Recipients of Sports Scholarships Treated to Address by Irish Rugby Player and NUI Galway student Robbie Henshaw

Recipients of Sports Scholarships Treated to Address by Irish Rugby Player and NUI Galway student Robbie Henshaw-image

Monday, 16 November 2015

NUI Galway Award 30 New Sports Scholarships NUI Galway Vice President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan, recently presented 30 outstanding athletes with NUI Galway Student Sports Scholarships. The ceremony commenced with a special address by Irish and Connacht Rugby player, Robbie Henshaw, who is also an NUI Galway student. Fresh from his return from Ireland’s recent Rugby World Cup campaign, Robbie spoke to the scholarship students and parents about his recent experiences and the demands of world class sport. Kathy Hynes, Acting Head of Sport, who manages the scholarship scheme was delighted to welcome Henshaw back to NUI Galway: “It is important for our students to have role models such as Robbie who is competing at the highest level but continue to maintain their academic pathway. Robbie is an athlete who embodies all that is positive in sporting excellence and academic achievement. It is very rewarding to support athletes from a range of sports in their academic and athletic endeavour to achieve in both areas the best they can be.” This year’s ceremony saw the Performance Points Sports Scholarship awarded to eight outstanding athletes. The scheme provides 40 additional points to those earned in the Leaving Certificate for elite athletes, for academic courses over 350 entry points. This year’s scholarship recipients represent some of the finest young talent in Irish sport today including Naomi Carroll, Irish International Hockey player who has 69 caps. Jamie Fallon, track and cross country athlete who has already three appearances in an Irish vest, Jamie will be competing mid-November for a place in the Irish U20 for the European Cross country team in France. Ladies soccer continues to grow in strength with Aoife Walsh, Performance point’s recipient and youngest player to represent Galway Women’s Football Club (WFC) season 2013-2014 and former FAI senior cup winner. Shauna Fox, WFC team member and Louise Creaven current goalkeeper for Castlebar WFC all received awards. Conor Melody and Kevin Horgan, Galway United team players conclude the soccer awards. The NUI Galway Basketball club will host the prestigious Intervarsity competition in April 2016. As winners of this elite competition in 2015 of the men's A tournament and the women completing the double in the B tournament the University hopes 2015 will be an equally successful year. Patrick Lyons and Joseph Tummon are both scholarship recipients 2015 and NUI Galway varsity players. Sporting success continues with Ronan O’Sullivan, former scholarship recipient and Patrick Lyons being selected for the “Hibernia” select team for International competition. NUI Galway continues to grow its success in Rowing, with 2014-2015 winning the Men’s Intermediate 4 of Ireland for NUI Galway. The squad included Daniel Buckley and Jack Bennett both recipients of this year’s scholarship. The squad also included Aidan Kinneen and Kevin Neville. Recipient, Katie McEneff was a member of both the club and intermediate crews that took national titles at this season’s championship, with the Intermediate 4 setting a new national record time. And Ailbhe Ní Ghríofa who in 2014 was part of the successful women’s club eight and four. Rugby scholarships were presented to Roy Stanley, Connacht U20’s, Mark Dolan, Ireland schools and U20’s, John Moloney Ireland U19’s and Shannen Lane, a member of the Irish 7’s Development squad. Swim Ireland Connacht Performance centre based on the NUI Galway campus has continued to attract high performance athletes. The wider reach of this partnership supports the University strategic direction of community engagement. David Dowling and Alannah Leonard were both recipients of the Performance point’s scholarship. Scholarships in individual sports such as Golf were awarded to Cathal Nolan, a Commerce and Accountancy student from Barna in Galway. Cathal is a member of the prestigious Galway Golf Club playing off par 1. Gaelic Games within NUI Galway continues to attract high profile players and future talent including All-Star hurling nominees Conor Whelan and Padraic Mannion. Kerry Hurler Darragh Shanahan, Sligo footballer Kevin McDonnell, Roscommon footballer David Murray and Mayo’s Adam Gallagher; Ladies Gaelic Footballer, Emer Gallagher from Donegal and Camogie All-Star nominee in 2015 Chloe Morey from Clare, all secured scholarships on the night. Speaking at the award ceremony, Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan, said: “I would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s awards and remind them of the honour of representing the University and we hope they will aspire to even greater successes such as those achieved by the recent scholarship holders in Hurling, Camogie, Rowing, Rugby and Swimming who have reached the pinnacle of their sports.” NUI Galway Performance Points awardees: • Gaelic Football: Adam Gallagher from Claremorris, Co. Mayo • Hurling: Darragh Shanahan from Lixnaw, Co. Kerry • Rugby: Shannen Lane from Drumolga Wood, Co. Cavan • Rugby: John Moloney from Shortcastle, Co. Cork • Ladies Soccer: Aoife Walsh from Clybaun Road, Galway City • Ladies Soccer: Louise Creaven from Galway City • Swimming: Alannah Leonard from Devenish, Enniskillen • Swimming: David Dowling from Oranmore, Co. Galway NUI Galway Sports Scholarships awardees: • Athletics: Maebh Brannigan from Circular Road, Galway • Athletics: Jamie Fallon, from Craughwell. Co. Galway • Basketball: Patrick Lyons from Moycullen, Co. Galway • Basketball: Joseph Tummon from Circular Road, Galway • Hurling: Conor Whelan from Kinvara, Co. Galway • Hurling: Padraic Mannion, from Ahascargh, Co. Galway • Gaelic Football: Kevin Mc Donnell from Castleconner, Sligo • Gaelic Football: David Murray from Ballydangan, Co. Roscommon • Camogie: Chloe Morey from Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare • Golf: Cathal Nolan from Knocknacarra, Galway • Rowing: Jack Bennett from Renmore Galway • Rowing: Dan Buckley from Blackrock, Co. Dublin • Rowing: Ailbhe Ní Ghríofa from Salthill, Galway • Rowing: Katie McEneff from St Raphaels Manor, Co. Kildare • Rugby: Roy Stanley from Thurles, Co. Tipperary • Rugby: Mark Dolan from Athlone, Co. Westmeath • Soccer: Shauna Fox from Headford Road, Galway • Soccer: Kevin Horgan from Clybaun Road, Galway • Soccer: Conor Melody from Doughiska, Galway • Gaelic Football: Emer Gallagher from Churchill, Donegal • Hockey: Naomi Carroll from Cratloe, Co Galway • Hockey: Alice Meagher from Knocknacarra, Galway City -Ends-

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TULCA Visual Arts Festival 2015: Seachange at NUI Galway

TULCA Visual Arts Festival 2015: Seachange at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 16 November 2015

NUI Galway events and exhibitions at TULCA explores issues of climate change and our place in the changing landscape The annual festival of visual arts, TULCA, runs this year from November the 13 to 29 November and is curated by Mary Cremin. NUI Galway plays host to a number of events and many staff members from NUI Galway are taking part in the festival. This year’s festival, entitled Seachange, explores issues of climate change and our place in a changing landscape. Through a combination of the real and the imaginary, the exhibiting artists create a collective call for a sea change, literally, in our current climate policies. Accompanying the visual art exhibitions and film screenings is a series of talks and discussions entitled ‘Hy-Brasil Dialogues’. These talks will be held in the Aula Maxima at NUI Galway on Saturday 14 and Saturday 28 November, running from 12pm to 5pm. Geographers, geologists, marine researchers, architects, linguists and artists will explore the complexity of our current environment, both locally and globally and from the perspective of geological time, present-time and future projections. Among the contributors to the ‘Hy-Brasil Dialogues’ are NUI Galway staff members, geologist Dr Alessandra Costanzo, Director of the Geofluids Research Laboratory, geographers Dr Alexandra Revez, Post-Doctoral Researcher with the 3-Cities Project and Dr Eugene Farrell, Lecturer in Geography and writer and sean nós singer Dr Lillis O’Laoire, Senior Lecturer in Irish at NUI Galway. Dr Lillis O’Laoire also features in ‘Island Sessions: Stories and Songs of Sea and Shore’, a lunchtime event of live performances, being held in the TULCA Festival Gallery at the Connacht Tribune Print Works in Market Street, from 1pm to 3pm on Sunday, 15 November. Folk tales, legends and songscapes of the West coast of Ireland, encompassing magic, transformations, love, loss and pride of place, will be performed by Lillis and local storyteller, Seosamh Ó Guairim. The James Mitchell Geology Museum in the University is a focal point for this year’s TULCA. The fossils and the specimens exhibited in the museum speak of a geological time that is beyond our comprehension. Artist Barbara Knezevic’s piece, Conglomerations, Constellations, draws on the geological samples from the museum and one of her artworks will be situated within the museum itself. Full details of the talks are available at: Talks are free but booking is essential as places are limited. Information about all the TULCA exhibitions, screenings and events is available at: -Ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Kildare

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Kildare-image

Monday, 16 November 2015

Secondary school students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Naas on Thursday, 19 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7pm to 9pm in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, and a Marine Science degree. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the new Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours). Celine O’Donovan, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to County Kildare, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Naas is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Naas, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Siobhan Dorman on 086 0421591 or -Ends-

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Company Law Expert to Address Companies Act at NUI Galway Law School Lecture

Company Law Expert to Address Companies Act at NUI Galway Law School Lecture-image

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The commencement of the Companies Act 2014 earlier this year (June 2015) has had new and far reaching consequences for company directors, lawyers and accountants. Chairman of the Company Law Review Group, and the driving force behind the 2014 Act, Dr Thomas Courtney, will deliver a lecture in the School of Law at NUI Galway on Tuesday evening, 24 November at 6pm. Dr Courtney, an NUI Galway graduate, has had a distinguished career to date as partner in Arthur Cox Solicitors, where he is Head of Compliance and Governance Practice. He will deliver a lecture on the Companies Act 2014 - what it means for existing companies, directors’ duties and compliance provisions. Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, Professor Donncha O’Connell, said: “We are delighted to welcome back one of our most distinguished graduates, Dr Tom Courtney, to deliver this lecture which is timely because of the recent commencement of the Companies Act. It also coincides with the introduction of the new four-year Bachelor of Corporate Law Degree, which will be available from September 2016. This event will be of interest to the wider legal and business communities in Galway, as well as to existing students and staff at NUI Galway Law School.” Dr Courtney’s talk will be held in the O’Flaherty Lecture Theatre on the Main Concourse of the Arts/ Science building. The event is free but places are limited, so if you are interested in attending please e-mail Nicola Gavin at the Law School at or call 091 492389. CPD certificates will be available for members of the legal profession. ENDS

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NUI Galway Students and Graduates Awarded National University of Ireland Prizes

NUI Galway Students and Graduates Awarded National University of Ireland Prizes-image

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

At a ceremony on 10 November in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Chancellor of the National University of Ireland Dr Maurice Manning presented fellowships, scholarships and other valued at in excess of €850,000 to graduates and students of NUI. NUI honoured scholars of distinction at every stage of their academic studies, from undergraduates to senior scholars well established in their fields of expertise. Over 30 students and graduates of NUI Galway were awarded prizes. NUI Galway graduates received a number of awards, including an outstanding Five Travelling Studentships – one in the Humanities and four in the Sciences. The Dr Mary Thornton Scholarship in Education was shared by two winners, both connected to NUI Galway. These awards will support post-graduate and doctoral research in a variety of subjects, from human rights in Uganda to bioprosthetic heart valves. NUI Galway graduate Dr Ciaran O'Neill was awarded a Special Commendation in connection with the Publication Prize in Irish History 2015, for his new work Catholics of Consequence: Transnational Education, Social Mobility and the Irish Catholic Elite, 1850 – 1900 (Oxford University Press, 2014). NUI Galway undergraduates were equally successful. Students received the Mansion House Fund Scholarship in Irish History, the Mansion House Fund Prize in Irish, two medals in the Dr H H Stewart Literary Scholarship competitions, and twenty-one medals in the Dr H H Stewart Medical Scholarship competitions, including nine first prizes. President Jim Browne, said on the success of NUI Galway students and graduates: “This clearly highlights the high calibre of students studying on NUI Galway programmes and follows previous successes in these annual awards. I congratulate the Awardees on their achievements and encourage them in the future endeavours. In commending the Award recipients, I’d also like to pay tribute to their teachers for their work in supporting these students and in helping them to achieve such high standards.” Speaking at the event, Dr Manning congratulated the award recipients, commending their scholarly distinction and ‘outstanding academic achievement’. He highlighted the importance of promoting scholars and scholarship as a core aim of NUI, and stated that the University is ‘very pleased to be able to offer this level of support for academic achievement and through its awards to provide opportunities for able students to engage in further studies’. Details on NUI Awards to be offered in 2016 will be available from January at   ENDS

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Antibiotic Prescriptions of First Line Drugs Increased in Study to Promote better Prescribing for UTI

Antibiotic Prescriptions of First Line Drugs Increased in Study to Promote better Prescribing for UTI-image

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

NUI Galway study includes 71 physicians, 30 general practitioners and 3,500 patients in Ireland who were randomly assigned to one of three groups with the goal of changing prescribing behaviour for urinary tract infections An initiative to improve the prescribing of antibiotics for urinary tract infections resulted in better-quality prescribing of first line antibiotics, although the number of prescriptions also increased, according to new research carried out by NUI Galway and Oxford University. The study was published today (16 November 2015) in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). The study entitled ‘Supporting the Improvement and Management of Prescribing for UTIs (SIMPle)’, first began in 2011 when NUI Galway researchers found that a variety of antibiotics were prescribed by general practitioners for urinary tract infections (UTI’s). As the spread of antibiotic resistance continues, the researchers set out to improve antibiotic prescribing for urinary tract infections in general practice and designed a cluster randomised intervention. The study involved 71 physicians, 30 general practitioners and 3,500 patients in Ireland (Galway city and county, and Roscommon). Overall, a 20% absolute increase in prescribing of antibiotics according to guidelines was observed in the intervention groups. However, general practitioners also increased overall prescribing of antibiotics for urinary tract infection. Dr Akke Vellinga, Epidemiologist in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at NUI Galway, and co-author of the study, said: “The increase in overall prescribing of antibiotics for urinary tract infection was unexpected, and it was not possible to conclude whether this was clinically appropriate or an unwanted consequence. The SIMPle study improved the quality of antibiotic prescribing through the use of audit reports and reminders. In a next step, the quantity of antibiotic prescribing for urinary tract infection will be addressed.” The World Health Organisation (WHO) has deemed antibiotic resistance an immediate threat to world health. Overuse and overprescribing of antibiotics are major contributors to antibiotic-resistant diseases. Urinary tract infections are one of the most common illnesses for which antibiotics are prescribed. Efforts to curb overuse must involve patients, physicians and other health care workers, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers. Dr Vellinga added, “The improved quality of prescribing must be put into the context of its unintended effect, an increase in actual antibiotic prescriptions. Research has shown that the nature of complex systems, such as general practices, where many interrelated factors influence antibiotic prescribing, makes it difficult to predict the results of interventions.” Patients whose doctors participated in one of the intervention groups were twice as likely to receive a prescription for a first line antibiotic, with nitrofurantoin the preferred option. The authors suggest that if the increase in antibiotic prescribing is the result of an increase in nitrofurantoin, the potential harm may be muted as there is little evidence of acquired resistance to nitrofurantoin. They call for further study to determine if increased prescribing is clinically appropriate or an unintended result of behavioural change. To view the SIMPle research video visit:  To view the CMAJ research visit: For the authors Commentary visit:  -Ends-

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NUI Galway Seminar on ‘Policing, Accountability and the State’

NUI Galway Seminar on ‘Policing, Accountability and the State’-image

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

NUI Galway held a half-day seminar that considered a number of key legal and policy issues on policing and accountability in Ireland. Organised under the auspices of the LLM in Public Law, School of Law, NUI Galway, the seminar, ‘Policing, Accountability and the State’ took place on Friday, 13th of November 2015. The conference examined the role of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, police reform in light of the occupational culture of An Garda Síochána and policing under the Irish constitution. ‘Policing, Accountability and the State’ brought together leading commentators from the judiciary, academia and legal practice including: NUI Galway’s Tom O’Malley BL, Judge Mary Ellen Ring who was recently appointed as Chairperson of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and Dr Vicky Conway from the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University. -ENDS-

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Sports Aerodynamics Student Scoops Threesis Prize

Sports Aerodynamics Student Scoops Threesis Prize-image

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Threesis 2015 final has taken place and the winners announced include Sports Aerodynamics student Paul Mannion who took first prize for his presentation on the GEEC – Galway’s Energy Efficient Car. Threesis is focused on taking students and staff out of their comfort zones to present their research to a general audience using only three slides over three minutes to three judges. The focus is on impact; how research at NUI Galway impacts upon our daily lives, those of our family and our broader community. The competitors had come through a series of heats already held on campus, to take on the final challenge at a public event in An Taibhdhearc. The winners were judged on how well they conveyed and communicated their subject to a sell-out audience. Paul Mannion’s presentation was on the ‘GEEC 2.0 - Galway Energy Efficient Car Design and Development’ which is currently in construction phase and aims to improve fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamic design. A postgraduate research student from New Inn, Co Galway, Paul is studying sports aerodynamics at NUI Galway. He is a member of the GEEC 1.0 team, a car designed and built by NUI Galway engineering students, which competed in the Shell Eco Marathon in Rotterdam in May of this year and is currently Ireland’s most fuel efficient vehicle. Second prize went to Juhi Samal a third year PhD student at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway with her presentation ‘Biomaterial pills for Parkinson’s’. Originally from Odisha in India, Juhi moved to Galway in 2013, when she was awarded the Hardiman Fellowship. Her PhD focuses on developing solutions for neurodegenerative disease. In particular, her research is investigating delivery of neurotrophic factors to the brain, to modify neuronal dysfunctions in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD). Juhi was also recently awarded first prize at the 27th European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) Conference held in Krackow, Poland for this same research. Liam Lachs, a final year Marine Science student from Killarney, Co. Kerry, took the third prize with his presentation ‘How does cold wet Ireland have colourful coral reefs?’ Liam began a project last summer assessing the distribution of vulnerable deep sea coral ecosystems at the continental margin West of Ireland. This work involved a three-week coral survey on the RV Celtic Explorer and has developed into a final year project. With a great appreciation of the environment and oceans from years of surfing around the Irish west coasts and living near the sea, Liam is assured that coral ecosystems are worth a global conservation effort. Liam is interested in furthering the understanding of the forces behind coral distribution and their responses to climate change. Isma Liza Mohd Isa, won the audience prize for her presentation ‘Biomaterials Approach for Treating Back Pain’. Isma, originally from northern Malaysia is a third year student, is also based at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices. A mother of two children, Isma is focusing her research on the development of a biomaterial implant to relieve back pain caused by intervertebral disc damage. Her aim is to construct a therapeutically implantable device that can reduce inflammation and pain, as well as promote disc repair. Research areas represented at the Threesis 2015 final included science, engineering, information technology, humanities, social sciences and medicine, with topics ranging from novel tests for early detection of breast cancer to blue ecosystem services. The three judges; Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, Dr Miriam Haughton, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway and Mr Declan Courell, Registrar at St Angela’s College in Sligo had the responsibility of choosing the overall winners of the night. Jonathan McCrea was Master of Ceremonies for the event. Jonathan is a multi-award-winning TV and radio broadcaster, who presents The Science Squad on RTÉ, The Lie on TV3 and Futureproof on Newstalk 106-108fm. Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President for Research at NUI Galway, said: “I am incredibly proud of our research community. This event highlights some of the fantastic research we have across our campuses in NUI Galway and in St Angela’s College Sligo. A clear indicator of our success as a University is how relevant our research is to our community and how it positively impacts upon society. Our final event showcased this exquisitely; both from the perspective of our excellent presenters to the engagement and encouragement of our audience.” Other finalists at the event included; Mihael Arcan (Insight, NUI Galway), Mimi Xiao (Economics, NUI Galway), Claudia Kinmonth (Moore Institute, NUI Galway), Declan O'Loughlin (Engineering, NUI Galway), Aoife Murray (Mc Keown Library, St Angela's College Sligo), Daniel Norton (J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway), Cliona Hensey (French, NUI Galway), Hannah Durand (School of Psychology, NUI Galway) and Maria Gallo (Office of the President, St Angela’s College Sligo). For further information on the event visit -Ends-

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NUI Galway Hosts Regional Session of Global Irish Economic Forum

NUI Galway Hosts Regional Session of Global Irish Economic Forum-image

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A view of Galway through the lens of its world-leading Med Tech industry, campaigns for cultural acknowledgement and urban innovation NUI Galway is delighted to announce it will host the Galway element of the Global Irish Economic Forum. NUI Galway will host a Regional Session, including a public forum, entitled ‘Gaillimh Nua’ on Thursday, 19 November ahead of the Dublin Castle events this weekend. The Global Irish Economic Forum is organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The programme includes the regional event to be held in Galway, which will bring together members of the Global Irish Network, SMEs in the West region, Galway City and County Councils and the academic community. The Global Irish Economic Forum Galway Regional morning session (closed) will this year showcase MedTech activities in research and translational science in NUI Galway and the broader region with members of the Global Irish Network in order to share expertise and explore collaborative opportunities. The session will facilitate Global Irish Network Members along with IDA and Enterprise Ireland client companies in a two-way conversation to identify current challenges within the MedTech sector, and explore potential solutions to these through the lens of the cross-sectoral expertise of the Global Irish Network members. This will be led by Prof Lokesh Joshi, NUI Galway’s Vice President for Research and medtech entrepreneur, John O’Dea, Crospon. Members of the Network who will participate in the public forum, moderated by NUI Galway graduate Eimear Ní Chonaola, Journalist and TG4/RTÉ broadcaster, include Gerard J. Barry, Director, Debarra Innovations Ltd. Founder, Fintrax Group; Gearóid Faherty, Eurand N.V.; Kevin Conboy, President Irish Chamber of Atlanta; Catherine Toolan, Managing Director, Aramark International; Brian Barry, Chairman, Tirna Partners; and William McLaughlin, Founder, Irish American Business Chamber and Network Inc. and others. The ‘Gaillimh Nua’ Roundtable discussion will this year engage with local initiatives in the areas of Gastronomy, Culture, Innovation, Smart City, Marine and The Emigration Experience. Leading local representatives in each of these emerging and growing areas will address the Forum. Public Forum Speakers: Gastronomy: Cathal O’Donoghue, Teagasc and Alan Farrell, Galway County Council, on Galway’s bid for European Region of Gastronomy 2018. Culture: Gary McMahon, Galway City Council, and Eithne Verling, Galway Museum, on the Galway city and county culture strategy. Innovation: John Breslin, Galway City Innovation District, on the development of Galway’s Portershed initiative, a centralised hub for start-up development and networking. Smart City: Liam Hanrahan, Galway City Council and Niall Ó Brolcháin, Insight Institute, NUI Galway on the Open and Agile Smart city initiative. Marine: Dr Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive of Galway’s Marine Institute, an international leader in marine research and innovation. The Emigration Experience: Laura Colleran and Clare Doyle (Ireland Reaching Out/Ireland XO) who work to build relationships between Ireland’s diaspora and their home counties. Places are limited and those wishing to attend the public forum are required to register in advance at The forum will be in the Aula Maxima (Lower), Quadrangle Building, NUI Galway. The event begins at 2.00pm. The event will be streamed live online at /forum ENDS

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Irish scientific groups in pioneering effort to sequence the genome of the extinct ancestor of modern day cattle

Irish scientific groups in pioneering effort to sequence the genome of the extinct ancestor of modern day cattle-image

Thursday, 19 November 2015

An international group of scientists led by Professor David McHugh from UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, with contributions from an SFI research group at NUI Galway, have determined that a now-extinct species of giant wild cattle known as the aurochs crossbred with the ancestors of modern day cattle in Britain and Ireland thousands of years ago. Published in the leading journal Genome Biology, the scientists used whole-genome sequencing data generated from a 6,750-year-old British aurochs bone discovered in a cave in Derbyshire, England. Standing over six feet tall to the shoulder and weighing more than a ton, aurochs were giant wild cattle that roamed the plains of Europe for thousands of years. The last recorded aurochs died in Poland in 1627. Researchers Dr Mark Donoghue and PhD student Martin Braud, in the NUI Galway SFI research group of Professor Charles Spillane, contributed to the bioinformatic analysis of the genome data and are all co-authors on the Genome Biology study. Professor Charles Spillane said: “My research team’s contribution focused on identification of the 700 non-coding microRNA genes in the aurochsen genome to identify variants of these microRNA genes associated with the transition from the wild aurochsen form to the domesticated cattle form we are familiar with today. Until recently it was considered that protein-encoding genes were predominantly responsible for how multi-cellular organisms (such as humans or cattle) are built from a single embryo cell. However, genes which encode for small RNA molecules (not proteins) have emerged over the past decade as an important class of genes that can switch off and on biochemical pathways. Such microRNA genes can be considered as analogous to the conductor in an orchestra, where a miRNA gene can act as the “conductor” of a genetic symphony played out by switching on and off many other genes.” The distinct genetic differences between the British aurochs and the original cattle of the Near East known as the Fertile Crescent, allowed the researchers to detect the ancient crossbreeding between British aurochs and the early domestic cattle of Britain. As a result, the researchers conclude that the gene flow from wild aurochs in Britain has significantly shaped the genetic composition of certain breeds of modern British and Irish cattle, in contrast to breeds from mainland Europe. This information will be particularly valuable for the genome-assisted cattle breeding programmes that underpin dairy and beef cattle breeding in Ireland and other countries. Ancient heritage or landrace cattle breeds, such as Scottish Highland cattle and Irish Kerry cattle, were found to be most closely related to the British aurochs, a finding that has significant implications for genetic conservation programmes. It has found that the breeding of wild aurochs with domestic cattle in Britain may have been an important factor in the evolution of these livestock, perhaps through the introduction of desirable traits that helped early domestic cattle to adapt to new environments, such as those encountered in Britain. The aurochs genome sequence also provides an important comparative reference for a more complete understanding of the genetics underlying important behavioural, production (including milk yield) and health traits in domestic cattle. High-resolution whole-genome sequence data from 81 animals was directly compared to the aurochs genome sequence to identify key genes that differentiate domestic cattle from their wild counterparts. A parallel approach, using genetic marker data from 1,225 cattle, provided a broader picture of the genomic changes that have shaped the evolution of modern breeds. The research was part-funded by Science Foundation Ireland and represented an international effort with research contributions from collaborators in UCD, TCD, NUI Galway and IdentiGEN in Ireland, and from international collaborators from the University of Oxford, University of Manchester, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Recombinetics, Inc., and the Beijing Genome Institute (BGI). To view the Genome Biology paper visit: -Ends-

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