Tuesday, 19 January 2016

NUI Galway researchers study the culture of antibiotic prescribing and consumption for Urinary Tract Infections and find the need for more dialogue among GPs and Patients Researchers from NUI Galway’s School of Medicine have carried out a study to explore the culture of antibiotic prescribing and consumption in the community for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), from the perspective of the General Practitioners (GPs) and community members. Their results were published in the medical journal BMJ Open. This research provides insight into the decision-making processes contributing to the continued prescription and consumption of antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections. An antibiotic is not a satisfactory outcome from every UTI GP consultation. As a result of this qualitative research, behavioural interventions should focus on: Improving the quality of antibiotic prescribing for UTI by encouraging GPs to reflect on their current antibiotic-prescribing practices, including when they prescribe and what antibiotics they choose. Supporting a dialogue between the GP and the patient within the consultation about the positive and negative aspects of antibiotic treatment for UTI particularly when symptoms are non-specific. Building changes into routine care without elongating the consultation. As part of the study the NUI Galway researchers carried out in depth interviews with 15 GPs practicing in rural and urban locations in Ireland, and six focus groups were held with community members who had direct or indirect experiences with urinary tract infection. The study found that decisions made to prescribe or consume an antibiotic for a UTI is a set of complex processes. It includes recognising that you are unwell (need recognition), seeking advice from various sources like the web and family members prior to visiting the GP (information search), and deciding whether to go to the GP (evaluation process). All of these processes are governed by the relationship and interactions between the GP and the patient. Different GP and patient decision-making profiles emerged, emphasising the diversity and variety of general practice in real-life settings. The GP findings showed a requirement for more microbiological information on antibiotic resistance patterns to inform prescribing decisions. Focus group participants (patients) wanted a conversation with the GP about their illness and the treatment options available. Dr Sinead Duane from the School of Medicine at NUI Galway and co-author of the study said: “Many patients are open to delaying antibiotic treatment if the GP takes time to explain the reasons why and provides advice on which symptoms they should look out for. This research highlights that patients visiting their GP often only want reassurance and advice on how to manage their symptom, and not necessarily an antibiotic.” Collectively, this research identified the consultation as a priority intervention environment for stimulating change in relation to antibiotics. The BMJ Open paper demonstrates how qualitative research can identify the interacting processes which are instrumental to the decision to prescribe or consume an antibiotic for a suspected UTI. Qualitative research empowers researchers to investigate the what, how and why of interventions in a real-life setting. Qualitative research can play a critical and instrumental role in designing behavioural change strategies with high impact on practice. The results of this research were used to design a complex intervention informed by social marketing. To view the full BMJ Open paper visit: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/1/e008894.full.pdf+html ENDS

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Children who experience chronic pain are invited to take part in first online pain management programme of its kind in Ireland to be trialled at NUI Galway Researchers from the School of Psychology and Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway are currently recruiting children age 6-10 years with chronic pain and their parent(s) or care-giver(s) to take part in an online pain management programme for children. An online pain management programme called Feeling Better has been developed at NUI Galway to help children and parents to manage chronic pain for a better quality of life. This web-based programme is based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, a psychological therapy which has shown to be effective in the management of chronic pain, in traditional face-to-face therapy and group treatment. The Feeling Better study is unique in that a trial of this nature has not been investigated to date in Ireland. The programme is currently the only, widely available, source of interactive, online therapeutic support for school age children with chronic pain in Ireland. The researchers would like to enlist families coping with chronic pain to aid in the testing of this online pain management programme. Chronic pain is pain which persists for a period of three months or more. It affects up to 35% of the Irish population and is increasingly prevalent in young people. Recent studies suggest up to 10% of 5-12 year old Irish children report chronic or persistent pain including abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and widespread pain. Chronic pain is often associated with psychological effects, which may include changes in mood and difficulty with focusing attention and performance at school. This can have a significant impact on day-to-day quality of life. The Feeling Better study is open to children with any type of chronic or persistent pain (pain which has lasted for three months or more). The study will take place over the coming months and children and their parent(s) from across Ireland are invited to take part. Pain support groups, parent-led networks, GPs and physiotherapists around the country are encouraged to get in touch and to refer suitable people with pain to the study. Benefits to participants include access to a free online pain management programme and training in cognitive and behavioural techniques tailored for chronic pain management and school age children. The online programme was developed by clinical psychologists and researchers at NUI Galway with input from families currently coping with chronic pain. School age children with chronic pain and their care-givers were involved in the design and development process. Evidence-based psychological strategies were selected to address areas of pain management children and parents identified as most challenging and important. This influence ensures Feeling Better is a fun and engaging form of online therapeutic support designed by children with pain for children with pain. The programme involves 9-weekly online sessions. Each session is designed to take approximately 30-minutes to complete and all participants are guided through the programme by a ‘Coach’ who is available to provide feedback and advice on a regular basis. Each week, this fun, pirate-themed, interactive programme will introduce children to new skills in the form of ‘Challenges’ and weekly ‘Missions’ (treatment sessions) which they must complete in order to progress in their training. Participating children will begin the programme as a ‘Powder Monkey’ and must earn a promotion with each Mission until they succeed to ‘Captain’ and claim their treasure. Parents are encouraged to take the role of ‘Coach’ and are separately guided through a complementary section of the programme where they are provided with information, tips for practice and tools to help with day-to-day pain management. Weekly sessions are tailored to participants goals, support needs and coping preferences. Children and parents will learn more about psychological strategies which focus on techniques such as relaxation training, activity pacing, attention management, communication skills and the influence of thoughts and emotions on the experience of pain. This programme is part of a research project being carried out at NUI Galway by PhD candidate and Hardiman scholar, Angeline Traynor and led by Professor Brian McGuire from NUI Galway’s School of Psychology and the Centre for Pain Research. Angeline Traynor has been researching chronic pain management and working with families to develop an effective and accessible pain management programme. Ms Traynor says: “Chronic pain is thought to be predictive of long term complaints and disability. Given the impact of chronic pain it is essential to provide a means of support for young children with respect to pain management. Learning coping strategies at an early age may have long term benefits for the child and the family as a whole. Our hope is that this online programme will overcome access and resource issues which may be preventing families from receiving psychological treatment to support pain management.” Participation is voluntary. Children and parents who take part will be helping researchers decide if web-based technology is an acceptable means of treatment delivery. The researchers are looking for volunteers to help them trial the programme and determine what works and what doesn’t work. To participate in the study or for further information, please contact Angeline Traynor at team@feelingbetter.ie and 086 0378562 or visit www.feelingbetter.ie The study is supported by Galway University Foundation and the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. ENDS

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Two new smoke-free zones are launched outside some of the University’s busiest buildings NUI Galway has introduced two smoke-free zones on campus. The new smoke-free zones are centred around two designated smoking shelters in the north and south campus, and cover some of the most popular buildings on campus, including the James Hardiman Library, the Arts Millennium Building, the Engineering Building, Áras Moyola and the Cairnes Building. In 2013, a University-wide survey was carried out to gauge the campus community’s attitudes towards smoking at NUI Galway. While an outright ban on smoking was rejected, a majority of staff and students expressed their preference for restricting smoking to designated areas only. Since then, a working group of University staff and Students’ Union representatives has been working on designing and implementing the smoke-free zones. While it will take some time to build awareness about the new smoking restrictions, there is already a marked reduction in smoking at many building entrances. The new smoke-free zones are supported by both the University and the Students’ Union, and members of the Student Cancer Society are helping to grow awareness around the campaign. Like many public places, smoking creates second-hand smoke and litter on the campus, in particular at the entrances to buildings. The new smoke-free zones are aimed at making the University a cleaner and healthier place for everyone to work and study. Signage on the new designated smoking shelters includes information on supports to quit smoking. Commenting on the new smoke-free zones, Vice-President for the Student Experience, Dr Pat Morgan said: “A healthy campus will deliver long-term benefits for all our community. One of the first steps is to establish smoke-free zones.  Students and staff are united in this particular initiative.” For more information on why and where NUI Galway is going smoke-free, visit: www.nuigalway.ie/smokefree. -Ends-

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

NUI Galway are co-authors of an international study that finds stock market crashes can be compared to unexpected ecological disasters and natural calamities An interdisciplinary team of scientists from NUI Galway, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Ecole Normale Supérieure Cachan in France, came together to examine if market crashes exhibited the same early warning signs as natural calamities. Their investigation reveals interesting answers and suggests improved metrics for forecasting a market crash. The study was published in the open access science journal, PLOS ONE. While financial analysts can guide you through the daily ups and downs of the stock market, accurate forecasts of an imminent crash is still difficult to predict. Just like natural calamities, stock market crashes occur frequently and often have repercussions for the global economy. Experts are now looking at natural disasters for clues to understand economic ones. Currently volatility in stock prices is used as a basic risk indicator. However, the recent financial crisis of 2007-2008 that caused global markets to shut down temporarily, reminded experts that this is not enough to prepare for a crash. Are there any other signs that we could watch out for? Whispers of a probable answer came from an unexpected field – ecology. Professor Vishwesha Guttal, Mathematical Ecologist at the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science and lead author of the published study, said: “There is a lot of interest in the exchange of ideas between ecology and economics.” This study sprung from Professor Guttal’s discussions with Dr Srinivas Raghavendra, an Economist at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway, looking at the behaviour of financial markets as complex systems. Financial markets are suggested to be akin to ecological systems with complex feedback loops and sudden critical transitions, also known as ‘tipping points’. A stock market crash can be compared to unexpected natural transitions such as the onset of the Ice Age, desertification of a fertile area, and the collapse of local fisheries, are just some examples. In recent years, ecologists have been looking for behavioural clues of complex systems in these natural events. It turns out that many complex systems in nature exhibit ‘critical slowing down’ behaviour before reaching their tipping point. This means that just before a critical transition, it takes longer for them to recover from small disturbances because their internal stabilising mechanisms become weak. Hence, the system stays ‘disturbed’ for a longer time than usual, which means that the system becomes highly correlated in the disturbed state. To test this theory on stock market crashes, Professor Guttal and his team rigorously analysed the daily closing data of three major U.S. (Dow Jones Index (DJI), S&P 500 and NASDAQ) and two European (DAX and FTSE) markets spanning the last century. In all cases, they found that variability did increase prior to every known market crash in history. Which means the financial system does get significantly ‘disturbed’ before a crash. But curiously, there was no increase in the autocorrelation of data. Autocorrelation indicates how similar the data is across different time samples. This means that, once markets are ‘disturbed’, market recovery happens as usual without a ‘slowing down’. This trend is consistent for all crashes across all markets studied by the team. “Many papers suggest that financial meltdowns are also transitions near tipping points, but here our research shows that they are not”, added Professor Guttal. Then why do markets crash? Professor Guttal explains, “We suggest this is because the system is dominated by high stochasticity (randomness). Our results indicate that if random disturbances in the market grow stronger with time, they can lead to a financial meltdown even if the market is not close to a tipping point. Variability can therefore be an important statistical indicator in early warning signals (EWS) for market crashes, complementing existing indicators such as volatility.” Could this study have policy implications? NUI Galway Economist, Dr Srinivas Raghavendra and co-author of the study says, “To build robust policies and corrective measures in the future, we need to understand the origin of randomness that drives market meltdowns. This may arise from complex interactions between financial institutions, market microstructure and individual agent behaviour, all adapting at different time scales. Deconstructing such a complex system is necessary for effective policy intervention.” However, there are two major limitations in predictability of such indicators. They don’t indicate when a crash may happen and they only suggest a high probability of a crash. In this detailed study of Dow Jones data, 16 early warning signals emerged from the variability calculations. Of the 16, seven were false alarms. But the good news is that there were no failed alarms and the remaining nine covered every major crash in American market history. Mr Nikunj Goel, an undergraduate physics student who worked with Professor Guttal on this study, has developed a basic web application that provides current trends in markets around the globe. It also shares analysis on historical meltdowns from their published study. The team hopes to add more features to this app and make it more user-friendly. To read the full study in PLOS ONE visit: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144198 Nature-India, Nature Publishing Group, carried an in-depth article on the paper here: http://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2015.178 ENDS

Friday, 22 January 2016

NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced the appointment of Páraic Ó hOibicín as Sean-nós Dancer in Residence for 2016. A native of Leitir Mucú in Connemara, Páraic Ó hOibicín is one of a generation of dancers who led the revival of sean-nós dance in the late twentieth century. Key to Páraic’s style of dancing, is a faithful nod to older dancers and the tradition that he saw in his youth. He credits Máirtín Beag Ó Gríofa as the most important influence in his development as a sean-nós dancer. Páraic’s style is highly individual, with a lightness and individuality of step recognisable the world over. Like many of his generation, Páraic was resident for a number of years in the UK, but returned to Leitir Mucú in 1984, and quickly reconnected with the dancing community of his youth through sean-nós and set dancing. A winner of the Oireachtas competition in 2004, Páraic is a sought after performer and teacher, and has been invited to give work-shops and master-classes of sean-nós dance nationally throughout Ireland, in Zurich and this year in America. Among his many dance students over the years are two of his own children Patrick and Soina, who have both been successful in Oireachtas competitions, continuing the family tradition. During his residency, Páraic will participate in a series of performances and workshops at the Centre for Irish Studies and other venues in Galway. A selection of his repertoire will also be recorded to deposit in the Sean-Nós Archive at the Centre for Irish Studies. A series of five free sean-nós dance workshops will take place in An Taibhdhearc and commence on Wednesday, 10 February and are open to the public. This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon, in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends- Rinceoir Sean-Nóis Cónaitheach ceaptha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh Tá sé fógartha ag Ionad an Léinn Éireannaigh, OÉ Gaillimh, go bhfuil Páraic Ó hOibicín ceaptha mar Rinceoir Sean-Nóis Cónaitheach as seo go ceann bliana. D'fhás Páraic suas i Leitir Mucú i gConamara agus is ó Mháirtín Beag Ó Gríofa a fuair sé a chuid damhsa ar dtús. Tá Páraic dílis i gcónaí don seantraidisiún rince agus é ar dhuine desna damhsóirí is tábhachtaí in athbheochaint an tsean-nóis a tharla ag deireadh na haoise seo caite. Bhí Páraic ag maireachtaint i Sasana ar feadh blianta, agus d’fhill sé thar n-ais go Leitir Mucú i 1984. Tá neart duaiseanna bainte amach aige, san Oireachtas mar shampla i 2000. Bíonn sé ag damhsa agus ag múineadh ar fud na tíre agus éileamh air thar lear, i Zurich agus i Mericeá. Beidh an tsraith cheardlann san Taibhdhearc ag tosnú ar an 10 Feabhra. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus An Chomhairle Ealaíon i bpáirt le hIonad an Léinn Éireannaigh atá ag maoiniú an togra seo. -Críoch-

Friday, 22 January 2016

Innovative New Business Degree for NUI Galway The new Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) course at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in NUI Galway adds another innovative degree to the school’s portfolio of global business programmes. Formerly known as the Bachelor of Commerce (International Experience) this NUI Galway degree has been significantly enhanced by extending study abroad opportunities through English, to China, Australia and the United States in addition to existing partner countries throughout the European Union. “This new degree offers the unique opportunity of a work placement and a study abroad in the same year, while still delivering a broad business degree combined with a business specialism in final year. This four year degree is designed to prepare students for the challenges of working in today’s global business environment, explained Programme Director, Dr Gerard Turley. Students complete modules from all different areas of business in the first two years of the degree. In year three, students undertake a work placement and/or study abroad. In final year, students specialise in one of the following eight streams: Accounting and Performance Measurement; Economics and Public Policy; Management of Human Resources; Marketing Management; Digital Business and Analytics; Finance; Business Law; or International Business. Speaking at the official launch of the new programme, Dr Tom Acton, Head of NUI Galway’s J.E Cairnes School of Business and Economics said: “The Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) builds on the success of 100 years of business education at NUI Galway. It is offered in addition to the full suite of business degrees in NUI Galway including the highly popular Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Commerce (International with Continental Language), Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge), Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems and Bachelor of Science in Financial Mathematics and Economics.” President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Studying abroad in the business schools of leading universities whilst immersed in the culture of our partner countries is a strategic element of preparation of the student for a successful career in international business. The introduction of partnerships in China, Australia and the United States results in a truly international business degree which builds student networks and understanding on a global scale.” Dr Ann Torres, Vice-Dean of Internationalisation at NUI Galway, said, “In order to flourish future business graduates will need to adapt to an ever more global work environment. Global business requires globally confident and culturally aware graduates. The Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) course responds to the needs of employers and will produce highly sought after graduates in all areas of business.” For more information please contact the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics 091 492 612 or email business@nuigalway.ie. ENDS

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Inspired by the recent #WakingTheFeminists movement, #wakingthefeministswest is a Galway-based season of plays and performances by Irish women led by NUI Galway Drama and Theatre Studies students and supported by the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.  The programme’s mission is to stage the work of Irish women playwrights and theatre-makers, both past and present, as well as to provide strong roles for female performers.  This season will commence in January 2016 and conclude in May 2016, featuring multiple events each month. The season particularly seeks to highlight a diverse range of female voices from the west of Ireland and will include theatre, dance, devised work, work from the archive and offerings from new and developing writers. This initiative is being led by Drama and Theatre Studies Ph.D. students Justine Nakase and Nelson Barre, and involves participation from students from first year to Ph.D. level, as well as staff.  Nakase and Barre offer that they are interested in ‘excavating historic women’s voices and elevating contemporary ones’ and hope that this programme actively challenges the argument that women’s lack of representation in theatre as playwrights among other roles is due to a ‘lack of female talent.’ The programme will be launched by Irish Times Theatre award nominated designer, arts manager and leader of #WakingTheFeminists, Lian Bell, on 28 January at 7PM in the Hardiman Research Building, Room G010 and all are welcome.  January and February #wakingthefeministwest performances will include:  Lady Augusta Gregory, Grainne, directed by Justine Nakase, (28 and 29 January, Bank of Ireland Theatre, 8PM) 100 Shades of Grey, devised by the ensemble, directed by Charlotte McIvor, (8 and 9 February, Bank of Ireland Theatre, 8PM) Elizabeth Connor, Mount Prospect, directed by Ciara O’Dowd and Thomas Conway, Druid Director-in-Residence, (25 and 26 February, Town Hall Studio Theatre, 8:30PM) The further programme will be announced in February.  NUI Galway and the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance is an ideal base for #wakingthefeministswest. The season’s programme will draw on resources unique to the university, including specialised archives such as the Abbey Digital Archive, a thriving local arts scene, the expertise of the faculty at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and the connection to the Irish language. #wakingthefeministswest builds on the West of Ireland’s rich history of strong female figures, both in theatre and at large. From the Abbey’s Lady Augusta Gregory to Druid’s Garry Hynes, from the pirate queen Graínne Mhaol to Mary Robinson, the women of the west have had a huge impact on Ireland’s history and culture. #wakingthefeministswest celebrates and honours the women of the west by giving them life and a voice on the Irish stage. For further information on the programme or ticket reservation, contact wakingthefeministswest@gmail.com  -ends-

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

NUI Galway is currently recruiting participants for a new study on the efficacy of Pilates in falls prevention in healthy older adults over 65 years old. The outcomes assessed will include questionnaires and tests of physical activity, balance, foot pressure, mobility, gait, cognition and falls. One hour classes will take place in Áras Moyola twice weekly for three months with three participants in each class. There will be a total of 24 sessions for each group for the main study and participants are advised to wear comfortable clothes for exercises. There will be a further smaller study of 12 sessions for six weeks with two groups of four participants.   Conducting the study is Larissa Donatoni da Silva, an NUI Galway PhD Health Science, physiotherapist and Pilates instructor. Larissa said: “Our study is looking at the effect that participating in Pilates has on balance, breathing, stretching, and coordination. In particular, we are interested in people over 65 years old, who enjoy doing exercises. We want to measure your level of function with questionnaires and tests so that we can compare it with people who are not practising Pilates.” Participants will get a home Pilates exercise programme and a DVD with exercises demonstrated by the Pilates instructor. The study is supervised by NUI Galway’s Professor Agnes Shiel and Professor Caroline McIntosh. For more detail or to participate in the study contact Larissa Donatoni da Silva at 089 4592533, laridonatoni@gmail.com or l.donatonidasilva1@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Irish Software Research Centre (Lero), in conjunction with the discipline of Business Information Systems at NUI Galway, recently welcomed female transition years’ students from Galway secondary schools for its inaugural Transition Year Innovation workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to heighten awareness of the many exciting opportunities and careers in the ICT sector for women. According to recent Accenture Ireland research, women constitute only 25% of the workforce in STEM related jobs. The workshop was funded by a grant from the GoogleRISE Award. The Lero group at NUI Galway is lead by Professor Kieran Conboy, Dean of the University’s College of Business, Public Policy and Law, and was one of 37 worldwide recipients of this award in 2015, in recognition of its ongoing education and outreach programmes throughout Ireland. During the workshop the students from Holy Rosary College in Mountbellew, St. Brigid's in Loughrea and the Salerno Secondary School in Salthill, were tasked with designing a mobile app for a health and fitness club. To complete their assignment, the students formed three and four member teams, with each team supported by mentors: Carol Guilfoyle and Christina Callanan, Hewlett Packard; Emma Curley, Accenture; Orla Shaughnessy, Storm Technology; Saima Clohessy, Fidelity Investments; Elizabeth Grier, Jessica Tyrrell and Lillian Hughes, fourth year students of the Business Information Systems programme, and Ann O’Brien, Coleen Griffin and Mary Loftus, NUI Galway PhD candidates. Each workshop session featuring a talk from female ICT professionals on their experience of working in technology, before introducing the teams to the activity for the team break out session that followed. The breakout sessions involved “hands on” learning for the Transition Year students, working with their mentors on activities such as systems analysis, user interface design, application development, innovation thinking, collaboration and presentation skills. “We were delighted with the great reaction and engagement of the Transition Year students with the format and conduct of the workshop, with the student, mentors and organisers enjoying the experience,” said Neil Keane, lead organiser of the workshop. The event was organised by Neil Keane, Ann O’Brien and Coleen Griffin, with support from Lero, the Business Information Systems discipline NUI Galway, Hewlett Packard, Storm Technologies, Fidelity Investments, and the Accenture centre for Innovation, Dublin. -Ends-

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

NUI Galway’s Societies Office has launched their Spring Programme highlighting the number of major events which will take place on campus this semester. With 115 societies the programme is packed with a variety of theatre, music, dance, guest speakers, debates, workshops and classes. As part of the Spring Programme, the Societies will present the Midterm Festival, from 8-12 February, to promote involvement in the social and cultural life of the campus. In this first year, the Festival will celebrate the arrival of spring with many of the events open to the public. Festival highlights include: Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) production of ‘The Addams Family’, at the Black Box Theatre. The African Caribbean Society will be hosting their version of the hit TV programme “Take me Out”. Dramsoc will host a workshop with the award-winning Blue Teapot Theatre Company, Performing Arts School and Outreach programme for people with intellectual disabilities. The Literary and Debating Society’s annual Alumni Debate. Witless Band Competition, organised by the Music Society and Rock Society. Other events in the Spring Programme include: Rainbow week, organised by GigSoc (LGBT). Potterfest Galway, organised by Pottersoc, a family friendly weekend for Harry Potter fans. Dramsoc will host the National Student Awards (ISDA) in five theatres across the city and on campus featuring over 25 productions from colleges all over Ireland. The Choral Society will host the National Choral Intervarsity. Dansoc will present ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Mental Health Week organised by Psychology Society. Brain Awareness Week organised by Neuro Society. A number of conventions and conferences will also feature including: Writers Convention; Fansci ‘Itzacon XII’ a Fantasy and Science Fiction Convention 2016 Convention; Cumann Staire Irish History Students Association, 66th Conference; the Association of Celtic Students of Ireland and Britain; and JugglingCon Galway 2016. Throughout the year the societies engage in numerous outreach and schools programmes, such as schools debating competition, organised by the Literary and Debating Society, the annual Schools Musical Awards, organised by the Musical Society, Suas Society facilitate homework clubs in local schools and the Bike Gang Society promote cycling and sustainable transport with schools and youth groups. Societies work with community groups through the world and fundraise extensively for charity, raising over €224,000 last year, and a number of charity events will also feature in this year’s programme. According to Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer and Chairperson of The Board of Irish College Societies, said: “In addition to significantly contributing to the social, cultural and community life of the campus and Galway’s wider community, the societies also play a vital role in educating and preparing their members and in particular their committee members to fully realise their potential as engaged contributing members of society, ensuring they receive a holistic education and graduate as skilled leaders with integrity, creativity, vision and passion for life.” Last year the Societies Office launched their new leadership programme which aims to instil positive leadership qualities and train the society committee members in the necessary skills to run successful societies, which deliver a quality experience for their members and target communities. The programme also aims to explore how people learn and the role of experimental learning through student led extra-curricular activities. The outcomes of the initial pilot programme have been very positive showing a clear correlation between skill ‘shortfalls’ as identified by employers and the skills the committee members identified they had learnt such as communication, problem solving, confidence and team work. A full list of events taking place is available at www.socs.nuigalway.ie, where you can also subscribe to the mailing list, or call the SocsBox, Áras na Mac Léinn on 091 492852. In addition to the box office at the SocsBox, which is open 10am – 7pm weekdays and until 5pm on Fridays, the Societies Office has also launched their new on-line webstore at www.socsbox.nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Feature talks from SUSI Grants Authority and NUI Galway graduate Móna Wise NUI Galway will host the Spring Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 3 February, from 12 to 4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. Galway native, award winning blogger of Wise Words, freelance writer, all-round entrepreneur and NUI Galway double-graduate, Móna Wise will give a talk on her experience of graduate studies at the Open Day. Her talk, which will take place at 1pm, will focus on her experience of returning to postgraduate study, and how her Masters qualification furthered her career. SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national Awarding Authority for all higher and further education student grants, will deliver their talk at 2pm, providing students with an opportunity with information on the funding opportunities and application process for postgraduate grants. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, over 100 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. Josephine Walsh, Head of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre, said: “Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rank graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of postgraduates in employment has grown consistently in recent years and NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allows them to take the first step in building their career. Over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating, which is higher than the HEA national average for postgraduates.” NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth-level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media and Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. New courses being introduced for 2016 include an MSc in Biomedical Genomics, a part-time MSc in Medical Technology and Regulatory Affairs and an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience. To view NUI Galway’s new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit www.nuigalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit www.pac.ie/nuigalway or find out more on Twitter using the hashtag #GetTheEdge. -Ends-

Thursday, 28 January 2016

‘A Soldier’s Song’, the second in a series of lectures curated by NUI Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies as part of its programme of commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, will focus on Peadar Kearney, composer of the Irish national anthem. Kearney survived the struggle for independence and experienced poverty and neglect in the Free State for which so many of his close friends had given their lives. Disillusion led to depression but there seems to have been a conspiracy, involving political parties, families and friends, to mythologise him as a serene patriot rather than reveal him as a damaged veteran. The lecture will be delivered by Colbert Kearney, Professor Emeritus of English at UCC, and author of The Writings of Brendan Behan, The Glamour of Grammar, a study of Seán O’Casey, and The Consequence. The lecture will begin at 6.30pm on Tuesday, 2 February at Galway City Library in Augustine Street. -Ends-

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New Entrepreneurship programme for NUI Galway Community NUI Galway has this week announced the appointment of Mary Carty as Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at the University to coincide with the opening of the program to students and staff on campus.  Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus-based experiential entrepreneurship program open to students, alumni, staff and faculty; offering coaching, ideation and venture creation support. It is modelled on a successful program originated at the University of Miami and further expanded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Blackstone LaunchPad is co-funded by the Galway University Foundation and Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Speaking of the appointment, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mary Carty as Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway. Helping students to become innovators and entrepreneurs is a vital part of the student experience and important for the Irish economy. With the arrival of Blackstone LaunchPad all students will now be encouraged to develop their creative ideas.  This initiative, under Mary’s leadership will play a critical role in the delivery of NUI Galway’s Vision 2020 strategy. In addition, the programme will build mutually beneficial relationships with other Blackstone LaunchPad sites at University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin; along with the Blackstone LaunchPad network in the USA.”  Prior to joining Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway, Mary cofounded of Outbox Incubator; the first ever Incubator for girls in STEM aged 11-22, launched by HRH Princess Anne in March 2015. In its first year, Outbox worked with 115 girls from 6 countries, with 35 companies established. Mary brings a decade of experience working in the technology and startup space, founding two multi-award winning technology startups and was a BAFTA Interactive finalist. She has worked extensively across the public, private and non-profit sectors as an advisor, program developer, keynote speaker and lecturer in Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia.  In 2015, she was listed on Ireland's 'Talented 38', Ireland's Sci-Tech Top 100 and Image Magazine Business Woman of the Year Award finalist for Social Entrepreneurship. Mary has served on the board of the Irish Internet Association, is an adviser to STEMettes, a UK social enterprise, encouraging more young women into STEM careers. A graduate of Ulster University, with an MA in Material Culture and an Advanced Diploma in Management; Mary also holds a BA in Fine Art from Limerick School of Art and Design.  “We could not be more thrilled to welcome Mary to the Blackstone LaunchPad team,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “Her vast experience as an entrepreneur and in the start-up community uniquely qualifies her to lead Blackstone LaunchPad at NUI Galway as we build the program and work towards its official opening in February.” ENDS Stiúrthóir ceaptha ag OÉ Gaillimh ar Blackstone Launchpad  Clár nua fiontraíochta do phobal OÉ Gaillimh  D'fhógair OÉ Gaillimh an tseachtain seo gur ceapadh Mary Carty mar Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin ar Blackstone Launchpad san Ollscoil agus ag an am céanna go bhfuiltear ag cur tús le clár nua do mhic léinn agus don fhoireann ar an gcampas.   Clár taithí fiontraíochta ar an gcampas é Blackstone Launchpad (BLP) atá oscailte do mhic léinn, alumni, comhaltaí foirne agus na dámha; cuirtear oiliúint, idéú agus tacaíocht do chruthú fiontar ar fáil ar an gclár. Tá sé bunaithe ar chlár a thosaigh in Ollscoil Miami agus a d'fhorbair an Blackstone Charitable Foundation ina dhiaidh sin. Tá Blackstone Launchpad cómhaoinithe ag Fondúireacht Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus ag an Blackstone Charitable Foundation.  Tá Blackstone Launchpad dírithe ar gach mac léinn san Ollscoil agus beidh ról lárnach aige i straitéis d'Fhís 2020 OÉ Gaillimh a bhaint amach. Chomh maith leis sin, tógfaidh an clár ar an gcaidreamh maith le hionaid eile BLP in Ollscoil Chorcaí, agus i gColáiste na Tríonóide; agus leis an líonra BLP i Meiriceá.   Ag labhairt dó faoin gceapachán, dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúis áthais dúinn a fhógairt gur ceapadh Mary Carty mar Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin ar Blackstone Launchpad in OÉ Gaillimh. Tá Blackstone Launchpad dírithe ar gach mac léinn san Ollscoil agus beidh ról lárnach aige i straitéis d'Fhís 2020 OÉ Gaillimh a seoladh in 2015 a bhaint amach. Chomh maith leis sin, tógfaidh an clár ar an gcaidreamh maith le hionaid eile BLP in Ollscoil Chorcaí, agus i gColáiste na Tríonóide; mar aon leis an líonra BLP i Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá.”   Sular ceapadh Mary in Blackstone Launchpad in OÉ Gaillimh, bhí sí ar dhuine de bhunaitheoirí Outbox Incubator; an chéad Ghorlann do chailíní in STEM idir 11-22 bliain d'aois, a sheol an Banphrionsa Anne i mí an Mhárta 2015. Sa chéad bhliain, d'oibrigh Outbox le 115 cailín as 6 thír, agus bunaíodh 35 cuideachta.  Chaith Mary deich mbliana ag obair le gnólachtaí nua-thionscanta agus teicneolaíochta, bhunaigh sí dhá ghnólacht teicneolaíochta a bhfuil gradaim go leor bainte amach acu and bhí sí féin san iomaíocht do ghradam BAFTA Interactive. Tá obair fhorleathan déanta aici san earnáil phoiblí, phríobháideach agus san earnáil neamhbhrabúis mar chomhairleoir, forbróir clár, príomhchainteoir agus léachtóir in Éirinn, sa Ríocht Aontaithe agus i gCríoch Lochlann.   In 2015, áiríodh í ar Talented 38 (liosta de na 38 Bean is fearr i saol na Teicneolaíochta in Éirinn), Ireland's Sci-Tech Top 100 agus bhí sí san iomaíocht don ghradam Bean Ghnó na Bliana Image Magazine don Fhiontraíocht Shóisialta. Bhí Mary ar bhord Chumann Idirlín na hÉireann, tá sí ina comhairleoir do STEMettes, fiontar sóisialta sa Ríocht Aontaithe a spreagann níos mó ban óg le dul le gairm STEM. Céimí de chuid Ollscoil Uladh í a bhfuil MA aici i gCultúr Ábhartha agus Ard-Dioplóma sa Bhainistíocht; tá BA ag Mary sa Mhínealaíon as Scoil Ealaíne agus Dearaidh Luimnigh.   “Tá ríméad an tsaoil orainn fáilte a chur roimh Mary chuig foireann an Blackstone LaunchPad,” a dúirt Amy Stursberg, Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin ar an Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “Tá an-taithí aici mar fhiontraí agus leis an eolas atá aici ar ghnólachtaí a thosú níl aon duine eile chomh cáilithe léi le tabhairt faoin Blackstone LaunchPad in OÉ Gaillimh agus tús á chur leis an gclár ag súil go mbeidh an oscailt oifigiúil againn i mí Feabhra.”  CRÍOCH

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New €6 million EU Horizon 2020 research project ‘AUTOSTEM’ at NUI Galway will launch state-of-the-art, robotic stem cell production, offering new therapies for a range of diseases NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) has launched a new €6 million research project AUTOSTEM to develop pioneering manufacturing systems for stem cell therapy. Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, AUTOSTEM will go a long way towards meeting the demand for these new treatments, by transforming the way stem cells are manufactured. Stem cells offer exciting prospects of new therapies for a range of diseases, including cancers, diabetic complications and arthritis. However, current manufacturing protocols are relatively inefficient and require highly-skilled teams of technicians operating in a clean-room environment. As clinical trials progress, efficient and high throughput manufacturing remains a major challenge with the risk that supply will not meet demand. AUTOSTEM will develop a robotic cell production factory, the StromalCellFactory, which will minimise manual operations while producing large batches of cell product in a closed, sterile environment. The process involves extraction of adult stem cells from tissues such as bone marrow or fat followed by efficient purification and culture expansion in large-capacity bioreactors, finally packaging the product in a format ready for delivery to the patient. The research project will be led by Dr Mary Murphy, senior lecturer in Regenerative Medicine and principal investigator at REMEDI at NUI Galway. REMEDI is a European leader in therapeutic stem cell research with investigators leading major EU-funded programmes that develop and test treatments for osteoarthritis, diabetic kidney disease, diabetic wound repair and corneal transplantation. Dr Murphy comments: “This is an exciting interdisciplinary project that will take us beyond the state-of-the-art in stem cell manufacturing. The outcome will be a highly automated and efficient production technology that will allow patients worldwide to benefit from efforts to develop stem cell therapies.” Other essential contributions will come from: NUI Galway’s Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) - the only licensed stromal cell manufacturing facility in Ireland, which will verify regulatory compliance and patient-readiness. Orbsen Therapeutics, a NUI Galway spin-out company that brings novel stem cell isolation procedures. The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology in Aachen, Germany, which provides robotic and control system expertise. The University of Aston, UK and the German company Zellwerk, who contribute optimal bioreactor technology for cell culturing within the ‘StromalCellfactory’. Crospon, another Galway SME, who will develop novel devices for sterile marrow harvesting and cell delivery to patients. The Tyndall Institute at UCC, who will develop a mobile sensor, building on existing ‘SmartPill’ sensor systems that will patrol the cell culture surface to enable remote real time process monitoring. The UK-based Cell Therapy Catapult research organisation, which will monitor cost-effectiveness and regulatory compliance. Professor Frank Barry, REMEDI’s Scientific Director and technology leader on the research project said: “This project will be game-changing and will lead to remarkable new efficiencies in manufacturing, making the entire process more industrially relevant and cost-effective.” The project is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. ENDS

Thursday, 28 January 2016

NUI Galway has announced the winners of the 2016 Alumni Awards to be presented at the 16th annual Alumni Awards Gala Banquet on Saturday, 5 March, 2016 in the Bailey Allen Hall located in Áras na Mac Léinn on campus. The Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. The Awards programme boasts an impressive roll call of outstanding graduates who have gone on to honour their alma mater, including, for example, President Michael D. Higgins, Olympian Olive Loughnane, Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald, RTÉ broadcaster Sean O’Rourke, Attorney General Máire Whelan, former Creganna CEO, Helen Ryan, Tony Award-winning actress, Marie Mullen and broadcaster Gráinne Seoige. The winners of the six alumni awards to be presented at Gala 2016: Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - sponsored by AIB  - Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, Owner/Producer at Danú Media. Alumni Award for Business and Commerce – sponsored by Bank of Ireland   -  Ruth Curran, Managing Partner in MERC Partners and Global Chair IIC Partners. Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government – sponsored by Galway University Foundation   -  Dr Mathilda Twomey, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Seychelles. Alumni Award for Engineering, Science and Technology – sponsored by Aramark  - Gearóid Faherty, Former CEO and Chairman of Eurand NV. Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences – sponsored by Medtronic  - Professor Joe Murray, Professor of Medicine and Consultant, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic. Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport – sponsored by Bank of Ireland  - Dr Paul Hession, Olympic and world champion sprinter and junior doctor in Tallaght Hospital.                     Speaking on the announcement of the Awards recipients, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Our Alumni Awards programme recognises the many Galway alumni who are leaders in their professions and excel in their pursuits at national and international levels. These awards celebrate the life-long value of an NUI Galway education and recognise individual achievements among the University’s more than 80,000 graduates worldwide. I congratulate each of the Award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater for the Gala Banquet in March.” For ticket and booking information contact the Alumni Office on 091 494310 or email alumni@nuigalway.ie. Online bookings at www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends -Ends- Buaiteoirí Ghradaim Alumni 2016 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh  Tá buaiteoirí Ghradaim Alumni 2016 fógartha ag OÉ Gaillimh; bronnfar na gradaim ag an 16ú Mórfhéasta bliantúil de na Gradaim Alumni Dé Sathairn, an 5 Márta 2016 i Halla Bailey Allen atá suite in Áras na Mac Léinn ar an gcampas. Tugann na Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’fheabhas agus d’éachtaí cuid den 80,000 céimí atá ag an Ollscoil ar fud an domhain. Go dtí seo tá gradaim Alumni bronnta ar chéimithe den scoth – céimithe a bhfuil a n-alma mater fíorbhródúil astu, lena n-áirítear an tUachtarán Micheál D. Ó hUiginn, an tOilimpiach Olive Loughnane, an t-imreoir rugbaí Ciarán FitzGerald, an craoltóir le RTÉ Sean O’Rourke, an tArd-Aighne Máire Whelan, iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach Creganna, Helen Ryan, an t-aisteoir a bhfuil gradam Tony bainte amach aici, Marie Mullen agus an craoltóir Gráinne Seoige. Seo a leanas buaiteoirí na sé ghradam alumni a bhronnfar ag Mórfhéasta 2016: Gradam Alumni do na Dána, an Litríocht agus an Léann Ceilteach - urraithe ag AIB  - Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, Úinéir/Léiritheoir Danú Media. Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus don Tráchtáil – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann   -  Ruth Curran, Páirtí Bainistíochta in MERC Partners agus Cathaoirleach Domhanda ar IIC Partners. Gradam Alumni don Dlí, an Beartas Poiblí agus an Rialtas – urraithe ag Fondúireacht Ollscoil na Gaillimhe   -  An Príomh-Bhreitheamh Mathilda Twomey, Príomh-Bhreitheamh Chúirt Uachtarach Phoblacht na Séiséal. Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht – urraithe ag Aramark  -Gearóid Faherty, Iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach agus Cathaoirleach Eurand NV. Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – urraithe ag Medtronic  -An Dr Joe Murray, Ollamh le Leigheas agus Comhairleach, Rannóg na Gaistreintreolaíochta agus na Heipiteolaíochta, Mayo Clinic. Gradam Alumni don Spórt – urraithe ag Banc na hÉireann  - An Dr Paul Hession, Curadh Oilimpeach agus domhanda sa ráibeáil agus dochtúir sóisearach in Ospidéal Thamhlachta.             Agus buaiteoirí na nGradam fógartha, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Tugann na Gradaim Alumni aitheantas d’alumni na Gaillimhe atá ina gceannairí ina ngairmeacha agus atá ag déanamh gaisce ar leibhéal náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Déanann na Gradaim seo ceiliúradh ar an luach fadsaoil a bhaineann leis an oideachas a fhaightear in OÉ Gaillimh agus tugann siad aitheantas do chéimithe a bhfuil éachtaí suntasacha bainte amach acu as breis is 80,000 céimí de chuid na hOllscoile atá lonnaithe ar fud na cruinne. Tréaslaím leis na buaiteoirí ar fad agus táim ag súil le fáilte a chur rompu ar ais chuig a n-alma mater don Mhórfhéasta i mí an Mhárta.” Chun ticéid agus eolas faoi áirithintí a fháil téigh i dteagmháil leis an Oifig Alumni ar 091 49 4310 nó seol ríomhphost chuig alumni@nuigalway.ie. Áirithintí ar líne ar www.nuigalway.ie/alumni-friends -Críoch-

Friday, 29 January 2016

Two world leaders in the field of Biomedical Engineering, Professor Elazer Edelman, M.I.T and Harvard Medical School, USA, and Professor Gerhard Holzapfel, Technical University of Graz, Austria, delivered Keynote Lectures at the 22nd Bioengineering in Ireland Conference, which was recently hosted by NUI Galway. In their inspirational lectures both speakers illustrated how their research teams have combined engineering analysis and computer modelling with biological investigation to transform the current understanding and treatment of heart disease. Both speakers also praised the internationally leading quality of biomedical engineering research in Irish universities, while also remarking positively on the vibrancy of the Irish medical device sector. Conference Chair, Dr Patrick McGarry from Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway stated: “This year’s conference attracted a record 250 delegates from across all leading Irish research groups in the field of Biomedical Engineering Science, with a record 185 scientific presentations. Several medical device companies actively participated in the conference, further highlighting the strong interaction between Irish research institutes and the medical technology sector.” A highlight from the event was the presentation of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Bioengineering Section Silver Medal to Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute, at NUI Galway. In his keynote lecture Professor O’Brien described the ground-breaking development of Ireland’s first Centre for Cell Manufacturing in Ireland (CCMI) a centre located at NUI Galway manufacturing culture-expanded stem cells for clinical trials. The Conference took place at the Salthill Hotel, Galway and was sponsored by Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Aerogen, Hollister, Stryker, DePuy, Zwick, CadFem, Neuravi, and the Irish Medical Devices Association. To learn more about the Conference programme visit: http://bini2016.ie/ ENDS

Friday, 29 January 2016

CÚRAM researcher of ‘next generation’ stem cell therapies for cardiovascular diseases is elected to the EU Student and Young Investigator Section of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society A research student developing ‘next-generation’ stem cell therapies for cardiovascular disease at the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) at NUI Galway, has been elected to the prominent position of Chair-Elect for the EU Student and Young Investigator Section (SYIS) of the Tissue Engineering International & Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS). TERMIS is one of the most prominent organisations in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine globally and attracts interest from researchers at the highest levels of the scientific community in biomedical research. The EU Student and Young Investigator Section provide a platform for the next generation of scientists and engineers in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine to interact. SYIS aims to further the professional and scientific development of its members. Dilip Thomas is currently concluding his doctoral studies, co-supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit at CÚRAM and Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, at NUI Galway. Dilip’s research interest is in the development of ‘next-generation’ stem cell therapies for cardiovascular diseases, with particular focus on Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), which is a severe obstruction of the arteries and markedly reduces blood flow to the extremities (hands, feet and legs) and has progressed to the point of severe pain and even skin ulcers or sores. Mr Thomas has successfully designed and developed biomaterial cell capsules referred to as a ‘microgel’, for delivering stem cells for tissue repair. He has demonstrated that altering the design parameters of the microgels can influence stem cells to direct development of new blood vessels. He has also proven expertise in pre-clinical models for testing these types of therapies for treating cardiovascular disease. Recently, Dilip was awarded the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) fellowship to further his research through training in Marchetti-Deschmann’s analytical laboratory at Vienna University of Technology. Congratulating Dilip on his election, Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM, and himself a Fellow of TERMIS said: “Dilip will be a valuable asset to the EU SYIS of TERMIS and his election will be another important step in his career. Our confidence in the future of the MedTech sector in Ireland is largely based on the talent and skills of our young researchers, and at CÚRAM. Training and development of our students to the highest level, in a multi-disciplinary environment is a priority.” The current Chair of the EU SYIS of TERMIS, Michael Monaghan, currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Research Institute for Women's Health in Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen in Germany, and also a former PhD student of Professor Pandit, added, “Dilip’s enthusiasm and drive for research translation from bench-to-bedside therapy has led him to acquire additional funding from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for fabricating a high-throughput microfluidic droplet device, which is a device that can generate cells containing droplets in small volumes, for microgel fabrication, funded through the National Access Programme. CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices at NUI Galway is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and industry partners and aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients with chronic illness by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. ENDS

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Have you ever wondered how scientists photograph the thousands of tiny plants and animals that live in a drop of seawater? A day-long workshop to further unravel the mysteries of imaging plankton will be hosted by NUI Galway and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) on Monday, 14 September, 2015.   The event entitled Imaging Marine Microorganisms: Microscopy and Photography of Plankton is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and will be held in NUI Galway’s old Civil Engineering Building now known as Block E (Room 1002).   The workshop is part of the SMARTSkills series which supports early stage researchers in developing the practical ‘blue’ skills required to understand our seas and oceans. The day will include lectures by leading Irish and international researchers, and practical sessions describing and demonstrating imaging methodologies and sample preparation techniques.   The workshop will conclude with a public lecture in the evening by Wim van Egmond curator of the ‘Micropolitan Museum of Microscopic Art Forms’ at 7pm in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle, NUI Galway. Wim’s life-long interest in natural history combined with the fact that he grew up a few kilometres from Anthony van Leeuwenhoek who developed the first microscope, may explain his choice of photomicrography. His lecture will showcase astonishing images of the microscopic marine achieved with modest and accessible equipment and instrumentation and we hope will inspire researchers and citizen scientists alike. The public lecture is free and everyone is welcome.   If you have any queries regarding the events please see http://www.smartseaschool.com/content/smartskills-2015. For queries please contact smart@gmit.ie or Dr Yvonne Lang at yvonne.lang@nuigalway.ie. This event is supported by funding from EPA Grant (EPA 2014-HW-DS-3) and EPA Event Support Grant (2015-CONF-70). The workshops are facilitated by the Centre for Microscopy and Imaging, NUI Galway. -ends-

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

NUI Galway recently conferred special certificates on the ninth cohort of ‘graduates’ from its Youth Academy. 305 primary school children from across the Western region received their certificates, with more than 1000 friends and family attending the ceremony. Established in 2012, the Youth Academy aims to inspire entry to university by introducing primary school students and their families to university life. Since its foundation, almost 1500 students have graduated from a variety of courses held on Saturday mornings ranging from Mandarin to Art, Engineering to English Literature, Drama to IT and The World of Cops and Robbers to Social Innovation. The Youth Academy runs for a six-week period and works with high ability fourth, fifth and sixth class primary school children, to support their learning and academic development, in partnership with their primary schools. Speaking at the event, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, Professor Chris Curtin, said: “The Youth Academy is a very important initiative by this University.  We feel that it responds to the educational needs of our most important young citizens and gives talented young students the opportunity to get experience of learning in a university. We are committed at NUI Galway to fostering the sharing of knowledge across the boundaries of the University and into the community. I hope that initiatives such as the Youth Academy can highlight how the University can and does serve its community, not only here Galway but in society in general.” For further information on the courses and participation please contact Geraldine Marley, NUI Galway Youth Academy Coordinator, at youthacademy@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland invest €2.2 million in a new clinical research network for blood cancers Irish patients to be among the first in the world to test new, potentially life-saving treatments   A new national clinical research network was launched today at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway by the Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation, Mr Damien English TD, which will bring fresh hope for blood cancer patients in Ireland. The newly established Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) represents a multimillion euro investment in cancer research by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland. The €2.2 million investment has established a new virtual clinical research network that will offer early stage haematology clinical trials, providing blood cancer patients in Ireland with the opportunity to be among the first in the world to test new, potentially life-changing, drugs and treatments. This joint investment with Science Foundation Ireland comes on foot of the Irish Cancer Society’s strategy to establish and support collaborative cancer research initiatives to bring Irish clinicians, scientists and population researchers together to increase the pace of discoveries. This new national cancer research initiative is also supported by the pharmaceutical industry. Commenting on this significant investment in cancer research, Minister for Skills, Research, and Innovation, Mr Damien English TD said: “The establishment of Blood Cancer Network Ireland by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society will bring real and tangible benefits to Irish cancer patients by helping to develop new treatments for blood cancer. It is in line with the Government’s policy of investing and focusing excellent scientific research that impacts positively on Ireland’s economy and society.” Over the next five years, Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) hopes to make novel drugs and treatments available to patients with all types of blood cancers across Ireland. The first clinical trials being rolled out through BCNI will bring fresh hope, in particular, to patients with difficult to treat blood cancers. Patients with Multiple Myeloma (MM) or Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) will be among the first to take part in early phase clinical trials to test the safety and effectiveness of experimental and potentially life-saving drugs that are in development. Early stage clinical trials test the safety, efficacy, dosage, and side effects of new drugs and treatments on a small number of patients, usually at an advanced stage of disease. These trials are the first hurdle in the licensing process in the development of experimental drugs and treatments. BCNI will be established across the country through clinical research facilities in NUI Galway, University College Cork, and St James’s Hospital/Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group (ICORG) will also be a partner in this national network. The research initiative will be led by Professor Michael O’Dwyer, Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, and will also involve Professor Mary Cahill, Clinical Professor of Haematology, University College Cork; Professor Paul Browne, Professor of Haematology, Trinity College Dublin; Dr Eva Szegezdi, NUI Galway, and Dr Harry Comber, National Cancer Registry of Ireland, as co-lead investigators. This new clinical research network will establish a blood cancer biobank to collect and analyse patient samples to further our knowledge and understanding of blood cancers and an enhanced registry, in association with the National Cancer Registry of Ireland, to collect information about the treatment, outcomes, and quality of life of patients with blood cancers in Ireland. Director of Blood Cancer Network Ireland and Professor of Haematology at NUI Galway, Michael O’Dwyer, said: “This investment will put Ireland on the map in terms of developmental therapeutics in blood cancers. We are now in a position to attract cutting edge Phase I/II trials to Ireland giving Irish patients the earliest access to promising new treatments, while the development of a dedicated biobank and registry will greatly enhance our efforts in the areas of translational, population and health economics research. Overall, this investment will have many potential benefits: it will make Ireland internationally competitive in blood cancer research, increase access to expensive medicines free of charge with consequent savings to the taxpayer, enhance research and development in Ireland, contribute to job creation, and most importantly of all, benefit patients.” Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Robert O’Connor, said: “We are delighted to partner with Science Foundation Ireland to fund this innovative cancer research initiative that will bring new hope for blood cancer patients across the country. The Society is investing in research that is making a real difference to patient lives and this investment is another example of the vital and impactful cancer research that is being facilitated thanks to the support of members of the public who donate to us. Blood Cancer Network Ireland is the second collaborative cancer research initiative to be rolled out by the Society and ultimately it will give blood cancer patients new treatment options and hope for the future.” Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland, said: “A key goal of Science Foundation Ireland’s strategy Agenda 2020 is to develop significant strategic partnerships with industry, charities and international funders to support excellent and impactful research in Ireland. We are pleased to partner with the Irish Cancer Society and industry to support the establishment of Blood Cancer Network Ireland. This new clinical research network will bring direct benefits to cancer patients, support new drug discovery through clinical trials and increase our research competitiveness.” For further information about this new national research initiative visit www.bloodcancers.ie. ENDS

Friday, 4 December 2015

Winners selected from over 5,000 submissions from 255 institutions worldwide   NUI Galway student, Jonathan O’Rourke has been awarded a 2015 Undergraduate Award, an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research. A further ten NUI Galway students were highly commended, ranking in the top 10% of submissions internationally. Overall NUI Galway ranked in the top 30 for its student performance in the 2015 UA programme. Cited as the ultimate champion of high-potential undergraduates, and often referred to as a “Junior Nobel Prize”, The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s largest academic awards programme, recognising excellent research and original work across the sciences, humanities, business and creative arts. Jonathan O’Rourke, from Tramore, Co. Waterford, was announced winner of the Undergraduate Award in the Classical Studies & Archaeology Category for his paper entitled Self and the Other: The Construction of Barbarian Identity in Antiquity. The Undergraduate Awards 2015 programme received 5,117 submissions from undergraduates in 255 universities across 39 countries. Winners are the top performers in each of the 25 category. Louise Hodgson, Executive Director of The Undergraduate Awards, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for NUI Galway and its undergraduates. This year saw an NUI Galway student take first prize in this category for the second year in a row. Only the very top students from each university can submit their coursework, and The Undergraduate Awards identifies the very best of the best. With over 5,000 submissions from so many universities this year, the competition was extremely tough. Congratulations to all our 2015 Winners and Highly Commended Entrants.” Highly Commended entrants were brought together to meet their fellow awardees at the annual UA Global Summit in Dublin recently. The Summit was addressed by the philosopher AC Grayling, physicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, human genome sequencer Craig Venter, and the world’s youngest professor, Dr Alia Sabur, among many more speakers and facilitators. -Ends-

Friday, 4 December 2015

Study seeks participants aged 18-25 years old to examine common experiences of feeling disconnected or detached from one’s sense of self or their surroundings The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is conducting a research study on people who experience feelings of being disconnected or detached from themselves and their surroundings. Adults aged 18-25 years old are invited to participate in the study, with findings hoping to better inform professionals working within the mental health service. Recent research in mental health has identified that it can be common for people to experience unwanted thoughts and feelings of being more or less whole, or that the world is less real to them than at other times. This has been found to be a common phenomenon among the general population, but for some people it may cause them some distress. These experiences can be influenced by stress and fatigue, with most people not admitting to experiencing feelings of disconnect and detachment, for fear of being perceived as different or strange. International studies have found that people are more willing to report these experiences in surveys rather than disclose it to a doctor. The aim of this research is to normalise these common feelings and thoughts which people may have, and to determine whether they perceive them in a negative way. The study is particularly interested in people who may have experienced emotionally upsetting events or feelings in childhood, and evaluate if they are more likely to be affected by disconnected experiences in a more distressing way. The participants’ mood, anxiety and stress levels will also be measured, in order to establish if all these related issues impact on them in the here and now. The study is being carried out by Aoife Ó Laoide, a Psychologist in Clinical Training at the School of Psychology in NUI Galway, under the academic supervision of Dr Jonathan Egan, Deputy Director of the University’s Doctorate Programme in Psychological Science. Ms Ó Laoide is interested in examining this phenomenon and understanding how psychological factors, such as childhood experiences, current stress, anxiety, and mood might interact with these common experiences of feeling disconnected from yourself or your surroundings. Miss Ó Laoide said: “We are seeking people for the study who have ever felt ‘unreal’ or in a ‘dream-like’ state. People who experience a feeling of detachment or disconnection from themselves and their surroundings. We want to investigate this relatively common phenomenon that no one wants to admit to, in order to explore how it may impact on an individual and their overall psychological well-being, with the hope of informing future clinical practice.” For those aged 18-25 years old who wish to participate in the study please visit the online survey link at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/feelingunreal  For further information contact Aoife Ó Laoide at a.olaoide1@nuigalway.ie ENDS

Thursday, 10 December 2015

NUI Galway ‘Yeats & The West’ Exhibition continues with the addition of a recently acquired portrait of Lady Gregory in 1912 William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright, politician, and Nobel prize-winner for literature, always looked west. Through rare books, art, music, drama, and film, the Yeats & the West exhibition at NUI Galway discovers what the west meant to him, and what this might mean for us. As part of this exhibition of original materials that are unique to the West of Ireland, NUI Galway has added a recently acquired portrait of Lady Gregory painted by the artist Gerald Festus Kelly in 1912. Lady Augusta Gregory was 60 at the time this portrait was painted for The Abbey Theatre, and established in her career as folklorist, translator, and playwright. She is depicted wearing mourning clothes for her late husband Sir William Gregory, not entirely in keeping with her energetic personality. The portrait is currently located in the Reading Room of the James Hardiman Research Building as part of the Yeats & The West collection. Celebrating Yeats2015 the Yeats & the West programme continues with an exclusive tour of the exhibition by the curators and events include a talk about ‘Yeats and the act of dying’ by Professor Kevin Barry from the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, and a Yeats & the West closing event next January featuring talks and readings by scholars, artists, and writers. Dr Adrian Paterson, lecturer in English and curator of the exhibition at NUI Galway, said: “I think people forget that Yeats was not just a poet, he was a cultural revolutionary. To put it differently you might say he was a collaborator, an entrepreneur, an artist and a man who made things happen. The west was the landscape of Yeats’s poetry. It was also a wellspring of songs, stories, folklore, artwork, drama and crafts. The exhibition takes a close look at his poetry. But it also highlights his collaborations, and the songs and plays and artwork and politics of those around him that shaped modern Ireland. It’s a western revolution.” Highlights of the Yeats & the West exhibition include watercolours from a 1900 Galway sketchbook by Jack B. Yeats, never-before seen paintings by Jack Yeats and Gerard Dillon, a wealth of visual material from artists and photographers from Fergus Bourke to Nicolas Fève, film footage and touchscreens, and rarely seen images, manuscripts, and books from archive collections in NUI Galway. Archive treasures include the Lady Gregory Collection, the Abbey Digital Archive, and the Lyric Theatre Belfast. Yeats & the West also highlights the gifted artists of Yeats’s own family, in original handprinted books from the Cuala Press and images of the Dun Emer embroideries from Loughrea’s St. Brendan’s Cathedral. A complete collection of the Cuala Press broadsides designed by Jack B. Yeats will also be on show. “Cuala Industries was essentially a feminist collective”, said Dr Paterson. “It was nationalist, too, but not in a narrow way, and they turned their hands to everything. The Broadsides feature original designs by Jack Yeats and other artists such as Harry Kernoff that are then coloured by hand. The later editions represent the only major collaboration between the two Yeats brothers.” The exhibition also features material from the Arthur Shields Collection, a spectacular resource of letters, photographs, and first editions. Arthur Shields was an actor at the Abbey Theatre involved in the Easter Rising of 1916, who acted in Yeats and O’Casey’s revolutionary plays, took the Abbey on tours to America, and then appeared in Hollywood films, making for a remarkable story. Yeats & the West tells a story of going west to find those places, real and imaginative, that change our sense of where and who we are. The exhibition runs until the end of January 2016 in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. The Yeats & the West programme is supported by the Moore Institute and James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, Galway City Museum, the National Library of Ireland, Loughrea Cathedral, the Yeats Thoor Ballylee Society and Yeats2015. ‘The throats of birds: W.B. Yeats and the act of dying’ talk with Professor Kevin Barry will take place on Tuesday, 15 December at 5pm in Room G011 in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. The talk is free and open to the public. The Yeats & The West exhibition is open daily from 9am-5pm in the Hardiman Research Building at NUI Galway. Visit: yeatsandthewest.org ENDS

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Health Promotion Research Unit at NUI Galway delivers promising findings from national study in the health behaviours of our children   Dr Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Health today, 9 December 2015, launched the main findings from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Ireland Survey 2014, carried out by the Health Promotion Research Unit at NUI Galway. The HBSC study is a cross-sectional study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.  Findings in the report are based on 13,611 school students from 230 schools across the county and are compared with data from the last HBSC survey in 2010. In welcoming the report, Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar stated: “I welcome the decrease in smoking levels and drunkenness as well as the increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among children in Ireland. I am concerned about children’s exposure to second hand smoke and the ease at which young people report being able to purchase cigarettes. There are also still a worrying number of children going to bed hungry and skipping breakfast. If we can convince children that healthy habits and lifestyles are worth pursuing, then we have got a better chance of these children maintaining healthy behaviours and habits into adulthood. Being healthy and preventing disease is a key focus of Healthy Ireland.” Commenting on the findings, Principal Investigator Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn stated: “This report brings welcome good news about the health behaviours and well-being of children in Ireland with a decrease in smoking, alcohol and cannabis use. Further, the majority of children in Ireland report having high life satisfaction. However there are areas of children’s lives where we need to continue to encourage positive healthy behaviours particularly around physical activity and nutrition.” Key Findings 2014 (Main Study, 10-17 year olds) A decrease in the proportion of children reporting tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use from 2010.  Overall 8% report that they currently smoked (12% in 2010); 21% report ever being really drunk (31% in 2010) and 8% report cannabis use in the last 12 months (9% in 2010). New to the study this time, young people were asked about their exposure to second hand smoke in their family home and family car (12% reported adults allowed to smoke in family home; 16% report adults allowed to smoke in family car). Children were asked about cyberbullying. Overall, 13% of children report ever being bullied in the past couple of months by being sent mean messages and 15% ever being bullied in the past couple of months by someone posting unflattering or inappropriate pictures of them online without permission. Overall, 27% of young people aged 15-17 years old report having ever had sex. An increase in the proportion of young people who report eating fruit and/or vegetables more than once a day (fruit: 23% 2014 vs. 20% in 2010) (vegetable: 22% 2014 vs. 20% in 2010).  There is a decrease in the proportion of young people who report eating unhealthy foods.  Overall, 27% report eating sweets daily or more (37% in 2010) and 13% report soft drink consumption daily or more (21% in 2010). The proportion of young people who report excellent health, feeling very happy with their life and high life satisfaction has remained stable or unchanged from 2010.   Study Context The survey runs every four years and in 2014 there were 44 participating countries and regions (www.hbsc.org).  The 2014 Irish HBSC survey, carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway is the fifth round of data collection in Ireland. The overall study aims to gain new insight into, and increase our understanding of young people’s health and wellbeing, health behaviours and their social context. As well as serving as a monitoring and a knowledge-generating function, one of the key objectives of HBSC has been to inform policy and practice. A total of 13,611 children aged 9-18 from 230 schools across Ireland participated in the 2014 survey.  Overall, 59% of invited schools and 84.5% of invited children participated.  This report includes findings from the HBSC main study, which includes children from 5th class to 5th year and middle childhood, which includes children in 3rd and 4th class in primary schools. For the first time in the Irish HBSC survey, children and young people from across the country identified new priorities for the study and these findings are also presented in this report. Click the link to view the Irish HBSC survey. ENDS

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Ireland 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys T.D., today (10 December) announce a major National Conference as a key part of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. NUI Galway will host the major national academic conference of the 1916-2016 commemoration next year, on the theme, Ireland 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty. This conference will run 10-12 November 2016 and will include academic contributions from a broad range of Ireland's universities and institutes of technology, as well as from a number of leading international figures. The Department of Education and Skills is also delighted to support this conference and has reserved some funding within its Ireland 2016 commemorative programme for the project. This major international conference will facilitate an intensive exploration of two dominant and connected themes: - The vision and aspiration invested in an independent Irish state by idealists and thinkers of the revolutionary generation - The challenges facing the Irish sovereign state in 2016 – and the visions and horizons of ambition that should inspire the Irish people as they face the future Speaking at the announcement, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. said: “This is an opportunity to acknowledge the role of third level institutions in Irish life and the contribution they make to helping us examine our history, reflect on our achievements and look to our shared future. The conference is a national initiative and an invitation to all our third level institutions to participate, engage and contribute our best thinking at this unique moment in Ireland’s history.” Minister Heather Humphreys said: ”Next year, all of our third level institutions will be a hive of activity; hosting debates and discussions on the Rising, the last 100 years, and the future. This flagship National Conference, to be hosted in NUIG, will examine the ideals of the 1916 Leaders and the challenges facing the 2016 generation. Our third level sector will help us to understand our history better as we commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising, and to consider what Irishness means to us as a nation a century later.” The conference will convene 10-12 November 2016 and will be addressed by several leading international speakers. Among those who have already confirmed they will participate in the conference are: Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of Oxford, Roy Foster, historian, and academics Professors Kevin O'Rourke, Mary Daly, Philip Pettit, Brendan O'Leary, and Dr Maurice Manning. The conference will also be addressed by Conference Patron Michael D. Higgins, Uachtarán na hÉireann. Major plenary sessions are planned on The Promise of 1916; Culture and Identity in a Globalized World; Economy, Society and the Well-Being of Citizens; and The Challenges, Promise and Responsibility of Education in the 21st century. The conference will conclude with a session on Political Futures and New Paradigms. Conference Chair and Chancellor, National University of Ireland, Dr Maurice Manning, said: “Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries has provided a wonderful opportunity for our nation to take stock and to examine 100 years of Irish independence. As the 100th anniversary year draws to a close in November 2016, this national academic conference will enable a wide ranging reflection on how Ireland – a small country can position itself globally for the next period of its development. We believe this is a great opportunity for Irish academics and global commentators to reflect on Irish identity and independence and to look forward at Ireland in a globalised future.” There will be a programme of public events associated with the conference which will be open to the public. A detailed programme will be available in early 2016 and updated on www.ireland.ie Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway welcomed the announcement: “NUI Galway is very pleased to host this national academic conference on our campus next year. We look forward to welcoming colleagues from all Irish higher education institutions to our campus for an important discussion on Ireland 1916-2016: The Promise and Challenge of National Sovereignty. We also embrace the public dimension of this event and will ensure wide participation in a public programme of talks, exhibitions and events on the campus and across the city.” ENDS

Friday, 11 December 2015

NUI Galway to host regional heat of one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world and is seeking scientists with a passion for public engagement As part of the recent Galway Science & Technology Festival Exhibition, NUI Galway launched ‘FameLab’, one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world. For the first time ever the University will host a regional heat in the competition and the organisers are calling for entries now. If you think you can explain a scientific concept to a general audience, in just three minutes, then why not enter? You could become the new face of science, represent Ireland at the 2016 FameLab International finals in the UK, and open doors to global opportunities in science communication. The competition is open to scientists, mathematicians and engineers across Ireland working in industry, business, research, academia, education, public service or other sectors, including specialist post-primary science teachers and third-level students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. Training for entrants will take place in Galway on Tuesday, 12 January with the Regional heat scheduled for Tuesday, 9 February 2016 at An Taibhdhearc Theatre in Galway. The application deadline to enter is Friday, 31 December 2015. Successful candidates who make it through to the initial regional heat, will be invited to attend an all-expenses paid Communication Masterclass that will help them develop invaluable STEM media and presentation skills. The Communication Masterclass will take place in Dublin on the 19 and 20 March, 2016. The aim of each presentation is that the audience and judges should be left inspired and enthused about science. The winner will be a charismatic presenter who makes the science easy to listen to, entertaining, exciting and who is not only able to communicate the science but who can share their passion for it. The FameLab Ireland Final will be held at the Science Gallery in Dublin on Thursday, 7 April 2016 and participants will be judged by leading researchers, media personalities and science policy makers on the content, clarity and charisma of their presentation. To register your interest and take part in the FameLab Galway competition, apply to: http://www.britishcouncil.ie/famelab/enter-competition/apply Please note that the competition is not open to people who are already working professionally in public engagement with science, including: • Press or PR officers, even for science-related organisations • Artists who work on science-related themes • Performers whose shows are about science or engineering • Science centre staff who work exclusively or mainly with the public • Journalists and broadcasters (as their main or only job) • Non-specialist teachers Contact famelab@ie.britishcouncil.org if you are unsure about your eligibility. ENDS

Friday, 11 December 2015

A research professor at NUI Galway helped honour his previous supervisor for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm yesterday Thursday, 10 December. Professor Bob Lahue from the Centre for Chromosome Biology at NUI Galway, trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Professor Paul Modrich of Duke University in the United States. Professor Modrich, the James B. Duke professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Duke University’s School of Medicine, was one of three scientists to share the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for landmark discoveries over four decades of work in DNA repair. The Nobel Committee cited one of the Lahue-Modrich publications as groundbreaking. The Nobel Committee recognised Professor Modrich’s work on mismatch repair, which acts as a genetic spellchecker to preserve the DNA. Defects in mismatch repair are now known to cause certain hereditary forms of colorectal cancer. Genetic testing of cancer patients helps identify those with mismatch repair defects, providing information which is important in guiding their treatment. Commenting from the Nobel Prize ceremony, NUI Galway’s Professor Lahue said: “Our DNA is damaged every day in every cell. DNA repair is a fix-it machine that repairs the damage and keeps our genetic information safe. It was tremendously exciting to discover how mismatch repair worked. Paul is an outstanding supervisor and I feel very lucky to have trained in his laboratory. It was wonderful to see him honoured with a Nobel Prize for his seminal work.” Professor Lahue has worked since 2007 at NUI Galway’s Centre for Chromosome Biology in the Biosciences Research Building. Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council and the Health Research Board have funded his research. ENDS

Monday, 14 December 2015

Abbey Theatre/NUI Galway Digital Archive Partnership makes content from years 1904 – 1939 available online to the public -Offering fascinating behind the scenes views of the Abbey Theatre during the years of W.B. Yeats’s involvement in the theatre -Insight into leading figures from Irish Literary Revival -The struggle for funding -Insights into a pre and post-independence Ireland Monday, 14 December, 2015: As the Yeats 2015 celebrations draw to a close, a most fitting unveiling will take place today (Monday 14 December) as the Abbey Theatre Minute Books will be made available to the public for the first time on a new website. Collectively, the minute books amount to nearly 1,000 pages, covering some of the Abbey’s most significant events from the period 1904-1939. These minute books are now being published as part of the Abbey Theatre and NUI Galway Digital Archive Partnership (2012-2015). A Digital Journey Through Irish Theatre History, the Abbey Theatre - NUI Galway Digital Archive Partnership is the largest digital theatre project ever undertaken, and heralds a new era in Irish theatre scholarship, both nationally and internationally. Previously unseen, the Abbey Theatre Minute Books date from 1904 to 1939 and include the period in history when both Lady Gregory and W.B. Yeats were involved in the management of the Abbey Theatre. The Abbey Theatre minute books contain notes from meetings of the theatre’s Board of Directors. They offer a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of the theatre, showing how the Abbey’s managers dealt with a variety of issues, from choosing plays to determining how much to pay their actors. Along the way, we find important information about leading figures from the Irish Literary Revival and beyond: not just W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and John Millington Synge but Sean O’Casey, Lennox Robinson, Teresa Deevy, Sean O’Faolain, Frank O’Connor, and many others. We also learn about great Irish actors such as Molly Allgood, Ria Mooney, Barry Fitzgerald, Cyril Cusack and many more. NUI Galway Professor of Drama Patrick Lonergan said that the minute book will be of huge interest to theatre scholars, historians, and anyone with an interest in Irish culture: “the story of the Abbey Theatre is in many ways the story of our nation in microcosm. This online resource shows the Abbey Theatre and NUI Galway working together to reveal new aspects of that theatre’s story – and, by extension, new aspects of the story of Ireland. Users of the site will be able to search easily through hundreds of pages of records, and can move between the handwritten originals and carefully transcribed webpages. And all of this is available entirely free of charge to readers anywhere in the world.” The minute books allow us to understand better how theatres are run. Yeats wrote about his approach to theatre business in a poem that was tellingly called “The Fascination of What’s Difficult”, cursing “plays/ that have to be set up in fifty ways”. Here we find Yeats encountering all sorts of difficulties - from the threat of government censorship of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars in 1926 to the leaking of his late play Purgatory to a Jesuit priest in 1938. And those difficulties are indeed fascinating. We also learn much about the day to day activities of keeping a theatre in business: the struggles to find appropriate funding, the actors’ requests for extra money or time off, and the maintenance of the building. And of course we learn much about Ireland, both before and after independence. The Abbey Theatre famously was the first state-subsidised theatre in the English-speaking world, earning funding in 1925 from the newly independent Irish Free State. Bryan McMahon, Chairman of the Abbey Theatre said:  “The Abbey Theatre is proud to reveal, for the first time, our early Minute Books, an exciting milestone in our ground-breaking digital archive partnership with NUI Galway.   It is wonderful to manifest digitally the inner workings of the national theatre during its formative years.  These Minute Books give us fascinating insights into the management style and business acumen of W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory and the contribution made by the Board of Directors.  Indeed, the Minute Books reveal that Yeats was so integral to the Abbey Theatre, that Lennox Robinson, playwright and Board member, was dispatched to France to assist in the repatriation of his remains.  As we all know, it was an unsuccessful mission.  The Abbey Theatre is delighted that in this Yeats’ commemorative year, the full story of W.B. Yeats as theatre maker can be fully revealed.” In total, the Abbey Theatre and NUI Galway are making available seven minute books, including: 1904-1905 – outlining the foundation of the theatre, its relationships with other theatres in Ireland, and its evolving approach to its actors and patron Annie Horniman. 1908-1912. The book is primarily a record of plays to be performed as the theatre moves through the period. It also details actors’ issues, training and staging practicalities. 1912-1939. This book contains minutes of the company’s annual general meetings, and thus is different from the other publications, with some overlap in the minute books from 1929-39. 1925-1931 After a hiatus, the Abbey Theatre Board of Directors resumes taking minutes in 1925, following the Free State government’s decision to fund the theatre. A central topic of debate here is the fate of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars. 1932-1936. The theatre grapples with ongoing financial difficulties, responds to the death of Lady Gregory, and its actors are offered the opportunity to make movies in Hollywood. Ernest Blythe formally joins the Board. 1936 to 1937. While covering a relatively short period, this minute book gives a fascinating account of the Abbey’s relationship with Teresa Deevy. We also find growing tensions between the Board and the Abbey company of actors. 1937 to 1939. Dominated by negotiations with the Irish government for the creation of a new theatre, which would house the Abbey Theatre and Gate Theatre (the outbreak of war in 1939 meant that this plan was never completed). Also notable here is the production of Yeats’s final plays, in particular the controversial Purgatory, which appeared at the Abbey Theatre Festival in 1938. This is a major milestone in this ground-breaking digitisation project which has brought the most advanced digital technology to bear on one of the world’s most historic theatre archives. The unprecedented access to the historic material enabled by its digitisation has far reaching benefits for students and researchers of the University. The unveiling of the Abbey Theatre Minute Books goes one step further, bringing this project to a public audience for the first time. The Abbey Theatre Minute Books can be viewed www.nuigalway.ie/abbeytheatreminutebooks/ ENDS

Monday, 14 December 2015

Academy integrates medical education with clinical delivery for medical doctors of the future  An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD today (14 December 2015) officially launched the Mayo Medical Academy, an NUI Galway partnership with Saolta University Health Care Group and Mayo University Hospital for the training of doctors. The Academy is housed in a purpose-designed facility located in the former chapel on the grounds of Mayo University Hospital. This is a major investment by NUI Galway into Clinical training in Mayo, one of a series of proposed medical academies in the West/North West region. Construction of similar facilities at Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals is almost completed and they will be opened early in the New Year. Speaking at the Launch, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “ I welcome this investment into clinical training facilities for medical students at Mayo University Hospital. This is a tremendous contribution to medical education and research in the west of Ireland. The ongoing development of the Medical Academies by NUI Galway and Saolta Health Group is an important strategic investment in the North-West region. The Mayo Medical Academy will support university medical education at Mayo University Hospital and thereby enhance its reputation and significantly benefit the local knowledge economy.” Medical Education and Clinical Delivery The new Mayo Medical Academy will allow doctors of the future to fine tune their clinical skills under the watchful eyes of tutors and lecturers covering all medical specialties. 60 students per semester from third, fourth and final medical years rotate through Mayo University Hospital for one year clinical training. The co-location of the Academy with the hospital is deliberate as it allows students to attend didactic teaching in the Academy and also bedside teaching in the hospital. One of the strengths of the NUI Galway Medical School Academies is the ratio of both tutors to students and also of students to patients. Speaking at the launch of the Mayo Medical Academy, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: “As well as being enormously important for the clinical education of our students, the real benefit of this partnership is to the health system across our region. Our relationship with Saolta University Health Care Group through the Mayo Medical Academy brings a range of tangible benefits: including better learning outcomes for medical students; better treatment rates for patients, with increased personnel on wards; and better opportunities for recruitment and retention of top staff in hospitals across the region through association with the University. Many people and organisations have given their energy to see this project come to fruition and NUI Galway is very pleased to be opening the first of its new Medical Academies in Mayo today.” Mayo General provides students with excellent exposure to a wide variety of specialities. From January 2016 onwards, the Mayo Medical Academy and Mayo General will also be welcoming student as part of the School’s new Junior Internship programme called iJuMP (Intern Junior Mentoring Programme). The School of Medicine promotes the development of its graduates to a level of excellence in preparedness for clinical practice, allowing them to function as a competent doctor in a changing, complex and demanding working environment. Final year medical students will from January be working on the wards as part of a team and functioning as junior interns. They will be supported by supervising consultants and will work closely with current interns to learn everything about the clinical environment first hand. The medical curriculum at NUI Galway is a five-year programme with an annual intake of approximately 180 students.  The curriculum is innovative and integrates the life sciences with clinical practice, provides for early patient exposure, immersion in a variety of clinical environments and, from the 2015/16 academic year onwards, will also be emphasizing intern preparedness to a greater extent. Commenting, Professor Kevin Barry, Consultant Surgeon and Dean of the Medical Education said, “Mayo University Hospital has always had very close links with third level institutions, particularly NUI Galway and GMIT.   The development of the Academy means that Mayo University Hospital will become part of an officially recognised teaching network. Providing students with a positive and rich experience within our acute hospitals will enable Mayo University Hospital and the wider Saolta Group, attract and retain first-class consultant and non-consultant hospital doctors.” Mayo Medical Academy Building Mayo Medical Academy is housed within the boundaries of a previous Catholic Church. The original structure was built at a cost of £3,400 in the early 20th century and was used for religious purposes during the period 1902 to 2010. This building, which is strategically located across from the main public entrance to Mayo University Hospital, has been sensitively restored into a multipurpose teaching facility, which is destined to become the subject of much favourable architectural comment in the future. As the original building was subject to a historic preservation order, all aspects of the church were carefully retained during the heritage restoration project which began in February of this year and was completed one-week ago. The design team consisted of Taylor Architects, Castlebar, Co. Mayo and the work was undertaken by the local construction firm of Mountain View Securities. The entire project was funded by NUI Galway at a cost in the region of €2.2 million. The final result comprises a stunning and innovative architectural design, combining the best of old and new. The building encompasses many features that facilitate a flexible approach to teaching and the various spaces within the building are designed to accommodate different student group sizes simultaneously. Emphasis is placed on Internet and WiFi connectivity within the building, including various teleconferencing links to NUI Galway. A lecture theatre, clinical skills space and student reading room comprise some of the many attractive features of the Mayo Medical Academy. Students will have 24-hour access to facilities on the ground floor, enabling easy transfer from the hospital to a more personal learning environment. Charlie Meehan, General Manager Mayo University Hospital added, “The development of a teaching academy at Mayo University Hospital comes at a critical time in the development of our health services nationally. This facility will enhance the hospital’s reputation and contribute over time to even higher standards of patient care in all of our clinical departments. The vision of the Academy is to integrate medical education with clinical delivery and develop an ecosystem that positions the hospital as a progressive facility that delivers the highest quality patient care together with excellent medical training and research.”    ENDS

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The first ‘NUI Galway Mini Med School’ is taking place next January and February 2016 to encourage and inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals. The programme is aimed at Transition, 5th and 6th year students and will be run on campus on the 27 January and the 3, 10 and 17 of February 2016. NUI Galway Mini Med School is designed to give students a taste of what it would be like to study a healthcare-related degree at the University, while encouraging them to pursue their interests. It is the second initiative of its kind in Ireland along with the College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The Mini Med School is a four-week interactive course and in its first year the theme will focus on Cancer and Oncology. The course will cover Clinical Medicine, Nursing, Research and The Future of Oncology. Each session will take place from 7pm to 9.30pm at NUI Galway and will include two speakers, a question and answers session with nursing and medical students, and an interactive medical activity. Students who attend can familiarise themselves with activities that NUI Galway students are involved in as part of their health care degree, engage and learn conceptual and practical aspects of oncology and its health care implications, and have the opportunity to meet and discuss healthcare studies with current NUI Galway medical and nursing students. Mini Med School is designed for any Transition, 5th and 6th year secondary school students from the Republic of Ireland. Registration will open on 16 December and will close once the 150 places available have been attributed. Note that registration is a first-come, first-serve basis and that participants must attend the four sessions of the event. NUI Galway Mini Med School is a voluntary initiative created, planned and organised by students from the NUI Galway Cancer Society with the support of the College of Science and the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. It is supported by the Emergency Medicine Society (EMSSI), the Irish Coast Guard, the University’s Cell EXPLORERS programme, the Irish Cancer Society and by an NUI Galway Students’ Union EXPLORE Innovation Initiative project led by first year Medical Student Rosemary James and Dr Muriel Grenon from the School of Natural Sciences. If you have any questions please contact minimednuig@gmail.com. For the latest information on program developments, follow MiniMed on Twitter @NUIGminimed #NUIGminimed16 or Facebook www.facebook.com/nuigminimedschool/ or visit our EXPLORE website www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore-projects/2015-2016-projects. Those interested in attending must register online, at the Mini Med School Eventbrite website: http://NUIGalwayminimed16.eventbrite.ie ENDS