Friday, 1 January 2016

NUI Galway lead an international collaboration consisting of astronomers from the US and France to take optical and gamma-ray observations of the Crab Nebula The Centre for Astronomy at the School of Physics in NUI Galway are the lead researchers and authors of a recent international study published today (01 January 2016) in one of the world’s leading primary research journals in astronomy and astrophysics, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS). A joint Irish-French-US set of observations have led to a better understanding of the unexpected flaring activity seen coming from the Crab supernova remnant. The project led by Irish astronomer Professor Andrew Shearer from the Centre of Astronomy at NUI Galway, involved using the NUI Galway developed, Galway Astronomical Stokes Polarimeter (GASP) polarimeter on the 200” Palomar telescope in California. Their work for the first time tied together changes in the optical polarisation with apparent changes in the gamma-ray (high energy x-ray) polarisation. A supernova remnant occurs when a star explodes and spews its innards out across the sky, creating an expanding wave of gas and dust known as a supernova remnant. Arguably, the most famous of these remnants is the Crab Nebula, which exploded in 1054. The Crab Nebula has been studied extensively over the last fifty years and recently found to be the source of gamma-ray and X-ray flares. It is not yet known where the flares are coming from and in an effort to understand their origin NUI Galway led the research programme of optical observations, which were carried out in association with gamma-ray observations using the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Integral gamma ray observatory. Uniquely both studies looked at the polarisation of both the light and the gamma rays in order to understand the origin of these flares. For many years, the flux from the whole Crab Nebula was expected to be constant, in such a way that the Crab was always thought of as a ‘standard candle’ (known brightness). Some doubts were cast on this status from high energy gamma-ray and hard X-ray observations made by the Fermi and INTEGRAL satellites, both European Space Agency satellite missions used to detect energetic radiation that comes from space. Since 2007 strong high energy flaring activities have been detected by the Agile and Fermi gamma-ray telescopes at a rate of about 1 per year. Although, currently they have no clear origin, these high energy flares show the complex timing behavior of this source. The NUI Galway team published observations of the polarisation of optical and hard X-ray photons from the Crab Nebula and pulsar system using the GASP, which was installed on the 200” Hale telescope at Mount Palomar in California, the Hubble Space Telescope/Advanced Camera for Surveys (HST/ACS) and the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory satellite, Integral. The NUI Galway study when compared to the Integral observations show that the polarisation of the optical light and gamma-ray seem to change in the same way, which was an unexpected result. Professor Andrew Shearer from the School of Physics at the Centre of Astronomy in NUI Galway, said: “Our studies show how Galway’s GASP polarimeter will be important for future observations of these high energy astronomical sources. After the recent Government announcement that Ireland will join the European Southern Observatory (ESO) we hope to contribute to future world class telescope projects such as the European Extremely Large Telescope.” Indeed, a change in the optical polarisation angle has been observed by this work, from 109.5° in 2005 to 85.3° in 2012. On the other hand, the gamma-ray polarisation angle changed from 115° to 80° during a similar period. Strong flaring activities at higher gamma-ray energies have been detected in the Crab nebula during this period and magnetic reconnection processes have been suggested to explain these observations. The change in the polarised optical and gamma-ray emission of the Crab Nebula/pulsar system as observed, for the first time, by GASP and the Integral satellite may indicate that magnetic reconnection is possibly at work in the Crab Nebula. The study also reported for the first time, a non-zero measure of the optical circular polarisation from the Crab pulsar + knot system. These results outline the strong scientific potential of polarimetric studies in particular in systems like the Crab Nebula where magnetic fields play a key role. The research was part-funded by a Ulysses grant for Irish-French collaboration. To read the study published in MNRAS visit: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1511.07641v1.pdf ENDS

Monday, 11 January 2016

Researchers at the Apoptosis Research Centre led by Professor Afshin Samali at the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway are embarking on a new research project, aimed at understanding a disorder known as Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) and identifying new therapy targets for emphysema and liver disease. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that affects the lungs and/or the liver and is caused by abnormal expression of the alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) protein. Prevalence of the disease is higher in Ireland than in most other countries. Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein that is made in the liver and released into the bloodstream. AAT protects the lungs so they can work normally, but without it, lungs can be damaged and breathing becomes difficult. Symptoms range from shortness of breath with mild activity, to repeated respiratory infections, fatigue, rapid heartbeat upon standing, vision problems and unintentional weight loss. Some individuals with AATD have advanced lung disease and emphysema and other common diagnoses include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma or chronic bronchitis. Liver disease is another symptom of AATD which occurs in 10% of affected children and 15% of affected adults. CÚRAM post-doctoral researcher Mila Ljujic, who secured grant funding for the project through the global healthcare company Grifols, explains that autophagy, the degradation of unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components, plays an important role in the development of AATD. Dr Ljujic explains, “Beclin-1, a protein produced by humans, is a key initiator of autophagy. A previous study on a similar form of the Beclin-1 protein in yeast has shown that it helps dispose of the harmful version of the AAT protein (Z-AAT). However, studies on its role in mammalian cells are lacking and we would like to find out more about it. Our aim is to identify how autophagy affects and regulates the cells response in AATD and to explore whether changes in Beclin-1 expression affect the response to Z-AAT overexpression.” Congratulating Dr Ljujic on her success in being granted funding for the project, Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of CÚRAM said: “Our researchers are exploring the disease mechanisms of a wide range of clinical targets to design ways of working with the body to overcome and manage the effects of chronic illness and increase quality of life for patients and continue to attract top level funding to tackle these important issues.” Based at NUI Galway and backed by Science Foundation Ireland and Industry funding, CÚRAM works with industry and clinical partners to radically improve health outcomes for chronically ill patients through the development of the next generation of ‘smart’ implantable medical devices. ENDS

Monday, 11 January 2016

NUI Galway’s School of Education will host the Second International Conference on Mobile Technology in Teacher Education (MiTE) on 15 and 16 January in the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway. On Friday, 15 January, the conference will provide an academic platform for emerging research, and on Saturday, 16 January, the focus will be on the practitioner application of mobile technology in the classroom, in the form of hands-on workshops and showcases on mobile apps for teaching, learning and assessment. NUI Galway’s School of Education is aware of the potential that mobile technology has for improving the teaching and learning experiences of pupils in the classroom. This two-day conference will celebrate the possibilities and explore the challenges of integrating mobile technology in teacher education and in the broader field of education in order to promote best practice by teachers, students and schools. Contributors include experts in the field of mobile technology, including representatives from mainland Europe, the US, Nordic countries and Asia. Seán Ó Grádaigh, NUI Galway’s School of Education, and Co-Chair of the MiTE 2016 Conference, said: “Mobile Technology has the ability to change how we Teach, Learn and Assess. Students can now learn when, where and how suits them best and Teacher Education can play a central role in the integration of this technology in the classroom.” Keynote Speaker Stephen Heppell is a Professor at Bournemouth University, Chair in New Media Environments, Emeritus Professor Anglia Ruskin University, and Visiting Professor of the University of Wales, Newport. Professor Heppell is best known for his work at Ultralab, part of Anglia Polytechnic University. There, he worked on education projects such as ‘Learning in the New Millennium’, ‘Schools OnLine’, development of ‘Think.com’ and ‘Talking Heads’. In 2003, he left UltraLab and is now CEO of the education consultancy firm, Heppell.net, a global and flourishing policy and learning consultancy, which now has an enviable portfolio of international projects all around the world. Dr Mary Fleming, Head of School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “My colleagues and I are delighted to be involved in this conference again this year. Mobile Technology is a significant and growing area of educational research and we welcome this opportunity to build on the School of Education’s engagement with new teaching and learning practices and approaches in the classroom.” MiTE 2016 is open to parents, teachers and students who are interested in seeing and hearing how mobile technologies, for example, smartphones/tablets, can contribute positively to the learning processes within our classrooms today. To find out more see http://www.gratek.ie/mite2016/index.php -Ends-   

Monday, 11 January 2016

With the CAO deadline fast approaching on 1 February, NUI Galway will host a CAO Parents’ Information Evening for parents and Leaving Certificate students. The event will take place in Aras Moyola on campus on Tuesday, 19 January from 7–9pm. NUI Galway recognises the key role that parents play in supporting students as they take this important next step, and the CAO Information Evening will ensure that parents have access to all of the information needed in supporting their child through their University career. With over 50 degree courses on offer by NUI Galway, the evening will begin with an exhibition where lecturers and staff will be available to answer any questions. This will be then followed by College specific talks on Arts, Business, Law, Engineering and Informatics, Science, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. NUI Galway’s Student Recruitment Officer, Celine O’Donovan, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to talk to representatives from all NUI Galway’s Colleges about the subjects your son or daughter is interested in and to find out about practical issues and the wide range of support services available to our students.” If you would like to find out more about the CAO Parents’ Information Evening contact Celine O’Donovan on 087 2391219 or email celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie -Ends-   

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The 11th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 21 and 22 January. The event will see over 1,200 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,200 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. Hannah Kielty, a second year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating the 11th year of Teddy Bear Hospital. Each year it gets bigger and better with more and more schools applying to attend. We will have a total of 1,200 children attending over the two mornings. We hope to create a fun, friendly and relaxed atmosphere for both the children and our volunteers, and are looking forward to a busy couple of days!” This year, 30 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.  Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Burkes Fruit and Veg, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for these came from Electric Garden and Theatre, MPS, and Childsplay Creche Riverside. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -ends- Déanann Mic Léinn Leighis OÉ Gaillimh ceiliúradh ar aon bhliain déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní Den aonú bliain déag as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní, ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh, Déardaoin, an 21 agus Dé hAoine, an 22 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,200 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,200 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana d’aois, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann. Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Hannah Kielty, mac léinn leighis sa dara bliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comh-iniúchóir an Chumainn Sláinte: “I mbliana táimid ag déanamh ceiliúradh ar aon bhliain déag d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní. Tá sé ag méadú bliain i ndiaidh bliana agus tá tuilleadh scoileanna ag déanamh iarratais le freastal ar an ócáid. Beidh breis is 1,200 páiste san iomlán ag freastal thar dhá mhaidin. Tá súil againn atmaisféar spraíúil, cairdiúil agus réchúiseach a chruthú do na páistí agus do na hoibrithe deonacha araon, agus táimid ag tnúth le dhá lá ghnóthacha!” I mbliana, tá 30 bunscoil áitiúil páirteach san ócáid. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht orthu. Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu. Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní.  Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Burkes Fruit and Veg ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis urraithe ag Cógaslann Matt O’Flaherty le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu féadfaidh na gasúir am a chaitheamh ar phreabchaisleán agus beidh cumann lámhchleasaíochta an choláiste i mbun siamsaíochta. Fuarthas urraíocht bhreise ó Electric Garden and Theatre, MPS, agus Childsplay Creche Riverside. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is deis iontach é Ospidéal na mBéiríní don chumann chun cuireadh a thabhairt do pháistí agus a mbéiríní chuig an gcampas agus chun taithí luachmhar foghlama a thabhairt do chách. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is deise agus is spraíúla atá idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid an-bhródúil as chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis an ócáid. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann deis do líon chomh mór dár gcuid mac léinn a bheith rannpháirteach san ócáid seo do chúis chomh dearfach agus tá súil againn go mbainfidh gach a mbeidh páirteach an-sult as an gcúpla lá seo.” -críoch-

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Secondary school students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Clonmel on Thursday, 28 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Cahir Road Roundabout, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. 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, Student Recruitment 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 Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Clonmel 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 Clonmel, contact NUI Galway’s Student Recruitment Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 2391219 or email celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-      

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

As part of its programme of commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies will present a series of public lectures in Galway City Library. ‘Lectures in the Library/Léachtaí sa Leabharlann’ will explore the lives of individuals who were involved in the Irish revolution, including Peadar Kearney who wrote the ‘Soldier’s Song’, the anarchist Captain Jack White, Éamonn Ceannt, and Fr Richard Henebry, who is best known for his pioneering work on Irish traditional music. The first lecture in the series will take place on Tuesday, 26 January and will focus on Liam S Gógan (1891-1979), who coined the term ‘poblacht’, the first word in the proclamation of the Irish republic. Gógan was directly involved in the revolutionary politics that led to the Easter Rising and remained an unregenerate Irish republican throughout his life. He was also the most significant poet writing in Irish between 1916 and 1945. ‘Liam S Gógan: The poet, the pedant, and the revolutionary’, will be delivered by Dr Louis de Paor, Director of the University’s Centre for Irish Studies, and will explore the life and work of one of the most accomplished and unusual Irish poets of the twentieth century. The lectures will run each Tuesday for six weeks from 6.30-8.30pm at the Galway City Library in Augustine Street. For more details on each of the lectures visit the Centre for Irish Studies Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NUIGalwayCentreforIrishStudies. -Ends-

Thursday, 14 January 2016

NUI Galway study highlights the discharge of antibiotic resistant bacteria from inadequately treated sewage to the environment in Ireland, Europe and the wider world is a serious risk to health Scientists at the School of Medicine in NUI Galway together with colleagues in UCD have carried out a study on whether antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria are present in hospital sewage, and city sewage. The results found high levels of bacteria resistant to all antibiotics in urban sewage from hospitals and from general city sewage, but that risk can be reduced greatly by an effective wastewater treatment. Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to public health. Bacteria are becoming resistant to more and more antibiotics and infections are more and more difficult to treat. Hospitals today are fighting the problem of infections caused by bacteria resistant to so many antibiotics that patients with these infections are very difficult to treat. Antibiotic resistance is driven by contact between bacteria and antibiotics. When we take antibiotics to treat an infection the antibiotic impacts on all the bacteria in the body not just the one causing the infection. This can drive many bacteria in the gut and skin towards antibiotic resistance. In the past we have paid much less attention to contact between antibiotics and bacteria outside the body. However a lot of the antibiotics we swallow come out in urine or faeces. Bacteria are also shed in faeces and become mixed with water and soil bacteria in sewers and treatment plants. In recent years there has been growing interest in the way in which this melting pot of bacteria and antibiotics might also contribute to this major problem of antibiotic resistance. Hospitals use a lot of antibiotics. About 1 in 3 patients in hospital are on antibiotics at any one time. Hospitals tend to use high doses or the newest and most broadly acting antibiotics because of the nature of the infections in hospitalised patients. Scientists at the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and colleagues at UCD, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, looked at whether antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria are present in hospital sewage, and city sewage. They tested to see if the antibiotic resistant bacteria can survive wastewater treatment processes and examined what is the possible risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria that are discharged into seawater from treatment plants getting back into people. The research team found high levels of bacteria resistant to all antibiotics in urban sewage from hospitals and from the general city sewage. Hospital sewage was different in that there were high levels of bacteria resistant to a number of “newer” antibiotics. The number of antibiotic resistant bacteria present were reduced greatly by effective wastewater treatment but some antibiotic resistant bacteria survive and are discharged to seawater. The team consider that the chance that people will pick up antibiotic resistant bacteria from swimming in seawater receiving properly treated sewage is very low. The team found that the predicted discharges of antibiotics into the environment from hospitals is substantial. There is evidence that some antibiotics may persist in the water and soil for long periods. Because of the effects of dilution and other factors, it is unlikely that people are exposed to sufficient antibiotics to cause direct harmful effects. However the persistence of antibiotics at low levels in soil and water may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Dr Dearbhaile Morris, Bacteriologist from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway said: “This study highlights a part of the problem of antibiotic resistance that does not receive very much attention. Our work shows that there is a risk related to antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria in sewage but that a high standard of sewage treatment goes a long way to reduce that risk. This is one more reason why the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage to the environment in Ireland or indeed anywhere in Europe or the wider world is an unacceptable risk to our health.” For a link to the study visit: http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/research/health/researchreport162.html#.VpaBUFLXsSk ENDS

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Times Higher Education World University Rankings includes NUI Galway in Top 200 List of Most International Universities in the World NUI Galway has moved to the Top 200 list of the most international universities in the world 2016, announced today, 14 January in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. Times Higher Education used the ‘international outlook’ indicator of the World University Rankings to create this list where all institutions in the top 800 of the ranking have been considered. This makes the inclusion of NUI Galway in the list of the top 200 most international universities a significant achievement. This ‘international outlook’ acknowledges that NUI Galway continues to attract the very highest calibre of staff and students. THE look at both the diversity of a university’s student body and the extent to which its academics collaborate with international colleagues, which indicate how global an institution really is, and these factors were among the 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that allowed Times Higher Education to produce the most comprehensive global university rankings in the world. This ranking further cements NUI Galway’s reputation as a top destination for International Students, having recently been awarded the Excellent International Student Satisfaction Award 2015 and also ranked 2nd in Ireland for the International Student Experience 2014-2015, with Ireland being ranked number 1 in Europe. The awards, which recognises and rewards the universities that give their international students their best study experience, are based on reviews submitted by 17,000 international students studying across Europe, who are surveyed by StudyPortals, a Netherlands-based university course site. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said: “This is a significant achievement for NUI Galway and reflects a sustained upward trend in these very competitive global rankings. This consistent improvement in NUI Galway’s THE World University Rankings is an affirmation of our very focused approach to developing our international reputation. As part of the University’s ambitious vision for the future we are committed to becoming a top 200 ranked university by 2020, attracting the best students, teachers and researchers, and creating a network of relationships of substance that span the globe. Today’s inclusion of NUI Galway in the THE ranking of the top 200 most international universities in the world is a tremendous reflection on our ambitious internationalisation agenda.” Professor Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs at NUI Galway, added: “NUI Galway continues to cement its place as an internationally vibrant university, reflecting the rich cultural heritage and global reach of Galway city. One-in-five of our full-time students come here from outside Ireland to study, representing over 110 countries around the world. One-in-five of our staff are international too, bringing a huge wealth of intellectual capital and global experience to our campus, city, and region. Universities are global places, and we are proud that NUI Galway is at the forefront of this tradition.” Mr Phil Baty from Times Higher Education said: “An institution’s global outlook is one of the key markers of a prestigious university. The top institutions hire faculty from all over the world, attract students from a global market of top talent and collaborate with leading departments wherever they happen to be based. It is great news for all the institutions in the list of the most international universities in the world. It is a sign of great potential, competitiveness and dynamism.” View THE Top 200 Most International Universities 2016 World Rankings here: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/200-most-international-universities-world-2016 NUI Galway World University Rankings: http://nuigalway.ie/rankings ENDS

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

NUI Galway researchers study the culture of antibiotic prescribing and consumption for Urinary Tract Infections and find the need for more dialogue among GPs and Patients Researchers from NUI Galway’s School of Medicine have carried out a study to explore the culture of antibiotic prescribing and consumption in the community for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), from the perspective of the General Practitioners (GPs) and community members. Their results were published in the medical journal BMJ Open. This research provides insight into the decision-making processes contributing to the continued prescription and consumption of antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections. An antibiotic is not a satisfactory outcome from every UTI GP consultation. As a result of this qualitative research, behavioural interventions should focus on: Improving the quality of antibiotic prescribing for UTI by encouraging GPs to reflect on their current antibiotic-prescribing practices, including when they prescribe and what antibiotics they choose. Supporting a dialogue between the GP and the patient within the consultation about the positive and negative aspects of antibiotic treatment for UTI particularly when symptoms are non-specific. Building changes into routine care without elongating the consultation. As part of the study the NUI Galway researchers carried out in depth interviews with 15 GPs practicing in rural and urban locations in Ireland, and six focus groups were held with community members who had direct or indirect experiences with urinary tract infection. The study found that decisions made to prescribe or consume an antibiotic for a UTI is a set of complex processes. It includes recognising that you are unwell (need recognition), seeking advice from various sources like the web and family members prior to visiting the GP (information search), and deciding whether to go to the GP (evaluation process). All of these processes are governed by the relationship and interactions between the GP and the patient. Different GP and patient decision-making profiles emerged, emphasising the diversity and variety of general practice in real-life settings. The GP findings showed a requirement for more microbiological information on antibiotic resistance patterns to inform prescribing decisions. Focus group participants (patients) wanted a conversation with the GP about their illness and the treatment options available. Dr Sinead Duane from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and co-author of the study said: “Many patients are open to delaying antibiotic treatment if the GP takes time to explain the reasons why and provides advice on which symptoms they should look out for. This research highlights that patients visiting their GP often only want reassurance and advice on how to manage their symptom, and not necessarily an antibiotic.” Collectively, this research identified the consultation as a priority intervention environment for stimulating change in relation to antibiotics. The BMJ Open paper demonstrates how qualitative research can identify the interacting processes which are instrumental to the decision to prescribe or consume an antibiotic for a suspected UTI. Qualitative research empowers researchers to investigate the what, how and why of interventions in a real-life setting. Qualitative research can play a critical and instrumental role in designing behavioural change strategies with high impact on practice. The results of this research were used to design a complex intervention informed by social marketing. To view the full BMJ Open paper visit: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/1/e008894.full.pdf+html ENDS

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Children who experience chronic pain are invited to take part in first online pain management programme of its kind in Ireland to be trialled at NUI Galway Researchers from the School of Psychology and Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway are currently recruiting children age 6-10 years with chronic pain and their parent(s) or care-giver(s) to take part in an online pain management programme for children. An online pain management programme called Feeling Better has been developed at NUI Galway to help children and parents to manage chronic pain for a better quality of life. This web-based programme is based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, a psychological therapy which has shown to be effective in the management of chronic pain, in traditional face-to-face therapy and group treatment. The Feeling Better study is unique in that a trial of this nature has not been investigated to date in Ireland. The programme is currently the only, widely available, source of interactive, online therapeutic support for school age children with chronic pain in Ireland. The researchers would like to enlist families coping with chronic pain to aid in the testing of this online pain management programme. Chronic pain is pain which persists for a period of three months or more. It affects up to 35% of the Irish population and is increasingly prevalent in young people. Recent studies suggest up to 10% of 5-12 year old Irish children report chronic or persistent pain including abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and widespread pain. Chronic pain is often associated with psychological effects, which may include changes in mood and difficulty with focusing attention and performance at school. This can have a significant impact on day-to-day quality of life. The Feeling Better study is open to children with any type of chronic or persistent pain (pain which has lasted for three months or more). The study will take place over the coming months and children and their parent(s) from across Ireland are invited to take part. Pain support groups, parent-led networks, GPs and physiotherapists around the country are encouraged to get in touch and to refer suitable people with pain to the study. Benefits to participants include access to a free online pain management programme and training in cognitive and behavioural techniques tailored for chronic pain management and school age children. The online programme was developed by clinical psychologists and researchers at NUI Galway with input from families currently coping with chronic pain. School age children with chronic pain and their care-givers were involved in the design and development process. Evidence-based psychological strategies were selected to address areas of pain management children and parents identified as most challenging and important. This influence ensures Feeling Better is a fun and engaging form of online therapeutic support designed by children with pain for children with pain. The programme involves 9-weekly online sessions. Each session is designed to take approximately 30-minutes to complete and all participants are guided through the programme by a ‘Coach’ who is available to provide feedback and advice on a regular basis. Each week, this fun, pirate-themed, interactive programme will introduce children to new skills in the form of ‘Challenges’ and weekly ‘Missions’ (treatment sessions) which they must complete in order to progress in their training. Participating children will begin the programme as a ‘Powder Monkey’ and must earn a promotion with each Mission until they succeed to ‘Captain’ and claim their treasure. Parents are encouraged to take the role of ‘Coach’ and are separately guided through a complementary section of the programme where they are provided with information, tips for practice and tools to help with day-to-day pain management. Weekly sessions are tailored to participants goals, support needs and coping preferences. Children and parents will learn more about psychological strategies which focus on techniques such as relaxation training, activity pacing, attention management, communication skills and the influence of thoughts and emotions on the experience of pain. This programme is part of a research project being carried out at NUI Galway by PhD candidate and Hardiman scholar, Angeline Traynor and led by Professor Brian McGuire from NUI Galway’s School of Psychology and the Centre for Pain Research. Angeline Traynor has been researching chronic pain management and working with families to develop an effective and accessible pain management programme. Ms Traynor says: “Chronic pain is thought to be predictive of long term complaints and disability. Given the impact of chronic pain it is essential to provide a means of support for young children with respect to pain management. Learning coping strategies at an early age may have long term benefits for the child and the family as a whole. Our hope is that this online programme will overcome access and resource issues which may be preventing families from receiving psychological treatment to support pain management.” Participation is voluntary. Children and parents who take part will be helping researchers decide if web-based technology is an acceptable means of treatment delivery. The researchers are looking for volunteers to help them trial the programme and determine what works and what doesn’t work. To participate in the study or for further information, please contact Angeline Traynor at team@feelingbetter.ie and 086 0378562 or visit www.feelingbetter.ie The study is supported by Galway University Foundation and the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. ENDS

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Two new smoke-free zones are launched outside some of the University’s busiest buildings NUI Galway has introduced two smoke-free zones on campus. The new smoke-free zones are centred around two designated smoking shelters in the north and south campus, and cover some of the most popular buildings on campus, including the James Hardiman Library, the Arts Millennium Building, the Engineering Building, Áras Moyola and the Cairnes Building. In 2013, a University-wide survey was carried out to gauge the campus community’s attitudes towards smoking at NUI Galway. While an outright ban on smoking was rejected, a majority of staff and students expressed their preference for restricting smoking to designated areas only. Since then, a working group of University staff and Students’ Union representatives has been working on designing and implementing the smoke-free zones. While it will take some time to build awareness about the new smoking restrictions, there is already a marked reduction in smoking at many building entrances. The new smoke-free zones are supported by both the University and the Students’ Union, and members of the Student Cancer Society are helping to grow awareness around the campaign. Like many public places, smoking creates second-hand smoke and litter on the campus, in particular at the entrances to buildings. The new smoke-free zones are aimed at making the University a cleaner and healthier place for everyone to work and study. Signage on the new designated smoking shelters includes information on supports to quit smoking. Commenting on the new smoke-free zones, Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan said: “A healthy campus will deliver long-term benefits for all our community. One of the first steps is to establish smoke-free zones.  Students and staff are united in this particular initiative.” For more information on why and where NUI Galway is going smoke-free, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/smokefree. -Ends-

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

NUI Galway are co-authors of an international study that finds stock market crashes can be compared to unexpected ecological disasters and natural calamities An interdisciplinary team of scientists from NUI Galway, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Ecole Normale Supérieure Cachan in France, came together to examine if market crashes exhibited the same early warning signs as natural calamities. Their investigation reveals interesting answers and suggests improved metrics for forecasting a market crash. The study was published in the open access science journal, PLOS ONE. While financial analysts can guide you through the daily ups and downs of the stock market, accurate forecasts of an imminent crash is still difficult to predict. Just like natural calamities, stock market crashes occur frequently and often have repercussions for the global economy. Experts are now looking at natural disasters for clues to understand economic ones. Currently volatility in stock prices is used as a basic risk indicator. However, the recent financial crisis of 2007-2008 that caused global markets to shut down temporarily, reminded experts that this is not enough to prepare for a crash. Are there any other signs that we could watch out for? Whispers of a probable answer came from an unexpected field – ecology. Professor Vishwesha Guttal, Mathematical Ecologist at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science and lead author of the published study, said: “There is a lot of interest in the exchange of ideas between ecology and economics.” This study sprung from Professor Guttal’s discussions with Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, an Economist at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, looking at the behaviour of financial markets as complex systems. Financial markets are suggested to be akin to ecological systems with complex feedback loops and sudden critical transitions, also known as ‘tipping points’. A stock market crash can be compared to unexpected natural transitions such as the onset of the Ice Age, desertification of a fertile area, and the collapse of local fisheries, are just some examples. In recent years, ecologists have been looking for behavioural clues of complex systems in these natural events. It turns out that many complex systems in nature exhibit ‘critical slowing down’ behaviour before reaching their tipping point. This means that just before a critical transition, it takes longer for them to recover from small disturbances because their internal stabilising mechanisms become weak. Hence, the system stays ‘disturbed’ for a longer time than usual, which means that the system becomes highly correlated in the disturbed state. To test this theory on stock market crashes, Professor Guttal and his team rigorously analysed the daily closing data of three major U.S. (Dow Jones Index (DJI), S&P 500 and NASDAQ) and two European (DAX and FTSE) markets spanning the last century. In all cases, they found that variability did increase prior to every known market crash in history. Which means the financial system does get significantly ‘disturbed’ before a crash. But curiously, there was no increase in the autocorrelation of data. Autocorrelation indicates how similar the data is across different time samples. This means that, once markets are ‘disturbed’, market recovery happens as usual without a ‘slowing down’. This trend is consistent for all crashes across all markets studied by the team. “Many papers suggest that financial meltdowns are also transitions near tipping points, but here our research shows that they are not”, added Professor Guttal. Then why do markets crash? Professor Guttal explains, “We suggest this is because the system is dominated by high stochasticity (randomness). Our results indicate that if random disturbances in the market grow stronger with time, they can lead to a financial meltdown even if the market is not close to a tipping point. Variability can therefore be an important statistical indicator in early warning signals (EWS) for market crashes, complementing existing indicators such as volatility.” Could this study have policy implications? NUI Galway Economist, Dr Srinivas Raghavendra and co-author of the study says, “To build robust policies and corrective measures in the future, we need to understand the origin of randomness that drives market meltdowns. This may arise from complex interactions between financial institutions, market microstructure and individual agent behaviour, all adapting at different time scales. Deconstructing such a complex system is necessary for effective policy intervention.” However, there are two major limitations in predictability of such indicators. They don’t indicate when a crash may happen and they only suggest a high probability of a crash. In this detailed study of Dow Jones data, 16 early warning signals emerged from the variability calculations. Of the 16, seven were false alarms. But the good news is that there were no failed alarms and the remaining nine covered every major crash in American market history. Mr Nikunj Goel, an undergraduate physics student who worked with Professor Guttal on this study, has developed a basic web application that provides current trends in markets around the globe. It also shares analysis on historical meltdowns from their published study. The team hopes to add more features to this app and make it more user-friendly. To read the full study in PLOS ONE visit: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144198 Nature-India, Nature Publishing Group, carried an in-depth article on the paper here: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2015.178 ENDS

Friday, 22 January 2016

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced the appointment of Páraic Ó hOibicín as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence for 2016. A native of Leitir Mucú in Connemara, Páraic Ó hOibicín is one of a generation of dancers who led the revival of sean-nós dance in the late twentieth century. Key to Páraic’s style of dancing, is a faithful nod to older dancers and the tradition that he saw in his youth. He credits Máirtín Beag Ó Gríofa as the most important influence in his development as a sean-nós dancer. Páraic’s style is highly individual, with a lightness and individuality of step recognisable the world over. Like many of his generation, Páraic was resident for a number of years in the UK, but returned to Leitir Mucú in 1984, and quickly reconnected with the dancing community of his youth through sean-nós and set dancing. A winner of the Oireachtas competition in 2004, Páraic is a sought after performer and teacher, and has been invited to give work-shops and master-classes of sean-nós dance nationally throughout Ireland, in Zurich and this year in America. Among his many dance students over the years are two of his own children Patrick and Soina, who have both been successful in Oireachtas competitions, continuing the family tradition. During his residency, Páraic will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and other venues in Galway. A selection of his repertoire will also be recorded to deposit in the Sean-Nós Archive at the Centre for Irish Studies. A series of five free sean-nós dance workshops will take place in An Taibhdhearc and commence on Wednesday, 10 February and are open to the public. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon, in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends- Rinceoir Sean-Nóis Cónaitheach ceaptha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh Tá sé fógartha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, go bhfuil Páraic Ó hOibicín ceaptha mar Rinceoir Sean-Nóis Cónaitheach as seo go ceann bliana. D'fhás Páraic suas i Leitir Mucú i gConamara agus is ó Mháirtín Beag Ó Gríofa a fuair sé a chuid damhsa ar dtús. Tá Páraic dílis i gcónaí don seantraidisiún rince agus é ar dhuine desna damhsóirí is tábhachtaí in athbheochaint an tsean-nóis a tharla ag deireadh na haoise seo caite. Bhí Páraic ag maireachtaint i Sasana ar feadh blianta, agus d’fhill sé thar n-ais go Leitir Mucú i 1984. Tá neart duaiseanna bainte amach aige, san Oireachtas mar shampla i 2000. Bíonn sé ag damhsa agus ag múineadh ar fud na tíre agus éileamh air thar lear, i Zurich agus i Mericeá. Beidh an tsraith cheardlann san Taibhdhearc ag tosnú ar an 10 Feabhra. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus An Chomhairle Ealaíon i bpáirt le hIonad an Léinn Éireannaigh atá ag maoiniú an togra seo. -Críoch-

Friday, 22 January 2016

Innovative New Business Degree for NUI Galway The new Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) course at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in NUI Galway adds another innovative degree to the school’s portfolio of global business programmes. Formerly known as the Bachelor of Commerce (International Experience) this NUI Galway degree has been significantly enhanced by extending study abroad opportunities through English, to China, Australia and the United States in addition to existing partner countries throughout the European Union. “This new degree offers the unique opportunity of a work placement and a study abroad in the same year, while still delivering a broad business degree combined with a business specialism in final year. This four year degree is designed to prepare students for the challenges of working in today’s global business environment, explained Programme Director, Dr Gerard Turley. Students complete modules from all different areas of business in the first two years of the degree. In year three, students undertake a work placement and/or study abroad. In final year, students specialise in one of the following eight streams: Accounting and Performance Measurement; Economics and Public Policy; Management of Human Resources; Marketing Management; Digital Business and Analytics; Finance; Business Law; or International Business. Speaking at the official launch of the new programme, Dr Tom Acton, Head of NUI Galway’s J.E Cairnes School of Business and Economics said: “The Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) builds on the success of 100 years of business education at NUI Galway. It is offered in addition to the full suite of business degrees in NUI Galway including the highly popular Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Commerce (International with Continental Language), Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge), Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems and Bachelor of Science in Financial Mathematics and Economics.” President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Studying abroad in the business schools of leading universities whilst immersed in the culture of our partner countries is a strategic element of preparation of the student for a successful career in international business. The introduction of partnerships in China, Australia and the United States results in a truly international business degree which builds student networks and understanding on a global scale.” Dr Ann Torres, Vice-Dean of Internationalisation at NUI Galway, said, “In order to flourish future business graduates will need to adapt to an ever more global work environment. Global business requires globally confident and culturally aware graduates. The Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) course responds to the needs of employers and will produce highly sought after graduates in all areas of business.” For more information please contact the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics 091 492 612 or email business@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Inspired by the recent #WakingTheFeminists movement, #wakingthefeministswest is a Galway-based season of plays and performances by Irish women led by NUI Galway Drama and Theatre Studies students and supported by the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.  The programme’s mission is to stage the work of Irish women playwrights and theatre-makers, both past and present, as well as to provide strong roles for female performers.  This season will commence in January 2016 and conclude in May 2016, featuring multiple events each month. The season particularly seeks to highlight a diverse range of female voices from the west of Ireland and will include theatre, dance, devised work, work from the archive and offerings from new and developing writers. This initiative is being led by Drama and Theatre Studies Ph.D. students Justine Nakase and Nelson Barre, and involves participation from students from first year to Ph.D. level, as well as staff.  Nakase and Barre offer that they are interested in ‘excavating historic women’s voices and elevating contemporary ones’ and hope that this programme actively challenges the argument that women’s lack of representation in theatre as playwrights among other roles is due to a ‘lack of female talent.’ The programme will be launched by Irish Times Theatre award nominated designer, arts manager and leader of #WakingTheFeminists, Lian Bell, on 28 January at 7PM in the Hardiman Research Building, Room G010 and all are welcome.  January and February #wakingthefeministwest performances will include:  Lady Augusta Gregory, Grainne, directed by Justine Nakase, (28 and 29 January, Bank of Ireland Theatre, 8PM) 100 Shades of Grey, devised by the ensemble, directed by Charlotte McIvor, (8 and 9 February, Bank of Ireland Theatre, 8PM) Elizabeth Connor, Mount Prospect, directed by Ciara O’Dowd and Thomas Conway, Druid Director-in-Residence, (25 and 26 February, Town Hall Studio Theatre, 8:30PM) The further programme will be announced in February.  NUI Galway and the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance is an ideal base for #wakingthefeministswest. The season’s programme will draw on resources unique to the university, including specialised archives such as the Abbey Digital Archive, a thriving local arts scene, the expertise of the faculty at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and the connection to the Irish language. #wakingthefeministswest builds on the West of Ireland’s rich history of strong female figures, both in theatre and at large. From the Abbey’s Lady Augusta Gregory to Druid’s Garry Hynes, from the pirate queen Graínne Mhaol to Mary Robinson, the women of the west have had a huge impact on Ireland’s history and culture. #wakingthefeministswest celebrates and honours the women of the west by giving them life and a voice on the Irish stage. For further information on the programme or ticket reservation, contact wakingthefeministswest@gmail.com  -ends-

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

NUI Galway is currently recruiting participants for a new study on the efficacy of Pilates in falls prevention in healthy older adults over 65 years old. The outcomes assessed will include questionnaires and tests of physical activity, balance, foot pressure, mobility, gait, cognition and falls. One hour classes will take place in Áras Moyola twice weekly for three months with three participants in each class. There will be a total of 24 sessions for each group for the main study and participants are advised to wear comfortable clothes for exercises. There will be a further smaller study of 12 sessions for six weeks with two groups of four participants.   Conducting the study is Larissa Donatoni da Silva, an NUI Galway PhD Health Science, physiotherapist and Pilates instructor. Larissa said: “Our study is looking at the effect that participating in Pilates has on balance, breathing, stretching, and coordination. In particular, we are interested in people over 65 years old, who enjoy doing exercises. We want to measure your level of function with questionnaires and tests so that we can compare it with people who are not practising Pilates.” Participants will get a home Pilates exercise programme and a DVD with exercises demonstrated by the Pilates instructor. The study is supervised by NUI Galway’s Professor Agnes Shiel and Professor Caroline McIntosh. For more detail or to participate in the study contact Larissa Donatoni da Silva at 089 4592533, laridonatoni@gmail.com or l.donatonidasilva1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Irish Software Research Centre (Lero), in conjunction with the discipline of Business Information Systems at NUI Galway, recently welcomed female transition years’ students from Galway secondary schools for its inaugural Transition Year Innovation workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to heighten awareness of the many exciting opportunities and careers in the ICT sector for women. According to recent Accenture Ireland research, women constitute only 25% of the workforce in STEM related jobs. The workshop was funded by a grant from the GoogleRISE Award. The Lero group at NUI Galway is lead by Professor Kieran Conboy, Dean of the University’s College of Business, Public Policy and Law, and was one of 37 worldwide recipients of this award in 2015, in recognition of its ongoing education and outreach programmes throughout Ireland. During the workshop the students from Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew, St. Brigid's in Loughrea and the Salerno Secondary School in Salthill, were tasked with designing a mobile app for a health and fitness club. To complete their assignment, the students formed three and four member teams, with each team supported by mentors: Carol Guilfoyle and Christina Callanan, Hewlett Packard; Emma Curley, Accenture; Orla Shaughnessy, Storm Technology; Saima Clohessy, Fidelity Investments; Elizabeth Grier, Jessica Tyrrell and Lillian Hughes, fourth year students of the Business Information Systems programme, and Ann O’Brien, Coleen Griffin and Mary Loftus, NUI Galway PhD candidates. Each workshop session featuring a talk from female ICT professionals on their experience of working in technology, before introducing the teams to the activity for the team break out session that followed. The breakout sessions involved “hands on” learning for the Transition Year students, working with their mentors on activities such as systems analysis, user interface design, application development, innovation thinking, collaboration and presentation skills. “We were delighted with the great reaction and engagement of the Transition Year students with the format and conduct of the workshop, with the student, mentors and organisers enjoying the experience,” said Neil Keane, lead organiser of the workshop. The event was organised by Neil Keane, Ann O’Brien and Coleen Griffin, with support from Lero, the Business Information Systems discipline NUI Galway, Hewlett Packard, Storm Technologies, Fidelity Investments, and the Accenture centre for Innovation, Dublin. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

NUI Galway’s Societies Office has launched their Spring Programme highlighting the number of major events which will take place on campus this semester. With 115 societies the programme is packed with a variety of theatre, music, dance, guest speakers, debates, workshops and classes. As part of the Spring Programme, the Societies will present the Midterm Festival, from 8-12 February, to promote involvement in the social and cultural life of the campus. In this first year, the Festival will celebrate the arrival of spring with many of the events open to the public. Festival highlights include: Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) production of ‘The Addams Family’, at the Black Box Theatre. The African Caribbean Society will be hosting their version of the hit TV programme “Take me Out”. Dramsoc will host a workshop with the award-winning Blue Teapot Theatre Company, Performing Arts School and Outreach programme for people with intellectual disabilities. The Literary and Debating Society’s annual Alumni Debate. Witless Band Competition, organised by the Music Society and Rock Society. Other events in the Spring Programme include: Rainbow week, organised by GigSoc (LGBT). Potterfest Galway, organised by Pottersoc, a family friendly weekend for Harry Potter fans. Dramsoc will host the National Student Awards (ISDA) in five theatres across the city and on campus featuring over 25 productions from colleges all over Ireland. The Choral Society will host the National Choral Intervarsity. Dansoc will present ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Mental Health Week organised by Psychology Society. Brain Awareness Week organised by Neuro Society. A number of conventions and conferences will also feature including: Writers Convention; Fansci ‘Itzacon XII’ a Fantasy and Science Fiction Convention 2016 Convention; Cumann Staire Irish History Students Association, 66th Conference; the Association of Celtic Students of Ireland and Britain; and JugglingCon Galway 2016. Throughout the year the societies engage in numerous outreach and schools programmes, such as schools debating competition, organised by the Literary and Debating Society, the annual Schools Musical Awards, organised by the Musical Society, Suas Society facilitate homework clubs in local schools and the Bike Gang Society promote cycling and sustainable transport with schools and youth groups. Societies work with community groups through the world and fundraise extensively for charity, raising over €224,000 last year, and a number of charity events will also feature in this year’s programme. According to Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer and Chairperson of The Board of Irish College Societies, said: “In addition to significantly contributing to the social, cultural and community life of the campus and Galway’s wider community, the societies also play a vital role in educating and preparing their members and in particular their committee members to fully realise their potential as engaged contributing members of society, ensuring they receive a holistic education and graduate as skilled leaders with integrity, creativity, vision and passion for life.” Last year the Societies Office launched their new leadership programme which aims to instil positive leadership qualities and train the society committee members in the necessary skills to run successful societies, which deliver a quality experience for their members and target communities. The programme also aims to explore how people learn and the role of experimental learning through student led extra-curricular activities. The outcomes of the initial pilot programme have been very positive showing a clear correlation between skill ‘shortfalls’ as identified by employers and the skills the committee members identified they had learnt such as communication, problem solving, confidence and team work. A full list of events taking place is available at www.socs.nuigalway.ie, where you can also subscribe to the mailing list, or call the SocsBox, Áras na Mac Léinn on 091 492852. In addition to the box office at the SocsBox, which is open 10am – 7pm weekdays and until 5pm on Fridays, the Societies Office has also launched their new on-line webstore at www.socsbox.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Feature talks from SUSI Grants Authority and NUI Galway graduate Móna Wise NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 3 February, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. Galway native, award winning blogger of Wise Words, freelance writer, all-round entrepreneur and NUI Galway double-graduate, Móna Wise will give a talk on her experience of graduate studies at the Open Day. Her talk, which will take place at 1pm, will focus on her experience of returning to postgraduate study, and how her Masters qualification furthered her career. SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national Awarding Authority for all higher and further education student grants, will deliver their talk at 2pm, providing students with an opportunity with information on the funding opportunities and application process for postgraduate grants. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. Josephine Walsh, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre, said: “Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rank graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of postgraduates in employment has grown consistently in recent years and NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allows them to take the first step in building their career. Over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating, which is higher than the HEA national average for postgraduates.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth-level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media and Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. New courses being introduced for 2016 include an MSc in Biomedical Genomics, a part-time MSc in Medical Technology and Regulatory Affairs and an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience. To view NUI Galway’s new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway or find out more on Twitter using the hashtag #GetTheEdge. -Ends-

Thursday, 28 January 2016

‘A Soldier’s Song’, the second in a series of lectures curated by NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies as part of its programme of commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, will focus on Peadar Kearney, composer of the Irish national anthem. Kearney survived the struggle for independence and experienced poverty and neglect in the Free State for which so many of his close friends had given their lives. Disillusion led to depression but there seems to have been a conspiracy, involving political parties, families and friends, to mythologise him as a serene patriot rather than reveal him as a damaged veteran. The lecture will be delivered by Colbert Kearney, Professor Emeritus of English at UCC, and author of The Writings of Brendan Behan, The Glamour of Grammar, a study of Seán O’Casey, and The Consequence. The lecture will begin at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 2 February at Galway City Library in Augustine Street. -Ends-

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New Entrepreneurship programme for NUI Galway Community NUI Galway has this week announced the appointment of Mary Carty as Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at the University to coincide with the opening of the program to students and staff on campus.  Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus-based experiential entrepreneurship program open to students, alumni, staff and faculty; offering coaching, ideation and venture creation support. It is modelled on a successful program originated at the University of Miami and further expanded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Blackstone LaunchPad is co-funded by the Galway University Foundation and Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Speaking of the appointment, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mary Carty as Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway. Helping students to become innovators and entrepreneurs is a vital part of the student experience and important for the Irish economy. With the arrival of Blackstone LaunchPad all students will now be encouraged to develop their creative ideas.  This initiative, under Mary’s leadership will play a critical role in the delivery of NUI Galway’s Vision 2020 strategy. In addition, the programme will build mutually beneficial relationships with other Blackstone LaunchPad sites at University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin; along with the Blackstone LaunchPad network in the USA.”  Prior to joining Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, Mary cofounded of Outbox Incubator; the first ever Incubator for girls in STEM aged 11-22, launched by HRH Princess Anne in March 2015. In its first year, Outbox worked with 115 girls from 6 countries, with 35 companies established. Mary brings a decade of experience working in the technology and startup space, founding two multi-award winning technology startups and was a BAFTA Interactive finalist. She has worked extensively across the public, private and non-profit sectors as an advisor, program developer, keynote speaker and lecturer in Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia.  In 2015, she was listed on Ireland's 'Talented 38', Ireland's Sci-Tech Top 100 and Image Magazine Business Woman of the Year Award finalist for Social Entrepreneurship. Mary has served on the board of the Irish Internet Association, is an adviser to STEMettes, a UK social enterprise, encouraging more young women into STEM careers. A graduate of Ulster University, with an MA in Material Culture and an Advanced Diploma in Management; Mary also holds a BA in Fine Art from Limerick School of Art and Design.  “We could not be more thrilled to welcome Mary to the Blackstone LaunchPad team,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “Her vast experience as an entrepreneur and in the start-up community uniquely qualifies her to lead Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway as we build the program and work towards its official opening in February.” ENDS Stiúrthóir ceaptha ag OÉ Gaillimh ar Blackstone Launchpad  Clár nua fiontraíochta do phobal OÉ Gaillimh  D'fhógair OÉ Gaillimh an tseachtain seo gur ceapadh Mary Carty mar Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin ar Blackstone Launchpad san Ollscoil agus ag an am céanna go bhfuiltear ag cur tús le clár nua do mhic léinn agus don fhoireann ar an gcampas.   Clár taithí fiontraíochta ar an gcampas é Blackstone Launchpad (BLP) atá oscailte do mhic léinn, alumni, comhaltaí foirne agus na dámha; cuirtear oiliúint, idéú agus tacaíocht do chruthú fiontar ar fáil ar an gclár. Tá sé bunaithe ar chlár a thosaigh in Ollscoil Miami agus a d'fhorbair an Blackstone Charitable Foundation ina dhiaidh sin. Tá Blackstone Launchpad cómhaoinithe ag Fondúireacht Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus ag an Blackstone Charitable Foundation.  Tá Blackstone Launchpad dírithe ar gach mac léinn san Ollscoil agus beidh ról lárnach aige i straitéis d'Fhís 2020 OÉ Gaillimh a bhaint amach. Chomh maith leis sin, tógfaidh an clár ar an gcaidreamh maith le hionaid eile BLP in Ollscoil Chorcaí, agus i gColáiste na Tríonóide; agus leis an líonra BLP i Meiriceá.   Ag labhairt dó faoin gceapachán, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúis áthais dúinn a fhógairt gur ceapadh Mary Carty mar Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin ar Blackstone Launchpad in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá Blackstone Launchpad dírithe ar gach mac léinn san Ollscoil agus beidh ról lárnach aige i straitéis d'Fhís 2020 OÉ Gaillimh a seoladh in 2015 a bhaint amach. Chomh maith leis sin, tógfaidh an clár ar an gcaidreamh maith le hionaid eile BLP in Ollscoil Chorcaí, agus i gColáiste na Tríonóide; mar aon leis an líonra BLP i Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá.”   Sular ceapadh Mary in Blackstone Launchpad in OÉ Gaillimh, bhí sí ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí Outbox Incubator; an chéad Ghorlann do chailíní in STEM idir 11-22 bliain d'aois, a sheol an Banphrionsa Anne i mí an Mhárta 2015. Sa chéad bhliain, d'oibrigh Outbox le 115 cailín as 6 thír, agus bunaíodh 35 cuideachta.  Chaith Mary deich mbliana ag obair le gnólachtaí nua-thionscanta agus teicneolaíochta, bhunaigh sí dhá ghnólacht teicneolaíochta a bhfuil gradaim go leor bainte amach acu and bhí sí féin san iomaíocht do ghradam BAFTA Interactive. Tá obair fhorleathan déanta aici san earnáil phoiblí, phríobháideach agus san earnáil neamhbhrabúis mar chomhairleoir, forbróir clár, príomhchainteoir agus léachtóir in Éirinn, sa Ríocht Aontaithe agus i gCríoch Lochlann.   In 2015, áiríodh í ar Talented 38 (liosta de na 38 Bean is fearr i saol na Teicneolaíochta in Éirinn), Ireland's Sci-Tech Top 100 agus bhí sí san iomaíocht don ghradam Bean Ghnó na Bliana Image Magazine don Fhiontraíocht Shóisialta. Bhí Mary ar bhord Chumann Idirlín na hÉireann, tá sí ina comhairleoir do STEMettes, fiontar sóisialta sa Ríocht Aontaithe a spreagann níos mó ban óg le dul le gairm STEM. Céimí de chuid Ollscoil Uladh í a bhfuil MA aici i gCultúr Ábhartha agus Ard-Dioplóma sa Bhainistíocht; tá BA ag Mary sa Mhínealaíon as Scoil Ealaíne agus Dearaidh Luimnigh.   “Tá ríméad an tsaoil orainn fáilte a chur roimh Mary chuig foireann an Blackstone LaunchPad,” a dúirt Amy Stursberg, Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin ar an Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “Tá an-taithí aici mar fhiontraí agus leis an eolas atá aici ar ghnólachtaí a thosú níl aon duine eile chomh cáilithe léi le tabhairt faoin Blackstone LaunchPad in OÉ Gaillimh agus tús á chur leis an gclár ag súil go mbeidh an oscailt oifigiúil againn i mí Feabhra.”  CRÍOCH

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New €6 million EU Horizon 2020 research project ‘AUTOSTEM’ at NUI Galway will launch state-of-the-art, robotic stem cell production, offering new therapies for a range of diseases NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) has launched a new €6 million research project AUTOSTEM to develop pioneering manufacturing systems for stem cell therapy. Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, AUTOSTEM will go a long way towards meeting the demand for these new treatments, by transforming the way stem cells are manufactured. Stem cells offer exciting prospects of new therapies for a range of diseases, including cancers, diabetic complications and arthritis. However, current manufacturing protocols are relatively inefficient and require highly-skilled teams of technicians operating in a clean-room environment. As clinical trials progress, efficient and high throughput manufacturing remains a major challenge with the risk that supply will not meet demand. AUTOSTEM will develop a robotic cell production factory, the StromalCellFactory, which will minimise manual operations while producing large batches of cell product in a closed, sterile environment. The process involves extraction of adult stem cells from tissues such as bone marrow or fat followed by efficient purification and culture expansion in large-capacity bioreactors, finally packaging the product in a format ready for delivery to the patient. The research project will be led by Dr Mary Murphy, senior lecturer in Regenerative Medicine and principal investigator at REMEDI at NUI Galway. REMEDI is a European leader in therapeutic stem cell research with investigators leading major EU-funded programmes that develop and test treatments for osteoarthritis, diabetic kidney disease, diabetic wound repair and corneal transplantation. Dr Murphy comments: “This is an exciting interdisciplinary project that will take us beyond the state-of-the-art in stem cell manufacturing. The outcome will be a highly automated and efficient production technology that will allow patients worldwide to benefit from efforts to develop stem cell therapies.” Other essential contributions will come from: NUI Galway’s Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) - the only licensed stromal cell manufacturing facility in Ireland, which will verify regulatory compliance and patient-readiness. Orbsen Therapeutics, a NUI Galway spin-out company that brings novel stem cell isolation procedures. The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology in Aachen, Germany, which provides robotic and control system expertise. The University of Aston, UK and the German company Zellwerk, who contribute optimal bioreactor technology for cell culturing within the ‘StromalCellfactory’. Crospon, another Galway SME, who will develop novel devices for sterile marrow harvesting and cell delivery to patients. The Tyndall Institute at UCC, who will develop a mobile sensor, building on existing ‘SmartPill’ sensor systems that will patrol the cell culture surface to enable remote real time process monitoring. The UK-based Cell Therapy Catapult research organisation, which will monitor cost-effectiveness and regulatory compliance. Professor Frank Barry, REMEDI’s Scientific Director and technology leader on the research project said: “This project will be game-changing and will lead to remarkable new efficiencies in manufacturing, making the entire process more industrially relevant and cost-effective.” The project is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. ENDS

Thursday, 28 January 2016

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2016 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 16th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 5 March, 2016 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President Michael D. Higgins, Olympian Olive Loughnane, Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald, RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke, Attorney General Máire Whelan, former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and broadcaster Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2016: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by AIB  - Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, Owner/Producer at Danú Media. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Ruth Curran, Managing Partner in MERC Partners and Global Chair IIC Partners. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Galway University Foundation   -  Dr Mathilda Twomey, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Seychelles. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by Aramark  - Gearóid Faherty, Former CEO and Chairman of Eurand NV. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Professor Joe Murray, Professor of Medicine and Consultant, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic. Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Dr Paul Hession, Olympic and world champion sprinter and junior doctor in Tallaght Hospital.                     Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 494310 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends -Ends- Buaiteoirí Ghradaim Alumni 2016 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh  Tá buaiteoirí Ghradaim Alumni 2016 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh; bronnfar na gradaim ag an 16ú Mórfhéasta bliantúil de na Gradaim Alumni Dé Sathairn, an 5 Márta 2016 i Halla Bailey Allen atá suite in Áras na Mac Léinn ar an gcampas. Tugann na Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’fheabhas agus d’éachtaí cuid den 80,000 céimí atá ag an Ollscoil ar fud an domhain. Go dtí seo tá gradaim Alumni bronnta ar chéimithe den scoth – céimithe a bhfuil a n-alma mater fíorbhródúil astu, lena n-áirítear an tUachtarán Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, an tOilimpiach Olive Loughnane, an t-imreoir rugbaí Ciarán FitzGerald, an craoltóir le RTÉ Sean O’Rourke, an tArd-Aighne Máire Whelan, iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach Creganna, Helen Ryan, an t-aisteoir a bhfuil gradam Tony bainte amach aici, Marie Mullen agus an craoltóir Gráinne Seoige. Seo a leanas buaiteoirí na sé ghradam alumni a bhronnfar ag Mórfhéasta 2016: Gradam Alumni do na Dána, an Litríocht agus an Léann Ceilteach - urraithe ag AIB  - Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, Úinéir/Léiritheoir Danú Media. Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus don Tráchtáil – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann   -  Ruth Curran, Páirtí Bainistíochta in MERC Partners agus Cathaoirleach Domhanda ar IIC Partners. Gradam Alumni don Dlí, an Beartas Poiblí agus an Rialtas – urraithe ag Fondúireacht Ollscoil na Gaillimhe   -  An Príomh-Bhreitheamh Mathilda Twomey, Príomh-Bhreitheamh Chúirt Uachtarach Phoblacht na Séiséal. Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht – urraithe ag Aramark  -Gearóid Faherty, Iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach agus Cathaoirleach Eurand NV. Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – urraithe ag Medtronic  -An Dr Joe Murray, Ollamh le Leigheas agus Comhairleach, Rannóg na Gaistreintreolaíochta agus na Heipiteolaíochta, Mayo Clinic. Gradam Alumni don Spórt – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann  - An Dr Paul Hession, Curadh Oilimpeach agus domhanda sa ráibeáil agus dochtúir sóisearach in Ospidéal Thamhlachta.             Agus buaiteoirí na nGradam fógartha, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Tugann na Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’alumni na Gaillimhe atá ina gceannairí ina ngairmeacha agus atá ag déanamh gaisce ar leibhéal náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Déanann na Gradaim seo ceiliúradh ar an luach fadsaoil a bhaineann leis an oideachas a fhaightear in OÉ Gaillimh agus tugann siad aitheantas do chéimithe a bhfuil éachtaí suntasacha bainte amach acu as breis is 80,000 céimí de chuid na hOllscoile atá lonnaithe ar fud na cruinne. Tréaslaím leis na buaiteoirí ar fad agus táim ag súil le fáilte a chur rompu ar ais chuig a n-alma mater don Mhórfhéasta i mí an Mhárta.” Chun ticéid agus eolas faoi áirithintí a fháil téigh i dteagmháil leis an Oifig Alumni ar 091 49 4310 nó seol ríomhphost chuig alumni@nuigalway.ie. Áirithintí ar líne ar www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends -Críoch-

Friday, 29 January 2016

Two world leaders in the field of Biomedical Engineering, Professor Elazer Edelman, M.I.T and Harvard Medical School, USA, and Professor Gerhard Holzapfel, Technical University of Graz, Austria, delivered Keynote Lectures at the 22nd Bioengineering in Ireland Conference, which was recently hosted by NUI Galway. In their inspirational lectures both speakers illustrated how their research teams have combined engineering analysis and computer modelling with biological investigation to transform the current understanding and treatment of heart disease. Both speakers also praised the internationally leading quality of biomedical engineering research in Irish universities, while also remarking positively on the vibrancy of the Irish medical device sector. Conference Chair, Dr Patrick McGarry from Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway stated: “This year’s conference attracted a record 250 delegates from across all leading Irish research groups in the field of Biomedical Engineering Science, with a record 185 scientific presentations. Several medical device companies actively participated in the conference, further highlighting the strong interaction between Irish research institutes and the medical technology sector.” A highlight from the event was the presentation of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Bioengineering Section Silver Medal to Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute, at NUI Galway. In his keynote lecture Professor O’Brien described the ground-breaking development of Ireland’s first Centre for Cell Manufacturing in Ireland (CCMI) a centre located at NUI Galway manufacturing culture-expanded stem cells for clinical trials. The Conference took place at the Salthill Hotel, Galway and was sponsored by Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Aerogen, Hollister, Stryker, DePuy, Zwick, CadFem, Neuravi, and the Irish Medical Devices Association. To learn more about the Conference programme visit: http://bini2016.ie/ ENDS

Friday, 29 January 2016

CÚRAM researcher of ‘next generation’ stem cell therapies for cardiovascular diseases is elected to the EU Student and Young Investigator Section of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society A research student developing ‘next-generation’ stem cell therapies for cardiovascular disease at the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, has been elected to the prominent position of Chair-Elect for the EU Student and Young Investigator Section (SYIS) of the Tissue Engineering International & Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS). TERMIS is one of the most prominent organisations in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine globally and attracts interest from researchers at the highest levels of the scientific community in biomedical research. The EU Student and Young Investigator Section provide a platform for the next generation of scientists and engineers in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to interact. SYIS aims to further the professional and scientific development of its members. Dilip Thomas is currently concluding his doctoral studies, co-supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit at CÚRAM and Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, at NUI Galway. Dilip’s research interest is in the development of ‘next-generation’ stem cell therapies for cardiovascular diseases, with particular focus on Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), which is a severe obstruction of the arteries and markedly reduces blood flow to the extremities (hands, feet and legs) and has progressed to the point of severe pain and even skin ulcers or sores. Mr Thomas has successfully designed and developed biomaterial cell capsules referred to as a ‘microgel’, for delivering stem cells for tissue repair. He has demonstrated that altering the design parameters of the microgels can influence stem cells to direct development of new blood vessels. He has also proven expertise in pre-clinical models for testing these types of therapies for treating cardiovascular disease. Recently, Dilip was awarded the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) fellowship to further his research through training in Marchetti-Deschmann’s analytical laboratory at Vienna University of Technology. Congratulating Dilip on his election, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, and himself a Fellow of TERMIS said: “Dilip will be a valuable asset to the EU SYIS of TERMIS and his election will be another important step in his career. Our confidence in the future of the MedTech sector in Ireland is largely based on the talent and skills of our young researchers, and at CÚRAM. Training and development of our students to the highest level, in a multi-disciplinary environment is a priority.” The current Chair of the EU SYIS of TERMIS, Michael Monaghan, currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Research Institute for Women's Health in Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen in Germany, and also a former PhD student of Professor Pandit, added, “Dilip’s enthusiasm and drive for research translation from bench-to-bedside therapy has led him to acquire additional funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for fabricating a high-throughput microfluidic droplet device, which is a device that can generate cells containing droplets in small volumes, for microgel fabrication, funded through the National Access Programme. CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and industry partners and aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. ENDS

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Have you ever wondered how scientists photograph the thousands of tiny plants and animals that live in a drop of seawater? A day-long workshop to further unravel the mysteries of imaging plankton will be hosted by NUI Galway and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) on Monday, 14 September, 2015.   The event entitled Imaging Marine Microorganisms: Microscopy and Photography of Plankton is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and will be held in NUI Galway’s old Civil Engineering Building now known as Block E (Room 1002).   The workshop is part of the SMARTSkills series which supports early stage researchers in developing the practical ‘blue’ skills required to understand our seas and oceans. The day will include lectures by leading Irish and international researchers, and practical sessions describing and demonstrating imaging methodologies and sample preparation techniques.   The workshop will conclude with a public lecture in the evening by Wim van Egmond curator of the ‘Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms’ at 7pm in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle, NUI Galway. Wim’s life-long interest in natural history combined with the fact that he grew up a few kilometres from Anthony van Leeuwenhoek who developed the first microscope, may explain his choice of photomicrography. His lecture will showcase astonishing images of the microscopic marine achieved with modest and accessible equipment and instrumentation and we hope will inspire researchers and citizen scientists alike. The public lecture is free and everyone is welcome.   If you have any queries regarding the events please see http://www.smartseaschool.com/content/smartskills-2015. For queries please contact smart@gmit.ie or Dr Yvonne Lang at yvonne.lang@nuigalway.ie. This event is supported by funding from EPA Grant (EPA 2014-HW-DS-3) and EPA Event Support Grant (2015-CONF-70). The workshops are facilitated by the Centre for Microscopy and Imaging, NUI Galway. -ends-

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the ninth cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. 305 primary school children from across the Western region received their certificates, with more than 1000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, almost 1500 students have graduated from a variety of courses held on Saturday mornings ranging from Mandarin to Art, Engineering to English Literature, Drama to IT and The World of Cops and Robbers to Social Innovation. The Youth Academy runs for a six-week period and works with high ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children, to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, Professor Chris Curtin, said: “The Youth Academy is a very important initiative by this University.  We feel that it responds to the educational needs of our most important young citizens and gives talented young students the opportunity to get experience of learning in a university. We are committed at NUI Galway to fostering the sharing of knowledge across the boundaries of the University and into the community. I hope that initiatives such as the Youth Academy can highlight how the University can and does serve its community, not only here Galway but in society in general.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland invest €2.2 million in a new clinical research network for blood cancers Irish patients to be among the first in the world to test new, potentially life-saving treatments   A new national clinical research network was launched today at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway by the Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation, Mr Damien English TD, which will bring fresh hope for blood cancer patients in Ireland. The newly established Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) represents a multimillion euro investment in cancer research by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland. The €2.2 million investment has established a new virtual clinical research network that will offer early stage haematology clinical trials, providing blood cancer patients in Ireland with the opportunity to be among the first in the world to test new, potentially life-changing, drugs and treatments. This joint investment with Science Foundation Ireland comes on foot of the Irish Cancer Society’s strategy to establish and support collaborative cancer research initiatives to bring Irish clinicians, scientists and population researchers together to increase the pace of discoveries. This new national cancer research initiative is also supported by the pharmaceutical industry. Commenting on this significant investment in cancer research, Minister for Skills, Research, and Innovation, Mr Damien English TD said: “The establishment of Blood Cancer Network Ireland by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society will bring real and tangible benefits to Irish cancer patients by helping to develop new treatments for blood cancer. It is in line with the Government’s policy of investing and focusing excellent scientific research that impacts positively on Ireland’s economy and society.” Over the next five years, Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) hopes to make novel drugs and treatments available to patients with all types of blood cancers across Ireland. The first clinical trials being rolled out through BCNI will bring fresh hope, in particular, to patients with difficult to treat blood cancers. Patients with Multiple Myeloma (MM) or Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) will be among the first to take part in early phase clinical trials to test the safety and effectiveness of experimental and potentially life-saving drugs that are in development. Early stage clinical trials test the safety, efficacy, dosage, and side effects of new drugs and treatments on a small number of patients, usually at an advanced stage of disease. These trials are the first hurdle in the licensing process in the development of experimental drugs and treatments. BCNI will be established across the country through clinical research facilities in NUI Galway, University College Cork, and St James’s Hospital/Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group (ICORG) will also be a partner in this national network. The research initiative will be led by Professor Michael O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, and will also involve Professor Mary Cahill, Clinical Professor of Haematology, University College Cork; Professor Paul Browne, Professor of Haematology, Trinity College Dublin; Dr Eva Szegezdi, NUI Galway, and Dr Harry Comber, National Cancer Registry of Ireland, as co-lead investigators. This new clinical research network will establish a blood cancer biobank to collect and analyse patient samples to further our knowledge and understanding of blood cancers and an enhanced registry, in association with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland, to collect information about the treatment, outcomes, and quality of life of patients with blood cancers in Ireland. Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland and Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, Michael O’Dwyer, said: “This investment will put Ireland on the map in terms of developmental therapeutics in blood cancers. We are now in a position to attract cutting edge Phase I/II trials to Ireland giving Irish patients the earliest access to promising new treatments, while the development of a dedicated biobank and registry will greatly enhance our efforts in the areas of translational, population and health economics research. Overall, this investment will have many potential benefits: it will make Ireland internationally competitive in blood cancer research, increase access to expensive medicines free of charge with consequent savings to the taxpayer, enhance research and development in Ireland, contribute to job creation, and most importantly of all, benefit patients.” Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, said: “We are delighted to partner with Science Foundation Ireland to fund this innovative cancer research initiative that will bring new hope for blood cancer patients across the country. The Society is investing in research that is making a real difference to patient lives and this investment is another example of the vital and impactful cancer research that is being facilitated thanks to the support of members of the public who donate to us. Blood Cancer Network Ireland is the second collaborative cancer research initiative to be rolled out by the Society and ultimately it will give blood cancer patients new treatment options and hope for the future.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “A key goal of Science Foundation Ireland’s strategy Agenda 2020 is to develop significant strategic partnerships with industry, charities and international funders to support excellent and impactful research in Ireland. We are pleased to partner with the Irish Cancer Society and industry to support the establishment of Blood Cancer Network Ireland. This new clinical research network will bring direct benefits to cancer patients, support new drug discovery through clinical trials and increase our research competitiveness.” For further information about this new national research initiative visit www.bloodcancers.ie. ENDS

Friday, 4 December 2015

Winners selected from over 5,000 submissions from 255 institutions worldwide   NUI Galway student, Jonathan O’Rourke has been awarded a 2015 Undergraduate Award, an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research. A further ten NUI Galway students were highly commended, ranking in the top 10% of submissions internationally. Overall NUI Galway ranked in the top 30 for its student performance in the 2015 UA programme. Cited as the ultimate champion of high-potential undergraduates, and often referred to as a “Junior Nobel Prize”, The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s largest academic awards programme, recognising excellent research and original work across the sciences, humanities, business and creative arts. Jonathan O’Rourke, from Tramore, Co. Waterford, was announced winner of the Undergraduate Award in the Classical Studies & Archaeology Category for his paper entitled Self and the Other: The Construction of Barbarian Identity in Antiquity. The Undergraduate Awards 2015 programme received 5,117 submissions from undergraduates in 255 universities across 39 countries. Winners are the top performers in each of the 25 category. Louise Hodgson, Executive Director of The Undergraduate Awards, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for NUI Galway and its undergraduates. This year saw an NUI Galway student take first prize in this category for the second year in a row. Only the very top students from each university can submit their coursework, and The Undergraduate Awards identifies the very best of the best. With over 5,000 submissions from so many universities this year, the competition was extremely tough. Congratulations to all our 2015 Winners and Highly Commended Entrants.” Highly Commended entrants were brought together to meet their fellow awardees at the annual UA Global Summit in Dublin recently. The Summit was addressed by the philosopher AC Grayling, physicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, human genome sequencer Craig Venter, and the world’s youngest professor, Dr Alia Sabur, among many more speakers and facilitators. -Ends-