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NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement
Thursday, 10 April 2014
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny present at the signing of US$16m (€11.7m) collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland NUI Galway has signed an agreement with the Mayo Clinic to bring intellectual property (IP) to Ireland allowing the development and commercialisation of a novel medical technology. The agreement, supported by Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital in Dublin, Ireland and Aisling Venture Capital New York will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this morning. (9am) The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in a collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014). Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide with substantial hospitalisation costs, but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone. Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “This exciting agreement builds on the many links between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.” -ends-
NUI Galway Statement on the Passing of the Honourable James M. Flaherty
Friday, 11 April 2014
NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne has expressed his sadness at the news of the passing of former Canadian Finance Minister, The Honourable James M. Flaherty. Jim Flaherty was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at NUI Galway on 29 June 2012, in recognition of his key role as Minister for Finance in steering Canada through the tumult of the Great Recession. Canada, with a well-regulated banking system, was the first major industrial economy to recover its pre-crisis levels of output and jobs. This achievement, guided by Jim Flaherty, was all the more remarkable given the deep recession in the United States, Canada’s main trading partner. Dr Jim Browne said “Jim Flaherty was a man of huge vitality and energy. Throughout his long tenure as Canadian Finance Minister, he advocated balanced economic growth, built on a foundation of rigorous regulation. He championed the cause of Ireland both within the IMF and as Chair of the G7, when few others had the courage to do so. His loss will be deeply felt in the West of Ireland, his ancestral home.” On behalf of NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife Christine and their three sons. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís. -ends-
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NUI Galway Singers Win Choirfactor Competition
Monday, 14 April 2014
The NUI Galway Singers were singing on high after winning the top prize in the 2014 Galway Choir factor Competition which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday night ( 12th April) Directed by Peter Mannion, the choir saw off stiff competition from GUH Choral Society, Avaya Voice, Something to Sing About, The Medtronic Chorale, The Boston HP Party and the Galway Golf Club Choir to claim the Choirfactor trophy. Specially formed for last year’s Choirfactor competition, the NUI Galway Singers comprises lecturers, administration staff and post graduate students. The 55 member choir delighted Saturday night’s audience with their programme which include Paul Simon’s ‘Homeless’, a Britney Spears Medley and ‘Diffusa est gratia’ by Giovanni Nanni. The choir have performed at the Kiltimagh and Sligo Choral Festivals and their next project is to record a cd of choral music ‘as gaeilge’. Adjudicators for the competition Brendan O’ Connor, Maire Ni Dhuibhir and Dottie Knauer congratulated the NUI Galway Singers for their award winning performance and applauded all the choirs for the very high standard of choral singing. The NUI Galway received a specially commissioned Liam Butler trophy and all choirs received an inscribed commemorative piece of the occasion. Organised by SCCUL Enterprises in conjunction with Corrib Lions Club as a fundraising initiative for Kilcuan Retreat Centre in Clarinbridge, the event attracted a capacity audience of over 700 people. Guest performers on the night were the Marine Institute Singers directed by Carmel Dooley, who won the title at last year’s inaugural event. Speaking after the event, SCCUL Enterprises Chairman John Lenihan thanked the seven choirs and the choir directors who participated in the event for their dedication and commitment to the novel initiative. “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the seven choirs who took part in the competition. Their conductors Seamus Leonard, Peter Mannion Eoin Grealis, Annemarie Taylor, Pat Lillis, Lisa Seery and Dympna O’Beirne worked extremely hard over the past eight weeks to create a show stopping performance here tonight." Liam Bluett, General manager of SCCUL Enterprises, paid tribute to the staff of Ballybane Enterprise Centre for their hard work in organising the competition. “I’d like to thank Michael Smith and the staff of Ballybane Enterprise Centre who worked day and night over the past couple of weeks to ensure everything was in place for this event. I’d also like to thank the members of the Corrib Lions Club for their support in staging this event." A special word of thanks is due to the joint MC’s Brian Duffy and Trisha Murphy, Ed Shiels and musical advisors John Grealish and Christine Canavan for their invaluable expertise,” concluded Liam. Funds raised from the Galway Choir Factor competition will be used to enable a wide variety of groups such as carers, the elderly, multiple sclerosis sufferers, people living with cancer and those bereaved by suicide to benefit from healing therapies and wellbeing workshops in the SCCUL Sanctuary in Kilcuan, Clarinbridge. ENDS
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8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass Hears From ALISON CEO Mike Feerick on Disruptive Innovation
Monday, 14 April 2014
Mr. Mike Feerick, MBA (Harvard Business School) and CEO of ALISON and Ireland Reaching Out addressed a group of more than 70 MBA students, MBA alumni and business leaders on the role of disruptive innovation. The 8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in association with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter. ALISON, the company which Mike Feerick founded, has become a world leader in offering free courses online and was the first MOOC (massive open online course). This disruptively innovative approach to education has seen him open up the education market through offering courses with no fees and operating a business model that generates operating income from advertising revenue. Mike said that Innovation centred on "offering new tools for old problems" and believes that "innovation is like a flood, it comes into your business every way except through the front door". Commenting on the role that education has as a means to empowerment, he signalled the commoditisation of some forms of education that were happening currently and a levelling of the playing field in the sector. Mr. Feerick found that MBA graduates had a unique ability to process and distil large amounts of data in a time where data was everywhere. The seminar with lots of audience interaction, participation and questions was very well received. “This is the 8th event in the NUI Galway Executive MBA Masterclass series which offers MBA students and graduates a chance to hear from leading national and international business experts and we are pleased to run the series in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter” said Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director. - ends -
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NUI Galway Welcomes Prof Benjamin Hudson for Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the NUI Galway will host the inaugural Máirtín Ó Briain Lecture to be given by Professor Benjamin Hudson. The lecture titled “Macbeth – Making a Monster” will start at 4pm in the McMunn Theatre on Tuesday, 29 April and will be followed by refreshments. Members of the public are particularly welcome. The lecture will mark the tenth anniversary of the death, at the age of 53, of the Irish scholar and academic Máirtín Ó Briain. Máirtín Ó Briain was a renowned scholar of Irish language and literature, an internationally acknowledged expert on the Fiannaíocht tradition of Ireland and Scotland, a member of The Irish Manuscripts Commission, and of the Irish Folklore Society. Máirtín was held in the highest regard by his colleagues but especially by his students, many of whom went on to pursue careers in the field of Celtic Studies. Professor Hudson is Professor of History and Medieval Studies at Penn State University and an internationally acknowledged expert on the Atlantic, especially the maritime sphere of Ireland, Britain, and the Isle of Man in the Middle Ages. He is the author of a large number of books including Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), and Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). More information is available from Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Department of Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway at 091 493369. -ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture Fógartha ag Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh An tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal ‘Macbeth - Making a Monster’ Tionólfar Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain faoi choimirce Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr mar chomhartha ómóis do Mháirtín Ó Briain. Is é an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, Penn State University a thabharfaidh an léacht Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn in OÉ Gaillimh. Deich mbliana go ham seo a d’imigh uainn, in aois a 53 bliain, an scoláire teastúil Máirtín Ó Briain. Mar chomhartha ar an meas agus ar an ngean a bhí ar Mháirtín, agus mar chomóradh ar thráth a imeachta uainn, reáchtálfaidh Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Léacht Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Lecture ina onóir. Deis a bheas i Léacht Uí Bhriain an réim idirnáisiúnta a bhain le saothar an Bhrianaigh a mhóradh agus a chuimhne a bhuanú. Cé gur beag réimse de Léann na Gaeilge ón Oghamchraobh aniar nach raibh suim agus saineolas ag Máirtín ann, ba í an Fhiannaíocht a chéadrogha agus sméar mhullaigh an léinn aige. Is é a sheanchara dílis an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise in Penn State University, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal “Macbeth – Making a Monster”. Tá aithne idirnáisiúnta ar an Ollamh Hudson mar shaineolaí ar mhuirchríoch an Atlantaigh sa Mheánaois, go mór mór ar an trácht mara idir Éirinn, Manainn, agus an Bhreatain. I measc a chuid leabhar, tá Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), agus Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn, a thabharfar an léacht. Beidh sólaistí le fáil ina diaidh. Cuirfear fáilte chroíúil roimh chuile dhuine go mór mór roimh an bpobal. Tá eolas breise le fáil ó Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Roinn na Gaeilge, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí, agus na gCultúr, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091-493369. -críoch-
NUI Galway’s School of Law Hosts a Franco-Irish Discussion on Marriage Equality
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
The School of Law at NUI Galway, in association with the French embassy in Ireland, will host a Franco-Irish discussion on marriage equality. The discussion will take place on Friday April 25th at 12pm at AM150 the Martin Ó Tuathail Theatre, and is open to the public. The keynote speaker is Erwann Binet, deputy of the French National Assembly. Deputy Binet was the rapporteur for the French “mariage pour tous” (marriage equality) bill in 2013 and will speak on the political challenges faced in passing the bill through the French parliament. Dr Eoin Daly of the School of Law said: “Whereas marriage equality was legislated for in France without a referendum – despite significant political and public opposition - the Irish government has committed to holding a referendum to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015, as it believes that the Constitution in its current form would prevent this from being introduced through ordinary legislation.” He added: “More than three quarters of the members of the Constitutional Convention recommended that the Constitution should be amended for provide for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Parallel to the debate on marriage rights, there has been move towards legislative reform concerning assisted reproduction and adoption rights in both countries.” The event, chaired by Dr Eoin Daly, will provide an insight on the shared experience of Ireland and France in undertaking legislative and constitutional reform in controversial areas of family law. For queries contact email@example.com 091 493362 -ends-
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Orbsen Therapeutics In €6M Research Funding Success
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Orbsen Therapeutics, a spin-out from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), will partner with the University of Birmingham in the €6 million EU FP7 funded MERLIN project to develop a cell therapy inflammatory liver disease Orbsen Therapeutics is Irelands leading Cell Therapy biotechnology company and is a spin-out from NUI Galways’ Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). The EU FP7-funded project known by the acronym “MERLIN” (MEsynchymal stem cells to Reduce Liver INflammation) is led by Professor Phil Newsome, Clinical Director of the Birmingham University Stem Cell Centre. MERLIN will advance Orbsen’s proprietary cell therapy to a Phase 2a clinical trial in patients with inflammatory liver disease. This MERLIN project will evaluate the Orbsen cell therapy in 4 different research laboratories across Europe and the project will culminate in a Phase 2a clinical trial of the therapy in the crippling inflammatory liver disease, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. This is Orbsen’s fourth success in attracting FP7 funding (the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research), making them one of Ireland’s most successful private companies in this funding programme and now connects Orbsen to 23 global collaborators. Other successful cell therapy projects for Orbsen include PURSTEM (completed), REDDSTAR (ongoing) and DeCIDE (ongoing). 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. Orbsen’s CEO Brian Molloy said, “Orbsen has secured substantial amounts of research funding in the last 18 months which will further validate our product and bring us through to a “first in man” clinical trial in 2015/16. Our model has always focused on putting the ‘science first’ and we have successfully used that approach to develop a technology that could potentially position us and indeed Ireland at the leading edge of European Cell Therapy development.” Mr Molloy continued, “As a spin-out from the NUI Galway based REMEDI Institute we have focused the majority of our collaborations with an Irish research team. Our success in the MERLIN project now demonstrates that we are capable of playing a key role in collaborations led by researchers across Europe.” The total research budget for the MERLIN project is close to €6 Million of which €1 Million will go directly to Orbsen Therapeutics over the 4-year period of the project. Dr Stephen J Elliman, Head of Research for Orbsen Therapeutics added, “The EU projects, like MERLIN have enabled us to build a very strong research network of 23 invaluable collaborators across Europe, who are independently validating our technology and aiding our development toward the clinic and market. In addition, the FP7 program has helped us develop a research team of 14 over the past 18 months – these are all highly qualified researchers who are working within Orbsen to develop our cell therapy for conditions that are currently not adequately treated with existing medicines. MERLIN allows us to further expand our pipeline and to develop our understanding of how adult mesenchymal stromal cells can aid the treatment of a range of immunological and inflammatory conditions.” The MERLIN project commenced in February 2014 and will run for 4-years culminating in a Phase 2a clinical trial in primary sclerosing cholangitis (an uncommon condition affecting the bile ducts and liver). The project is being co-ordinated by University of Birmingham and includes the NHSBT in the UK, Orbsen Therapeutics in Ireland, Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Fondazione Humanities per la Ricerca in Italy and BioInvision Inc. in the US. Pintail Ltd are based in Dublin and are providing administration and co-ordination services to the MERLIN project. The novel aspects of Orbsen’s technology place it at the leading edge of research, development and regulatory compliance of adult mesenchymal stromal (stem) cell therapies. The Orbsen cells 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. Orbsen’s proprietary ORB1-MSC (Orbsen developed mesenchymal stromal cells) therapy 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. For further information on Orbsen Therapeutics visit www.orbsentherapeutics.com -Ends-
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NUI Galway and Canadian Research Teams Collaborate to Decipher the Genome of Emerging Renewable Oil Crop
Friday, 25 April 2014
Scientists in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) have been conducting research on an oilseed crop, Camelina, to develop new higher-yielding varieties of the crop for Irish growing conditions and new markets. The research team, led by Professor Charles Spillane, has been collaborating with scientists in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to sequence the genome of Camelina. Camelina sativa (false flax or gold of pleasure) was cultivated in Europe for many centuries before being displaced by higher-yielding crops such as oilseed rape. However, Camelina is a low-input crop whose low environmental footprint is driving a resurgence of interest in the crop as a source of sustainable protein and oils for both nutritional and industrial applications (e.g. lubricants). In Ireland, Camelina is currently grown by a small number of farmers, in particular for the production of edible Camelina oil under the Newgrange Gold label. Initial field trials of Camelina conducted in collaboration with Teagasc have already identified some promising high yielding varieties. In addition to field trials, the NUI Galway team has been developing new genetic tools for the breeding of new Camelina lines with higher yields and improved characteristics. In the global aviation sector, Camelina has gained much attention as a crop whose oil profile is suitable for use as a renewable aviation fuel. The airline sector is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport sources. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that sustainable next-generation biofuels for aviation could reduce CO2 emissions by 80%, on a full carbon life-cycle basis. A wide range of airlines (e.g. Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa) and the US military have already run successful test (and passenger) flights with planes flown on Camelina biojet fuel. In 2013, Professor Spillane was an invited speaker on Camelina oilseeds at the Europe-Canada Biojetfuel Meeting in Saskatoon. The meeting aimed to advance the development of plant-based aviation biojetfuel supply chains for the European airline industry to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets. Reetu Tuteja, NUI Galway Bioinformatics PhD student who is working with Professor Spillane, identified genes within the overall genome which are specific to Camelina, and which could be responsible for some of the crop’s unique characteristics. The complete genome sequence of Camelina has now been published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications. “The publication of the genome sequence will accelerate research efforts in Europe and globally on this promising oilseed crop” said Professor Spillane. Research on Camelina in Professor Spillane’s Genetics and Biotechnology laboratory is supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. -Ends-
Join NUI Galway Staff and Students in Ireland’s First Intervarsity BioBlitz!
Monday, 28 April 2014
On May 1 and 2 Ireland’s first Intervarsity BioBlitz will take place and the public are invited to take part in events on NUI Galway’s campus. The BioBlitz brings together scientists and recorders in a race against time to see how many species can be recorded in a 24-hour biological survey. From 5pm on Thursday, 1 May to 5pm on Friday, 2 May NUI Galway, UCC, TCD and DCU will race to record as many species as possible over the 24 hour period. The team that records the most species wins. Experts will be on hand to help identify and record the plants and animals found on campus. Biodiversity means the variety of all living things, so we need people to survey and identify birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, higher plants, bryophytes, lichens, fungi and diatoms. By recording as much wildlife as possible, the college can find out how biodiverse the campus is, and it is an important step in our efforts to gain a Green Flag. The Green Campus needs your help! In addition to recording wildlife, we need people to help with organisation and public outreach. 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 also demonstrates the high level of skill and expertise necessary to study many aspects of Ireland’s biological diversity. NUI Galway’s Dr Caitriona Carlin explains, “It’s a really unique opportunity to see some of Ireland’s amazing plants and animals on your doorstep. Come and help the staff and students discover the wealth of wildlife that are on the edge of Galway city, and have lots of fun.” Those interested in supporting this unique event and finding out how biodiverse NUI Galway can contact Karen Dooley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know what group/aspect of wildlife you would be able to help identify or what area you might be able to help with. Or come along at any time to the Environmental Science Building in NUI Galway on Friday, 2 May to join in the fun. There are a number of public events running throughout the Bioblitz and everyone is welcome to attend. Events on Thursday include a birdwalk at 6pm with a batwalk taking place at 9pm. On Friday, 2 May events include a small mammal trap opening, moth traps, and NUI Galway flora, slug, butterfly and bumblebee walks. For a full list of events taking place visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/environment/. This initiative is supported by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, the Buildings Office and the Green Campus team. -Ends-
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NUI Galway Students Learn at Ireland’s World Class Biotechnology Sites
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
A group from the BSc in Biotechnology degree programme recently became the first NUI Galway students to make use of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Teaching (NIBRT) facilities. As part of their visit the students received training on bioreactor operation, biomolecule separations and how the latest disposable components are used in pharmaceutical production, all bread-and-butter skills for a biotech career. To provide world class training in industry skills the IDA recently established the NIBRT on the grounds of UCD in Dublin. The purpose-built NIBRT facility closely replicates a modern bioprocessing plant with state of the art equipment, but in a format where employees and students get a complete insight into the latest technologies. NIBRT’s Technical and Training Supervisor Dr Kate Cotter commented, “The students were very interested and this practical industrial production training was definitely an important complement to the great biology theory they learn back on campus.” During the trip, the students also made a stop at Pfizer’s Grange Castle site near Lucan where they were hosted by NUI Galway Biotechnology graduate Carmel Jennings. Carmel gave them a tour and a unique insight into how their training and studies are relevant in one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical production facilities. The training visit to Dublin was an initiative of NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences and acted as a trial for expanding the use of NIBRT facilities and industry visits in the future. NUI Galway has the highest rate of graduate employment amongst Irish universities, and this comes from giving its student’s access to world class facilities on our doorstep as they step from campus to career. Biotechnology uses our scientific understanding of biology to create products like pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The sector contributes over a third of Ireland’s exports and employs more than 40,000 people, making it an important career opportunity for students studying biology. The biotechnology area is expanding fast, with exciting discoveries such as stem cells or personalised DNA sequencing constantly being reported. Graduates need both scientific knowledge and practical “How To” skills to allow them to make Ireland’s biotech labs and factories run. -Ends-
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