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NUI Galway Joins All-Ireland Palliative Care Institute
Thursday, 8 May 2014
NUI Galway has become a new partner of the All Ireland Institute of Hospice Palliative Care (AIIHPC). The new membership is part of a significant expansion of AIIHPC’s partner organisations from 12 to 17. Following this expansion its partners now include all Universities and major hospice providers and on the Island of Ireland. AIIHPC, the first organisation of its kind in Ireland, was established in October 2010, following a successful bid by the 12 Consortium members to secure funding. The Institute works to improve policy and practice, education and research relating to hospice and palliative care in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. The Institute is particularly committed to the engagement of users, carers and communities. The expanded make up of AIIHPC was officially launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney TD at Marymount University Hospital and Hospice. Minister Coveney said: “It is a pleasure to formally recognise the enlarged consortium of partners working together to ultimately benefit patients and their families. The Institute is playing a key role – informing improvement, engaging with communities, facilitating change and leading developments.” Kathy Murphy, Professor of Nursing at NUI Galway and member of the AIIPHC Management Committee, said: “NUI Galway is pleased to be part of this important research, education and practice network. This collaboration will enable more effective knowledge exchange and development resulting ultimately in better outcomes for those receiving palliative care.” The 12 original Consortium members are: Dublin Academic Medical Centre; Milford Care Centre, Castletroy, Limerick; Marie Curie Centre, Belfast; Northern Ireland Hospice, Belfast; Our Lady's Hospice & Care Services, Dublin; Queens University Belfast; St. Francis Hospice, Raheny, Dublin, St. James's Hospital, Dublin; Trinity College Dublin; University College Dublin; University of Limerick and the University of Ulster. Other new partners include DCU, Marymount University Hospital and Hospice, NUI Maynooth and UCC. AIIHPC Deputy Chairperson, and CEO Our Lady’s Hospice and Services in Harold Cross, Mo Flynn said the expansion showed strong and growing support for the Institute. “The five additional members will further increase AIIHPC’s capacity to benefit patients who receive palliative and end of life care and their families. Working together, and across Ireland, the Institute is achieving real impact and helping to drive change.” The significant bulk of AIIHPC’s funding comes from The Atlantic Philanthropies, with additional funding from Health Research Board, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Hospice Foundation and the Public Health Agency. Consortium members also contribute funding. -Ends-
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Gold Medal Launched to Honour Leading West of Ireland Cardiologist!
Thursday, 8 May 2014
A gold medal which will be awarded each year to the most outstanding student on the Masters in Preventive Cardiology programme at NUI Galway was inaugurated this week at a special ceremony in the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Galway The Kieran Daly Medal was inaugurated to honour the immeasurable contribution which Dr. Kieran Daly, Honorary Clinical Professor in Medicine at NUI Galway and Consultant Cardiologist at Galway University Hospitals, has made to education and training in Cardiology over a long and distinguished career. Additionally, the medal honours the leadership Dr Daly has shown over many years , firstly as Research & Medical Director of Croí and for the past five years as Chairperson of the organisations Board of Directors, a position which he retired from earlier this month. At the launch of this prestigious award, Dr. Gerard Flaherty, Programme Director of the NUIG Masters in Preventive Cardiology programme, one of only two such courses in the world, spoke of the very high esteem in which Dr. Daly is held by his colleagues, students and trainees over the years. Having worked with Dr. Daly, he added that he “always admired his dedication, intellect, technical skills, and consummate professionalism, all fitting attributes to be associated with graduates from the Masters programme”. Dr. Flaherty added that the award of this medal at the annual conferring ceremony at NUI Galway would help to raise the profile of this popular programme and ensure that it continues to attract the most capable and highly motivated students. He thanked Dr. Daly for allowing his name to be associated with the award. Speaking at the launch of the Kieran Daly Medal, Croí CEO, Neil Johnson said "this is a very appropriate acknowledgement to the contribution Kieran Daly has made to the advancement of Cardiology education and practice in the west of Ireland". The first group of students on the Masters in Preventive Cardiology programme at NUI Galway are due to graduate in November this year. This unique programme is delivered over a 12-month period as a full-time Level 9 degree programme, with most of the didactic and much of the clinical instruction delivered in the state-of-the-art Croí Heart and Stroke Centre in Galway. In addition, students have access to e-learning resources developed by the multiprofessional teaching faculty at Croí and NUI Galway. Places on the programme for 2014/15 are filling fast and any interested applicant should apply at www.pac.ie/nuigalway. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Records 581 Species on Campus in 24 Hours
Thursday, 8 May 2014
NUI Galway has won the top award for most biodiverse campus at Ireland’s first Intervarsity BioBlitz competition, beating off stiff competition from UCC, TCD, DCU and Dundalk IT. Over a 24 hour period, 43 volunteers combed the University’s campus and recorded a total of 581 species. With extensive semi-natural habitats on NUI Galway grounds, the BioBlitz teams recorded 333 plants and tree species, 55 bird species, 75 insect species- including 21 butterflies and moths, 33 diatoms, 30 terrestrial and freshwater slugs and snails, 19 different mosses, 18 other invertebrates, 8 mammals, 5 lichens, 3 fish, a frog and 1 alga. Along with NUI Galway staff and students, many volunteers were graduates of NUI Galway and specifically School of Natural Sciences. They are now themselves staff in GMIT, NUI Maynooth, UCD, National Parks and Wildlife Services, all as professional field ecologists Ireland’s BioBlitz is designed to increase public awareness of the variety of life in Ireland and to highlight some of the ecological services that biodiversity provides to enhance our quality of life at the global and the local level. The Bioblitz demonstrates the high level of skill and expertise necessary to study many aspects of Ireland’s biological diversity. It also demonstrates the importance of being able to survey and identify plants and animalsas these are important aspects of Ireland’s biodiversity and skills that are taught at NUI Galway. Keith Warnock, Vice-President for Capital Projects: “The University is very pleased to have participated in the BioBlitz, and delighted to have emerged as the campus with the highest level of biodiversity. We have worked hard to ensure that as new buildings are constructed in response to growing student numbers and research activity, the built environment leaves ample room for this wide range of plant and animal life.” This initiative was supported by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, the Buildings Office and the Green Campus team. NUI Galway’s statistics from the BioBlitz competition can be viewed at http://records.biodiversityireland.ie/bioblitz.php?fk=IntervarsityBioBlitz2014_NUIGalwaySite&sn=NUI%20Galway&bkey=IntervarsityBioBlitz2014. -Ends-
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‘Cyber Girls’ Movement to Increase Female Interest and Awareness in Technology Returns to Galway
Monday, 12 May 2014
‘Rails Girls Galway’ is part of a worldwide movement that hopes to bridge the gender divide in technology and to facilitate women in learning computer programming. Returning to Galway this year the event aimed at females interested in computing technology and engineering will take place this summer in NUI Galway. The free weekend workshop will provide women with the tools and the collective learning community to build web applications and software services. It will be held on 20-21 June at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics located in the Dangan IDA Business Park. The organisers are mainly young female IT researchers involved in local third level colleges, businesses, schools and volunteer digital makers’ clubs. Though primarily targeting the local female population, there will also be participants from across Ireland and from overseas. The weekend event is free, is open to all women of any age from sixteen years upwards, and suitable for both those who wish to learn how to code and those with experience of programming. The workshops will use 'Ruby on Rails', a powerful web application framework for the Ruby programming language. According to Myriam Leggieri, Insight researcher and one of the chief organisers, “Last year’s event in Galway was an outstanding success with women of all ages from a range of backgrounds learning together. We want to build on the dynamic that was so evident in 2013 and to make ‘Rail Girls’ an annual activity in a city that is and can develop even more as a vibrant hub for digital industries and innovation.” Ireland needs a generation of indigenous young coders of both sexes to help lay the foundations of the ‘Knowledge Economy’ and create the products for a sustainable future. There is, in particular, a serious shortage of female IT developers in the country and across the world as well as in the professions of science, technology, engineering and maths professions generally. “There is no reason why this should be the case except for a lack of exposure to such environments. Events such as 'Rails Girls' directly addresses the lack of exposure to technology and empowers girls to take the first step in learning these in-demand skills and acquiring the skills to conquer one of the last great frontiers of science, namely the World Wide Web” Ms Leggieri said. The first event, launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen, was held in Helsinki in 2010. It now is a worldwide phenomenon. Karri summarised the philosophy behind the movement: “The Internet was built by, and for, boys. As a girl, one often feels like lacking the vocabulary to access it. With ‘Rails for Girls’, we want to demystify the world of web applications and encourage women to learn about software development and programming. We believe that women need the skills and language to understand that world.” Further information and application forms are available at www.railsgirls.com/galway. There are a limited amount of places available so prompt registration is recommended. The closing date for applications is Thursday, 5 June. -Ends-
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Orbsen Therapeutics Cell Therapy Selected for Diabetic Wound Clinical Trial Led by NUI Galway and Steno Diabetes Centre
Monday, 12 May 2014
The European Union FP7-funded REDDSTAR consortium has selected Orbsen Therapeutics’ proprietary cell therapy (Cyndacel-M ™) to be tested in a phase 1b clinical trial in diabetic patients suffering with ulcerating (non-healing) wounds. The trial will be led by the Steno Diabetes Centre in Copenhagen in 2015. Orbsen Therapeutics proprietary stromal cell therapy (Cyndacel-M ™) has been selected to be tested in a EU Framework 7 (FP7) funded safety trial for the treatment of non-healing, ulcerating wounds in patients with diabetes. The project known by the acronym “REDDSTAR” (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration) is being co-ordinated by Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of Medicine and Director of Ireland’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway. Approximately 50 million diabetic EU citizens are using approved anti-diabetic agents to control their diabetes. However, diabetes still leads to 6 progressive complications, namely: nephropathy, retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, neuropathy and wound ulceration. In 2010, 11% of EU adult deaths (634,000) were caused by diabetic complications. The foot ulcer is a leading cause of hospital admissions for people with diabetes in the EU and is a major morbidity associated with diabetes. Diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) are estimated to occur in 15% of all patients with diabetes and precede 84% of all diabetes-related lower-leg amputations. As part of the project, academic and clinical research teams in Galway, Berlin, Belfast, Munich and Porto have been testing the Orbsen Therapeutics proprietary cell product (called Cyndacel-M ™) against the current standard cell therapy. The results have been collated and analysed and an independent panel at the Steno Diabetes Centre in Copenhagen, decided to use Cyndacel-M ™ for a clinical trial in patients with diabetic ulcers, in preference to the current cell technology. The clinical study will combine Orbsen’s Cyndacel-M ™ with an existing wound therapy called Excellagen, an FDA-cleared collagen treatment developed by US-based Cardium Therapeutics Inc. (Trading Symbol: CRXM). This transatlantic collaboration between Orsben and Cardium represents an exciting development that brings Cardium’s significant commercial expertise in the wound healing market to the REDDSTAR project. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of Medicine and Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway said, “I have been very impressed by the experimental rigour applied by all the project partners. It was important to obtain independent verification of the efficacy of the therapy and that is what the EU funding and design of REDDSTAR allowed.” Orbsen CEO Brian Molloy said, “We are absolutely delighted with this decision. This is a very significant moment in the development of Orbsen Therapeutics. We have spent the past 3 years developing and validating our therapy. Advancing to a clinical trial is a major milestone for the company – particularly in a condition as prevalent as diabetic wound ulceration, which is so poorly served by existing treatment options at the moment.” The REDDSTAR project was originally conceived by Dr Steve Elliman, Head of Research and Development at Orbsen Therapeutics, and it is co-ordinated by Professor Timothy O’Brien at NUI Galway. The first phase of the project studied the use of stromal cells as a treatment for six major complications of diabetes namely Nephropathy, Neuropathy, Ulcers, Retinopathy, Cardiomyopathy and impaired bone healing. Each of the research teams presented their results at a plenary meeting in Paris on April 22 and these results were reviewed by an independent panel from the Steno Diabetes centre in Copenhagen. Dr. Steve Elliman, Orbsen Therapeutics commented, “The REDDSTAR teams presented very promising data from the six models of diabetic complications. In each case the teams compared the performance of our Cyndacel-M ™ therapy with the existing Plastic Adherent (PA) MSC product. We are delighted to see that Cyndacel was equivalent or better in all the complications. Our therapy represents a significant advance in terms of purity of the cell therapy and we expect this improved purity to correlate with improved clinical safety efficacy. Whilst diabetic wound ulceration has been selected for this trial, I expect that the Cyndacel will be advanced into other REDDSTAR-derived clinical trials over the coming years.” Orbsen has become one of Ireland’s most successful companies at securing EU FP7 funding over recent years. REDDSTAR is one of 5 programmes that they have secured – the others being PURSTEM (completed), DeCIDE (ongoing) and the recently announced MERLIN and VISICORT projects which include clinical trials of Cyndacel in auto-immune disease of the liver and cornea transplant rejection respectively. Brian Molloy added, “Our mission is to join Europe’s leading Cell Therapy companies in developing effective new medicines for disease with unmet need. In doing so we hope we can position Ireland and NUI Galway in particular as a European hub for cell therapy development. Developing new therapies is a slow process but we have made remarkable progress over the past three years. Mr Molloy continued, “The symbiotic relationship that we have developed with NUI Galway (who are shareholders in Orbsen) has been a key factor in our development as a company. We are based on campus which enables us to gain access to world class researchers and facilities. In return, we have been able to employ NUI Galway graduates, supervise NUI Galway students and attract significant amounts of research funding into the University. The relationship works very well for both parties and as we move into the clinical phase of our development we expect that relationship to continue as a “win-win” for both parties.” Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd. is a privately-held company founded in 2006 as a spin-out from Ireland’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI Galway. As part of the PurStem EU FP7 program, Orbsen developed proprietary technologies that enable the prospective purification of highly defined and therapeutic (stromal) cells from several human tissues, including bone marrow, adipose tissue and umbilical cord. The company has developed a unique method of isolating therapeutic stromal cells from human tissue at class-leading levels of purity. The Orbsen Therapeutics cell therapy product is unique in that it has been designed to meet future EU regulations regarding cell-based medicines. Orbsen’s proprietary Cyndacel-M ™ is being developed for several diseases, including inflammatory disease of the lungs and liver, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, joint disease, kidney injury, organ graft rejection and wound repair. The novel aspects of Orbsen’s technology place it at the leading edge of research, development and regulatory compliance of adult mesenchymal stromal cell therapies. Cyndacel-M ™ can be purified from a single human donor, expanded and frozen to generate many doses of high-margin, allogeneic (“off-the-shelf”) therapeutic products for conditions with unmet need.
NUI Galway to Celebrate 50 Years of Biochemistry
Monday, 12 May 2014
Distinguished alumni from the USA, Australia and Ireland will speak at anniversary symposium to represent the history of Biochemistry at NUI Galway and the influence of the University on their scientific careers NUI Galway will host an Anniversary Symposium on Thursday 10th July to mark 50 years of Biochemistry within the University. The Department of Biochemistry was founded in 1963 by Professor Colm Ó hEocha who subsequently went on to become President of NUI Galway. Professor Patrick Fottrell, his successor as Professor of Biochemistry, also served as President of NUI Galway and is former Chairman of the Board of Science Foundation Ireland. A variety of distinguished alumni from the USA, Australia and Ireland will speak at the symposium to represent the history of Biochemistry at NUI Galway and the influence of the University on their scientific careers. These presentations will represent the breadth of rich contributions made across five decades of research and teaching. Past graduates of Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Biomedical Science along with current staff and researchers at NUI Galway are warmly invited to participate in the symposium. In addition to the talks, attendees will also be able to enjoy a tour of the current Biochemistry facilities in the main Arts and Sciences Building on campus, along with a tour of the new Biochemistry laboratories in the NUI Galway Bioscience Research Building in Dangan, which was opened in February by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. The festivities will conclude with a Gala Dinner at the Ardilaun Hotel in the evening. The current discipline of Biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences includes 17 academic staff members and over 70 researchers. It maintains the tradition of innovation established by its founders with a highly active research programme funded by significant grants from national and international sources. The Biochemistry research programme graduates a number of postgraduate students with PhD degrees each year, as well as students with an MSc in Cancer Research. At the same time Biochemistry delivers courses covering areas such as protein biochemistry, gene technology and molecular genetics, cancer biology, and human nutrition, to over 400 undergraduate students each year. Over 70 students will complete undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry, Biotechnology or Biomedical Science this year. The one-day Symposium will take place on July 10 from 9am to 5.30pm and will feature a morning session of talks, lunch, an afternoon session of talks, a tour of the Biochemistry and the new Bioscience Research Building, followed by a Gala Dinner at the Ardilaun Hotel at 8pm. It promises to be an exciting event on the University calendar this summer and a great opportunity for alumni to reunite with old friends and colleagues. For registration and further details visit http://nuigalwaybiochemistry50.ie
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NUI Galway Pain Researchers Win Prize for Best Research Paper
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
For the second year running, Professor David Finn of NUI Galway has been awarded the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland’s Doctor Award for best paper published in an indexed journal in 2013 in the Pain/Anaesthesia category. The first author of the winning paper was Dr Kieran Rea, a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Finn’s laboratory. Professor Finn, Lecturer in Pharmacology, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research and Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, received the award at a ceremony held in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. The winning paper confirmed the key role of a brain region called the basolateral amygdala in the suppression of pain behaviour by fear (so-called fear-induced analgesia). Fear-induced analgesia was associated with increases in levels of marijuana-like substances known as endocannabinoids in this part of the brain. Furthermore, fear-induced analgesia was prevented by injecting a drug that blocked the receptor at which these endocannabinoids act into the basolateral amygdala. The paper also showed that the mechanism was likely to involve interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter systems in this brain region. An increased understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in fear-induced analgesia is important from a fundamental physiological perspective and may also advance the search for new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of pain. Professor David Finn, senior author on the paper, said: “We are very pleased that our work has been recognised for a second time with this prestigious award. This research which was funded by grants from Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council, advances our fundamental understanding of the neurobiology of pain and may facilitate the identification of new therapeutic targets for the treatment of pain and anxiety disorders.” The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland’s Doctor Awards are presented each year to Irish or Irish-based researchers who are judged to have published the best research papers in international, peer-reviewed journals. -Ends-
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‘Caring for our Community’ Focus of NUI Galway’s new Public Lecture Series
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
First lecture to focus on suicide prevention NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery will commence a new and innovative community outreach initiative this semester, focusing on sharing knowledge and expertise on health topics that are of interest to local communities. The first knowledge exchange event which will focus on ‘Suicide Prevention’ will take place on Tuesday, 27 May at 7pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Áras Moyola. Research studies, including those conducted by the School of Nursing and Midwifery have found that giving people the knowledge, information and support they need is key to enabling them to better manage their own health or the health of those that they care for. NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, through outreach knowledge exchange sessions, aims to provide communities with health information in an interactive and easily accessible format on topics of relevance to the community. It is hoped that this will address the difficulty people have in knowing where to go to find or interpret the information they need. Adeline Cooney, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, commented, “It is never easy to make life style changes or live with a chronic illness, we aim to provide the public with information and skills on health topics of relevance to them with a focus on helping people to get healthy and to stay healthy. These sessions will be interactive, allowing full community engagement and we look forward to active and lively discussions.” Preliminary work conducted with community members indicate that communities would value information and knowledge concerning such topics as; How much exercise do you need to stay healthy and what type of exercise is best? How to maintain good mental health and to recognise mental health issues in others? How do I stay healthy during pregnancy? What is dementia? How best to care for someone with dementia? This is an initial list of topics and the School of Nursing and Midwifery invites the public to make suggestions for other health topics to be covered. To suggest any future health topics to be covered during the lecture series please contact John Quinlivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mary Gannon at email@example.com. There will be two further events over the coming year and these will focus on: Keeping healthy in pregnancy: 7pm, Tuesday, 30 September 2014. Getting fit: 7pm, Tuesday, 27 January 2015. All events are open to the public. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Gets a First in EU University Ranking for Arts Graduate Employment and Internships
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
New global university ranking, funded by the EU, also scores NUI Galway highly on graduate employability, innovation and commercialisation, international academic staff, doctorate degrees and joint publications NUI Galway has been given the highest ranking in a number of areas in U-Multirank, a new EU Commission-led initiative to measure excellence in higher education and research institutions worldwide. The indicators, published today across Europe show that NUI Galway ranked highest in nearly half of the metrics included in this, the first year of published data. NUI Galway was awarded the top ranking for both Arts Graduates working in the region and Masters of Arts graduates working in the region. Student internships in the region also scored highly. NUI Galway's focus on internationalisation was also recognised as the University was rated highly for the mobility of its students. As one of Ireland's leading universities for technology transfer, NUI Galway scored top marks for innovation and bringing new products to market; patents awarded and patents filed. The University's track record in creating a sustainable funding base for research and development was also commended with a top ranking for sourcing external research income and sourcing income from private sources for research. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne, welcomed today’s results saying "I welcome the EU’s effort to create a more transparent system of recognising excellence in the university sector. I’m particularly pleased to note the strong performance in securing regional employment for our humanities graduates and internships for current students, confirming NUI Galway’s role as a vital economic driver of employment, learning and research." U-Multirank is a new global university ranking funded by the European Commission and takes a different approach to existing global rankings of universities; it is multi-dimensional and compares university performance across a range of different activities grading them from “A” (very good) to “E” (weak). It does not produce a league table of the world’s “top” 100 universities based on composite scores. Instead, it allows users to identify a university’s strengths and weaknesses, or the aspects that most interest them. “We are delighted to have been able to design and implement this new user-driven and multi-dimensional ranking that goes beyond simplistic league tables and that addresses many of the criticisms of existing global university rankings,” said Professor Dr Frans van Vught, from the Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, one of the lead partners of the consortium. The fields of study selected for assessment in 2014 were Business, Physics and Mechanical Engineering. The ranking system currently includes over 850 universities from 70 countries around the world; 62% in Europe, 17% in North America, 14% in Asia and 7% from Oceania, Latin America and Africa. Further information on U-Multirank is available at www.umultirank.org -ends-
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NUI Galway Symposium celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Naming of Neanderthal Man by Galway-based Scientist
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
2014 marks 150th anniversary of the naming by William King, Professor of Geology at the then Queen's College Galway. He remains the first scientist ever to name a new species of human. President Michael D. Higgins will attend a special international symposium to mark the 150th anniversary of the coining of the term of Homo neanderthalensis by William King, Professor of Geology at Queen's College Galway in the 19th century. This proposal by King represents one of the first steps towards our understanding today of human evolution. The NUI Galway symposium is dedicated to the life and times of William King and the distant prehistoric people to whom he gave a name. The meeting will welcome the world's leading authorities in the field of human evolution, a gathering never before seen in Ireland, to celebrate this remarkable achievement. At the heart of it all the organising committee hope the symposium will be a fitting tribute to a pioneer in the field of human evolution, who worked at a time when this field was still very much in its infancy, but who has never really received the scientific recognition he deserves. Dr John Murray, one of the symposium organisers, said "this event will celebrate where we have come from as human beings. Professor King’s work represents a scientific milestone in the history of our understanding of human origins. The term ‘Neanderthal’ is globally recognised and understood, but had King not coined this phrase during his time in Queen’s College Galway, they would most likely be known by a completely different name today.” William King’s proposal in 1864 was to formally designate Neanderthal people as a separate species from ourselves (Homo neanderthalensis). His suggestion was both extraordinary and revolutionary for its time - Charles Darwin’s masterpiece ‘Origin of Species’ had been published just five years beforehand. William King remains the first to name a new fossil human species; a privilege afforded to very few scientists. Professor Svante Pääbo, Director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig and the first person to sequence the DNA of Neanderthal people, will deliver the main keynote address of the symposium. President Higgins along with members of the King family, will attend this free public talk, which is specifically aimed at a general audience. It will take place at 5.30pm on Saturday 24th May in O'Flaherty Theatre in NUI Galway and those interested in attending are asked to register at http://bit.ly/Neanderthal150 General information regarding the full weekend symposium, entitled ‘From Fossils to the Genome’, is available at www.neanderthal150.org. The meeting has been made possible with the assistance of: The Quaternary Research Association, The Irish Research Council, Roche, NUI Galway, Galway City Council, Bord Fáilte, The Geological Survey of Ireland, The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, The Institute of Geologists of Ireland, Beta Analytic Limited, Connemara Marble Industries Limited and the Burren Geopark. -ends-