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 Postgraduate Spring Open Day

NUI Galway Postgraduate Spring Open Day -image

Monday, 26 January 2015

NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 4 February, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. Joanne Sweeney-Burke, an NUI Galway graduate and CEO of of Media Box and Digital Training Institute, and also was a finalist in TV3’s The Apprentice, will be guest speaker at the event and will talk about how postgraduate studies furthered her own career. NUI Galway has one of the broadest portfolios of postgraduate teaching and learning in the country and the Postgraduate Open Day will give potential students the opportunity to meet and hear from academic staff and current students. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, 70 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. Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day. Visitors will have the option of attending talks on funding opportunities and applications available to them, career prospects and progression, CV clinics and there will also be information on how to apply for a postgraduate course. Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rate graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of students with a postgraduate qualification in employment has grown consistently in recent years. NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allow you to take the first step in building your career. Bríd Seoige, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “A postgraduate qualification broadens your skills-set, defines your areas of expertise, increases your specialist knowledge, and can improve your job prospects: over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating.” 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-

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NUI Galway Launches 15th Múscailt Festival Programme

NUI Galway Launches 15th Múscailt Festival Programme-image

Monday, 26 January 2015

NUI Galway’s 15th annual NUI Galway Arts Festival programme, Múscailt, was launched today by Dr Anne Byrne, Head of School, Political Science and Sociology. The Festival, which runs from 9-13 February, will contain a superb programme of art, music, performance, song, talks and workshops, with many free events to which the public are welcome. This year’s theme ‘Float Away’ will transform the campus with ‘Creatures from the River’, floating willow sculptures on either side of O’Shaughnessy pedestrian bridge, made by Colours Street Theatre. ‘A Wonderful Watery World’, balloon sculptures by Ana Bella of Fiesta House will also feature inside and outside Áras na Mac Léinn. Art and music feature highly in the programme and often at the same time. This year’s flagship exhibition will be ‘Dreaming Vessels’ by the Galway Chapter of the Irish Woodturners’ Guild, in the Hardiman Research Building. This is a giant installation presenting the form of a Claddagh Hooker, overlaid with individual turned bowls or vessels, raising questions on the nature and value of handmade objects today. The opening of ‘Dreaming Vessels’ will take place at 7.30pm on Monday, 9 February and will be heralded by two pieces from Galway-Ensemble-in-Residence ConTempo Quartet and a reception to mark the launch of the festival. Events throughout the week include: Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) will perform the musical, ‘Cabaret’, at the Black Box Theatre from 10-14 February at 8pm. Set in a Kit-Kat Klub in Berlin during the rise of Nazi Germany, it is exciting, witty and provocative, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Tickets for the show are €12/10 and €8 for groups of four or more. An exhibition by Photosoc, 'Focus 15' will open on Monday, 9 February at 7pm. The exhibition will take place in the Atrium of Áras na Mac Léinn with a receptions and live music. On Monday, 9 February, RETREAT by Conor McGrady, will open at 5pm in the University’s Art Gallery with ConTempo featuring at the opening. The exhibition includes a series of drawings examining architecture as a means of containment and control that operates to affect a sense of social order. On Tuesday, 10 February, Athenry Guitar Orchestra will play in the Atrium of Áras na Mac Léinn at 6pm for the joint opening reception of ‘Catching Dreams’, by Kathy Ross, and ‘Flow’, a group exhibition on the balcony by the painting and drawing classes of NUI Galway, coordinated by Marina Wild, who also created the artwork for this year’s festival. Learn to sing lenten liturgy in Gregorian chant with Batsheva Battu on Tuesday at 1pm in the View in Áras na Mac Léinn. The Witless Band Competition final takes place in the Students’ Union Bar on Tuesday, 10 February at 8pm with judges and the public vote to decide the winning act. A Victorian Fun Fair will be held in the Bailey Allen Hall on Wednesday, 11 February from 12-5pm, complete with tea, games, art, science, literature, song, pies and cakes, run by the Victorian Society. NUI Galway’s international students will also present a mini-festival of food, music and dance on Thursday, 12 February evening at the Bailey Allen Hall. Arts in Actions presents ‘Around the House’, a concert by students and staff of Cork School of Music, CIT, at 1pm on Thursday, 12 February. Fleadh na Gaillimhe Fundraiser will take place on Friday, 13 February at 8pm, featuring a stellar line-up including Máirtín O’Connor, Mary McPartlan, Maigh Cuilinn Comhaltas and NUI Galway’s own TradSoc. Ticket for the event for the concert will cost €15. The SOLO SHOW will showcase seven original ‘five-minute monologues’ from staff and students at 1pm on Friday in The Cube. Talks throughout the week include: “Megalithic Art and the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition” by Lynda McCormack; “Historical Background to Contemporary Woodturning” by Ambrose O’Halloran; and “From Workhorse to Racehorse, a slide show presentation tracing the evolution of the Galway Hooker” by Cóilín Ó hIarnáin. Commenting on this year’s line up, Fionnuala Gallagher, NUI Galway Arts Officer, said: “Our theme this year, ‘Float Away’, reminds us that a brush with the creative arts can be a sweet release from the routine and pressures of everyday life and may be the dawning of a new adventure. Everyone is welcome to participate.” All exhibitions are open Monday to Saturday. For a copy of the programme or further information contact the Arts Office at or 091 495098, or visit www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. Tickets and information for society events will be available from the Socsbox at 091 492852 or socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Cabaret tickets are also available from the Town Hall Theatre (091-569777 or www.tht.ie). Tickets for the Fleadh Fundraiser are available at OPUS II, High Street, Galway; Salthill Post Office; the Town Hall Theatre; and The Forge, Moycullen. More information on Fleadh Fundraiser is available at www.galwayfleadh.ie or 085 8408746. -Ends- Seolann OÉ Gaillimh Clár an 15ú Féile Múscailt Inniu sheol an Dr Anne Byrne, Ceann na Scoile Eolaíochta Polaitiúla agus na Socheolaíochta clár an 15ú Féile Múscailt, féile ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh an Fhéile ar siúl ón 9-13 Feabhra agus cuimseofar clár iontach ealaíne, ceoil, taibhléirithe, amhránaíochta, cainteanna agus ceardlanna agus beidh go leor imeachtaí saor in aisce ar fáil don phobal. Is é ‘Ar Foluain’ téama na bliana seo agus athrófar an campas le ‘Creatures from the River’, dealbha sailí ar foluain ar gach taobh de dhroichead coisithe Uí Sheachnasaigh, curtha le chéile ag Colours Street Theatre. Beidh ‘A Wonderful Watery World’, dealbha balúin le Ana Bella as Fiesta House le feiceáil laistigh agus lasmuigh d'Áras na Mac Léinn.  Beidh ealaín agus ceol go láidir ar an gclár agus iad ar siúl go minic ag an am céanna. I mbliana is é ‘Soithigh na Samhlaíochta’ le Craobh na Gaillimhe de Chuallacht Deilte Adhmaid na hÉireann an príomhthaispeántas, agus beidh sé le feiceáil in Áras Taighde Uí Argadáin. Saothar mór millteach é seo i bhfoirm Húicéir an Chladaigh, le babhlaí nó soithigh dheilte, ag tarraingt aird ar cheisteanna a bhaineann le nádúr agus leis an luach atá ar rudaí lámhdhéanta sa lá atá inniu ann. Osclófar ‘Soithigh na Samhlaíochta’ ag 7.30pm Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra agus seinnfidh an ConTempo Quartet, Ensemble Cónaithe na Gaillimhe, dhá phíosa ceoil agus beidh fáiltiú ar siúl chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar sheoladh na féile. I measc imeachtaí na seachtaine beidh siad seo a leanas: Cuirfidh Cumann Ceoldrámaíochta Ollscoil na Gaillimhe (GUMS) an ceoldráma, ‘Cabaret’, ar stáitse sa Dubhlann idir an 10-14 Feabhra ag 8pm. Tá an ceoldráma seo suite in Kit-Kat Klub i mBeirlín le linn theacht chun cinn Ghearmáin na Naitsithe; tá sé spreagúil, tráthúil agus gríosaitheach, agus tá ceol ann le John Kander agus liricí le Fred Ebb. Cosnóidh ticéid don seó €12/10 agus €8 do ghrúpaí de cheathrar nó níos mó. Casfaidh Ceolfhoireann Ghiotáir Bhaile Átha an Rí san Fhorhalla in Áras na Mac Léinn ag 6pm Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra don chomhoscailt ar ‘Catching Dreams’, le Kathy Ross, agus ‘Flow’, taispeántas grúpa ar an mbalcóin de ranganna péintéireachta agus líníochta OÉ Gaillimh, comhordaithe ag Marina Wild, a rinne an obair ealaíne d'fhéile na bliana seo chomh maith. Osclófar dhá thaispeántas chomh maith Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra - seó bliantúil líníochta, péintéireachta agus dealbhóireachta Artsoc ag 6pm agus ina dhiaidh sin ‘Focus 15’, taispeántas an Photosoc ag 7pm. Beidh an dá thaispeántas ar siúl san Fhorhalla in Áras na Mac Léinn, agus beidh fáiltiú agus ceol beo ann ar an oíche. Ag 5pm Dé Luain, an 9 Feabhra, osclófar RETREAT le Conor McGrady, i nDánlann na hOllscoile agus seinnfidh ConTempo ceol ag an ócáid. Sraith líníochtaí atá sa taispeántas a bhreathnaíonn ar ailtireacht mar bhealach srianta agus smachta a fheidhmíonn chun dul i gcion ar an ord sóisialta. Eagróidh an Cumann Victeoiriach Aonach Siamsaíochta Victeoiriach i Halla Bailey Allen Dé Máirt, an 10 Feabhra ó 12-5pm, áit a mbeidh tae, cluichí, ealaín, eolaíocht, litríocht, amhránaíocht, pióga agus cácaí. Foghlaim le liotúirge a chasadh i gcantaireacht Ghreagórach le Batsheva Battu ag 1pm Dé Máirt sa View in Áras na Mac Léinn. Beidh craobhchomórtas na mBannaí Witless ar siúl i mBeár Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn Dé Máirt, an 10 Feabhra ag 8pm agus beidh an buaiteoir á roghnú ag moltóirí agus ag an bpobal. Cuirfidh mic léinn idirnáisiúnta OÉ Gaillimh mionfhéile bhia, cheoil agus dhamhsa i láthair tráthnóna Déardaoin, an 12 Feabhra i Halla Bailey Allen. Cuirfidh Arts in Action ‘Around the House’ i láthair, ceolchoirm le mic léinn agus le foireann Scoil Cheoil Chorcaí, CIT, ag 1pm Déardaoin, an 12 Feabhra. Beidh ócáid bailithe airgid Fhleadh na Gaillimhe ar siúl Dé hAoine, an 13 Feabhra ag 8pm, áit a mbeidh scoth na n-aíonna cosúil le Máirtín O’Connor, Mary McPartlan, Comhaltas Mhaigh Cuilinn agus TradSoc OÉ Gaillimh. Cosnóidh ticéid don cheolchoirm €15. Taispeánfaidh an SOLO SHOW seacht ‘monalóg nua cúig nóiméad’ ó chomhaltaí foirne agus ó mhic léinn ag 1pm Dé hAoine sa Cube. I measc na gcainteanna a bheidh ar siúl le linn na seachtaine beidh siad seo a leanas: “Megalithic Art and the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition” le Lynda McCormack; “Historical Background to Contemporary Woodturning” le Ambrose O’Halloran; agus “From Workhorse to Racehorse, a slide show presentation tracing the evolution of the Galway Hooker” le Cóilín Ó hIarnáin. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Fionnuala Gallagher, Oifigeach Ealaíon OÉ Gaillimh, faoi chlár na bliana seo: “Is é ‘Ar Foluain’ téama na bliana seo agus cuireann sé i gcuimhne dúinn gur féidir linn éalú ó ghnáthnósanna agus strus an tsaoil trí bhlaiseadh a fháil de na healaíona cruthaitheacha agus go bhféadfadh sé gur tús le haistear nua a bheadh ann chomh maith.Tá fáilte roimh chách a bheith páirteach.” Beidh na taispeántais ar fad oscailte ó Luan go Satharn. Tá cóip den chlár nó eolas breise le fáil ón Oifig Ealaíon ar 091 495098, nó téigh chuig www.muscailt.nuigalway.ie. Beidh ticéid do na himeachtaí ar fáil ón Socsbox ag 091 492852 nó socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie. Beidh ticéid don cheoldráma ‘Cabaret’ ar fáil ó Amharclann na Cathrach chomh maith (091-569777 nó www.tht.ie). Beidh ticéid ar fáil d'Ócáid Bailithe Airgid Fhleadh na Gaillimhe in OPUS II, an tSráid Ard, Gaillimh; Oifig Poist Bhóthar na Trá; Amharclann na Cathrach; agus an Forge, Maigh Cuilinn. Tá tuilleadh eolais faoin Ócáid Bailithe Airgid sin ar fáil ar www.galwayfleadh.ie nó 085 8408746. -Críoch-  

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Contract signing for Human Biology Building at NUI Galway

Contract signing for Human Biology Building at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Construction work has commenced on NUI Galway’s new Human Biology Building. The project cost will be in excess of €30m and is funded approximately one third by public exchequer funding including €7m as announced recently in Budget 2015, with the remaining two thirds funded from University sources. The project will help to sustain up to 200 construction jobs at its peak.  The Human Biology Building is a five-storey building plus roof level plant enclosure with a gross floor area of 8,200m² located adjacent to the Áras na Mac Léinn and Áras Uí Chathail buildings. The building will house the existing University disciplines of Anatomy, Physiology & Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The purpose of the building will be to provide a facility in which these disciplines will, within a research-led environment: Deliver core preclinical curricula to Medical and Health Science students Deliver core curricula to Science, Biomedical Science and Engineering students Provide a venue for discipline specific training at 3rd and 4th Level The building has been designed as a teaching and research facility with accommodation including undergraduate teaching laboratories, research laboratories, offices, open plan write-up spaces, meeting rooms, tiered lecture theatres and other ancillary areas. The site is a previously developed site on which stood the former National Diagnostics Centre. The construction contract has been awarded to BAM Building Ltd. with the construction period anticipated to be 19 months. The Design Team for the project comprises: Project Management PM Group Architects Scott Tallon Walker Buildings Services Engineers BDP Civil/Structural Engineers O’Connor Sutton Cronin Quantity Surveyors & Cost Control AECOM ENDS  

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The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative to discuss how human rights can inform healthcare

The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative to discuss how human rights can inform healthcare-image

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The issue of delivering healthcare fairly, using a human rights framework, will be discussed at NUI Galway on 6 February. The public event is part of the The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative and President Michael D. Higgins will open the event. The event is being organised by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and its College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Speakers and panel experts will come from medicine, law, ethics, international development, health policy and activism backgrounds. The panels and audience will discuss the links between health and human rights, and applications of human rights concepts and methods in addressing health challenges in Ireland and globally. There is a growing debate worldwide about the need to conflate the issues of healthcare and the principals of human rights. Commentators see human rights as having the potential to deliver an ethical means to improve health and wellbeing for nations worldwide. With each government limited by economic constraints there is a need to decide what can and should be provided for. A human rights framework may be the ideal prism through which to view healthcare and achieve a sense of fairness. Professor Sofia Gruskin from the University of Southern California is a world-expert on the topic and will deliver the keynote address called ‘Health and Human Rights”. Her address will identify and discuss the complex interactions between health and human rights, with particular emphasis on the use of human rights norms and standards for public health thinking and practice. Health topics including HIV, sexual and reproductive health, non-communicable disease, child and adolescent health, and health systems strengthening, will be used to illustrate and explore practical applications of human rights to public health. Professor Michael O’Flaherty is Director of the Irish Centre of Human Rights, and co-organiser of the event: “This is a debate worth having, as the demand for access to healthcare grows worldwide. The outbreak of Ebola in parts of West Africa has thrown into sharp relief global human rights issues in terms of access to healthcare. In Ireland, debate in this area moves from access to medical cards to the need for ambulance services. Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is currently examining the system of emergency health to see if it protects and fulfils human rights, with a particular focus on the right to health.” The afternoon session will address the ethical implications of adopting a rights based approach to health, the keynote on which will be delivered by Professor George Ulrich, Riga Graduate School of Law. Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan, Senior Lecturer in Social and Preventive Medicine at NUI Galway, and co-organiser of the conference explained: “Public health and human rights are both concerned with improving the wellbeing of the population. The World Health Organisation describes how ‘the right to health means that states must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible’. To make this achievable we need ethical ways to address inequalities in access to, availability, affordability and quality of both health services and other services that impact on health: a rights based approach.” Other speakers will include: Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway; Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Equality and Human Rights Commission; Cliona Loughnane, Irish Heart Foundation; Jane Ann McKenna, Médecins Sans Frontières; Dr Shaun O'Keeffe, Chair of the Clinical Research Ethics Committee, University Hospital Galway; Dr Sara Burke, Health Policy Analyst; and Professor Peter Bartlett, Professor of Mental Health Law, University of Nottingham. Although the event is free and open to the public, attendees must pre-register. For full details of the event and to register visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=409 -ends- The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative The President on many occasions, prior to and following his inauguration, has said that his would be a “Presidency of ideas – recognising and open to new paradigms of thought and action” and that he would seek to develop a public discourse that places human flourishing and an ethic of active citizenship at its heart. Over the past year President Higgins has been working with third level bodies and NGOs across the island of Ireland to create a programme of over 50 nationwide events aimed at stimulating discussion and debate on ethical themes, questions and concerns.  The initiative is due to culminate with a national seminar at Áras an Uachtaráin in Spring 2015. The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative is the second in a series of public seminars and reflections that President Higgins intends to hold during his term in Office

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World Expert in Pain Research Speaks at NUI Galway

World Expert in Pain Research Speaks at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway organised its annual Research Day on Tuesday 27 January with overwhelming success. The day started with a keynote lecture by Professor Herta Flor, a world-renowned leader in the field of pain-related neuropsychology. Professor Flor is the Scientific Director of the Department of Neuropsychology at the University of Heidelberg and Central Institute for Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany. Professor Flor’s research focuses on improving our understanding of the development and maintenance of chronic pain by looking at how learning experiences and memory cause changes in the brain areas known to be associated with the experience of pain. Based on her research findings, she has developed and evaluated innovative treatments for chronic pain such as the use of virtual reality applications. In her presentation, Professor Flor highlighted that chronic pain is associated with maladaptive plastic changes in the brain, showing more widespread activation. Importantly, these changes seem to be influenced by a variety of learning experiences and by memory of events that occurred in the past. This knowledge has led to the development of successful and promising behavioural training interventions such as the Behavioural Extinction Training and mirror treatment. The other keynote speaker was Dr Line Caes, who recently joined the School of Psychology and the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. Dr Caes’ research focus is on paediatric pain experience with a special interest in the social context and influences of these experiences. Dr Caes drew attention to the important role that parents’ overprotective behaviours, and feelings of distress in response to their child’s pain, play in how a child adjusts to pain. The research meeting also featured short oral and poster presentations showcasing local pain-related research from a psychological, neuroscience, and biomaterials perspective. The prize for best short oral presentation was awarded to Dr Kieran Rea for his talk on fear-conditioned analgesia and the possible pharmacological manipulation of this effect – work funded by Science Foundation Ireland. Dr Bright Okine and Angeline Traynor were the recipients of the awards for best poster presentation. Angeline Traynor won the prize for best clinical poster for her research on a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention for adults with chronic headache. Bright Okine received the prize for best basic science poster for his Science Foundation Ireland funded work on the role of a putative novel cannabinoid receptor in the medial prefrontal cortex in regulation of pain. Professor David Finn and Dr Brian McGuire, Co-Directors of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway said: “We were delighted to be able to welcome to Galway Professor Flor who is a leading authority on the neuropsychology of pain. At least 13% of the Irish popoulation suffer from chronic pain. Pain research is very vibrant at NUI Galway and we will continue in our efforts to better understand pain at both the basic science and clinical levels.” For more information about NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/centre_pain_research/ and for information about the Galway Neuroscience Centre visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/neuroscience -ends-      

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2014

NUI Galway Researchers Seek Participants For Project On Chronic Pain In Children

NUI Galway Researchers Seek Participants For Project On Chronic Pain In Children-image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Children in Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Galway who experience chronic pain are invited to help develop an effective pain management programme Researchers with the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are currently inviting children aged from 7-12 years who have experienced chronic or recurrent pain for a period of three months or more, and their parents, to help develop an effective pain management programme for young children which will be computer-based and accessed online.  Group sessions will be run at a number of locations across Ireland including Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast. Children with any type of chronic or persistent pain including abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and combined or widespread pains, are invited to participate. Children and their parents will use art materials to think, draw or write about ideas or topics which they think are important for children and parents dealing with chronic pain. Participants will be shown a computer-based programme designed to support pain management and are invited to give feedback, based on their personal experiences of chronic pain management.  The project will involve just one meeting with a group of children and one meeting with a group of parents to enable the researchers to decide what course of action would work best for this type of treatment programme. Group sessions will be fun and interactive, lasting 30-40 minutes. Participant views and personal experiences are extremely valuable and their input will greatly enhance research in the development of an intervention for children who suffer with chronic pain. They may also benefit from sharing their experiences and thoughts about chronic pain management with others in a similar situation, in a casual environment, while offering complete confidentiality. NUI Galway PhD student and group facilitator, Angeline Traynor said: “Chronic pain is increasingly prevalent in young people and can have a significant impact on the day-to-day quality of life. The most common types of chronic pain in children are abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and combined or widespread pains.” Ms Traynor continued, “Given the impact of chronic pain and the increasing focus on technology as a means of treatment delivery, it is essential to identify and address the needs of young children with respect to pain management. Participation is voluntary and anything you say during the group session is strictly confidential. These sessions will give children and their parents the chance to inform our research by telling us of their own personal experiences with chronic pain management.” This programme is part of a PhD research project being carried out at NUI Galway by PhD student Angeline Traynor with Dr. Brian McGuire of the university’s School of Psychology and the Centre for Pain Research. The study is supported by Galway University Foundation. Each group session will include 6-8 other volunteer participants and will be led by Ms. Traynor and Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. Refreshments will be provided to participants. If you would be willing to help with this important study or would like further information, please contact Angeline Traynor at a.traynor2@nuigalway.ie or 086 0378562 or go directly to www.helpkidswithpain.com  

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NUI Galway Appoints Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College Of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

NUI Galway Appoints Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College Of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

NUI Galway has appointed Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Professor Timothy O’Brien is recognized as an international expert on vascular wall gene delivery. Professor O’Brien returned to Ireland in July 2001 as Professor of Medicine and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Metabolism at University College Hospital Galway.   Professor O’Brien has since established a gene therapy research group the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). As Director of REMEDI, he has played a key role in establishing both the new Bioscience Building at NUI Galway the Clinical Research Facility in the hospital. Speaking about his appointment Professor O’Brien said, “NUI Galway has a long and proud tradition of serving the local, national and global communities by educating the health care providers of the future. I look forward to building on that success and working with colleagues across the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Healthcare systems to integrate the education of our future health care providers. In particular, I look forward to working closely with our colleagues in the West Northwest Hospital group to this end. This success in our education programmes is recognised by prestigious scholarship schemes such as the Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and we will strive to continue and expand on our traditional success in that programme.” Professor O’Brien continued, “The College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences will continue to promote excellence and international competitiveness in selected research areas. We will pursue an innovation agenda with a focus on generation of impact. The research themes will be aligned with University and National priority areas and approaches will emphasize collaboration between our faculty members, hospitals and industry.  We will strive to enhance patient care and contribute to economic recovery in Ireland through our research performance. In addition, we will work to contribute to the Irish Government’s aim to win €1.3 billion in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme.” A native of Cork, Professor O’Brien received an honours MB BCh BAO degree from UCC in 1984. He went on to do an internship and general professional training at Cork University Hospital and one year as Registrar to Professor DJ O’Sullivan. He completed a two year residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1990 followed by a sub-specialty fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN in 1992. He was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in Ireland and London in 1986 and 1987, respectively and to Fellowship of the American College of Physicians in 1995 and the American College of Endocrinology in 1996. He was awarded MD (1993) and PhD (1997) degrees from the National University of Ireland. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology and Metabolism in the USA and is a registered specialist in both specialties in Ireland. Since returning to Ireland Professor O’Brien has been a principal or co-applicant on grants worth in excess of €73 million. He has been a reviewer for 16 international journals, was a member of an American Heart Association Study Section, has acted as an invited reviewer on an NIH study section, and has been a reviewer for the Wellcome Trust and the Finnish Academy of Science. He served as associate editor of Endocrine Practice, the journal of the American College of Endocrinology from 1999-2006 and the e-journal of Translational Medicine. To date Professor O'Brien has published 240 original papers in peer-reviewed journals.  He has contributed to 21 books, and has been invited to present his research at over 150 national and international scientific conferences. He is an author on seven patent applications. He is the Director of the MSc in Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway and has supervised 18 PhD students to graduation. Professor O’Brien is Director of the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) and he is also a co-founder of a spin-out company, Orbsen Therapeutics. Professor Timothy O’Brien will succeed Professor Gerry Loftus who recently retired.

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EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn to Open 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers Association Conference at NUI Galway

EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn to Open 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers Association Conference at NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

‘Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley’ is the theme of the Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference NUI Galway will host the 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference from the 11-12 April. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn and President Jim Browne of NUI Galway will officially open the Conference entitled “Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley”. The Irish Science Teachers' Association is the professional association of science teachers in the Republic of Ireland. It is over 50 years in existence and is the longest established provider of Continuous Professional Development for science teachers, with internationally renowned speakers invited to present frontier science to teachers. The Conference will host a total of 30 exhibitors in the area of science education. On Saturday 12 April there will be a full day of events in the Arts/Science Building at NUI Galway, starting with parallel talks and workshops in the morning and plenary sessions in the afternoon. Topics vary from ‘The Physics of Cancer’ to ‘Life Saving Chemistry’. Professor Donal O’Shea will give a talk on Childhood Obesity and FameLab science communicator Fergus McAuliffe will also be on stage. Workshops in biology, chemistry and physics will be conducted by teams from the Professional Development Service for Teachers, and there will also be short presentations on EU linked projects such as SCIENTIX, TEMI (Teaching Enquiry with Mystery Incorporated) and Chain Reaction. Primary Science is also included, as Dr Maeve Liston from Mary Immaculate College will present a practical workshop for primary school teachers. In the first plenary session of the afternoon the Nottingham based Professor Martyn Poliakoff, of Periodic Table Videos fame, will give a talk entitled ‘From Test-Tube to YouTube’. This will be followed by the launch of the Hyland Report which looks at International best practice in the design of science syllabi for second level schools. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will provide the keynote address at the opening of the Conference and added, “I am delighted to be able to join you for the Irish Science Teachers’ Association Annual Conference this year. The work you do as an association and as individual teachers every day in the classroom, provides the foundation upon which Irish children and young adults are successfully equipping themselves for careers as researchers, academics, scientists in industry and informed citizens. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn continued, “Science and innovation are at the core of our daily lives and will, I believe, unlock a bright new future for generations. As teachers you have the privilege and responsibility to inspire and nurture our young people. I have great confidence in your ability and willingness to step up to the challenge, and continue to produce Europe’s brightest and best young scientists.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome the Irish Science Teachers’ Association to NUI Galway for your annual conference. This University has a long and proud tradition of scientific excellence in teaching and research. From our popular degree courses to world-leading research, science has been a cornerstone of the University for well over a century. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Irish Science Teachers’ Association continued success for the future. The work that you do to ignite curiosity and inspire young scientists is pivotal to the future of science and technology in Ireland.” The first lecture will be presented by Professor Elaine Fox from the University of Oxford and is entitled: ‘Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain; From Pessimist to Optimist, can we really change?’ It will take place at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday 11 April at 8pm. Professor Fox’s work has been discussed in New Scientist, The Economist and the New York Times. There will also be an update from ISTA members on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment development groups in relation to new syllabi at the Annual Business Meeting; this is the only session that is for members only. The closing talk will be given by the well renowned Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey in which he will address the question: ‘Is Life Quantum Mechanical?’ Events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building. The Association for Science Education representatives from the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland will attend the conference and Professor Teresa Kennedy from the USA will represent ICASE. Both events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building. The organisation, led by Mary Mullaghy, National Chairperson of ISTA, is one of the pioneers of collaborative learning in association with the Department of Education and Skills, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, State Examinations Commission, Professional Development of Secondary Teachers, Institutes of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Technology Exhibition, BT Young Scientist, SciFest, industry and third level institutions. Many organisations communicate their outreach initiatives through the association as there is an extensive communication network. A Conference dinner and awards ceremony will take place in Hotel Meyrick and will be attended by some of the founding members of the Association including Sr Mercedes Desmond aged 92 years. Advance booking is advised. Full programme details and bookings are available on www.ista.ie and on social media @IrishSciTeach and Facebook. For registration visit http://istaannualconference2014.weebly.com

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December 2014

Threesis Winners Announced

Threesis Winners Announced-image

Monday, 1 December 2014

A first-year biotechnology student, Edel Browne from Athenry, Co. Galway took first prize at NUI Galway’s third annual Threesis Competition which took place last week. The competition consisted of quick-fire presentations, with NUI Galway researchers presenting three slides, in three minutes, to three judges. The competitors had come through a series of heats already held on campus, to take on the final challenge at a public event in An Taibhdhearc. The winners were judged on how well they conveyed and communicated their subject to a general audience. Edel Browne’s presentation was on ‘Free Feet’, a simple and innovative use of laser technology that has revolutionised potential treatment methods for Freezing of Gait in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Second and third prize went to Anne O’Connor from Loughrea, Co. Galway and Killian O’Brien from Bishoptown, Cork City. Anne’s work widens our understanding of cultural exchange in Ireland by studying translation and translators and their impact on Irish history whilst Killian researches exosomes and their potential as a viable method of delivering therapies in breast cancer treatment. Máire-Caitlín Casey from Ballydoolough, Co. Galway won the audience prize for her presentation ‘Now you see me’; her research aims to improve our evaluation of breast cancer, particularly in response to chemotherapy, by investigating a novel imaging technique, photoacoustic imaging (PAI). The event focused on taking researchers out of their comfort zones to present their research to a general audience using only three slides over three minutes to three judges. The focus was on impact; how research at NUI Galway impacts upon our daily lives, those of our family and our broader community. Research areas represented at the event included science, engineering, information technology, humanities, social sciences and medicine, with topics ranging from novel tests for early detection of breast cancer to the transport of pollutants in groundwater. The three judges - Dr Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience, NUI Galway, Caroline Crawford, Western Correspondent for the Irish Independent and Dr Marcus McHale, Postdoctoral Research at the Plant and Agricultural Biosciences Centre, NUI Galway had the responsibility of choosing the overall winners of the night. Jonathan McCrea was Master of Ceremonies for the event. Jonathan is a multi-award-winning TV and radio broadcaster, who presents The Science Squad on RTÉ, The Lie on TV3 and Futureproof on Newstalk 106-108fm. Dr Pat Morgan said: “There are twelve winners here tonight; unfortunately we only have prizes for a small few. I am incredibly proud to call you all members of the NUI Galway family and delighted to preside over such an important event in the University calendar.” Other finalists at the event; James Brown (Discipline of Surgery), Doireann Joyce (Discipline of Surgery), Donna Cosgrove (School of Psychology), Alan Kirwan (AGRC), Martin O’Donoghue (Moore Institute), Bianca Perira (Insight), Ihab Salawdeh (Insight) and Sara Vero (Ryan Institute). Ends

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