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International Experts to Gather to Discuss Chemistry of Sugars
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Numerous scientists around the world are working to better understand the complex sugars, or glycans, which coat every living cell in our bodies. Glycans are involved in the interactions between cells and physiological processes, such as fertilisation, cancer, and stem-cell differentiation. Some of the leading experts in this field will convene at NUI Galway from August 6-9, 2014. The goal of the 5th Warren Workshop will be to highlight the capabilities and limitations that exist in the detection, identification, and quantification of these carbohydrates. Professor Rob Woods, School of Chemistry, NUI Galway, explains the complexities involved in understanding the chemistry involved in glycosience: “Glycans are very complex and each one is unique. It’s almost like our cells are covered in snowflakes, each having its own unique fluctuating shape. So how do proteins or anitbodies identify and bind to glycans? If we could better understand this, we could use this this knowledge to develop carbohydrate-specific biosensors for use in disease diagnosis and treatment”. The driving force for the Warren Workshop series is the need for detailed structural analysis of glycans in the context of complex biological systems. The workshop will bring together experts from around the globe in the discipline to establish workflows for tackling these huge challenges. Speakers will be coming from Ireland, the US, Switzerland, England, Japan, Australia, Sweden, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel. Professor Pauline Rudd, National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBERT) notes that NUI Galway, DCU, UCD, TCD and NIBRT all have strong programmes in applied glycoscience, especially in technology development, analytics, molecular modelling, carbohydrate recognition, oligosaccharide synthesis and glycan pathway modelling. In addition, bioinformatics programmes have been pioneered by Irish scientists. This meeting focuses on many of these topics, and particularly on new technologies of direct relevance to Pharmaceutical companies. In light of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry being awarded for Computational Simulations, the 5th Warren Workshop will also include a session on computational glycoscience. Professor Woods’ research group at NUI Galway is supported by Science Foundation Ireland and closely integrates strong computational and experimental skill sets: “Because of the mind-blowing complexities involved, we need the most advanced computational simulations to help us better understand how glycans are interacting and communicating within our bodies”. The team in Professor Wood’s lab is investigating antiviral agents to block viral infections and applying their findings to influenza; chosen because of the potential for a pandemic. The group is also working on the development of diagnostics for cancer markers with a focus on pancreatic cancer, one of the more virulent forms of cancer with a mortality rate of over 90%. Early detection of all cancers, preferably by non-invasive surveillance, is needed for all cancers, but particularly for the most aggressive forms. For further information on the 5th Warren Workshop visit http://glycomics.ccrc.uga.edu/warren-workshop/ -ends-
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Secure Bicycle Compound at NUI Galway
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
The new secure bicycle compound at NUI Galway was officially launched on the 18th June. Coinciding with this year’s National Bike Week the compound is open to staff and students who want to cycle to work and leave their bike in a secure location. A University ID card is all that is required to access the facility. With space for more than 320 bikes there are separate entrances and exits for cyclists use only with a permanent pumping station due for installation in the coming weeks. The high security compound is one of a number of facilities aimed at encouraging staff and students to cycle to campus. Bicycle lockers are currently on trial and additional bike racks are being installed at a variety of locations around the campus.
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University Institute Announces Major Collaboration Project with Leading Global Science Publisher
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Elsevier Publishers, one of world’s leading scientific publishers, have announced an ambitious collaboration with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics. The centre established by Science Foundation Ireland is a joint initiative between researchers at NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Cork, University College Dublin and other partner institutions. The collaboration with Elsevier will focus on developing new scientometric techniques - that is, techniques for measuring the progress and impact of scientific and scholarly work. A team at Insight NUI Galway will work on the development of a novel platform for incorporating various sources of scientometric information, both traditional (e.g. bibliometric) and new (e.g. social media) in order to capture a holistic view of scientific practice and discourse. “While the use of citation data for measuring scientific impact is well established”, explains Professor Siegfriend Handshuh of Insight, “it is far less clear how science propagates its influence through other channels, such as news publications, social media, government policy documents and so on.” Elsevier are at the forefront of the development of several scientometric tools such as PURE, a platform to measure an organisation's research and collaboration strategies and accomplishments. It is envisaged that the collaboration with Insight will lead to the development of novel scientometric services to complement and extend existing products such as PURE. “Elsevier is delighted to be working with the new Insight Centre on this project” said Nick Fowler, Elsevier’s Managing Director of Academic and Government Institutional Markets, who is responsible for PURE and other products. “Working with an academic research partner lets us take on projects with a higher risk and reward than we normally could. That higher risk/reward approach is also enabled by the generous matching grant from the Irish government, otherwise we would not be able to dedicate four Ph.D. researchers for three years to such a project.” “This is a very important collaboration for Insight”, according to Professor Handschuh, “as researchers, we have an interest in improving the way scientific information is communicated, used and measured. Partnering with Elsevier has given us an insight into real problems, real data and challenges we would not have foreseen.” -Ends-
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NFB Researcher awarded Royal Academy of Medicine Ireland Donegan Medal
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Catalina Vallejo Giraldo, a PhD student at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, has been awarded the Royal Academy of Medicine Ireland (RAMI) Donegan Medal. She received the award for her presentation at the Section of Biomedical Sciences annual meeting held in UCD on Thursday, 19 June. The meeting featured a high calibre scientific programme covering novel biomedical research ongoing in Ireland. The competition is open to students presenting research for the first time at a meeting or conference and the Donegan Medal is awarded to the best oral presenter. This year, 16 entrants entered the competition. Catalina won the competition for her research on improving the design of implanted microelectrodes used for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. At present, implantable, electrically stimulating systems consisting of a number of electrodes that transmit signals via electrical conduction in bodily fluids are being investigated to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. While implanted electrodes work reasonably well for short term applications, they have had limited success over longer implantation times. With current methods the inflammatory response around the electrode interface increases to such an extent that there is neural loss and instability of the electrodes at the implantation site. It is this problem that Catalina’s research addresses by improving long-term function through use of conducting polymers to coat the implanted electrodes. Under the supervision of Professor Abhay Pandit, Dr Manus Biggs and Dr Eilís Dowd, she is developing polymeric neural probes for deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease. Current therapies for Parkinson’s only provide relief from the symptoms of the disease and do not offer a cure. Catalina’s research, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, offers the possibility of halting the degenerative process with potential to cure the disease. Originally from Colombia, Catalina got her BSc with honours in Biomedical Engineering at Escuela de Ingeniería de Antioquia. After this, she was awarded her MSc in Biomedical Sciences from the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. She is starting her second year as a PhD student at NUI Galway. -Ends-
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NUI Galway is Top Irish University for World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Three outstanding researchers at NUI Galway have been ranked among the ‘World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014’. Professor Henry Curran, Professor Colin O’Dowd and Professor Donal O’Regan have been ranked among the world’s top 3,000 scientific minds by the multinational media body Thompson Reuters. Those named on the list have earned their distinction by publishing the highest number of articles that rank among those most frequently cited by fellow researchers. More individuals were listed from NUI Galway than from any other Irish university. According to NUI Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne: “The report describes those listed as being ‘on the cutting edge of their fields’ and ‘among the most influential scientific minds of our time’. This is certainly true of the NUI Galway individuals who excel and out-perform in their fields of chemistry, climate change and mathematics.” Professor Henry Curranis Director of the Combustion Chemistry Centre at NUI Galway. His research interest lies in the study of the chemistry of how fuels burn in combustors in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions for a cleaner world. Professor Colin O’Dowd is the Director of the Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, at the Ryan Institute, NUI Galway. Through his pioneering work in the field of atmospheric physics, has become internationally renowned as one of the leading scientists in the field of climate change. Professor Donal O’Regan is a Personal Professor of Mathematics at NUI Galway and an internationally recognised expert in the field of Nonlinear Analysis, Differential Equations, and Fixed Point Theory. He has written over 1,000 peer-reviewed mathematical articles, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of mathematics in the world. Thomson Reuters analysts assessed papers indexed between 2002 and 2012 in 21 broad fields of study. They tracked authors who published numerous articles that ranked among the top one percent of the most cited in their respective fields in the given year of publication. These documents represent research that the scientific community has judged to be the most significant and useful. -ends-
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Collaborating with University of California through Career Development Fellowship
Monday, 7 July 2014
Shane Browne, a final year PhD student at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, has been awarded an Irish Research Council International Career Development Fellowship under the ELEVATE scheme. The award will cover his postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, USA to collaborate with Professor Kevin Healy for two years. The aim of this initiative, co-funded by Marie Curie Actions, is to allow Irish-based experienced researchers who have gained most of their research experience in Ireland to carry out research at an International Host Organisation. The scheme requires researchers to spend a mandatory one year return phase at a returning Host Organisation of their choice in Ireland. Shane will spend a third year at the NFB at NUI Galway to complete his fellowship. The project involves novel methods of treating limb ischemia which occurs when the blood supply is lost to a limb. Delayed treatment of the condition leads to morbidity, amputation and even death. Shane’s research will involve promoting new blood vessel growth to the limb using biomaterials in Professor Healy’s Laboratory. Professor Healy’s work focuses on the interface between biology and materials science to develop engineered systems to explore both fundamental biological phenomena and new applications in translational medicine. The research group at Berkeley is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating researchers from the fields of bioengineering, materials engineering, medicine, and molecular biology. Currently, Shane is completing his PhD which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), under the supervision of Professor Abhay Pandit studying treatment of myocardial infarction (MI). He has received multiple rewards for his postgraduate research including a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) fellowship and European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) travel fellowship. His current project involves using a collagen biomaterial system, which has been developed at the NFB, for the delivery of anti-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic gene therapy to damaged heart tissue. The aim is to improve functional recovery of the heart muscle by modulating the inflammatory response following MI, and by subsequently promoting the formation of new blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity in the developed world, and yet there is currently no treatment available to patients to promote the regeneration of infarcted myocardium. One of the NFB’s goals is to develop biomaterial-based cardiac gene therapy to reduce scarring and promote regeneration of the myocardium following MI. This approach could ultimately benefit patients at risk of heart failure and lead to reduced morbidity and improved heart function following MI. -ends-
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NUI Galway Student Awarded Gold Medal at New York Festival Awards
Monday, 7 July 2014
NUI Galway PhD student, Thérèse McIntyre, was recently awarded a Gold Medal for Best Radio Programme in the 'Educational' category at the recent New York Festival Awards Gala. Thérèse was awarded the Gold Medal for a series of radio shows she made while doing her PhD at NUI Galway. Thérèse, originally from Detroit in the US, came to Ireland in 1996 to pursue independent studies of the various aspects of Irish traditional culture - music, song, and dance - with a particular focus on the song tradition. She has spent several years collecting songs, both in the English and the Irish languages, from various areas throughout Ireland and America and worked with individuals who are well known both inside and outside of the tradition. Thérèse’s particular area of research allows her to combine her academic strengths in Irish Studies and History with her longstanding personal interest in Irish traditional song and ballad. Thérèse was part of the first group to graduate from the Centre for Irish Studies with a Diploma in Irish Studies in 2002. She subsequently received her BA in History and English from NUI Galway (2008) and recently completed her Masters in Irish Studies, also at NUI Galway (2009). Her Masters thesis, titled ‘Another Martyr for Old Ireland’: Historical ‘Fact’ versus Folk Memory - Kevin Barry as a ‘Hero’ in the Irish Ballad Tradition’, examines the legitimacy of using the narratives contained within songs of the ballad tradition as valid sources of historical information, particularly with respect to figures such as Kevin Barry, who essentially have been marginalised by historians and also explores the song’s influence on the social memory of modern-day Ireland. In 2009, Thérèse was awarded an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science (IRCHSS) Scholarship. Her PhD, which commenced in October 2009, is titled ‘Historical ‘Fact’ versus ‘Folk’ Memory: The Creation and Representation of ‘Heroes’ in Irish Traditional Song and Ballad'. The series 'Herosongs', based upon Chapter One of the PhD project, is an eight part series is an Athena Media production for RTÉ Radio 1. Presented by singer and academic Therese McIntyre, who traces the journey of ballads from the 16th century to today and explores how they shape or distort our understanding of history, real events and real people like Henry Joy McCracken in 1798 or Jim Larkin in 1913. In the series we hear from historians including Diarmaid Ferriter, Kevin Whelan, Eunan O’Halpin, Mike Cronin, and Lillis Ó Laoire, song collector and scholar John Moulden and traditional music experts Nicholas Carolan and Grace Toland from the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Therese is joined by singers from the Góilín Traditional Singers Club, singers Iarla Ó Lionáird, Nóirín Ní Riain, Frances Black, Niamh Parsons, Derek Warfield and composer Eric Bogle among others, who share their own relationship with history, song and these sung heroes. The series of radio shows can be found at https://audioboo.fm/boos/1502239-herosongs-1-where-history-meets-song-episode-one -Ends-
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NUI Galway-based Technology Company Sold for $75 Million
Monday, 7 July 2014
Seroba Kernel, the associate life sciences investment firm of Kernel Capital, has announced the sale of its investee company, Apica Cardiovascular for $75 million. Based at the Business Innovation Centre at NUI Galway, Apica Cardiovascular was sold to US-headquartered Thoratec Corporation, a world leader in device-based mechanical circulatory support therapies for failing hearts. Apica had developed an innovative transapical access and closure system that can simplify and standarise the technique used to open and close the apex of a beating heart, in order to deliver large therapeutic devices into the inner chambers of the beating heart in a minimally invasive manner. Founded in 2009, Apica’s technology began life at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010, Seroba Kernel Life Sciences led a Series A financing of the company, which was also supported by Enterprise Ireland, and Apica moved to the Business the Innovation Centre at NUI Galway where it developed its product range. Apica products enable the delivery of aortic and mitral heart valves via the transapical route (TAVI) and the implantation of heart pumps (LVADs) for patients with advance heart failure. Commenting on the announcement, Dr Daniel O’Mahony, a partner in Seroba Kernel, said: “We are delighted with the successful outcome of the investment in Apica. It validates our model of taking leading-edge technologies from the USA, where there is a shortage of finance, and implanting them in Ireland whilst retaining links to the US innovators and clinicians. It also reinforces Galway’s position as a world-class hub for med tech development.” -Ends-
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Final Call for Applications for NUI Galway Sports Scholarship Scheme
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
NUI Galway has issued a final call for applications to its Elite Athlete Sports Scholarships Scheme for 2014/15. The University has a long tradition of excellence in sport and this has been enhanced by the recent success in Rowing, Hurling, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby as well as numerous individual achievements. The deadline for application for current and prospective students is Thursday, 31 July at 5 pm. The Elite Athlete Scholarship Programme is aimed at student-athletes of outstanding calibre who register as students of the University. NUI Galway has had an outstanding record in supporting young athletes in developing their sporting and academic careers with in recent years, scholarship athletes winning senior All-Ireland GAA titles, winning and competing at World Championship level in their chosen sport and dozens of NUI Galway students representing their country and a number who have gone on to professional careers in a number of sports. These scholarship students include: John Conlon and Domhnall O’Donovan from Clare who were just two of the large contingent of NUI Galway graduates who won the All-Ireland Hurling title last year; rower Aifric Keogh who finished fourth at the world rowing U23 championships; and Olympian Paul Hession, who recently received his medical degree recently. Applicants for Elite sports scholarships must satisfy the academic criteria for entry to NUI Galway and must have applied to the CAO in the usual manner or be a currently enrolled student at NUI Galway. For the Scholarships, students who meet the University’s entry requirements will be selected on merit by an independent panel. In addition to the scholarship, students will receive specialist support including physiotherapy, treatment of injury, fitness training, coaching and support for travel to national and international competitions. More details on the Sports Scholarship Scheme at http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html. All applications must be submitted online at http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html -Ends- Seans amháin eile ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh Tá seans amháin eile le hiarratais a dhéanamh ar Scéim Scoláireachtaí Spóirt OÉ Gaillimh 2014/15. Tá dea-cháil ar an Ollscoil le fada as ucht a cuid feabhais i gcúrsaí spóirt agus táthar ag cur leis an gcáil seo le héachtaí san Iomramh, Iomáint, Cispheil, Sacar agus Rugbaí chomh maith le héachtaí aonair éagsúla. Is é Déardaoin, an 31 Iúil ag 5pm an spriocdháta le hiarratas a bheith déanta ag mic léinn reatha agus ag mic léinn a bheidh ag tosú ar chúrsaí. Tá an Clár Scoláireachta do Lúthchleasaithe Éilíte dírithe ar lúthchleasaithe den scoth atá cláraithe mar mhic léinn de chuid na hOllscoile. Is iontach an teist atá ag OÉ Gaillimh maidir le tacaíocht a thabhairt do lúthchleasaithe óga i bhforbairt a ngairmeacha spóirt agus acadúla. Le blianta beaga anuas tá lúthchleasaithe scoláireachta ag buachan craobhacha CLG Uile-Éireann, tá siad in iomaíocht agus ag buachan ag leibhéal an Domhain ina rogha spóirt agus go leor de mhic léinn OÉ Gaillimh ag seasamh an fhóid dá dtír agus cuid eile acu a bhfuil gairmeacha proifisiúnta bainte amach acu i roinnt spóirt. I measc na mac léinn scoláireachta seo tá: John Conlon agus Domhnall O’Donovan ó Chontae an Chláir a bhí ar bheirt den ghrúpa mór céimithe de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a bhuaigh Craobh Iomána na hÉireann anuraidh; an t-iomróir Aifric Keogh a tháinig sa cheathrú háit ag Craobhchomórtas Faoi 23 an Domhain; an lúthchleasaí Oilimpeach Paul Hession ar bronnadh a chéim sa leigheas air le déanaí. Ní mór d’iarratasóirí ar scoláireachtaí spóirt Éilíte critéir acadúla iontrála OÉ Gaillimh a shásamh agus ní mór dóibh iarratas a bheith déanta acu tríd an CAO ar an ngnáthbhealach nó a bheith cláraithe faoi láthair mar mhac léinn in OÉ Gaillimh. Roghnóidh painéal neamhspleách na mic léinn a shásaíonn riachtanais iontrála na hOllscoile ar bhonn fiúntais. Chomh maith le scoláireacht, gheobhaidh na mic léinn tacaíocht eile spóirt chomh maith cosúil le fisiteiripe, cóireáil do ghortú, traenáil aclaíochta, cóitseáil agus cúnamh le taisteal chuig comórtais náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Tá tuilleadh sonraí faoin Scéim Scoláireachta Spóirt ar http://www.nuigalway.ie/sports/scholarships_info.html. Ní mór gach iarratas a dhéanamh ar líne ar http://www.sports.nuigalway.ie/scholarshipform.html -Críoch-
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Medical Student Wins Research Scholarship in Cambridge
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
NUI Galway medical student Orla Hennessy has won a place at the University of Cambridge in the UK as part of the Amgen Scholarship programme. Orla, who was born in Dublin and grew up in Kilmaley, County Clare, has just completed her second year of medicine at NUI Galway and will spend the summer as a researcher in Cambridge. One of Europe’s most competitive science scholarship programmes, the Amgen Scholarship offers undergraduate students the opportunity to work in world-class labs across the continent. It is one of the only pan-European undergraduate research programmes open to students across multiple countries and offers the chance to take part in original research at labs at the University of Cambridge, Karolinska Institute or LMU Munich. Orla will work with Professor Martin Bennett in Cambridge’s Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Her interest in cardiovascular medicine has a family link as both her parents are doctors and her father is a cardiologist. Orla was only 16 when she sat her Leaving Cert. She knew by then that she wanted to do medicine, but was not sure she could do it, as she explains: “I saw how hard my father worked and how much of himself he put into his work. I wasn’t sure I could do that, but I was encouraged by my parents and my teachers. I came to realise that medicine was much bigger than what my father did and that I did not have to be a clinician. I could be a researcher or a bit of both. Medicine was not just my dad’s job. It was so much more.” Last summer she won a Health Research Board summer scholarship to do a research placement in Galway which looked at the skin ulceration in the early stages of diabetes. Dr Sean Dinneen is Head of the School of Medicine at NUI Galway: “Our faculty is actively engaged in innovative research in many areas, with particular emphasis on cancer, gene and stem cell therapy and biomedical engineering science. This investigative ethos is part of our undergraduate degree programme and we encourage students to undertake research opportunities. Orla should be commended for winning a sought after research scholarship and we wish her every success for the summer.” -ends-
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