International imaging effort unlocks brain secrets

International imaging effort unlocks brain secrets-image

Thursday, 22 January 2015

 New insights may help scientists better understand disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy An international study, which included researchers from NUI Galway, has identified significant genetic factors that influence the size of structures within the brain. It is hoped these new insights may help scientists better understand disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. The research was published today in Nature magazine. NUI Galway professor of psychology, Professor Gary Donohoe, led the Irish contribution to the study, which involved a consortium of almost 300 scientists from 193 institutes - including NUI Galway. The consortium, known as the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis), shared results from analyses of genetic data and MRI scans from more than 30,000 individuals worldwide. The study looked at the size of sub-cortical brain regions that are involved in some basic functions such as memory, movement, learning and motivation. Abnormalities in these brain regions are associated with neurological and mental health disorders. According to Professor Donohoe: “For years, scientists have been fascinated by the development of different brain structures and how this changes in brain-based disorders. In this study, we have used MRI scans to look at how the size of different brain regions is influenced by our genes and obtained some fascinating results. We have found, for example, one gene variant that affects the size of the Putamen, a region near the centre of the brain which resembles the stone in the middle of a fruit.The Putamen is partly responsible for movement and learning, and is implicated in Parkinson’s disease. This finding opens up new avenues for research in this disease by giving new clues about the biological mechanisms involved.” The research was in part funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board in Ireland and involved collaboration between researchers at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin. “Knowledge about the genetic basis of these structures provides important insights into how the brain develops”, said Professor Donohoe. “These insights are important both to understanding normal human development and to understanding the basis of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. Given the likelihood that thousands of variants are involved, large scale international efforts such as in this study are an important step in unravelling this genetic and biological complexity so as to develop new and better treatments.” “ENIGMA’s scientists screen brain scans and genomes worldwide for factors that help or harm the brain”, said ENGIMA co-founder Professor Paul Thompson from University of Southern California. “This crowd-sourcing and sheer wealth of data gives us the power to crack the brain’s genetic code.” Dr Sarah Medland of QIMR Berghofer in Australia, was senior-author on the study, and added: “Unless you know what ‘normal’ development looks like it’s hard to know how disease manifests in these sub-cortical regions. Previously it has been too expensive for any one institute to collect enough scans and genetic data to make this kind of study possible. By working together in large collaborative projects we can tackle these types of problems and further our understanding of the biology of the brain.” Five genetic variants identified The study identified five genetic variants that influence the size of structures within the brain. Of the genetic associations found, the largest effect was seen for the Putamen, a subcortical region located at the base of the forebrain, which is important for movement and reinforcement learning. This variant is located within the KTN1 gene that encodes the protein Kinectin, a receptor important for cell function. In follow up protein expression work this variant was found to alter the expression of KTN1 in frontal cortex. The study also found evidence of several variants being associated with hippocampal volume (a brain region synonymous with memory encoding and retrieval), one of which has previously been implicated in risk for schizophrenia. The article published in Nature today is ‘Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures’. This research at NUI Galway was undertaken by the Cognitive Genetics and Therapy Group (Principal Investigators: Prof Gary Donohoe and Dr Derek Morris; http://www.nuigalway.ie/psychology/coggene_group.html) and the Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory (Principal Investigators: Prof Colm McDonald and Dr Dara Cannon; http://clinicalneuroimaginglaboratory.com/). More information about the ENIGMA project is available at http://enigma.ini.usc.edu/ -ends-

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NUI Galway’s Acting Director of Student Services Awarded Prestigious Prize

NUI Galway’s Acting Director of Student Services Awarded Prestigious Prize-image

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

John Hannon, acting Director of Student Services at NUI Galway, was recently awarded the John Roberts Memorial Prize at the University of Warwick. The John Roberts Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the best student on the AGCAS/University of Warwick Certificate, Diploma or MA in Career Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education. It is awarded in memory of John Roberts who, before his untimely death in 1995, was a very active and long-serving member of AGCAS with a strong commitment to training and professional development. The award is judged by the University of Warwick course assessment team and is given to the student who has produced the most outstanding work during the academic year of the award. Phil McCash, Course Director at the University of Warwick, said: “John achieved the highest overall performance at our last Examination Board and this is one of the main reasons he was selected for the AGCAS John Roberts Memorial Prize. He successfully completed the MA in Career Education and Guidance in Higher Education with distinction and both internal and external examiners felt this was thoroughly deserved. Throughout his time as a student with us, John also worked at NUI Galway. On a personal note, I have enjoyed working with John, both helping him and learning from him over the course of his MA. It has been a great journey for all of us and I wish him every success in the future.” -Ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Clonmel

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Clonmel-image

Monday, 19 January 2015

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Clonmel on Thursday, 29 January. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in The Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics- degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge). Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to County Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Clonmel is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Clonmel, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239121 or celine.odonovan@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Free Introduction to Computer Classes at NUI Galway

Free Introduction to Computer Classes at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 19 January 2015

NUI Galway’s free Click and Connect introduction to computer classes will resume again on the week beginning 26 January. The classes run for two-hours once a week, over a four week period, providing eight hours of training in total. The classes are aimed at those with little or no computer experience and cover topics such as introduction to the internet, online shopping and booking tickets, setting up and managing email, and using the computer in conjunction with a digital camera. In addition to the Click and Connect programme there will be a slightly more advanced Second Steps programme available to new and past learners. This programme is aimed at those whom have some computer experience or previously completed the Click and Connect programme and are seeking more computer knowledge. Second Steps is a follow up to Click and Connect providing more training to broaden learners understanding on topics such as internet, file management, and using tablets as an alternative to computers. As many of the participants have little to no computer experience the classes are run in a relaxed fun environment, which gives confidence to the new learners. Student volunteers will be on hand to provide one-to-one support to the learners in the classes. Each class is small with a maximum of twelve people and each learner is given a supporting booklet with instructions so that they can continue to develop their skills at home. All who complete receive a certificate of attendance. These free computer classes have provided training to over 600 people since the classes began.         The manager of Click and Connect is Pat Byrne, a lecturer in the discipline of Information Technology in NUI Galway. She is delighted with the feedback received from those who have completed the programme. “Our Click and Connect classes have been very successful to date, with many of our learners being older people who have not had the opportunity to use computers at school or in the workplace. They now find that a new world is opened up to them when they are shown how to use the internet. They are able to compare prices and shop online, follow their hobbies and access government services. They are also enabled to have better communication with family and friends using email and Skype. Whether they are looking for a job or searching for a new recipe, access to the internet makes their life so much easier. Everyone can pick up these basic skills and our classes provide a supportive environment in which to do so.” The classes are funded by a small grant from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and are offered free to participants. For further information or to book a place on one of the classes, call 087 0571967, 087 3823370 or 091 493332. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Conference on Mobile Technologies in the Classroom

NUI Galway Conference on Mobile Technologies in the Classroom-image

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Mobile technologies are becoming a standard teaching tool in the classroom. However, as an ever-growing range of devices and apps come on stream, many teachers are struggling with a technological skills gap. To help combat this gap, NUI Galway’s School of Education, will host the First International Conference on Mobile Technology in Initial Teacher Education (MiTE) on Friday and Saturday, 23 and 24 January, in the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill. The two-day conference will celebrate the possibilities and explore the challenges of integrating mobile technology in teacher education and provide a forum for practitioners to come together to benchmark and share best practice. Speakers include experts in the field of mobile technology including representatives from CalStateTEACH, California State University, Apple, Google and national and international education institutions. NUI Galway’s School of Education is aware of the potential that mobile technology has for improving the teaching and learning experiences of pupils in the classroom. Seán Ó Grádaigh, School of Education, and Chair of the MiTE 2015 Conference, said: “Mobile technology offers today's students the opportunity to learn how, when and where they wish. Commonly called digital natives, the pupils of today have smart technology at their fingertips. Incorporating this technology into the classroom is a natural way to help build the pupils' engagement with their learning, thereby preparing mobile citizens for the future.” Punya Mishra, Professor of Educational Technology and Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology programme at Michigan State University, observes that technologies become obsolete as quickly as they arrive. This rapid rate of change is a challenge for educators and leads to an increased pressure on teachers to learn new ways to incorporate technology into their teaching. Professor Mishra, an internationally renowned pioneer in the area, will give a keynote address at MiTE. Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, School of Education, and Conference Co-Chair, said: “The teachers role has evolved to become more facilitative in nature in order to guide students on how to access and manage the vast knowledge now available at their fingertips.” On Friday, 23 January, the conference will provide an academic platform for recent emergent research, and on the second day, Saturday 24, January, the focus will be on the practitioner application of mobile technology in the classroom. This conference is open to parents, teachers and students who are interested in seeing and hearing how mobile technologies, for example, smartphones/tablets, can contribute positively to the learning processes within our classrooms today. To find out more see www.gratek.ie/mite2015. -Ends- Comhdháil ar an Teicneolaiocht Shoghluaiste sa Seomra Ranga Gnáth-uirlis teagaisc tá sna teicneolaíochtaí nua shoghluaiste anois sa seomra ranga. Leis an oiread aipeanna agus gléasanna nua ar an margadh, áfach, is léir go bhfuil bearna eolais ann i scileanna teicneolaíochta na n-oideachasóirí. Chun díriú ar an mbearna sin, tá an Chéad Chomhdháil Idirnáisiúnta ar Theicneolaíocht Shoghluaiste in Oideachas Tosaigh Múinteoirí, MiTE 2015, á reachtáil ag Scoil an Oideachais, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, in Ostán an Galway Bay ar an Aoine agus an Satharn, an 23/24 Eanáir 2015. Déanfar iniúchadh thar an dá lá ag Comhdháil MiTE, ar na dúshláin agus ar na buntáistí maidir le comhtháthú na teicneolaíochta soghluaiste, ní hamháin i réimse Oideachas Tosaigh Múinteoirí ach sa teagasc agus san fhoghlaim i gcoitinne. Tabharfaidh sé deis do ghníomhairí sa réimse a gcuid taighde a roinnt agus a cheiliúradh. Beidh saineolaithe ann ó CalStateTEACH, California State University, Apple, Google, agus ó institiúidí oideachais náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Tá tábhacht agus poitéinsiúil na teicneolaíochta soghluaiste aitheanta ag Scoil an Oideachais, mar a bhaineann sé le teagasc agus le foghlaim dhaltaí sa seomra ranga. Deir Seán Ó Grádaigh, cathaoirleach MiTE 2015 “Tugann an teicneolaiocht shoghluaiste deis do fhoghlaimeoirí foghlaim ag aon am, in aon áit, agus ar aon bhealach, mar a fheileann dóibh féin. Tá an ‘teicneolaíocht chliste’ mar chuid de shaol laethúil na hóige anois agus luíonn sé le réasún go bhfuil féidearthachtaí agus leasa ag baint leis an teicneolaíocht sin a chomhtháthú san fhoghlaim ar scoil. Ní hamháin sin ach go bhfuil an litearthacht dhigiteach riachtanach don fhostaíocht agus don gheilleagar amach romhainn.” Is ceannródaí sa réimse seo é an tOllamh Punya Mishra. Is é an t-Ollamh ar Educational Technology é agus Stiúrthóir ar an gclár, an Master of Arts in Educational Technology in Ollscoil Michigan State. Sé a bharúil go bhfuil dúshláin ann do oideachasóirí dul i ngleic leis na hathruithe rialta a thagann ar theicneolaíochtaí an oideachais, agus le luas an ráta athraithe sin. Anuas air sin, áfach, is mó na buntáistí agus na féidearthachtaí a bhaineann leis an teicneolaíocht shoghluaiste don teagasc agus don fhoghlaim. Sé an tOllamh Mishra ag thabharfaidh an spreagaitheasc ag an gComhdháil ar an Aoine, an 23 Eanáír. Deir Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, co-chathaoirleach na comhdhála, go bhfuil ról na háisitheora i ndán do mhúinteoirí. “Tá eolas fairsing ar fáil do dhaltaí go réidh agus go héasca leis an teicneolaíocht. Bíonn ar mhúinteoirí daltaí a threorú chun an t-eolas seo a thuiscint, a bhainistiú agus a úsáid go ciallmhar.” Ardán acadúil don taighde idirnáisiúnta is déanaí sa réimse seo a bheidh ann ar an Aoine 23 Eanáir agus ar an Satharn 24 Eánái, díreofar ar chur i bhfeidhm na teicneolaíochta soghluaiste sa seomra ranga, i sraith ceardlanna éagsúla. Chuirfeadh idir mhúinteoirí, thuismitheoirí agus dhaltaí suim faoi leith in ábhar na Comhdhála seo, go háirithe iad siúd ar spéis leo an fhoghlaim dhigiteach shoghluaiste nó fiú iad san a bhfuil smartphone ina bpóca acu! Fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ag www.gratek.ie/mite2015 -Críoch-

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NUI Galway Welcomes Minister Damien English

NUI Galway Welcomes Minister Damien English-image

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Briefings on the University’s extensive research activities and industry collaborations Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D. visited NUI Galway on 8 January for a briefing on the University’s extensive research activities and industry collaborations. Minister English was welcomed to campus by University President, Dr Jim Browne and Vice-President for Research, Professor Lokesh Joshi. Detailed discussions were held with research leaders in the University and some of the key industrial partners. Discussions centred on research in biomedical science and engineering, medical devices, clinical research, life course and society, big data, neuroscience and graduate studies around key enabling technologies and smart specialisation. After his visit Minister English stated: “The huge potential for day to day social and economic benefits from NUI Galway’s research were of particular interest to me, and were clear to see. It was a pleasure to meet with senior industrial collaborators and to see first-hand that NUI Galway researchers and industries have a very healthy and productive relationship that benefits Galway City, the West and our country overall. From my visit it is clear that NUI Galway are to the fore in drawing down National and EU monies for vital research projects and matching this with private investment.  I look forward to NUI Galway excelling under the new Horizon 2020 funding stream.” Industry partners who attended included representatives from HP, Alkermes, Altocloud, Aerogen Ltd, Avaya and Fuijitsu.    Speaking after the Minister’s visit, NUI Galway’s Professor Lokesh Joshi said: “The Minister is keen to promote the culture of innovation, enterprise, education and excellent research across Irish educational institutions. I believe he was pleased to see that NUI Galway is living his vision of integrating these principles. The Minister was impressed with the breadth of excellent research activities and in particular the connection between research and its impact on society through industry, clinical and government policies.”  The Minister met two recently announced European Research Council (ERC) starter grant awardees. Dr Eilionóir Flynn of the Centre for Disability Law is undertaking a project which aims to make visible the experiences of people with disabilities who have been denied legal capacity. Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Translational Medicine, has a project underway which seeks to clarify how much sodium (salt) intake is optimal for health.  Senior representatives from Insight, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Data Analytics, were on hand to brief the Minister. The newest SFI Research Centre at NUI Galway, CÚRAM, was represented by Professor Abhay Pandit who spoke about the next generation of medical devices. A number of other research leaders briefed the Minister on the latest developments in their areas. This was Minister English’s second visit to campus since he became Minister for State last summer.   -ends- 

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NUI Galway Conference on Legal Rights of Older People

NUI Galway Conference on Legal Rights of Older People -image

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

NUI Galway will hold a one-day conference to address and discuss a number of key legal and policy issues of relevance to older persons in Ireland. Organised by the Mental Health Rights Group and the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, School of Law, NUI Galway in conjunction with the Employment Law Association of Ireland, the conference, ‘Law and the Older Person’ will take place on Saturday, 24 January. The conference is timely in examining specific issues of relevance to older people who are often overlooked in decision-making that impacts on their lives, whether at a personal level or more broadly from a societal perspective. Dr Mary Keys is the conference organiser: “There are topical and challenging issues being addressed at this event. We will discuss the role of advocacy in upholding the rights of older people, the Fair Deal scheme and the proposed Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 from both legal and medical perspectives. The conference will also explore age discrimination including the mandatory retirement age and aspects of legal practice and the older client.” ‘Law and the Older Person’ will bring together many leading commentators from the fields of law, medicine and practice including: NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea and Ursula Connolly; Mervyn Taylor, Service Manager, Sage; Patricia T. Rickard Clarke, Solicitor; Dr Shaun O’Keefe, Geriatrician; Mary Condell, Solicitor; Claire Bruton, Barrister; and Maria Dillon, Solicitor. The conference will provide an opportunity for discussion, and debate and will be of particular relevance to older persons, to carers, advocates, health care practitioners, lawyers, researchers, and independent sector service providers and policy activists. For more information on the programme and on registration please visit: http://conference.ie/. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Announce 2015 Sean-Nós Singer in Residence

NUI Galway Announce 2015 Sean-Nós Singer in Residence -image

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced the appointment of Máire Ní Mhaoilchiaráin as Sean-Nós Singer in Residence for 2015. From Áird Thoir, Carna, Máire comes from a family which has a long and rich tradition of sean-nós singing. Now married, Máire is living in Áird Mhór with her husband Rónán and her four children. Máire’s sister Bríd was appointed as the very first Sean-Nós Singer in Residence at the Centre for Irish Studies in 2002. Máire’s clear, sweet vocal style echoes with the singing from her mother Bairbre and the Heaney side of the family, with Joe Heaney being her granduncle. Within a wide repertoire, ‘Amhrán Mhuighinse’, ‘Amhrán Rinn Mhaoile’ and ‘An Spailpín Fánach’ are signature songs of Máire’s. She can be heard frequently on Raidió na Gaeltachta, at concerts and also gives workshops as part of Féile Chomórtha Joe Éinniú, among others. As part of the appointment, Máire will deliver a series of workshops at NUI Galway and will contribute to the expanding Sean-Nós Archive Collection. The workshops are free and open to the public and will begin on Wednesday, 11 February at 7pm at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. More information is available from Samantha Williams, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Ends- Máire Ní Mhaoilchiaráin ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach ag OÉ Gaillimh Tá sé fógartha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, go bhfuil Máire Ní Mhaoilchiaráin ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana. Is as an Aird Thoir, i gCarna, Máire agus tá oidhreacht shaibhir cheolmhar le cloisteáil ina cuid amhránaíochta. Tá Máire pósta agus ag maireachtaint san Aird Mhór anois agus cearthrar clainne aici. Thug sí léi a cuid amhrán óna máthair, Bairbre a fuair an ceol ó mhuintir Éinniú, agus a huncail Joe ina measc. I gclann Bhairbre, tá cáil na hamhránaíochta ar Mháire agus ar a deirfiúr Bríd. Dar ndóigh, ceapadh Bríd mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh sa bhliain 2002, an chéad duine ar bronnadh an gradam sin uirthi. Nuair a chasann Máire amhrán, cloistear stíl a muintire inti agus guth binn glan. Is iad na hamhráin is mó atá luaite léi ná ‘Amhrán Mhuighinse’, ‘Amhrán Rinn Mhaoile’ agus ‘An Spailpín Fánach’. Tugann Máire ceardlann ag Féile Chomórtha Joe Éinniú agus ó am go h-am glacann sí páirt san Oireachtas. Bíonn sí ar stáitse ar fud na háite agus le cloisteáil go minic ar Raidió na Gaeltachta. Beidh sraith ceardlann á múineadh ag Máire san Ollscoil san Earrach agus arís sa bhFómhar agus beidh a cuid amhrán á dtaifeadadh aici don gcartlann sean-nóis atá á bailíú ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh. Cuirfear tús leis na ceardlanna i seomra seimineáir an Ionaid ar Bhóthar na Drioglainne ar an 11 Feabhra ag 7pm. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. 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 ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@nuigalway.ie. -Críoch-

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NUI Galway Medical Students Celebrate Ten Years of Teddy Bear Hospital

NUI Galway Medical Students Celebrate Ten Years of Teddy Bear Hospital-image

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The 10th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 22 and 23 January. The event will see over 1,500 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,500 primary school children. The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3-8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of others weird and wonderful ailments. Katie Lynam, a second year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating ten years of Teddy Bear Hospital and it is going to be our biggest ever with 1,500 children attending over the two mornings. We hope to create a fun, friendly atmosphere for both the children and our volunteers, and are looking forward to a busy couple of days!” This year, 22 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus, the children will go to the ‘waiting room’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them.  Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce, along with medical supplies sponsored by MPS and Bank of Ireland. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and entertainment from the juggling society in the college. Further sponsorship for these came from Medisource and Electric Garden and Theatre. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.” -ends- Déanann Mic Léinn Leighis OÉ Gaillimh ceiliúradh ar Dheich mBliana d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní Dé Máirt, 13 Eanáir 2015: Den deichiú bliain as a chéile, beidh Otharlann na mBéiríní, ar oscailt in OÉ Gaillimh, Déardaoin, an 22 agus Dé hAoine, an 23 Eanáir. Tiocfaidh breis agus 1,500 béirín tinn chun na hotharlainne lena bhfeighlithe, 1,500 páiste bunscoile. Is é an Cumann Sláinte, craobh OÉ Gaillimh de Chónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta Chumann na Mac Léinn Leighis, agus suas le 200 mac léinn leighis agus eolaíochta a bheidh ar láimh le scrúdú leighis a dhéanamh ar na béiríní agus le cóir leighis a chur orthu. Tá súil acu go gcuideoidh an ócáid le páistí, idir 3-8 mbliana d’aois, a bheith ar a suaimhneas nuair a bheidh siad ag an dochtúir nó san otharlann. Thar na blianta, thug páistí béiríní chuig an otharlann agus iad ag samhlú go raibh réimse leathan tinnis ag gabháil dóibh cosúil le cluasa tinne, boilg bhreoite agus gach cineál gearán eile faoin spéir. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Katie Lynam, mac léinn leighis sa dara bliain in OÉ Gaillimh agus comh-iniúchóir an Chumainn Sláinte: “I mbliana táimid ag déanamh ceiliúradh ar dheich mbliana d'Ospidéal na mBéiríní agus beidh sé ar an ócáid is mó a bhí againn riamh le 1,500 páiste ag teacht thar dhá mhaidin. Tá súil againn atmaisféar spraíúil, cairdiúil a chruthú do na páistí agus do na hoibrithe deonacha araon, agus táimid ag tnúth le dhá lá ghnóthacha!” I mbliana, tá 22 bunscoil áitiúil páirteach san ócáid. Nuair a thagann na páistí chuig Otharlann na mBéiríní ar an gcampas, rachaidh siad chuig an 'seomra feithimh', áit a mbeidh lámhchleasaithe agus maisitheoirí aghaidheanna ag fanacht orthu. Ansin buailfidh na páistí agus na béiríní le foireann de Dhochtúirí Béiríní agus d’Altraí Béiríní a chuirfidh scrúdú leighis orthu. Beidh meaisíní speisialta X-gha agus MRI ag na mic léinn ar fhaitíos go mbeidís ag teastáil ó na béiríní.  Beidh Cógaslann Béiríní ann chomh maith, agus beidh torthaí sláintiúla ó Total Produce ann mar aon le soláthairtí leighis urraithe ag MPS agus Banc na hÉireann le cóir leighis a chur ar na béiríní. Nuair a bheidh an méid sin curtha díobh acu féadfaidh na gasúir am a chaitheamh ar phreabchaisleán agus beidh cumann lámhchleasaíochta an choláiste i mbun siamsaíochta. Tháinig urraíocht bhreise don ócáid ó Medisource agus ón Electric Garden and Theatre. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Ríona Hughes, Oifigeach na gCumann in OÉ Gaillimh: “Is deis iontach é Ospidéal na mBéiríní don chumann chun cuireadh a thabhairt do pháistí agus a mbéiríní chuig an gcampas agus chun taithí luachmhar foghlama a thabhairt do chách. Tá sé ar cheann de na cláir for-rochtana pobail is deise agus is spraíúla atá idir lámha ag cumainn OÉ Gaillimh agus táimid an-bhródúil as chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis an ócáid. Comhghairdeas leis an gCumann Sláinte a thugann deis do líon chomh mór dár gcuid mac léinn a bheith rannpháirteach san ócáid seo do chúis chomh dearfach agus tá súil againn go mbainfidh gach a mbeidh páirteach an-sult as an gcúpla lá seo.” -críoch-

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Transformation of Irish Theatre by Migrants Explored in New Book

Transformation of Irish Theatre by Migrants Explored in New Book -image

Monday, 12 January 2015

The transformative impact of inward migration on Irish theatre is documented in a newly published book Staging Intercultural Ireland: New Plays and Practitioner Perspectives. The edited collection contains eight plays with critical introductions, and six interviews with migrant and Irish-born theatre artists who are producing work at the intersection of interculturalism and inward-migration in Ireland during the first decades of the 21st Century. The book is edited by Dr Charlotte McIvor, a Lecturer in Drama at NUI Galway, and Dr Matthew Spangler, an Associate Professor of Performance Studies at San José State University in California, and is published by Cork University Press. The book offers a contribution to transnational migration studies, as well as intercultural theatre research in a global context. When inward migration numbers began to climb in the early and mid-1990s, Irish-born and migrant theatre artists started producing theatrical work that addressed these profound cultural and demographic shifts. Their performances have been produced at venues ranging from the Abbey Theatre, to mid-sized theatre companies, to community centres, and even refugee accommodation centres. The plays in the book have been selected due to their critical impact within the field of Irish theatre and the various forms of cultural, political, and social conflict and accommodation they register. The plays in question include: Donal O’Kelly’s The Cambria (2005), which dramatises African–American abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ journey to seek refuge in Ireland in 1845; Rosaleen McDonagh’s Rings (2012), a play about the widespread discrimination experienced by people with disabilities and members of the Traveller community in Ireland; Charlie O’Neill’s Hurl (2003), which depicts immigrants excelling in Ireland’s most iconic sport while grappling with their broader lack of acceptance; and Nicole McCartney’s Cave Dwellers (2002), a play that draws on Samuel Beckett in its portrayal of refugees waiting for someone to guide them. Also featured are: Ursula Rani Sarma’s Orpheus Road (2003), which explores the challenges of growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland through the metaphor of cross-cultural romance; Bisi Adigun’s Once Upon a Time & Not So Long Ago (2006), which dramatizes the intercultural encounters of west Africans in Ireland; and Paul Meade’s Mushroom (2007), a play that is based on the experiences of undocumented migrants working in highly exploitative conditions. The theatre artists and companies profiled in this book include Bairbre Ní Chaoimh formerly of Calypso Productions, John Scott of Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Declan Gorman and Declan Mallon of Upstate Theatre Project, Anna Wolf, Kasia Lech and John Currivan of Polish Theatre Ireland, actress Alicja Ayres, and José Miguel Jimenéz of the Company. According to McIvor and Spangler: “ Ireland is unique in that it is one of a small group of nations to have such a close and powerfully charged relationship between the theatre and debates of national and cultural identity. The theatre in Ireland offers something of a looking-glass through which changing culture might be viewed, though as we have argued, the plays collected here do more than simply reflect an extra-theatrical reality; they are also themselves active agents of cultural change.” It is especially fitting that the book has been written by faculty in NUI Galway, which is at the heart of the nation’s most diverse city, and the work is continuing. Dr Charlotte McIvor is already in the process of expanding this research with the support of an Irish Research Council starter grant which will allow her to finish her full-length monograph on the subject titled “Towards A New Interculturalism: Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland” (forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) as well as expand the research in other and more collaborative directions. Dr Jason King, who has also extensively published in this area including a contribution to Staging Intercultural Ireland, is working with Dr McIvor as a postdoctoral researcher on the IRC project, “Interculturalism, Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland” and comes to NUI Galway directly from working with the Integration Centre. This project is based at the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies. Drs McIvor and King are also partnering with local schools, including Scoil Chroí Íosa- Presentation Primary School and Mercy Primary School, to develop drama workshops on interculturalism and diversity in Ireland today. They hope to extend this work into a long-term drama outreach program with community partners including schools among other constituencies. According to Dr Charlotte McIvor: “I often encounter the perception that the end of the Celtic Tiger meant the end of migration and its impact on the future of Irish identity. However the 2011 census tells us that 17% of this nation is non-Irish born and you need to look no further than our schools - as we have - to see that this perception of mid-1990s migration trends not influencing our nation’s future is false. Our research responds to Ireland as it is now, and Ireland as it will keep evolving. We do so through looking to theatre as a mode of not only reflection, but intervention.” Upcoming events associated with the IRC project include the “GUIDE (Galway University Integration through Drama and Education) Symposium" on 31 January 2015. The event is for educators and theatre practitioners working in the area of interculturalism, migration and integration, and has been made possible with support from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. In addition, an international symposium “Interculturalism and Performance Now: New Directions?” will take place from 10-11 April 2015 featuring leading scholars in theatre and performance studies from Australia, Canada, the United States, the UK and Turkey debating the issues at the heart of the project. Both events will be open to the public. -ends-

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NUI Galway Introduce New Pilot Scheme for A-Level Students

NUI Galway Introduce New Pilot Scheme for A-Level Students-image

Monday, 5 January 2015

NUI Galway today announced a new one-year pilot scheme for GCE A-Level students for entry in September 2015. This initiative is intended to increase the number of Northern Ireland students attending NUI Galway with approximately 200 places across more than 50 undergraduate programmes, with the exception of Medicine due to the HPAT (Health Professions Admission Test) requirement, will be made available to students sitting 3 or more A-Levels under the scheme. Currently the A-Level to Leaving Certificate points conversion model is based on 4 A-Levels being the equivalent to 6 Leaving Certificate exams. Approximately 80% of A-Level students only sit 3 A-Levels, which means the maximum number of points for these students is 450 points. In addition to this, a student might earn up to 65 points if they sat a fourth AS-Level, but this cohort is in the minority. For each course, A-Level students will be ranked in order of their achievement in their best 3 GCE A-Level exams and places would be offered to the applicants who rank highest, to fill agreed scheme quota places per programme. As with CAO applicants, all other minimum entry requirements will also need to be met, including: Applicants must meet all matriculation requirements for that programme Meet all other course specific requirements, e.g. minimum grade language requirements. Speaking on the new initiative, Registrar and Deputy President Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh explained: “Historically, the percentage of students from Northern Ireland and the UK studying at Universities in the Republic has been surprisingly low. There are many reasons for this and one of those is the grade equivalences between A-Levels and Leaving Certificate points. At NUI Galway we have seen a big increase in the level of interest in our courses from A-Level students. We are committed to urging the Irish Higher Education sector to review our entry routes for these students. This pilot is an important first step in opening up entry routes to broader cohorts of students at NUI Galway.” Applications for the students chosen course can be done through the CAO by 1st February 2015 and entry onto the scheme will be automatic, once eligibility has been established. For further information see on Central Admissions Office (CAO) see www.cao.ie. For more information on courses available at NUI Galway visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/alevelentryscheme or visit the University YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/thinkingaboutnuig -Ends- Cuireann OÉ Gaillimh tús le Scéim Phíolótach nua do dhaltaí A-Leibhéal Inniu, d'fhógair OÉ Gaillimh scéim phíolótach nua bliana do dhaltaí A-Leibhéal GCE d'iontráil i mí Mheán Fómhair 2015. Táthar ag súil go gcuirfidh an tionscnamh le líon na ndaltaí as Tuaisceart Éireann a fhreastalaíonn ar OÉ Gaillimh trí thart ar 200 áit a chur ar fáil ar bhreis is 50 clár fochéime do dhaltaí atá i mbun trí cinn nó níos mó A-Leibhéal. Ní bheidh feidhm ag an scéim do chúrsaí Leighis mar gheall ar an riachtanas HPAT (Tástáil Iontrála na nGairmeacha Sláinte). Faoi láthair is ionann ceithre ábhar A-Leibhéal agus sé ábhar Ardteistiméireachta nuair atá na pointí á gcur le chéile. Déanann thart ar 80% de dhaltaí A-Leibhéal trí ábhar A-Leibhéal, rud a chiallaíonn gurb é 450 pointe an t-uasmhéid pointí is féidir leo a bhaint amach. Lena chois sin, d'fhéadfadh dalta 65 pointe breise a bhaint amach dá dtabharfadh sé/sí faoin gceathrú AS-Leibhéal, ach is beag duine a dhéanann é seo. Do gach cúrsa, rangófar daltaí A-Leibhéal de réir chomh maith is a éiríonn leo sna trí scrúdú A-Leibhéal GCE is fearr atá acu agus tairgfear áiteanna do na hiarratasóirí is fearr a chruthaíonn, chun an cuóta áiteanna comhaontaithe a líonadh. Mar atá i gcás iarratasóirí CAO, beidh ar na daltaí seo na híosriachtanais iontrála ar fad a chomhlíonadh chomh maith, lena n-áirítear: Caithfidh iarratasóirí na riachtanais mháithreánacha ar fad a bhaineann leis an gclár faoi leith a chomhlíonadh Caithfidh iarratasóirí gach riachtanas sonrach a bhaineann leis an gcúrsa a chomhlíonadh, e.g. riachtanais íosghráid teanga. Ag labhairt dó faoin tionscnamh nua, dúirt an Meabhránaí agus Uachtarán Ionaid, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh: “Go stairiúil, tá an céatadán de dhaltaí ó Thuaisceart Éireann agus ón Ríocht Aontaithe a dhéanann staidéir in Ollscoileanna sa Phoblacht thar a bheith íseal. Is iomaí cúis leis seo agus ar cheann acu sin tá na comhionannais ghráid idir A-Leibhéil agus pointí na hArdteistiméireachta. In OÉ Gaillimh tá méadú mór feicthe againn ar an spéis atá daltaí A-Leibhéal a chur inár gcúrsaí. Táimid meáite ar iarraidh ar an earnáil ardoideachais in Éirinn athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar na bealaí iontrála do na daltaí seo. Is céim thábhachtach í an scéim phíolótach seo maidir leis na bealaí iontrála in OÉ Gaillimh a oscailt amach do réimse níos leithne daltaí. Is féidir le daltaí iarratas a dhéanamh ar a rogha cúrsa tríd an CAO faoin 1 Feabhra 2015 agus cuirfear isteach ar an scéim iad go huathoibríoch, chomh luath is a bheidh incháilitheacht dearbhaithe. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil féach ar láithreán gréasáin na Lár-Oifige Iontrála (CAO) ar www.cao.ie. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi chláir atá ar fáil in OÉ Gaillimh téigh chuig http://www.nuigalway.ie/alevelentryscheme nó chuig cainéal YouTube na hOllscoile www.youtube.com/user/thinkingaboutnuig - Críoch -

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