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SCHOOL OF CHEMISTRY NEWS
BOC Postgraduate awards 2021
The Irish Chemistry Colloquium is one of the oldest events held in Ireland where the chemistry research community is brought together and celebrates the excellent quality of work at the Irish universities. This year, the University of Limerick organised its 72nd edition with a 2-day virtual programme with two excellent keynote speakers, Prof. David Cole-Hamilton from University of St Andrews and Prof. Tomislav Friscic from McGill University in Canada.
All Irish universities participated in the event with an excellent attendance and quality of content from all speakers. A peak of 250 attendees was achieved during the two days, where 21 oral presentations and 40 thesis in 3 covered all aspects of chemistry.
NUI Galway participated with 7 speakers, and we are delighted that two of them were awarded prizes for the presentations. Tanushree Mandal, a 3rd year PhD student in the group of Prof. Donal Leech, received the Best Presentation Award in Physical Chemistry for “Mediated electrochemistry on electrodes with defined surface area for peroxidase-based sensors”. Elliot Murphy, a 4th year PhD student in the group of Prof. Olivier Thomas, received the Thesis in Three award for “Culture optimisation and bioactivity of selected toxic Irish microalgae”.
Ana Luiza de Faria e Silva, Camila van Zanten, and Marina Steiner-Browne were all conferred with their PhD degrees yesterday at a virtual ceremony in NUI Galway. This is a first for the School of Chemistry as all three are from Brazil and studied in the Nanoscale Biophotonics Laboratory under the supervision of Prof. Alan Ryder. They also all worked on the analysis of proteins using a variety of fluorescence spectroscopy based methods as part of research projects funded by Science Foundation Ireland (ADF, MSB) and CAPES (CVZ).
School of Chemistry well represented in ICI Postgraduate Chemistry Research Symposium
Congratulations to all involved in the Symposium held on September 9th 2020, a full-day online event where PhD students from all over Ireland shared their research in posters, flash presentations and oral presentations. The event had 140 registered delegates and featured talks from Mental Health Ireland, GSK and Abbvie, among others.
The Symposium organising committee (photo above) was made up of postgrad representatives from around the country, including NUI Galway’s nominee Syl Byrne from the Murphy Group, and meetings were facilitated by Dr Joseph Byrne (Honorary Research Lecturer in the School of Chemistry, NUIG) and Dr Mark Kelada (ICI Young Chemists Representative).
At the event, 13 students from the School of Chemistry presented their work, with Bernard Boateng (Ryder Group) giving an oral presentation in the session on Sensing, analysis and separation and Fiona Gordon winning a prize for her flash presentation. Neville Murphy, Ahmed Ahmed, Meghan Winterlich, Shane Grant, Ioannis Mylonas-Margaritis, Karolina Wojtczak and Marina Steiner-Browne also presented flash talks, while Rosy Polisicchio, Sam Afoullous, Jack Bennett and Grace Sutton took part in the poster sessions.
The programme also included presentations from graduates Dr Patrick Kielty, who spoke about career opportunities in Abbvie, and Dr Adele Gabba who gave an inspirational talk about her professional and personal journey through her postgraduate career and beyond. More information about the event can be found on https://icipostgraduateresearchday.wordpress.com/
Congratulations to Francesco Civati, School of Chemistry who was awarded the SSPC Graduate of the Year https://sspc.ie/francesco-civati-sspc-graduate-of-the-year/. This award recognises Francesco for being an exceptional SSPC Graduate based on his PhD achievements and outputs under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Erxleben. Well done Francesco from the School of Chemistry.
Congratulations also to Fiona Gordon, School of Chemistry on winning a poster prize at the ICI postgraduate Chemistry research symposium, well done Fiona.
School of Chemistry and NUI Galway Researcher to Lead €5-million EU Project for Nanomaterial Analysis
The Nanoscale Biophotonics Laboratory (NBL) at NUI Galway will lead a major new €5 million project to develop and deploy new Process Analytical technologies (PAT) tools for the online measurement and analysis of industrially relevant nanoparticles.
The project, PAT4Nano (Process Analytical Technology Tools for Real-Time Physical and Chemical Characterization of Nanosuspensions) is funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Research and Innovation Actions.
The PAT4Nano project begins this month and will be coordinated by NUI Galway’s Professor Alan G. Ryder, and consists of five industrial partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK, with three research partners from Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Nanosuspensions are a critical material type found in everything from pharmaceuticals, to inks, paints, and fine chemicals used in advanced manufacturing. The accurate measurement of nanosuspensions and the size of nanoparticles is critical for efficient manufacturing processes and ultimately the performance of materials. PAT4Nano aims to develop tools to enable the continuous, rapid, and reliable measurement of nanoparticles to facilitate the more efficient, less costly, and accurate manufacture of nanomaterials.
In PAT4Nano the consortium end user partners, are working on diverse applications in pharmaceuticals, inks/pigments, and materials for catalysis, batteries, and glass manufacture. One specific example of where nanoparticles play an important role is for some pharmaceutical drugs where the size and characteristics of nanoparticles can be used to produce more effective therapies.
The project is unique in that the end users of the PAT4Nano technologies will be working in very close collaboration with both technology providers and research centres to produce the best solutions which can be deployed in a manufacturing environment.
Professor Alan Ryder, who leads the Nanoscale Biophotonics Laboratory based in the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway, said: “PAT4Nano is an exemplary, interdisciplinary, industry-academic partnership which aims to solve challenging issues with the online, rapid measurement of nanoparticles which affects the manufacture of a wide range of advanced materials like therapeutic drugs, additives for glass and battery manufacture, to inks, and even biologics like vaccines."
The science of behind PAT4Nano: The PAT4Nano project is all about the accurate measurement of nanoparticles in many different industrial settings and the research involved is thus very multi-disciplinary. The research is at the chemistry-physics-engineering interface and mostly involves the use of light to probe and measure the nanomaterials accurately. In terms of chemistry, the nanoparticles are mostly molecular materials (drugs, inks, catalysts, etc) and these are typically suspended in some form of solvent. The chemistry of the nanoparticle-solvent interactions can influence the physics of the light material interactions that we use for measurement. Therefore we need to understand in depth both chemistry and physics to deliver the optimal measurement solutions to the chemical engineers who use these measurement methods. PAT4Nano technologies also have applications in the life sciences such as in vaccine manufacture where they can be used to measure the quality of vaccine particles.
NUI Galway Researchers to Represent Ireland at Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Dr Adele Gabba and Dr Joseph Byrne from NUI Galway, who were selected to represent Ireland at the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting. Photo: Francesco Civati.
Two of our School's researchers, Dr Joseph Byrne and Dr Adele Gabba, have been selected to attend the prestigious meeting of Nobel Laureates and emerging scientists from around the world in 2021. The pair will represent Ireland at the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on the island of Lindau in Germany.
Dr Byrne and Dr Gabba will join a selected group of 660 outstanding early-career scientists from 101 countries, who will meet with 68 Nobel Prize winners in the fields of chemistry, medicine and physiology, and physics. Selection to attend this week-long meeting offers a once-in-a-career opportunity to share their research and ideas with Nobel laureates and a wide network of future scientific leaders.
Dr Adele Gabba recently graduated with a PhD in Chemistry and currently works as a research assistant in the group of Professor Paul Murphy, School of Chemistry at NUI Galway. She will begin a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship in MIT in the coming months.
Dr Joseph Byrne is an Honorary Research Lecturer in the School of Chemistry, who is in the first year of a Science Foundation Ireland Starting Investigator Research Grant project, developing luminescent glycoconjugate materials for detection of bacterial infections.
Dr Gabba and Dr Byrne were among six scientists nominated by the Irish Research Council (IRC), before going through a rigorous international selection process, through which only half of nominees were ultimately invited to attend. They will receive a grant from the Irish Research Council to enable them to attend the meeting, which takes place from 27 June-2 July 2021. The meeting was scheduled for this summer, but due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it has been postponed until 2021, while an interactive online programme of events will take place this year to fulfil the Lindau Foundation’s mission ‘Educate. Inspire. Connect.’
Dr Byrne said: “This meeting is unique in putting the most ground-breaking scientists of recent decades and early-career researchers around the same tables for a week. With little-to-no distraction from the outside world, it is ideal for transferring ideas and sharing challenges between generations and countries as well as different disciplines. I am looking forward to building new relationships with other chemists, but also biochemists, physicists, medical scientists, who I could collaborate with to tackle challenging scientific questions of international relevance in the future.”
Dr Gabba said: “Being selected to attend a Nobel Laureate Meeting is a small life dream come true! I have been certainly looking forward with immense excitement for June, so I have to confess the news of the postponement for COVID-19 came along with a bit of disappointment. Despite my childlike eagerness, I think the organising committee took the right decision. I am sure all attendees will see that waiting and, most of all, the reason behind it, as an opportunity to reflect deeply on the importance of bringing together researchers with a different background in an interdisciplinary meeting. Problems that impact our society are mostly extremely complex, we will succeed in solving them only if we put our brains and best efforts together.”