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News Archives

Monday, 27 February 2017

Galway Film Centre and CÚRAM, Centre for Research in Medical Devices, are pleased to announce the return of Science on Screen, a funding strand for creative documentaries set in the world of science. The Science on Screen project will 100% fund one 26 minute film with a budget of €35,000. The film will be based around an area of research currently underway in CÚRAM and this research will be presented at an information session on Friday March 10th in NUI Galway. The session will take place from 11am to 1.30pm in CÚRAM, at the Biomedical Sciences Building at NUI Galway. Following presentations, there will also be a short networking session where filmmakers and scientists get to meet informally and begin the journey telling stories through science. In 2016, the Science on Screen scheme, supported by the Science Foundation of Ireland (SFI) Discover Call, enabled the production of two films, Feats of Modest Valour, a touching portrait of three individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and the scientists who are developing a new medical device, which could potentially halt or even cure the disease; and Mending Legends, which looks at the devastating effects of tendon injury on sports people and the team of scientists who are working to form the world’s first 3D cell assembled tendon prototype. (Film trailers below). As well as pitches from the scientists and information on how to apply for the scheme, it will also include a panel with speakers from RTÉ, TG4, the Galway Film Fleadh and the SFI discussing avenues of distribution open to these films. Interested filmmakers are invited to register for this event via Eventbrite. For further information, please email scienceonscreen@galwayfilmcentre.ie or call 091 770 748, or visit http://www.galwayfilmcentre.ie/category/science-on-screen/. -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Four NUI Galway based programmes will engage over 40,000 members of the Irish public with science in 2017 Four NUI Galway public engagement and education initiatives have been awarded funding of more than €250,000 through the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme, as announced by the Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan T.D. The initiatives, which will improve public understanding of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) in the West of Ireland and across the country, will engage over 40,000 members of the public in 2017. ‘Cell EXPLORERS’ is a science education and public engagement programme delivering STEM activities regionally and nationally, led by Dr Muriel Grenon. It uses a unique model, originally developed in NUI Galway, for sustainable science public engagement in ten Universities and Institutes of Technology around Ireland. The programme uses hands-on activities and local scientists to engage the public in the importance of science in society with a diverse set of activities, including school visits and science festival workshops. More information can be found at www.cellexplorers.com. ‘Genetic Testing: Engaging the West of Ireland’ aims to engage students and members of the public in the West of Ireland in reflection and conversation about genetics and genetic testing. It combines an exhibition on genetics, ethics and society with activities on genetic testing with secondary school students, women and other interested groups. The project will run throughout 2017, led by Dr Heike Felzmann in the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis at NUI Galway. ‘Bright Club’ is a variety show with a twist. Academic researchers become comedians for one night, using humour to talk about their research. The researchers from science, engineering, social science, and the humanities get training in humour as communication, before joining actual comedians on stage in front of the public. The night has been running across Ireland for two years, spearheaded by Dr Jessamyn Fairfield in the School of Physics at NUI Galway. ‘ReelLIFE SCIENCE’ is a nationwide video competition for primary schools, secondary schools and community groups which, since being launched in 2013 by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell, has enabled thousands of students across Ireland to engage with STEM by communicating a topic (e.g. ‘Science and Me’, ‘How Things Work’ and ‘Science in Space’) via a three-minute video. The videos are screened at the Galway Science and Technology Festival each year and are available online at www.reellifescience.com. Nationally, a total of 120 applications were received by Science Foundation Ireland for Discover Programme funding, and 44 initiatives were selected through rigorous international peer-review for a combined investment of €2.8 million. Speaking at the announcement event in Kilmainham Hospital, Director of Strategy and Communications for Science Foundation Ireland, Dr Ruth Freeman, said: “Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support these important education and public engagement programmes, which will engage and inspire people in the West of Ireland with the endless possibilities of science, technology, engineering and maths. Activities like these can ignite a passion for discovery and, for some, can also be a first-step in exploring a future career in these exciting subject areas.” -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Irish cancer patients with multiple myeloma are the first in the world to be treated with a new potentially life-saving drug combination Irish patients with the blood cancer ‘multiple myeloma’ are the first patients worldwide to take part in a new drug trial to develop more effective treatment for the cancer. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer arising from a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies which help fight infection. In multiple myeloma the plasma cells become cancerous and are called myeloma cells. These can produce an excess of a single antibody which is harmful and stops the blood from working properly. Each year in Ireland approximately 250 people are diagnosed with the cancer and 170 succumb to the disease. This innovative Phase 1 clinical trial being led by researchers at NUI Galway will investigate for the first time, whether the addition of a new multiple myeloma treatment, Daratumumab (DARA), to a standard care chemotherapy containing the drugs Cyclophosphamide and Bortezomib (CyBorD), is beneficial for treating newly diagnosed patients. DARA by itself is a very promising new therapy for this particular cancer and has recently been approved for treating relapsed patients. This new trial is the first study worldwide to combine DARA with Cyclophosphamide and will determine whether this combination results in a more effective treatment. Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) has already recruited the first six patients at University Hospital Galway and Cork University Hospital and the study will soon be extended to BCNI centres in Dublin, thereby giving multiple myeloma patients nationwide access to the trial. BCNI is a €2.7 million cancer research and clinical trials initiative funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland which brings together clinicians, scientists, and population health experts across Galway, Cork and Dublin with a shared interest in blood cancer research. Notably this clinical trial is the first homegrown (investigator initiated) trial to be conducted by BCNI. It is the culmination of collaborative research efforts between BCNI scientists and Janssen pharmaceuticals which show that Cyclophosphamide treatment can potentially make DARA more effective. It represents a bench-to-bedside approach where scientific insights from the laboratory are applied to developing new and improved ways to treat patients. This is the first cancer clinical trial to be sponsored by NUI Galway on behalf of Blood Cancer Network Ireland and it demonstrates the University’s commitment to supporting clinical cancer research. Irish patients on this trial will receive additional benefits, including state of the art monitoring and access to this new treatment free of charge. Commenting on the new trial, Professor Michael O’Dwyer, BCNI Director, lead investigator and Consultant Haematologist at NUI Galway, said: “It is an exciting time for blood cancer research in Ireland. This new trial, a first for BCNI, is another step forward in developing new treatment options for patients living with multiple myeloma. The study is the result of collaborations across a broad range of partners including NUI Galway, Cancer Trials Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, Science Foundation Ireland, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Health Research Board and BCNI investigators and staff. The successful launch of the study is a testament to our shared commitment to finding better treatment options for patients through clinical trials.” Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, welcomed this new Phase 1 clinical trial and praised the work of researchers linked to Blood Cancer Network Ireland: “This latest clinical trial highlights the importance of investing in world class innovative and potentially life-changing Irish cancer research and we hope that the patients taking part will help identify even more improvements in care and outcomes for this disease. The Irish Cancer Society is proud to be partnering with Science Foundation Ireland on the funding of BCNI, ensuring that Irish blood cancer patients benefit from the latest advances in cancer care and treatment. Ireland has many world class cancer researchers but it’s only through the public’s generous donations that we can continue to invest in such vital cancer research. For that, we thank the public, and hope that they can continue to support us this Daffodil Day, March 24.” The past two decades have seen major advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma with approval of several new treatments resulting in a doubling in survival over this period.  Carefully conducted clinical trials based on bench-to-bedside research have been critical for these developments. This trial exemplifies this approach and is an important contribution by Irish researchers and patients to the global fight against multiple myeloma. For more information on the study please visit www.bloodcancers.ie or www.clinicaltrials.gov (search: NCT02955810). If you would like to refer a patient or have any queries please contact Amanda Bray, the National Research Coordinator for BCNI by email at amanda.bray@nuigalway.ie or contact BCNI@nuigalway.ie -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Project coordinated by NUI Galway, releases new findings on cell communication leading to further research into treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes The Horizon 2020 funded project TrainERS coordinated by NUI Galway, has released new findings on how communication is coordinated between the inside and outside of a cell. The discovery is set to open up new avenues for further research into treatments for Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes. The discovery was made by researchers at the Laboratory of Cell Death Research and Therapy at the University of Leuven in Belgium. TrainERS is being coordinated by Professor Afshin Samali, CÚRAM Researcher and Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC) at NUI Galway. The findings were published in the scientific journal Molecular Cell of which Professor Samali and his colleagues in Belgium are co-authors. Proteins such as insulin are properly formed in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), one of the biggest membrane structures in the cell. The ER works like an assembly line and folds the proteins into a three-dimensional shape that is essential for them to function. When there is a problem in the ‘protein folding assembly line’, the accumulation of misfolded proteins can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. PERK, an enzyme known to detect protein folding errors in the cell has now also been revealed to coordinate the communication between the inside and the outside of the cell, and is an essential component of this protein folding factory. Commenting on the new findings, Professor Afshin Samali of NUI Galway said: “This is an extremely exciting step forward for any researcher involved in understanding the ER stress response mechanistically and quantitatively. I would like to congratulate the researchers involved and look forward to more exciting developments to come out of the TrainERS programme.” Patrizia Agostinis, Alex van Vliet, and other team members at the University of Leuven discovered the additional function of PERK. “This protein is known to play a crucial role in maintaining endoplasmic reticulum functions and restoring them if necessary. When PERK detects protein folding errors in the ER it prompts the nucleus of the cell to take action”, explains Patrizia Agostinis, head of the Laboratory of Cell Death Research and Therapy in the University of Leuven.  “We found that PERK also coordinates the communication between the protein folding factory (the ER) and the skin of the cell (the plasma membrane). When the protein folding factory detects low calcium levels, the plasma membrane needs to let calcium flow back in. Calcium is crucial for the proper functioning of the protein folding factory where the calcium is stored, and for the overall health of the cell. This is where PERK comes in: the protein establishes contact between the two cell components so that they can work together to restore the calcium level”, added Ms Agostinis. Mr Alex van Vliet from the University of Leuven added, “This entire process, which is regulated by PERK, takes place in a matter of minutes or even seconds. That is one of the reasons why it went unnoticed until now. We used a new method to reveal the underlying mechanism, and were surprised to find that PERK can control the movement of the ER towards the plasma membrane by modifying the skeleton of the cell.” The project is funded by Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and by TrainERS, an innovation training network funded by Horizon 2020 and coordinated by CÚRAM at NUI Galway. Alex van Vliet received funding from the Flemish government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The TrainERS consortium is coordinated by NUI Galway with partners University of Bordeaux, Goethe-University Frankfurt, University of Leuven, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Medical University of Vienna, Imperial College London, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, University of Gothenburg and Randox Teoranta. To read the full research paper in Molecular Cell visit:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1097276517300461 -Ends-

Monday, 27 February 2017

Workshops led by acclaimed choreographer and performance artist Maureen Fleming Monday, 27 February, 2017: NUI Galway is delighted to announce a series of movement and dance workshops led by acclaimed New York City choreographer and performance artist Maureen Fleming. The Centre for Irish Studies, in association with the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, will host a series of six workshops beginning Wednesday, 8 March. The workshops will run from 7-9pm on Wednesdays and Thursday evenings for three weeks and are open to the public. No previous experience is required, but places are strictly limited. Maureen Fleming was granted a Fulbright Scholar’s Award to spend a semester at the Centre for Irish Studies at the University where she is studying the sean-nós traditions of song and dance and developing new work which will incorporate aspects of Irish mythology and folklore. In addition to her work as a dancer and choreographer, Fleming has developed new techniques of regenerative work for those interested in developing movement through workshops that improve strength, flexibility and balance. During the workshops attendees will learn: Exercises that initiate movement and voice from the innermost layer of muscles, promoting efficient movement and increased flexibility Transformative imagery to challenge the way you think and help move past physical form Massage that incorporates stretching and shiatsu techniques to increase joint flexibility and unlock energy blockages All those interested in participating should attend the first workshop on Wednesday, 8 March. For further information, contact Samantha Williams in NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies at 091 492051 or email Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Friday, 24 February 2017

PHABLABS 4.0 aims to inspire young minds, future generations of entrepreneurs, technicians and engineers in photonics, building bridges between science and research to support the next revolution in digitisation NUI Galway has been selected as one of 11 European top-level photonics institutes, and the first in Ireland, to join forces with PHABLABS 4.0, a European-wide project making photonics – the technology of light – accessible to citizens through a new hub in Galway. The ambitious project will provide a suite of 33 Photonics Workshops, 11 Photonics Challenger Projects, and Photonics Toolkits customised for three specific user groups: Young minds (10-14 years), students (15-18 years) and young professionals, entrepreneurs and technicians (+18 years). Located at the Maker Space in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, the PHABLABS centre will provide access and academic support to entrepreneurs who wish to prototype their ideas and avail in the use of novel 3D printing facilities and materials. Commenting on the announcement of the PHABLABS 4.0 hub, Professor Martin Leahy, Chair of Applied Physics at NUI Galway said: “We are delighted to be selected among the best Photonics centres in Europe to harness and combine the world of photonics with the growing creative ecosystem of PHABLABS. Photonics is one of the key enabling technologies driving the internet, cinema, medical diagnostics and device manufacture, art, intelligent robotics and ultimately the economy. PHABLABS 4.0 is a global, collaborative, knowledge sharing network that provides a platform for learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. We hope the Galway hub will be used regularly and that the technologies you have dreamed about can be brought to life.” Led by Professor Leahy, the Centre for Photonics and Imaging at the School of Physics in NUI Galway, will promote photonics and encourage the next generation of innovators at the Galway hub. Photonics, using photons or particles of light in many applications, can provide game-changing solutions to future societal challenges in a wide scale of domains such as energy, aerospace, mobility, food safety, healthcare, bio-photonics, ICT and manufacturing for industry. For now, photonics' huge potential is still a great unknown to many people, even though it is all around us and commonly used in everyday life through; smartphones, TV and large screens, 3D applications, smart driving cars, even healthy vegetables involve light technology. By integrating photonics and its many applications PHABLABS 4.0 will allow young people to put seemingly unattainable ideas into practice with laser equipment, LED, lenses, optical fibre and programmable electronic chips in a way that is both fun and inspiring. The project aims to spark ideas and pave the road to innovative concepts that become a starting point for a bright future as a technician, engineer or researcher. The Photonics Workshops, Photonics Challenger Projects and Photonics Toolkits will stimulate hands-on design, fabrication, experiments, and the building of innovative systems with photonics components. Next to personal development, teamwork and co-creation, the PHABLABS 4.0 modules will nurture the 21st Century skills of the participants. After the creation and design of modules in the first development phase, PHABLABS Galway will test all Workshops and Challenger Projects with the necessary components for hands-on design, fabrication and experiments (from June 2017-March 2018). From June 2017, different user groups such as schools will be invited to the PHABLAB on campus to participate in test panels and give their feedback. Hugo Thienpont, coordinator of the project and director of VUB B-PHOT Brussels Photonics, explains: “There is a huge opportunity to inspire real interest in science among young people by engaging them in real-life experiments. Getting acquainted with new technologies to create concrete projects can speed up the learning curve fundamentally. The challenge is to excite them in an attractive and inspiring way to achieve meaningful impact. PHABLABS 4.0 builds bridges between science and research to support the next revolution in digitisation.” For more details on PHABLABS 4.0 visit www.phablabs.eu. -Ends-

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Winners announced at FameLab Galway 2017, the regional heat of the biggest science communication competition in the world The 2017 Galway heat for FameLab, the biggest science communication competition in the world, was held at An Taibhdhearc in Galway City on Tuesday 21 February. The event, which was organised by the College of Science at NUI Galway in association with the British Council in Ireland saw 12 scientists compete for two places in the national final and was sold out in advance. At FameLab, presenters explain scientific concepts to a general audience in just three minutes. The competition is open to scientists, mathematicians and engineers across Ireland working in industry, business, research, academia, education or public service. The 12 participants in FameLab Galway 2017 came from a variety of backgrounds including a GP, an engineer from the medical device industry and researchers from NUI Galway involved in bioinformatics, civil engineering, physics and chemistry. The participants addressed a wide range of topics from being addicted to addiction, to the evolution of curiosity and answered a range of questions from ‘How to get rid of your energy bills?’ to ‘Can Oxytocin reverse a self-destructing civilisation?’ The winner of this year’s Galway FameLab heat was Dr Ana Panigassi, a fellow at BioInnovate Ireland based at NUI Galway. Dr Panigassi is a medical doctor who specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology, maternal-foetal medicine and ultrasonography in obstetrics and gynaecology. The title of Ana’s talk was the ‘Placenta of attention’. The runner up was Dr Patrick Ryan for his presentation ‘Bananas don't grow on trees’. Dr Ryan is a bioinformatician whose research background is in flower transcriptomics. Patrick has a PhD in genetics, worked in industry as a microbiologist and is currently involved in a phylogenetics (the study of evolutionary relationships among biological entities - often species, individuals or genes) project looking at Darwinian selection in Arabidopsis. The audience vote went to Joanne Duffy for her excellent presentation entitled ‘The Gene Genies’. Joanne is a BSc student in Microbiology at NUI Galway. A self -confessed public-speaking junkie who loves to talk about science with anyone who will lend an ear, Joanne also hosts and produces a weekly science radio show on the University radio station Flirt FM 101.3. MC on the night was Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, Founder of Bright Club Galway and a Lecturer in Physics at NUI Galway. The panel of judges included Ms Mary Deely, Training and Events Manager, Galway Film Centre, Ms Cushla Dromgool Regan, Communications Office, Marine Institute, Mr Tim Jones, Senior R & D Engineer with Medtronic and Professor Dónal Leech, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Science. Entertainment on the night was provided by Brian Hughes, Dean of International Affairs and Professor of Psychology at NUI Galway. Commenting on the success of the event, Dr Muriel Grenon from the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, and one of the event organisers said: “FameLab is a fantastic opportunity for anyone engaged with science to communicate the impact of science on people’s lives. It is a skill that’s becoming more and more important and we are seeing these science communication events increase in popularity with adult audiences in the last few years.” Both Ana and Patrick will participate in the FameLab Ireland Final, which will be held at the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday, 13 April 2017. The winner of the National competition will have a chance to win the international FameLab final at the Cheltenham Science Festival, UK in June 2017.  FameLab Ireland 2016-17 is managed by the British Council in Ireland in collaboration with Newstalk 106-108fm, NUI Galway, Science Gallery Dublin, Tyndall National Institute and the University of Limerick. The initiative is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and is supported by CPL Resources Plc and Henkel Ireland Limited. For more information on FameLab visit http://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab  or follow on Twitter @FameLab and @FameLab_Galway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Anderson was first Professor of German at the University, Mozart & Beethoven expert, and OBE awardee. She also received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany A ceremony to mark the official naming of the Emily Anderson Concert Hall will take place in the Aula Maxima Upper at NUI Galway on Thursday, 23 February 2017. Emily Anderson was NUI Galway’s first Professor of German and to this day is internationally recognised for her achievements in translating the letters of Mozart and Beethoven into English and in so doing offering invaluable insights into their work.  She is also distinguished for her intelligence work with the British Government during World War II. Professor Anne Scott, Vice President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway said in advance of the ceremony: “We are delighted to honour Emily Anderson, one of our eminent female alumni, in this visible and tangible way. Our concert hall, the Emily Anderson Concert Hall, is an important link to Galway, to music and to the cultural life of our community.” Emily Anderson was born on 17 March 1891 in Galway and in 1911 graduated from Queen’s College Galway with a First-Class Honours BA in Modern Languages. In 1917, following further studies and work abroad, Anderson was appointed the first Professor of German in University College Galway. She joined the growing number of women holding academic positions, particularly in arts, though also in Science and Medicine. In 1920 Anderson resigned her position in Galway and moved to London. By 1923, she was among the first women to be offered posts in the British Foreign office. During the Second World War, she was seconded to the War office and was awarded an OBE. A published writer since the early 1920s, Anderson earned an international reputation as an authority on Mozart and Beethoven, whose correspondence she edited and translated. The critically acclaimed three-volume edition, The Letters of Mozart & His Family, first published in 1938, has remained a classic reference. Later, following retirement, she published the three-volume edition Letters of Beethoven (1961). Once more, Anderson won official recognition and she was awarded an order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Emily Anderson died at the age of 71 in, 1962, in London. She left her estate to support benevolent funds and the Royal Philharmonic Society awards the international Emily Anderson Prize to young violinists annually. NUI Galway, along with Music for Galway hold an annual concert in her memory. As part of their programme, Music for Galway will host a concert to celebrate the occasion will take place on Friday, 25 February. The Emily Anderson Memorial Concert will be broadcast live by Lyric FM and is open to the public. Tickets and further details are available at http://www.musicforgalway.ie/main-concert-series ENDS

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

NUI Galway has confirmed that singer songwriter Paul Brady will perform at the 2017 Alumni Awards. The University also revealed that TG4 news anchor Eimear Ní Chonaola will host this year’s Gala Banquet featuring the 2017 Alumni Awards ceremony. Eimear Ní Chonaola is the main news anchor with Nuacht TG4/RTÉ.  A native Irish speaker, she graduated from NUI Galway, with a BA International Degree in Irish and German in 1997.  The following year she undertook the diploma course - Ard-Dioplóma i gCumarsáid Fheidhmeach. She chaired the first ever election debate in Irish in February 2011 and her performance was widely credited in the national press. As well as her extensive experience in reporting at home, she has also reported from Niger, Malawi, Cuba, Rome and from the US.  The 2017 Alumni Awards will be presented at the 17th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 4 March, 2017 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of over 100 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Olympian Olive Loughnane; Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald; RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke; Attorney General, Máire Whelan; former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and broadcaster Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2017: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by Galway University Foundation  - Mike McCormack, Irish novelist and short story writer. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn   -  Dr Tom Courtney, Corporate Partner in Arthur Cox. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by AIB  - Anne Marie Farrell, Head of Behavioural Economics Research Global SMB Marketing, Google. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Dr Eileen Naughten, Retired Consultant Paediatrician. Joint Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Dr Eoghan Clifford, Paralympic gold medal winner and NUI Galway Lecturer  - Deirdre Mongan, Paralympic Athlete               Speaking on the announcement of the Award recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 494310 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.guf.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Study on the Efficacy of Pilates in Falls Prevention NUI Galway is recruiting additional participants for a study on the efficacy of Pilates in falls prevention in healthy older adults over 65 years old. The outcomes assessed will include questionnaires and tests of physical activity, balance, foot pressure, mobility, gait, cognition and falls. Pilates consists of six principles to engage during exercise to control the mind and body; control, concentration, centring, flow, breathing and precision. Pilates works with the deepest muscle and helps to control the postural in many daily activities such as patterns of gait in walking, speed and mobility.  One hour classes will take place in Áras Moyola twice weekly.  There will be a total of 24 sessions for each group for the main study and participants are advised to wear comfortable clothes for exercises. Conducting the study is Larissa Donatoni da Silva, an NUI Galway PhD Health Science, physiotherapist and Pilates instructor: “Our study is looking at the effect that participating in Pilates has on balance, breathing, stretching, and coordination. In particular, we are interested in people over 65 years old, who enjoy doing exercises. We want to measure your level of function with questionnaires and tests so that we can compare it with people who are not practising Pilates.” The free Pilates exercise classes will be mat Pilates with accessories such as balls, bands, and others. Participants will get a home Pilates exercise programme and a DVD with exercises demonstrated by the Pilates instructor. Those interested in participating will need to attend an initial meeting on Monday, 27 February at 1pm or Friday, 3 March at 10am in Áras na Mac Léinn at NUI Galway, where Larissa will explain the study. For more detail or to participate in the study contact Larissa Donatoni da Silva at laridonatoni@gmail.com or 089 4592533 between 9am to 6pm weekdays. -Ends-

Monday, 20 February 2017

Comedian Áine Gallagher today launched NUI Galway’s 17th annual Arts Festival programme, Múscailt. The Festival, which runs from 6-10 March, will present a superb free programme comprising of art, music, performance, live art, comedy, spectacle, song, sculpture, film, dance and talks. Múscailt means to inspire, to awaken and to create. Each year the festival commissions new work from artists and curators and also shines a spotlight on artists working and studying within the University. This year, the festival will open with a new multimedia Múscailt Exhibition at the School of Education on Nuns’ Island, which includes works by students from NUI Galway, The Jes and The Bish. Múscailt offers a chance to lift the lid on artistic projects taking place on campus. This year there is an emphasis on the historic Anatomy and Physiology Departments, dating from the Victorian beginnings of NUI Galway, in the Quadrangle, circa 1847. Art and installation will feature heavily throughout the week including: Ananya Gupta’s paper cut-out ‘Silhouettes of Life’, which will hang in the glass cubes outside the James Hardiman Library. Live art performer Áine Phillips will recreate her performance ‘Bag Lady’ and Fou Scarf will perform ‘Re: Search’. Artist James Fleming will present his exhibition ‘Sculptures from a Mobile Home’, made entirely from the recycled furnishings of his now ex-mobile home. Artist-in-Residence Aideen Monaghan will project drawings onto the side of the Anatomy Building and Alan-James Burns, a photographer and video-artist, was given free reign to document Physiology, in its iconic position above the Archway. Catch a glimpse of some of their work in ‘Victorian Echoes’, a combination of photography and drawings exhibited in the Arts Millennium Building. There will be interactive and improvised outdoor entertainment by Madame Fou and the Funfair which includes a gramophone, a fortune-teller, circus performers and troubadours, and a travelling kiosk/time-machine. In a new departure, the Arts Office has commissioned a short dance film, 'Ciúnas', directed by Bernadette Divilly, that explores the place, power and presence of women at NUI Galway. This will be shown on screens throughout campus with a talk and screening of the film in the Bank of Ireland Theatre. One of the festival highlights will feature a performance/lecture with music entitled ‘Portrait of the Nation,’ celebrating 100 years since the publication of James Joyce’s most autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Performed by Darina Gallagher and Sinéad Murphy, it will take place in the 100 years old Anatomy Lecture Theatre. Rogha Bhríde, the award winning Irish language/multi-lingual radio music show on Flirt FM, will present MC/Ceoltóir Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin and a musical and storytelling treat with well-known Galway artist Little John Nee and guests. Other events taking place throughout the week include: ‘Ponder’, a group exhibition of paintings and drawings; ‘Focus 17’, a selected exhibition from the Photo Society; and ‘Metamorphosis’ by the Art Society. Art meets science events includes ‘Research Use Only’ by Bioscience student Patrizio Mancuso; and ‘Culture-itis’, knitted works in petri dishes by NUI Galway Knit and Crochet group ‘Moodboosters’, a new comedy by Áine Gallagher and fellow comedian Pearl O’Rourke Curator Katherine Waugh will present film-clips entitled ‘Altered States’ Dr Mags Mannion, Artist/Archaeologist will present an illustrated talk on Medieval Glass Beads Dráma Nua ‘Streets & Stages’, performed by Caroline Morahan as part of Arts in Action series Commenting on this year’s progamme, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer, said: “Múscailt embraces all artforms and strands of creativity. It creates a safe and nurturing platform for new work and an opportunity for play, fun and improvisation. Everyone is welcome to participate and all events are free.” For more information on the festival visit www.nuigalway.ie/muscailt, or phone 091 493766 or 091 495098. You can also follow the event on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Muscailtarts or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Artsofficenuigalway. -Ends- Seolann an Bhean Ghrinn Áine Gallagher Clár Múscailt OÉ Gaillimh 2017  Inniu sheol an bhean ghrinn Áine Gallagher an clár do 17ú Féile Ealaíon bhliantúil OÉ Gaillimh, Múscailt. Beidh an Fhéile ar siúl idir an 6-10 Márta agus cuimseofar clár iontach, saor in aisce d’ealaín, ceol, taibhléiriú, ealaín bheo, greann, taispeántas, amhránaíocht, dealbhóireacht, scannán, damhsa agus cainteanna. Is í an chiall atá le Múscailt spreagadh, dúiseacht agus cruthú. Chuile bhliain déanann an fhéile coimisiúnú ar shaothar nua ó ealaíontóirí agus ó choimeádaithe agus tarraingíonn sé aird chomh maith ar ealaíontóirí atá ag obair agus ag staidéar san Ollscoil. I mbliana, cuirfear tús leis an bhféile le Taispeántas nua ilmheán Múscailt i Scoil an Oideachais ar Oileán Ealtanach, áit a mbeidh saothair le mic léinn ó OÉ Gaillimh, ó Choláiste Iognáid agus ó Choláiste Sheosamh. Cuireann Múscailt deis ar fáil chun aird a tharraingt ar thionscadail ealaíonta atá ar siúl ar an gcampas. I mbliana táthar ag leagan béime ar Ranna stairiúla na hAnatamaíochta agus na Fiseolaíochta, atá ar an bhfód ó ré Victeoiriach OÉ Gaillimh sa Chearnóg, thart ar 1847. Beidh páirt lárnach ag ealaín agus ag taispeántán le linn na seachtaine, lena n-áirítear: Gearrthóg pháipéir de chuid Ananya Gupta dar teideal ‘Silhouettes of Life’, a bheidh crochta i gciúbanna gloine lasmuigh de Leabharlann Shéamais Uí Argadáin. Athchruthóidh an taibheoir beo ealaíne, Áine Phillips a léiriú ‘Bag Lady’ agus cuirfidh Fou Scarf ‘Re: Search’ ar stáitse. Cuirfidh an t-ealaíontóir James Fleming a thaispeántas ‘Sculptures from a Mobile Home’ i láthair, atá déanta go hiomlán as troscán agus fearas athchúrsáilte óna sheanteach soghluaiste. Teilgfidh an tEalaíontóir Cónaitheach Aideen Monaghan léaráidí ar thaobh an Fhoirgnimh Anatamaíochta agus tugadh cead a chinn don ghrianghrafadóir agus ealaíontóir físeáin, Alan-James Burns an Fhiseolaíocht a léiriú, ina suíomh íocónach os cionn na hAirse. Breathnaigh ar a gcuid saothar in ‘Victorian Echoes’, meascán de ghrianghrafadóireacht agus léaráidí á dtaispeáint in Áras Dán na Mílaoise. Beidh siamsaíocht lasmuigh idirghníomhach agus cumtha ar an láthair le Madame Fou agus an tAonach Siamsaíochta áit a mbeidh gramafón, bean feasa, taibheoirí sorcais agus trúbadóirí agus both/meaisín ama taistil. Rud nua atá ag tarlú i mbliana is ea go bhfuil coimisiúnú déanta ag an Oifig Ealaíon ar ghearrscannán damhsa ‘Ciúnas’, atá á stiúradh ag Bernadette Divilly, a bhreathnaíonn ar áit, ar chumhacht agus ar láithreacht na mban in OÉ Gaillimh. Taispeánfar é seo ar scáileáin ar fud an champais agus beidh an scannán ar siúl mar aon le caint in Amharclann Bhanc na hÉireann. Ar cheann de bhuaicphointí na féile beidh taibhléiriú/léacht le ceol dar teideal ‘Portrait of the Nation,’ a dhéanann ceiliúradh ar chéad bliain ón uair a foilsíodh an t-úrscéal is dírbheathaisnéisí le James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Is iad Darina Gallagher agus Sinéad Murphy a bheas ar stáitse agus beidh sé ar siúl i Léachtlann na hAnatamaíochta atá céad bliain d’aois. Cuirfidh Rogha Bhríde, an clár ceoil raidió Gaeilge/ilteangach de chuid Flirt FM a bhfuil duaiseanna buaite aige, an MC/Ceoltóir Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin i láthair agus iontas ceolmhar agus seanchais leis an ealaíontóir cáiliúil as Gaillimh Little John Nee agus aíonna. I measc na n-imeachtaí eile a bheidh ar siúl le linn na seachtaine beidh: ‘Ponder’, taispeántas grúpa de phéinteálacha agus léaráidí; ‘Focus 17’, taispeántas roghnaithe ó Chumann na nGrianghraf; agus ‘Metamorphosis’ leis an gCumann Ealaíne. I measc na n-imeachtaí ina dtagann ealaín agus eolaíocht le chéile tá ‘Research Use Only’ le Patrizio Mancuso, mac léinn le hEolaíocht Bhitheach; agus ‘Culture-itis’, saothair chniotáilte i miasanna petri le grúpa Cniotála agus Cróiseála OÉ Gaillimh ‘Moodboosters’, seó grinn nua le hÁine Gallagher agus an bhean ghrinn Pearl O’Rourke Cuirfidh an coimeádaí Katherine Waugh míreanna scannáin i láthair ar a dtugtar ‘Altered States’ Cuirfidh an Dr Mags Mannion, Ealaíontóir/Seandálaí caint mhaisithe i láthair faoi Choirníní Gloine Meánaoiseacha Dráma nua ‘Streets & Stages’, curtha i láthair ag Caroline Morahan mar chuid den tsraith Arts in Action Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, faoi chlár na bliana seo: “Cuimsíonn Múscailt gach cineál ealaíne agus gach sruth cruthaitheachta. Cruthaíonn sé ardán sábháilte agus cothaitheach do shaothar nua agus deis do spraoi, do chraic agus do chumadóireacht ar an láthair. Tá fáilte roimh chách agus tá cead isteach saor in aisce ag gach imeacht.” Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin bhféile téigh chuig www.nuigalway.ie/muscailt, nó cuir glao ar 091 493766 nó 091 495098. Féadfaidh tú an imeacht a leanúint ar Twitter ag www.twitter.com/Muscailtarts nó ar Facebook ag www.facebook.com/Artsofficenuigalway. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

CÚRAM at NUI Galway win European Research Council grant to support the development of a new medical device to treat high blood pressure that can lead to heart disease and stroke Tuesday, 21 February, 2017: CÚRAM Investigator Dr Martin O’Halloran has been awarded a second European Research Council (ERC) grant. ERC grants are Europe's most competitive and prestigious research funding, and in this case the €150,000 award will support the development of a new medical device for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) that can lead to heart disease and stroke. The project is a collaboration between Investigators Dr Martin O’Halloran and Dr Conall Dennedy at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway. The Investigators aim to bring the novel medical device towards first-in-man trials within the lifetime of the project. Since heart disease and stroke are such major global health problems affecting a large population of patients, the team expect the project to have a very significant societal and economic impact. The widespread presence of hypertension in European countries is currently 28-44%. This amounts to between 200 and 327 million Europeans. Excess production of the hormone aldosterone by the adrenal glands (primary aldosteronism) is the most common endocrine cause and accounts for 8-20% of all hypertension. Current treatment regimens are dissatisfactory and costly, involving either surgery or lifelong drug therapy. Therefore, a cost-effective, minimally invasive and definitive management approach for this underlying cause would present a potential cure for an often undiagnosed and unmanaged disease. This is what is being proposed with the new ERC ‘REALTA’ project. “The REALTA project plan is very similar to that of a start-up medtech company, where as well as technology development, the team will also examine the competitive landscape, the clinical and regulatory pathway, and reimbursement opportunities”, says Dr O’Halloran. “The overarching goal is to gather sufficient technical, clinical, regulatory and commercial evidence over the course of the next 18 months to be able to spin-out a company that is attractive to external investors. Such investment will be required to take the technology through to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and clinical trials.” Dr O’Halloran secured his first ERC Starting Grant in 2015 to examine the electrical properties of human tissue, as a platform for novel medical device development in Europe. Supported by a Science Foundation Ireland ERC Support Grant, he established the Translational Medical Device Lab in Galway, the first medical device lab in Ireland to be embedded in a regional hospital, University Hospital Galway, and co-located within the Health Research Board’s Clinical Research Facility. Working closely with Dr Conall Dennedy, Consultant Endocrinologist at NUI Galway, he began to examine the potential of new technologies to treat primary aldosteronism, the most common endocrine cause of hypertension. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM said: “The objectives of CÚRAM are to carry out research on the development of innovative ‘smart’ implantable medical devices, which will benefit patients with chronic ailments such as cardiovascular diseases. I would like to congratulate Dr O’Halloran and Dr Dennedy on their continued research success, which is supported by the excellent multidisciplinary team of clinicians, translational scientists and engineers here at CÚRAM and NUI Galway, which reflects the interests and expertise of investigators in CÚRAM.” For more information on the Translational Medical Device Lab in NUI Galway visit: http://www.tmdlab.ie -Ends-

Monday, 20 February 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies and Comhrá Ceoil have announced details of the first talk in this year’s Martin Reilly Lecture Series, which will be given by Dr Éamonn Costello. Entitled ‘Muintir Chonamara agus Oireachtas na Gaeilge: The role of the Conamara Gaeltacht community in shaping Ireland’s oldest festival’, the lecture examines the engagement of the Gaeltacht community of Connemara with Oireachtas na Gaeilge throughout its history and takes place on Tuesday, 28 February at 6.30pm in the Galway City Library. Established in 1897 by members of the Gaelic League, the Oireachtas is Ireland’s oldest arts festival and is primarily concerned with promoting and celebrating the Irish language. However, for much of its history the native Irish speaking community, an Ghaeltacht, had little impact or input into the festival’s programme of events. This all changed in the early 1970s when the Connemara-based civil rights movement, Gluaiseacht Cearta Siabhialta na Gaeltachta, turned the Irish language issue from being primarily a nationalist cause to one which was primarily concerned with minority rights. The actions of the Gaeltacht civil rights movement inspired the Connemara Gaeltacht community to appropriate the Oireachtas for a period in the 1970-1980s. This period of appropriation and the events leading up to it will be the focus of the talk. Originally from An Cheathrú Rua, Dr Costello is an Irish traditional musician and holds an MA and PhD in ethnomusicology, as well as a BA in Irish Music and Dance. He currently teaches Irish in the Irish language department of the School of Culture and Communication, at the University of Limerick; he is secretary of the International Council for Traditional Music Ireland (ICTMIre); and is a founding member of TradSong, a research cluster based at UL. This series of free talks is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated Galway uilleann piper, and gives an opportunity to researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their work in a public forum.  The success of the series thus far confirms the interest in research of this kind in Galway, where traditional music and dance are part of the cultural fabric of the city. For more information on this and other planned talks in the series email Martinreillylectureseries@gmail.com or follow on Facebook at Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series. -Ends-

Friday, 17 February 2017

NUI Galway publish new mathematical formula on soft ‘dielectric’ membranes Applied mathematicians from NUI Galway have today published a formula which will be of huge benefit to materials scientists and soft robotics engineers. The team have worked out how much voltage and deformation soft ‘dielectric’ membranes can take before they break. Soft ‘dielectric’ membranes are used on the cutting edge of science to develop artificial muscles, soft robotics, energy harvesters and ‘smart clothes’. These lightweight soft materials deploy and stiffen when put under high voltage, but until now, there has been a big challenge in knowing what the breaking point of these membranes is.  Professor Michel Destrade, at the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics in NUI Galway explains: “If you can remember the scene in Batman Begins where this huge bat cape emerges from a tiny folded piece of material, that’s the kind of technology which is being developed currently in some labs around the world, especially in Harvard University and in China. It’s the electric voltage that allows these special membranes to expand. Until now it was not fully understood how much voltage these membranes could sustain. Some are a millimetre thick, but if they thin out too much when they stretch with the voltage, it can lead to a short-circuit and a catastrophic breakdown. We hope our mathematical formula will help advance science in this area.” Dr Giuseppe Zurlo of NUI Galway, co-author of the study, adds: “The very near and real applications for these materials are artificial human muscles, or soft robots which can help organs function.” Together with collaborators at Politecnico di Bari in Italy, the mathematicians worked out a simple formula to link the physical properties of the membrane to the breakdown amount of stretch. “The final equation is very compact”, says Dr Zurlo, “and it will provide most useful safety guidelines for future experiments on these fascinating materials.” The problem had stumped material scientists for years and its solution is published today in the prestigious Physical Review Letters. Professor Destrade and Dr Zurlo are now working on experiments with engineering colleagues at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. To view the full paper in Physical Review Letters visit:  https://journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/5f076Y18Kbb1ac4ed8f93f49a3ee764f0dd938eb8 or http://www.maths.nuigalway.ie/~destrade/Publis/destrade_109.pdf  Video link of a membrane deforming under a voltage: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ybk5am3s7pmcdwd/video.avi?dl=0  -Ends-

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

NUI Galway’s Discipline of English and School of Humanities will host an evening to celebrate the work and teaching of writer Mike McCormack to mark his recent major successes on the national and international literary scene. The public reception will take place on Wednesday, 22 February in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle at NUI Galway at 7pm. Last year, McCormack was awarded the prestigious Goldsmiths Prize at the University of London for his novel Solar Bones. The same novel subsequently won the Eason Book Club Irish Novel of the Year and overall Irish Book of the Year at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards. Speaking on the announcement of the Goldsmiths Prize to Solar Bones Blake Morrison, Chair of the judging panel, said: “Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted. Its subject may be an ordinary working life, but it is itself an extraordinary work.” NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, who will speak at the reception, said: “On behalf of the entire University community I’d like to congratulate Mike on his achievement and his recent success. He is in the vanguard of a new generation of Irish literary talent and we at NUI Galway are very proud of our association with Mike over many years - both as an alumnus and a member of our academic staff. Mike’s most recent success with Solar Bones has brought further international recognition for his writing and is a source of great pride to all of us who know and value his work.” McCormack is the longstanding teacher of fiction on NUI Galway’s MA in Writing, and during the current academic year he has taken up the directorship of the university’s BA with Creative Writing programme, on which he has also been a teacher and mentor. He will be joined on the evening by friends and colleagues from the University including Dr Elizabeth Tilley, Head of the Discipline of English, who said: “Mike’s colleagues in the Discipline of English are delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate him publicly on these wonderful awards. Our students and staff have long been aware of Mike’s creative talent; it is entirely in order for the larger University community to share with us now in celebrating his work.” Professor Felix Ó Murchadha, Head of the School of Humanities, further emphasizes McCormack’s role as a creative-writing educator: “We are so fortunate to have a writer of Mike McCormack’s stature teaching and mentoring in the School of Humanities. Not alone is he an author of international renown as evidenced by his recent awards, but he generously shares his craft with students here at NUI Galway. Mike’s colleagues in Humanities are delighted to celebrate the fitting recognition he has recently received.” Also taking part in the celebrations on the evening will be former students of McCormack’s at NUI Galway who themselves have been enjoying recent successes in the writing and publishing world. Readings from some of McCormack’s previous works will culminate in a reading by the author himself from Solar Bones.  -Ends- 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

NUI Galway’s O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will stage its first ever play in March, the classic American drama Machinal. Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play was inspired by true events, and follows a young woman suffocated by a restrictive, unfeeling machine-like society. Haunting and provocative, Treadwell’s expressionistic play is made immediately relevant in this new production that updates the piece to reflect our contemporary technology-saturated age. Produced and performed by undergraduates of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, this production will showcase the talents of a new emerging generation of exciting theatre-makers. The play is directed by Dr Ian R. Walsh, a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. His books include Experimental Irish Theatre and The Theatre of Enda Walsh. His professional directing credits include Purple Path to the Poppy Field, The Magic Flute, Orfeo ed Eurydice, The Wandering Scholar and Riders to the Sea. Speaking ahead of the production, Dr Walsh said: “This will be the first full production in the new state-of-the-art O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, home to Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. Our students are delighted to stage this innovative play for Galway audiences.” Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, Patrick Lonergan stated that the production of Machinal is part of the University’s commitment to staging new work: “We are staging four new productions this year with our students, two written by women and two written by men – with further details to be announced in the months ahead. Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal is a famous but rarely seen play that will showcase the best of our facilities and our students’ talents. As Galway moves towards 2020 and the European Capital of Culture, we are delighted to play our part in contributing to the cultural richness of Galway and the wider region.” The show runs from 1-3 March at 8pm with a special Saturday matinee on Saturday, 4 March at 3pm. Tickets are available for €5 from the SocsBox at NUI Galway in Áras na Mac Léinn or phone 091 492852. -Ends-              

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Professor Robert Lahue of the Centre for Chromosome Biology and the Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway, has received a newly launched research grant to provide new science findings that will underpin his research on identifying potential treatments for Huntington’s disease. The BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UK) - Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) joint research grant awarded funding of almost €700,000 between NUI Galway and the University of Leicester. Professor Lahue is just the second NUI Galway researcher to be funded under this new award scheme. Professor Lahue will co-lead a research programme in conjunction with Professor John Schwabe, which will focus on the regulation of proteins that are responsible for causing neurological disease. Huntington’s disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes serious cognitive and movement defects. It is debilitating, untreatable and relentlessly fatal. It is a particularly cruel disease as children are sometimes affected more severely than their parents. Current research into Huntington’s disease has identified a potential therapeutic target, an enzyme called histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3). This enzyme is thought to dysregulate a number of important biochemical mechanisms in the brain of Huntington’s disease patients, leading to disease. Professor Lahue’s recent research also links HDAC3 to the genetic mutation that afflicts Huntington’s disease patients. The BBSRC - SFI joint research programme will focus on the molecular mechanism of how HDAC3 exacerbates the genetic basis of Huntington’s disease. Importantly, this project will use basic science approaches to explore the novel idea that HDAC3 causes genetic mutations. Speaking about the new research grant, Professor Lahue said: “The BBSRC-SFI joint funding offers a wonderful opportunity for discovery research that is linked to human health. We now have the chance to combine the expertise of Professor John Schwabe on HDACs with my group’s expertise in Huntington’s disease genetics. Together, we aim to answer important questions about how HDAC3 is connected to the disease.” Science Foundation Ireland and the BBSRC have entered into this new agreement to welcome, encourage and support research applications that cut across national boundaries involving collaborative teams led by researchers from the UK and Ireland. -Ends-

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Two NUI Galway graduates, who were among the 2016 Highly Commended Entrants at the Undergraduate Awards (UA), presented their papers at the recent UPresent: Island of Ireland 2017. The event saw students and recent graduates from all around Ireland and Northern Ireland gather to present their innovative research in under three minutes to their peers, lecturers and notable academics from various institutions on the island. Law graduate Mahmoud Abukhadir from Drogheda, Co. Louth presented his paper The Case for the Establishment of an International Patent System, which was Highly Commended in the Law category in the 2016 Undergraduate Awards. Bachelor of Science graduate Claire Dooley presented her paper Targeting Fibrinogen as a Factor Contributing to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Originally from Bouladuff, Co. Tipperary, Claire’s paper was the highest ranked paper from the Island of Ireland in the Life Sciences category in the Undergraduate Awards. The Highly Commended Entrants are students and recent graduate who were placed in the top 10% of their field globally in The Undergraduate Awards 2016. Keynote speaker at UPresent: Island of Ireland, Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Policy Advisor to the Higher Education Authority (HEA), spoke on the topic of ‘The Role of Higher Education in the Age of Populism’. She has worked as higher education policy consultant and specialist with international organisations and governments for over 15 years. -Ends-

Friday, 3 February 2017

Acmhainn Nua Oideachais do Bhéaltriail Ghaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta. Tá TG4 i gcomhar le hOllscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh tar éis suíomh nua físe a chur ar fáil ar www.tg4.ie/foghlaim do dhaltaí iar-bhunscoile atá ag ullmhú do Bhéaltriail Ghaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta. Beidh an file clúiteach as Dún na nGall, Pádraig Mac Suibhne (‘Colscaradh’), ag seoladh an tsuímh go hoifigiúil an 02 Féabhra 2017 ag 1.30 in Áras na Gaeilge in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, i gcuideachta daltaí Ardteiste ó Choláiste na Coiribe, Gaillimh.  Is acmhainn nua oideachais closamhairc TG4 Foghlaim, atá curtha in oiriúint do riachtanais dhaltaí na hArdteistiméireachta, ach is féidir le foghlaimeoirí ar leibhéal ar bith an t-ábhar seo a úsáid lena gcuid scileanna Gaeilge a fhorbairt. Tá an acmhainn seo ar fáil saor in aisce do dhaltaí agus d’fhoghlaimeoirí eile in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain. Is furasta an suíomh gréasáin nua seo a úsáid agus beidh ábhar nua á chur ar fáil ann go leanúnach; ag tús gach seachtaine i rith na scoilbhliana, cuirfear cleachtaí nua in airde ann atá bunaithe ar mhíreanna físe ó scoth na gclár ar TG4. Tá na ceachtanna féin bunaithe ar thopaicí an tSiollabais Ardteistiméireachta agus ar fáil saor in aisce. Lena chois sin, beidh léiriú físe ar fáil ar TG4 Foghlaim ar bhrí liteartha agus ar bhrí mheafarach na ndánta atá ar an Siollabas, mar aon le próifíl iomlán ar na filí agus cur síos ar chúlra na ndánta. Is comhpháirtíocht idir TG4 agus Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh an togra seo agus táthar ag súil go rachaidh sé chun tairbhe do dhaltaí agus do mhúinteoirí araon. Deir Leascheannasaí TG4, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, go bhfuil an togra seo curtha le chéile mar thoradh ar iarratais go leor atá déanta ag múinteoirí (agus a gcuid daltaí) ar an gcainéal le beagán blianta: “Is cóir agus is deas linn togra oideachasúil mar seo a sheoladh mar chruthúnas breise ar an leas poiblí a dhéanann TG4 ag cur na Gaeilge chun cinn ar fud na cruinne.” Leagann Príomhfheidhmeannach Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Dónall Ó Braonáin, béim ar thábhacht an togra: “Is iontach go bhfuil taighde ceannródaíoch ar an sealbhú teanga á roinnt ar mhúinteoirí agus mic léinn ardteistiméireachta a bhuíochas d’acmhainní foghlama den chéad scoth.” Tuilleadh eolais ó caroline.ni.dhubhchoin@tg4.ie nó 091 505050. -Críoch- TG4 FOGHLAIM Oral Irish Leaving Certificate Examination Resource TG4 has teamed up with NUI Galway to create TG4 Foghlaim, an innovative and attractive  new audiovisual resource website that will prove of great assistance to postprimary students preparing for the Oral Irish Leaving Certificate Examination. Renowned poet, Pádraig Mac Suibhne, whose poem ‘Colscaradh’ features on the Irish Leaving Certificate Syllabus, will launch the site officially on Thursday the 2nd of February at 1.30 in Áras na Gaeilge in NUI Galway. Pádraig will be joined by TG4 presenter Fiona Ní Fhlatharta and TG4’s Deputy CEO, Pádhraic Ó Ciardha. Dónall Ó Braonáin, CEO of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge will also be present together with Leaving Certificate students from Coláiste na Coiribe, Gaillimh. TG4 Foghlaim aims to ensure that students are well-informed on topics relevant to the Oral Irish exam, which is worth 40% of the overall subject grade. Other learners of all levels and ages, both nationally and internationally, are also encouraged to avail of the website free of charge to improve their oral Irish fluency.  The free, user-friendly site encourages both teachers and students alike to engage with audiovisual content and downloadable lesson plans. TG4 Foghlaim has been careful to maintain a balance between the three major dialects that are represented in its content. This has been extracted from popular TG4 programmes or created exclusively for TG4 Foghlaim. The new aid also offers visual interpretations of the poetry set for the Oral Exam. These interpretations not only explore the literal and metaphorical meanings of the poems, but also feature video profiles of the five poets who composed the works in question. This new project is the latest is a series of partnerships between TG4 and NUI Galway for the benefit of both students and teachers alike. TG4’s Deputy CEO,Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, has revealed that this project has been the result of regular and increasing feedback from  both teachers and students  over recent years: “We are delighted to launch this important and highly visual project which illustrates the importance that TG4 places on the development of Irish throughout the world.” CEO of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Dónall Ó Braonáin, points to the relevance of the project: “It is terrific that Leaving Certificate students and teachers will benefit directly from leading research in language acquisition through first-class learning resources.” More information from caroline.ni.dhubhchoin@tg4.ie or 091 505050  -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2017 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 17th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 4 March, 2017 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme will this year boast an impressive roll call of 100 outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins; Olympian Olive Loughnane; Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald; RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke; Attorney General, Máire Whelan; former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and broadcaster Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2017: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by Galway University Foundation  - Mike McCormack, Irish novelist and short story writer. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Ronan Daly Jermyn   -  Dr Tom Courtney, Corporate Partner in Arthur Cox. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by AIB  - Anne Marie Farrell, Head of Behavioural Economics Research Global SMB Marketing, Google. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Dr Eileen Naughten, Retired Consultant Paediatrician. Joint Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Dr Eoghan Clifford, Paralympic medal winner and NUI Galway Lecturer  - Deirdre Mongan, Paralympic Athlete                        Speaking on the announcement of the Award recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 90,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 494310 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.guf.ie   -Ends-

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

€945,000 funding over four years through Horizon 2020 programme Industry-academia research consortium will enhance intersectoral and transnational cooperation CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway is one of the partners involved in a new international industry-academia consortium. The 3D-NEONET consortium aims to accelerate the development of therapeutic interventions for cancer and eye disease through enhanced intersectoral and transnational research cooperation. The consortium is bringing together a unique group of microbiologists, cancer biologists, chemists, material scientists, mechanical engineers, ocular pharmacologists, geneticists and toxicologists from nine academic and nine non-academic partner organisations in seven countries. Through staff exchanges of periods ranging from one month to one year, participants will learn new skills, share knowledge and have the opportunity to work on joint research and innovation projects in oncology and ophthalmology in academic and commercial institutions across Europe. The aim is to accelerate the development of therapeutic interventions for oncology and ophthalmology. The Drug Discovery and Delivery Network for Oncology and Eye Therapeutics (3D-NEONET) consortium has been awarded €945,000, over four years, under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (MSCA-RISE). Dr Breandán Kennedy, Associate Professor in the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and a Fellow of the UCD Conway Institute will lead the 3D-NEO-NET consortium. Dr Kennedy said: “Through 3D-NEONET, we will address key challenges facing research and innovation in Europe today. University graduates can struggle to transit smoothly into industry employment; research SMEs may have limited capacity to capitalise on new technology or find suitably experienced staff; and there is often unnecessary duplication of resources across Europe due to individual institutions working in isolation.” He added: “This programme is a fantastic opportunity to enhance career development, facilitate knowledge sharing and enable new skills acquisition. Ultimately, this will form a sustainable network of academics and SMEs who can collectively overcome obstacles in the development of therapeutics for oncology and ophthalmology.” Spanish consortium partner ZeClinics will exchange staff with QUB and CÚRAM at NUI Galway, providing these two academic partners with tools and expertise to test in vivo efficacy and safety of their drug delivery systems. Dr Javier Terriente, CSO, ZeClinics, said: “The goal of all 3D-NEONET institutions is to have an impact on people’s health. This initiative will allow sharing knowledge and bridging experts from areas and sectors that otherwise would never meet. We are eager to share our experience in drug discovery with top students in the ocular and oncology fields. For ZeClinics students, it will be great to learn from the best minds in these relevant therapeutic areas.” Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, NUI Galway, said: “Our goal at CÚRAM is to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic illness. We are delighted to be part of this consortium and we hope that the continued sharing of expertise and knowledge will lead to efficient translation of research results that benefit the patient as well as upskilling Irish researchers involved in developing the next generation of medical devices.” Over the next four years, the proposed programme of work will include multiple staff exchange interactions among the 18 partners. Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, said: “This new pan-European ophthalmic and oncology research consortium, which UCS is leading, will not only provide individual researchers with skills that can improve their career prospects, both in and outside academia, but will also boost research and innovation capacity and output among participating universities and industry partners, and ultimately impact Europe's economy and society.” Professor Feely added: “It is very encouraging to see the involvement by UCD researchers from across so many disciplines in the College of Science, College of Health and Agricultural Sciences and College of Engineering and Architecture in this new consortium.” ENDS

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Henry Glassie, Professor of Folklore at Indiana University will give the Third Annual Jean Ritchie Memorial Lecture on ‘The Southern Mountain Music of Ola Belle Reed (1916-2002)’. The lecture will take place on Thursday, 2 February from 1-2pm in The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn. Bella Reed was an American folk singer, songwriter and banjo player whose work engaged with Appalachian life and traditions. She was one of the greatest ever performers of Appalachian music. Professor Glassie has co-authored of Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line, which includes rare recordings of Reed’s music. In 1966, Professor Glassie first heard her play in the town of Oxford, Pennsylvania, where Alex and Ola Belle Reed and the New River Boys and Girls performed Southern mountain music live, on the air, in the back of the Campbell’s Corner general store. Over the next two years, he recorded her repertoire of folk ballads, minstrel songs, country standards, and originals. He also chronicled the remarkable story of the migration of communities from the Blue Ridge Mountains toward the Mason-Dixon Line prior to WWII. Professor Glassie’s work has received many awards, including the Chicago Folklore Prize. In 2010, he was given the ‘American Folklore Society’s Award for a Lifetime of Scholarly Achievement’, and the prestigious ‘Charles Homer Haskins Prize of the American Council of Learned Societies’ in 2011. -Ends-  

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Researchers in NUI Galway have issued a call for patients and healthy volunteers to participate in a scientific study to unlock some of the mysteries around schizophrenia. iRELATE is a European Research Council funded project examining the impact of genes, early life experiences and the immune system on the brain. A particular focus of the iRELATE study is to understand how genetic and environmental factors impact on social thinking and interaction, a key factor in schizophrenia related disability. A chronic and severe mental disorder, schizophrenia (which affects between 0.5-1% of the  population) usually manifests between the ages of 18 and 30, affecting how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Among that age group, the World Health organisation lists schizophrenia among the top five most disabling conditions, ahead of blindness and paraplegia. Gary Donohoe, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Neuroimaging and cognitive Genomics (NICOG) at NUI Galway, is heading up the research project. “Schizophrenia is poorly understood by society as a whole, and there is also an incredible amount that we as clinicians and scientists have yet to understand. In this study we are trying to better understand schizophrenia by looking at how our brains process the social information that allows us to negotiate social situations. We know that there are genetic and environmental factors involved, but how these combine is uncertain. One idea is that these factors may influence brain development via our immune system – a biological system increasingly implicated in schizophrenia risk.” iRELATE will use a combination of state of the art neuroimaging, cognitive testing and molecular and genetic techniques to examine differences in genes and immune function across research participants, and how these may affect the brain. Research will be carried out across two sites in Galway and Dublin: at University Hospital Galway’s HRB Clinical Research Facility  and St. James’s Hospital’s Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility and Centre for Advanced Medical Imaging (CAMI), in collaboration with colleagues from Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Psychiatry. The iRELATE project is currently recruiting research volunteers, including patients with  schizophrenia, and healthy volunteers. “We are asking people to reach out to our team to find out a little bit more about the project and how they may possibly be part of us and help us better understand this condition. Learning about this condition will better inform treatments of the future.” To find out more about volunteering for iRELATE, e-mail: iRELATE@nuigalway.ie ,  telephone 091 495 953, or visit us on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/irelateproject/  or at https://www.nuigalway.ie/nicog/irelate/ -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced Sarah Ghriallas as the Sean-nós Singer-in-Residence for 2017. Originally from Muiceanach, Co. Galway, Sarah has long been acknowledged as a sean-nós singer of exceptional talent, winning the coveted Corn Uí Riada award at the Oireachtas for the first time in 1984. That same prize has also been taken home by her son Michael, her sisters Nóra and Nan, and her niece Celia Ní Fhátharta. Sarah’s was a household full of singing and music-making and she credits her parents, Pádraig and Máire, and her wider family for instilling her first love of singing. Some of the songs which are most associated with Sarah include ‘Sagart na Cúile Báine’, Condae Mhaigh Eo’, ‘Táilliúir an Mhagaidh’ agus ‘Eileanóir na Rún’. To begin her residency, Sarah will give a series of five sean-nós singing workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway, beginning on Wednesday, 8 February at 7pm. Workshops are free and open to all. This scheme is run with support from Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. For further information contact Samantha Williams in the Centre for Irish Studies at 091 492051 or Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Sarah Ghriallais Ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach ag OÉ Gaillimh Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh go bhfuil Sarah Ghriallais ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Is duine de chlann Ghriallais as Muiceanach-idir-Dhá-Sháile í Sarah Ghriallais a bhfuil cáil na hamhránaíochta sean-nóis uirthi le blianta fada. Ocht n-uaire ar fad atá Corn Uí Riada buaite ag na Griallaiseacha, idir Sarah, a mac Michael, a cuid deirfiúracha Nóra agus Nan agus a neacht Celia Ní Fhátharta. Is sa mbliain 1984 a thug Sarah féin léi duais mhór an Oireachtais, Corn Uí Riada. Is óna hathair, Pádraig Ghriallais, agus a máthair, Máire, a phioc Sarah suas na hamhráin an chéad lá riamh. Baile an-cheolmhar a bhí i Muiceanach ina hóige, dar le Sarah, le bosca ceoil i ngach teach agus bhí na damhsóirí ar an sean-nós chomh fairsing ann is a bhí na hamhránaithe ag an am. Is iad na hamhráin is mó a chasann agus a thaitníonn le Sarah ná ‘Sagart na Cúile Báine’, Condae Mhaigh Eo’, ‘Táilliúir an Mhagaidh’ agus ‘Eileanóir na Rún’. Beidh sraith ceardlann á reachtáil ag Sarah san Ollscoil agus in áiteanna eile san Earrach agus arís sa bhFómhar agus beidh a chuid amhrán á dtaifeadadh aici don gcartlann sean-nóis atá á cur le chéile le blianta beaga anuas ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh. Cuirfear tús leis na ceardlanna i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne, Dé Céadaoin, 8Feabhra, ag 7pm. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus fáilte roimh daoine a bhfuil spéis acu san amhránaíocht. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams, Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, ag 091 492051 nó Samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

NUI Galway will hold its Postgraduate Open Day on Tuesday, 7 February, from 1-5pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day is an important event for professionals and graduates who are focusing on their future, with an aim of upgrading their qualification, broadening their skills-set, increasing their specialist knowledge and ultimately improving their job prospects. The Open Day will showcase over 160 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, and an extensive range of research Masters and doctoral research options. Over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. The event will not just highlight the pathways for attendees to progress in their current career track or area of study but will also present the growing number of options for graduates and professionals who want to change track and pursue an alternative career. Sarah Geraghty, Student Recruitment and Outreach Manager at NUI Galway, said: “In addition to a variety of interdisciplinary conversion courses, many of the Masters on offer are open to graduates from multiple undergraduate courses. The Open Day will include a panel discussion on the topic ‘Changing Direction’ with expertise from all corners of the University available to give advice and answer questions for those exploring their options in new fields of study.” A key part of the decision to pursue a postgraduate qualification is finding out as much as possible about the application process and the funding options available. The upcoming Open Day brings together all the key people and organisations that provide support to postgraduate students. The recent announcement by the Department of Education and Skills on increased investment in maintenance grants in 2017/2018 will benefit over 1,000 students. SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national awarding authority for all higher and further education student grants, will be giving talks at the Open Day and on hand to answer queries about grants and funding. NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media and Film Studies and Regenerative Medicine. The Open Day will showcase new programme offerings for 2017 including Masters programmes in Cellular Manufacturing, Astronomical Instrumentation and Technology, Politics and Sociology and Computational Genomics. To view NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Ends-

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

CÚRAM Investigator, Dr Manus Biggs, is one of three Irish researchers to receive a newly launched Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - Science Foundation Ireland joint research grant of over €1 million, awarded between NUI Galway and the University of Glasgow. The BBSRC and Science Foundation Ireland have entered an agreement to welcome, encourage and support research applications that cut across national boundaries involving collaborative teams led by researchers from the UK and Ireland. Dr Biggs will co-lead a research programme in conjunction with Professor Matthew Dalby, Professor of Cell Engineering (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology) at the University of Glasgow. The programme will focus on the development of nanobiomimetic electrically active scaffolds for bone regeneration, with an aim of producing rapid, large area bone grafts in the laboratory environment. Bone tissue regeneration remains an important challenge in the field of tissue engineering and sees a transplantation frequency second only to that of blood. Bone grafting is the current standard treatment; however, given the inherent limitations of this approach, bone tissue engineering and advanced biomaterials that mimic the structure and function of native tissues hold potential as alternative strategies to regeneration. Current studies in regenerative bone scaffolds suggest that further biomimicry is required before a complete solution to bone regeneration can be delivered. Further evidence has been gathered on the importance of minute electrical and mechanical cues on cell differentiation and function. “This project will further our current understanding of the joint role of electromechanical stimulation on stem cell function. We need to focus on understanding the cellular response to these subtle electrical and mechanical cues,” says Dr Biggs “We can then understand more fully how these influence cell function and tissue regeneration.” This joint programme will focus on combining piezoelectric regenerative scaffolds, (piezoelectric materials have the ability to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress) with nano mechanical stimulation to develop new bone cells from stem cells. CÚRAM is the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices, based at NUI Galway. Supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry partners, CÚRAM’s goal is to radically improve quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. The Centre’s innovative approach incorporates biomaterials, drug delivery, cell based technologies, glycosciences and device design to enhance, develop and validate both traditional and new combinational medical devices, from molecular design stage to implant manufacturing. CÚRAM's devices are being developed with strong clinical collaborations to enable rapid translation of research findings to clinical application. -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

The finals of the Independent.ie Higher Education Fitzgibbon Cup senior hurling championship will be hosted by NUI Galway on 24-25 February, and were officially launched today at the University. It was announced that the final of the Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup will be held in Pearse Stadium, Salthill. The semi-finals of the competition will be held in Dangan, the NUI Galway Sports Grounds, along with the semi-finals of the Ryan Cup and the Fergal Maher Cups. The final of the Cup, which is sponsored by Independent.ie for the third year, will also be broadcast live on TG4 and takes place on Saturday, 25 February, 2017. The annual Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup dinner will take place on Friday, 24 February in the Westwood Hotel, where the late Joe McDonagh’s association with Gaelic Games at the University will be celebrated on a night I gCuimhne ar Joe. While in college, Joe played for the UCG football and hurling teams, winning a Fresher’s hurling medal in 1972 and featuring in several Sigerson and Fitzgibbon campaigns. As a postgraduate student in 1977 he finally collected his Fitzgibbon Cup medal, having beaten Maynooth in the final, 1-14, 1-12. In the history of the Cup, NUI Galway has won the title 10 times, the last in 2010 when hosted by the University. Previous to that that was 37 years ago in 1980 when also hosted in the west. In the 2016 championship, Mary Immaculate College hurlers were crowned title holders for the first time after defeating their local rivals University of Limerick in extra time. Trinity College Dublin took in the Ryan Cup, and IT Sligo took the Fergal Maher Cup. Commenting on the upcoming championship, Mike Heskin, NUI Galway Director of Sport, said: “NUI Galway is delighted to host the Fitzgibbon Cup sponsored by Independent.ie at the NUI Galway Sport Complex in Dangan. It will be a great festival of hurling with inter county players from all over the country. We are very grateful for the assistance provided by Galway GAA, Croke Park and our sponsors Bank of Ireland in hosting this event.  NUI Galway have won the competition on ten occasions and we hope 2017 will see the University back in the top flight of third level hurling. I would especially encourage all hurling lovers in the West of Ireland to come and support the teams over the weekend.” Arlene Regan, Marketing Manager, Independent.ie said; “We are delighted to be sponsors of the Independent.ie Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups for the third year running. These competitions showcase the best of the young GAA talent in the country and as a media organisation that is steeped in GAA tradition, we value our partnership greatly. Best of luck to all the participants this year - if last year is anything to go by, there is a very exciting few months ahead.” -Ends- Corn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie á reáchtáil ag OÉ Gaillimh in 2017  Reáchtálfaidh OÉ Gaillimh craobhchomórtas Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie, an craobhchomórtas ardoideachais iománaíochta sinsir, an 24-25 Feabhra, agus seoladh go hoifigiúil an comórtas san Ollscoil inniu. Beidh cluiche ceannais Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie ar siúl ar Pháirc an Phiarsaigh i mBóthar na Trá.  Beidh na cluichí leathcheannais ar siúl sa Daingean, Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh, mar aon le cluichí leathcheannais Chorn Uí Riain agus Chorn Fergal Maher. Craolfar beo ar TG4 cluiche ceannais an Choirn, atá urraithe ag Independent.ie don tríú bliain anois, Dé Sathairn, an 25 Feabhra 2017. Beidh dinnéar bliantúil Chorn Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie ar siúl Dé hAoine, an 24 Feabhra in Óstán an Westwood, áit a ndéanfar ceiliúradh ar an gceangal a bhí ag Seosamh Mac Donncha leis na Cluichí Gaelacha san Ollscoil ag an ócáid I gCuimhne ar Joe. Sa choláiste, d'imir Joe ar fhoirne peile agus iománaíochta COG. Bhuaigh sé bonn iománaíochta sa chéad bhliain i 1972 agus bhí sé páirteach in go leor comórtais Sigerson agus Mhic Giobúin. Mar iarchéimí i 1977, bhuaigh sé bonn i gCorn Mhic Giobúin sa deireadh, nuair a bhí an bua ag COG ar Mhá Nuad sa chluiche ceannais, 1-14, 1-12. Tá an Corn buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh deich n-uaire. Is in 2010 a bhuaigh an Ollscoil go deireadh é nuair a bhí an comórtas ar siúl san ollscoil. Tá sé 37 bliain ó shin, i 1980 ó reáchtáladh an Corn san iarthar. I gcraobh 2016, ba iad iománaithe Choláiste Mhuire gan Smál a bhuaigh an corn den chéad uair riamh nuair a fuair siad an ceann is fearr ar a gcomharsana Ollscoil Luimnigh in am breise. Ba iad Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath a bhuaigh Corn Uí Riain, agus ba iad IT Shligigh a bhuaigh Corn Fergal Maher. Ag labhairt dó faoin gcraobhchomórtas, dúirt Mike Heskin, Stiúrthóir Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúis áthas do OÉ Gaillimh Corn Mhic Giobúin a reáchtáil, urraithe ag Independent.ie in Ionad Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh sa Daingean. Ócáid iontach iománaíochta a bheas inti agus beidh imreoirí contae as fud fad na tíre páirteach. Táimid an-bhuíoch as an gcúnamh ó CLG Chontae na Gaillimhe, Páirc an Chrócaigh agus ónár n-urraitheoirí Banc na hÉireann chun an ócáid seo a reáchtáil.  Tá an comórtas buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh deich mbabhta agus tá súil againn go mbeidh an Ollscoil ar ais i mbarr a réime in 2017 ó thaobh iománaíochta ag an tríú leibhéal de. Mholfainn do dhaoine ar spéis leo an iománaíocht san iarthar tacú leis na foirne ag an deireadh seachtaine.”  Dúirt Arlene Regan, Bainisteoir Margaíochta, Independent.ie; “Tá an-áthas orainn urraíocht a dhéanamh ar Chorn Sigerson agus Mhic Giobúin Independent.ie don tríú bliain as a chéile. Léiríonn na comórtais seo na himreoirí óga CLG is fearr sa tír agus mar eagraíocht atá báite sna meáin agus i dtraidisiún CLG, is mór againn an chomhpháirtíocht seo.  Go n-éirí an t-ádh leis na rannpháirtithe ar fad i mbliana - má bhíonn sé cosúil leis an mbliain seo caite, tá cúpla mí iontach romhainn.”  -Críoch-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy has welcomed the publication of the Disabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016. The Bill has been identified by Government as one of the final steps towards Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ireland signed the Convention in 2008 and has committed to ratify once reforms to bring our laws into conformity with the Convention have been introduced. Eilionoir Flynn, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, said: “The Bill will introduce long-overdue reform in the areas of access to goods and services, jury service, electoral laws, and will establish national implementation and monitoring mechanisms for the Convention in Ireland. While the majority of the proposed provisions are to be welcomed, some serious human rights concerns remain.” The Explanatory Memorandum of the Bill states that several key amendments, including those on deprivation of liberty of persons with disabilities will be introduced at Committee stage. These are key human rights issue for people with disabilities, mental health service users and older people; yet to date there has been no public consultation with these communities about the proposed legal changes. Jim Walsh of the Irish Advocacy Network said: “The fact that amendments are only being brought at Committee stage means that there will be less opportunity to debate the provisions. We call on the Department of Health and the Department of Justice to immediately publish their proposals for legal reform in this area and to engage in a meaningful consultation with those who will be directly affected by this part of the law.” The Bill makes important efforts to change jury service laws to eliminate disability-based discrimination which has led to many people (including members of the deaf community and people with learning disabilities) being deemed ineligible for jury service. However, the proposed wording would disqualify ‘a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have sufficient mental or intellectual capacity to serve as a juror.’ Fiona Walsh, Recovery Experts by Experience, said: “A more human rights-compliant approach would be to disqualify a person who does not, in the opinion of the court, have the ability to perform the functions required of a juror, following the provision of reasonable accommodation.” The Bill designates the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to monitor the implementation of the Convention in Ireland and provides for the creation of an advisory committee, of which half would be members with disabilities, to guide the Commission in this work. Sarah Lennon, Inclusion Ireland, said: “We are concerned that the Bill does not provide any additional funding to the Commission to carry out this work.  Further, in light of the principle of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ which guided the negotiation of the Convention, we urge the Department of Justice to reconsider making lived experience of disability or mental health services a requirement for all members of this advisory committee and not just half.” It is critical that Ireland fulfils its commitment to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. Given Ireland’s length process to prepare for ratification, it should be possible to ratify without entering significant reservations and declarations. Maria Walls, a PhD Scholar at NUI Galway said: “We are gravely concerned that the Department of Justice propose to enter reservations or declarations on Articles 12 and 14 relating to equal recognition before the law and liberty. These articles are core to the spirit and purpose of the Convention and we urge the government to commit to their full implementation in line with the guidance provided by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.” -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s Theatre Week returns to Galway City from 20-25 February celebrating Drama in many forms. This year’s programme contains a diverse programme that will appeal to a variety of people, whether you are a college student or just a Galway theatre lover and showcases the many talents of NUI Galway students through theatre, literature and film. Dramsoc’s flagship for the week is John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men, directed by Naoise O'Beirn. The play dazzled audiences during its Broadway revival in 2014 which starred Chris O'Dowd and James Franco. This show will run for three performances, on the 20, 21 and 22 February at 8pm in the Bank of Ireland Theatre on campus. Featured in this week-long theatre extravaganza will also be the Jerome Hynes One Act Series, hosting five original plays by Dramsoc’s own writers. The plays will have varying themes from comedy to drama and will take place from 22-24 February. Since the inauguration of the series in 2001, many of the playwrights have gone on to win national and international awards and acclaim, and have seen their work produced professionally, and many new theatre companies have also emerged from the process. NUI Galway Societies Officer, Ríona Hughes said: “The week is the perfect showcase for our students, many of whom are studying drama, and we are delighted to invite back our dramatic alumni and feature their work during a week dedicated to theatre. We really hope the public will come onto campus and celebrate with us.” Dramsoc is delighted to support the newly formed Cáca Dána Theatre Company for their second production. The company was founded last year by Dramsoc alumni, Niamh Ryan, Katie Reid, Marie Hegarty and Dara O’Donnell. After a highly successful run in the Town Hall studio with their first play All the World’s a Cage, the company are returning with a new play starring and written by Niamh Ryan entitled Eternal Youth, which made its debut in North Carolina, produced by Lab Theatre. The production resulted in Ryan receiving the Sam Seldon Playwriting award. The play was performed in Dramsoc as a rehearsed reading in 2016 and will now take to the stage in the Town Hall studio. Tickets can be bought from the Town Hall Theatre. Other events taking place during the week include a devised theatre performance, a dance performance, and a variety show hosted by NUI Galway GIGSoc. Full details of each event can be found at http://www.nuigstudents.ie/theatreweek17 or follow the NUI Galway Theatre Week on Facebook for all information. Information and tickets are available from The SocsBox, Áras na Mac Leinn, on 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Monday, 30 January 2017

NUI Galway’s School of Law will host a public seminar on sports-related concussion and the law on Tuesday, 21 February. Guest speaker, sports law expert Professor Jack Anderson, will speak about brain injury litigation arising from concussion in sport. The seminar is being organised by NUI Galway law lecturer Dr Brian Tobin, who said: “Reports of controversial in-game concussion incidents or of players being forced to retire because of repeated concussion seem all too frequent nowadays in pro rugby, in particular. The seminar will explore what might occur if the controversial issue of concussion in sport was to ultimately collide with its greatest opponent, the law, in the form of brain injury litigation.” Jack Anderson is a Professor of Law at Queen's University Belfast, where he specialises in sports law. He is a member of a number of sports dispute resolution bodies, including those established for the GAA and the FAI. He was recently appointed as an arbitrator to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. The seminar will take place at Áras Moyola, NUI Galway, at 6pm and is free to attend. To register for the concussion seminar visit www.conference.ie. -Ends-