Monday, 17 May 2021

NUI Galway will host a free webinar on the devastating effects, record infection rates and loss of life caused by the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The webinar will speak to people who have been living through and observing the crisis first-hand, with panellists based in Bangalore, Calcutta, and Mumbai. The online event will take place on Wednesday, 19 May at 2pm. The pannelists come from a range of backgrounds, including public health medicine, journalism, philosophy, economics and history.They will offer insight into the public health situation, the loss of life, grief and funerals, rural versus urban India, regional variation during the outbreak, the political response and issues of education. Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “The tragic events in India have shown the devastation caused by the coronavirus epidemic. This event offers an opportunity to learn from people living through one of the most terrible episodes that the world has experienced, to hear their stories and to understand how far we are, in global terms, from overcoming the pandemic.” Panellists include Professor Kanchana Mahadevan, a university professor and educator in Mumbai; Dr Sanjay Nagral, a physician in the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, who has written extensively on public health and the ethics of health care in Indian newspapers; Dr Srinivas Raghavendran, an economist at NUI Galway who is currently based in Bangalore; the journalist and commentator Aveek Sen in Calcutta; and Dr Archana Venkatesh, a specialist in rural India. The event is co-sponsored with the Royal Irish Academy. To attend the online webinar, please register at: https://tinyurl.com/butsasph or https://nuigalway-ie.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_omWY4L5cR0C9ts6DdGz9fg. For further information about the webinar, contact Professor Daniel Carey at daniel.carey@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 17 May 2021

Minister O’Gorman announces joint research project with NUI Galway into Language, Terminology and Representations in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ NUI Galway to lead research project on 'Language, Terminology and Representations' in Mother and Baby Homes Project will implement one of the recommendations made by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Homes subcommittee on ‘Terminology, Identity, and Representation’ The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Roderic O’Gorman T.D., has today announced a joint research project into “Language, Terminology and Representations” in institutions known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ with researchers in NUI Galway. The project was recommended by the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum. A funding call was then initiated by the Department under the Irish Research Council COALESCE Research Fund in 2019, for which researchers from NUI Galway were successful. The project will examine language, terminology, and representation of those directly affected by the Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions in twentieth century Ireland, as addressed by the recent Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation. In responding to the Final Report of the Commission of Investigation, the Government approved the development of a Strategic Action Plan encompassing a suite of measures.   In announcing the award, the Minister stated: “This study is a direct response to recommendations made in the first report of the Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes and related institutions and has also formed part of the Government’s response to the Final Report from the Commission of Investigation. The aim of the project is to highlight the stigmatising and labelling language that has been used in the past and to provide guidance for stakeholders as to how to address this issue into the future.” Minister O'Gorman added:: “There is a particular challenge in Ireland to find ways to adequately address failings in the past. While this is an important project alone it is a part of the Government’s wider action plan in response to the Commission’s report. This collaboration should help to inform responses by my department and related agencies in the future that avoids further victimisation and labelling. It may chart a path for an explicit social and historical justice approach that can be applied to this, and related areas of concern.” The research team led by Professor Caroline McGregor from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley from the Tuam Oral History Project at NUI Galway, will hold four public consultations. The Steering Committee will include four members of the Mother and Baby Homes Collaborative Forum – Rosemary Adaser, Bernie Harold, Alice McEvoy and Adrian McKenna. Professor McGregor and Dr Buckley from NUI Galway have stated: “The approach to the project will be informed by the views of survivors. It will be collaborative and will take its lead from those directly affected by the issues. We are looking forward to working with the project group to produce recommendations and a glossary of terms that acknowledge the lived experiences of those who have spent time in the relevant institutions and drawing from international evidence.” Ends

Monday, 17 May 2021

ONK Therapeutics Enters into a Research Agreement with NUI Galway to Support Optimization of its Dual-Targeted NK Cell Therapy against AML  Agreement with NUI Galway, supervised by leading expert in the cellular environment in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), Dr. Eva Szegezdi Funded by ONK Therapeutics, the research will support engineering and optimization of its dual-targeted NK cell therapy candidate for AML (ONKT104) Aims to explore the potential added benefit of certain gene edits to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity, cytokine production and persistence in the cancer microenvironment in the context of AML ONK Therapeutics Ltd, an innovative natural killer (NK) cell therapy company, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) which provides access to unique expertise in evaluating the cancer cell microenvironment in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and targeting of AML stem cells in models mimicking the bone marrow microenvironment. The research will support the optimization of ONK Therapeutics’ dual-targeted NK cell therapy program, ONKT104, being developed for the treatment of AML. ONK Therapeutics will fund a year-long research program in the laboratory of Dr. Eva Szegezdi, lecturer in Biochemistry, NUI Galway, Head of the Blood Cancer Network Ireland. She has particular expertise in the AML microenvironment as well as cell death pathways, especially those initiated by ‘so-called’ death ligands (e.g. TRAIL) used by effector immune cells.  AML is the most common form of acute leukemia in adults. It is estimated that some 21,000 patients in the US and 18,000 in Europe are diagnosed with AML each year. It has a high unmet medical need having the lowest survival rate of all types of leukemia. ONKT104 is a dual-targeted NK cell engineered to express a humanized scFv targeting the leukemic stem cell antigen CLL-1 (also known as CLEC12A) obtained through an option license agreement from Cellerant Therapeutics, together with ONK Therapeutics’ proprietary high-affinity TRAIL variant, targeting death receptor 4 (DR4). CLL-1 is selectively expressed on leukemic stem cells with no expression on normal hematopoietic stem cells, which ensures safer targeting and a lower risk of prolonged toxicity to normal bone marrow cells.  In pre-clinical research studies, a monoclonal antibody therapy targeting CLL-1 has revealed potential efficacy against AML cells and shown to be effective in reducing AML burden in a xenograft model. In addition, a CLL-1 CAR-T cell model has shown promising pre-clinical activity and has recently entered the clinic. ONK Therapeutics believes its dual-targeted NK cell therapy approach may have several advantages over a CAR-T approach including shorter persistence of NK cells, reducing the risk of sustained neutropenia; proven inherent anti-AML activity of NK cells; the reduced likelihood of toxicity due to cytokine release syndrome or neurotoxicity; and the logistically simpler allogeneic, off-the-shelf nature of NK cells, reducing time to treatment once suitable patients are identified. AML is a very challenging disease in which to achieve sustained, long term disease control due to the high plasticity and adaptability of AML stem cells, and the tendency for resistant cells to emerge and grow. In addition to targeting CLL-1, this project will evaluate multi-targeted approaches by combined targeting of other leukemia stem cell antigens. ONK Therapeutics’ founder and CSO Prof Michael O’Dwyer said, “Alongside our in-house research, the project team at NUI Galway will explore construct design, as well as the potential added benefit of certain gene edits to enhance NK cell cytotoxicity, cytokine production and persistence in the context of AML strengthening our ONKT104 program. The aim is to select an optimized candidate to take forward into clinical development as a treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory AML.” Dr. Eva Szegezdi said, “The project will evaluate different constructs that may be able to achieve synergistic killing of cancer cells and reduce the emergence of disease resistance. These include the co-expression of CARs targeting other AML antigens, in addition to CLL-1, such as CD96, TIM3, and CD38 alongside the TRAIL variant.” ONK Therapeutics was formed based on technology and intellectual property developed at NUI Galway by Prof. Michael O’Dwyer, who retains his academic position as Professor of Haematology, Consultant Haematologist and HRB Clinician Scientist, alongside his role at the company. Over the past 12 months, ONK Therapeutics has expanded its team and operations at its headquarters and R&D facility in Ireland’s med-tech hub in Galway, where it now has 16 employees, with an additional 5 employees based in its US subsidiary in San Diego. -Ends-

Friday, 14 May 2021

A total of 452 cases relating to 392 children and young people between 1st July 2016 and 30th June 2017 were included in this study For a majority of these children and young people the need for Section 12 arises from parental issues and behaviours A vulnerable group identified in the course of this research was young people, specifically those aged 15–17 Research from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway has been published in a new report. In 2017, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, requested Tusla - Child and Family Agency, to commission new research into the number of children who have been subject to a Section 12, meaning that they have been removed to a place of safety by an Garda Síochána. Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 is invoked when a member of An Garda Síochána has reasonable grounds for believing that (a) there is the immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child and (b) it would not be sufficient for the protection of the child from such immediate and serious risk to await the making of the application for the emergency care order by Tusla under section 13. The research, led by Dr Carmel Devaney, Dr Rosemary Crosse, Dr Leonor Rodriguez, and Dr Charlotte Silke of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, was infomed by anonymised data on 452 Section 12 incidents during the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, and 28 semi-structured interviews with Tusla staff. The research found that: A total of 452 Section 12s relating to 392 children and young people between 1st July 2016 and 30th June 2017 were included in this study. The majority of these children and young people were subject to one Section 12 in this time period. For a majority of these children and young people the need for Section 12 arises from parental issues and behaviours. This evidence suggests a strong need to increase the provision of early intervention parent and family support services for children, young people, and families, to reduce vulnerability and to respond to needs in a timely manner, and avoiding the need for one or more Section 12s. A vulnerable group identified in the course of this research was young people, specifically those aged 15–17. Such findings necessitate further exploration of the needs of this age group (who have the highest incidence of Section 12s) and provision of appropriate resources and training for staff of both Tusla and An Garda Síochána on responding to the needs of this group. Lead author of the report, Dr Carmel Devaney, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, said: "This research highlights a need for increased emergency placements for young people who have been removed to a place of safety by An Garda Síochána. It also emphasises the need to support parents and young people at an earlier stage so that this type of situation does not arise. Critically, it recommends giving An Garda Síochána the power to access support from extended family members in these circumstances, which would lessen the use of inappropriate placements for children and young people." The research commission request arose after the publication of ‘Audit of the exercise by An Garda Síochána of the provisions of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991’ prepared by Dr Geoffrey Shannon for the Garda Commissioner in 2017. This report did not audit Tusla’s actions after invoking Section 12, however, a number of the recommendations within the Shannon Report related to Tusla policies and procedures in relation to Section 12 and Section 13 of the Child Care Act 1991. The full report and an executive summary of 'Tusla - Child and Family Agency’s actions and decision-making process following An Garda Síochána’s application of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991' can be read in full at: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/cfrc/publications/policyreports/.   Feedback and further queries on the report can be emailed to the National Research Office at trc@tusla.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The scholarship, valued at €10,000 per student, supports four undergraduate students from County Roscommon each year NUI Galway staff and students held a virtual event to meet Leaving Certificate students from secondary schools in County Roscommon to launch applications for enrolment to the Pauline and Bunnie Jones Scholarship 2021. At the event, NUI Galway and the Jones family announced the extension of the scheme, which was established to encourage academic achievement and support students from County Roscommon enrolling in an undergraduate degree at NUI Galway.  Supported by the Jones family of Tulsk, in honour of their parents Pauline and Bunnie Jones, the scholarship, valued at €10,000 per student, supports four undergraduate students each year. Speaking about the scholarship, Adrian Jones said: “We are investing in Roscommon’s future, in honour of our parents who made great sacrifices to invest in us. They both believed passionately in the transformative power of learning. Our father’s formal education ended at 12 but, in his 40’s, he earned a Diploma in Social Studies, made possible by the dedication of Michael D. Higgins, then lecturing at NUI Galway. Our mother went back to NUI Galway, her alma mater, in her 70’s to study Archaeology.” Four scholarships are awarded to four students presenting the highest Leaving Certificate results each year. Two scholarships are awarded to students attending Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown and two further scholarships to students attending all other schools in Co. Roscommon. The four recipients of the scholarship in its inaugural year were Catherine Mannion and Joshua Hanrahan from Scoil Mhuire Strokestown, and Sinéad Gorham and Ciara Mulheir from Castlerea Community School. Scholarship recipient Sinéad Gorham said: “It’s incredibly comforting to know the immense amount of support that surrounds us students in our academic journey. The Jones Family have made it so clear to us recipients that they are here to not only support our academic studies but in our future careers and in our overall wellbeing. I recommend any Leaving Certificate student to apply for the scholarship because with the Jones Family mentorship, I believe that all recipients have a great foundation to receive what they want in life.” Speaking about supporting young people, Dr Deirdre Jones said: “In our family, we are passionate about education providing opportunities. If you invest in young people, encourage young people and make it a little bit easier for them, hopefully they will turn around in three decades time and help somebody else.” Director of Development at NUI Galway, Julie Stafford, said: “The Pauline and Bunnie Jones Scholarship programme encompasses all of the values we hold at NUI Galway: respect, sustainability, openness and excellence. The Jones family are part of our alumni community and it is a privilege to see them give back in such a generous way to our University and our region by supporting the next generation of students and acknowledging their talent and potential.” To be eligible for the award, students are required to have attended and sat the Leaving Certificate at any school in County Roscommon. They must apply for any full-time undergraduate course at NUI Galway through the CAO and upon receipt and acceptance of a CAO offer, register as a student of NUI Galway by the due registration date. Students are required to complete an expression of interest in the scholarship on or before Sunday, 1 August 2021. Full details of the scholarship scheme and the expression of interest form are available online: www.nuigalway.ie/roscommonscholarship/ -Ends- 

Monday, 10 May 2021

NUI Galway is calling on scientists and science enthusiasts to enter FameLab, the world’s largest science communication competition held in 30 countries. For the ninth year running, one of four regional FameLab Ireland heats will take place virtually in Galway on Thursday, 10 June. With science becoming increasingly specialised, those working in the field can struggle to explain their projects to colleagues let alone to the general public. The FameLab competition, an initiative of the Cheltenham Science Festival, recognises this and challenges up and coming scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explain a complex idea in a simple and engaging way. By entering FameLab, participants will begin a journey with like-minded people, build their networks and expand skillsets essential for developing their career. The Galway event is being managed by the British Council and NUI Galway, and forms part of the annual FameLab Ireland competition. The Galway competition is open to a range of people who apply, work on, teach or study science: People who apply science, technology, engineering or mathematics in industry or business. Those working on applying science, engineering, technology or mathematics (ranging from patent clerks, statisticians, consultants and industry). People who apply science, technology, mathematics or engineering in the armed forces or government bodies. Lecturers and researchers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, including specialist science teachers with a science degree. University students of science, technology, mathematics or engineering aged 18 and over. Armed only with their wits and a few props, previous finalists in the FameLab Galway heat have delivered short three-minute pieces on pertinent science concepts. Expect to hear anything from why men have nipples, how 3D glasses work and is nuclear energy a good or bad thing? Presentations will be judged according to FameLab’s “3 Cs”: Content, Clarity and Charisma. Winning contestants from FameLab Galway will attend a communication masterclass and participate in the FameLab Ireland final in September. The winner will represent Ireland at the online FameLab international finals.  An initial information briefing will take place virtually on Thursday, 13 May from 12pm-1:30pm at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/famelab-galway-briefing-2021-tickets-150080668319. To enter the FameLab Galway heat, please complete the online registration form https://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/enter-competition/apply by Tuesday, 1 June. FameLab Galway online regional heat is partnered with NUI Galway, GMIT and a number of research centres: Insight, MET (Medical and Engineering Technologies), CÚRAM and Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software at NUI Galway. For further information about FameLab Galway contact event organiser, James Blackwell at james.blackwell@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 10 May 2021

Professor Abhay Pandit (NUI Galway) and Professor David Brayden (UCD), Scientific Director and Co-Director of CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, have been appointed to Ireland’s first National Research Ethics Committees in the areas of Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (NREC-CT) by Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly. Ireland’s first NREC was established in March 2020 as part of the national coordinated response to COVID-19. The new NRECs announced this week will address the important area of clinical trials of medicinal products for human use and clinical investigations of medical devices. The establishments of these NRECs will create a national system for research ethics review, which will cultivate the benefits of health research for patients and the public and build a transparent and cohesive research ethics review system that strengthens the national research infrastructure. Professor Abhay Pandit is Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway. His research integrates material science and biological paradigms in developing solutions for chronic diseases. “I am delighted to be appointed to this critical committee and to have the opportunity to help shape the research ethics framework that will support more clinical trial work in Ireland that prioritises patient interests.” he commented. Prof Pandit has received numerous awards and distinctions, being inducted as an International Fellow in Biomaterials Science and Engineering by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and elected as a Fellow of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative International Society. He was also elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows in recognition of his outstanding contributions to establishing a national centre which will develop transformative device-based solutions to treat global chronic diseases.  He is the first Ireland-based academic to be bestowed with these honors. He has also been an elected member on the Council for both the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society and European Society for Biomaterials Society. Professor David Brayden is Co-Director of CÚRAM and a Full Professor of Advanced Drug Delivery at the University College Dublin (UCD) School of Veterinary Medicine and a Senior Fellow of the UCD Conway Institute. He has established a critical mass of drug delivery expertise in Ireland and led the SFI Irish Drug Delivery network from 2008-2013. His major research interests are in oral, buccal, and intra-articular peptide delivery using permeation enhancers, nanotechnology, and drug-device combinations. “I’m honoured to be appointed to the NREC, it’s a wonderful opportunity to contribute to and support Irish health research and have a role to play in ensuing that the interests Irish patients and contributors to clinical trials are protected. Ireland is a global hub for MedTech R&D and it’s vital that we have a strong clear ethical framework in place to support further growth” he said. Prof Brayden has also received numerous awards for his work including a Distinguished Service Award from the Controlled Release Society for services to its Board of Scientific Advisors. In 2012, he was the first Irish academic to be inducted into the College of Fellows of the Controlled Release Society. In 2014, he received an award for service to research from the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2017, he became the first Irish academic to be elected as a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who®. In total, 18 members have been appointed to three NRECs – two in clinical trials and one in medical devices. These Committees will be responsible for reviewing the ethics underpinning research proposals in the area of health research. These committees will be tasked with providing expert ethical guidance for the research process that will protect the safety, dignity and well-being of health research and clinical trial participants in Ireland. The remit of the NREC-CTs is to review the submission of ethics applications related to Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMP). This includes interventional studies and low-interventional studies involving medicinal products for human use. The NREC-CTs will initially run concurrently with many local recognised RECs to review CTIMP ethics applications for a defined transition period. This approach will collectively support this important area of research and ensure a smooth transition ahead of the EU Clinical Trial Regulation. The full announcement with details of all 18 nominees is available at https://www.nrecoffice.ie/members-appointed-to-irelands-first-nrecs-for-clinical-trials-and-medical-devices/ ENDS

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Open Scholarship Week will examine the current transition to Open Science, and the impact of Covid-19 on publishing globally NUI Galway will host a virtual Open Scholarship Week showcasing the importance of research and education that is open and accessible to everyone. The free events will take place online from 10–14 May and is coordinated through the Open Scholarship Community Galway.  Open Scholarship is a global movement towards research and educational practices that are collaborative and transparent. It aims to make research and educational resources such as publications, data, research outputs and teaching and learning resources publicly available as early as possible, as well as actively encouraging participation in the research process with the general public. Open Scholarship Week will feature contributions from a host of national and international scientists working in the domain including the opening keynote address by Professor Frank Miedema,  Professor of Open Science at Utrecht University. The contributions will examine the current transition to Open Science, and the impact of Covid-19 on publishing globally. Panel discussions will examine how open can change the world, the use of open practices in teaching, learning, and the use of Open Educational Resources. Presentations will also focus on how research is enabled through the use of open software and open data. The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the move of researchers and institutions to push for Open Scholarship, Open Science and overall greater transparency in the execution of research. Open Scholarship Week 2021 builds on 2020 and 2019 events hosted at NUI Galway, which were the first of their kind in Ireland. It brings together researchers, academics, educators, and members of the public to highlight and showcase what Open Scholarship is and how to work together towards creating knowledge that is open to everyone. During the week themes such as films as a method of research dissemination, virtual reality and environmental protection will be examined from the open perspective. The week will also feature open workshops and a hands-on session. As part of the week’s activities, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology will host and sponsor an Open Scholarship prize in conjunction with Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland software Research Center. Hardy Schwamm, Open Scholarship Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “Thanks to our brilliant organising committee we have a varied programme for people who are new to open Scholarship as well as for Open enthusiasts. Open Scholarship Week has developed from a small, local event to an internationally recognised event that showcases the benefits of many Open practices.” The move towards Open Scholarship has received substantial support from the funders of scientific research such as the European Union Horizon programs and from national research funders such as Science Foundation Ireland. All sessions at Open Scholarship Week 2021 are free and open to everyone who is interested in the idea of Open Scholarship. To register visit https://www.nuigalway.ie/osw/. For further information visit www.osc-galway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Researchers are looking to recruit patients who have been newly diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma, a rare and aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma A leading Haematologist at Galway University Hospital and the Advanced Therapies and Cancer Group at School of Medicine in NUI Galway are looking at improving health outcomes for patients with Mantle cell Lymphoma by conducting a clinical trial of a new treatment drug which aims to improve survival rates. The trial is being led in Galway by Dr Amjad Hayat consultant haematologist, who has led many previous clinical trials in this area. The Advanced Therapies and Cancer Group Research group, previously knowns as the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, have been in operation since 2002 years at NUI Galway, with an extensive repertoire and experience in oncology and haematology research. Dr Hayat said: “Participating in this trial is very important for the future of Mantel Cell Lymphoma treatments and its patients. The trial is expected to continue for seven years, which will include a treatment period and a follow up period, giving the researchers as much information as possible about the efficacy and safety of the drug.” Galway University Hospital is one of 150 sites globally to take part in this clinical trial with an estimated 500 participants to be recruited on a voluntary basis across each site. Dr Hayat continued: “We are now looking to recruit patients who have been newly diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma (MCL). MCL is a rare and aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma equating to about 7% of all patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma each year. Sadly, MCL at present has poor prognosis with average survival rate of less than three years from diagnosis.” Explaining the treatment for Mantel Cell Lymphoma patients, Dr Hayat added: “Ireland’s standard of care treatment offered to newly diagnosed, physically fit MCL patients at present include an intensive chemotherapy regime coupled with an autologous transplant. Two targeted therapy drugs called Bendamustine and Rituximab are offered to patients who are less physically fit. This trial proposes a new experimental drug called Zanubrutinib coupled with existing drug Rituximab which may be more efficient at treating MCL and hopefully, prolonging survival rates. “Zanubrutinib differs from previous treatments as it blocks substances found in the body that help cancerous Mantel Cell Lymphoma cells to grow and survive. By blocking these substances, Zanubrutinib could essentially slow the growth of these cells and may improve symptoms of MCL.” Dr Hayat conluded: “In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States approved this drug for use on Mantel Cell Lymphoma patients with continued clinical trials and approximately 1500 patients having received the drug to date. As recruitment opens we look forward to seeing what the results will bring for patients.” Patients or family members wishing to enquire about this clinical trial and other clinical trials taking place at the the Advanced Therapies and Cancers Group can visit the website at http://www.nuigalway.ie/hrbcrfg/research/advancedtherapiescancers/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Young women least likely to say Yes to a Covid-19 vaccine  Young women are significantly less likely to say they would accept a Covid-19 vaccine, new research from a joint Irish-UK project has revealed. The vaccine hesitancy study carried out by NUI Galway, in collaboration with University of Huddersfield, England, canvassed the views of 1,000 people online in Ireland and the UK, recording their attitudes and intentions in relation to Covid-19 vaccination programmes. Findings from the research are to be presented this month to the Behavioural Change Subgroup that advises the Government’s National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet). Dr Jane Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Director of the Mobile Technology and Health (mHealth) Research Group at NUI Galway, said: “Understanding vaccine hesitancy is key to addressing public concerns, promoting confidence and increasing vaccine uptake.”  The research revealed: :: 75% of those who participated in the survey intend to get a Covid-19 vaccine; 11% said they would not; and 14% said they were unsure.  :: Women and younger people were significantly less likely to report intention to avail of a Covid-19 vaccine. :: Women aged under 30 were significantly less likely to say they would accept a Covid-19 vaccine, with fewer than 70% indicating a positive response and 20% indicating high levels of uncertainty.  Dr Walsh said: “It is possible, that one of the reasons behind young women’s reluctance to signal an intention to get a Covid-19 vaccine is related to issues around fertility and this warrants further investigation." The survey revealed that peer influences are strongly associated with young women’s intentions on vaccination.  Dr Walsh said: “This influence was particularly strong in the ‘no’ and ‘unsure’ group. These findings suggest that messages that are channelled through relevant social influencers may have a significant impact on vaccine uptake. It is also concerning that those who vote ‘no’ to the vaccine have a lower sense of civic responsibility. But what is clear, in general, is that there is still a high level of uncertainty around Covid-19 vaccination.”  To date, there have been almost 250,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland while more than 1 million people have had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. In the UK there have been more than 4.4 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 34 million people have had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.  The research team cautioned that positive attitudes towards vaccination are far less likely to be driven by fear messaging but rather by developing a stronger message of trust in the government and authorities. Dr Susie Kola-Palmer, University of Huddersfield, co-leader on the research project, said: “We can shift attitudes and intentions to Covid-19 vaccine from ‘unsure’ to ‘yes’ if public health campaigns provide clear messages about the benefits, as well as clear information on the low risks associated with having the vaccine and promote a positive sense of civic responsibility. “Trust in authorities is a significant barrier among people who have no intention of being vaccinated. Public health experts and governments should consider strategies to address this. Personalised messaging needs to be targeted at young people, and women in particular, to address their concerns. And it needs to be made a priority.”  The study also found that people were more likely to signal intention to get a vaccine if they had a higher trust in authorities; high satisfaction with government response to the pandemic; and if they were more likely to adhere to public health guidelines in general.  Ends 

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

The final frontier for engaging school children with Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) learning Researchers at NUI Galway are leading a Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme team with partners University of Limerick, Met Éireann and Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software, to deliver school children’s projects high into the stratosphere to examine the effects of near space on the experiments. The ‘Spaceship Earth’ project delivered two space themed workshops to primary school children in Galway, Limerick and Kerry. In these workshops children were taught about the importance of Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) how to ask interesting scientific questions, and then to develop experiments to find the answers. The project involves launching five high altitude weather balloons from Met Éireann’s observatory in Valentia in Co. Kerry on Friday, 2 July. The researchers expect these will reach more than 30Km (100,000 feet) and will expose the payload experiments to the extreme environment of low pressure, low temperature and cosmic radiation. After maximum ascent the space balloon bursts, and a parachute is deployed which ensures a safe landing back to earth. The payload is instrumented with electronics such as GPS, data loggers, and tracking technology to accurately find its return location. Once the experiments return, students will engage in analysis and discussion about their experiments that will extend and deepen students’ learning. Lero’s Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Project Lead and Professor of Medical Device Technology and Director of the HIVE lab at NUI Galway, said: “This exciting Spaceship Earth STEMM outreach project mission aims to inspire and empower students to think big, beyond the horizon and show them that involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine is for everyone." Charles Gillman, Chief Operations Officer at Met Éireann’s Valentia Observatory, said: “Met Éireann has a long history of launching weather balloons at Valentia Observatory, with the first launched in the early 1940s.  Every day since, these balloons have been providing valuable information on current atmospheric conditions that are essential in helping to produce our weather forecasts in Ireland and around the world.” Mr Gillman added: “We are delighted for our weather balloons to play a part in the Spaceship Earth project and look forward to learning the results of this exciting and inspirational STEMM experiment – it really is out of this world!” Potential STEMM experiments include: Learning about randomised control trial design by taking 10 sunflower seeds and allocating five for spaceflight and five to remain as a control and then monitoring their growth afterwards to see the effect of the intervention (spaceflight). Exploring the low-pressure effects of high altitude on the shape of bubble wrap, grapes, or marshmallows. Investigating the high-altitude Environmental effects on a wet sponge – will the water boil off? Examining how zero gravity affects the operation of medical technology? The Spaceship Earth mission included over 300 students in three schools in the west and south of Ireland: Scoil Mhuire, Oranmore, Galway; Scoil Iosagain, CBS, Limerick, and Scoil An Chroi Naofa, Presentation, Tralee Kerry. Principal Edel Carney, Scoil Mhuire, Oranmore, Galway, said: “Spaceship Earth is one of the best STEMM engagement initiatives I have seen in my career. It makes learning about Science fun and has inspired our students.” Over 60 student experiments will be launched on Friday, 2 July, including mission patch artwork that the school children have made, that will be returned to them as a memento of the historic flight. In addition, the Spaceship Earth team will attempt to achieve the world record for highest altitude paper plane flight. Dr Patrick Johnson, School of Education at University of Limerick, said: “This project is a unique opportunity for schools to engage in a novel and exciting venture that aims to develop students’ critical thinking skills, creativity and curiosity, with the additional goal of developing positive dispositions amongst those involved toward STEMM subjects.” As well as experiments, these stratosphere balloons can capture visually stunning pictures of the curvature of Planet Earth with on-board cameras providing an evocative way for people to engage with STEMM and to realise the relationship between STEMM and Art. In addition, it reminds everyone that our unique planet is our spaceship in the universe and that we need to focus all our efforts to avert climate change. Dr Cornelia Connolly, School of Education at NUI Galway and Lero, explained: “This project offers a unique opportunity not just to research attitudinal responses to STEMM but working directly with the teachers and young people we are introducing and showcasing innovative STEMM projects, encouraging engagement.” More information can be found at the Spaceship Earth Project website: www.SpaceShipEarth.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

D’fhógair OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil €26,900 bailithe ag scéim speisialta foirne chun síntiúis charthanúla a thabhairt. Tá Ciste Carthanachta na hOllscoile ag tacú le 13 charthanas i réigiún na Gaillimhe a bhuíochas le síntiúis mhíosúla agus bronntanais aonuaire i rith 2020. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Gabhaimid buíochas le gach duine den fhoireann a chuidigh le hairgead a bhailiú do charthanais áitiúla. Is é tobar na huile mhaitheasa é. “Is comhartha cumhachtach é freisin go bhfuil ár bhfís agus ár luachanna mar atá meas agus oscailteacht le sonrú ar gach toise dár smaointeoireacht agus saothar, agus léiríonn sé gur féidir le smaointe beaga dlús a chur leis an aird a dhírímid ar leas an phobail agus gur féidir leis na smaointe céanna fás le difear suntasach a dhéanamh do shaol na ndaoine inár bpobal féin.” Tá an ciste á roinnt i measc 13 charthanas a thacaíonn le daoine gan dídean, daoine leochaileacha, daoine le riachtanais bhreise, chomh maith le cuidiú le dul i ngleic le sláinte, sláinte mheabhrach agus féinmharú agus chun ár gcathair agus ár gcontae a dhéanamh níos sábháilte agus níos cineálta. Is iad na carthanais atá i gceist Clann Shíomóin na Gaillimhe; COPE; Ospís na Gaillimhe; na Samáraigh; Naomh Uinseann de Pól; Ionad Éigeandála um Éigniú na Gaillimhe; Croí; Kinvara Alive; Cumann Alzheimer an Iarthair, Gaillimh; Comhpháirtíocht Uathachais na Gaillimhe; Ord Mhálta; Claddagh Watch; Blue Teapot. Dúirt Imelda Byrne, urlabhraí Chiste Carthanachta OÉ Gaillimh: “Thuig Ciste Carthanachta na hOllscoile go rímhaith tionchar na paindéime ar charthanais agus ar a gcumas a gcuid seirbhísí a reáchtáil, freastal ar an éileamh agus airgead a bhailiú. Tá creidiúint saothraithe ag ár gcomhghleacaithe as an mbealach ar thug siad aghaidh ar an dúshlán seo agus an méadú suntasach a tháinig ar shíntiúis na bliana roimhe sin agus tacaíocht curtha ar fáil do 13 charthanas.” Tá Clann Shíomóin na Gaillimhe ar cheann de na carthanais a bhainfidh leas as an gciste, agus mhínigh an príomhfheidhmeannach Karen Golden an difear a dhéanfaidh na síntiúis. “Thacaíomar le níos mó daoine ná riamh in 2020. Bhog 95 teaghlach isteach ina dtithe féin i rith na bliana agus rinne ár bhfoirne obair den scoth le linn na paindéime,” a dúirt Karen Golden. “Cuirfidh an cúnamh ó OÉ Gaillimh ar ár gcumas tacú le níos mó daoine gan dídean agus daoine atá i mbaol a bheith gan dídean inár bpobal agus cabhrú leo fanacht i dtithe uaidh seo amach.” Críoch

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

NUI Galway has announced that a special scheme for staff to make charitable donations has raised €26,900. The University’s An Ciste Carthanachta is supporting 13 charities in the Galway region thanks to monthly donations and one-off gifts during 2020. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We thank all of the staff who have contributed to raise funds for local charities. It is kindness made real. “It is also a powerful signal that our vision and values of respect and openness permeate all of our thinking and our work, and it demonstrates that our focus on the public good can begin with modest ideas and grow to make significant differences to the lives of people in our community.” The fund is being shared among 13 charities in the Galway region which support the homeless, the vulnerable and people with additional needs, as well as helping to address health, mental health and suicide, and in making the city and county a safer and more caring place to be. The benefitting charities are Galway Simon Community; COPE; Galway Hospice; Samaritans; St Vincent de Paul; Galway Rape Crisis Centre; Croí; Kinvara Alive; Western Alzheimers Galway; Galway Autism Partnership; Order of Malta; Claddagh Watch; and the Blue Teapot Theatre Company. Imelda Byrne, spokesperson for NUI Galway’s An Ciste Carthanachta, said: “The University’s An Ciste Carthanachta was acutely aware of the impact of the pandemic on charities and their ability to run their services, to meet demand and to raise funds. Our colleagues deserve credit for the way in which they have responded to this perfect storm, with a significant increase in donations on the previous year giving the University the opportunity to support 13 charities.” Galway Simon Community is one of the charities to benefit from the fund, with chief executive Karen Golden explaining the difference the donations are making. "Galway Simon Community supported 646 households in 2020, comprising of 1,216 individuals. In the midst of the pandemic, we were able to prevent hundreds of individuals and families from homelessness thanks to the extraordinary dedication and hard work of our staff and volunteer teams who continued to support clients every single day,” Ms Golden said. “The funds from NUI Galway will enable us to support more people experiencing and at risk of homelessness in our community and to help them to leave homelessness behind for good.” Ends

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria, including MRSA, are responsible for 25,000 deaths per year in the EU Research led by scientists in NUI Galway has identified a new way to make MRSA vulnerable to antibiotic treatment. The MRSA superbug is resistant to penicillin-type antibiotics making infections difficult to treat. The microbiology research team, discovered that when a gene called sucC in MRSA is mutated, it leads to the build-up of a molecule called succinyl-CoA. This increase in succinyl-CoA can change numerous proteins in MRSA, which makes the bacteria more sensitive to antibiotics again. The study has been published in the flagship journal of the American Society for Microbiology, mBio, and was funded by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council. The research was carried out by the Discipline of Microbiology at NUI Galway in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in the US, and the University of Umeå in Sweden. Summarising the discovery Dr Chris Campbell, co-first author and NUI Galway microbiology PhD graduate, said: “A mutation that affected the way in which MRSA uses glucose to fuel growth unexpectedly switched off antibiotic resistance.” Co-first author and NUI Galway microbiology PhD student Claire Fingleton explains: “If we can find other ways to increase succinyl-CoA in MRSA, for example by developing drugs that have the same effect, it opens up the possibility that MRSA infections can be more easily treated with antibiotics. It would mean that penicillin-type antibiotics, which are currently ineffective for MRSA infections, could become successful once more in treating this superbug.” Finding ways to make MRSA sensitive to penicillin-type antibiotics again is a high priority in addressing the antimicrobial resistance crisis. “Penicillin-type antibiotics remain among the safest and most effective treatment options for bacterial infections, but unfortunately many bacteria including MRSA are now resistant to these drugs.” according to study co-author and NUI Galway microbiology postdoctoral fellow Dr Merve Zeden. Senior author of the study and Professor of Infectious Disease Microbiology at NUI Galway, Professor Jim O’Gara said: “Most people have been prescribed penicillin-type antibiotics at one time or another for the treatment of a bacterial infection. Ensuring that this class of antibiotics remains part of our arsenal of drugs against bacterial infections is imperative.” Antimicrobial resistance infections are predicted to cause more deaths than cancer by 2050. In the US, MRSA ranks as the sixth most common cause of bacterial infection and number one in terms of mortality. Understanding why MRSA and other pathogens are resistant to antibiotics is an essential prerequisite to finding better therapeutic approaches for antimicrobial resistance infections. To read the full study in the mBio Journal visit: https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mBio.00530-21. -Ends-

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

NUI Galway’s Access Centre recently delivered the virtual UNI 4 U primary schools initiative awarding Certificates of Achievements to 200 children in three Galway City schools. UNI 4 U is a primary school outreach programme delivered in partnership with NUI Galway and three DEIS primary schools, Scoil Bhríde in Shantalla, Scoil Chroí Íosa in Mervue, and Radhrac na Mara, Presentation Road. Each year students from fourth, fifth, and sixth class are selected by their teachers to participate on this programme where they spend six weeks on campus during the school term. While the students are on campus they participate in a number of specifically designed Easter and Summer camps including university taster modules, discussion-led classes, and a range of fun interactive activities all based on campus. Due to Covid-19 restrictions this year the programme took place online with the Access Centre team creating a series of recorded material and worksheets for students to use in class in their school. Dr Mary Surlis, Senior Manager with NUI Galway’s Access Centre, said: “UNI 4 U is about demystifying the University and inviting primary school children onto campus to promote the value of education, and to develop their interpersonal, academic, and confidence skills. It is about enabling families to envision a future for their children in third level education, and in the broader context embracing diversity and inclusion, as core tenets of our work in schools.” President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Initiatives like UNI 4 U play a significant role in increasing equality of opportunity in our communities and increasing the diversity of our student population in years to come. UNI 4 U embodies NUI Galway’s vision and values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence – contributing to our community and our society for the public good. The message that we want to give to these young students is that NUI Galway is their University, it is a part of their community, and we hope, in years to come that they will become a part of our campus community as they continue their education at third level.”  Frank Keane, Principal of Scoil Bhríde, Shantalla, Galway, said: “UNI4U has probably been the most significant and successful transition programme for schools enabling pathways through education, especially to third level for children from designated disadvantage schools.” The UNI 4 U initiative began in 2005, stemming from the University’s commitment in its strategic plan to advancing the social, economic, educational, and cultural needs of the Western region, and more recently The National Access plan which aims to increase equality of opportunity and increase diversity across Irish Universities. -Ends-

Monday, 28 June 2021

CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, together with partners Galway Film Centre, are delighted to announce that the latest documentary produced through the Science on Screen public engagement programme will be broadcast on TG4 on Thursday, 1 July at 10.30pm. Written and directed by Karen Coleman and co-produced by Leeona Duff with SkyeByte Productions, the documentary 'Off The Bench' In am an Ghátair' focuses on the response of the Irish MedTech community to Covid-19 and the unprecedented collaborations that have taken place across academic, industry and clinical partners in Galway and beyond to create innovative solutions that have helped cope with the pandemic as it evolved. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, says: “These collaborations between academics, clinicians, and industry partners in the MedTech sector have been in place since before the pandemic hit Irish shores. But the value of this network and the infrastructure that exists became obvious when it was needed the most. We knew it was important to document what was happening, and these stories illustrate the unique nature of the MedTech sector in Ireland. We hope it will build confidence in the expertise we have to hand and highlight some of the reasons why Ireland is regarded as a global hub for MedTech research and development.” The documentary focuses on several key innovations developed early in response to the pandemic, including establishing the INSPIRE project, an industry-academic partnership based at NUI Galway and University Hospital Galway designed to deliver fast-to-clinical medical devices to support the Covid-19 effort. CÚRAM Investigator, Professor Martin O’Halloran coordinated the INSPIRE project with physician and CÚRAM Investigator Dr John Laffey and his colleagues at University Hospital Galway. The INSPIRE network brought researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists and others in the MedTech space together to collaborate in exceptional ways to design and develop medical devices that could be used for both healthcare workers and patients on Covid-19 hospital wards both in Ireland and abroad. This collaboration led to the VentShare project that developed a safe way to ventilate two patients from a single ventilator, led by Tim Jones (a graduate from the BioInnovate Ireland programme) amd Jack Connolly, graduate from the College of Science and Engineering at NUI Galway, and Dr David Hannon and Professor John Laffey (Critical Care) with technical support from Aerogen.  Other projects featured in the documentary include developing a transparent plastic helmet (C-PAP Hood) that can administer oxygen to patients in ways that reduce healthcare workers being exposed to the virus and the INSPIRE Guard - a shield that patients could use to mitigate the spread of the virus. Alan Duggan, Manager of Galway Film Centre, said “We are incredibly proud to be able to continue to work with CÚRAM, this time on the creation of the Science On Screen feature documentary 'Off The Bench: In am an Ghátair'. The impact that science has on our lives has never been more present than in the last year and this documentary highlights this in a very real and practical way. To have the documentary broadcast on national television on TG4 is a reflection of the hard work put in by all of the production team involved in bringing it to life. We are excited to see the audience’s reaction to it.” Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, says: “Our MedTech ecosystem in the West of Ireland has long been recognised as a global hub of excellence and innovation. This has never been more true than in its inspirational and speedy response to providing healthcare solutions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Outreach and public engagement are integral to research at NUI Galway and I congratulate CÚRAM, Galway Film Centre and the production team on this important and timely Science on Screen documentary. “As a research-led University, this documentary captures the very essence of how the MedTech community comes together to develop life saving devices, animating our university values of respect, openness, sustainability and excellence. This documentary allows .people to better understand how important public research and innovation is to the fabric of our lives and in particular when confronting global challenges like the pandemic.” 'Off the Bench: In am an Ghátair' was funded through the Science on Screen public engagement programme, a partnership between CÚRAM and Galway Film Centre. The programme has produced six science documentaries to date and aims to raise awareness of the impact of medical device research in society. The documentary was written and directed by the award-winning journalist and broadcaster Karen Coleman at SkyeByte Productions (www.skyebyteproductions.com), which makes documentaries and multi-media content for online platforms and broadcast outlets, and co-produced by Leeona Duff of Up on Blue Bridge Productions. An English language trailer can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/515300175. -Ends-

Monday, 28 June 2021

Is cúis áthais do CÚRAM, Ionad Taighde SFI d’Fheistí Leighis in OÉ Gaillimh, agus dá gcomhpháirtithe in Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe, a fhógairt go gcraolfar an clár faisnéise is déanaí atá á léiriú faoi scáth an chláir rannpháirtíochta pobail Science on Screen ar TG4 Déardaoin, an 1 Iúil ag 10.30pm. Is í Karen Coleman a scríobh agus a stiúir an clár faisnéise ‘Off the Bench’ agus is í Leeona Duff a chomhléirigh é ag SkyeByte Productions. Díríonn an clár ‘In am an Ghátair’ ar an mbealach a ndeachaigh pobal Teicneolaíochta Leighis na hÉireann i ngleic le Covid-19 agus ar na comhthionscadail eisceachtúla a raibh comhpháirtithe acadúla, tionscail agus cliniciúla i nGaillimh agus níos faide i gcéin páirteach iontu chun teacht ar réitigh nuálacha a chabhraigh le daoine déileáil leis an bpaindéim de réir mar a tháinig borradh fúithi. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Ollamh Abhay Pandit, Stiúrthóir Eolaíochta CÚRAM in OÉ Gaillimh: “Bhí na comhthionscadail sin idir lucht acadúil, cliniceoirí, agus comhpháirtithe tionscail san earnáil Teicneolaíochta Leighis bunaithe sular bhuail an phaindéim an tír seo. Ach léiríodh a luachmhaire a bhí an líonra seo agus an bonneagar atá ann i gceart nuair a tháinig an crú ar an tairne. Bhí a fhios againn go raibh sé tábhachtach taifead a choinneáil ar an méid a bhí ag tarlú, agus léiríonn na scéalta seo gur earnáil ar leith í earnáil na Teicneolaíochta Leighis in Éirinn. Tá súil againn go gcothóidh sé muinín sa saineolas atá le fáil ar leac an dorais againn agus go léireoidh sé cuid de na cúiseanna a mbreathnaítear ar Éirinn mar mhol domhanda do thaighde agus d’fhorbairt na Teicneolaíochta Leighis.” Dírítear sa chlár faisnéise ar roinnt táirgí nuálacha a forbraíodh go luath chun dul i ngleic leis an bpaindéim, lena n-áirítear bunú an tionscadail INSPIRE. Is comhpháirtíocht idir an tionscal agus an saol acadúil é seo atá lonnaithe in OÉ Gaillimh agus in Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh ina gcuirtear gairis leighis chliniciúla ar fáil go tapa chun tacú leis an iarracht Covid-19 a chur faoi chois. Rinne an tImscrúdaitheoir le CÚRAM, an tOllamh Martin O’Halloran comhordú ar thionscadal INSPIRE in éineacht leis an dochtúir leighis agus Imscrúdaitheoir le CÚRAM, an Dr John Laffey agus a chomhghleacaithe in Ospidéal na hOllscoile, Gaillimh. Thug líonra INSPIRE taighdeoirí, fiontraithe, innealtóirí, eolaithe agus daoine eile i réimse na Teicneolaíochta Leighis le chéile chun comhoibriú le chéile ar bhealaí eisceachtúla chun feistí leighis a dhearadh agus a fhorbairt a mbeadh oibrithe cúram sláinte agus othair in ann iad a úsáid i mbardaí ospidéil a mbeadh Covid-19 ar dhaoine iontu in Éirinn agus thar lear. D’eascair an tionscadal VentShare ón gcomhpháirtíocht seo, tionscadal inar aimsíodh bealach sábháilte chun beirt othar a chur ar análaitheoir amháin, faoi stiúir Tim Jones (céimí ón gclár BioInnovate Ireland) agus Jack Connolly, céimí ó Choláiste na hEolaíochta agus na hInnealtóireachta in OÉ Gaillimh, agus an Dr David Hannon agus an tOllamh John Laffey (Cúram Criticiúil) le tacaíocht theicniúil ó Aerogen.  I measc na dtionscadal eile a fheicfear sa chlár faisnéise tá clogad plaisteach trédhearcach (C-PAP Hood) ar féidir leis ocsaigin a riar ar othair ar bhealaí a laghdaíonn an baol atá ann go dtolgfadh oibrithe cúraim sláinte an víreas agus Sciath INSPIRE – sciath a d’fhéadfadh othair a úsáid chun baol scaipthe an víris a mhaolú. Bhí an méid seo le rá ag Alan Duggan, Bainisteoir Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe: “Tá ríméad orainn a bheith ag obair le CÚRAM arís, ar an ngnéchlár faisnéise Science On Screen 'Off The Bench: In am an Ghátair’ an uair seo. Is feiceálaí tionchar na heolaíochta ar ár saol le bliain anuas ná riamh, mar a léirítear sa chlár faisnéise seo ar bhealach an-réadúil agus praiticiúil. Is aitheantas é an clár faisnéise a bheith á chraoladh ar an stáisiún náisiúnta teilifíse TG4 ar an obair chrua a rinne an fhoireann léiriúcháin ar fad. Táimid ar bís go bhfeicfidh muid cad a cheapfaidh an lucht féachana de.” Bhí an méid seo le rá ag an Ollamh Jim Livesey, Leas-Uachtarán don Taighde agus Nuálaíocht in OÉ Gaillimh: “Tá aitheantas ag an líonra Teicneolaíochta Leighis in Iarthar na hÉireann le fada mar mhol barr feabhais agus nuálaíochta domhanda. Léirigh an bealach ar cuireadh réitigh cúraim sláinte ar fáil go tapa le linn phaindéim Covid-19 gur maith a bhí an t-aitheantas sin tuillte aige. Is cuid dhílis den taighde in OÉ Gaillimh iad gníomhaíochtaí for-rochtana agus rannpháirtíocht an phobail agus tréaslaím le CÚRAM, Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe agus an fhoireann léiriúcháin as an gclár faisnéise tábhachtach agus tráthúil seo faoi scáth Science on Screen. Is Ollscoil í seo atá dírithe ar an taighde, agus feicfear sa chlár faisnéise seo pobal na Teicneolaíochta Leighis ag teacht le chéile chun gairis tarrthála beatha a fhorbairt, agus iad ag feidhmiú de réir luachanna na hollscoile maidir le meas, oscailteacht, inbhuanaitheacht agus barr feabhais. Gheobhaidh daoine tuiscint níos fearr sa chlár faisnéise seo ar an tábhacht atá le taighde agus nuálaíocht phoiblí sa saol ina mairimid, go háirithe agus muid ag tabhairt aghaidh ar dhúshláin dhomhanda ar nós na paindéime.” Rinneadh maoiniú ar ‘Off the Bench: In am an Ghátair’ tríd an gclár rannpháirtíochta pobail Science on Screen, comhpháirtíocht idir CÚRAM agus Ionad Scannán na Gaillimhe. Tá sé chlár faisnéise faoin eolaíocht léirithe faoin scéim go dtí seo agus tá sé mar aidhm leis an scéim cur leis an bhfeasacht faoin tionchar a bhíonn ag taighde faoi fheistí leighis ar an tsochaí. Is í an t-iriseoir agus an craoltóir Karen Coleman a scríobh agus a stiúir an clár faisnéise le SkyeByte Productions (www.skyebyteproductions.com), comhlacht a dhéanann cláir faisnéise agus ábhar ilmheán d’ardáin ar líne agus d’asraonta craolta, agus is í Leeona Duff ó Up on Blue Bridge Productions a bhí ina comhléiritheoir air.  Tá réamhbhlaiseadh den scannán le fáil anseo i mBéarla: https://vimeo.com/515300175. -Críoch-

Monday, 28 June 2021

A limited number of places on NUI Galway’s Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme are now open and funded by the Higher Education Authority NUI Galway, in collaboration with 12 software industry partners, is now accepting applications for its award winning, innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme – Industry Stream. A limited number of places will be funded by the Higher Education Authority given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants will pay no fees if they are unemployed, if they are employed or in part-time employment, they will pay a once off 10% fee which amounts to €650 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured immediate employment in software development roles, with many graduates gaining employment with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one-year conversion programme in conjunction with 12 leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. Successful applicants are paired with an industry partner from the start of the programme and are then trained in key technologies for that employer’s needs, and are then able to maximise the impact of a paid industry internship towards the end of the programme. Dr Enda Barrett, Course Director, said: “We are delighted to again to offer places on this unique programme completely funded by the Higher Education Authority and their Springboard initiative. This is a super opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from cognate disciplines such as engineering, maths, business and science. We have had huge success with graduates from these areas due to their natural problem solving capacity. By investing just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our industry partners, they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. “The ICT sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill. The highly intensive programme is designed for those with little or no knowledge of software development, but we are particularly keen to receive applications from those who have had some exposure to coding and feel that this is something they potentially have a flare for. People with technical or strong numerical backgrounds often perform best in these types of programmes and we strongly encourage applicants who have strong logical reasoning or maths skills. This could be a strong maths result from their leaving cert or from certain modules in their undergraduate degree. This isn’t essential, but often indicates a strong problem solving and logical skillset. Since this programme is funded under the ICT Skills segment of Springboard, there are no limitations regarding the applicant’s current employment or social welfare status.” The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design and development. The final aspect of the course involves a three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, providing successful applicants with the opportunity to kick-start their career as a software developer. Each student progressing through the course will have their training content determined by their associated industry partner. On completion of the course, these students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or through more specialisation in a masters.  The industry partners include Avaya, Cisco, SAP, Insight, Sidero, Aspect Software, Genesys The Marine Institute and Schneider Electric. Dr Barrett continued: “The career prospects for our graduates are extremely strong and demand is dramatically outstripping supply. The programme is highly respected among many of Irelands leading software companies many of whom specifically want to recruit graduates who have come through our unique programme. Many of our graduates are receiving multiple job offers before they even complete the programme. Our recognition as Postgraduate Programme of the Year in Information Technology has propelled both the programme and our graduates to the front of the list for many recruiters and we are delighted with the feedback and positivity we have been receiving from our past graduates and their employers alike.” The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree or alternatively those with a level 7 degree with some relevant industry work experience. Those currently completing their studies or who are currently in some form of employment are all eligible to apply. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through https://springboardcourses.ie/details/9168, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry. Significant interest in this funded course is expected and early application is advisable as applications are processed and interviews are held on a rolling basis. Deadline for final applications is Sunday, 1 August, 2021. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Barrett at Enda.Barrett@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has announced a new research partnership with B. Braun, one of the world's leading providers and manufacturers of healthcare solutions. The partnership will see the development of a novel drug delivery system for cannabinoids for more effective treatment of wound pain and improved wound healing, and the development of a device for the management of wound odour. Chronic wounds affect up to 4% of people over 65 years, with venous leg ulcers being the most prevalent of these, accounting for approximately 70% of all ulcers of the lower limbs. Chronic wounds are associated with reduced quality of life and affect the individual in physical, psychological and psychosocial domains. This in turn can impact family members and the individual’s ability to contribute to society fully. Among the many symptoms associated with chronic wounds, pain is cited as one of the worst aspects. While multiple forms of pain relief exist, these do not provide relief for all patients, and people with chronic wounds regularly state they do not wish to take more medication and have a fear of addiction. Professor Georgina Gethin, CÚRAM Investigator, project co-lead, and Director of the Alliance for Research and Innovation in Wounds, explains: “Members of our patient panel in Alliance for Research and Innovation in Wounds have recounted using a trial and error process to alleviate pain and often take to resting until the pain goes away. They have identified that research to develop interventions to relieve pain is a priority for them. The endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) system plays a key role in pain modulation and also regulates wound healing. It represents a novel target for more effective dual management of both pain and wound healing.” Professor David Finn, an Investigator in CÚRAM, Head of Pharmacology, and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research is a co-lead on the project. He brings over 20 years of expertise in cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system and pain to the project. His group will play a key role in advancing understanding of the endocannabinoid system in wound pain and healing, and in preclinical testing of the novel cannabinoid-eluting delivery system for more effective treatment of wound pain and improved wound healing. Professor Finn says: “This project is a clear example of our commitment to addressing pain and wound healing, two of the world's major health challenges, by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments.” Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences at NUI Galway and a collaborator on the project will be leading the management of wound odour in the device design. A novel component to wound dressing will lead to modified dressing to remove or to minimalise wound odour during wound healing. Professor Joshi says: “This project exemplifies our commitment to addressing major health challenges by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments to have a positive impact on both the physical and social implications of chronic wounds.” Mr Pat McLoughlin, Site Director of B. Braun Hospicare, said: “B. Braun, a company that prides itself on “Sharing Expertise”, is delighted to work with and learn from this research project with CÚRAM. The project's main goal is to produce quality new products in the management of chronic wound pain and odour for the B. Braun portfolio. This is an exciting time in wound care production in Ireland. As we embark on this journey with CÚRAM, we hope to develop innovative solutions to make chronic wound care easier to manage at home for patients and practitioners. As a company, B. Braun aims to protect and improve the lives of people around the world. This project allows us to both gain insight and helps improve patient outcomes.” Mr McLoughlin added: “B. Braun recognises that most innovation in the chronic wound care sector focuses on management of wound exudate (fluid) and may not focus on other aspects of how the patient manages their conditions. The most exciting aspect of this research will be patients’ perspective of how they can best live self-determined lives and how we can help meet those needs.” Susan O’Mahoney, who leads the development of new products at B. Braun Hospicare, adds that CÚRAM has recognised how the industry works and has tailored the way they work to “make things easy for the industry” by providing “an up-front statement of work with clear timelines and deliverables, and quarterly updates which can be used to update steering committees on our side.” CÚRAM's strategic mission is to establish a world-leading Irish Medical Device Research and Development Centre to develop diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. In doing so, the Centre partners with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. The recent announcement of over €46 million in funding for the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to reinvesting in the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations central to CÚRAM's work. -Ends-

Monday, 21 June 2021

NUI Galway’s Science and Engineering students are making travel arrangements to participate in the International Summer Academy in Engineering for Women at the Univer­sity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in July. Computer Science student, Emma Urquuhart from County Galway, and Engineering students, Niamh Hennigan from County Clare, Aoife Roche from County Wexford, and Aoife Prendergast from County Galway, were awarded scholarships in 2020 in a highly competitive environment to attend the academy in July 2020, but their plans were put on hold due to the global pandemic. Following rigorous safety procedures developed by NUI Galway for outward student mobility, the students are able to travel to Austria in July and attend the academy. The Academy, offered to only 30 female students from 15 different countries, is a two and a half week intensive programme com­bining theory with hands-on practical experience in engineering, informatics and natural sciences. In addition to knowledge transfer in these fields, social, cross-cultural and gender aspects are covered and discussed during lectures and workshops. The academy supports female students as they pursue their education goals. The Academy programme is based around thematic areas of Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, and Computer Sciences and Informatics. Specific subject areas look at issues such as Synthetic biology: promises and dangers for society; Molecular biology: forensic DNA profiling and its computational analysis; Special high voltage applications in modern day technology; What computer science can learn from nature - Evolutionary optimization algorithms and data mining; Importance of online privacy; and Human and computer interaction. Speaking about the scholarships and the International Summer Academy, Mary Dempsey, Vice Dean in the College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “Whilst our students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in adapting to remote learning over the last 15 months, peer learning opportunities have been limited. Following a rigorous outgoing mobility assessment process, Emma, Aoife, Niamh and Aoife will be the first Science and Engineering students from NUI Galway to travel abroad for study since 2020. They will have an opportunity to; work with other students in STEM fields, broaden their technical and scientific knowledge and once again experience learning in a collegiate environment.” NUI Galway Computer Science student, Emma Urquuhart said: “We are really looking forward to embarking on our trip to Upper Austria to participate in the Summer Academy. After our initial applications to the Academy was accepted, we completed outward mobility assessments in NUI Galway to ensure that we are prepared for our first foreign excursion since the beginning of the pandemic. We are eager to embrace this opportunity to broaden our knowledge of our respective fields of study, and hope to learn about how different areas of engineering can complement each other through the teamwork projects and variety of workshops we will be partaking in. The unique cultural experience will undoubtedly be a highlight of the trip for us. We are excited to explore the region of Wels, make friends from different countries and gain new perspectives on engineering on the global scale. We appreciate the support of the scholarships and are very grateful to NUI Galway for granting us this wonderful opportunity.” -Ends-

Monday, 21 June 2021

DotMD Festival of Medical Curiosity, an award winning medical conference which hopes to inspire and rejuvenate doctors, will return to NUI Galway in the summer of 2022, running from 15-18 June 2022. Organised by Galway-based doctors Dr Ronan Kavanagh, Dr Muris Houston and Dr Alan Coss, the festival for doctors aims to “reawaken a passion and wonder for medicine that some might have lost along the way” according to dotMD Director Dr Ronan Kavanagh. With over 500 doctors from Ireland and around the world to Galway attending the last sold out festival in 2019, the 2022 meeting, now in its 8th year, has been extended from a two-day to a four-day hybrid to meet demand. The meeting will also be streamed online for those unable to travel to Galway.  Previous topics included in the meeting include medical story-telling, what doctors can learn from Jazz musicians, poetry, the use of cartoons in healthcare (graphic medicine), kindness, burnout, Buddhism, transhumanism, and artificial intelligence. Dr Kavanagh added: “Never has there been a more challenging time to be working in front line health care – and we wanted to create an experience that would help doctors reconnect with what matters in medicine, to reinvigorate and re-inspire them, and to help them find meaning in their working lives” The meeting will be open to doctors and to other health care professionals, and further details can be found at www.dotmd.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 18 June 2021

NUI Galway, within the frame of the Hydrogen Utilization and Green Energy (HUGE) project, will host a webinar entitled ‘Hydrogen Trucks: An Opportunity for Heavy Vehicles Decarbonisation’ on Tuesday, 22 June, from 11am-1pm CEST (10am-12pm Irish time). NUI Galway, as part of the HUGE project, oversees the transfer of hydrogen knowledge to a wide audience, including industry stakeholders, end-users and government agencies from a vast area in Europe, especially in Northwest Europe, Atlantic Area and Northern Periphery and Arctic regions. The webinar will feature a number of recognised specialists, including Alan Nolan, Coordinating Director with Hydrogen Mobility Ireland, and Mark Freymüller, CEO Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility AG, who will discuss the current situation of the decarbonisation of heavy vehicles in Europe, and presentations will focus on the present and future of hydrogen in the mobility sector. The webinar will share development plans for hydrogen trucks and their infrastructure in the partners’ regions in Ireland, Hydrogen Mobility Ireland, and Iceland, Icelandic New Energy, and will give an overview of the implemented hydrogen trucks project in Switzerland, Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility, with emphasis on the challenges and opportunities, as well as the level of involvement of the Swiss government. Representatives from truck manufacturers Hyzon Motors and Volvo Trucks will also share the recent developments on the construction and delivery of hydrogen trucks on the road and the market opportunities they envisage. Webinar organiser, Dr Pau Farras Costa of NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry and deputy lead of the Energy Research Centre of the Ryan Institute, said: “Decarbonising road transport is an easier task than most people may think. The technology is available through either battery electric for small or fuel cell electric for small to large vehicles. To achieve the climate change targets for 2030 there is an urgency to put in place solutions that can impact on national carbon footprint in the short term. In this webinar, we aim to demonstrate that decarbonising the heavy vehicle sector is feasible if the necessary support is achieved.” Dr James Carton, Chair of Hydrogen Ireland, said: "Transport in Ireland represents an energy sector that must decarbonise not only to reduce climate changing emissions but also to enable breathable cities. Passenger car owners have seen a growth of suitable battery electric vehicles, as well as greater options for commuting such as walking and cycling; however trucking has few options to decarbonise. “Heavy duty vehicles account for only around 5% of vehicles on EU roads but they are responsible for 25% of all EU road transport emissions. Now we have a solution: hydrogen from renewables can be used to decarbonise trucks, buses and trains in Ireland. A survey conducted by Dublin City University revealed that if hydrogen trucks and hydrogen refuelling stations were available at similar costs to the incumbent, most truck fleet operators surveyed would invest in hydrogen vehicles, seeing them as future proof, zero emission vehicles. What Ireland needs now is our government to support the rollout of a national hydrogen refuelling infrastructure." To register for the webinar, or for more information visit Eventbrite at  https://bit.ly/2SGfbDV. -Ends-

Friday, 18 June 2021

A major EU-funded project led by NUI Galway has united with nine other EU H2020 projects to form the PREPARE Cluster (PREparedness and resPonse for emergency situAtions in euRopE. The two-year Irish-led project, PANDEM-2, aims to prepare Europe for future pandemics through innovations in training and to build capacity between EU member states responding to pandemics on a cross-border basis.The project has been awarded almost €10m in funding and is one of many in the PREPARE cluster that has recently received this support from the European Commission to work on different aspects of crisis management and response. PANDEM-2 will look specifically at developing a suite of novel concepts, services and IT systems to improve how the EU prepares for and responds to future pandemics. With combined funding of €72 million, each project in PREPARE has its own distinct aims and challenges, however, they all work towards one shared goal: to ensure better preparedness for future crises. While Ireland and Europe have responded robustly to the current pandemic, there is room for improvement in the sharing of information across borders and in adopting common and consistent policies. The PREPARE cluster will aim to strengthen Europe’s response to the ongoing pandemic and potential future crises by offering mutual support and developing research synergies. In recent years, there have been increasing instances of cross-border crises, including climate change, terrorism, international trade disputes and global health threats. These emergency situations require large-scale planning for preparedness and response for countries to be able to cope with unforeseen challenges. Protecting the health and security of citizens across Ireland and the EU in the face of these threats requires member states and agencies to share information and to collaborate on joint policies and approaches. It is for this reason that each of the ten projects is tackling challenges specifically looking at the preparedness and response phases of crisis management. Professor Máire Connolly of NUI Galway and Coordinator of the PANDEM-2 Project said: “We are delighted to be a part of the PREPARE cluster and working with so many excellent projects supported by the EU. COVID-19 has had a devastating economic, social and health impact on countries worldwide and we must adopt a collective approach in our response strategy to future crises. We look forward to will exploring synergies, research opportunities and delivering joint activities to to ensure Europe is better prepared for the next pandemic.” In working together, PREPARE will strive for stronger results and greater impact for crisis management. PANDEM-2, together with CO-VERSATILE, COVID-X, COVINFORM, EUR3KA, NO FEAR, PERISCOPE, PHIRI, STAMINA and STRATEGY will strengthen the response to the ongoing crisis and aim to be better prepared for future crises. -Ends-

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Academics at NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre have cautioned over the impact that the digital divide may have amid increasing use of eHealth for promoting health and wellbeing. Ahead of the 25th annual Health Promotion Conference at NUI Galway, the co-chairs of the event, Dr Victoria Hogan and Dr Jane Sixsmith, highlighted the need for ongoing research on the issue of unequal access to technology and digital information and services.   This year’s online conference - Health Promotion through eHealth: Challenges and Opportunities - is open to all, and it takes place on Thursday, 24 June 2021, between 9am and 4pm. Register online at https://col.eventsair.com/ahp2021/registration Dr Victoria Hogan, conference co-chair, said: “Given the ubiquitous nature of digital technology in everyday life, and the increasing importance of technology for health, this is considered a priority area for both health promotion research and practice.” Dr Jane Sixsmith, conference co-chair, said: “The increasing use of digital technology is an opportunity for the promotion of health but the challenge is the inequality in access as a result of the digital divide. As we further develop and use these technologies for health we must ensure equity of access.” The Health Promotion Conference will be attended by Frank Feighan T.D., Minister for State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy. This year's event brings together leading academics, researchers, practitioners and policymakers working with eHealth. They will explore the use of eHealth in various settings such as the workplace; children’s health; mental health; and health promotion apps. It is hosted in partnership with the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive and the Association for Health Promotion Ireland. Professor Margaret M Barry, Established Chair in Health Promotion and Public Health at NUI Galway, will moderate a live panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of eHealth for health promotion.  Professor Deborah Lupton, SHARP Professor, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia will draw on projects she has led which have addressed people’s everyday experiences of digital health - from googling symptoms to using discussion forums, websites, social media groups, YouTube, apps and wearable devices. She will also touch on the future of digital health in Covid-19 times. Professor Ernst Bohlmeijer, Professor of Mental Health Promotion, University of Twente, the Netherlands will focus on the use of eHealth and mHealth in promoting public mental health. Ian Power, chief executive of SpunOut.ie and 50808, will speak on bringing information and support to young people and to where young people are. Muiriosa Ryan, Social Media Manager, Health Service Executive will speak on the HSE’s social media strategy and how it is used in a global pandemic. Niamh Connolly, Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, will deliver a workshop on the use of social media for health promotion. Ends

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

NUI Galway academic Dr Una Murray will present an evaluation she recently led for a UNICEF development programme on migrating children in the Horn of Africa at a webinar on Thursday, 17 June at 1pm. During the webinar, entitled ‘Evaluation of the Programme - Protecting Children On The Move in the Horn of Africa’, Dr Murray’s presentation will include inputs from programme focal points in each of the countries, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. The UNICEF event presents the results of the evaluation of a UNICEF programme, funded by the United Kingdom Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, which aimed to better understand and respond to the specific vulnerabilities of children on the move. The UNICEF programme was implemented between 2017 and 2020 to strengthen case management systems, develop capacities of social service workforce, improve access to integrated social and child protection services and information on available safe migration options, enhance knowledge about children on the move and to inform programming, and to improve access to legal protection for children. The results of the work undertaken by Dr Murray and her UNICEF team is informing strategy development, design and implementation of future UNICEF initiatives in the realm of protecting children on the move from violence, exploitation and abuse. The findings and recommendations generated by the evaluation are now strengthening global evidence about what does and does not work, how and why, across different contexts, for children facing different challenges.  Dr Una Murray, Lecturer in School of Geography, and Ryan Institute Principal Investigator at NUI Galway, said: “Our team’s evaluation began just as the Covid-19 pandemic struck making conditions for children on the move very difficult. The Horn of Africa Region is characterised by mixed movements of peoples, including refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, smuggled migrants and unaccompanied minors. Although we mainly hear about migration routes into Europe, there are two other primary routes of migration that children follow, the Eastern route via Yemen and Saudi Arabia and beyond, and the Southern route, along an Eastern African corridor through Kenya to South Africa. There is also a high incidence of internally displaced children in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.” For more details or to register for the webinar visit: https://www.unicef.org/evaluation/evaluation-programme-protecting-children-move-horn-africa-17-june-2021 The UNICEF Evaluation Report can be accessed at: https://evaluationreports.unicef.org/GetDocument?fileID=17407 -Ends-

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Beidh OÉ Gaillimh ag tairiscint 12 scoláireacht don bhliain acadúil 2021/22 d’Iarratasóirí Cosanta Idirnáisiúnta, teifigh, grúpaí inimirceacha leochaileacha agus Taistealaithe na hÉireann.  Beifear ag glacadh le hiarratais ar scoiláireacht Dé Luain, an 28 Meitheamh ag 9am, agus is féidir eolas a fháíl ag www.nuigalway.ie/sanctuary/scholarships  Tá an fógra á dhéanamh mar chuid de thionscnaimh OÉ Gaillimh mar Ollscoil Tearmainn chun Lá Domhanda na dTeifeach a cheiliúradh Dé Domhnaigh, an 20 Meitheamh 2021.   Beidh Cearnóg na hOllscoile soilsithe gorm, dath na Náisiún Aontaithe, thar an deireadh seachtaine chun tacú leo siúd atá ag lorg cosaint idirnáisiúnta ar fud an domhain.   Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Ag croílár luachanna OÉ Gaillimh tá meas agus oscailteacht, agus tá an Ollscoil bródúil as a bheith in ann tacú le mic léinn trí chlár scoláireachta na hOllscoile Tearmainn.    “Tá ról na hOllscoile ar mhaithe le leas an phobail le feiceáil i ngnéithe éagsúla dár gcuid oibre: tá brí ar leith leis nuair a chuirtear deiseanna ar fáil do chuid den dream is leochailí sa tsochaí agus do dhaoine atá ag iarraidh barr feabhais a bhaint amach.”   Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag tacú le himeachtaí eile chun Lá Domhanda na dTeifeach a cheiliúradh agus ba mhaith linn an pobal a ghríosadh le páirt a ghlacadh ann.   :: Dé Sathairn, 19 Meitheamh 2021, 11am: Beidh ‘siúlóid ghairdín’ spraíúil timpeall ar Ghairdín Pobail an Taoibh Thiar mar chuid de Walk the Talk Galway agus an tionscadal BRIDGE. Cláraigh trí ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig walkthetalkgalway@gmail.com nó suzanne@gcp.ie    :: Dé Domhnaigh, 20 Meitheamh 2021, 2pm: Reáchtálfaidh tionscnamh Ollscoil Tearmainn OÉ Gaillimh, Gluaiseacht Thaistealaither na Gaillimhe, Taiscéalaithe na gCeall dhá cheardlann Zoom “Fantastic DNA at Home” as a saotharlanna san Ollscoil agus beidh daoine in ann a gcuid turgnaimh féin a dhéanamh sa bhaile, ag taispeáint gur féidir le duine ar bith a bheith ina (h)eolaí. Cláraigh trí ríomhphost chuig uni.sanctuary@nuigalway.ie   Cuirfidh Acadamh Óige OÉ Gaillimh roinnt áiteanna soar in aisce ar fail ar a gcampaí samhraidh I mí Iúil d’iarratasóirí cosanta idirnáisiúnta, teifigh, grúpaí inimirceacha leochaileacha agus Taistealaithe na hÉireann chun Lá Domhanda na dTeifeach a cheiliúradh. Beidh na campaí samhraigh ar siúl ón 12-16 Iúil, agus 19-23 Iúil. Chun áit a chur in áírithe ar na campaí samhraidh, no chun tuilleadh eolais a fháíl, seol ríomhphost chuig youthacademy@nuigalway.ie  Críoch  

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

NUI Galway has announced it will be offering 12 scholarships for the 2021/22 academic year for International Protection Applicants, refugees, vulnerable immigrant groups and Irish Travellers. Scholarship applications will open on Monday, 28 June at 9am, and information can be found at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sanctuary/scholarships/  The announcement is being made as part of initiatives by NUI Galway as a University of Sanctuary to mark World Refugee Day on Sunday 20 June 2021. The University’s Quadrangle building will be lit with the blue of the United Nations over the coming weekend in solidarity with those seeking international protection around the world. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “At the heart of NUI Galway’s values are respect and openness, and the University is proud to be in a position to support students through our University of Sanctuary scholarship programme.   “The University’s role for the public good can be seen in many strands of our work: it is particularly and profoundly meaningful when we provide opportunities for some of the more vulnerable sections of society and for people who are striving to excel.”  NUI Galway is supporting other events to mark World Refugee Day and the public are encouraged to get involved. :: Saturday, 19 June 2021, 11am: Walk the Talk Galway and the BRIDGE project will host a fun ‘garden walk’ around Westside Community Garden. Register via email to walkthetalkgalway@gmail.com or suzanne@gcp.ie   :: Sunday, 20 July 2021, 2pm: NUI Galway’s University of Sanctuary initiative, the Galway Traveller Movement, Cell Explorers Fantastic DNA at Home will run two live Zoom workshops from their labs at the University with people able to carry out their own experiments at home, showing that anyone can be a scientist. Register via email to uni.sanctuary@nuigalway.ie  NUI Galway’s Youth Academy will also offer a number of free places on their July summer camps to international protection applicants, refugees, vulnerable immigrant groups and Irish Travellers to mark World Refugee Day. The weekly summer camps will run from 12-16 July, and 19-23 July. To book a place on the summer camps, or for more information please email youthacademy@nuigalway.ie Ends 

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Female health professionals are being encouraged to apply for a women-only scholarship for NUI Galway’s MBA programme. The McGinty Scholarships were established by alumna Dr Geraldine McGinty, a physician executive and radiologist, to empower a new cohort of women who will lead improved and impactful outcomes for patients and healthcare staff. A special online information forum will be held on Wednesday 24 June 2021 at 1pm for female healthcare professionals who are eager to learn what the programme offers. Anyone interested can register here. The McGinty Scholarships are available each year to support two women - one physician and one allied healthcare professional in the MBA programme at NUI Galway. Established in 2020, the scholarships were introduced to encourage and enable female physicians and allied healthcare professionals to engage in the MBA programme, to support them on a career path to leadership in the healthcare sector. Speaking about the value of women in healthcare leadership, Dr McGinty said: “Despite women making up the majority of the healthcare workforce they are typically underrepresented in the highest levels of leadership. We know diverse teams drive better results and outcomes so making sure women are prepared to assume senior leadership roles is a key goal.” Emergency Medicine physician Dr Odharna Ní Dhomhnalláin received the inaugural McGinty scholarship. She said: “Healthcare practitioners bring a unique insight, particularly with regard to patient care and healthcare problems that we encounter in our day-to-day practice. The MBA has been very helpful in broadening my thinking and exposing me to the business knowledge that I need in order to pursue leadership and management positions in the future.” Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operations Officer at Saolta University Health Care Group, said: “The hospital services operate with a predominantly female workforce, with women delivering and managing clinical services across our health service. Ensuring more women reach leadership roles will strengthen our teams. I am delighted that this scholarship has been made available to further develop key leadership pathways for women in the healthcare sector.” Professor Alma McCarthy, Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, said: “Research shows that diversity in senior management leads to better organisational outcomes. We are committed to supporting gender parity in leadership roles and providing women with female leaders who can act as role models. This MBA scholarship will help to nurture world-class female leaders who can have a significant impact in their organisations and throughout society.” Ends

Monday, 14 June 2021

Almost half of patients attending clinic have signs of damage to their kidneys Some 42% of patients attending a dedicated diabetes clinic have signs of established chronic kidney disease, the first detailed research of its kind in Ireland has revealed. The study was carried out by academics at NUI Galway and clinicians at University Hospital Galway Diabetes Centre and involved more than 4,500 patients in the west of Ireland. The findings suggest that, despite careful medical management, a relatively high proportion of people with diabetes in Ireland are developing chronic kidney disease over time and are at risk of kidney failure and other complications of poor kidney function. Diabetes is now the number one cause of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure worldwide. At least one in 15 people in Ireland has diabetes, three quarters of whom are adults with type 2 diabetes. Professor Matthew Griffin, consultant nephrologist at Galway University Hospitals and researcher in NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “When evidence of chronic kidney disease due to diabetes appears, it usually indicates damage to the kidneys that cannot be reversed and may well worsen over time.” The research is published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care http://drc.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/9/1/e002125?ijkey=QEorIBa0xCyzwPY&keytype=ref. It is the first comprehensive analysis of the overall burden of chronic kidney disease among people with diabetes in Ireland. It found that: :: 42% of patients at the clinic had evidence of abnormal kidney function, based on the results of commonly-performed blood and urine tests. :: The rate of chronic kidney disease among diabetes patients is more frequent than previously recognised. :: The frequency of chronic kidney disease was higher - almost 50% - in those with type 2 diabetes. :: The kidney function of more than one quarter of all the patients and nearly one third of those with type 2 diabetes was declining at a faster rate than expected. The research team said the findings of the prevalence of chronic kidney disease were particularly concerning because the number of people affected by type 2 diabetes is increasing steadily around the world. In the next 20 years it is expected to reach close to 700 million people. Dr Tomás Griffin, consultant endocrinologist specialising in diabetes care at Galway University Hospitals, Honorary Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway and lead researcher on the study, said: “The findings tell us that adults living with diabetes in Ireland have rates of chronic kidney disease and rapid decline in kidney function that are comparable to, or greater than, populations which have been studied in the UK, other European countries, the US and Asia. “The study provides important information for people with diabetes because new treatments and interventions are emerging which may offer better protection of kidney function over time when introduced in the early stages of chronic kidney disease.” Professor Griffin added: “Worryingly, many people with diabetes are unaware of the earliest evidence of diabetic kidney disease that can be identified in their blood and urine tests. This research shines a light on the need for greater awareness of these tests during the early stages of diabetes management and more collaborative care by diabetes and kidney specialists.” Professor Francis Finucane, co-author on the study and consultant endocrinologist specialising in the management of obesity and diabetes at Galway University Hospitals, said: “The more we can do to prevent type 2 diabetes and the factors that contribute to it by encouraging healthier diet and physical activity habits, the better our chances of reducing the burden of kidney disease.” The research paper is published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care with the following manuscript citation: Griffin TP, O’Shea PM, Smyth A, Islam MdN, Wall D, Ferguson JP, O’Sullivan E, Francis FM, Dinneen SF, Dunne FP, Lappin DW, Reddan DN, Bell M, O’Brien T, Griffin DG, Griffin MD. Burden of chronic kidney disease and rapid decline in renal function among adults attending a hospital-based Diabetes Centre in Northern Europe. BMJ Diabetes Res Care, March 14 2021. Ends

Friday, 11 June 2021

Researchers at NUI Galway have highlighted how different approaches to digital contact tracing were taken during the Covid-19 pandemic by jurisdictions with and without prior recent experience of epidemics. The analysis, authored by James O’Connell and Professor Derek O’Keeffe from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, has been published by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. In their work, James O’Connell and Professor O’Keeffe discuss how South Korea learned important lessons from their MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) epidemic in 2015 and put in place a political, legal and technological foundation that enabled an agile digital health response to the first wave of Covid-19. By comparison, Western countries struggled with both the societal and technical requirements needed to implement a digital solution to augment traditional manual contact tracing, which is a critical tool in managing infectious disease outbreak. Automation using geolocation tracking allowed teams of epidemiologic investigators in South Korea to trace not only contacts but also the setting in which contact occurred up to 14 days before symptom onset or diagnosis. This information allowed them to gain a greater understanding of the settings in which SARS-CoV-2 transmission was occurring and to implement more targeted health protection measures in response. In contrast, traditional contact-tracing systems in most Western countries had the capacity to identify and notify only people who had come into contact with an infected person within 48 hours before symptom onset or diagnosis. This digital limitation perhaps contributed to the first wave of Covid-19 in Western countries that outpaced the epidemic in South Korea. By the end of their first epidemic wave in April 2020, South Korea had reported 10,423 infections and only 204 deaths — a remarkable achievement given the population size of just over 50 million. In contrast, European countries saw more than 2.1 million cases and 180,000 deaths by the end of their first wave in June. James O’Connell, author and HIVE lab postgraduate researcher at NUI Galway, says: “This analysis highlights important learnings from this pandemic that will enable a better response to the next. We have all seen how important proportionate, effective, efficient and timely contact tracing is during this pandemic. Digital technologies can enhance the capacity of contact tracing systems to perform in this way, aiding efforts to achieve and maintain epidemic control.” Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Consultant Physician, Professor of Medical Device Technology and Director of the HIVE lab at NUI Galway, says: “This research highlights the importance of learning from critical events and then creating the necessary technological tools and political and legal frameworks, so that when it occurs again, we are ready to respond quickly.” The work also highlights the importance of realising the limitations of using digital contact tracing solutions in populations who are not able to access such technology (such as the digital divide ) and also in non-native language speakers (such as migrant communities). The NUI Galway authors also discuss the apparent idiosyncrasy that many people freely share significant amounts of personal data with large multinational corporations for no health benefit and yet had significant ideological issues in sharing similar data with governments during an emergency health scenario. As the first epidemic wave came to an end and the imminent threat of further loss of life eased, geolocation-based digital contact-tracing systems and their interference with personal privacy and data protection rights became less palatable. They became the subject of intense scrutiny in countries that used them, including South Korea and also Norway and Israel. In a pandemic that had the potential to last several years, many Western countries recognised the need for trustworthy, transparent, privacy-preserving digital contact-tracing technologies that were acceptable to Western populations. Following the example of Singapore’s Bluetooth Low Energy digital contact-tracing app TraceTogether, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, among others, set out to develop their own systems, which had varying uptake by target populations. Western countries tended to favor a decentralised, privacy-preserving protocol for contact tracing — meaning that rather than being sent to central government servers, the data collected stayed on the user’s device, are encrypted, and are automatically deleted after 14 days. By the end of 2020, there were at least 65 Bluetooth Low Energy–enabled digital contact-tracing systems worldwide, including 26 in the United States. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of Medicine, College of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway, says “I am delighted to see this perspective by Professor O'Keeffe and James O'Connell published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Professor O'Keeffe's research and education activities reflect the convergence of Engineering and Medicine which is a priority at NUI Galway.  Professor O'Keeffe has used his training as an engineer and a physician to develop innovative approaches to dealing with the covid pandemic and we look forward to the launch of the new combined undergraduate degree in Medicine and Engineering to graduate the "physicianeers" of the future.” To read the full study entitled 'Contact Tracing for Covid-19 — A Digital Inoculation against Future Pandemics' in the New England Journal of Medicine, visit: https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMp2102256.  -Ends-