Tuesday, 26 April 2022

CÚRAM researchers will participate in a Clean Coasts beach clean this Saturday, April 30th, in partnership with Galway Atlantaquaria, National Aquarium of Ireland. Members of the public are invited to meet on Grattan Beach at 11.30. Aside from helping clean the coast, participants will have the opportunity to speak to our research scientists about their work. CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, is developing the next-generation of medical devices. The Centre is focused on the development of medical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. Dr Sarah Gundy, who is organising the event, says: “Public engagement of science is central to CÚRAM’s programme, so this beach clean provides a unique opportunity for our researchers to speak with people about their work in an informal environment.” Last year CÚRAM launched a new public exhibition showcasing how marine resources can aid medical device research. The ‘Marine Meets MedTech’ exhibit at Galway Atlantaquaria, the National Aquarium of Ireland, shows how scientists are studying sponge slime to fight cancer and harmful microbes, using algae for controlled release of medicine, and mimicking barnacle glue to create surgical glue. Visitors can browse information panels, tanks and models of marine resources that are used in medical device research. To find out more contact Dr Sarah Gundy at sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie About CÚRAM Set up in 2015, CÚRAM is now a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre based out of NUI Galway. While led by the National University of Ireland Galway, CÚRAM’s partner institutes include University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin City University, Technological University of the Shannon and National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training. The Centre is focused on developing medical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. They also partner with local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. The Centre has seen numerous scientific breakthroughs as researchers focus on improving the quality of life for patients living with long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes, back pain, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Our researchers focus on engineering approaches for repair and remodelling, improved drug delivery solutions and superior medical implant designs to treat chronic diseases. CÚRAM was created because of the need for clinicians, industry, and researchers to collaborate in developing medical devices that will create jobs and establish a global hub for MedTech.

Friday, 22 April 2022

‘Earth Day’ launch of Irish Green Labs Over 100 laboratories across Ireland are pursuing green laboratory programmes and practices April 22 2022, Galway, Ireland: NUI Galway has played a leading role in forming Irish Green Labs, an all-island network to promote best practices to make research labs greener. CÚRAM is proud to support a voluntary collective of lab professionals, forming an all-island network called Irish Green labs. Their shared ambition is to minimise the negative impact that laboratories on the island are known to be having on the environment.  All sectors of society are dependent on laboratory services. Similar to data centres, laboratories use constant and significant amounts of energy; additionally, they contribute high volumes of waste in the form of single-use plastics and hazardous chemicals. This evidence-based network of individuals, institutions and industries created on the island of Ireland will be an open platform supporting green lab practices locally and globally, acting as a catalyst for the system-level change that is essential for us to meet the challenges of mandatory carbon zero targets. Following the Oireachtas approval of the national carbon budget on 6 April 2022, the breakdown of this budget into sectoral budgets is expected to be presented to the Government by the end of June 2022.  The implementation of these legally binding targets by institutions will be crucial if targets are to be met, as public sector bodies will be required to reduce their absolute energy-related emissions by at least 51% by 2030.  With labs accounting for 30-50% of energy-related emissions in many institutions, they will have a significant role to play in meeting decarbonisation targets in the Republic of Ireland. Notably, the Irish Green Labs initiative aligns with the UNFCCC’s ‘race-to-zero’ report, published by the 2021 UNFCCC champions Nigel Topping (UK) and Gonzalez Munoz (Chile). The champions recommended that “95% of labs across major pharma and med-tech companies are My Green Lab certified at the green level by 2030” (https://racetozero.unfccc.int/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2020-Breakthroughs-Upgrading-our-sytems-together.pdf). Current IGL member organisations include Atlantic Technological University, Foras na Mara (Marine Institute), HSE Public Analyst Laboratory (Dublin and Cork), NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast.  The initiative has also been endorsed by the Academy of Clinical Science and Laboratory Medicine, Dementia Research Network Ireland, Educational Procurement Services, the HSE Estates Climate Action & Sustainability Office, Irish Doctors for the Environment, and Neuroscience Ireland. For more information, contact info@irishgreenlabs.org. Twitter: @irishgreenlabs. Phone: Una FitzGerald, 087 2022013

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Professor Abhay Pandit has been elected Chair of the Tissue Engineering Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)- EU Chapter. TERMIS has a global mission to advance tissue engineering and regenerative medicine worldwide to generate knowledge to improve patient outcomes globally. Speaking about his appointment, Prof Pandit said: “This appointment gives a voice to the work we are doing in CÚRAM on a global scale. It will draw the focus of key stakeholders to our Centre and allow CÚRAM to play a vital role in the formation of critical policy decisions within the EU and further afield.” The mission of TERMIS is to promote education and research within the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine across the globe and is the premier global scientific society in the area with an EU membership currently at 1000.  Since its inception, Prof Pandit has been a member of the society and has served on the  Council (2010-2014). In 2010 he put Ireland on the TERMIS map by hosting the first-ever meeting in Galway. The meeting, which hosted 700+ people, was one of the largest scientific conferences held in Galway. “It is an honour to be elected Chair by the peers in the field. TERMIS is the largest organisation for which I have held a position of this kind. This recognition is a testament to the work that we are doing in CÚRAM.” Prof Pandit has been working in the field of biomaterials since 1989. In addition to holding the Chair, he is a Fellow of the Society and holds the title FTERM—the only academic in Ireland bestowed that honour. The appointment places CÚRAM amongst the top centres globally and is a notable achievement given that Ireland is one of the smallest member states in the society. -Ends- For Press, contact Lindsay Deely, Press and Communication Lead, CÚRAM, the National University of Ireland Galway at Lindsay.deely@nuigalway.ie or +353 86 0556212.   About CÚRAM  CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, is developing the next generation of medical devices and training a highly-skilled workforce. Set up in 2015, CÚRAM is now a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre based out of NUI Galway. While led by the National University of Ireland Galway, CÚRAM’s partner institutes include University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin City University, Technological University of the Shannon and National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training. The Centre focuses on developing biomedical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. They also partner with local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. The Centre has seen numerous scientific breakthroughs, as researchers focus on improving the quality of life for patients living with long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes, back pain, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Our researchers focus on engineering approaches for repair and remodelling, improved drug delivery solutions and superior medical implant designs to treat chronic diseases. CÚRAM was created because of the need for clinicians, industry, and researchers to collaborate in developing medical devices that will create jobs and establish a global hub for MedTech. Follow us @ CURAMdevices or visit www. nuigalway.ie/curam

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Celebrating the Success of our Alumni Dr Sarah Guerin, a Molecular Modelling Researcher and Crystallographer at SSPC, the SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals at UL, and a CÚRAM Alumna is one of eight Ireland-based researchers to have recently been awarded European Research Council (ERC) funding following the inaugural call for proposals under Horizon Europe, the 9th EU funding programme for Research and Innovation. Accepting the award, Dr. Guerin said: said: “ I am delighted to be awarded this grant and am excited to establish a world-leading research group in Ireland. The acceleration of eco-friendly piezoelectric technologies will be of huge importance to the Irish economy while greatly reducing the environmental impact of electromechanical sensing technologies worldwide. I look forward to attracting diverse talent to the west coast and pushing the boundaries of materials science research.”   Dr. Guerin completed her PhD with CÚRAM in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Tofail Syed and Prof Damien Thompson, which sparked her interest in organic materials that demonstrate piezoelectricity. “I developed a methodology of studying small molecular crystals using computer models. Using quantum mechanics (the dark arts of physics!), I could predict how crystals would behave before I made them in the lab. During my PhD, my focus was on piezoelectric crystals- crystals that generate electricity when you squeeze them, which had applications in medical devices. Most piezoelectric materials used in ex vivo medical devices are lead based, and are therefore unsuitable for in vivo medical implants, such as self-powered pacemakers. Over the past 7 years I have built up an expertise in both modelling and experimental work- honing skills in physics, chemistry, and computer modelling. “ Dr Guerin’s research has led to many breakthroughs: her development of a quantitative predictability model to screen organic piezoelectric materials initially led to the discovery of three highly piezoelectric amino acid crystals (β-glycine, DL-alanine and hydroxy-L-proline) with potential for use in medical implants and drug delivery devices. This is the first time that quantitative theoretical data has been produced on the piezoelectric response in amino acids and peptides, with individual piezoelectric constants being verified experimentally. The work was published in Nanoscale, Nature Materials, Physical Review Letters, and formed the basis of a Thesis in 3 talk with the title ‘Nature’s Shocking Secret’, which was the Thesis in 3 National Winner in 2016.  “This set me up perfectly for the role I have now in SSPC, applying predictive models to pharmaceutical crystals.” Currently Sarah uses her computer models to predict the properties of drug molecules, in order to improve the material properties of pharmaceutical products, from synthesis to tablet processing. She is an established member of SSPC’s Modelling Theme, working with experimentalists and industry to make more efficient drug products. Her methodologies were recently featured in CrystEngComm. However her interest in organic piezoelectricity remained strong, and last summer she worked with Prof. Vikram Pakrashi in University College Dublin to validate the first flexible amino acid sensor for pipe damage detection. The work gained international attention and was an Influential Paper for 2021 in Cell Reports Physical Science. Speaking on her time in CÚRAM, Sarah says “CÚRAM supported me throughout my PhD, giving me a foundation on which to grow and thrive as a scientist. Absolutely everyone, from center collaborators, industry partners, support staff, and management, believed in my research, celebrated my success as a young researcher, and helped with any problem.” In addition to the ERC award, Dr. Guerin has previously been awarded the 2021 Postdoctoral Researcher of the Year award from UL’s Bernal Institute and the 2018 Young Scientist of the Year award from the British Association of Crystal Growth. As to where her research will go from here, Dr. Guerin has high ambitions- to make the billions of piezoelectric sensors across the world organic and eco-friendly. “This ERC award allows me to take my research to the next level, building a team to hunt down and engineer super-piezoelectric organic materials, and develop them as functional devices. On completion of the project in 2027, we should no longer have to rely on elements such as Lead and Niobium for high-performance sensing.”

Friday, 28 January 2022

A team of researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, have discovered a radically new approach to the treatment of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  The study, published in Advanced Science, identified a groundbreaking therapeutic strategy for restoring the lining of the intestine of patients with the condition and other inflammatory bowel diseases. The treatment could also help prevent further inflammation, which is how the disease progresses and worsens over time.  The NUI Galway CÚRAM researchers have designed a hyaluronan (HA) enema, which has shown significant potential in protecting against damage to the intestinal lining by decreasing inflammation and aiding in the maintenance of the health of the intestinal lining.  Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, or IBD, is characterised by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and effects over 3.2 million people in Europe. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: ““The team strongly believes that the developed system can be delivered as an HA enema to act as a barrier-protecting system on the damaged colon barrier, reducing intestinal inflammation in the treatment of colonic inflammatory diseases. “This will result in reduced inflammation and protection of the intestinal lining.” The research represents a significant leap forward from the standard therapeutic interventions for colitis, which have focused mainly on maintaining remission levels, and do not address the root cause of the condition, especially damage to the intestinal lining and intestinal function. Dr Niranjan Kotla, conducted the principal research of the study at CÚRAM in collaboration with Dr Venkatakrishna R Jala, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, James Graham Brown Cancer Centre, University of Louisville, in the US.   Dr Yury Rochev, co-lead on the publication added: "This research demonstrates the efficacy of a unique therapeutic strategy able to induce a positive effect on damaged colonic tissue. The reduction in inflammation will be of great benefit to patients and highlights the potential use of this treatment." Alongside the research into a specific therapeutic treatment for Crohn’s and colitis, CÚRAM researchers have also identified inflammation-specific targeted carriers for local drug delivery to inflammatory bowel disease. The findings have been published in Biomaterials. The study looked at the highly challenging but potentially effective practice of delivering drugs directly to inflamed intestinal sites to treat inflammatory bowel disease, particularly Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. The research team, led by Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr Yury Rochev in collaboration with Prof Larry Egan, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at NUI Galway,  developed strong anionic charged inflammation targeted nanocarriers (IT-NCs) loaded with an immunosuppressant model drug.   “Our results suggest that IT-NCs have promising therapeutic potential as delivery carriers' in colitis management,” said Professor Pandit. This research was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 - the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The first study has been published in Advanced Science and is available here https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/advs.202103189 The second study has been published in Biomaterials and is available here https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142961222000035?via%3Dihub   Ends Media queries - Please contact Lindsay Deely, Press and Communications Lead, CÚRAM, SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at National University of Ireland Galway at Lindsay.deely@nuigalway.ie or +353 86 0556212.    About CÚRAM   CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, is developing the next generation of medical devices and training a highly-skilled workforce. Set up in 2015, CÚRAM is now a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre based out of NUI Galway. While led by the National University of Ireland Galway, CÚRAM’s partner institutes include University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin City University, Technological University of the Shannon and National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training. The Centre is focused on the development of abiomedical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. They also partner with local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. The Centre has seen numerous scientific breakthroughs, as researchers focus on improving the quality of life for patients living with long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes, back pain, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Our researchers focus on engineering approaches for repair and remodelling, improved drug delivery solutions and superior medical implant designs to treat chronic diseases. CÚRAM was created because of the need for clinicians, industry and researchers to collaborate in developing medical devices which will not only create jobs but also develop a global hub for MedTech. Follow us @CURAMdevices or visit www.nuigalway.ie/curam

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Are you a Junior Cycle teacher interested in new cross-curricular resources for your students? CÚRAM’s @JCTsteAm would be perfect for you! Learn how we can explore marine organisms with unique molecules to heal the body. On Tuesday 8th March from 7pm-8.15pm join facilitators from CÚRAM for ‘The Superpowers of Slime’ an interactive workshop where teachers will learn about the remarkable capabilities of some marine organisms which have evolved to produce unique and diverse compounds, including slime. Ever wonder what scientists are doing in the laboratory all day? Well, some of them are making slime! This workshop will explore how CÚRAM scientists make slime and the different ways they test slime for medical applications. Slime and the chemicals scientists use to make slime are produced by a variety of organisms. In particular, due to living in extreme conditions, marine organisms have evolved unique, diverse compounds with useful chemical and structural properties that scientists are researching to heal the body. Workshop participants will learn how it is vital to conserve the biodiversity of our oceans so we do not lose potential medical cures. Participants will also have the chance to custom-design their own slime for classroom use. Dr. Sarah Gundy, head of the Teacher is Residence Programme at CÚRAM says: “Keeping our oceans healthy helps us discover new ways of developing medical device technology, which, in turn, keeps us healthy. Educating our students to protect the biodiversity of our oceans will help us preserve potential ways to help fight diseases.” Click here to register- https://jct-ie.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEoduiqrj8qEtKbJGJZR7B1D44PD4PwH9-e In the meantime, explore the topic by watching Marine Medicine: What the Ocean Can Do for Your Health!, a short film made by SFI with CÚRAM for Science Week 2021. Watch it here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7J5nOvUYO4 STE(A)M in Junior Cycle online events emerge from a partnership between JCT and 11 education outreach partners who are experts in their ­eld. Our vision is to provide professional learning for Junior Cycle teachers, across a broad range of subjects, that will support an appreciation of interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges. This CPD will have both subject-speci­c and cross-curricular relevance and supports teachers in connecting classroom learning to real world contexts. “Learners will be enabled to use and analyse information in new and creative ways, to investigate issues, to explore, to think for themselves, to be creative in solving problems and to apply their learning to new challenges and situations.” Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) Find out more- https://jct.ie/perch/resources/steam/steam-in-junior-cycle-2022-poster-pdf.pdf -ends-

Monday, 17 January 2022

Professor Derek O'Keefe to feature on Changemakers: Improving Lives Through Research As published by the IUA. Professor Derek O’Keeffe is a Physicianeer – a dual qualified Physician and Engineer who trained in Ireland as well as in the United States at Harvard University and the Mayo Clinic. Prof O’Keeffe and researchers at the HIVE Lab, in The Lambe Institute identify clinical needs and use state of the art technology to develop innovative patient solutions. DAVE the Robot is one of piece of technology that is helping Professor O’Keeffe and his team,  deliver care to his patients who suffer from diabetes, a chronically debilitating condition that can be life changing for those who develop it. Prof O'Keefe will feature on @RTEOneJanuary 17 at 8.30pm as part of Changemakers, an IUA RTE partnership. Read more About Changemakers The Irish Universities Association has partnered with RTÉ and New Decade TV to bring Ireland’s Change Makers, the most transformative research-led projects and the inspiring people behind them, to Irish television this coming January and February 2022. The series will showcase the remarkable and lasting public impact of leading research projects by eight universities in Ireland in areas such as children’s health, health technology, education, youth justice, gender equality and inclusion, as well as the environment. The 6-part series will be broadcast from Monday January 3rd 2022 at 8.30pm on RTE One television and the RTE Player.  

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Bridging the gap between materials science and medical devices As published in TechCentral.ie, Wed, Jan 12, 2022 Dr Michael Monaghan is Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the Dept of Mechanical, Manufacturing & Biomedical Engineering, and Trinity Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Trinity College Dublin. He is also a funded investigator at the Science Foundation Ireland research centres Curam and Amber. His work looks at how stem cells can be used to repair cardiac muscle post-heart attack, generation of novel materials and methods in which to manufacture them, and metabolic imaging. In this interview he talks about setting up his lab in Trinity College and what he considers to be an academic measure of success. Tell us about your academic career to date. I am originally from Leitrim and attended NUI Galway to study Biomedical Engineering. During my final year project, I was introduced to Prof Abhay Pandit, now director of the SFI-funded centre Curam, who became my mentor. We worked with Boston Scientific on a project looking at stents and how they can be covered with the kind of cells that cover the inside of blood vessels to help them perform better after implantation. Following this, I spent some time in a small spin-off company before reconnecting with Abhay to embark on a PhD in the SFI-funded centre Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials. Through this, I received in depth training in biomaterial fabrication, gene delivery, and drug delivery in the field of skin repair and repair of the heart. During this time I connected with Prof Katja Schenke-Layland based at the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart and the University of Tubingen in South Germany. While performing key experiments due to the availability of specialised equipment that was available there, I prepared a European Commission grant proposal for the Marie Curie Fellowship that would fund me to independently do research in her lab for two years. Read the full article here    

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Digital pain management programmes could tackle shortage of pain psychologists As published in the Irish Times, Thu, Dec 2, 2021, 06:01 By Louise Ní Chríodáin Routine pain treatments could soon include virtual reality, and harnessing the body’s ability to generate its own pain relief. Finding the treatments of the future, is one driving force behind NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research. Founded in 2007 by professor of pharmacology and therapeutics, David Finn, and professor of clinical psychology, Brian McGuire, it brings together academics and researchers from across the health sciences. Prof Finn’s background is in biotechnology and neuroscience, while Dr Michelle Roche, a member of the centre since its inception and co-director since 2020, has a background in physiology and neuropharmacology. There are also collaborations with clinical colleagues, in particular those at University Hospital Galway’s Pain Clinic, where Prof McGuire works as a psychologist. Sensors for a virtual reality device are attached to the stump, and the patient sees an image of their missing limb, their virtual arm or leg, on the screen Much of their work is driven by the search to understand and alleviate pain. “About 20 per cent of the population suffers from chronic pain,” says Prof Finn. “But if you asked that cohort how they’re doing on their medications, about 70 per cent say that it is inadequate some of the time, and about 40 per cent say it’s inadequate all of the time. So there’s this massive unmet clinical need, first of all for better drugs that are more effective against pain, but also because a lot of existing drugs have very substantial side effects. “Like addiction – we can see the problems of the opioid crisis in the US. Even non-addictive painkillers, such as non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, are very hard on people when taken over a long period of time, because they cause stomach ulcers and have other effects.” In addition to new therapies, novel ways of delivering drugs are being investigated. Delivery systems that allow the administration of pharmacological treatments directly to the site of injury are of a particular interest, and may avoid adverse side effects associated with pain medication taken orally or intravenously, explains Dr Roche. Read the full article here  

Monday, 8 November 2021

Students at St. Nicholas’ Parochial School in Galway co-create murals featuring their medical devices designs inspired from the marine world CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Atlantaquaria have been educating students at St. Nicholas’ Parochial School in Galway about how marine organisms are helping scientists develop new ways to heal our bodies. Working with teaching artist, Alison Mac Cormaic, the “Tiny Sea Life, Big Cures” project inspired students to design their own marine-inspired medical devices. Alison featured the students’ designs to co-create a large-scale, interactive mural on the school building to share with the community. An understanding of the role of marine life in human health is at the heart of the project. Educators from Galway Atlantaquaria discussed with students about marine life in Ireland and the importance of conservation, while CÚRAM researchers are taught students about marine sources of biomaterials and how they can heal the body. Inspired by the scientific material investigated from the aquarium and CÚRAM, artist Alison Mac Cormaic will teach the students how to imagine, design and create models for devices that may aid human health and recovery. In addition, guest Lecturer Enda O’ Dowd introduced the Medical Device Design course that he coordinates in the National College of Art and Design Dublin (NCAD). Alison created a permanent mural on the outer school wall incorporating students’ designs. Through this cross-curricular co-creation process, students became aware of their locality and its link to scientific achievements, conservation, and the role of the artist and scientist in our community. Project collaborator Dr Nóirín Burke from Galway Atlantaquaria, says: “The research and innovation happening in CÚRAM is truly fascinating. Working with everyone in this programme, exploring ways in which our health can benefit from the ocean, and considering our role in the ocean’s future has been a pleasure. This is also of particular interest now as we begin the UNESCO Decade of the Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. We are also super excited about seeing the student’s final art piece, which will help share this project with the wider community, through families and the public.” Ms Deirdre Grace, 5th and 6th class teacher at St. Nicholas’ Parochial School, says: “This project has been a real learning experience for the students, they are highly engaged and motivated to learn more about the topics, and they are thoroughly enjoying the experience.” CÚRAM is focused on creating devices that help patients living with chronic illness and runs a very active and varied public engagement programme called ‘Breaking Barriers’ that aims to engage artists, filmmakers, teachers and the general public in creating new ways of accessing scientific knowledge and research. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: “We are always looking for ways for our researchers and diverse community groups to collaborate and create a better understanding and awareness of our research and their work to illustrate our coexistence in the society. This collaboration with the National Aquarium, National College of Art and Design Dublin, Alison Mac Cormaic and the wonderful staff and students of St Nicholas’ Parochial School has been hugely successful and is something we will be building on in the future and hoping to replicate with numerous schools around the country.” For more information about CÚRAM visit: www.curamdevices.ie. -Ends-  About CURAM CÚRAM is the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway. It is a national centre bringing together experts from Ireland’s leading universities and research institutes. Our academic partners led by the National University of Ireland Galway includes University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and Clinical Research Development Ireland. For more information, visit www.curamdevices.ie. Find CÚRAM on Twitter, @CURAMdevices.  About Atlantaquaria Galway Atlantaquaria, National Aquarium of Ireland, seeks to present a comprehensive view of the world of water through clear and attractive displays, informed, helpful staff and exciting live presentations. This is achieved through accurately displaying aquatic life in a manner that reflects their natural habitats, providing an enjoyable and educational environment to learn about the diverse marine ecosystem of Ireland. As Ireland’s largest native species aquarium, we strive to ensure that a visit to us is original and full of wonder for visitors of all ages and abilities. We are delighted to be an accredited member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquarium (EAZA) and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquarium (BIAZA).  

Monday, 25 October 2021

NUI Galway researcher and academic Dr Karen Doyle has been appointed President of Neuroscience Ireland. Dr Doyle, Senior Lecturer at the University and principal investigator at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, is a former Vice-President of Neuroscience Ireland (2007–2009). She also led the foundation of Galway Neuroscience Centre in 2004 and was the leader of the centre from 2004–2009. Dr Doyle said: “I am delighted to accept the role of President of Neuroscience Ireland and look forward to promoting and supporting the important work of the society over the next two years. I want to thank Professor Aine Kelly for her outstanding leadership and contribution to NSI over the last two years.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM, said: “We congratulate Dr Karen Doyle on this prestigious appointment. Neuroscience Ireland plays a vital role in the promotion of research and education in the neurosciences. We look forward to seeing the society’s impact grow under her leadership in the coming years.” Dr Doyle specialises in neurovascular stress and neuroprotection, focused on ischemic stroke which occurs when a blood clot blocks or narrows an artery leading to the brain. Her research is investigating the characteristics of human blood clots that cause occlusive strokes, to inform medical device design and discover new biomarkers to advance stroke diagnosis and treatment. Neuroscience Ireland has a membership of about 200 scientists and clinicians. It aims to advance research and education in the neurosciences and to represent Irish neuroscience researchers both nationally and internationally. Ends Media queries to Gwen O'Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 087 6601592. Photo.jpg: Dr Karen Doyle, Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Principal Investigator at CÚRAM, NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon Notes for Editor More about Neuroscience Ireland (NSI) Neuroscience Ireland (NSI) was established in 2005 as Ireland’s National Neuroscience Society, and is a registered charity. A key goal of NSI is the promotion of education in the neurosciences including outreach to the general public, and this is facilitated by public lectures and symposia. NSI holds a biennial meeting that serves as a multidisciplinary forum for knowledge and expertise sharing, facilitating excellence in neuroscience research in Ireland. Follow NSI and the ECRN @NeuroscienceIRL; @YoungNeuroIrl or visit www.neuroscienceireland.com About CÚRAM CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, is developing the next generation of medical devices and training a highly-skilled workforce. Set up in 2015, CÚRAM is now a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre based out of NUI Galway. While led by the National University of Ireland Galway, CÚRAM’s partner institutes include University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin City University, Athlone Institute of Technology and National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training. The Centre is focused on the development of biomedical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. They also partner with local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs), and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. The Centre has seen numerous scientific breakthroughs, as researchers focus on improving the quality of life for patients living with long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes, back pain, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Our researchers focus on engineering approaches for repair and remodelling, improved drug delivery solutions and superior medical implant designs to treat chronic diseases. CÚRAM was created because of the need for clinicians, industry and researchers to collaborate in developing medical devices which will not only create jobs but also develop a global hub for MedTech. Follow us @ CURAMdevices or visit www.curamdevices.ie

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

CÚRAM launches new exhibit showing how medical device research is aided by marine resources  CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has launched a new public exhibition showcasing how marine resources can aid medical device research. Guest speakers attending the launch were Mayor of Galway City, Collette Connolly and Filmmaker Ken O'Sullivan. The marine-inspired display at Galway Atlantaquaria, the National Aquarium of Ireland, shows how scientists are studying sponge slime to fight cancer and harmful microbes; using algae for controlled release of medicine; and copying barnacle glue to create surgical glue. Visitors can browse information panels, tanks and models of marine resources that are used in medical device research. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Galway Atlantaquaria to showcase an exciting aspect of medical device research and we look forward to continuing the collaboration and developing the exhibit and associated educational resources for schools and families over the coming years.” Liam Twomey, Director at the National Aquarium, said: “Galway Atlantaquaria continues its collaboration with state and semi-state organisations. Our technical know-how and good design links with Anchor Studios have resulted in a superb new exhibit that has already started to draw attention from aquarium visitors. We look forward to continued engagement with CÚRAM over the coming years.” CÚRAM’s research is focused on developing innovative and smart medical devices and implants that will benefit patients with chronic ailments such as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neural diseases. This new exhibit investigates how marine-inspired medtech research can heal the body. It also ties in with Galway Atlantaquaria’s education programme and reinforces the message of the importance of ocean health and conservation. The exhibit is located on the upper floor of the National Aquarium and is fully accessible. Dr Sarah Gundy, CÚRAM’s coordinator of content development for the exhibit, said: “If we lose the biodiversity of our oceans, we also lose potential ways to help fight diseases. Keeping our oceans healthy helps us discover new ways of developing medical therapies, which, in turn, keeps us healthy.” Dr Nóirín Burke, Director of Education at Galway Atlantaquaria, said: “Working with the team at CÚRAM on this exhibit has been such as positive experience. The oceans are part of our lives, from the air we breathe, the water we need to survive, and the food we eat. The connection between the ocean’s health and our health cannot be overstated and launching an exhibit which helps people explore this relationship is so important for the aquarium team.” Ends For media contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 087 6601592. For further information about the exhibit contact Claire Riordan, Public Engagement Manager at CÚRAM at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie or Dr Noirín Burke, Director of Education at the National Aquarium at noirin@nationalaquairum.ie.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

SFI/CURAM backed piimpact.com to help academics focus on impact and public good  CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway has launched a new website and online toolkit to support researchers in developing a more holistic view of the impact of their work. piimpact.com has been designed to help both experienced and early-career academics gain a better awareness of how the work will benefit the public and what difference it has the potential to make.  Dr Brendan Dolan, lead postdoctoral researcher on the Principal Investigator Impact project, said: “We wanted to identify the strategies and approaches of our individual scientists, and PIs in particular, to enhance the impact potential of their work, including how they engage and collaborate with various stakeholders who could benefit from the research undertaken. “Our aim is to use these findings to inform and assist new principal investigators taking on this role by providing practical learning tools and resources for learning and professional development training.” One of the research themes within CÚRAM since 2015 has focused on translation and impact of research in medical devices. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: “At CÚRAM, we are focused on designing the next generation of ‘smart’ medical devices. We want to provide our researchers with extensive pathways or routes to impact, through the productive and focused industry, clinician and public engagement and collaboration. “This website and toolkit offer a fantastic opportunity to begin to prepare for and plan one’s journey as a successful Personal Investigator and plan for impact. Moreover, the toolkit offers a novel approach to planning for impact, wherein one can plan one’s collaborations to maximise impact.” The piimpact.com online resource and toolkit was developed on the back of the Principal Investigator Impact project and feedback from almost 600 principal investigators across Ireland. It highlighted the need for increased support structures to enable researchers to work more effectively and efficiently towards impact, while taking on the ever increasing responsibilities. The project aims to support research relating to the development of medical devices, and in academia in general. It will allow researchers to more effectively plan for, monitor and evaluate the broader, non-academic impact – the benefits to society beyond traditional metrics such as journal publications and citations. A white paper on preparing medical device scientists for the PI role and impact, developed by the Principal Investigator Impact project is available here: http://www.piimpact.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/curam_whitepaper_spreads.pdf. -Ends- For media contact Gwen O'Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 087 6601592. Notes to Editor ABOUT CÚRAM CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, is developing the next-generation of medical devices and training a highly-skilled workforce. Set up in 2015, CÚRAM is now a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre based out of NUI Galway. The Centre is focused on the development of biomedical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. They also partner with local small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs), and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. Located in Galway, one of the top five global hubs for MedTech development, the Centre has completed 150 projects since it began. This has resulted in 43 patent applications, more than 1,700 journal publications, 10 licence agreements and five spin-outs. The Centre has seen numerous scientific breakthroughs, as researchers focus on improving the quality of life for patients living with long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes, back pain, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Our researchers focus on engineering approaches for repair and remodelling, improved drug delivery solutions and superior medical implant designs to treat chronic diseases. CÚRAM was created because of the need for clinicians, industry and researchers to collaborate in developing medical devices which will not only create jobs, but also develop a global hub for MedTech. Follow us @ CURAMdevices or visit www.curamdevices.ie  

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

The first episode of ‘Science Waves’, a new podcast series led by primary school children as part of a public engagement project at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway, will air next Friday, (September 17th) as part of Culture Night. CÚRAM’s Science Waves project is a series of science radio shows and podcasts made by children for children, in partnership with Foróige and NUI Galway’s Alternative Radio Station, FLIRT FM and with input from researchers at CÚRAM and NUI Galway. The first episode will air at 11 am on 101.3FM, FLIRT FM. Science Waves was awarded funding through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme in 2021. The Discover Programme funds projects dedicated to inspiring and empowering members of the public in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. “The children have worked with CÚRAM researchers and other contributors to co-create a series of five radio shows since returning to the classroom in March this year” explains Andrea Fitzpatrick, project lead. “The themes chosen for the podcasts include the brain, heart health, diabetes and sugar and the immune system. There is a big emphasis on creating questions and explanations using ‘everyday’ and accessible language and we are excited for the first of a series of these podcasts to air this week.” “The aim is to create content which is accessible to everyone and gives clear information about science. The radio shows will broadcast later this year on the NUI Galway student radio station, Flirt FM, and will also be released through the CRAOL network of community radio stations” she says. ‘It has been a significant achievement for all involved to get the podcasts produced, given the challenges the children, teachers and project team have faced this year, and we have been delighted by the way these children have taken the subject matter and made it their own. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the project team, the teachers, group leaders and guest contributors who gave their time to work with the children to make this project happen” said Prof Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM. Other researchers and contributors who have given generously of their time include Professor Sean Dineen, Consultant Endocrinologist and Senior Lecturer in Medicine at NUI Galway, Dr Eilís Dowd, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, NUI Galway and President of Neuroscience Ireland, Dr Robert McEvoy, Specialist Registrar, Diabetes and Endocrinology, CÚRAM researchers Liam Fitzgerald, Gillian Murphy, Daniela Costa, Yagmur Bozkurt and Dr Sarah Gundy, Aisling Harris, a dietician with CROÍ, the West of Ireland Heart and Stroke Charity, and YAP member, Síofra Kelleher. The students also worked with local rapper and producer, Touché, to create a rap about the brain which is also included in the episode. The project team includes creative producer Alice McDowell and technical producer Alan Meaney who have assisted the children in every step of the project from initial research through preproduction and postproduction. In light of the current COVID health crisis, production has been a combination of remote and in-person. The project is also supported by Flirt FM at NUI Galway. Each episode is 30 minutes long, with the first episode focusing on the brain model produced with children from Educate Together Primary School in Newcastle school. Special guests on this episode are Dr Eilis Dowd, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at NUI Galway and former President of Neuroscience Ireland, and CÚRAM researchers, Daniela Costa and Yagmur Bozkurt. Further episodes have been created with Scoil Croí Íosa, (Presentation Primary School), St. Pats Primary School in Galway City and Galway based Foróige groups supported by Tusla. Listen to the first episode of Science Waves, called the Brain, which will be broadcast on NUI Galway’s Alternative Radio Station, FLIRT FM, 101.3FM, at 11 am on September 17th. All episodes will be made available after broadcast on the CÚRAM public engagement website www.curamdevicesengage.ie.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Implantable stimulator device combines with body power to treat disease, damage and sports injury Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, have shown how the simple act of walking can power an implantable stimulator device to speed up treatment of musculoskeletal diseases. The results of have been published in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials. The research establishes the engineering foundations for a new range of stimulator devices that enable control of musculoskeletal tissue regeneration to treat tendon damage and disease and sports injuries, without the use of drugs or external stimulation. Lead researcher on the study, CÚRAM Investigator Dr Manus Biggs, said: “One of the most exciting parts of our study is that these implantable devices may be tailored to individual patients or disorders and may show promise in accelerating the repair of sport-related tendon injuries, particularly in athletes.” The study investigated whether electrical therapy, coupled with exercise, would show promise in treating tendon disease or ruptures. It showed that tendon cell function and repair can be controlled through electrical stimulation from an implantable device which is powered by body movement. Dr Marc Fernandez, who carried out the principal research of the study at CÚRAM, said: “Successful treatment of tendon damage and disease represents a critical medical challenge. “Our discovery shows that an electrical charge is produced in the treatment target area - the damaged or injured tendon - when the implanted device is stretched during walking. The potential gamechanger here is like a power switch in a cell - the electrical stimulus turns on tendon-specific regenerative processes in the damaged tendon.” The stimulator device uses a fabric like mesh - known as a piezoelectric material - that produces electricity when stretched or put under mechanical pressure. It is made using a scaffold of nano-fibres which are one-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair Dr Fernandez added: “We presented an implantable, electrically active device capable of controlling tendon regeneration and healing. Importantly, our research improved the therapeutic performance of the device by enhancing its structure, piezoelectric characteristics, and biological compatibility. “We also evaluated the individual influence of mechanical, structural, and electrical cues on tendon cell function and were able to show that bioelectric cues contribute significantly in promoting tendon repair.” Dr Biggs added: “This unique strategy of combining a device which is powered through body-movement and which can induce accelerated tendon healing is expected to significantly impact the field of regenerative devices, specifically in the area of sports or trauma associated injuries. “These devices are cost-effective, relatively easy to implant and may pave the way for a whole new class of regenerative electrical therapies.” The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland and in particular the SFI-BBSRC Partnership programme. Read the full study in Advanced Materials here: https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202008788 CÚRAM’s research focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. The recent announcement of a €46million reinvestment in CÚRAM by Science Foundation Ireland in February 2021, demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM's work.

Monday, 30 August 2021

CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway is now enrolling for its Teachers in Residence Programme for the sixth year, with applications being accepted up to Friday, 24 September 2021. The programme, which will be taking place online, has places available for five primary and five secondary school teachers and will run from October 2021 over ten evenings until March 2022. The online sessions will be held twice a month, from 7-8pm. Teachers will receive 10 ECTS through NUI Galway's Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, fully funded by CÚRAM. As part of the programme, teachers will have the opportunity to develop a science-inspired mural for their school. During the residency, teachers will speak directly with world-leading researchers to learn about medical device research at CÚRAM to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses. Teachers from all disciplines are invited to participate, to support and encourage multidisciplinary approaches to teaching science. Participants will learn about and receive resources for the classroom including science engagement activities, science capital teaching approaches, and lesson plan kits developed by teachers for teachers, that are linked with the primary and junior cycle science curricula. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director at CÚRAM, said: "We are delighted with the innovation and creativity shown by the primary and secondary teachers who have participated in this programme. If we can continue to support and inspire our teachers by providing access to current, cutting edge Irish research and work with them to incorporate it into classroom activities, our hope is that they, in turn, can inspire their students for years to come. We also want to provide practical support through resources that can be used in classrooms and online.” Teachers will work directly with CÚRAM researchers to develop high-quality content for the classroom that is relevant, engaging, and practical to use. The material generated during the residency will be shared with all participants and their schools. Lesson plan kits developed from previous years' teachers, including Irish language versions, can be downloaded at https://curamdevicesengage.ie/teachers-in-residence/. CÚRAM is a partner in the Department of Education and Skills' Junior Cycle for Teachers STE(A)M in Junior Cycle initiative. The goal of the initiative is to provide Professional Learning Experiences for Junior Cycle teachers that allow for interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges in subject-specific and cross-curricular contexts. To apply for a place in the Teachers in Residence Programme or to find out more, please contact sarah.gundy@nuigalway.ie.

Monday, 28 June 2021

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. For media please contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 087 6601592. About CÚRAM CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, is developing the next generation of medical devices and training a highly skilled workforce. Set up in 2015, CÚRAM is now a world-leading Irish Medical Device R&D Centre based out of NUI Galway. While led by the National University of Ireland Galway, CÚRAM’s partner institutes include University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin City University, Athlone Institute of Technology and National Institute Bioprocessing Research and Training. The Centre is focused on developing biomedical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. They also partner with local small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. The Centre has seen numerous scientific breakthroughs, as researchers focus on improving the quality of life for patients living with long-term chronic conditions such as diabetes, back pain, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Our researchers focus on engineering approaches for repair and remodelling, improved drug delivery solutions and superior medical implant designs to treat chronic diseases. CÚRAM was created because of the need for clinicians, industry, and researchers to collaborate in developing medical devices that will create jobs and develop a global hub for MedTech. Follow us @CURAMdevices or visit www.curamdevices.ie or follow on social media @CURAMdevices.  About Galway Film Centre Founded in 1989, Galway Film Centre (GFC) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the development of film, TV, animation and games as an artistic medium in the West of Ireland. To this end, we support creative talent, industry progression and community through mentoring, education, workshops, conferences and information. For more information visit www.galwayfilmcentre.ie or follow on social media @galwayfilmcentre.

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.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Students at St. Nicholas' Parochial School in Galway will imagine, design and create new medical devices inspired from marine life that may aid human health CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Atlantaquaria have been delivering engaging virtual workshops with St. Nicholas’ Parochial School in Galway, together with teaching artist Alison Mac Cormaic. The “Tiny Sea Life, Big Cures” project will culminate in the creation of a large-scale mural on the school building that will be completed this summer. An understanding of the role of marine life in human health is at the heart of the workshops. Educators are discussing marine life in Ireland and the importance of conservation from Galway Atlantaquaria, while CÚRAM researchers are teaching students about marine sources of biomaterials and how they can heal the body. Inspired by the scientific material investigated from the aquarium and CÚRAM, artist Alison Mac Cormaic will teach the students how to imagine, design and create models for devices that may aid human health and recovery. In addition, guest Lecturer Enda O’ Dowd will introduce the Medical Device Design course that he coordinates in the National College of Art and Design Dublin (NCAD). Teaching artist Alison Mac Cormaic explains: “We designed the workshops to encourage maximum creative input from the 5th and 6th class students at St. Nicholas’ Parochial School. In the art section of the workshops, they draw for design, using their imaginations to think like medical device designers and develop different ideas. Their drawing and design skills are used to imagine brand new products that have never been designed before - who knows where all this creativity might lead!” Alison will create a permanent mural on the outer school wall incorporating students’ designs. Through this cross-curricular co-creation process, students will become aware of their locality and its link to scientific achievements, conservation, and the role of the artist and scientist in our community. Project collaborator Dr Nóirín Burke from Galway Atlantaquaria, says: “The research and innovation happening in CÚRAM is truly fascinating. Working with everyone in this programme, exploring ways in which our health can benefit from the ocean, and considering our role in the ocean’s future has been a pleasure. This is also of particular interest now as we begin the UNESCO Decade of the Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. We are also super excited about seeing the student’s final art piece, which will help share this project with the wider community, through families and the public.” Ms Deirdre Grace, 5th and 6th class teacher at St. Nicholas’ Parochial School, says: “This project has been a real learning experience for the students, they are highly engaged and motivated to learn more about the topics, and they are thoroughly enjoying the experience.” CÚRAM is focused on creating devices that help patients living with chronic illness and runs a very active and varied public engagement programme called 'Breaking Barriers' that aims to engage artists, filmmakers, teachers and the general public in creating new ways of accessing scientific knowledge and research.  Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, said: "We are always looking for ways for our researchers and members of the public to collaborate and create a better understanding and awareness of our research and its importance for society. This collaboration with the National Aquarium, National College of Art and Design Dublin, Alison Mac Cormaic and the wonderful staff and students of St Nicholas’ Parochial School has been hugely successful and is something we will be building on in the future and hoping to replicate with numerous schools around the country." For more inforamtion about CÚRAM visit: www.curamdevices.ie.

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/

Thursday, 1 April 2021

CÚRAM project one of three NUI Galway based programmes funded to engage more than 385,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2021 Three NUI Galway public engagement and education outreach initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €339,000 through Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme. It will fund projects dedicated to inspiring and empowering over 385,000 members of the public in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. The funding awards were announced by Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, as part of a national investment of €5.2 million through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme. NUI Galway Funded Projects CÚRAM ‘Science Waves' Project (€43,719 funding award) CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices will run an education and public engagement programme that aims to raise awareness of its research and increase understanding of preventative behaviours which can reduce the incidence of chronic illness.  The current Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for members of the public to better understand science and its impact on their lives. More than ever, there is a greater need for clear science communication. However, the pandemic has exposed the existing divide amongst children who have access to learning material online and those who don't. CÚRAM’s Science Waves project led by Andrea Fitzpatrick, aims to create content which is accessible to everyone and gives clear information about science. Science Waves is a series of six science radio shows co-created by children and scientists for children. CÚRAM will work with children from underrepresented communities to create accessible, engaging, and fun radio shows, which are aimed at children aged 10–12 years old. The radio shows will broadcast later this year on the NUI Galway student radio station, Flirt FM, and will also be released through the CRAOL network of community radio stations. See www.curamdevices.com. Cell EXPLORERS (€267, 636 funding award) Cell EXPLORERS is a successful science education and public engagement programme locally delivering educational science outreach activities to school children and the Irish public. Led by Dr Muriel Grenon, College of Science and Engineering, the programme has the dual benefit of engaging children and the public, while developing graduate student and researchers’ public engagement skills in a way and at a scale that is unique in Ireland. It has reached more than 38,500 members of the public and involved more than 2,250 team members since its creation in 2012. In 2021 and 2022, the programme will run school visits and tailored activities nationally, through its network of 13 teams based in 15 institutes of technology and universities. New partnerships will include the Galway STEAM Project (a joint TUSLA and Foróige project) to provide better reach to those who do not typically engage with STEM.  The programme‘s research shows that many children (aged 10-12 years) have narrow and stereotypical views of what a scientist does and have had few opportunities to meet a scientist. Drawing from these findings and others Cell EXPLORERS will revise both its activities and practices by applying the Science Capital Teaching Approach, a specific way of teaching that employs social justice methods designed to both broaden young peoples’ views of what it means to be a scientist, and widen participation in Science. See www.cellexplorers.com. ReelLIFE SCIENCE (€27,987 funding award) ReelLIFE SCIENCE is a nationwide science video competition, which encourages young people and the general public to discover more about STEM and its impact on individuals, society and the environment, while developing their creativity, communication and digital skills. Young people from schools and youth organisations are challenged to research a STEM topic and communicate it to the public through an engaging and educational three-minute video. Led by Dr Enda O’Connell, College of Science and Engineering, ReelLIFE SCIENCE has enabled more than 16,000 young people from 500 schools and youth organisations all over the country, to engage with STEM in a novel way. In 2021, ReelLIFE SCIENCE will continue to engage students and teachers in primary and secondary schools across Ireland, while also specifically targeting, training and empowering youth workers and leaders in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon youth organisations.  The deadline for submitting this year’s three-minute video entries is Friday, 15 October with the best videos awarded €1,000 and will be screened for the public at the Galway Science and Technology Festival in NUI Galway. See www.reellifescience.com. Professor Jim Livesey, Vice President for Research and Innovation at NUI Galway, said: “Outreach and public engagement are integral to research at NUI Galway. Engagement is a feature of all stages of research, and we value the insight we derive into the pressing scientific and social questions from our partners. Openness is one of our core strategic values. Open research is a proven path to inspire young minds to take on the challenges posed by the sciences and to creatively approach the evident social issues of the moment. These excellent and innovative programmes will create new energy, inspire young people to aspire to careers in the sciences, and broadcast the standards of excellence the community expects of us. I thank Science Foundation Ireland for their support of these programmes and look forward to the events and activities that are planned.” Speaking about the announcement Minister Harris, said: “I am delighted to announce the 49 projects that will receive funding through the SFI Discover Programme. As we continue to live through the Covid-19 pandemic, we are more conscious than ever of the importance of supporting the public to have access to and to understand the issues that impact our collective future, and the role science and technology can play in providing solutions. These projects will play a role in starting conversations about the role of STEM in society and inspiring our young people to explore careers in these areas. I wish all the recipients every success in the roll out of their projects.” Science Foundation Ireland has invested in public engagement projects through the Discover Programme since 2013. This year’s funded initiatives are estimated to reach a wide audience of people in STEM Topic, while 49 diverse initiatives will be supported by this year’s programme, with successful awardees being carefully selected through international peer-review. -Ends-

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

CARE CONNECT project aims to build on the successful 'ICU FamilyLink' platform in the absence of healthcare face-to-face support during the pandemic Children in Paediatrics have already nicknamed the social robot "SuperMario!" Platform aims to provide support to critical care settings, end-of-life situations, and vulnerable patients that rely on family for support Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, supported by global technology company, Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration programme, are launching the CARE CONNECT project that will see social robot 'MARIO', used alongside a video-conferencing platform to improve patient-family communications in Paediatrics. During the first wave of Covid-19, a bespoke video-conferencing platform called 'ICU FamilyLink' was successfully implemented at University Hospital Galway to connect patients in critical care to their families. The CARE CONNECT project aims to build on this successful pilot and extend beyond the Intensive Care Unit to other health care settings impacted by Covid-19 while also looking to the future use of telemedicine in Ireland post-pandemic. Existing technology, including teleconferencing platforms, social robots, and digital tools, have been rapidly adopted since Covid-19. Due to Covid-19, visiting restrictions were introduced in healthcare settings worldwide. These pandemic-related restrictions create a problem as regular face-to-face communication is severely impacted. This problem will likely last for months, even years, due to the unpredictable nature of Covid-19. While restrictions may fluctuate, physical visiting will probably be limited in comparison to pre-pandemic times. Therefore, the need to create effective alternative modes of communication across multiple healthcare settings is immediate, urgent, and, unfortunately, a long-term need. Professor Derek O'Keeffe, CÚRAM Investigator and project lead at NUI Galway explains: "The Covid-19 pandemic has restricted patient's families from visiting them in hospital and healthcare settings and therefore isolating them from their loved ones. Communication is a vital part of providing medical care and addressing patients' biopsychosocial needs and their families. This is particularly important in critical care settings, end-of-life situations, and vulnerable patients who rely on family support. It is widely accepted in clinical care that effective communication is key to reducing the psychological burden for patients and their families and patients. "This CARE CONNECT project also builds on our NUI Galway experience in healthcare robotics using the MARIO platform, which was an EU funded project led by my collaborator Professor Dympna Casey. Our first study will be using social robot MARIO with our video-conferencing platform to improve patient-family communications in Paediatrics, where the children have already nicknamed him "SuperMario"! We will examine the efficacy of using our system to remotely educate parents and family members about the management of newly diagnosed acute medical conditions, such as Type 1 Diabetes." Dr Aoife Murray, clinician-researcher and a NUI Galway BioInnovate Ireland alumna, who was part of the ICU FamilyLink core team, says: "The key to the successful implementation of telemedicine and digital solutions is tailoring the solution to meet patient's and healthcare provider's needs. The Medtech and Technology ecosystem in Galway and longstanding relationships with University Hospital Galway create the perfect environment to develop and test technology to ensure it is effective and appropriate for a healthcare setting." Shane Heraty, Cisco Country Manager, Ireland and Scotland, said: "Helping people remain connected throughout this unprecedented time, and in these challenging circumstances, is something that we are incredibly proud of. This project and our partnership with CÚRAM brings the perfect blend of expertise together to enable us to have a direct and significant impact on patient wellbeing. "We are committed to building a digital and inclusive society, and having successfully implemented the ICU FamilyLink project at the start of the pandemic, we welcome the opportunity to build on it to bring the platform to a broader patient group." For more information on CÚRAM visit www.curamdevices.ie or Follow on Twitter @CURAMdevices.  -Ends-   For Press contact Gwen O'Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 087 6601592. Photo AMM-210217-1688.jpg: Social robot 'MARIO' pictured with the CARE CONNECT project team from l-r: Dr Aoife Murray, CÚRAM at NUI Galway, Professor Derek O'Keeffe, CÚRAM at NUI Galway, Mr Frank Kirrane, University Hospital Galway, and Mr Hemendra Worlikar and  Mr Vijay Vadhiraj, CÚRAM at NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon Photo CARE CONNECT.jpg: Social robot 'MARIO' pictured with the CARE CONNECT project team from l-r: Dr Aoife Murray, CÚRAM at NUI Galway, Professor Derek O'Keeffe, CÚRAM at NUI Galway, Mr Frank Kirrane, University Hospital Galway, and Mr Hemendra Worlikar and  Mr Vijay Vadhiraj, CURAM at NUI Galway. Photo: Aengus McMahon   Notes to Editor About CÚRAM CÚRAM's strategic mission is to establish a world-leading Irish Medical Device Research and Development Centre in the development of diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. CÚRAM is also engaging patients and their families in the use of medical devices and technologies that can impact their quality of life. By partnering with local Small and Medium Enterprises and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland. The recent announcement of over €46M in funding for CÚRAM demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to reinvesting in the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of strong academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM's work. About The HIVE Lab The Health Innovation Via Engineering (HIVE) Lab at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research NUI Galway was established in 2019 (@HIVE_Lab). It aims to deliver novel health solutions through interdisciplinary collaboration. It is led by Professor Derek O'Keeffe (@Physicianeer), a dual-trained Physician/Engineer whose research work encompasses digital health and clinical care domains. It recently launched the world's first delivery of insulin by drone and several technological innovations during the first wave of COVID19. About Cisco Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide technology leader that has been making the Internet work since 1984. Our people, products, and partners help society securely connect and seize tomorrow's digital opportunity today. Since 2015, Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program has been developing trusted relationships worldwide. Now active in 34 countries, CDA projects align with a nation's priorities and bring digital solutions to unique societal challenges. By mixing network and technology expertise with partnerships based on trust and close collaboration, CDA helps countries stimulate economic growth and create an inclusive digital future that leaves no one behind. For more information about Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration programme, visit: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/about/country-digital-acceleration.html.  

Friday, 19 March 2021

CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway, has announced two new tripartite partnerships as part of the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership Programme. These partnerships will develop new technologies to treat cardiovascular disease and create new mechanisms for large-scale transport of high-quality therapeutic cells. The US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership is a unique initiative involving funding agencies across three jurisdictions: the United States, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, with the goal of increasing collaborative Research and Development amongst researchers and industry across the three jurisdictions. This collaboration aims to generate valuable discoveries and innovations that are transferable to the marketplace or lead to enhancements in health, disease prevention, or healthcare. Dr Siobhan Roche, Director of Science for the Economy at SFI, said: "I am delighted to announce these two new partnerships involving CÚRAM. Our national SFI Research Centre network puts Ireland in a firm position to meet and respond to global challenges. International collaborations between leading research institutes such as these can accelerate innovation and create valuable global healthcare advances. We look forward to sharing their successes." The first partnership is the Cardiac Organoid Systems Partnership, driven by a shared understanding of the fundamental need to develop regenerative medicine technologies to treat cardiovascular disease. The primary approach of cardiac tissue engineering is to create cardiac grafts that can be efficiently implanted, regenerating the tissue and giving rise to a fully functional heart without causing side effects. Recently, there has been considerable effort to develop functional scaffolds that are designed for cardiac repair. These scaffolds help recreate or mimic the body's environment to allow cells embedded in the scaffolds to reach their full biological potential. Beyond developing engineered scaffolds for repairing cardiac tissue, the ability to scale-up the fabrication of these scaffolds is critical to their successful translation into everyday clinical practice. Professor David Bishop, Director of the CELL-MET ERC at Boston University, said: "The creation of functional engineered cardiac tissue with electromechanical properties that mimic the human heart on a scalable platform has the potential to transform the treatment of chronic heart disease. The fabrication of scaffolds is an interdisciplinary challenge combining chemical, biological, and physical properties." Professor Gerard O'Connor, School of Physics, NUI Galway, explains: "Of all of the causes of cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease remains a major cause of death worldwide. Cardiac tissue and cells damaged during a heart attack, for instance, cannot regenerate and are usually replaced by fibrotic scar tissue, which means that the only option for patients with end-stage heart disease is whole heart transplantation. Tissue engineering holds enormous promise for restoring functionality in these scarred regions of the damaged heart." The Cardiac Organoid Systems Partnership is a collaboration between the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Centre (ERC) for Cellular Metamaterials (CELL-MET), headquartered at Boston University, CÚRAM the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, and the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (WWIEM) at Queens University Belfast. The Global Cell Manufacturing and Delivery Partnership is the second new collaboration for CÚRAM under the US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership Programme. For this three-year project, CÚRAM is collaborating with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Centre (ERC) for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT), headquartered at Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (WWIEM) at Queens University Belfast. The aim of this research team's partnership is to use their combined expertise in biomaterials, characterisation and production of clinically-relevant cell types, to develop the technology to allow for the transport of high-quality, therapeutic cells at room or ambient temperature. The partners will scale-up, model and test a hydrogel-based system and make it clinical trial-ready. Professor Garry Duffy, CÚRAM project lead and Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine, NUI Galway, said: "Cell therapies represent the next generation of therapeutic products that have the potential to regenerate damaged or degenerating tissues and treat a broad range of chronic illnesses. One of the global challenges that need to be resolved in order to make these therapies broadly available is the challenge of how to transport and distribute these cells. The key aim of this partnership is to develop a system that will allow us to transport cells for several days in ambient conditions, eliminating the need for cryopreservation for transport." Cryopreservation, which is currently required to transport cells, can negatively affect cell potency. Ultimately this partnership aims to solve a critical challenge of transportation and distribution to improve access to and reduce the cost of these therapies globally. Professor Krishnendu Roy, Director of the NSF ERC, Georgia Institute of Technology, said: "This partnership builds on CMaT and CÚRAM’s complementary expertise and brings together existing industry and academic networks and infrastructure to address a significant unmet need in cell therapy manufacturing and supply-chain. Low-cost, ambient temperature transport of cellular therapies with minimal cold-chain requirement is a global grand-challenge, and by coming together under this partnership, we hope to develop the technical and regulatory knowledge required to address it and improve quality of life for patients with chronic illness worldwide." This unique partnership's broader implications will be the stimulation of an innovation network between the US, Ireland, and the UK in cell manufacturing and cell therapies transport. This project will provide the groundwork for the realisation of greater access to cell therapies and nurture a climate of innovation and creativity in research-led, clinically informed, and industry influenced problem-solving for cell manufacturing. -Ends- For Press contact Gwen O'Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 087 6601952. Photo C2C Partnership.jpg: Pictured l-r: Professor Gerard O'Connor, School of Physics, NUI Galway and Professor Garry Duffy, CÚRAM and Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine, NUI Galway. Photo: NUI Galway   Notes to Editor More about the Cardiac Organoid Systems Partnership This interdisciplinary research team will bring together experts in biomaterials, tissue engineering, nanofabrication and stem cell reprogramming from CELL-MET at Boston University, CÚRAM and WWIEM at Queens University Belfast, will enable breakthrough research in understanding and controlling the directed assembly of cardiac tissue. Professor David Bishop, Director of the CELL-MET ERC at Boston University, will be the project's Principal Investigator, Professor Gerard O'Connor from CÚRAM and Andriana Margariti, Professor of Vascular and Regenerative Medicine at Queen's University Belfast, will be project co-Principal Investigators with Professor Alice White providing support to Professor Bishop and leading the direct laser writing aspects of the project at Boston University. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, will provide biomaterials support to the project with Dr Nazar Farid, leading the materials processing programme using advanced laser technology at CÚRAM. More about the Global Cell Manufacturing Partnership Project leads at each institute include Professor Krishnendu Roy, Director, NSF ERC /n CMaT and Johanna Temenoff, Deputy Director of CMaT at Georgia Institute of *-chnology, Garry Duffy, Professor of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine and CÚRAM Funded Investigator at NUI Galway and Professor Reinhold Medina, WWIEM, Queens University Belfast.

Monday, 15 March 2021

CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has announced a new research partnership with US-based biotechnology company, Factor Bioscience Inc., to develop and test a new cell therapy for people with severe COVID-19 infections and other serious respiratory illness.  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in resurgent waves globally, and effective therapies are urgently needed. Most people who die from COVID-19 die of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This devastating inflammatory condition causes the lungs to fill with immune cells and fluid, ultimately making oxygen transfer to the blood impossible. "In recent years, stem cells have been rapidly advanced to testing in clinical trials as a way of treating ARDS caused by, for example, a bacterial infection. However, because of the way these stem cells are prepared from adult human tissues and because there is a limit to the volume of cells that we can produce, the consistency of these cell products and the availability of large doses has always remained a challenge until now" explains CÚRAM Investigator and project lead, Prof John Laffey.   "Our partners, Factor Bioscience, a long-time collaborator of CÚRAM, has developed a novel type of stem cell with almost unlimited production potential. As part of this project, these stem cells will be produced at the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI), at NUI Galway, and then tested in CÚRAM laboratories. Ultimately we hope to bring this exciting new cell therapy to a clinical trial for severe cases of COVID-19 and other ARDS patients within the next year." Matt Angel, co-founder and CEO of Factor Bioscience, leads the development of their core technologies. "Building clinical and academic partnerships like this one is critical to our mission. We have an excellent relationship with CÚRAM, and this project brings the perfect blend of expertise together enabling us to have a direct and significant impact on patient health. Factor Bioscience has developed a fast, highly-efficient method for reprogramming somatic cells to a pluripotent stem-cell state, a key invention now recognized by several patents. This technology, which enables the production of patient-specific cells for transplantation, has wide-ranging applications in personalized regenerative medicine." said Dr Angel. Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, welcomed the partnership, saying: "The SFI Research Centres programme positions Ireland as a global leader in innovative scientific research. Investment in centres like CÚRAM has ensured that Ireland is well positioned to respond to the COVID-19 challenge with agility and speed. This sector will be greatly strengthened by the level of cooperation and new partnerships that have been built as a result." The Centre for Cell Manufacturing  at NUI Galway is the only licensed cell manufacturing site in Ireland. Within this custom-built centre, the CCMI team produce stem cell products that are used in human clinical trials designed to test their effectiveness in a range of life-limiting medical conditions. Prof Frank Barry, a collaborator on the project at the CCMI, with over 25 years of experience in cell therapy, says, "This project is a clear example of our commitment to addressing the world's major health challenges by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments."  The current project is CÚRAM’s second collaboration with Factor Bioscience Inc. 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 €46M 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 For Press contact Gwen O'Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, National University of Ireland Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or +353 87 6601592. About CÚRAM CÚRAM is the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices,based at NUI Galway. It is a national centre bringing together experts from Ireland's leading universities and research institutes. Our academic partners led by the National University of Ireland Galway includes University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, The Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and Clinical Research Development Ireland. For more information, visit www.curamdevices.ie. Find CÚRAM on Twitter, @CURAMdevices. About Factor Bioscience Factor Bioscience is a privately held biotechnology company that develops mRNA, cell-reprogramming, and gene-editing technologies to advance the study and treatment of disease. Factor collaborates with academic and industrial partners to develop therapeutic products based on its technologies. For more information, visit www.factorbio.com.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Three CÚRAM PhD graduates; Paolo Contessotto, Juhi Samal and Mark Fernandez, have been awarded the Julia Polak European Doctorate Award 2021 of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) and will be presented with their awards at the General Assembly of the next ESB conference to be held from 5-9 September 2021 in Porto. They are the latest CÚRAM graduates to receive this acknowledgement, following in the footsteps of six earlier CÚRAM alumni. The award is given by the ESB council and presented annually at the conference event. Candidates nominated for the award needed to demonstrate that they have received high standard research education and training at a European level in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering and that they are also able to produce scientific results deserving recognition by being published and accepted in high-quality journals and conferences. To this end, candidates will have had to spend at least one month of research work in a country outside the country of their home institution, have produced at least two peer-reviewed international publications as the first author and have participated at least twice at an international scientific meeting as presenting author, during their PhD. Dr Contessotto's PhD research focused on developing an injectable hydrogel to repair the heart muscle after a heart attack. His research has recently been published in the prestigious Science Translational Medicine Journal and has received extensive media coverage. Dr Samal's research focused on investigating several biomaterial constructs for therapeutic delivery and enhanced graft survival in the brain, which resulted in three research publications and grant funding success. Both were supervised by Prof Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM. Dr Manus Biggs supervised Dr Fernandez's doctoral research that focussed on developing a synthetic fibrous scaffold to promote tendon repair. The technology developed was specifically designed to address the biological, mechanical and adhesions issues in rotator cuff tendon repair and used electrospinning to generate a highly structured and porous scaffold made from an inert synthetic polymer. "It is very gratifying for any researcher to have their work recognised in this way, and I'm extremely proud that CÚRAM graduates continue to be acknowledged for the quality of their training and research outputs. All of our researchers put extraordinary amounts of energy, time and effort into their work, and I'd like to congratulate Paolo, Juhi and Mark on this award which they richly deserve," said Prof Pandit. Since its establishment in 1976, the ESB conference has been a significant event for the biomaterials science community. ESB 2021 will once again bring together all major disciplines of biomaterials science and enabling participants to network with colleagues, establish new collaborations, exchange knowledge, and discuss recent advances in emerging biomaterials-related topics. CÚRAM's research focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. The recent announcement of a €46M reinvestment in CÚRAM by Science Foundation Ireland in February 2021 demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations and the education and training of high-quality graduates for the sector. For more information, follow us on Twitter @CURAMdevices or visit www.curamdevices.ie

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Call for researchers, at undergraduate or early postgraduate level, to apply for the first All-Ireland MS Research Network Research Summer Scholarships Researchers in NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast and RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences have launched the All-Ireland MS Research Network today (24 February 2021). The All-Ireland MS Research Network will join together the largest number of scientists, clinicians, healthcare professionals and people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to accelerate collaborative research across the island of Ireland. Going from the patient to the bench and bringing discovery research forward to the patient, the network holds potential to limit the progression of multiple sclerosis, to train future generations of researchers and to contribute to global multiple sclerosis research. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, immune-mediated condition of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and optic nerve). In multiple sclerosis, myelin damage results in a range of symptoms including impairment of mobility and vision as well as cognitive difficulties and severe fatigue. As one of the most common causes of neurological disability in young people, multiple sclerosis is increasing in incidence and prevalence around the world. Currently, there are approximately 13,500 people on the island of Ireland living with multiple sclerosis (4,500 in Northern Ireland and 9,000 in the Republic of Ireland). The goals of the All-Ireland MS Research Network are to: Deliver cutting-edge research in multiple sclerosis that focuses on limiting disease progression Train the next generation of leaders in multiple sclerosis research Communicate multiple sclerosis research activities and discoveries to the public, research community and key stakeholders Collaborate on multiple sclerosis research programmes nationally and internationally to achieve the mission of the network Founding investigators Professor Denise Fitzgerald, Dr Alerie Guzman de la Fuente and Dr Yvonne Dombrowski (Queen's University Belfast), Dr Claire McCoy (RCSI) and Dr Una FitzGerald and Dr Jill McMahon (NUI Galway), reached out to dozens of multi-disciplinary multiple sclerosis researchers across the island of Ireland, North and South. Network members are drawn from hospitals, multiple sclerosis day-care centres, Universities, and from those who have multiple sclerosis. Dr Una Fitzgerald, Biomedical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “The founding members have worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to define the All-Ireland MS Research Networks's goals, aspirations and research mission. We firmly believe that closer collaborations and sharing of ideas and expertise across the network will lead to exciting discoveries that better explain multiple sclerosis pathology and symptoms, and that could be the basis of new approaches to MS disease management. The network will facilitate excellence in new multiple sclerosis research discoveries that might otherwise not happen.” Dr Chris McGuigan, consultant neurologist, St. Vincent’s University Hospital, UCD Clinical Professor, and a network participant, said: “The formation of All-Ireland MS Research Network is an exciting new venture that will promote and accelerate  research into multiple sclerosis on the island of Ireland, enhancing our reputation for research excellence worldwide. It will provide coordinated information on developments in multiple sclerosis research nationally including the latest laboratory research outputs and novel technical advances. The network is multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-community, and will partner with global collaborators to ensure continued opportunities to participate in the latest bench-to-bedside studies to improve care for people living with multiple sclerosis and inspire, engage and train a new generation of clinical and academic researchers in Ireland.” Alexis Donnelly, has lived with progressive multiple sclerosis for nearly 30 years, and is excited by the formation of All-Ireland MS Research Network. “This network will facilitate multiple sclerosis researchers throughout the island to cooperate across institutional and disciplinary boundaries, linking them not only with each other but with international colleagues and allowing fresh results and insights to flow back and forth. This can only accelerate the pace of research into progressive multiple sclerosis both nationally and internationally. “I am reminded of the story of Professor Alan Thompson, Professor of Neurology in University College London and chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Progressive MS Alliance, of which I am a member. Alan's interest in progressive multiple sclerosis was piqued initially by the discovery, in the basement of a Dublin Hospital, of an empty room labeled ‘MS research’. This network promises to replace that empty room with a vibrant community of multiple sclerosis researchers. It will hasten the day when no more people have to bear the burdens of progressive multiple sclerosis. I am also impressed by the equal status that people with multiple sclerosis themselves will enjoy in that effort. Our own experiences and perspectives will enrich this initiative and the focus of its work.” MS Research Summer Scholarships Coinciding with the launch, the network is opening a call for budding multiple sclerosis researchers, at undergraduate or early postgraduate level, to apply for the first All-Ireland MS Research Network Research Summer Scholarships. Following a generous donation from Eamonn Haughton and Declan Smith, of Chemical Systems Control Ireland, the first scholarship will be awarded in 2021 to a successful candidate who is considering a multiple sclerosis-focused research career. Eamonn Haughton, Chemical Systems Control Ireland, said: “New therapies for multiple sclerosis will be built on state-of-the-art research. Funded junior researchers will spend time in research groups based in at least two of the participating organisations. It is hoped that the seeds sewn by this research will help to bring multiple sclerosis treatments to the next level.” For more information visit www.aims-rn.org and for more details about the scholarship call see www.aims-rn.org/funding or follow on Twitter @aims_rn. -Ends-

Friday, 19 February 2021

Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, and BIOFORGE Lab, at the University of Valladolid in Spain, have developed an injectable hydrogel that could help repair and prevent further damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack event. The results of their research have just been published in the prestigious journal Science Translational Medicine. Myocardial infarction or heart disease is a leading cause of death due to the irreversible damage caused to the heart muscle (cardiac tissue) during a heart attack. The regeneration of cardiac tissue is minimal so that the damage caused cannot be repaired by itself. Current treatments lack an effective method to prevent death and subsequent cardiac tissue repair following a heart attack. "This project involved the development and testing of an elastin-based hydrogel derived from a naturally occurring biomaterial in the human body", explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM and project lead. The hydrogel is based on a family of unique biomaterials, called elastin-like recombinamers, that BIOFORGE-UVa had developed in the search for advanced hydrogels for regenerative medicine. "The hydrogel was developed to mimic the environment around the heart following an infarction and then customised to have the ability to protect and promote regeneration of the cardiac tissue", he explains. The therapeutic effect of multiple injections of this hydrogel into the cardiac tissue was assessed during the first-ever preclinical study of its kind, demonstrating its efficacy for cardiac tissue remodelling following a heart attack. The international research team, which included researchers from Ireland, Spain, Sweden, France and Italy, were able to show that if their hydrogel was injected into the heart muscle shortly after a heart attack, it resulted in less fibrosis (scarring of the cardiac tissue) and an increase in the generation of new blood vessels in the area. They were also able to observe the rise in the preservation and survival of cardiomyocytes, a type of cell that allows the heart to beat, in the affected area. Professor Pandit added: "This project demonstrates the efficacy of a unique biomaterial-only system able to induce a positive healing effect on cardiac tissue following a heart attack event. The functional benefits obtained by the timely injection of the hydrogel supports and highlights the potential use of this treatment in the clinic. The next step will be to develop a prototype for a delivery system for the hydrogel." Professor Mark Da Costa, Cardiothoracic Surgeon and senior co-author of the study, said: "In this study, we employed a model to specifically look at a type of heart attack that has increased in incidence and is not often treated until the acute phase resolves. Scar tissue that forms after the heart attack often remodels negatively, causing future problems like heart failure. The timely injection of this hydrogel appears to change the way the heart muscle heals after a heart attack. There is a significant positive histological, biological and functional recovery of the injured heart muscle. Work is progressing now to deliver this to the sites of injury in different clinical settings and will be followed with translation into a clinical trial.” The full research team also involved John Newell, Michelle Kilcoyne, Peter Owens and Peter Dockery from NUI Galway, CÚRAM PhD graduate Paolo Contessotto, Doriana Orbanić and José C. Rodríguez-Cabello from the BIOFORGE Lab at the University of Valladolid in Spain, Chunsheng Jin and Niclas G. Karlsson from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Sandrine Chantepie and Dulce Papy-Garcia from the Laboratory Cell Growth, Tissue Repair and Regeneration at the University Paris Est, Créteil, France, and Clizia Chinello and Fulvio Magni from the University of Milano-Bicocca, Vedano al Lambro, Italy. CÚRAM's research focuses on developing diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. The recent announcement of a €46M reinvestment in CÚRAM by Science Foundation Ireland in February 2021, demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM's work. To access the full paper, visit https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/13/581/eaaz5380 -Ends- For Press contact Gwen O'Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, National University of Ireland Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or +353 87 6601592. Follow us on Twitter @CURAMdevices and visit www.curamdevices.ie

Friday, 12 February 2021

CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at National University of Ireland Galway, will present a webinar and series of panel discussions with EU policy makers and MedTech industry leaders in the European Union. The event takes place online, on Tuesday, 16 February. The webinar will bring together leading researchers from industry and academia, along with policymakers and regulators to consider a consolidated research agenda for medical devices within the context of the European Union’s Horizon Europe programme, which began in January 2021. The titled webinar 'A Research Agenda for Medical Devices in the EU' will present key recent developments in next-generation medical device technologies and their potential to impact health outcomes and improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses. It will also consider the enabling policy and the regulatory environment necessary to sustain the competitiveness of this highly innovative European sector. The webinar will be hosted by Prof Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM. High profile speakers attending the event include Sean Kelly MEP, Maria da Graça Carvalho, MEP, Prof Mark Ferguson, SFI Director General, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland and Chair of the European Innovation Council Advisory Board and Karina Angelieva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Bulgaria. The webinar will consist of eight panel sessions led by research and industry leaders across US and EU and will be attended by MEPs. The panel topics include ; Medical Device Research in Europe, Artificial Intelligence Medical Devices, Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products, Global Perspectives: Medical Devices for the Sustainable Development Goals, Regulation, Research, Data Infrastructures and Science Capacity Building for Medical Devices, Skills and Education for a Competitive Future. In advance of the webinar, CÚRAM has launched a consultation White Paper providing stakeholders with the opportunity to contribute to a medical devices research agenda for the European Union. This research agenda aims to help inform EU level decision-making, such as the implementation of Horizon Europe (the research and innovation framework programme running from 2021-2027), as well as national and regional research agendas. It will also serve as a reference document to advance partnerships and innovative collaborations to address pressing global challenges. CÚRAM aims to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing ‘smart’ medical devices and implants. It develops these devices through collaborations with industry partners and hospital groups to enable their rapid translation to clinics, positioning Ireland as the driver in developing medical device technologies that will provide affordable transformative solutions for chronic diseases. CÚRAM’s researchers are designing and manufacturing implants to respond to the body’s environment and delivering therapeutic agents exactly where they are needed. CÚRAM’s outputs will particularly benefit patients with chronic ailments such as heart disease, wound healing, diabetes and musculoskeletal diseases. For full agenda and speakers details, visit: https://cordis.europa.eu/event/id/148320-a-research-agenda-for-medical-devices-in-the-eu -Ends- For Press contact Gwen O'Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, National University of Ireland Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or +353 87 6601592. For more information about the webinar contact Claire Riordan, CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie.

Monday, 1 February 2021

CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway has received a significant funding award of €46,372,380 from Science Foundation Ireland. The investment was announced today (1 February 2021) by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD.     150 projects to date completed by CÚRAM, resulting in 43 patent applications     CÚRAM has published 1,712 journal publications, secured 10 licence agreements and five spin-outs     CÚRAM researchers have matched over €40 million in EU grant funding in its first six years The announcement demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to reinvesting in CÚRAM and the MedTech industry in the West and Ireland, supporting the continuation of strong academic, industry and clinical collaborations that are central to CÚRAM's work. The investment will support up to 520 researchers at CÚRAM over the next six years. CÚRAM's strategic mission is to establish a world-leading Irish Medical Device Research and Development Centre in the development of 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. CÚRAMs Research Programme aims to enhance researchers' creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative potential and focus on the translation of key CÚRAM technologies into clinical devices. Research is focused on three clinical areas of chronic cardiovascular, neural and soft tissue pathologies. These pillars have been structured to meet patients' current clinical needs with the aim of developing devices to improve daily management of chronic conditions. Research activities are enhanced through entrepreneurship and public engagement programmes and are informed by market, patient and clinical needs. Centre Growth The first phase of CÚRAM, established in 2015, has positioned the Centre well to exploit its innovation and commercial potential. The centre has had many significant scientific accomplishments in Phase one that contribute to advances in knowledge and the development of medical devices for the treatment of unmet clinical needs. Based at NUI Galway, CÚRAM is becoming recognised globally as a 'go-to' Centre for undertaking medical device research. The collaborative partnerships established to date indicate the value that the industry is already seeing in its partnerships with CÚRAM. CÚRAM currently employs 190 researchers in 10 partner institutes and to date has 38 industry partners that include 15 multinational corporation partners and 23 SME's . A total of 150 projects to date have been completed resulting in 43 patent applications; 1,712 journal publications; 10 licence agreements; and five spin-outs. In addition CÚRAM’s funding has been matched by its researchers securing over €40 million in EU grant funding in its first six years. President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: "I'm delighted to be attending today's Government announcement and would like to congratulate Professor Pandit and his excellent team at CÚRAM on being awarded this significant funding from Science Foundation Ireland. This reinvestment to sustain CÚRAM in the next phase recognises and respects our standing as a global leader in medical device research in and for the world. We know now more than ever that research in health and wellbeing is critical to our humanity. The values of excellence, openness, respect and sustainability are strategic values to which we aspire at NUI Galway. CÚRAM's dedication to world class research and development of medical devices to treat a diverse range of health needs in society is testament those values." Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director, CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: "We are very much looking forward to the next stage of CÚRAM's journey. The Centre has matured significantly over the past six years and the foundation which has been laid down over that period now positions CÚRAM well for making a continued global impact and developing novel and innovative medical devices to meet clinical needs. The transition from a Centre having a highly diverse set of projects, to a focused Centre with a balanced portfolio of prototype devices will be exciting, challenging and rewarding to our ecosystem." Today's Government announcement sees an investment of €193 million in five SFI Research Centres that includes CÚRAM for a further six years. This investment by Science Foundation Ireland will support approximately 1,060 graduate and Post-Doctoral students and Research Fellows employed by the Centres. Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to announce this significant Government investment in five SFI Research Centres, which reflects Ireland’s position as a world leader in research and innovation. The investment will ensure that we are prepared for the changes and disruption that we are facing in addressing global societal and economic challenges. “The five centres will also work to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to the wider public through extensive Education and Public Engagement outreach. These initiatives include summer computer camps, developing secondary school education modules, and residency programmes for filmmakers, artists and teachers to forge collaborations between researchers and the community. “ "SFI Research Centres promote discovery and impact, as well as collaboration between academia, government and industry across the Island of Ireland and internationally. This support will further enhance the important work these Centres have already achieved, so they continue to play a pivotal role in the years ahead in protecting the wellbeing of the population and the economy."  A panel of stakeholders attended today's launch including Cameron Keighron, an NUI Galway student and member of the young adult panel with the Public Patient Involvement research programme, PPI Ingite@NUIGalway, who took part in CÚRAM's 2020 Science on Screen documentary, The Patient Effect. Mr Keighron, said: "CÚRAM's work in opening up their research to the public raises awareness about the world class research happening right here on our doorstep. The Centre's public engagement programme invites participation and contributions from community members and patient groups which have been empowering for audiences, and I really look forward to staying involved as the Centre continues to grow" he commented." Michael Gilvarry, General Manager at the Neuro Technology Centre in Galway for CERENOVUS, part of Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, also spoke at today’s event about the industry benefits of partnering with CÚRAM. "We began our collaboration with CÚRAM in 2017 and the partnership has had a significant impact on our ability to grow and scale our centre of excellence. I’d like to wish CÚRAM every success in the next stage of its evolution and look forward to continued partnerships and collaborations in the future" he said. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “To maintain and build on Ireland’s global standing in research, innovation, and discovery, it is crucial that we invest in excellent ideas and research with impact. SFI Research Centres support both basic and applied research, spanning a wide range of sectors at varying levels and stages, and as a country we have benefited from their considerable contributions in the recent Covid-19 pandemic. “They have made transformational progress in just six years, with increased academic and industrial collaboration, extensive training of PhD students for future skills needs, winning competitive funding from the EU, producing excellent scientific results and driving vital public engagement. We look forward to further strengthening our ability to positively impact our society and economy through excellent scientific research, with continued support from the Government and industry in the years ahead.” For more information about CÚRAM visit: www.curamdevices.ie or follow on twitter @CURAMdevices -Ends- For Press contact Gwen O'Sullivan at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 087 6601592. For more information about CÚRAM, contact Claire Riordan, Public Engagement Manager, CÚRAM at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie. Photo 0Abhay Pandit  CUüRAM  (4).jpg: Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director, CÚRAM, NUI Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes Xposure.ie Photo 0Abhay Pandit  CUüRAM  (9).jpg: Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director, CÚRAM, NUI Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes Xposure.ie   About NUI Galway Established in 1845, NUI Galway is a bilingual university comprised of four colleges, 19 schools, five research institutes, 19,070 students, 3,308 international students, 2,200 staff, research collaborations with 3,267 international institutions in 114 countries, 110,000 alumni, while 98% of graduates are in employment or further study within six months.  For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie or view all NUI Galway news here.        

Monday, 1 February 2021

Dr. Georgina Gethin, a Funded Investigator at CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery and Director of the Alliance for Research and Innovation in Wounds, has recently been appointed as the new Editor of the Journal of the European Wound Management Association (EWMA) www.ewma.org, a leading and globally recognised organisation for the advancement of wound care. The EWMA is a European not-for-profit umbrella organisation, linking national wound management organisations, individuals and groups with interest in wound care. Central to EWMA’s objectives is to support implementation of interdisciplinary and cost effective wound care of high quality. EWMA works to reach its objectives by being an educational resource, organising conferences, contributing to international projects related to wound management, actively supporting the implementation of existing knowledge within wound management and providing information on all aspects of wound management. As Editor, Dr. Gethin’s role will be to support the development of the journal, which provides a platform to share up to date developments in research, education, practice, organisation of care, economics and policy change. A key priority being the continued development and promotion of the journal. As such, Dr. Gethin is calling on CÚRAM researchers to consider submission of a manuscript to the journal. Currently the journal is freely available through our website and is listed in CINAHL and Google Scholar with plans to have the journal MEDLINE indexed. The journal has a double-blind peer review process and once a manuscript is accepted with aim to make this available early on-line. As Dr. Gethin explains: “We accept all types of manuscripts including protocols and original case reports of unusual case presentations. In particular I would really like to see more basic science articles or articles that explain basic science to a more general audience, in addition to some articles around medical devices and their pathway to approval.” Full details of the submission process are available on the EWMA website (www.ewma.org) The journal does not have any publication charges and is distributed at the EWMA annual conference. The journal is also circulated electronically to a vast mailing list with articles promoted across the organisations social media platforms thus ensuring high visibility of published work.