How ageing blood stem cells lose function

How ageing blood stem cells lose function-image

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Scientists from NUI Galway have been involved in a significant new international study that explains how blood production declines with age. Published in this week’s Nature magazine, the research may provide ways of mitigating the effects of ageing on the blood which can lead to diseases such as anaemia, immunoscenescence, bone marrow failure and myeloid malignancies. The study was led by the University of California, San Francisco, in conjunction with NUI Galway’s Centre for Chromosome Biology and other researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, Madrid, the University of Chicago and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Our blood system can renew itself during our life. However, the key stem cells that are responsible for this become less effective as we age. This can give rise to blood diseases in older people, so the scientists sought to understand how these cells age. The study shows that critical components of blood stem cells’ replication machinery are lost during ageing, giving rise to replication stress, which is associated with cell cycle defects and chromosome gaps/breaks.This leads to particular biochemical marks being made on the genetic material that alter how genes work in aged blood stem cells and indicate the transcriptional silencing of ribosomal genes. It may be possible to manipulate these genetic marks for therapeutic or rejuvenation purposes. The research was led by was led by PhD student Johanna Flach and Professor Emmanuelle Passegué from the University of California. The collaborators from NUI Galway were Dr Pauline Conroy and Professor Ciaran Morrison, of the Centre for Chromosome Biology. Commenting on the work, NUI Galway’s Professor Morrison said: “Many changes happen in cells at the molecular level during ageing - key genes are affected and even the integrity of the genome itself may be altered. How these changes affect cell functions is complicated. We need to understand the mechanisms behind each biochemical activity to get an overall picture of how stem cells work and of how they age. This study indicates an important pathway toward ageing in haematopoietic stem cells - understanding this may ultimately let us mitigate the effects of ageing on the blood.” This work was funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the US National Institutes of Health, with the NUI Galway work being supported by Science Foundation Ireland.  The 60 scientists led by 11 Principal Investigators at the Centre for Chromosome Biology in NUI Galway are dedicated to understanding many different areas of chromosome biology, such as how cell proliferation is controlled, the structure and maintenance of the genome, precise control of genome duplication and how genes are expressed. Their work is critical to the ongoing scientific battle against cancer and other areas including human reproduction and fertility and genetic diseases such as Huntington’s Disease. -ends-

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June 2014

NUI Galway 2014 Summer School on the International Criminal Court Opens Delegate Registration

NUI Galway 2014 Summer School on the International Criminal Court Opens Delegate Registration-image

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Irish Centre for Human Rights at the School of Law, NUI Galway has opened registration for delegates for the 2014 Summer School on the International Criminal Court. The 2014 Summer School will be held on the 16-20 June in Galway. The summer school on the International Criminal Court (ICC) offered by the Irish Centre for Human Rights is widely recognised as the leading programme of its kind, attracting participants from around the world. Leading specialists will deliver comprehensive lectures over the course of five days which will provide delegates with a detailed working knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and operations. Lectures also speak to related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction, immunities and the role of the victims. Professor Ray Murphy of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway says “Despite the recent veto of the proposal to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC, the Court is arguably the most important international institution to have been established since the creation of the United Nations. Its aim is combating impunity for atrocities, and it is at the forefront of a broader movement for achieving accountability and justice around the world.” The 2014 Summer School on the International Criminal Court will feature expert presentations from Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University and Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights; Professor Don Ferencz, Middlesex University; Dr Shane Darcy, Dr Noelle Higgins and Professor Ray Murphy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights; John McManus, Department of Justice, Canada; Dr Mohamed El Zeidy and Dr Rod Rastan and Dr Fabricio Guariglia International Criminal Court; Professor Megan Fairlie, Florida International University College of Law, USA; Dr Nadia Bernaz, University of Middlesex; Dr Mohamed Elewa Badar, Reader in Comparative and International Criminal Law and Islamic Law at Northumbria University School of Law; and Dr Kwadwo Appiagyei Atua, University of Ghana. To register, visit or email for more information. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Geologists Discover Large Underground Rivers off Galway Bay and the Aran Islands

NUI Galway Geologists Discover Large Underground Rivers off Galway Bay and the Aran Islands-image

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Large network of underground rivers stretching up to 30 miles long and 70ft wide may be hidden under the seabed of Galway Bay, off the West coast of Ireland Geologists from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway have discovered large networks of underground rivers hidden under the seabed of Galway Bay, off the West coast of Ireland. The significant discovery was made by the researchers following conversations with residents from Inishmaan on the Aran Islands, who said their well of fresh water never ran out, when typically islands experience water shortages, and from fishermen who refer to freshwater risings along the south coast of Galway Bay. NUI Galway’s Earth and Ocean Sciences researchers concluded the water was likely to be flowing for several miles before emerging as 'freshwater rivers' out of the sea bed of Galway Bay. This water flow is caused by rain falling on the land, it runs through the limestone and then goes out under the sea. Research carried out by the NUI Galway Geologists identified that the 'freshwater rivers' are formed by water dissolving the limestone that underlies southern Galway and north Clare. This karstification process slowly created not only the distinctive topography of the Burren, but the conduits reaching out under Galway Bay and the Aran Islands, which could be up to 30 miles long. Wells intersecting these conduits produce more water than falls on the island as rain indicating that the water is sourced from the mainland. Dr Tiernan Henry, Lecturer in Environmental Geology, School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway said: “We were told about a well at a local hotel on Inishmaan that had an excellent supply of fresh water. The islands can have water problems, they are always short, but this well went deep into the rock and was getting more water than falls on the whole island.” The pure bedded limestones that form the islands are found throughout north Clare and south and east Galway. These rocks are particularly susceptible to dissolution by rainfall (and time) forming the distinctive drainage patterns of turloughs, swallow holes, sink holes and sinking rivers. Almost all of the freshwater in these areas flows in discrete zones within the rock discharging in springs found at the coast and in the bays and sea. The means by which these passages and conduits form is well known and well understood, but where they form, and the shapes they take are less easy to predict.  The research was funded by the Griffiths Award and supported by the University’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research. For more information visit the School of Natural Sciences at or Earth and Ocean Sciences at -ends-

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NUI Galway Hold International Conference on World War One

NUI Galway Hold International Conference on World War One-image

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

NUI Galway is pleased to announce an international history workshop entitled ‘Small Nations and Colonial Peripheries in World War I: Europe and the Wider World’ which will take place at the Hardiman Library in NUI Galway from 13-14 June. Organised by the discipline of History at NUI Galway, the conference will look at how the war impacted peoples, such as the Irish, who found themselves on the periphery of great powers and empires. Ranging from Ireland to Australia to Central Asia, the twelve speakers, including NUI Galway’s Dr John Cunningham, will consider how the war linked ordinary men and women from across the world to the conflict in Europe and across the globe. The keynote address will be delivered on Friday at 4.30pm by prominent American historian of World War One, Professor Michael A. Neiberg of the US Army College in Pennsylvania. Professor Neiberg will speak on ‘Small Nations inside a Big State: American Immigrant Communities react to War, 1914-17’. Professor Neiberg is the author of several widely-read books on ‘World War One, including Fighting the Great War: A Global History’ and ‘Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of WWI’. The conference is open to all, especially those interested in the World War I centenary. For further information on the conference visit -Ends-

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Applications Open for NUI Galway Bio-EXPLORERS Summer Science Camp

Applications Open for NUI Galway Bio-EXPLORERS Summer Science Camp -image

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Following the success of the Bio-EXPLORERS Easter Science Camp, the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences is now taking bookings for three summer camp sessions. The Bio-EXPLORERS Summer Science Camps will begin on Mondays, the 14, 21 and 28 of July, with each camp running for five days. Registrations are open to all aspiring young scientists aged 8 to 13 years old. The camps will run from 9.30am until 4.30pm from Monday to Friday. The cost for this exciting course packed with fun and exciting activities is €160 per child (€145 for additional siblings). Children will work as real scientists by performing and analysing experiments in a real research environment.  In the mornings, children will work with Dr Michel Dugon, the host of the RTE TV programme ‘Bug Hunters’. Activities will include discovering live local and exotic plants and animals, studying their habitats and understanding how they interact with their environment. In the afternoons, participants will understand how cells make our body work. With the dynamic team of Cell EXPLORERS, they will run their own experiments such as extracting DNA from cells, observing their own cells under small and large microscopes and building models. Bio-EXPLORERS is run and supported by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, and is composed of two science communication and public engagement programmes: Cell EXPLORERS, directed by Dr Muriel Grenon, and Eco-EXPLORERS, directed by Dr Michel Dugon. The programme’s primary goal is to inspire interest in science in the general public and to impact positively on science education. It proposes activities that are designed to engage children in a hands-on way and stimulate their interest in exploring science-related themes. Since its creation, the programme has engaged thousands of children in the West of Ireland and was actively involved in the Galway Science and Technology Festival. The ‘Fantastic DNA’ school visits and other Cell EXPLORERS activities are well known to primary school children in County Galway. The programme‘s volunteers have engaged more than 2000 pupils, teachers and parents since September 2013. The programme received the ‘Outstanding Contribution to STEM’ Award from the Galway Science and Technology Festival this year. Since October 2013, Eco EXPLORERS has engaged over 6000 pupils across the West of Ireland on topics related to ecology, biodiversity and zoology. Bug hunting and live exotic creepy crawlies (including reptiles, spiders and giant beetles!) are at the core of the Eco EXPLORERS experience. Activities are led by Dr Michel Dugon, who is also the host of the RTE TV programme Bug Hunters. The 15-episode TV series has been selected to represent RTE at several prestigious media festivals (IFTA, Celtic Media Awards and Prix Jeunesse International). For further information on the Bio-EXPLORERS Summer Science Camp or to register, visit or email Places at the Camp will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. -Ends-

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Minister Kathleen Lynch to Open International Disability Policy Entrepreneurship Conference at NUI Galway

Minister Kathleen Lynch to Open International Disability Policy Entrepreneurship Conference at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Minister Kathleen Lynch to open ‘Disability Policy Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century – Turning Ideas into Change that Transforms Lives’ from 23-25 June 2014 Minister for Disability, Older People, Equality and Mental Health Kathleen Lynch TD will open a major international conference ‘Disability Policy Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century – Turning Ideas into Change that Transforms Lives’, on 23 June at NUI Galway. The conference will link future disability reform agendas with the research and policy work of the EU Marie Curie Initial Training PhD Network DREAM (Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets) coordinated by NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy. This event will bring together major agents of change in the disability policy field around the world and will focus in particular on how to translate the generalities of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into practicable reform strategies. Speakers will include international figureheads from research and policy including Baroness Vivien Stern CBE, and video addresses from Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner for Research, European Commission and Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The conference will build on the work of the European-wide DREAM PhD network, which for the past three years and which focused on how to give practical effect to the UN Convention in areas such as: fundamental rights, e.g. the right to community living; expanding economic and market opportunities for persons with disabilities; and sustaining change with appropriate and effective institutional mechanisms at regional and national level. This PhD network was among the first in the world with a focus on the UN disability convention and was funded by the European Union as a Marie Curie Initial Training Network. The 14 researchers have all had placements in policy-oriented institutions and have gained valuable experience in translating ideas into action. “We did not want to produce PhD books that remain on the shelf. We wanted to impart skills to people to become real agents of change and to perform useful roles in the future. It might be within governments, but it could also be in civil society or in commercial organisations,” says Professor Gerard Quinn, Principal Investigator on the project and Director of the Centre for Disability Law & Policy. “The phrase I use to sum it up is ‘policy entrepreneurship’ – developing people who can really bring about change that transforms the lives of our citizens with disabilities.” he concludes. The DREAM network includes NUI Galway, the University of Leeds, Maastricht University, the University of Iceland, NOVA Norwegian Social Research, Fundosa Technosite S.A. and Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPF). More information is available at The event will interest all those concerned with the process of change including NGOs, DPOs, governments, international and regional organisations as well as business and services. It will also be of importance to academics, students and researchers interested in the UN convention as an engine of positive change for persons with disabilities. For more information visit or email   -Ends-

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Royal Irish Academy Honours NUI Galway Academic

Royal Irish Academy Honours NUI Galway Academic -image

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

NUI Galway’s Professor Daniel Carey has been admitted as new members of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) at a special ceremony in Dublin recently. This year Professor Carey was one of only 15 academics to receive Ireland’s highest academic distinction. Professor Careyis a Personal Professor with the Discipline of English at NUI Galway. Professor Carey's work explores the relationship between travel, colonialism and cultural difference in the period from 1550-1800. In addition to a publishing a book on the problem of cultural diversity in the work of John Locke and his contemporaries, he has edited six collections of essays on themes ranging from Asian travel in the Renaissance, to Gulliver's Travels. He has also investigated the history and philosophy of money and credit in the Enlightenment. He is co-general editor of Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations...of the English Nation (1598-1600), to appear in 14 volumes with Oxford University Press, the first ever critical edition of the landmark compilation of English travel. Congratulating Professor Carey, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “Research and academic excellence are the cornerstones of all that we do here at NUI Galway. I am very proud to see the work of my colleague, Professor Daniel Carey recognised by the Royal Irish Academy. Admission to the Academy is the highest academic honour in Ireland.  It is a testament to the calibre of our staff and research to see the work of one of our finest humanities scholars honoured in this way.” At the ceremony admitting the new members, Professor Mary E. Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy said: “There is a major onus on Irish researchers to ensure that Europe remains a world leader in the twenty-first century. But the emphasis on research that yields a return in the form of patents, company formation or new drugs tends to deny researchers the necessary breathing-space, the time to reflect, to allow for the wrong turns, the brilliant idea that collapses, or the unexpected lines of inquiry that might ultimately deliver something different from the original proposal, but something that is much more exciting. When the Royal Irish Academy elects members, it does soon the basis of a candidate’s publications and research record, the sole criterion is quality. This research may help in the treatment of disease, or it may enhance our understanding of a past civilisation. Members of the Academy should not shirk from their responsibility to let people know that basic research is important and that government support for fundamental research is a hallmark of a civilised society.” For 229 years, membership of the RIA has been keenly competed for, as it is the highest academic honour in Ireland and a public recognition of academic achievement. There are now 482 members of the Academy, in disciplines from the sciences, humanities and social sciences. Those elected are entitled to use the designation ‘MRIA’ after their name. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Spin-Out Company to Appear at TechCrunch Disrupt

NUI Galway Spin-Out Company to Appear at TechCrunch Disrupt-image

Thursday, 5 June 2014

An NUI Galway spin-out company,, have beaten thousands of other start-ups competing for the honour of appearing at TechCrunch Disrupt. TechCrunch Disrupt is seen as one of the critical battlefields for globally facing tech start-ups to prove their mettle.  Once a year the most promising stat-ups on the planet get an opportunity to pitch their ideas on the TechCrunch stage in the hunt for a prize of $50,000. The pitches take place in front of one of the most influential groups of angels and investors in the world today with the exposure gained often leading to substantial investment in the start-ups. is a startup company that was incorporated as a result of an EI funded commercialisation project carried out by the Applied Innovations group in Insight at NUI Galway, in collaboration with Robert Leslie of GBRDirect. Building on original work by Dr Slavomir Grzoncowski in the area of zero knowledge proofs, Sedici has been developed into an authentication system and is being further developed into a federated identity verification system. British Telecom (BT) took a strong interest in the federated identity verification aspect of Sedici and have now named as winner of its BT Infinity Lab competition. The prize is TechHub membership and desks for the six months, and BT is providing a team of technical and commercial people to validate the technology and to evaluate commercial opportunities. Further contact information Robert Leslie at or visit -Ends-  

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NUI Galway Conference Focuses on Impact of Health Promotion to Population Health

NUI Galway Conference Focuses on Impact of Health Promotion to Population Health-image

Friday, 6 June 2014

The 18th annual Health Promotion Research Centre Summer Conference will take place at NUI Galway on Wednesday, 11 June in Áras Moyola. Plenary lectures, workshops, oral and poster presentations will focus on ‘Applying the Principles of Health Promotion to Population Health Improvement’.   In the context of the national policy framework ‘Healthy Ireland’, which was launched last, this conference brings together practitioners, researchers, academics and policy makers to consider the impact of Health Promotion on population health and how the core principles of Health Promotion can be applied in Ireland. Professor Louise Potvin, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Community Approaches and Health Inequalities at the Université de Montréal, Canada will deliver a keynote lecture which argues for population health intervention research as an emerging yet fundamental science for Health Promotion. Professor Potvin said: “It is vital that we base interventions to improve health on clear good-quality research and ensure that this is translated into policy and practice nationally and internationally. We should also manage to learn more from the innovative practices of practitioners and community organisations and research their efforts to improve the local conditions.” Dr Antony Morgan, an epidemiologist and Associate Director, at the Centre for Public Health Excellence, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), England, will discuss the Assets Model for improving health and wellbeing. The Assets Model, rather than focusing on a deficits or needs approach, identifies the potential strengths of individuals and communities and promotes joint solutions between communities and outside agencies. Dr Morgan said: “The Assets model provides some of the answers to unlocking persistent barriers to reducing health inequalities at the population level.” Biddy O’Neill, Barry McGinn and Cate Hartigan of the HSE will bring the national perspective to the plenary sessions in the conference. The implications and opportunities for Health and Wellbeing services in Ireland as a result of implementation of Healthy Ireland and the impact on service management and evaluation will be discussed. This session is relevant to delegates as practitioners or indeed as service users.   Participants will also hear and debate the latest research on alcohol misuse, food environments, men’s health and physical activity promotion affecting the Irish population across the life span. Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn, Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Annual Conference 2014, said: “The conference is a key event in the Health Promotion calendar in Ireland and it provides a unique opportunity to debate the issues and challenges facing Ireland as it strives to be a healthy society. The platform provided by the conference will help to showcase and disseminate the impact of health promotion on population health improvement in Ireland.” -Ends-   

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NUI Galway Invited to Las Vegas to Share Winning Innovation Project on Mobile App

NUI Galway Invited to Las Vegas to Share Winning Innovation Project on Mobile App-image

Monday, 9 June 2014

Two NUI Galway students and an NUI Galway staff member have been invited to Las Vegas to share their EXPLORE project, ‘NUI Galway Mobile App’, which won the Best Presentation Award at the Blackboard European Teaching and Learning Conference in Dublin last week. The ‘NUI Galway Mobile App’ is being developed by Fionn Delahunty, a first year psychology student and Darren Kelly, a first year Biomedical Science student, both in NUI Galway and both from Salthill, Galway City. Fionn and Darren originally decided to make an app which would enhance the first year experience and this project was a fit for the EXPLORE campus innovation initiative.   Speaking about the app, Fionn said: “We soon realised that an app with just a few key functions and without a major cost was the solution and it had to be made with staff and student collaboration. We came across Mosaic by Blackboard which seemed like a perfect platform, allowing us to spend time gathering information with the knowledge that all we had to do is bring it back and plug it in for a functioning app. We approached and received an enthusiastic response from Dr Sharon Flynn, Assistant Director with CELT, NUI Galway, as well as Zara Sheerin and John Caulfield in the Marketing and Communications Office. Then the ‘NUI Galway Mobile App’ journey began.” The NUI Galway Mobile App features campus maps, tours, student mail and much more. The app responded to a campus need desired by many students, whilst using the skills and experience available around the University to produce an app that is useful to almost everyone on campus.  Dr Sharon Flynn, Assistant Director with CELT, NUI Galway, added: “The Student-As-Producer aspect to this project has been core to its success. This is an app designed by students for students, meeting their needs, based on their experience, and as staff members we're delighted to be in a position to facilitate that.” As winners of the Best Presentation Award at the Blackboard European Teaching and Learning Conference, Dr Flynn, Fionn and Darren will now invited to present to a global audience at the Blackboard World conference in Las Vegas in July where they will be joined by over 2,500 education experts and practitioners.  The NUI Galway Mobile App will be available mid-July from the Apple Store. More information on the EXPLORE projects are available at -Ends-

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