Expert on Exercise Interventions for Spinal Cord Injury to Speak at NUI Galway

Expert on Exercise Interventions for Spinal Cord Injury to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 24 May 2010

Professor Kathleen Martin Ginis, Professor of Health and Exercise Psychology in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, Canada will give a lecture at NUI Galway on "Innovations in the Study and Promotion of Physical Activity among People with Spinal Cord Injury" as part of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) Biomedical Distinguished Lecture Series on Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, in the NCBES Seminar Room at 3pm. Professor Martin Ginis' research program focuses on psychosocial influences and consequences of physical activity participation. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1996 and completed postdoctoral training at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She received the Early Distinguished Career Award from the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity and holds a CIHR New Investigator Award. She has published over 100 scientific journal articles and book chapters, and is a co-author of The Psychology of Exercise: Integrating Theory and Practice. Researchers in the NCBES at NUI Galway are currently investigating a range of potential therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injury. Glycoscience researchers are examining the role of glycans, or sugars, in the spinal cord and the role that those sugars play, both positive and negative, in spinal cord repair. Regenerative Medicine researchers are using gene therapy techniques to promote the regeneration of nerves damaged by spinal cord injury. Following acute trauma to the spinal cord a scar develops at the site of injury. This scar tissue inhibits the regrowth of nerves and prevents regeneration at the site of injury. Work is underway to understand the complex biology of scar formation and to develop therapeutic approaches that will prevent or reverse its development. Professor Frank Barry, Director of the NCBES, NUI Galway, said: "Researchers at the NCBES are focused on the development of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to spinal cord injury and our multidisciplinary approach is essential in addressing complex challenges in medicine and health. We appreciate the importance of alternative approaches when dealing with devastating and intractable medical problems and Dr Martin Ginis' lecture will present that alternative perspective which is both insightful and influential". Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Bioelectronics lead at the NCBES noted that the development of systems to support ambient assisted living is one of the themes of Bioelectronics at the NCBES, particularly those systems that encourage physical activity. "It is well established that exercise plays a central role in a healthy lifestyle. Professor Martin Ginis is an international expert in exercise psychology. As engineers attempt to develop more effective systems and devices to support physical activity, they will need to work with Health and Exercise Psychology experts like Professor Martin-Ginis to ensure that new developments incorporate the latest principles in exercise psychology". Professor Martin Ginis will also speak following the launch of 'The Jacinta O'Brien Collection' at the University's James Hardiman Library on Tuesday, 25 May at 4pm in the Martin Ryan Institute Annex Theatre. ENDS

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NUI Galway Archaeologists Feature on Nationwide Special

NUI Galway Archaeologists Feature on <i>Nationwide</i> Special -image

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

On Wednesday, 19 May at 7pm RTÉ's Nationwide will visit the great plain of Rathcroghan, celebrated pre-Christian ritual capital and seat of the kings of Connacht. A team of Archaeologists and Geophysicists based at NUI Galway have been carrying out intensive fieldwork in this area for the past 12 years, building on Professor John Waddell's research of Rathcroghan over the course of three decades. A book detailing the extraordinary results of this work, Rathcroghan: Archaeological and Geophysical Survey in a Ritual Landscape, by Kevin Barton and NUI Galway's Professor John Waddell and Joe Fenwick, was published in 2009. The programme will also look at how the community in Tulsk has interpreted this historic landscape and developed the Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre to help us to understand the history of one of the most important royal sites in Europe. To view the Nationwide programme visit http://www.rte.ie/news/nationwide/. -Ends-

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School Goers Offered Unique Insights at Science Experience Workshop

School Goers Offered Unique Insights at Science Experience Workshop -image

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The College of Science at NUI Galway is delighted to announce that for the second year running it will host Science Experience Workshops for second-level students. The workshops will take place on 24 and 25 June and students will have the opportunity to delve into a wide range of scientific disciplines and explore future career opportunities. Students, limited to just 100 in total, will take part in unique hands-on activities and experience working in world class research facilities and institutes. Some of the institutes open to the students will include Applied Optics, the Environmental Change Institute, the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Regenerative Medicine Institute. These centres are focused on a wide range of world class research activities such as stem cell research, climate modelling (including volcanic ash dispersion forecasting and assessment), next generation lens solutions, and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to biomedical challenges. Throughout the workshop, attendees also have the opportunity to shadow scientists and gain an invaluable insight into a wide range of scientific disciplines. Dr Mark Foley, Vice Dean of Communications and Strategy, College of Science, NUI Galway, says: "The Science Experience Workshop provides an excellent forum whereby students get information on the diverse range of science activity at NUI Galway. Participants have the chance to see the state-of-the-art teaching, research and sporting facilities while they will also get the chance to experience life on campus while learning about Science and interacting with students, staff and their peers from across the country". This year's event will include participation from the winners of the BT Business of Science & Technology Programme 2010. The third-level summer placements are funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). For further information on the College of Science or future Science Experience Workshops, call 091-492182 or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/science/news.

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NUI Galway Among Researchers Awarded €8.5m for Research Projects

NUI Galway Among Researchers Awarded €8.5m for Research Projects-image

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Three NUI Galway researchers were among the recipients of the €8.5 million for 47 cutting-edge research projects announced today by Batt O'Keeffe T.D., Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. Dr Patrick McGarry and Dr Mark Bruzzi from Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and Dr Peter Crowley from the School of Chemistry were awarded €539,500 for research projects which will create new jobs for the smart economy. Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Lecturer Dr McGarry's research, 'An experimental and computational investigation of the effect of strain rate on stress fibre remodelling, nuclear deformation and gene expression in cells', examines the effects of continuously changing forces within our bodies on the shape of our cells. This collaborative project also involves other researchers from the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway and UCD and is of interest to the medical device sector in the region. Dr Mark Bruzzi's project, 'Deformation and Fracture of Small Nitinol Structures', investigates the fundamental behaviour of nitinol through the use of both experimental testing and analytical methods. Quantifying how nitinol fundamentally behaves will allow the design and development of better and safer medical devices in Ireland. NUI Galway Chemistry Lecturer, Dr Crowley's research, 'Protein Probes: From Self-Assembly to In Vivo Trafficking', focuses on proteins which are large molecules that enable cells to grow and divide. This project will develop new tools to stick proteins together and develop our knowledge of how proteins get inside cells. The research will contribute to progress in the area of therapeutics. Minister O'Keeffe said the research areas are "profoundly linked to our health and wellbeing and the researchers' work will generate high-value downstream jobs". "The €8.5 million investment will create jobs and training opportunities for 105 researchers, mainly PhD students, and their work will in turn generate new jobs down the line which will have significant implications for our well-being as a nation," said Minister O'Keeffe. The 47 research projects are being funded under Science Foundation Ireland's Research Frontiers Programme. The programme supports internationally-competitive, high-quality exploratory research in higher education across the science, maths and engineering disciplines. "By helping researchers at a relatively early stage in their work, the programme is targeting our most promising scientists in building their research teams and track records and enhancing our competitiveness," said Minister O'Keeffe. Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Professor Frank Gannon, said: "The Government's goal of becoming a hub for international research is further advanced by this Research Frontiers Programme investment. "Ireland's performance in the fields of scientific and engineering research is directly linked to our future competitiveness and our quest for a measurable transformation to the smart economy. Last year, the Research Frontiers Programme resulted in many notable outcomes such as 88 collaborations with 83 companies, 715 academic collaborations, and 537 scientific papers. "The programme has contributed to Ireland's rapid ascent in the ranking of scientific output, rising from 36th place in 2003 to recently breaking into the top 20. Ireland has joined countries such as Finland, Germany and the US in the scientific output stakes," Professor Gannon concluded. -Ends-

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Invasive Seaweed Types Spreading Across Europe

Invasive Seaweed Types Spreading Across Europe-image

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Important Research conducted at NUI Galway published by Royal Society A European project involving Irish scientists from NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast has found that recently introduced seaweed types from areas such as Japan and California are spreading more rapidly in Europe than ever before. Professor Mark Johnson with The Martin Ryan Institute (MRI) at NUI Galway is the corresponding author on a paper which has gone online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The essence of this paper denotes how particular species of seaweed introduced to Europe have spread. This includes an increasing rate of spread in recent years. There are over 500 seaweed types in Ireland, and some 126 non-native species from Asia and the US have been recorded in Europe over the past century. The research paper published by the Royal Society (Fronts, Jumps and Secondary Introductions Suggested as Different Invasion Patterns in Marine Species, with an Increase in Spread Rates Over Time) is one of the outputs from a project known as ALIENS (Algal Introductions to European Shores). The research ran over four years and focused on the ecology, spread and impacts of introduced seaweeds. Professor Johnson remarked, "Research of this nature has relevance for marine and aquaculture policy into the future. This involves continuing with existing approaches to educate boat owners to clean their boats in order to stop the spread of invasive species of seaweed and protect native varieties. There are also efforts to control the spread with restrictions throughout the aquaculture industry. At present, some invasive species of seaweed can crowd out or displace native plants. It is important that we continue to protect our native species." PhD student Frederic Mineur, who worked with Professor Johnson on the project reconstructed the historical spread of seaweed dating as far back as 200 years ago. Species of seaweed introduced to a region often spread out from the point of introduction at a relatively even rate. However, other patterns can also occur. Most seaweeds introduced to Europe appear to have been introduced at more than one point or have unpredictable long range dispersal. Looking at the spread patterns over time, the rate of spread appears to be increasing for more recent introductions. This could be because there are more opportunities for seaweeds to associate with carriers like shipping or aquaculture. Another possibility is that the resistance of coastal environments to novel species' introductions is declining. This current study is complete but there are plans to extend the work to understand more about the dispersal of introduced species. There may be particular routes that more than one species has travelled by within Europe and conversely there may be barriers within Europe to the spread of species. To access the article featured in the Royal Society, follow the link below. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/04/20/rspb.2010.0494.abstract -Ends-

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Final Push for NUI Galway Medical Charity

Final Push for NUI Galway Medical Charity-image

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

NUI Galway charity Voluntary Services Abroad (VSA) have embarked on a final "bed push" from University College Hospital in Galway to Limerick city. A team of twenty NUI Galway medical students took to the streets of Galway, Ennis and Limerick, at the weekend pushing a hospital bed, with the aim of raising funds for the charity. Volunteers have fundraised over €70,000 in the past eight months by tirelessly holding events throughout the west. It is hoped that this final marathon event brings them closure to reaching their target of €100,000 before volunteers leave in June. "Where possible we spend money locally, in order to reduce transport costs and maximise the benefit the local economy" said auditor of VSA, Tadhg Sullivan. This summer, 37 medical student volunteers will travel to eight partner hospitals in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal, providing financial and practical support in an increasingly difficult financial environment within the African healthcare system. VSA was founded in 1977 by Galway doctor, Dom Colbert, and is run by fourth year medical students, it raises funds for health care facilities in developing countries. Volunteers travel to hospitals and clinics abroad, personally funding their own travel and accommodation expenses, so that all funds raised can go towards the purchase of medical supplies and equipment. ENDS

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Entrepreneurial Companies Can Benefit from Business Innovation Centre

Entrepreneurial Companies Can Benefit from Business Innovation Centre-image

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

NUI Galway is looking for new companies to join its successful Business Innovation Centre on campus. The centre offers office and research facilities and is ideally suited for start-up and early stage technology and creative businesses. Also on offer is access to creative facilities, equipment and know-how across the University, with additional support available from NUI Galway's Ignite Technology Transfer Office. NUI Galway consistently performs strongly when it comes to technology transfer activities, having formed seven spin-out companies in 2009, signing 17 license agreements and filing 48 patent applications. This commercialisation expertise is brought by the Ignite Technology Transfer Office team to the companies based in the Business Innovation Centre. Dr Neil Ferguson from NUI Galway's Technology Transfer Office, says: "The aim of the incubation centre is to create an environment, which promotes entrepreneurship and new business growth. It also offers suitable incubation space and support services for new knowledge intensive companies in sectors such as biotechnology, biomedical, ICT and Engineering. Companies currently based at NUI Galway have gone from strength to strength, despite the difficult economic climate". Some of the companies currently based at NUI Galway include network monitoring solutions company Netfort Technologies, Medical Device company Zuresa, learning solutions company Learn Skills, 3D content company RealSim, online accounting solutions provider SwiftAccounts.ie, and software company DSX Ltd. It is the energy, drive and commitment shown by these companies which will drive Ireland's Smart Economy forward with successes such as; Netfort Technologies increased profitability in 2009, Learn Skills launching SEEK Academy, RealSim awarded High Potential Start Up status by Enterprise Ireland, Zerusa recently received both the CE mark and FDA clearance for its innovative Next Generation Guardian II Hemostasis Valve and SwiftAccounts.ie on target to go live this summer Shane Hayes from DSX Ltd, which has been based at the University since its inception in 2006: "NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre is a great place to do business, because of the workspace suitability for start-ups, the technical infrastructure, the atmosphere of innovation and co-operation as well as having research and industry located together". With the potential to house 24 companies, as well as hot-desking and a bio lab facility, the Business Innovation Centre has many advantages for start-up companies such as: competitive rates for fully fitted space; access to expertise and specialists in the all sectors, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment; and strong support structures for new business development. For more information on how to get started in NUI Galway Business Innovations Centre please contact technologytransfer@nuigalway.ie or 091-492147. ENDS

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eBusiness Researcher to Discuss Enterprise 3.0 at International Event

eBusiness Researcher to Discuss Enterprise 3.0 at International Event-image

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dr Edward Curry, an eBusiness Researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), NUI Galway will join senior executives from around the world as a featured panellist at the 2010 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, the premier international event for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and senior IT executives to become better business leaders. Dr Curry will be speaking about Enterprise 3.0 and is one of more than 50 presenters from a wide range of industries, as well as leading academics from the MIT Sloan School of Management. As a technology driven event the Symposium informs technology vision and discussion on better ways to advance technology leadership and enhance business performance for enterprises. As the volumes of data generated by the enterprise increases, so too must the organization s ability to link, acquire and decipher all the information to optimize performance. For many CIOs, Enterprise 3.0, a system of effective knowledge management, provides new services through more effective data integration. However, it also presents new challenges, particularly in the areas of solution's technology adoption and its integration into existing business units. According to Dr Curry, "Enterprise 3.0 is about breaking down barriers that stop or slow information flows within or between companies. Linked data technology, a cornerstone of Enterprise 3.0, is having a significant impact by simplifying the way businesses share and reuse their data assets". In the Enterprise 3.0 panel, experts on the Web of Data and Linked Data will discuss emerging approaches to Enterprise 3.0. The discussion will provide CIOs with more insights into upcoming approaches surrounding the global IT market and how these concepts can better serve a company. Edward Curry investigates the impact and adoption trends of emerging technologies within industry. His specific focus for the last number of years has been how linked data technology and the web of data are changing the way business work and interact with information. Dr Curry added: "The fundamental concept of linked data is that data is created with the mindset that it will be shared and reused by others. Linked data can empower employees to be creative and innovative when working with data, to combine, manipulate and analyse it to find unexpected reuses beyond its original intended purpose." "Our attendance remains high because we attract key academic contributors such as Dr Edward Curry," said Graham G. Rong, the 2010 CIO Symposium Chair. "By bringing together innovative leaders, we foster an environment where attendees gain great insight about how to drive growth and be successful in these challenging times." Sean O'Riain, eBusiness Unit at DERI comments that "DERI s core research theme is Enabling a Network of Knowledge and we are now experiencing significant uptake of technologies such as linked data a major step in the realisation of this goal". The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium is the premier global event for CIOs and senior IT executives to improve business leadership. In one day, CIOs and senior IT executives receive actionable information that enables them to meet the challenges of today s changing global economy. The annual event offers a day of interactive learning and thought-provoking discourse on the future of technology, best practices, and business that is not available anywhere else. The event attracts CIOs, senior business executives, senior IT decision makers and thought leaders from academia. Ends

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'Fear' Adverts May Make Young Males Drive Faster

'Fear' Adverts May Make Young Males Drive Faster-image

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

NUI Galway Student Psychological Research Yields Interesting Findings New research suggests that reminding young male drivers of their own mortality through 'fear appeals', such as those used in many road safety campaigns, may actually increase their intentions to take driving risks. The research was carried out by Psychology student Ms Rachel Carey and Dr Kiran Sarma at the School of Psychology, NUI Galway. The study investigated how awareness of death among young male drivers, together with personality factors, can influence intentions to take driving risks. Findings suggest that many young males perceive 'fast driving' as central to who they are and when told that they should not drive fast because of the carnage that can ensue, they rebel against the message with intent to take more driving risks. The research also showed that high impulsivity was linked to risky driving. The research has implications for road safety campaigns that target young males through messages that portray the consequences of fast or dangerous driving. The NUI Galway study suggests that young drivers exposed to dangerous driving facts report a greater intention to drive fast after exposure than had they been presented with neutral facts. 80 male university students (aged between 17 and 24, all of whom were in possession of a full driver's license) were recruited on the campus at NUI Galway and asked to complete a questionnaire. This questionnaire first assessed the relevance of driving for participants' self-esteem. Half of the participants were then exposed to images of car crashes and facts about the potential death-related consequences of driving, such as "17 to 24 year old males account for over 1 in 5 driver deaths". The other half of the participants were presented with neutral driving facts. Participants then completed a personality inventory which measured impulsivity. Finally, they reported their intentions to take driving risks in real-life scenarios. "It would appear that young Irish males can view fast driving as part of their personal identity – who they are", says Rachel Carey who is currently completing her final year of a BA in Psychology at NUI Galway. "Driving is tied up in their self-concept and telling them not to drive fast because they might die, or they may kill others, is perceived as being an assault on their self-esteem. They react defensively by reporting a more marked intention to drive fast because, for many, doing so bolsters their self-esteem", she says. Rachel, from Headford, Co. Galway, recently received the highest undergraduate award for research at the annual Congress of Psychology Students of Ireland. The congress is supported by the Psychological Society of Ireland and the Northern Irish branch of the British Psychological Society. Ms Carey will now present her research to both professional bodies. Dr Kiran Sarma of the School of Psychology at NUI Galway who supervised the research said: "The research was designed in consultation with international experts and supports findings reported aboard. While conducted within the limitations of undergraduate research of this nature, its unique value is that it looks beyond the concept of self-esteem to personality factors and suggests that impulsivity may interact with self-esteem in predicting greater intention to take driving risks. Further research can explore these relationships with greater specificity and inform the design and content of deterrence information campaigns". The BA in Psychology at NUI Galway is a three or four-year accredited undergraduate degree that provides graduate basis for registration as a psychologist. The School of Psychology educates more than 1000 students in both undergraduate courses and post-graduate professional training in clinical psychology, health psychology and applied behaviour analysis. More information on the School can be accessed at www.nuigalway.ie/psychology. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Scientists First to Produce Volcanic Ash Operational Forecasts

NUI Galway Scientists First to Produce Volcanic Ash Operational Forecasts-image

Monday, 10 May 2010

NUI Galway researchers have developed Ireland's own capability of Icelandic plume dispersion forecasting and assessment. In a first for Ireland, and one of only a few in Europe, the forecasting system is expected to be one of the most sophisticated in Europe after further refinement over the coming weeks. The four-day forecasts of plume density and dispersion are produced at least twice a day currently and over the next week will increase to six-day forecasts four-times daily (www.macehead.org). Professor Colin O'Dowd, Director of the Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies at NUI Galway, which is behind this major development, stated: "The rapid development of the volcanic plume forecasting model to provide Ireland's own capability of assessment and prediction is an not only an excellent example of national collaboration and solidarity amongst key scientific partners in times of national need but also of innovation and a capacity for rapid response in a crisis. The combined skill of NUI Galway in atmospheric physics and air pollution research, Met Éireann in weather and climate research, and the Irish Centre for High End Computing (ICHEC) in computational science, was the perfect recipe for the rapid success". Professor O'Dowd added: "The ICHEC supercomputers have been critical to accommodating the daily influx of terabytes of model initialisation data and the number crunching of these data in highly complex regional climate and weather forecasting models used in the prediction facility. Essential to the success was the ability of ICHEC to contribute computational research scientists to the demanding challenge of optimising computer code for parallel supercomputing, involving 2,500 parallel processors, necessary to address complex problems. The underlying research funding that enabled this significant achievement was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)". While the initial aim is not to replace the official London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre for aviation decisions, it certainly provides an additional informative tool for potential air travellers and allows them the capability of making more informed travel decisions based on additional information. -Ends-

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