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2014

NUI Galway Researchers Seek Participants For Project On Chronic Pain In Children

NUI Galway Researchers Seek Participants For Project On Chronic Pain In Children-image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Children in Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Galway who experience chronic pain are invited to help develop an effective pain management programme Researchers with the School of Psychology at NUI Galway are currently inviting children aged from 7-12 years who have experienced chronic or recurrent pain for a period of three months or more, and their parents, to help develop an effective pain management programme for young children which will be computer-based and accessed online.  Group sessions will be run at a number of locations across Ireland including Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast. Children with any type of chronic or persistent pain including abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and combined or widespread pains, are invited to participate. Children and their parents will use art materials to think, draw or write about ideas or topics which they think are important for children and parents dealing with chronic pain. Participants will be shown a computer-based programme designed to support pain management and are invited to give feedback, based on their personal experiences of chronic pain management.  The project will involve just one meeting with a group of children and one meeting with a group of parents to enable the researchers to decide what course of action would work best for this type of treatment programme. Group sessions will be fun and interactive, lasting 30-40 minutes. Participant views and personal experiences are extremely valuable and their input will greatly enhance research in the development of an intervention for children who suffer with chronic pain. They may also benefit from sharing their experiences and thoughts about chronic pain management with others in a similar situation, in a casual environment, while offering complete confidentiality. NUI Galway PhD student and group facilitator, Angeline Traynor said: “Chronic pain is increasingly prevalent in young people and can have a significant impact on the day-to-day quality of life. The most common types of chronic pain in children are abdominal pain, back pain, musculoskeletal pain, headache and combined or widespread pains.” Ms Traynor continued, “Given the impact of chronic pain and the increasing focus on technology as a means of treatment delivery, it is essential to identify and address the needs of young children with respect to pain management. Participation is voluntary and anything you say during the group session is strictly confidential. These sessions will give children and their parents the chance to inform our research by telling us of their own personal experiences with chronic pain management.” This programme is part of a PhD research project being carried out at NUI Galway by PhD student Angeline Traynor with Dr. Brian McGuire of the university’s School of Psychology and the Centre for Pain Research. The study is supported by Galway University Foundation. Each group session will include 6-8 other volunteer participants and will be led by Ms. Traynor and Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway. Refreshments will be provided to participants. If you would be willing to help with this important study or would like further information, please contact Angeline Traynor at a.traynor2@nuigalway.ie or 086 0378562 or go directly to www.helpkidswithpain.com  

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NUI Galway Appoints Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College Of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

NUI Galway Appoints Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College Of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

NUI Galway has appointed Professor Timothy O’Brien as Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Professor Timothy O’Brien is recognized as an international expert on vascular wall gene delivery. Professor O’Brien returned to Ireland in July 2001 as Professor of Medicine and Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Metabolism at University College Hospital Galway.   Professor O’Brien has since established a gene therapy research group the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). As Director of REMEDI, he has played a key role in establishing both the new Bioscience Building at NUI Galway the Clinical Research Facility in the hospital. Speaking about his appointment Professor O’Brien said, “NUI Galway has a long and proud tradition of serving the local, national and global communities by educating the health care providers of the future. I look forward to building on that success and working with colleagues across the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Healthcare systems to integrate the education of our future health care providers. In particular, I look forward to working closely with our colleagues in the West Northwest Hospital group to this end. This success in our education programmes is recognised by prestigious scholarship schemes such as the Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships and we will strive to continue and expand on our traditional success in that programme.” Professor O’Brien continued, “The College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences will continue to promote excellence and international competitiveness in selected research areas. We will pursue an innovation agenda with a focus on generation of impact. The research themes will be aligned with University and National priority areas and approaches will emphasize collaboration between our faculty members, hospitals and industry.  We will strive to enhance patient care and contribute to economic recovery in Ireland through our research performance. In addition, we will work to contribute to the Irish Government’s aim to win €1.3 billion in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 programme.” A native of Cork, Professor O’Brien received an honours MB BCh BAO degree from UCC in 1984. He went on to do an internship and general professional training at Cork University Hospital and one year as Registrar to Professor DJ O’Sullivan. He completed a two year residency in internal medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1990 followed by a sub-specialty fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN in 1992. He was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in Ireland and London in 1986 and 1987, respectively and to Fellowship of the American College of Physicians in 1995 and the American College of Endocrinology in 1996. He was awarded MD (1993) and PhD (1997) degrees from the National University of Ireland. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology and Metabolism in the USA and is a registered specialist in both specialties in Ireland. Since returning to Ireland Professor O’Brien has been a principal or co-applicant on grants worth in excess of €73 million. He has been a reviewer for 16 international journals, was a member of an American Heart Association Study Section, has acted as an invited reviewer on an NIH study section, and has been a reviewer for the Wellcome Trust and the Finnish Academy of Science. He served as associate editor of Endocrine Practice, the journal of the American College of Endocrinology from 1999-2006 and the e-journal of Translational Medicine. To date Professor O'Brien has published 240 original papers in peer-reviewed journals.  He has contributed to 21 books, and has been invited to present his research at over 150 national and international scientific conferences. He is an author on seven patent applications. He is the Director of the MSc in Regenerative Medicine at NUI Galway and has supervised 18 PhD students to graduation. Professor O’Brien is Director of the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland (CCMI) and he is also a co-founder of a spin-out company, Orbsen Therapeutics. Professor Timothy O’Brien will succeed Professor Gerry Loftus who recently retired.

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EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn to Open 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers Association Conference at NUI Galway

EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn to Open 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers Association Conference at NUI Galway -image

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

‘Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley’ is the theme of the Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference NUI Galway will host the 52nd Annual Irish Science Teachers’ Association (ISTA) Conference from the 11-12 April. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan Quinn and President Jim Browne of NUI Galway will officially open the Conference entitled “Inspiring Science from Ireland’s Silicon Valley”. The Irish Science Teachers' Association is the professional association of science teachers in the Republic of Ireland. It is over 50 years in existence and is the longest established provider of Continuous Professional Development for science teachers, with internationally renowned speakers invited to present frontier science to teachers. The Conference will host a total of 30 exhibitors in the area of science education. On Saturday 12 April there will be a full day of events in the Arts/Science Building at NUI Galway, starting with parallel talks and workshops in the morning and plenary sessions in the afternoon. Topics vary from ‘The Physics of Cancer’ to ‘Life Saving Chemistry’. Professor Donal O’Shea will give a talk on Childhood Obesity and FameLab science communicator Fergus McAuliffe will also be on stage. Workshops in biology, chemistry and physics will be conducted by teams from the Professional Development Service for Teachers, and there will also be short presentations on EU linked projects such as SCIENTIX, TEMI (Teaching Enquiry with Mystery Incorporated) and Chain Reaction. Primary Science is also included, as Dr Maeve Liston from Mary Immaculate College will present a practical workshop for primary school teachers. In the first plenary session of the afternoon the Nottingham based Professor Martyn Poliakoff, of Periodic Table Videos fame, will give a talk entitled ‘From Test-Tube to YouTube’. This will be followed by the launch of the Hyland Report which looks at International best practice in the design of science syllabi for second level schools. European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn will provide the keynote address at the opening of the Conference and added, “I am delighted to be able to join you for the Irish Science Teachers’ Association Annual Conference this year. The work you do as an association and as individual teachers every day in the classroom, provides the foundation upon which Irish children and young adults are successfully equipping themselves for careers as researchers, academics, scientists in industry and informed citizens. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn continued, “Science and innovation are at the core of our daily lives and will, I believe, unlock a bright new future for generations. As teachers you have the privilege and responsibility to inspire and nurture our young people. I have great confidence in your ability and willingness to step up to the challenge, and continue to produce Europe’s brightest and best young scientists.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway said, “It is a great pleasure to welcome the Irish Science Teachers’ Association to NUI Galway for your annual conference. This University has a long and proud tradition of scientific excellence in teaching and research. From our popular degree courses to world-leading research, science has been a cornerstone of the University for well over a century. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Irish Science Teachers’ Association continued success for the future. The work that you do to ignite curiosity and inspire young scientists is pivotal to the future of science and technology in Ireland.” The first lecture will be presented by Professor Elaine Fox from the University of Oxford and is entitled: ‘Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain; From Pessimist to Optimist, can we really change?’ It will take place at the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday 11 April at 8pm. Professor Fox’s work has been discussed in New Scientist, The Economist and the New York Times. There will also be an update from ISTA members on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment development groups in relation to new syllabi at the Annual Business Meeting; this is the only session that is for members only. The closing talk will be given by the well renowned Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey in which he will address the question: ‘Is Life Quantum Mechanical?’ Events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building. The Association for Science Education representatives from the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland will attend the conference and Professor Teresa Kennedy from the USA will represent ICASE. Both events take place on Saturday 12 April in the Arts/Science Building. The organisation, led by Mary Mullaghy, National Chairperson of ISTA, is one of the pioneers of collaborative learning in association with the Department of Education and Skills, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, State Examinations Commission, Professional Development of Secondary Teachers, Institutes of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Technology Exhibition, BT Young Scientist, SciFest, industry and third level institutions. Many organisations communicate their outreach initiatives through the association as there is an extensive communication network. A Conference dinner and awards ceremony will take place in Hotel Meyrick and will be attended by some of the founding members of the Association including Sr Mercedes Desmond aged 92 years. Advance booking is advised. Full programme details and bookings are available on www.ista.ie and on social media @IrishSciTeach and Facebook. For registration visit http://istaannualconference2014.weebly.com

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April 2014

NUI Galway’s 6th International Disability Law Summer School, the Biggest Worldwide, Opens for Registration

NUI Galway’s 6th International Disability Law Summer School, the Biggest Worldwide, Opens for Registration -image

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Titled ‘Access to Justice and Political Participation’ the Summer School will run from the 16th to the 20th of June 2014   The 6th International Disability Law Summer School, hosted by NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, will take place from the 16-20 June 2014. Registration is now open for the biggest such Summer School in the world, with a focus on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Entitled ‘Access to Justice and Political Participation’, it will focus on facilitating access to justice for all and encouraging political participation. The aim of the five-day Summer School is to equip participants with the insights and skills necessary to help them translate the generalities of the UN Convention into tangible reform for persons with disabilities. Over 100 delegates from 38 countries are expected to attend this year’s event. The participants include persons with disabilities, their families, civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and policy analysts. The faculty will include senior academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world. Most of the speakers have been directly and actively engaged in drafting and implementing the UN Convention. Others are advocates for change and reform. The keynote speaker for the Summer School will be Amita Dhanda, Professor of Law and Head of the Centre for Disability Studies, NALSAR, University of Law, Hyderabad, India, who has published extensively on the legal position of persons with mental disabilities. Dr Dhanda has also actively engaged in the work of the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee negotiating the UN Convention. Mr Donal Toolan, founder member of the Forum for People with Disabilities will respond to the keynote address. Most presentations will either be given by, or responded to, by disabled activists from around the world. A notable feature of the annual Summer School is a Moot Court exercise based on the UN Convention. Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway, said, “Above all, the School belongs to people with disabilities and their allies and is structured in such a way as to enable people explore for themselves the relevance of the Convention in their own lives and in the process of change. It sees people with disabilities as agents of change whether in Ireland, Kenya or India. It sees people with disabilities as providers and advocates for solutions – instead of as problems.” The Summer School is in part supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies, The Soros-Open Society Institute, The Department of Foreign Affairs (Irish Aid), The FP7 Marie Curie DREAM project of the European Union and NUI Galway. Registration for the Summer School is now open and will cost €330. Further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp or phone Niamh Lally on 091 494270. Participant accessibility (physical or communicational) requests and enquiries are welcomed.

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NUI Galway To Host 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology

NUI Galway To Host 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology-image

Monday, 7 April 2014

Major International Conference at NUI Galway relating to Ageing, the Life Course and Meaning will look at the theme “Meaning and Culture(s): Exploring the Life Course” NUI Galway will host the 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology, which is also the 2nd Conference of the European Network in Aging Studies. The conference entitled Meaning and Culture(s): Exploring the Life Course will take place in the Arts Millennium Building at NUI Galway from the 10 – 12 April. This major international conference provides further evidence of the University’s global reputation in questions relating to ageing and the life course. The conference theme reflects the fact that the process of ageing is not the same everywhere. In some societies older people are powerful and revered. In others, ageing may be feared as a period of exclusion and decline. How people get older thus depends not only on key factors such as health, but also on issues including the values and ideas attached to ageing in the societies in which they live and how they are expected to contribute to their communities. The conference, jointly organised by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, explores older people’s different ways of interpreting their own life-courses, as positive or negative, the contrasting ways we age in different cultural environments, as well as expectations or stereotypes that affect older people’s possibilities for participating in society and their experience of ageing. Over 200 papers presented by more than 250 delegates from all over the world will interrogate the opportunities, challenges and disputes connected with values and practices affecting people’s life-courses. How connected are they with economic assumptions that appear to reject people after they have left work or with youth cultures demanding that everyone should aim for physical beauty? Three keynote speakers will participate, all of whom are outstanding scholars and acknowledged international leaders in the thriving field of cultural gerontology. Harry R. Moody, recently retired as Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs at AARP, USA, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Gray is Green: Elders and the Care of the Earth”. It will take place in the Arts Millennium Building, Ó hEocha Theatre (AM250) at 1.45pm on Thursday, 10 April. Aagje Swinnen from Maastricht University, The Netherlands, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Healing Words: Critical Inquiry of Poetry Interventions in Dementia Care”, on Friday, 11 April at 1.30pm. And on Saturday, 12 April, Stephen Katz from Trent University, Canada, will give a plenary lecture entitled “Music, Performance and Generation: The Making of Boomer Biographies”, at 12.45pm in the Ó hEocha Theatre. Professor Ricca Edmondson, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway said, “The scientific study of ageing focuses increasingly on values, ideas and habits associated with the ageing process: where they come from, what impacts they have, and how they can be changed. Our conference brings together international experts from disciplines ranging throughout the humanities and social and behavioural sciences to explore these key issues.” Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway said, “Exploring the cultural aspect of ageing is crucial to understanding how our life-courses take shape. It helps us to understand better how social processes enhance or undermine the implications of ageing for all of us. This conference can make an important contribution to public and political debate on the status of older people, not just in Ireland but also in many other countries.” The conference runs from the 10-12 April with registration at the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway. Visit http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=213  

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Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change Gives Lecture at NUI Galway

Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change Gives Lecture at NUI Galway -image

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Ireland has one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emission rates says Professor John Sweeney, Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change Ireland’s leading expert on climate change, Professor John Sweeney, delivered a lunchtime talk hosted by the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway entitled, Ireland and Climate Change: Adapting in an Environment of Uncertainty. The event drew a large public attendance followed by a lively discussion at the end. Professor Sweeney talked about extreme events, how recent storms and high rainfall are weather patterns, driven by jet stream irregularities and an unusually close-to-earth moon. But he also reminded us that sea-level is incontrovertibly rising, at an accelerated rate in recent decades, largely due to accelerated ice cap melting. Thus any coastal storms will have an increasingly powerful effect due to higher sea-level. Professor Sweeney quoted the 2013 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report: the observed accelerated increase in global temperatures is “at least 95%” likely to be mainly due to human activity, especially burning fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions are far greater in the northern hemisphere: Ireland has one of the largest per capita emission rates and very few countries, not even Ireland, have so far taken serious measures to reduce these emissions. Increased temperatures and rainfall may become more seasonal, so Ireland is projected to have hotter, drier summers and wetter winters with an increased storm incidence. Professor Sweeney emphasised that the Irish government and local authorities need to focus on damage limitation, in terms of future flood prevention and location of housing development or septic tanks in relation to rising water tables and flood risk, but also –critically – summer water budget management. All products bought require large water budgets to grow or manufacture, some much more than others. Water use efficiency requires more attention. An increase in rainfall seasonality is also likely to affect our high-conservation habitats, especially wetlands such as bogs. Provision is required to maintain their hydration in the face of increased summer drying conditions. NUI Maynooth’s collaboration with NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, Plant Ecology Research Unit (PERU) and Applied Ecology Unit (AEU) has demonstrated that many vulnerable Arctic-Alpine species are projected to contract in range with a rise in temperature, but other, currently more southerly-distributed native species, may expand throughout the island. This has particular implications also for invasive species and even indigenous pests. During the public lecture, Professor Sweeney also highlighted some positive spin-offs of projected warmer summers; grain crops –and even grass– may increase yield, though potatoes require adequate summer rain for best performance. As more southern regions heat up, we may also benefit from increased tourism. But without informed leadership to recognise the reality of observed and projected climate changes, measures will not be taken in advance of future events in order to reduce damage repair costs and even mortalities. Professor Sweeney ended by warning against believing sensationalist media; scientists are poor communicators, needing reference to complex data, in the face of sound-bites aimed to sell news. As members of the public, we need to develop discernment in what we read and hear about climate change, and to take individual action to reduce our carbon – and water – footprints, as well as educating our peers and superiors. The event was organised by Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington, Plant Ecology Research Unit (PERU) and Dr Mike Gormally of the Applied Ecology Unit (AEU), School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway.

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MICHAEL ON A MISSION TO TRANSFORM CANCER CARE

MICHAEL ON A MISSION TO TRANSFORM CANCER CARE-image

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bernie Ní Fhlatharta meets Professor Michael O’Dwyer, haematologist and researcher Galway City Tribune, Friday, March 21, 2014 A drug that could save people’s lives is the goal of a Galway consultant who is at the heart of groundbreaking research into the treatment of blood cancer. Professor Michael O’Dwyer considers himself lucky that he is not only doing one job he loves but two. He is a Consultant Haematologist at University Hospital Galway and he is also based at the Apoptosis Research Centre (ARC), a wing in the new Biomedical Science Building which opened in NUI Galway last month. There he heads up research into blood cancers, in particular multiple myeloma and leukaemia, work that he hopes will one day lead to the development of a drug that will target these types of cancers. Eighteen months ago, he obtained a prestigious Clinician Scientist Award from the Dublin-based Health Research Board to develop his translational research programme, and his close links with the pharmaceutical industry might some day lead to his findings translate from science bench to bedside. Michael, whose father, Eamonn was a Professor of Obstetrics at UCH for over 35 years, loves research work and appreciates that if medics are to cure life-threatening diseases, it can only be done through research and development. In the United States about $230m has been raised for this research alone – his research work was awarded €1.7m recently and already they are at phase one of clinical trials here in Galway. “I have the best of both worlds in that I get to see patients and I also get to come here (to NUI Galway) to research blood cancers,” he says. He explains it very simply: “Cancer cells produce abnormal sugars on their surface making them sticky, which helps them to travel around in the body and stick to the walls of organs. “These cells become resistant to chemotherapy and standard cancer treatments. Our research here in Galway is revealing the role these abnormal sugars and enzymes play in cancer. There is evidence that these sugars are important in the development of leukaemia for example and in the spread of cancer.” The first part of that research was identifying the sugars and the next part will be finding out how to inhibit or prevent them from being produced in the first place. In doing that, they will be less able to spread and will be easier to treat. Michael stresses that these cancer-related sugars are not thought to be linked to lifestyle or diet and are just an intrinsic part of the disease. He believes that research will lead to the development of a drug that will prevent the formation of these sugars and therefore stop cancers metastasising. That would be a dream come true for him and he is currently working with a US pharmaceutical company to bring that vision closer to reality. The ultimate plan is to provide results in the laboratory so that these strategies can be transferred to clinical trials in his native Galway. “We are now conducting phase one of these clinical trials and this is the only centre in the world doing this, as in working with blood cancer patients.” He explains that patients give their informed consent and that there’s no obligation on anyone to take part in these trials. In the last two years 16 patients have been put on the clinical trial but this number will be increased significantly in the future. The research team includes Dr Siobhan Glavey, a PhD student who is based in the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Harvard, while the man who was responsible for getting Michael into research on his return to Galway is Professor Lokesh Joshi, Professor of Glycobiology. “My interest in studying sugars in blood cancers came originally from discussing it with him,” Michael explains. Michael studied medicine in NUI Galway but like many other graduates went abroad – he went to the United States in 1998, to do a fellowship in haematology in Portland, Oregon. There he was fortunate that he got to work on the development of a blockbuster drug now used in the treatment of cancer – and incidentally made in Ringaskiddy in County Cork. “From that I developed a deep interest in research, particularly in the development of targeted therapies. Chemotherapy is a non-specific treatment and I was amazed with that particular treatment which had little or no side effects. It made an impression on me and my intention was to stay involved in the research of these types of drugs.” Michael returned to Galway in 2002 to take up a clinical job and five years later was appointed Professor of Haematology, which allowed him one day a week in research. He is deeply grateful to be able to work in his native city in the hospital and also in research, something he says is possible thanks to the good reputation of NUI Galway’s biomedical department, one that has been greatly enhanced with the opening of the new building at Corrib Village in Dangan. There are state-of-the-art laboratories with top-class equipment in the new facility and this is where he now heads up the research project. When Michael started his research work in Galway it was in the Orbsen Building on the NUIG campus until the team moved to their new home just before Christmas. He now has a growing group of researchers and he is also involved in other research for a small Irish company as well as being associated with a start-up company that has, in the pipeline, “very small molecule drugs that we believe could have great promise in the treatment of blood cancers”. Michael agrees that it’s hard to compete with bigger universities when it comes to mainstream research as larger institutes have more resources but he believes that it’s important for an institution to play to its strengths. “And here in Galway we have strengths that wouldn’t necessarily be mainstream like the glycosciences, where we have a particular expertise in this niche area. It’s then possible to be competitive in those areas. Another example is stem cell research.” He has three brothers in medicine (one is a GP, one is an anaesthetist in the UK and another is an A&E Consultant in Kilkenny) and a brother practising as a barrister. He could have followed in his father’s footsteps as he won the Gold Medal in Obstetrics and in Pathology when he graduated but he preferred and chose pathology. Blood cancers account for the top four or five cancers globally and multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in Ireland, where about 240 new cases are diagnosed every year. Michael says that while great strides had been made in the treatment and survival of patients with multiple myeloma, there was still room for improvement, which is why he remained dedicated to his research. “It is vital that scientists across the entire Irish research spectrum work together to find new treatment approaches and improve patient outcomes. “Our goal is to discover new ways to reduce the ability of the cancer cell to move to other sites within the body and identify new ways to make the cancerous cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs,” he says. Michael is married to Clodagh Wade and they live in Salthill with their two young children aged seven and ten. He admits that the plan had always been to return to Galway when the right job turned up and luckily for him and his young family it did. “When I came back it was not with the intention of doing any academic work but once I got bitten by the bug (in the US), I got drawn back to research and I consider myself lucky to be able to do that here in Galway. “Ultimately, it would be fantastic to be in a position to see it (the new drug) in action on patients,” he says with a quiet determination. Michael also lectures third and final year medical students as well as giving tutorials in the college. Yet, for all his responsibilities, he comes across as a relaxed man who is at ease with himself and the world. One thing for sure, he is very content being exactly where he is — at the cutting edge of research that will undoubtedly one day save lives.

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NUI Galway Introduces CAO ‘Performance Points’ Scheme for the Creative Arts

NUI Galway Introduces CAO ‘Performance Points’ Scheme for the Creative Arts -image

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Students who meet strict criteria will be awarded 40 CAO ‘Performance Points’ for eligible undergraduate courses under the new NUI Galway Creative Arts Scholarship Scheme NUI Galway is to reward a limited number of students with exceptional achievements in selected disciplines in the creative arts with CAO ‘Performance Points’ for entry into undergraduate courses in the University. This is the first Creative Arts Scholarship Scheme of its kind offered by a university in Ireland. The Creative Arts Scholarship Scheme is offering 40 ‘Performance Points’ in recognition of the significant time and dedication applicants have shown to reach an exceptional level in their chosen field in the creative arts, along with evidence of academic achievement and commitment. CAO applicants for this scheme must meet strict criteria in a number of creative arts achievements. The 40 ‘Performance Points’ will be added to a minimum requirement of 350 CAO Points from a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate in 6 subjects. The closing date for applications is 16 May 2014. This year’s offer will be made to a maximum of 15 candidates who are selected through a two-stage process involving an application (stage one) and interview (stage two). Candidates will be made a conditional offer of their performance points in May, prior to the Leaving Certificate and the CAO change of mind. On a pilot basis, the university will make the Creative Arts scheme available in areas where the University has an acknowledged international standing: Creative Writing Digital Arts and Media Drama, Theatre and Performance Film Non-fiction writing, including Journalism Students with high standards of achievement in any of those areas may apply for any undergraduate course within the university with the exception of Medicine (GY501). Successful applicants will be assigned a mentor in their creative arts discipline. Mentors will assist the students’ development as artists during their time at NUI Galway. President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne said “NUI Galway is proud of the many alumni who have excelled in the creative arts. As a University, we aim to lead in our research, innovation and learning and the Arts Scholarship Scheme recognises and supports similar ambition and dedication in those that excel in the creative arts.” NUI Galway Professor of Drama and Theatre Patrick Lonergan added, “Many NUI Galway students have benefitted from the support that the university has offered them in creative arts for many years. The Performance Points Scheme will broaden the horizon of achievement both for NUI Galway and for students with an interest in creative arts, and we have the facilities, structure and supports in place to help students achieve their goals, both academic and creative.” In recent years NUI Galway graduates have had great success in the creative arts. Cathal Cleary was named Britain’s most promising young director in 2012; Aoife Spillane-Hinks has directed plays for Rough Magic Theatre, the Gate Theatre Dublin, and more; Deirdre Sullivan is the author of  Prim Improper (nominated for Children’s Book of the Year, 2011);  Tara McKevitt is a playwright whose works have appeared with Smashing Times Theatre Company and Tron Theatre Glasgow; Duncan Lacroix was recently cast in Outlanders, a new 16-part serial for Sony Television produced by Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and directed by John Dahl (Dexter, Breaking Bad). Applicants will be selected through a completed application form, samples of work provided, references and an interview process. The assessment will be based on the selected creative arts areas, and will also consider evidence of academic achievement and commitment. The successful candidates will then receive a conditional offer of the 40 performance points in May prior to the Leaving Certificate and CAO changes. Successful candidates will receive benefits such as dedicated mentoring and support for resources. These supports will be for the duration of the undergraduate degree of the successful candidate and will be reviewed on an annual basis. This scheme will only apply to new entrants applying for full-time undergraduate courses at NUI Galway. Students must receive a minimum of 350 CAO Points from a single sitting of the Leaving Certificate in six subjects, and must achieve all minimum entry and course specific requirements. For further information on the creative arts scheme please come along to NUI Galway’s Open Day on Saturday 5 April from 10am to 3pm or visit www.nuigalway.ie/opendays For further details visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativeartsperformacepoints/

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Due to Popular Demand NUI Galway’s ‘Monster In The Hall’ Will Run During Cúirt

Due to Popular Demand NUI Galway’s ‘Monster In The Hall’ Will Run During Cúirt-image

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Due to popular demand NUI Galway Theatre Season and Galway Arts Centre’s production of the David Greig play, The Monster In The Hall, will run during Cúirt   Due to popular demand, NUI Galway Theatre Season’s production of The Monster In The Hall by one of Britain’s most exciting writers, David Greig, and directed by Andrew Flynn, will have an extended run during Cúirt from the 8– 12 April at Nun’s Island Theatre. This performance by members of the NUI Galway BA Connect in Theatre and Performance class marks its Irish Premiere. David Greig is Scotland’s most prolific writer. His work includes the Galway Arts Festival hit The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Harte and the West End hit musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Monster In The Hall was a smash hit at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013. Duck Macatarsney cares for her biker dad whose MS is getting increasingly bad. Her Dad, Duke, is a spliff smoking (for medicinal reasons you understand), bike riding, heavy metal and movie loving, pizza eating widower who's brought up Duck since the death of her mother in a crash. The two of them are just about surviving when one morning the Duke wakes up blind and the Duck hears that the social services are coming to take her away. The Monster in the Hall follows the story of Duck as she tries to protect her world from the terrifying prospect of change. This is a low budget indie comedy musical about a girl on the verge of a nervous breakdown played out by seven actors and a big fat motorbike that goes vrrooommm. The Guardian described the production as “passionate, playful and yet serious, gripping us one minute, cracking us up the next, before melting our hearts with a happy ending.” Sound and music is provided by Carl Kennedy and lighting design by Mike O’Halloran. The production will run at Nun’s Island Theatre from Tuesday 8 to Friday 11 April at 8pm and Matinee on Saturday 12 April at 2pm. Tickets are €10 and are available at the door or from the Town Hall Theatre in person or on 091 569777.

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NUI Galway Announce Winners of 2014 Sports Awards

NUI Galway Announce Winners of 2014 Sports Awards-image

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

NUI Galway announced the recipients of the 2014 Sports Awards at a ceremony last week. The awards recognise sporting performance, leadership and participation, as well as those that contribute to the running and development of the NUI Galway Sports Clubs. Among the individual award winners were record breakers Cian Duffy, who set new standards in Connacht in the pool, and Archer Darren Wallace. Promising walker Alicia Boylan, who finished third in the National Senior Athletics Championships, was presented with the Athletics Award and will be hoping to follow to follow in the footsteps of NUI Galway Alumnus and World Silver Medallist Olive Loughnane in reaching the top of her sport. NUI Galway were represented in the All-Ireland Camogie final by five current and former students on the Galway side but the award this year goes to a Kilkenny woman Aisling Dunphy. Aisling was one of the outstanding performers throughout the championship and continued that form on the NUI Galway run to the Ashbourne Cup semi-finals. The Tom Tuohy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rowing this year went to Aifric Keogh. Aifric was part of the Irish women’s crew that finished fourth at the World U23 Rowing Championships in Austria. Gary Ryan, NUI Galway’s Development Officer for Elite Sport, said: “The ongoing success of our students and alumni is a great source of pride for the University and the clubs and coaches that have helped them along the way. NUI Galway has seen in recent years many of its students go on to win national and international honours and the breadth of that success is shown in the fact that our students represented Ireland in 17 different sports last year on the International stage.” Most Improved Sports Club Recognition’ was awarded to the NUI Galway Rugby Club who have shown great strides both on and off the pitch, with promotion for the junior team, capturing both the Men’s Maughan Cup and Women’s Kay Bowen Cup for University  Rugby. They also continue to make progress with the U20 All Ireland League team. The ‘Special Achievement Award’ recognises, over a period of time, the excellence of a club or an individual. This year that award was presented to the NUI Galway Archery club, who have not only become the strongest University club in the country in terms of performance but have developed excellent coaching and support structures to introduce newcomers to the sport through the club. The Club Captain’s award was jointly presented to Leilee Chojnacki (Karate Club) and Orlaith Kilgannon (Swimming, Waterpolo and Lifesaving Club) whose dedication, commitment and drive have helped their clubs to enormous success and growth in the past year. Kathy Hynes, Development Officer, Sports Clubs and Participation, NUI Galway said: “Each year NUI Galway recognises the outstanding contribution of student athletes across many diverse sporting disciplines for their achievements in sport. This year’s awards ceremony reflect not only the achievements of students in terms of performance sport but also the contribution of the sports clubs to campus life and the importance of participation in sport and exercise for a healthy balanced academic life. University sports clubs are also actively engaged in the wider reach of community work and engagement in volunteering. This contribution is also reflected in the awards ceremony.” 2014 Sports Award Winners: Individual Awards Archery:Darren Wallace from Portlaoise, Co. Laois Athletics: Alicia Boylan from Newbliss, Co. Monaghan Camogie:Aisling Dunphy from Kilkenny City Cricket:Mitul Galav from Knocknacarra, Galway City Gaelic Football:Donal O’Sullivan from Monaleen, Co. Limerick Judo:Stephen Bradshaw from Taylor’s Hill, Galway City Men’s Soccer:Mikey Creane from Sligo Town Swimming, Lifesaving and Waterpolo:Cian Duffy from Oranmore, Co. Galway Tom Tuohy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rowing: Aifric Keogh from Furbo, Co. Galway   Team Winners     Team Award – Rowing Club    Team Award – Judo Club Team Award – Women’s Rugby Club Most Improved Club 2013-14: Men’s Rugby Club Participation Award: Ultimate Frisbee Club Club Captains Award: Joint winners – Karate Club: Leilee Chonjnacki and Swimming, Waterpolo and Lifesaving: Orlaith Kilgannon Special Achievement Award: Archery Club Committee Person of the Year Award 2012-2013: Kayak Club - Jayne Stephens -Ends-

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