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Tuesday, 13 May 2014
For the second year running, Professor David Finn of NUI Galway has been awarded the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland’s Doctor Award for best paper published in an indexed journal in 2013 in the Pain/Anaesthesia category. The first author of the winning paper was Dr Kieran Rea, a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Finn’s laboratory. Professor Finn, Lecturer in Pharmacology, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research and Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, received the award at a ceremony held in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. The winning paper confirmed the key role of a brain region called the basolateral amygdala in the suppression of pain behaviour by fear (so-called fear-induced analgesia). Fear-induced analgesia was associated with increases in levels of marijuana-like substances known as endocannabinoids in this part of the brain. Furthermore, fear-induced analgesia was prevented by injecting a drug that blocked the receptor at which these endocannabinoids act into the basolateral amygdala. The paper also showed that the mechanism was likely to involve interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter systems in this brain region. An increased understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in fear-induced analgesia is important from a fundamental physiological perspective and may also advance the search for new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of pain. Professor David Finn, senior author on the paper, said: “We are very pleased that our work has been recognised for a second time with this prestigious award. This research which was funded by grants from Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, advances our fundamental understanding of the neurobiology of pain and may facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and anxiety disorders.” The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland’s Doctor Awards are presented each year to Irish or Irish-based researchers who are judged to have published the best research papers in international, peer-reviewed journals. -Ends-
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
First lecture to focus on suicide prevention NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery will commence a new and innovative community outreach initiative this semester, focusing on sharing knowledge and expertise on health topics that are of interest to local communities. The first knowledge exchange event which will focus on ‘Suicide Prevention’ will take place on Tuesday, 27 May at 7pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Áras Moyola. Research studies, including those conducted by the School of Nursing and Midwifery have found that giving people the knowledge, information and support they need is key to enabling them to better manage their own health or the health of those that they care for. NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, through outreach knowledge exchange sessions, aims to provide communities with health information in an interactive and easily accessible format on topics of relevance to the community. It is hoped that this will address the difficulty people have in knowing where to go to find or interpret the information they need. Adeline Cooney, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, commented, “It is never easy to make life style changes or live with a chronic illness, we aim to provide the public with information and skills on health topics of relevance to them with a focus on helping people to get healthy and to stay healthy. These sessions will be interactive, allowing full community engagement and we look forward to active and lively discussions.” Preliminary work conducted with community members indicate that communities would value information and knowledge concerning such topics as; How much exercise do you need to stay healthy and what type of exercise is best? How to maintain good mental health and to recognise mental health issues in others? How do I stay healthy during pregnancy? What is dementia? How best to care for someone with dementia? This is an initial list of topics and the School of Nursing and Midwifery invites the public to make suggestions for other health topics to be covered. To suggest any future health topics to be covered during the lecture series please contact John Quinlivan at email@example.com or Mary Gannon at firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be two further events over the coming year and these will focus on: Keeping healthy in pregnancy: 7pm, Tuesday, 30 September 2014. Getting fit: 7pm, Tuesday, 27 January 2015. All events are open to the public. -Ends-
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
New global university ranking, funded by the EU, also scores NUI Galway highly on graduate employability, innovation and commercialisation, international academic staff, doctorate degrees and joint publications NUI Galway has been given the highest ranking in a number of areas in U-Multirank, a new EU Commission-led initiative to measure excellence in higher education and research institutions worldwide. The indicators, published today across Europe show that NUI Galway ranked highest in nearly half of the metrics included in this, the first year of published data. NUI Galway was awarded the top ranking for both Arts Graduates working in the region and Masters of Arts graduates working in the region. Student internships in the region also scored highly. NUI Galway's focus on internationalisation was also recognised as the University was rated highly for the mobility of its students. As one of Ireland's leading universities for technology transfer, NUI Galway scored top marks for innovation and bringing new products to market; patents awarded and patents filed. The University's track record in creating a sustainable funding base for research and development was also commended with a top ranking for sourcing external research income and sourcing income from private sources for research. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, welcomed today’s results saying "I welcome the EU’s effort to create a more transparent system of recognising excellence in the university sector. I’m particularly pleased to note the strong performance in securing regional employment for our humanities graduates and internships for current students, confirming NUI Galway’s role as a vital economic driver of employment, learning and research." U-Multirank is a new global university ranking funded by the European Commission and takes a different approach to existing global rankings of universities; it is multi-dimensional and compares university performance across a range of different activities grading them from “A” (very good) to “E” (weak). It does not produce a league table of the world’s “top” 100 universities based on composite scores. Instead, it allows users to identify a university’s strengths and weaknesses, or the aspects that most interest them. “We are delighted to have been able to design and implement this new user-driven and multi-dimensional ranking that goes beyond simplistic league tables and that addresses many of the criticisms of existing global university rankings,” said Professor Dr Frans van Vught, from the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, one of the lead partners of the consortium. The fields of study selected for assessment in 2014 were Business, Physics and Mechanical Engineering. The ranking system currently includes over 850 universities from 70 countries around the world; 62% in Europe, 17% in North America, 14% in Asia and 7% from Oceania, Latin America and Africa. Further information on U-Multirank is available at www.umultirank.org -ends-
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
2014 marks 150th anniversary of the naming by William King, Professor of Geology at the then Queen's College Galway. He remains the first scientist ever to name a new species of human. President Michael D. Higgins will attend a special international symposium to mark the 150th anniversary of the coining of the term of Homo neanderthalensis by William King, Professor of Geology at Queen's College Galway in the 19th century. This proposal by King represents one of the first steps towards our understanding today of human evolution. The NUI Galway symposium is dedicated to the life and times of William King and the distant prehistoric people to whom he gave a name. The meeting will welcome the world's leading authorities in the field of human evolution, a gathering never before seen in Ireland, to celebrate this remarkable achievement. At the heart of it all the organising committee hope the symposium will be a fitting tribute to a pioneer in the field of human evolution, who worked at a time when this field was still very much in its infancy, but who has never really received the scientific recognition he deserves. Dr John Murray, one of the symposium organisers, said "this event will celebrate where we have come from as human beings. Professor King’s work represents a scientific milestone in the history of our understanding of human origins. The term ‘Neanderthal’ is globally recognised and understood, but had King not coined this phrase during his time in Queen’s College Galway, they would most likely be known by a completely different name today.” William King’s proposal in 1864 was to formally designate Neanderthal people as a separate species from ourselves (Homo neanderthalensis). His suggestion was both extraordinary and revolutionary for its time - Charles Darwin’s masterpiece ‘Origin of Species’ had been published just five years beforehand. William King remains the first to name a new fossil human species; a privilege afforded to very few scientists. Professor Svante Pääbo, Director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig and the first person to sequence the DNA of Neanderthal people, will deliver the main keynote address of the symposium. President Higgins along with members of the King family, will attend this free public talk, which is specifically aimed at a general audience. It will take place at 5.30pm on Saturday 24th May in O'Flaherty Theatre in NUI Galway and those interested in attending are asked to register at http://bit.ly/Neanderthal150 General information regarding the full weekend symposium, entitled ‘From Fossils to the Genome’, is available at www.neanderthal150.org. The meeting has been made possible with the assistance of: The Quaternary Research Association, The Irish Research Council, Roche, NUI Galway, Galway City Council, Bord Fáilte, The Geological Survey of Ireland, The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, The Institute of Geologists of Ireland, Beta Analytic Limited, Connemara Marble Industries Limited and the Burren Geopark. -ends-
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Insight’s Digital Humanities and Journalism Group Compete with Sky News, the Financial Times, Storyful and the BBC to win ‘Connecting the News’ category prize at BBC #newsHACK II Insight’s Digital Humanities and Journalism group at NUI Galway were the winners of the Connecting the News category prize at the BBC #newsHACK in Dublin on 1 and 2 May. The team developed ‘Hash2News’, a Chrome Extension, which enables users to find the news stories behind Twitter hashtags at the click of a button. The group competed alongside teams from other academic institutes as well as news organisations such as Sky News, the Financial Times, Storyful and the BBC. The #newsHACK is an initiative of the BBC NewsLabs, an innovation programme for the whole of BBC News, and organised by BBC Connected Studio and the Global Editors Network (sponsored by Google), and aims to foster digital innovation in news. The 2014 theme was ‘The Future of News Curation’ and was held in Dublin and Glasgow earlier this month. Inspired by the belief that a hack should identify and solve a particular problem, the Digital Humanities and Journalism (HuJo) group at Insight decided to use their expertise with handling Twitter streams and entity extraction to find the news articles most relevant for any given hashtag. They plan to finalise their ‘Hash2News’ extension and make it freely available online in the near future. Social media, especially Twitter, presents a large stream of discussion to users, often informed by external news events. The result is that users often feel like they are ‘out of the loop’, and want to find out what is behind ongoing social media discussions. By providing a direct link from Twitter content to relevant news articles, HuJo’s Chrome Extension enables Twitter users to find ‘the news behind the noise’, the news articles relevant to social media conversations. Dr. Bahareh R. Heravi, Insight’s HuJo Group Leader said, “We are very happy to have been selected as a winning team at the BBC #newsHACK. The team had to compete with large and prestigious news organisations, and come up with a unique and useful product within a day and a half. This required a high degree of intellectual work, as well as great team work. Being a winning team among such strong groups of participants was a great accomplishment, particularly for a young research team such as HuJo.” The judges saw the utility of ‘Hash2News’ and awarded the group the prize for Connecting the News, which requires the team to “pique audience interests, to tap into social media habits, and support consumption across devices.” Other category winners were BBC Location Service (Explaining the News), The Independent (Tools for Journalists), Sky News (Theming the News), University of the West of Scotland (NewsCrack award) and BBC archives (Visually Inspired). The Best in Show winners were The Financial Times (Glasgow) and The Times/Sunday Times (Dublin). Hash2News team members were Ravindra Harige, Dara McHugh, Prashant Khare, Pablo Torres, and team leader, Dr. Bahareh Heravi. The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is a joint initiative between researchers at NUI Galway, UCD, UCC, DCU, and other partner institutions. It will bring together a critical mass of more than 200 researchers from Ireland's leading Information Communications and Technology (ICT) centres to develop a new generation of data analytics technologies in a number of key application areas. For further information on HuJo-Insight’s work at the BBC #newsHACK II visit http://hujo.deri.ie/hujo-newshack-ii/ -Ends-
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
The HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway (CRFG) is holding a public information evening on Tuesday, 20 May from 5-7pm in the Clinical Sciences Institute, NUI Galway (on the grounds of Galway University Hospital). The information evening will highlight how ongoing clinical research studies may lead to significant medical breakthroughs and the development of new treatments. It is also an opportunity to find out more about current research projects and to meet current CRFG staff. Professor Martin O’Donnell, Acting Director, HRB CRFG, said: “Clinical research involves a collaboration between clinicians, patients, volunteers and research staff. Therefore, public engagement is an essential part of clinical research. Over the past six years, the HRB CRFG has developed a strong clinical research group, conducting studies across a wide spectrum of medical conditions. We strive to conduct cutting-edge research, which adheres to the highest standards.” The HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway is a joint venture between NUI Galway, Galway University Hospitals and West Northwest Hospital Group, and has been in operation since March 2008. The Facility provides the infrastructure, physical space, facilities, expertise and culture needed to optimally support patient-focused research studies and clinical studies aimed at understanding a range of diseases and translating the knowledge obtained through this research work into evaluating novel therapies for various clinical conditions. Over the past six years, clinical research outputs from the HRB CRFG have made important contributions to clinical medicine, in both prevention and treatment of common disease. Work has begun on the new Clinical Research Facility and Translational Research Facility (CRF-TRF) building located on the grounds of Galway University Hospital. The building is due to be completed in January 2015. The CRF-TRF will facilitate cutting-edge medical research. This facility will form part of the Irish Network of Clinical Research Facilities which will conduct state of the art clinical research in a variety of clinical areas, such as Cardiology, Cancer, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, etc. So, what is a Clinical Trial? A Clinical Trial is a research study to answer specific questions about a new medical treatment (medicine/drug, medical device, new therapies, vaccines), or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical Trials (also called medical research and research studies) are used to determine whether such new treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted Clinical Trials are the fastest and safest way to find new and effective treatments that work in people. The CRFG Information Evening is free to attend, however advance registration is requested by emailing email@example.com . -Ends-
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
All past and present NUI Galway Students' Union officers, staff, journalists, colleagues and friends are invited to join with us to celebrate as NUI Galway Students’ Union turns 50. The reunion is taking place in the College Bar, NUI Galway from 7pm onwards on Saturday 7th June 2014. Former Students’ Union Presidents include President Michael D Higgins, Pat Rabbitte and Eamon Gilmore. Tickets are €15 which includes BBQ, dessert, refreshments, entertainment and lots of surprises along the way. If you have any queries about the event or would be interested in contributing to our special 50th anniversary publication for the event - with photos or words - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 091 493704 ASAP! -Ends-
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
REDDSTAR Co-ordinator and Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway, Tim O’Brien, and Orbsen Therapeutics’ Head of Research, Dr Steve Elliman took part in an interactive workshop during the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) 20th Anniversary meeting. The workshop showcased ‘EU-funded projects on Cellular Therapies’ and was held in Paris recently. REDDSTAR (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration) is an EU funded project which will develop and test stromal cell therapy to treat for diabetes mellitus. The objective is to control blood glucose while also addressing a range of diabetic complications. Steve Elliman added, “The 20th ISCT Meeting in Paris featured some outstanding updates in the translational development of cell therapies. I personally enjoyed the Plenary Session of the development of cell therapies for leukaemias and inherited immunodeficiences, which included an inspirational discussion of the challenges and successes of gene-modified cell therapies by Professor Adrian Thrasher from Great Ormond Street Hospital in the London and Professor Bruce Levine from University of Pennsylvania. In addition, there was a well-attended and detailed discussion of the development of clinical MSCs for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), which was very informative for groups entering the clinical phase of cell therapy testing.” In response to the EU-funded projects’ workshop and REDDSTAR’s involvement, Massimo Dominici, MD, President of the International Society for Cellular Therapy 2014-16 remarked, “The presence of highly valuable speakers representing EU funded research projects represented true added value within our 20th Anniversary Meeting. The feeling I have is that cell therapy in Europe has grown incredibly and, certainly, the EU FP7 granting has provided the proper boost in translating basic concepts into clinical realities for still as yet untreatable diseases. As a global society, ISCT looks forward to showcasing again these EU-based achievements in our future events worldwide.” The REDDSTAR-sponsored session (Workshop 5) was chaired by Dr Mark Lowdell of the Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, UK and Dr David Gancberg from Directorate Health, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission. In addition to Professor O’ Brien and Dr Elliman, the workshop also featured Prof. Anne Dickinson, MD, of Newcastle University, UK, a project leader in Celleurope and Dr Pierre Layrolle, Co-ordinator of Reborne based at INSERM in Toulouse. -Ends-
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics still has a few spaces available on their one-day Engineering Summer School. The summer school is specially designed to give prospective students a real taste of university life through a wide range of hands-on practical activities and students interested in attending have a choice of two different days to participate, Thursday, 19 June, or Friday, 20 June. The summer school, which will take place in the new state-of-the-art Engineering Building on campus, is a free event which provides second-level students the opportunity to learn more about the various fields of engineering which can be studied in NUI Galway. “We have seen a huge interest once again this year amongst both senior and junior cycle second-level students in our Engineering Summer School, but we have a few remaining spaces which students can apply for”, according to Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway. “The places in the free summer school are competitively awarded so we would invite any students who would be interested in learning more about Electronic, Mechanical, Civil, Biomedical or Energy Systems Engineering to apply for these last few places.” Interested students find out more information at http://www.nuigalway.ie/summer-schools/ and can apply by email to email@example.com before Friday, 6 June. -Ends-
Monday, 12 May 2014
The third ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’, organised by The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, is offering free lunchtime screenings of international films and documentaries celebrating ageing across the life-course from 19-23May as part of the Bealtaine Festival. The lunchtime screenings are open to the public and will begin each day at 1pm, apart from Tuesday, 20 May which will take place at 2pm, in IT125G, IT Building, NUI Galway. Each film will be followed by a short audience discussion and refreshments. Film themes include retirement, adventure in later years, attachment to home-place, technology, carers, and reminiscence. A short, informal audience discussion follows each film. Additional attractions include a pre-screening reading of a short story about ageing by Galway writer, Moya Roddy, on Monday 19 at 1 pm. Galway tour-guide, Brendan Hynes will take audience members for a Corrib riverside walk and talk on Friday 23, post-screening. Preceding Tuesday’s films is the launch of the Galway Age Friendly Alliance Strategy. The Galway Age Friendly City and County Alliance is a partnership of key local groups that is committed to making the City and County better places in which to grow older. The new Strategy will be launched at 12.30pm on Tuesday, 20May by sports commentator and raconteur Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh in IT125. Programme: Monday - Short film: ‘Analogue People in a Digital Age’ by Keith Walsh [13 mins]. An Irish bar discussion on coping with technology. Main film: ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ (2011), starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith [124 mins]. The exotic lives of India’s hotel for the well-heeled British retirees are portrayed in rich performances by an all-star cast. Tuesday - Short film: ‘4 Bhanrion’ ( as Gaeilge with sub-titles) by Vittoria Colinna, starring Geraldine Plunkett [15 mins]. A deadly game of poker dictates which sister will mind mammy in her dotage. Main film: ‘Song for Marion’ (2012), starring Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave [93 mins]. Singing in her community choir, whilst dying of cancer is a life-changing experience for all, especially for Marion’s husband Terence Stamp. Wednesday – Short film: ‘Blue Rinse’ by Matt Leigh [11 mins]. Life inside a Dublin hairdressing salon for older women. Main film: ‘The Trip to Bountiful’ (1985), starring Geraldine Page, Rebecca de Mornay [107 mins]. Based on Oscar-nominated screenplay, Geraldine Page won an Academy award for best actress for her performance. A longing to see her home-place before she died leads Page to recount the story of her life in this poignant tale. Thursday - Short film: ‘Forty Foot’ by Paul McGrath and Leticia Agudo [9 mins]. Stories from the swimmers who use Dublin’s famous 40-foot sea spot. Main film: ‘Harry and Tonto’ (1974), starring Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, Larry Hagman [111 mins]. Evicted from his home, Art Carney embarks on a road trip across America with his cat ‘Tonto’. Friday - Short film: ‘Foxes and Donkeys’ (2013) by Eileen Gibbons [13 mins]. Stories by residents of St Brendan’s Nursing Home, Loughrea. Main film: ‘My Afternoons with Margueritte’ (2010, French with English sub-titles), starring Gerard Dépardieu [82 mins]. The highly watchable Dépardieu’s performance as an illiterate and lonely man befriending an older and well-read woman makes this a gentle gem. The screening venue has all facilities available to hand; including cafés, restrooms, and a lift is available to the lecture theatre for easy access. The lecture theatre is wheelchair friendly. Films are courtesy of Screenclick; Bord Scannán na hEireann/The Irish Film Board; film collector Liam Bluett, and Directors. Reel Lives Film Festival poster designed by artist Marina Wild, NUI Galway. Soft drinks and confectionary are courtesy of the Students’ Union Shop NUI Galway. Spot prizes are sponsored by NUI Galway’s Kingfisher Sports Centre, and Masterchefs Hospitality NUI Galway. Further information contact event organiser, Alison Herbert at 091 495461 or 087 2830757, www.icsg.ie. -Ends-
Monday, 19 May 2014
A new guidebook has been published by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences to help people explore the natural history of the Galway area. The booklet was produced as part of NUI Galway’s EXPLORE initiative that promotes and sponsors innovation through student and staff collaboration. Entitled Self Guided Fieldtrip – Galway Area, the booklet was compiled by Alina Wieczorek, a third year undergraduate student with the School of Natural Sciences, and Professor Martin Feely, Earth and Ocean Science at NUI Galway. The tour includes a visit to the James Mitchell Museum, in NUI Galway’s Quadrangle Building, to introduce the rocks, minerals and fossils of the Galway area and from around the globe. The guide highlights the natural history of the coastal zone stretching from Galway city westwards to Salthill and beyond. The reader can explore that history using the map and the many field illustrations of bedrock geology, as well as the flora and fauna that live on the bedrock; highlighting the many links between the Natural Sciences of Geology, Botany and Zoology. Those who use the guide are encouraged to share and discuss their discoveries through the webpage, www.exploregalway.npage.eu. A downloadable version of the guide is also available on this webpage. A hard copy is available from NUI Galway’s James Mitchell Museum in the Quadrangle Building, or the Zoology Museum in NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute, or the Earth and Ocean Sciences office on the second floor of NUI Galway’s Quadrangle. The museums are open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. -Ends-
Monday, 19 May 2014
The study’s findings, led by NUI Galway Professor Gary Donohoe, have been published in the leading international peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry A new study has revealed that genetic variants associated with risk for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are also associated with performance on measures of IQ, memory and social cognition. The discovery was made by NUI Galway Professor of Psychology Gary Donohue, in association with colleagues from Trinity College, Dublin and has just been published in leading journal, JAMA psychiatry. Professor Gary Donohoe said: “These findings support the view that the genetics of schizophrenia and cognition overlap. The findings also raise the possibility that the risk of developing schizophrenia may be identified by changes in cognitive ability; tell-tale signs found in IQ, memory or social intelligence tests. These cognitive deficits often appear before the emergence of clinical symptoms and go on to predict individual levels of disability. Understanding how genetic variants contribute to this aspect of disability, both individually and interaction, is an important step towards understanding the underlying biology and developing better and more personalized treatments.” Schizophrenia or bipolar disorder affects about one in 50 Irish adults. Treatments are available, but the successful treatment rates vary. It is as yet unknown what causes or triggers schizophrenia. Disability in these disorders is significantly affected by difficulties with a wide range of neuropsychological problems, including general cognitive ability, memory function, and cognitive abilities relevant to engaging and dealing with others. Dr. April Hargreaves and Dr. Kristen Nicodemus were joint first authors on the paper. The study also included contributions from a broad network of collaborators in Europe and the US. Co-first author Dr. Hargreaves said ‘what is perhaps most novel about the study is the move from focusing on single genetic variants to considering the effects of multiple, related risk variants at the same time. The fact that we were able to account for a greater proportion of the variance in cognitive performance by looking at multiple variants, suggests that this approach represents an important next step in modeling the genetic complexity of cognition and identifying risk factors for psychosis’. The study, which was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board, assessed performance on a number of cognitive functions known to be affected in psychosis. A total of 424 patients participated in the study, including 340 with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and 83 with bipolar or major depressive disorder with psychotic features. Patients were given individual scores based on their loading for genetic variants interacting with ZNF804A, the first genome wide significant variant to be identified for schizophrenia. Across patient groups, higher scores on this ZNF804A interaction pathway were associated with poorer performance on multiple cognitive measures, including both general cognitive ability and a measure social cognition, often popularly referred to as social intelligence. -ends-
Monday, 19 May 2014
Week designed to educate the public about medical devices in creative ways The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway will be celebrating Medical Device Week from 3-6 June. The Week is designed to educate the public about medical device research in unique ways, with each day assigned a different theme for various topics. The week kicks off on Tuesday with the theme of ‘New Foundations’ which involves a seminar series entitled ‘Engineering the Nanobiointerface’ at the new Biosciences Building. Invited speakers include: Professor Joachim Spatz from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany; Professor Laura Ballerini from the University of Trieste, Italy; and Dr Matteo Palma from Queen Mary University of London, UK. Tuesday’s activities will end with a wine reception to celebrate “Chimera: Art of Exploration”, an exhibition which will be open to the public from 12-4pm, Wednesday to Friday. The exhibition is of art work by professional artists Paul Maye, Siobhan McGibbon, and Marie Connole. Additionally, the exhibition will present works by students of the Centre for Creative Arts and Media, GMIT, who are participating in a short research project to create works in response to what they have seen and experienced in the NFB research laboratories. Medical devices from local companies including Boston Scientific, Vornia, Aerogen, and Osteoanchor will be displayed as well as artwork from staff in the Biosciences building inspired by their research. The week continues on Wednesday with”Reaching Out” entailing a public lecture at 1:00 at the Galway City Museum. During this lecture NFB PhD students will give an informal talk about the future of medical devices with regard to hernias, cardiovascular problems, orthopedics, and Parkinson's disease. Also on Wednesday, NFB researchers will visit local primary schools to present to children concepts of the anatomy, physiology, and disease of the heart through a series of hands-on activities. A link to the outreach activity can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrv_wx27qwQ Thursday is “Translation” involving a seminar series, ‘Medical Devices and Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products – Challenges and Opportunities in the Post Recession Era’, at the Biosciences Building. Invited speakers from the medical device industry will be presenting from companies such as Covidien, DSM, and Orbsen Therapeutics. The week concludes Friday with “Meet the Curator” encompassing guided tours of the Chimera art exhibition. For further details and a full programme please go to www.nfb.ie or call 091 495833. -Ends-
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
NUI Galway’s Alumni Association will hold its annual golf outing in Galway Golf Club, Salthill on Friday, 6 June. According to NUI Galway Alumni Board Chairman, Sean O’Rourke, “this is a great opportunity for alumni and friends to get together for an afternoon of friendly competition. It also affords graduates the potential to reminisce on their time spent at NUI Galway, hear about developments on campus and catch up with former classmates and friends old and new.” The entry fee of €30 includes green fees and prizes and is open to all graduates and friends of NUI Galway. Bookings can be made singly, in doubles, threesomes or foursomes. For further details and booking information, contact Alumni Office on 091 493750 or book online at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni. -Ends-
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
The results of the first ever All-Ireland apps competition were announced this week. The initiative, Apps4Gaps, was launched by the Minister of State Brian Hayes T.D. in October 2013. The aim of the competition was to develop ideas and create applications (apps) that would provide innovative and fresh ways of exploiting the Open Data available from the 2011 Census, and which could benefit society in such areas as transport, housing, planning, education, communications and health. The judges, drawn from the public, business and education sectors, included Soheila Dehghanzadeh of Insight at NUI Galway, Michael Meagher of Microsoft, Shawn Day of Digital Humanities at University College Cork, Enzo Lieghio of Hewlett Packard, and Kevin Healy and Fiona O'Callaghan, both of the Central Statistics Office. The results of the final judges’ deliberations for the four were: Best Working App (Student) with a prize fund of €1,500 and judged overall winner of the Alice Perry medal was “Some1LikeMe”, created by Jack O’Sullivan and Peter Roe from Kilkenny College in Castlecomer. Best Concept entry (Student) was “The Relocator” from Conor Mulcahy, Eoin Hayes and Robert Fitzgerald of Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom, Co. Limerick Best Working App (Open) was the “Census Explorer” created by Gavin McCardle, Thomas Holz and Jennifer Treanor from Dublin. Best Concept entry (Open) was the “Attack of the Nearly Dead” from Barry and Katie Kennedy of CoderDojo Limerick. Apps4Gaps is co-organised by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, with sponsorship from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Partners for Apps4Gaps included the Department of Education and Skills, as well as the Department of Education Northern Ireland. The Apps4Gaps prizes will be presented during Maths Week in October 2014. -Ends-
Thursday, 22 May 2014
NUI Galway has won more BICS national society awards than any other college in Ireland Galway’s President, Dr Jim Brown recently hosted an event for the Societies to congratulate them on their successes this year. Present at the ceremony were the societies who won University Awards and those who represented NUI Galway at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards in Belfast. The two societies who won at the BICS, Astronomy Society won the Best New Society Award and the Rovers Society who won in the Best Photo category, were presented with their national trophies by Dr Browne. Since BICS inauguration in 1999 NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 35 trophies, with the next competitor standing at 24. Also receiving awards from Dr Browne were representatives from the Drama Society who won two awards at the national Drama Awards ISDA. Joe Power from County Down won best supporting actor for his role in Calisto 5, which also won the Award for Best Sound. The production was directed by Emily Murray from Cork. NUI Galway’s Choral Society gave a special performance at the ceremony, celebrating their success at Galway Choir Factor which they won recently. In his remarks Dr Browne congratulated the societies on their contribution to campus life and the over 900 students on committees who work tirelessly to enhance the learning opportunities for the students on the campus. Riona Hughes, Societies Officer said: “I would like to thank the University for its commitment to the students and the cultural life of the University by its support of the societies with exceptional facilities and resources.” -Ends-
Monday, 26 May 2014
NUI Galway will host the Child to Parent Violence: Innovations in Practice, Policy and Research conference, bringing together a variety of national and international speakers. The conference, which will take place from12-13 June, aims to raise awareness and to share information about best practice when it comes to responding to the problem of child to parent violence. Parents living with child to parent violence (where a son or daughter under the age of 18 years uses violence and controlling behaviour towards parents) often feel alone, frightened, ashamed and do not know where to turn for help. Practitioners, researchers and policy makers are often uncertain about how best to respond to the emerging problem of child to parent violence. The conference is part of the EU funded DAPHNE programme across five countries called the Responding to Child to Parent Violence (RCPV) project. The RCPV project team consists of a team of international academics and practitioners led by Dr Paula Wilcox at the University of Brighton. The RCPV aims to reflect a wide range of expertise on intervening with child to parent violence, (CPV) as well as geographical and cultural diversity across Europe. Dr Paula Wilcox will be one of the keynote speakers at the conference, which will also include: Peter Jakob, Partnership Projects, UK; Eddie Gallagher, Who’s in Charge, Australia; Michelle Pooley, Brighton and Hove City Council; Rita O’ Reilly, Parentline; Dr John Sharry, Parents Plus; and Norah Gibbons, Chairperson of Tusla – the Child and Family Agency. The conference is booked out with 200 practitioners, academics and policy makers scheduled to attend. Declan Coogan, lecturer in social work in the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway is the RCPV Project Leader for Ireland. Waterside House COPE Galway, the Domestic Violence Refuge and Centre in Galway, is also part of the project as a local community partner. Mr Coogan said, “More and more parents are talking about child to parent violence which has been a hidden but growing social problem in Ireland and across Europe. Practitioners working with families in Ireland are increasingly hearing parents describing their experiences of child to parent violence. The conference will assist Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Juvenile Justice Practitioners and others working with children and families across a range of services increase their awareness and skills development when faced with child to parent violence. The conference is also aimed at academics, researchers and policy makers as we try to better understand and respond to this problem throughout Europe.” One of the responses to CPV in Ireland is the Non Violent Resistance programme adapted for use in Ireland by Declan Coogan. This intervention is being used by a number of agencies in one to one and group settings with two day training in the programme being rolled out since last year. The Non Violent Resistance Handbook for Practitioners will also be launched at the end of the conference. With financial support from the DAPHNE programme of the European Union. -Ends-
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Kevin McGlinchey, a final year student in the Electronic & Computer Engineering degree programme at NUI Galway, has been awarded the Avaya Prize for the Best Final Year Project in Electrical & Electronic Engineering in the College of Engineering at NUI Galway. Originally from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Kevin's project was in the area of collaborative robotics and involved developing a system which allowed a miniature quadcopter equipped with a camera to fly autonomously, while also guiding a ground based robot vehicle to a destination location using information extracted from the camera’s video feed. Liam Kilmartin, the lecturer in NUI Galway who supervised Kevin’s project, said: “Kevin completed a very impressive project which required him to build some quite complex electronic systems for the quadcopter and ground robot. In addition, Kevin also developed some extremely advanced and sophisticated software which allowed the quadcopter to interpret the video coming from its camera in order to identify the location of a ground robot and guide that vehicle to its destination without any human help. This type of technology has potentially numerous commercial applications into the future ranging from self navigating aerial and ground vehicles to autonomous search and rescue systems.” Dr Michael Keane, Senior Manager with Avaya in Galway added: “As part of our ongoing commitment to encouraging and supporting students in the Electrical & Electronic Engineering discipline in NUI Galway, we were delighted to extend our sponsorship of this prize into its 13th year. Avaya, who employ 400 people in Galway with 200 in high technology R&D positions, are dedicated to encouraging high quality students such as Kevin into degree programmes in the areas of computer engineering and ICT in order to fill the many open graduate positions in Irish based companies like ourselves.” -Ends-
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Three NUI Galway Biofuel researchers have collaborated on a remarkable output of 6 leading text books on biofuel, enzyme and fungal technologies in a little over one year. Dr Maria G Tuohy, Dr Vijai K Gupta and Dr Anthonia O’Donovan of NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences and Ireland’s national Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy (TCBB) have authored and co-edited the texts and presented them to NUI Galway’s Hardiman Library. Registrar and Deputy-President of NUI Galway, Prof Pól Ó Dochartaigh, accepted the textbooks on behalf of NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library and commended Dr Tuohy, Dr Gupta and Dr O’Donovan on their work in the areas of biofuels, enzyme and fungal technologies. Biochemist Dr Maria Tuohy outlined the environmental and industrial benefits of the research carried out by her team. “In practical terms, from the kind of fungi that are found on mouldy bread we have developed enzyme technologies that speed up the process of producing biogas fuel. In fact, brown-bin type wastes in themselves, such as kitchen waste and vegetable peelings can be a very valuable source of biofuel production rather than it going to landfill.” These enzyme technologies can pre-treat and break down more quickly a number of organic wastes ranging from brown-bin waste to dairy and farm wastes. This speeds up the process of biomethane production for transport. Such developments offer significant potential for biofuels, given EU and global emission and renewable energy targets. Dr Tuohy paid tribute to her colleagues Dr Gupta, Dr O’Donovan, the Molecular Glycobiotechnology Group team, Dr Michael Carty (Head of Biochemistry), Prof Vincent O’Flaherty (Head of School) and colleagues from the School of Natural Sciences and the National Technology Centre for Biorefining & Bioenergy. (TCBB) Enterprise Ireland and other funding agencies supported the research group’s work. As authors and editors, the team thanked international colleagues and co-editors and their publishers, Springer, Springer Science + Business Media, Springer-Verlag, Elsevier, CRC Press, and Nova Science Publishers Inc. One of the textbooks, Biofuel Technologies: Recent Developments (2013) edited by Dr Tuohy and Dr Gupta will soon be published in Chinese. Springer, the publisher of two of the texts has approached Dr Tuohy and Dr Gupta to edit a series of books in both areas over the coming years. -Ends-
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
The 12th Galway Symposium on Higher Education will take place at NUI Galway on Friday, 6 June in Áras Moyola. Presentations, demonstrations, exhibits and discussions will focus on the key role that fieldwork, laboratory experiments, projects and other forms of active engagement have in enhancing the student learning experience. Participants will have an excellent opportunity to discover the many forms of learning across all the subject areas of a university today. The symposium will also show how it is possible to strengthen the links between undergraduate teaching & learning and the research interests of academic staff. These forms of learning allow students to actively contribute to scholarship immerse themselves in professional practices and ethos of their chosen area. Examples include field trips to post-conflict cities exploring politics and identity in situ rather than just learning from texts; students mapping the geology, flora and fauna of parts of Ireland and beyond; of archaeological digs; going to sea on ocean-going research vessels; living and studying abroad to develop language and cultural knowledge & skills; working in science communication with children and the public; performance and drama; renewal of laboratory teaching to focus on projects and challenges. The event will be opened by a keynote presentation from Dr Helen Walkington, previous head of Geography, Earth & Environmental Studies at the UK's Higher Education Academy, on how students can participate in, and learn from, research. Then, academics from across the disciplines will share some of their passion and enthusiasm for working with students in these deeper, more immersive modes of learning. The afternoon session will consist of a series of workshops and open forum sessions, along with some practical demonstrations and exhibits. The event will close with a 'mystery tour' of interesting, and perhaps, little known locations around the NUI Galway campus. Dr Iain Mac Labhrainn, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, said “This will be a wonderful opportunity for all of us to discover just how much fascinating work is taking place in many academic disciplines and how enthusiastic commitment to research areas can spill over into teaching and the student experience. In a sense, the participants will be taking a 'field trip' through a university that is committed to teaching, research and public engagement. I'm sure that not only will it be enlightening but also fun.” Registration is required, but is free of charge. http://celt14.splashthat.com/ -Ends-
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
As part of Medical Device Week, which will run from 3-6 June, NUI Galway will host Chimera, Art of Exploration exhibition. Chimera, Art of Exploration is a curated group exhibition in which artists works exploring notions of biosciences are exhibited alongside industrial medical devices, and will bring professional artists, student artists, the medical device industry, biomedical science and engineering researchers together. Chimera, Art of Exploration will open on Tuesday, 3 June at 5pm and will run daily from 12pm to 4pm in the Biosciences Building on campus. Siobhan McGibbon is an Irish artist based in Roscommon, she graduated from sculpture in Galway Mayo Institute Technology in Galway in 2009 and was awarded sculpture student of the year. In 2014 she was awarded a scholarship from the Limerick City of Culture to undertake a research led practice based masters in LCAD, Limerick, entitled ‘The modern prometheus, otherness and the body’. Her practice is predominantly sculpture based with a distinct medical slant. In 2014 McGibbon will embark on a self-directed residency in the University Collage Hospital Galway within the histology, radiology, pathology and oncology laboratory’s. McGibbon has been awarded a fellowship to study in the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians, Philadelphia which will take place in the Autumn of 2014. Marie Connole is an Irish visual artist and teacher based in Co. Clare. Her studio practice combines drawing, painting, installation and animation. She works through highly personal thematic content involving the subconscious, the body and the domestic environment. In 2005 she was awarded a two-year bursary from the Clare Arts Office to undertake a research based Masters in Fine Art from NUI Galway and Burren College of Art. Connole is a tutor with Limerick and Clare Education Training Board and an art teacher at second-level. Her work is supported by Clare Arts Office. www.marieconnole.com Paul Maye graduated with a BA Fine Art - Paint & Printmaking in 1996. In 2002, he was awarded an Arts Council for a residency at Arthouse, Dublin. He was selected to participate in the Florence Biennial in 2003 and again in 2005. More recently he was commissioned by Absolut Vodka for the 2011 Galway Arts Festival. The exhibition will present works by students of the Centre for Creative Arts and Media, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, who are participating in a short research project to create works in response to what they have seen and experienced in the NFB research laboratories. The exhibition also includes medical devices, by companies such as Boston Scientific, Vornia, Aerogen, and Osteoanchor, and some other material designed to educate the public on medical device research. Local artist Cecilia Danell and Professor Rhodri Cedrig from the National Centre for Bioengineering Science will choose the winners of the ‘Biosciences Art Competition.’ The competition includes art works by research scientists and engineers within the Biosciences building and the winners will be announced at the wine reception on Tuesday evening. -Ends-
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has teamed up with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland to undertake a study on bullying of nurses and midwives in the workplace which will be launched in INMO HQ in Dublin at 11am tomorrow, Thursday, 29 May. The INMO conducted a survey of its members in 1993 which sought to review the extent to which bullying in the workplace was affecting their working life. This led to an INMO policy on bullying and eventually the HSE policy on bullying and harassment being negotiated. Within the Irish Public health care system, bullying in the workplace should be addressed through the HSE’s ‘Dignity at Work Policy’ which came into operation on 1 May 2004. Yet academic and practitioner evidence suggests that nurses and midwives working in Ireland continue to frequently experience workplace bullying. This is reported as having very negative consequences for nurses and midwives’ personal health and personal and family relationships. It also adds to already high levels of stress experienced by members working within the Irish health care system. At the INMO’s recent Annual Conference in Kilkenny there was a motion put forward to repeat this study and the Organisation has partnered with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland to conduct a survey on current levels of workplace bullying experienced by its members. Critically, the survey is seeking nurses/midwives’ input on how bullying can be reduced and what support is needed if they experience or witness bullying in their workplaces. The survey will be available on the INMO’s website www.inmo.ie until 1 July 2014. Input from nurses and midwives is critical to the success of this study which is completely anonymous. The study is headed by Professor Maura Sheehan at NUI Galway who has published widely on issues of workplace discrimination and injustice. Commenting on the survey, Maura said: “The focus groups that my study colleague, Dr TJ McCabe at the National College of Ireland, has held with nurses and midwives in Ireland about their experiences with bullying were shocking and very disturbing. As researchers, it became clear that we need to conduct a survey of nurses and midwives to establish the extent of this problem and most importantly, to formulate recommendations on how bullying at work can be reduced and the types of support that victims and witnesses need. In order to give our findings credibility, we need a large response rate from all nurses and midwives working in Ireland and specifically INMO members as the largest trade union representing nurses and midwives.” INMO Director of Industrial Relations, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “It is unfortunate that INMO members are still reporting high levels of allegations of bullying in the workplace. Representation of members alleged against, and making allegations, is a big part of the workload of our industrial relations staff. We do need to examine the current situation. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the researchers led by Professor Maura Sheehan, to roll out this survey.” The survey will take about ten minutes to complete online at www.inmo.ie and the evaluation and results of the survey will be available to the INMO in October 2014. -Ends-
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Bug Run is a fun and interactive iPad app to educate children and adults on the issue of Antibiotic Resistance The Discipline of General Practice at NUI Galway have launched Bug Run, a free iPad app that combines a game and an educational video to educate children and adults on the issue of antibiotic resistance. Funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), the app has two parts; a game and an educational video. The game teaches children (4 – 10 years) about the importance of staying healthy and that taking antibiotics comes at a price. The accompanying short video developed for adults highlights the issue of antibiotic resistance and provides suggestions on how to discuss this with their General Practitioner. Bug Run recently received the 2014 Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy Award, which recognises and rewards excellence in health literacy in the healthcare sector. Bug Run received the award in the category ‘Best Project in General Practice’ for improving a patient’s understanding and help them take more responsibility in managing their health. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to patients’ safety in Europe because it can result in treatment failure of serious infections. To address the issue of antibiotic resistance it is important that antibiotics are used in the right way to secure their use in the future. In the Bug Run game ‘Bob’, the character, runs through a school as fast as possible while avoiding bugs and staying healthy by picking up fruit and water. If he picks up too many bugs, he may need an antibiotic, but this comes at a price as Bob slows down. The key messages are that fruit and water will keep you healthy but if you do get a serious infection that can be treated with an antibiotic, taking an antibiotic can have side effects. The video ‘Antibiotic Awareness’ is an educational animation for adults to learn about antibiotics and their side effects. In addition, the video encourages patients to talk to their GP about antibiotic and antibiotic resistance and discuss with their GP if they really need an antibiotic. Speaking about Bug Run, Dr Akke Vellinga, NUI Galway, said: “The opportunity provided by the HRB to translate the complex message of antibiotic resistance in a fun way was a great challenge taken up by our team. We hope this app will encourage a conversation about antibiotics between GP and patients.” Bug Run School days has been piloted in 20 General Practices in Galway and Roscommon since last November as part of a larger research project the SIMPle study (www.nuigalway.ie/simple/). The SIMPle project is a collaborative project in which General Practice, Epidemiology, Marketing, Microbiology and Health Economics work together with GPs to improve their prescribing. The iPads with BugRun were installed in participating GP practices to support communication between GP and patient about the role of antibiotics. Bug Run is free and can be downloaded from the App store to any iPad. Bug Run is for use in General Practices, schools, home and other learning environments https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/bug-run-school-days/id860440510?mt=8 The research and concept of ‘Bug Run School Days’ iPad app were led by Dr Akke Vellinga from the Discipline of General Practice, School of Medicine at NUI Galway, along with Professor Andrew Murphy and Post Doctorate Fellows, Sinead Duane, Sandra Galvin and Aoife Callan. The funding for the Bug Run School Days project was obtained from a new initiative of the Health Research Board which promotes new approaches to knowledge exchange and education. About the study The development of Bug Run is part of a bigger research project, the SIMPle study: Supporting the Improvement and Management of Prescribing for urinary tract infection. In this study, Dr Vellinga and her team have integrated prescribing guidelines with the generic software package a GP uses on a daily basis when diagnosing patients and prescribing medicines. General Practices involved in the SIMPle study, receive feedback on how they are prescribing, antibiotic resistance patterns, how their own practice is performing compared to practices, and they can also track the results and changes in prescribing patterns. The success of the SIMPle study is evaluated over the next months with a view to making all the materials available to all General Practices’ nationwide. The research, development and implementation of the Apps and software projects were funded by the Health Research Board (HRB). -Ends-
Thursday, 29 May 2014
Dr John Breslin, Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, was a nominee for the inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland Research2Business Award. The inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Research2Business award recognises excellence in engagement between researchers and the business community. The winner of the award was Dr Mark Southern of UL and it was presented by Sean Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation at the launch of the office of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and its web-portal, the first resource of its kind in Europe which took place in Dublin yesterday (28 May 2014). The Research2Business award recognises the researcher whose interactions have delivered exceptional impact for businesses and for their host institution. Dr John Breslin has had many interactions with local and international businesses, through research outputs that have been deployed in commercial and open-source systems, companies he has co-founded, businesses that he advises, and start-up community activities that he coordinates. Here are some of these activities and impacts: John is the creator of the SIOC semantic Web framework that has achieved widespread adoption on over 25,000 websites and in hundreds of software systems by companies including Yahoo!, Boeing and Vodafone. A prolific business advisor, he sits on the board of many start-up companies, such as CrowdGather, Trugence, Pocket Anatomy, CloudDock, AYLIEN and BuilderEngine. An internet entrepreneur in his own right, John is co-founder of Boards.ie, Adverts.ie and StreamGlider. John has also made a significant contribution to developing the entrepreneurial eco-system in Ireland through the setting up, in cooperation with local CEOs, Startup Galway, and through the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Society at NUI Galway. John is also the founder of Technology Voice, through which he provides technical know-how and start-up advice to budding founders through the monthly podcast/radio show he hosts. Dr Jacinta Thornton, Associate Director of Ignite Technology Transfer Office said “The award recognises business engagement that has resulted in exceptional and sustained interactions with the business community. John’s engagement and resultant impacts with the business community has been outstanding and we at Ignite TTO are delighted that he has been recognised as a finalist in this Inaugural Research2Business Award. We wish him continued success in his academic and business accomplishments”. Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) is the State-funded central technology transfer office, located in Enterprise Ireland and operated collaboratively by Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association. The nominees for the award included: · Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway · Professor Willie Donnelly, Waterford Institute of Technology · Professor Luke O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin · Dr Mark Southern, University of Limerick ENDS
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
NUI Galway has appointed Dr Kieran Conboy as Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law. Dr Conboy is an internationally acknowledged expert in information systems innovation. Prior to his appointment Dr Conboy served as Head of the School of Business and Economics, Vice-Dean of Research for the School of Business and Economics and as Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at NUI Galway. Dr Conboy also held an Associate Professorship of Information Systems at the University of New South Wales, Australia. As an educator, Dr Conboy has designed and delivered courses including agile and lean project management, portfolio management, contemporary innovation models and paradigms. Together with leading international colleagues, he has developed a global standard for information systems curriculum design and content. In 2012, Dr Conboy established the Enterprise Agility research cluster at the Whitaker Institute. As cluster leader, he leads on a number of national and international projects funded by SFI (Science Foundation Ireland), Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Research Council. Prestigious research achievements include an SFI award to assess agile and open project management and software engineering - the first such award made by SFI to a Business School in Ireland. The cluster has built extensive industry collaboration and funding from organisations including Dell, Atlassian, Information Mosaic, and HP, as well as numerous SMEs nationally and internationally. Recently, Dr Conboy was awarded an Irish Research Council Award to identify ways in which national agencies can optimise the inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes of crowdsourcing efforts and maximise participation of individuals and firms including gender and ethnicity, industry sector and location diversity. Commenting on his appointment, Dr Conboy stated that, “The College of Business, Public Policy and Law has developed innovative programs and approaches to delivering education across diverse and contemporary themes. We are exploring creative ways to better prepare students for employment and continually seek to advance the College through scholarship, industry and community engagement. The success of the College is recognized by prestigious awards such as AMBA and EPAS accreditation, and postgraduate programme awards. A key focus during my tenure as Dean will be to create a College with a unique identity which provides Global perspectives and expertise on key issues in law, business and economics.” NUI Galway is an integral part of the regional, national and international education and research landscape. The College of Business, Public Policy and Law is rich in academic value and research impact and a strong contributor to the international profile of NUI Galway. As Dean, Dr Conboy will seek to leverage the success of the College in terms of its future research focus. Dr Conboy continued, “As Dean I will pursue an ambitious research and innovation agenda with a focus on excellence and impact. I will work with colleagues across the University to create a strategy that builds on our strengths and nurtures new and emerging areas of research. A key emphasis will be placed on collaboration across the University and the broader research community, particularly as we look towards EU Horizon 2020. From a policy and practice perspective I feel this is where we are as a College and can add real value in terms of the excellent research being undertaken across the College in rich and diverse areas such as Disability, Law, International Management, Public Policy, Economics, Innovation, Human Resource Management and Human Rights amongst others.” A native of Mayo and graduate of NUI Galway and the University of Limerick, Dr Conboy is a leading author in agile and lean processes in software organisations. He has authored more than 100 articles and reports, including publications in Information Systems Research, Information Systems Journal, the Journal of the AIS and IEEE Software. He is an editor of the European Journal of Information Systems and has chaired a number of international conferences in his field, most recently the Lean Enterprise Software and Systems Conference (LESS2013) in Galway. The breadth of his expertise and international reputation is recognized through his advisory roles on agile and innovation management practice across many organisations and on funding agency policy and practice in Ireland, the EU, Australia and the U.S. Dr Conboy is also a Fulbright scholar, who in 2009 visited Carnegie Mellon University advising on the business value of IT systems to the Software Engineering Institute. Dr Kieran Conboy succeeds Professor Ciaran O’Neill, of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, who is to concentrate on his research having recently been named as one of the six national Health Research Board Leaders in Ireland. -Ends-
Monday, 28 April 2014
Open Innovation fails because companies are not prepared to open up, says Wim Vanhaverbeke, Professor of Strategy and Innovation, University of Hasselt, Belgium The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and InterTradeIreland will host an Innovation Lecture and three Master Classes, delivered by Wim Vanhaverbeke, Professor of Strategy and Innovation, University of Hasselt, Belgium, on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 May at NUI Galway. The events are free to attend and open to all. They will be of particular interest to established organisations and businesses, start-ups, government bodies, academics, policy makers and anyone who is interested in stimulating the local economy. The public lecture on Thursday, 8 May at 6pm, will explain how firms that can harness outside ideas to advance their own businesses, while leveraging their internal ideas outside their current operations, are likely to thrive in this new era of open innovation. Professor Vanhaverbeke’s lecture will focus on the most common management problems when companies start open innovation. Numerous companies have started to experiment with ‘Open Innovation’ but for many of them the switch from closed to open innovation has proven to be more difficult than expected. The key to success is creating an open platform around your innovations so your customers, your employees and even your competitors can build upon them. Only then will you create an ongoing, evolving community of users, doers and creators. Professor Vanhaverbeke will also deliver the following three Innovation Master Classes in Room CA110, Cairnes Building, NUI Galway. From Open Innovation to Innovation Ecosystems – Thursday, 8 May from 10am to 12pm. This Master Class will look at how can we expand open innovation to companies that are not directly involved in technological innovation themselves, and how can we connect open innovation to innovation ecosystems? Innovation in High-Tech and Low-Tech SMEs – Thursday, 8 May from 2pm to 4pm. This Master Class will look at how can we extend open innovation to SMEs and, if so, how? Recent research shows that we can’t use the same open innovation management approach which was originally developed for large, technology using companies. SMEs (especially in low-tech settings) need a different management approach to open innovation. Crafting Innovation Deals between Large and Small Companies – Friday, 8 May from 8.30am to 10.30am. This Master Class will look at the ‘Sanus case’. This is a negotiation exercise where participants learn how to develop a Letter of Intent when a small firm has a patented technology and a large company has the potential to develop and commercialize the technology. The InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. It brings international expertise in innovation to NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Cork and University College Dublin. Best international practice is shared with business leaders, students, academics, knowledge transfer professionals and policy makers in each region through innovation lectures, seminars and master classes. This Programme is organised by InterTradeIreland, NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Dublin and University College Cork. For further information or to register for any of the FREE innovation events, please visit www.whitakerinstitute.ie or 091 492817. For further details on the Programme please visit http://www.intertradeireland.com/all-island-innovation-programme/
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Titled ‘Access to Justice and Political Participation’ the Summer School will run from the 16th to the 20th of June 2014 The 6th International Disability Law Summer School, hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, will take place from the 16-20 June 2014. Registration is now open for the biggest such Summer School in the world, with a focus on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Entitled ‘Access to Justice and Political Participation’, it will focus on facilitating access to justice for all and encouraging political participation. The aim of the five-day Summer School is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to help them translate the generalities of the UN Convention into tangible reform for persons with disabilities. Over 100 delegates from 38 countries are expected to attend this year’s event. The participants include persons with disabilities, their families, civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Most of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform. The keynote speaker for the Summer School will be Amita Dhanda, Professor of Law and Head of the Centre for Disability Studies, NALSAR, University of Law, Hyderabad, India, who has published extensively on the legal position of persons with mental disabilities. Dr Dhanda has also actively engaged in the work of the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee negotiating the UN Convention. Mr Donal Toolan, founder member of the Forum for People with Disabilities will respond to the keynote address. Most presentations will either be given by, or responded to, by disabled activists from around the world. A notable feature of the annual Summer School is a Moot Court exercise based on the UN Convention. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, said, “Above all, the School belongs to people with disabilities and their allies and is structured in such a way as to enable people explore for themselves the relevance of the Convention in their own lives and in the process of change. It sees people with disabilities as agents of change whether in Ireland, Kenya or India. It sees people with disabilities as providers and advocates for solutions – instead of as problems.” The Summer School is in part supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies, The Soros-Open Society Institute, The Department of Foreign Affairs (Irish Aid), The FP7 Marie Curie DREAM project of the European Union and NUI Galway. Registration for the Summer School is now open and will cost €330. Further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp or phone Niamh Lally on 091 494270. Participant accessibility (physical or communicational) requests and enquiries are welcomed.
Monday, 7 April 2014
Major International Conference at NUI Galway relating to Ageing, the Life Course and Meaning will look at the theme “Meaning and Culture(s): Exploring the Life Course” NUI Galway will host the 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, which is also the 2nd Conference of the European Network in Aging Studies. The conference entitled Meaning and Culture(s): Exploring the Life Course will take place in the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway from the 10 – 12 April. This major international conference provides further evidence of the University’s global reputation in questions relating to ageing and the life course. The conference theme reflects the fact that the process of ageing is not the same everywhere. In some societies older people are powerful and revered. In others, ageing may be feared as a period of exclusion and decline. How people get older thus depends not only on key factors such as health, but also on issues including the values and ideas attached to ageing in the societies in which they live and how they are expected to contribute to their communities. The conference, jointly organised by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, explores older people’s different ways of interpreting their own life-courses, as positive or negative, the contrasting ways we age in different cultural environments, as well as expectations or stereotypes that affect older people’s possibilities for participating in society and their experience of ageing. Over 200 papers presented by more than 250 delegates from all over the world will interrogate the opportunities, challenges and disputes connected with values and practices affecting people’s life-courses. How connected are they with economic assumptions that appear to reject people after they have left work or with youth cultures demanding that everyone should aim for physical beauty? Three keynote speakers will participate, all of whom are outstanding scholars and acknowledged international leaders in the thriving field of cultural gerontology. Harry R. Moody, recently retired as Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs at AARP, USA, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Gray is Green: Elders and the Care of the Earth”. It will take place in the Arts Millennium Building, Ó hEocha Theatre (AM250) at 1.45pm on Thursday, 10 April. Aagje Swinnen from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Healing Words: Critical Inquiry of Poetry Interventions in Dementia Care”, on Friday, 11 April at 1.30pm. And on Saturday, 12 April, Stephen Katz from Trent University, Canada, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Music, Performance and Generation: The Making of Boomer Biographies”, at 12.45pm in the Ó hEocha Theatre. Professor Ricca Edmondson, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway said, “The scientific study of ageing focuses increasingly on values, ideas and habits associated with the ageing process: where they come from, what impacts they have, and how they can be changed. Our conference brings together international experts from disciplines ranging throughout the humanities and social and behavioural sciences to explore these key issues.” Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway said, “Exploring the cultural aspect of ageing is crucial to understanding how our life-courses take shape. It helps us to understand better how social processes enhance or undermine the implications of ageing for all of us. This conference can make an important contribution to public and political debate on the status of older people, not just in Ireland but also in many other countries.” The conference runs from the 10-12 April with registration at the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=213
Thursday, 3 April 2014
Ireland has one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emission rates says Professor John Sweeney, Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change Ireland’s leading expert on climate change, Professor John Sweeney, delivered a lunchtime talk hosted by the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway entitled, Ireland and Climate Change: Adapting in an Environment of Uncertainty. The event drew a large public attendance followed by a lively discussion at the end. Professor Sweeney talked about extreme events, how recent storms and high rainfall are weather patterns, driven by jet stream irregularities and an unusually close-to-earth moon. But he also reminded us that sea-level is incontrovertibly rising, at an accelerated rate in recent decades, largely due to accelerated ice cap melting. Thus any coastal storms will have an increasingly powerful effect due to higher sea-level. Professor Sweeney quoted the 2013 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report: the observed accelerated increase in global temperatures is “at least 95%” likely to be mainly due to human activity, especially burning fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions are far greater in the northern hemisphere: Ireland has one of the largest per capita emission rates and very few countries, not even Ireland, have so far taken serious measures to reduce these emissions. Increased temperatures and rainfall may become more seasonal, so Ireland is projected to have hotter, drier summers and wetter winters with an increased storm incidence. Professor Sweeney emphasised that the Irish government and local authorities need to focus on damage limitation, in terms of future flood prevention and location of housing development or septic tanks in relation to rising water tables and flood risk, but also –critically – summer water budget management. All products bought require large water budgets to grow or manufacture, some much more than others. Water use efficiency requires more attention. An increase in rainfall seasonality is also likely to affect our high-conservation habitats, especially wetlands such as bogs. Provision is required to maintain their hydration in the face of increased summer drying conditions. NUI Maynooth’s collaboration with NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, Plant Ecology Research Unit (PERU) and Applied Ecology Unit (AEU) has demonstrated that many vulnerable Arctic-Alpine species are projected to contract in range with a rise in temperature, but other, currently more southerly-distributed native species, may expand throughout the island. This has particular implications also for invasive species and even indigenous pests. During the public lecture, Professor Sweeney also highlighted some positive spin-offs of projected warmer summers; grain crops –and even grass– may increase yield, though potatoes require adequate summer rain for best performance. As more southern regions heat up, we may also benefit from increased tourism. But without informed leadership to recognise the reality of observed and projected climate changes, measures will not be taken in advance of future events in order to reduce damage repair costs and even mortalities. Professor Sweeney ended by warning against believing sensationalist media; scientists are poor communicators, needing reference to complex data, in the face of sound-bites aimed to sell news. As members of the public, we need to develop discernment in what we read and hear about climate change, and to take individual action to reduce our carbon – and water – footprints, as well as educating our peers and superiors. The event was organised by Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, Plant Ecology Research Unit (PERU) and Dr Mike Gormally of the Applied Ecology Unit (AEU), School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway.
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Bernie Ní Fhlatharta meets Professor Michael O’Dwyer, haematologist and researcher Galway City Tribune, Friday, March 21, 2014 A drug that could save people’s lives is the goal of a Galway consultant who is at the heart of groundbreaking research into the treatment of blood cancer. Professor Michael O’Dwyer considers himself lucky that he is not only doing one job he loves but two. He is a Consultant Haematologist at University Hospital Galway and he is also based at the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC), a wing in the new Biomedical Science Building which opened in NUI Galway last month. There he heads up research into blood cancers, in particular multiple myeloma and leukaemia, work that he hopes will one day lead to the development of a drug that will target these types of cancers. Eighteen months ago, he obtained a prestigious Clinician Scientist Award from the Dublin-based Health Research Board to develop his translational research programme, and his close links with the pharmaceutical industry might some day lead to his findings translate from science bench to bedside. Michael, whose father, Eamonn was a Professor of Obstetrics at UCH for over 35 years, loves research work and appreciates that if medics are to cure life-threatening diseases, it can only be done through research and development. In the United States about $230m has been raised for this research alone – his research work was awarded €1.7m recently and already they are at phase one of clinical trials here in Galway. “I have the best of both worlds in that I get to see patients and I also get to come here (to NUI Galway) to research blood cancers,” he says. He explains it very simply: “Cancer cells produce abnormal sugars on their surface making them sticky, which helps them to travel around in the body and stick to the walls of organs. “These cells become resistant to chemotherapy and standard cancer treatments. Our research here in Galway is revealing the role these abnormal sugars and enzymes play in cancer. There is evidence that these sugars are important in the development of leukaemia for example and in the spread of cancer.” The first part of that research was identifying the sugars and the next part will be finding out how to inhibit or prevent them from being produced in the first place. In doing that, they will be less able to spread and will be easier to treat. Michael stresses that these cancer-related sugars are not thought to be linked to lifestyle or diet and are just an intrinsic part of the disease. He believes that research will lead to the development of a drug that will prevent the formation of these sugars and therefore stop cancers metastasising. That would be a dream come true for him and he is currently working with a US pharmaceutical company to bring that vision closer to reality. The ultimate plan is to provide results in the laboratory so that these strategies can be transferred to clinical trials in his native Galway. “We are now conducting phase one of these clinical trials and this is the only centre in the world doing this, as in working with blood cancer patients.” He explains that patients give their informed consent and that there’s no obligation on anyone to take part in these trials. In the last two years 16 patients have been put on the clinical trial but this number will be increased significantly in the future. The research team includes Dr Siobhan Glavey, a PhD student who is based in the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Harvard, while the man who was responsible for getting Michael into research on his return to Galway is Professor Lokesh Joshi, Professor of Glycobiology. “My interest in studying sugars in blood cancers came originally from discussing it with him,” Michael explains. Michael studied medicine in NUI Galway but like many other graduates went abroad – he went to the United States in 1998, to do a fellowship in haematology in Portland, Oregon. There he was fortunate that he got to work on the development of a blockbuster drug now used in the treatment of cancer – and incidentally made in Ringaskiddy in County Cork. “From that I developed a deep interest in research, particularly in the development of targeted therapies. Chemotherapy is a non-specific treatment and I was amazed with that particular treatment which had little or no side effects. It made an impression on me and my intention was to stay involved in the research of these types of drugs.” Michael returned to Galway in 2002 to take up a clinical job and five years later was appointed Professor of Haematology, which allowed him one day a week in research. He is deeply grateful to be able to work in his native city in the hospital and also in research, something he says is possible thanks to the good reputation of NUI Galway’s biomedical department, one that has been greatly enhanced with the opening of the new building at Corrib Village in Dangan. There are state-of-the-art laboratories with top-class equipment in the new facility and this is where he now heads up the research project. When Michael started his research work in Galway it was in the Orbsen Building on the NUIG campus until the team moved to their new home just before Christmas. He now has a growing group of researchers and he is also involved in other research for a small Irish company as well as being associated with a start-up company that has, in the pipeline, “very small molecule drugs that we believe could have great promise in the treatment of blood cancers”. Michael agrees that it’s hard to compete with bigger universities when it comes to mainstream research as larger institutes have more resources but he believes that it’s important for an institution to play to its strengths. “And here in Galway we have strengths that wouldn’t necessarily be mainstream like the glycosciences, where we have a particular expertise in this niche area. It’s then possible to be competitive in those areas. Another example is stem cell research.” He has three brothers in medicine (one is a GP, one is an anaesthetist in the UK and another is an A&E Consultant in Kilkenny) and a brother practising as a barrister. He could have followed in his father’s footsteps as he won the Gold Medal in Obstetrics and in Pathology when he graduated but he preferred and chose pathology. Blood cancers account for the top four or five cancers globally and multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in Ireland, where about 240 new cases are diagnosed every year. Michael says that while great strides had been made in the treatment and survival of patients with multiple myeloma, there was still room for improvement, which is why he remained dedicated to his research. “It is vital that scientists across the entire Irish research spectrum work together to find new treatment approaches and improve patient outcomes. “Our goal is to discover new ways to reduce the ability of the cancer cell to move to other sites within the body and identify new ways to make the cancerous cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs,” he says. Michael is married to Clodagh Wade and they live in Salthill with their two young children aged seven and ten. He admits that the plan had always been to return to Galway when the right job turned up and luckily for him and his young family it did. “When I came back it was not with the intention of doing any academic work but once I got bitten by the bug (in the US), I got drawn back to research and I consider myself lucky to be able to do that here in Galway. “Ultimately, it would be fantastic to be in a position to see it (the new drug) in action on patients,” he says with a quiet determination. Michael also lectures third and final year medical students as well as giving tutorials in the college. Yet, for all his responsibilities, he comes across as a relaxed man who is at ease with himself and the world. One thing for sure, he is very content being exactly where he is — at the cutting edge of research that will undoubtedly one day save lives.