Cancer Chemistry Symposium Convenes at NUI Galway

Monday, 29 June 2009

On Friday, 3 July, an elite group of international scientists will convene at NUI Galway, highlighting the combined efforts of chemists and biologists in cancer research. Over the years, NUI Galway has built a strong foundation in cancer research through strategic recruitment of internationally recognised cancer researchers and clinicians. Professor Corrado Santocanale is one of these international recruits and, as Chair of Molecular Medicine at NUI Galway, he will speak about his research at the Symposium. With his team at the University's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES), Professor Santocanale is studying a protein called 'Cdc7 kinase' which is a possible target in cancer cells for drug therapies. According to Professor Santocanale, "Biology must bridge to Chemistry to find therapies for cancer. We now have a much better understanding of the molecular changes occurring in cancers and how cancer cells use specific proteins to multiply. Through Chemistry we have therefore the opportunity to develop drugs that, by targeting those specific proteins, have the potential to be more effective than current therapeutics. It is only through the best inter-disciplinary approach, that significant progress can be made". Also speaking at the Symposium will be Professor Karl J. Hale, Chair of Organic & Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Queens University Belfast; Professor Ian Paterson, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of the Royal Society; and Professor Amos B. Smith III, Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, USA. These researchers are leading groups which conduct world-class research into the synthesis of architecturally complex natural products with exceptional promise in the cancer area. At NUI Galway there is a large multidisciplinary team with a focus on cancer. This team is working to understand the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer, and to develop new and better cancer therapies. The research groups include those working in the Centre for Chromosome Biology led by Professor Noel Lowndes and an Apoptosis group led by Dr Howard Fearnhead. These basic research groups have strong links with clinical teams in medicine, surgery, radiotherapy and pathology. Clinical and translational research encompasses a range of malignancies including haematologic, breast, prostate and gastrointestinal cancers. In the School of Chemistry a group of researchers work in the Cancer Chemistry area, led by Professor Paul Murphy. The School plans to continue the development of programmes in the design and synthesis of anti-tumour compounds, including those that are related to natural products as well as development of new cancer diagnostic tools, and studying the basic chemical mechanisms involved in cancer progression. -ends-

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Yahoo! Among NUI Galway Partners Improving Web Content

Friday, 26 June 2009

Through an international collaboration, NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), has announced a new way to enhance web content. Working with AdaptiveBlue, Faviki, Freebase, Yahoo!, Zemanta and Zigtag, the team at DERI have launched Common Tag, a new tagging format for web pages. Over 100 researchers at DERI focus on the Semantic Web, which is the next incarnation of the internet and is expected to be more intuitive because data will be defined and linked. According to Dr Alexandre Passant, postdoctoral researcher in DERI, "The possibilities offered by Common Tag are really exciting. When people start using it to tag their data, lots of new usages will emerge. For instance, it will be easier to find content related to a particular music genre, a movie or a location. Common Tag is another concrete step to enable the Semantic Web, a vision of the Web that we are working on in DERI at NUI Galway for the last five years". Peter Mika from Yahoo! Research emphasised: "Semantic tagging is an important next step in the evolution of the Web. When we add semantic meaning to tags, the content that is tagged becomes significantly easier for machines to understand. That in turn allows for the development of more intelligent applications for aggregating, searching, and browsing the Web". On a website, tags are a kind of label which is embedded behind and image or piece of text. Tags have long been used tags to organise, share and search for content on the Web. However, in the absence of a common tagging format for Web content, the benefits of tagging have been limited. Individual places like New York City are often represented by multiple tags (e.g., "nyc", "new_york_city", and "newyork"), making it difficult to organise related content. In addition, it isn't always clear what a particular tag represents – does the tag "jaguar" represent the animal, the car company, or the operating system? The Common Tag format was developed to address these shortcomings and help everyone including end users, publishers, and developers to get more out of Web content. With Common Tag, content is tagged with unique, well-defined concepts, for example, everything about jaguar the animal is tagged with one concept for jaguar the animal. The Common Tag format also provides access to useful metadata that defines each concept and describes how the concepts relate to one another. For example, metadata for the Barack Obama concept indicates that he's the President of the United States and that he's married to Michelle Obama. At NUI Galway, DERI was established in 2003 by Science Foundation Ireland as a Centre for Science and Engineering Technology (CSET) with a focus on researching Web Science, sensors and their use in enabling networked knowledge. Currently on its second major five-year research programme, DERI's research output is being used by its eight CSET industry partners to maintain competitive advantage, contribute towards next generation product development and as innovation enablers. DERI is also actively engaged in technology spin-outs and licensing of its leading edge technologies. Since its establishment it has since grown to over 120 people and has acquired significant additional research funding from sources such as the European Union Framework Programmes, Enterprise Ireland and industrial partnerships". Dr Passant added, "Together with previous work done here regarding SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities), and a project like FOAF (Friend of a Friend) in which DERI also participates, Common Tag now provides a complete ecosystem to represent social data on the Web in a meaningful and understandable way". -ends-

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Conferring of Honorary Degrees at NUI Galway

Friday, 26 June 2009

(Leagan Gaeilge) The conferring of Honorary Degrees took place at NUI Galway today (Friday, 26 June). Those honoured were from the spheres of engineering Liam Connellan, business Brian Joyce, public service Pádraic MacKernan, philanthropy Anna Ó Coinne and education Professor Philip O'Leary. NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, speaking at the conferring ceremony said: "NUI Galway is fortunate to be associated with many outstanding honorary graduates throughout its history, and those being honoured this year form a particularly distinguished group. Each has been outstanding in their own way, and NUI Galway is very pleased to be in a position to recognise these exceptional individuals". Liam Connellan A native of Strokestown, Co Roscommon, Liam Connellan has had a deep involvement in the engineering profession for over forty years and has served as President of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland; was a founding member of the Irish Academy of Engineering and has served as President of the Academy. He also served as the first Chairman of the National Roads Authority from 1994 to 2001, and was President of the Royal Dublin Society from 1995 to 1998. Liam has been Chairman of companies within the Veolia Environment Group in Ireland and is Chairman of the Energy Institute in the Republic of Ireland. He is a member of the Board of the Peter McVerry Trust which assists homeless young people. Brian Joyce Born in Headford, Co. Galway, Brian Joyce, returned to his Alma Mater to collect his honouray degree in recognition of extensive contribution to the world of business. Brian is a former Chief Executive of Board Bainne and has served as a Board member and Chairman of numerous household name companies. These include the Education Building Society, Allegro, Irish Life, IDA, Tara Meats, Williams Groups, National Hardware, Celtic Anglian Water, Clancourt Holdings, CIÉ and the Mater Private Hospital. Brian continues to influence business in Ireland as he is presently Chairman of Clancourt Holdings and a director of Kingspan. Brian was the recipient of a Bank of Ireland Alumni Award for Business from NUI Galway in 2008. Pádraic MacKernan Pádraic MacKernan was born in Limerick and joined the Department of External Affairs in 1964. He was Vice-Consul of Ireland in Boston from 1965 to 1968 and Deputy Consul-General in New York from 1968 to 1974. Pádraic was successively Counsellor, Assistant Secretary and Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and a regular member of the Irish Delegation to the United Nations until his appointment as Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and Mexico in 1985. Pádraic was appointed Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels in 1991 and returned to Dublin as Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1995. He became Ambassador to France in 2001, a post he held until his retirement in 2005. Anna Ó Coinne In 1989, local business woman Anna Ó Coinne became involved in raising funds to finance research into Breast Cancer being pioneered by Professor Fred Given at the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) in Galway. Working with a voluntary group, Anna became chairperson of the Finance and Planning Committee of the NBCRI. This fund raising group has raised over € 12 million for the NBCRI. Anna's stewardship and attention to detail has allowed the organisation to develop to have an outstanding contribution in the breast cancer research space. During 2010 the Institute will move to a new purpose built Translational Research Centre being constructed by NUI Galway on the grounds of University College Hospital. This project is being financed by major philanthropic donations and includes a major contribution from NBCRI. Professor Philip O'Leary Third generation Irish of mostly Munster extraction, Professor Philip O'Leary is currently Professor of English in Boston College which has been to the fore for decades for the excellence of its Irish Studies programme. His work in publishing, promoting and debating Irish Studies was described today as 'gargantuan', and Professor O'Leary was lauded for bringing Modern Gaelic literature to a global audience. Of particular interest is Professor O'Leary's series on Modern Gaelic literature from 1881 to 1951. This four volume work is 'easily the most ambitious, wide-ranging and comprehensive analysis of Modern Gaelic literature ever undertaken and unlikely to be surpassed'. Today's graduands join the ranks of previous honorary conferees which include among many others Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Sean Purcell, the late Merv Griffin and Anjelica Huston. Céimeanna Oinigh á mBronnadh in OÉ Gaillimh (View in English) Bronnadh Céimeanna Oinigh inniu (Dé hAoine, an 26 Meitheamh) in OÉ Gaillimh. Bhain na daoine ar bronnadh na céimeanna oinigh orthu le réimse na hinnealtóireachta (Liam Connellan), an ghnó (Brian Joyce), leis an tseirbhís phoiblí (Pádraic MacKernan), le réimse an daonchairdis (Anna Ó Coinne) agus le réimse an oideachais (an tOllamh Philip O'Leary). Ag an searmanas bronnta dúirt an Dr James Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: "Tá an t-ádh ar OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna oinigh bronnta ar chéimithe den scoth le blianta fada anuas aici, agus is cinnte gur grúpa ar leith iad an cúigear atá roghnaithe i mbliana. Rinne gach duine díobh éacht ar a bhealach féin, agus tá OÉ Gaillimh an-sásta go bhfuil sí in ann aitheantas a thabhairt do na daoine eisceachtúla seo." Liam Connellan Tá breis agus 40 bliain caite ag Liam Connellan, arb as Béal na mBuillí i gCo. Ros Comáin ó dhúchas dó, ag plé le gairm na hinnealtóireachta agus i rith an ama sin ceapadh é mar Uachtarán ar Institiúid Innealtóirí na hÉireann; bhí sé ar bhunaitheoirí Acadamh Innealtóireachta na hÉireann agus chomh maith leis sin chaith sé seal ag feidhmiú mar Uachtarán ar an Acadamh sin. Ba é an chéad Chathaoirleach é, chomh maith, a ceapadh ar an Údarás um Bóithre Náisiúnta idir 1994 agus 2001, agus ba é a bhí ina Uachtarán ar Chumann Ríoga Bhaile Átha Cliath idir 1995 agus 1998. Bhí Liam ina Chathaoirleach ar chuideachtaí éagsúla sa Veolia Environment Group in Éirinn agus tá sé ag feidhmiú mar Chathaoirleach ar an Institiúid Fuinnimh i bPoblacht na hÉireann faoi láthair. Is ball é de Bhord Iontaobhas Peter McVerry a chabhraíonn le daoine óga atá gan dídean. Brian Joyce D'fhill Brian Joyce, a rugadh in Áth Cinn, Co. na Gaillimhe ar a Alma Mater lena chéim oinigh a fháil mar aitheantas ar a bhfuil déanta aige do shaol an ghnó. Is iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar an mBord Bainne é Brian agus bhí sé ina chomhalta Boird agus ina Chathaoirleach ar go leor cuideachtaí atá i mbéal an phobail. Ina measc sin tá Education Building Society, Allegro, Irish Life, IDA, Tara Meats, Williams Groups, National Hardware, Celtic Anglian Water, Clancourt Holdings, CIÉ agus Ospidéal Príobháideach an Mater. Tá tionchar ag Brian i gcónaí ar chúrsaí gnó in Éirinn agus tá sé ina Chathaoirleach faoi láthair ar Clancourt Holdings agus ina stiúrthóir ar Kingspan. Bhain Brian Gradam Alumni Bhanc na hÉireann don Ghnó amach ó OÉ Gaillimh in 2008. Pádraic MacKernan Chuir Pádraic MacKernan tús lena shaol oibre sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha i 1964. Bhí sé ina Leaschonsal na hÉireann i mBostún idir 1965 agus 1968 agus mar Leaschonsal-Ginearálta i Nua-Eabhrac idir 1968 agus 1974. Áirítear i measc na ról a bhí ag Pádraic sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha Comhairleoir, Rúnaí Cúnta agus Stiúrthóir Polaitiúil agus bhí sé ina bhall rialta de Thoscaireacht na hÉireann chun na Náisiún Aontaithe go dtí gur ceapadh mar Ambasadóir na hÉireann do na Stáit Aontaithe agus do Mheicsiceo é i 1985. Sa bhliain 1991 ceapadh Pádraic mar Bhuan-Ionadaí an Aontais Eorpaigh sa Bhruiséil agus i 1995 d'fhill sé ar Bhaile Átha Cliath mar Ard-Rúnaí sa Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha. Ceapadh é mar Ambasadóir na Fraince in 2001, post a bhí aige go dtí go ndeachaigh sé ar scor in 2005. Anna Ó Coinne Sa bhliain 1989 thosaigh an bhean ghnó áitiúil Anna Ó Coinne ag bailiú airgid chun an taighde a bhí ar bun ag an Ollamh Fred Given ar Ailse Chíche san Institiúid Taighde Náisiúnta ar Ailse Chíche (NBCRI) a mhaoiniú. Le linn d'Anna a bheith ag obair le grúpa deonach, ceapadh í ina Cathaoirleach ar Choiste Airgeadais agus Pleanála NBCRI. Tá breis agus €12 milliún bailithe ag an ngrúpa seo don NBCRI. A bhuíochas le maoirseacht Anna agus an aird a thugann sí ar mhionrudaí, tá forbairt tagtha ar an eagraíocht agus tá an-obair á déanamh aici sa spás taighde ar ailse chíche. Am éigin i rith 2010 bunófar an Institiúid in Ionad Taighde Aistritheach nua atá á thógáil ag OÉ Gaillimh i láthair na huaire ar thailte Ospidéal Choláiste na hOllscoile. Tá an tionscadal seo á mhaoiniú trí shíntiúis dhaonchairdiúla agus trí infheistíocht shuntasach ón NBCRI féin. An tOllamh Philip O'Leary De bhunadh na Mumhan go príomha, trí ghlúin siar, an tOllamh Philip O'Leary atá ina Ollamh le Béarla in Boston College, coláiste atá ar thús cadhnaíochta leis na scórtha bliain as feabhas an chúrsa sa Léann Éireannach ann. Tugadh obair 'fathaigh' ar a shaothar foilsithe, agus ar an obair a rinne sé chun an Léann Éireannach a chur chun cinn agus chun díospóireacht a chothú faoi, agus tugadh ardmholadh dó as lucht léitheoireachta domhanda a aimsiú do litríocht na Nua-Ghaeilge. Tá spéis ar leith ag daoine i sraith an Ollaimh O'Leary faoi litríocht na Nua-Ghaeilge ó 1881 go 1951. Tá an saothar seo ina bhfuil ceithre imleabhar ar an 'anailís is dúshlánaí, is leithne agus is cuimsithí ar Nua-Litríocht na Gaeilge a rinneadh riamh agus ní bheidh a shárú le fáil'. Cuirfear céimithe oinigh an lae inniu leis an liosta daoine ar bronnadh céim oinigh orthu go dtí seo, ina measc, Nelson Mandela, Hilary Clinton, Christy O Connor Snr and Jnr, Enya, Sean Purcell, Merv Griffin, nach maireann, agus Anjelica Huston. -críoch-

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Secondary School Students Get a Taste of Science at NUI Galway

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The College of Science at NUI Galway welcomed prospective students from second level schools to its Science Experience Workshop this week. This engaging programme allowed 30 students to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students took part in hands-on activities and experienced working in world class research facilities and institutes. Some of the institutes visited by the students were Applied Optics, the Environmental Change Institute, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Regenerative Medicine Institute. Throughout the workshop, attendees had the opportunity to 'shadow' scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines. According to Dr Mark Foley, Vice Dean of Communications and Strategy, College of Science, NUI Galway: "With the CAO change of mind deadline looming Science Experience Workshop provided an excellent forum whereby students got information on the diverse range of undergraduate programmes available at NUI Galway. Students got to investigate the differences between various denominated and undenominated offerings. Panel discussions with current students and staff allowed the exchange of information with prospective students. Participants also had the chance to see the state-of-the-art teaching, research and sporting facilities. This workshop offered participants the chance to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across Ireland". For further information on the College of Science or future Science Experience Workshops, call 091 492182 or visit -ends-

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NUI Galway Professor Says Ireland's Universities Must Teach Innovation

Thursday, 25 June 2009

An NUI Galway professor has said Ireland needs a new breed of engineering graduate. These new engineering professionals, as well as being properly educated in their technical discipline, would also be provided with a significant exposure to the principles of business and finance, and to the process of innovation and entrepreneurship. Gearóid Ó Laighin, Professor of Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, said: "Ireland s economic future requires the creation of Irish owned companies, led by engineers who can, through invention and innovation, create economic success. This process is a central pillar of the 'Smart Economy'". While innovation and entrepreneurship are traditionally seen as innate skills, there is plenty of evidence that providing graduates with the correct mix of skills can boost their capabilities as innovators and entrepreneurs. Professor Ó Laighin says a cross-disciplinary approach to engineering education can provide a massive boost to the creation of the entrepreneurial spirit. He commented: "Ireland is perfectly positioned to create the equivalent of Canada's Research In Motion company, creators of the omnipresent BlackBerry. By adopting new methods to educate engineers in our universities and by stepping out beyond traditional programme boundaries, we can produce more adaptable graduates, with the appropriate skill set to create innovative market-led products for worldwide markets". Electronic devices now represent a massive productive sector worldwide with production in 2009 expected to exceed $1 trillion. Electronic engineering knowledge is used to create systems and devices across a broad range of sectors from life saving medical devices, computer hardware, entertainment systems, mobile communications, automotive electronics, industrial automation, consumer electronics, transportation systems and renewable energy systems and devices. Professor Ó Laighin is the driving force behind the new Engineering Innovation – Electronic degree programme at NUI Galway. The four-year bachelors or five-year masters programme is a joint initiative of NUI Galway's Colleges of Engineering & Informatics and Business, Public Policy & Law. The new course will deliver graduates with the skills and capabilities to start up their own company to design niche electronic products for world-wide markets. Established companies will also benefit from the availability of a new type of Electronic Engineer who has the capability to stimulate and support innovation and growth in those organisations. According to Professor Ó Laighin, "From the beginning of their studies, students will build expertise in electronic engineering while at the same be exposed to the principles of business and finance and the process of innovation and entrepreneurship in parallel. We feel that this approach to the education of young electronic engineers will make a powerful difference". The new degree programme from NUI Galway has received endorsements from IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Engineers Ireland, Shannon Development, Power Electronics Industry Group, Irish Medical Devices Association and Microelectronic Industry Design Association Ireland. NUI Galway is also offering a new four-year honours degree in Energy Systems Engineering which will have its first intake this September. The programme will produce professional accredited engineers, qualified to drive the emerging energy related industries. Engineering students at NUI Galway will also benefit from the University's new state-of-the-art Engineering Building which is due for completion in 2011. -ends-

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