiving the largest single award of €650,000 for her four year ‘AREST’ (Antimicrobial Resistance and the Environment – Sources, Persistence, Transmission and Risk Management) project. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses,   fungi and parasites) to change and stop the drugs used to treat infection (such as antibiotics) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others. Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as one the greatest threats to human health. It is estimated that by 2050, unless action is taken, 10 million deaths per year will be attributable to antimicrobial resistance. There are several different types of antimicrobial resistant organisms such as methicillin resistant, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), some of which are resistant to the last resort antibiotics. Such is the concern about the increase in the incidence of CPE that Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD declared it a public health emergency in 2017. The emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance is related to the use of antimicrobial agents. Antimicrobial agents have been used for decades in humans and animals. The ‘One-Health’ concept, a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care, recognises that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment. It is only recently that attention has been given to the impact that discharge of antimicrobial resistant organisms and of antimicrobials has on the environment. The environment is a key link between antimicrobial resistance in animals and humans, therefore it is imperative to adopt a holistic ‘One Health’ approach in trying to address the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance. The proposed research will generate national level data on the key sources, hot spots and drivers of antimicrobial resistance in the environment from various sectors (health, agriculture, industrial) and brings together key players in the area of antimicrobial resistance. This will embed the ‘One Health’ concept and build the capacity of Ireland’s research community to support Irelands National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance. Speaking about her award, Dr Dearbháile Morris, Head of Discipline of Bacteriology at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway, said: “I am very excited to receive this funding award and commend the EPA for recognising the importance of funding research in this area. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats to human health. We are facing the very real possibility of entering an era where there are no useful antibiotics left to treat infection. “We need to understand better what role the environment plays in the transmission and persistence of antimicrobial resistance. This four year research project will generate national level data on the key sources, hot spots and drivers of antimicrobial resistance in the environment from various sectors, and brings together a team of world renowned experts in the areas of human health, animal health, agriculture, the environment, geographical information systems, risk assessment, high throughput sequencing technologies and metagenomics.” Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, said: “The EPA is pleased to announce these awards under our Research Programme and to continue to support research and innovation in areas of environmental importance. The outputs from these projects will provide the foundation and evidence base for credible environmental decision-making into the future.” The AREST project is being led by NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Danish Technical University, UCD, Teagasc and Maynooth University. -Ends-

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