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Wednesday, 28 May 2014
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has teamed up with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland to undertake a study on bullying of nurses and midwives in the workplace which will be launched in INMO HQ in Dublin at 11am tomorrow, Thursday, 29 May. The INMO conducted a survey of its members in 1993 which sought to review the extent to which bullying in the workplace was affecting their working life. This led to an INMO policy on bullying and eventually the HSE policy on bullying and harassment being negotiated. Within the Irish Public health care system, bullying in the workplace should be addressed through the HSE’s ‘Dignity at Work Policy’ which came into operation on 1 May 2004. Yet academic and practitioner evidence suggests that nurses and midwives working in Ireland continue to frequently experience workplace bullying. This is reported as having very negative consequences for nurses and midwives’ personal health and personal and family relationships. It also adds to already high levels of stress experienced by members working within the Irish health care system. At the INMO’s recent Annual Conference in Kilkenny there was a motion put forward to repeat this study and the Organisation has partnered with NUI Galway and the National College of Ireland to conduct a survey on current levels of workplace bullying experienced by its members. Critically, the survey is seeking nurses/midwives’ input on how bullying can be reduced and what support is needed if they experience or witness bullying in their workplaces. The survey will be available on the INMO’s website www.inmo.ie until 1 July 2014. Input from nurses and midwives is critical to the success of this study which is completely anonymous. The study is headed by Professor Maura Sheehan at NUI Galway who has published widely on issues of workplace discrimination and injustice. Commenting on the survey, Maura said: “The focus groups that my study colleague, Dr TJ McCabe at the National College of Ireland, has held with nurses and midwives in Ireland about their experiences with bullying were shocking and very disturbing. As researchers, it became clear that we need to conduct a survey of nurses and midwives to establish the extent of this problem and most importantly, to formulate recommendations on how bullying at work can be reduced and the types of support that victims and witnesses need. In order to give our findings credibility, we need a large response rate from all nurses and midwives working in Ireland and specifically INMO members as the largest trade union representing nurses and midwives.” INMO Director of Industrial Relations, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “It is unfortunate that INMO members are still reporting high levels of allegations of bullying in the workplace. Representation of members alleged against, and making allegations, is a big part of the workload of our industrial relations staff. We do need to examine the current situation. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the researchers led by Professor Maura Sheehan, to roll out this survey.” The survey will take about ten minutes to complete online at www.inmo.ie and the evaluation and results of the survey will be available to the INMO in October 2014. -Ends-
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Bug Run is a fun and interactive iPad app to educate children and adults on the issue of Antibiotic Resistance The Discipline of General Practice at NUI Galway have launched Bug Run, a free iPad app that combines a game and an educational video to educate children and adults on the issue of antibiotic resistance. Funded by the Health Research Board (HRB), the app has two parts; a game and an educational video. The game teaches children (4 – 10 years) about the importance of staying healthy and that taking antibiotics comes at a price. The accompanying short video developed for adults highlights the issue of antibiotic resistance and provides suggestions on how to discuss this with their General Practitioner. Bug Run recently received the 2014 Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy Award, which recognises and rewards excellence in health literacy in the healthcare sector. Bug Run received the award in the category ‘Best Project in General Practice’ for improving a patient’s understanding and help them take more responsibility in managing their health. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to patients’ safety in Europe because it can result in treatment failure of serious infections. To address the issue of antibiotic resistance it is important that antibiotics are used in the right way to secure their use in the future. In the Bug Run game ‘Bob’, the character, runs through a school as fast as possible while avoiding bugs and staying healthy by picking up fruit and water. If he picks up too many bugs, he may need an antibiotic, but this comes at a price as Bob slows down. The key messages are that fruit and water will keep you healthy but if you do get a serious infection that can be treated with an antibiotic, taking an antibiotic can have side effects. The video ‘Antibiotic Awareness’ is an educational animation for adults to learn about antibiotics and their side effects. In addition, the video encourages patients to talk to their GP about antibiotic and antibiotic resistance and discuss with their GP if they really need an antibiotic. Speaking about Bug Run, Dr Akke Vellinga, NUI Galway, said: “The opportunity provided by the HRB to translate the complex message of antibiotic resistance in a fun way was a great challenge taken up by our team. We hope this app will encourage a conversation about antibiotics between GP and patients.” Bug Run School days has been piloted in 20 General Practices in Galway and Roscommon since last November as part of a larger research project the SIMPle study (www.nuigalway.ie/simple/). The SIMPle project is a collaborative project in which General Practice, Epidemiology, Marketing, Microbiology and Health Economics work together with GPs to improve their prescribing. The iPads with BugRun were installed in participating GP practices to support communication between GP and patient about the role of antibiotics. Bug Run is free and can be downloaded from the App store to any iPad. Bug Run is for use in General Practices, schools, home and other learning environments https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/bug-run-school-days/id860440510?mt=8 The research and concept of ‘Bug Run School Days’ iPad app were led by Dr Akke Vellinga from the Discipline of General Practice, School of Medicine at NUI Galway, along with Professor Andrew Murphy and Post Doctorate Fellows, Sinead Duane, Sandra Galvin and Aoife Callan. The funding for the Bug Run School Days project was obtained from a new initiative of the Health Research Board which promotes new approaches to knowledge exchange and education. About the study The development of Bug Run is part of a bigger research project, the SIMPle study: Supporting the Improvement and Management of Prescribing for urinary tract infection. In this study, Dr Vellinga and her team have integrated prescribing guidelines with the generic software package a GP uses on a daily basis when diagnosing patients and prescribing medicines. General Practices involved in the SIMPle study, receive feedback on how they are prescribing, antibiotic resistance patterns, how their own practice is performing compared to practices, and they can also track the results and changes in prescribing patterns. The success of the SIMPle study is evaluated over the next months with a view to making all the materials available to all General Practices’ nationwide. The research, development and implementation of the Apps and software projects were funded by the Health Research Board (HRB). -Ends-
Thursday, 29 May 2014
Dr John Breslin, Lecturer in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway, was a nominee for the inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland Research2Business Award. The inaugural Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Research2Business award recognises excellence in engagement between researchers and the business community. The winner of the award was Dr Mark Southern of UL and it was presented by Sean Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation at the launch of the office of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and its web-portal, the first resource of its kind in Europe which took place in Dublin yesterday (28 May 2014). The Research2Business award recognises the researcher whose interactions have delivered exceptional impact for businesses and for their host institution. Dr John Breslin has had many interactions with local and international businesses, through research outputs that have been deployed in commercial and open-source systems, companies he has co-founded, businesses that he advises, and start-up community activities that he coordinates. Here are some of these activities and impacts: John is the creator of the SIOC semantic Web framework that has achieved widespread adoption on over 25,000 websites and in hundreds of software systems by companies including Yahoo!, Boeing and Vodafone. A prolific business advisor, he sits on the board of many start-up companies, such as CrowdGather, Trugence, Pocket Anatomy, CloudDock, AYLIEN and BuilderEngine. An internet entrepreneur in his own right, John is co-founder of Boards.ie, Adverts.ie and StreamGlider. John has also made a significant contribution to developing the entrepreneurial eco-system in Ireland through the setting up, in cooperation with local CEOs, Startup Galway, and through the establishment of the Entrepreneurship Society at NUI Galway. John is also the founder of Technology Voice, through which he provides technical know-how and start-up advice to budding founders through the monthly podcast/radio show he hosts. Dr Jacinta Thornton, Associate Director of Ignite Technology Transfer Office said “The award recognises business engagement that has resulted in exceptional and sustained interactions with the business community. John’s engagement and resultant impacts with the business community has been outstanding and we at Ignite TTO are delighted that he has been recognised as a finalist in this Inaugural Research2Business Award. We wish him continued success in his academic and business accomplishments”. Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) is the State-funded central technology transfer office, located in Enterprise Ireland and operated collaboratively by Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association. The nominees for the award included: · Dr John Breslin, NUI Galway · Professor Willie Donnelly, Waterford Institute of Technology · Professor Luke O’Neill, Trinity College Dublin · Dr Mark Southern, University of Limerick ENDS
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
NUI Galway has appointed Dr Kieran Conboy as Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law. Dr Conboy is an internationally acknowledged expert in information systems innovation. Prior to his appointment Dr Conboy served as Head of the School of Business and Economics, Vice-Dean of Research for the School of Business and Economics and as Senior Lecturer in Business Information Systems at NUI Galway. Dr Conboy also held an Associate Professorship of Information Systems at the University of New South Wales, Australia. As an educator, Dr Conboy has designed and delivered courses including agile and lean project management, portfolio management, contemporary innovation models and paradigms. Together with leading international colleagues, he has developed a global standard for information systems curriculum design and content. In 2012, Dr Conboy established the Enterprise Agility research cluster at the Whitaker Institute. As cluster leader, he leads on a number of national and international projects funded by SFI (Science Foundation Ireland), Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Research Council. Prestigious research achievements include an SFI award to assess agile and open project management and software engineering - the first such award made by SFI to a Business School in Ireland. The cluster has built extensive industry collaboration and funding from organisations including Dell, Atlassian, Information Mosaic, and HP, as well as numerous SMEs nationally and internationally. Recently, Dr Conboy was awarded an Irish Research Council Award to identify ways in which national agencies can optimise the inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes of crowdsourcing efforts and maximise participation of individuals and firms including gender and ethnicity, industry sector and location diversity. Commenting on his appointment, Dr Conboy stated that, “The College of Business, Public Policy and Law has developed innovative programs and approaches to delivering education across diverse and contemporary themes. We are exploring creative ways to better prepare students for employment and continually seek to advance the College through scholarship, industry and community engagement. The success of the College is recognized by prestigious awards such as AMBA and EPAS accreditation, and postgraduate programme awards. A key focus during my tenure as Dean will be to create a College with a unique identity which provides Global perspectives and expertise on key issues in law, business and economics.” NUI Galway is an integral part of the regional, national and international education and research landscape. The College of Business, Public Policy and Law is rich in academic value and research impact and a strong contributor to the international profile of NUI Galway. As Dean, Dr Conboy will seek to leverage the success of the College in terms of its future research focus. Dr Conboy continued, “As Dean I will pursue an ambitious research and innovation agenda with a focus on excellence and impact. I will work with colleagues across the University to create a strategy that builds on our strengths and nurtures new and emerging areas of research. A key emphasis will be placed on collaboration across the University and the broader research community, particularly as we look towards EU Horizon 2020. From a policy and practice perspective I feel this is where we are as a College and can add real value in terms of the excellent research being undertaken across the College in rich and diverse areas such as Disability, Law, International Management, Public Policy, Economics, Innovation, Human Resource Management and Human Rights amongst others.” A native of Mayo and graduate of NUI Galway and the University of Limerick, Dr Conboy is a leading author in agile and lean processes in software organisations. He has authored more than 100 articles and reports, including publications in Information Systems Research, Information Systems Journal, the Journal of the AIS and IEEE Software. He is an editor of the European Journal of Information Systems and has chaired a number of international conferences in his field, most recently the Lean Enterprise Software and Systems Conference (LESS2013) in Galway. The breadth of his expertise and international reputation is recognized through his advisory roles on agile and innovation management practice across many organisations and on funding agency policy and practice in Ireland, the EU, Australia and the U.S. Dr Conboy is also a Fulbright scholar, who in 2009 visited Carnegie Mellon University advising on the business value of IT systems to the Software Engineering Institute. Dr Kieran Conboy succeeds Professor Ciaran O’Neill, of the College of Business, Public Policy and Law, who is to concentrate on his research having recently been named as one of the six national Health Research Board Leaders in Ireland. -Ends-
Monday, 28 April 2014
Open Innovation fails because companies are not prepared to open up, says Wim Vanhaverbeke, Professor of Strategy and Innovation, University of Hasselt, Belgium The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and InterTradeIreland will host an Innovation Lecture and three Master Classes, delivered by Wim Vanhaverbeke, Professor of Strategy and Innovation, University of Hasselt, Belgium, on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 May at NUI Galway. The events are free to attend and open to all. They will be of particular interest to established organisations and businesses, start-ups, government bodies, academics, policy makers and anyone who is interested in stimulating the local economy. The public lecture on Thursday, 8 May at 6pm, will explain how firms that can harness outside ideas to advance their own businesses, while leveraging their internal ideas outside their current operations, are likely to thrive in this new era of open innovation. Professor Vanhaverbeke’s lecture will focus on the most common management problems when companies start open innovation. Numerous companies have started to experiment with ‘Open Innovation’ but for many of them the switch from closed to open innovation has proven to be more difficult than expected. The key to success is creating an open platform around your innovations so your customers, your employees and even your competitors can build upon them. Only then will you create an ongoing, evolving community of users, doers and creators. Professor Vanhaverbeke will also deliver the following three Innovation Master Classes in Room CA110, Cairnes Building, NUI Galway. From Open Innovation to Innovation Ecosystems – Thursday, 8 May from 10am to 12pm. This Master Class will look at how can we expand open innovation to companies that are not directly involved in technological innovation themselves, and how can we connect open innovation to innovation ecosystems? Innovation in High-Tech and Low-Tech SMEs – Thursday, 8 May from 2pm to 4pm. This Master Class will look at how can we extend open innovation to SMEs and, if so, how? Recent research shows that we can’t use the same open innovation management approach which was originally developed for large, technology using companies. SMEs (especially in low-tech settings) need a different management approach to open innovation. Crafting Innovation Deals between Large and Small Companies – Friday, 8 May from 8.30am to 10.30am. This Master Class will look at the ‘Sanus case’. This is a negotiation exercise where participants learn how to develop a Letter of Intent when a small firm has a patented technology and a large company has the potential to develop and commercialize the technology. The InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme aims to promote and encourage innovation across the island of Ireland. It brings international expertise in innovation to NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Cork and University College Dublin. Best international practice is shared with business leaders, students, academics, knowledge transfer professionals and policy makers in each region through innovation lectures, seminars and master classes. This Programme is organised by InterTradeIreland, NUI Galway, Queen’s University Belfast, University College Dublin and University College Cork. For further information or to register for any of the FREE innovation events, please visit www.whitakerinstitute.ie or 091 492817. For further details on the Programme please visit http://www.intertradeireland.com/all-island-innovation-programme/
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.
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
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.
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.
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/
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.
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-
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
NUI Galway and Burren College of Art will launch Surface Tension, the Galway Master of Fine Art Graduate Exhibition on Saturday, 12 April at 5pm. The exhibition, which runs 12-27April in The Gallery at the Burren College of Art, features paintings by Mollie Douthit, and drawings and installation work from Collette Egan. Mollie Douthit’s still life paintings consider the physical presence and surface intricacies of familiar objects through the use of paint. Each painting is constructed in a single day, building a momentum that the artist uses to push the piece to successful completion. Douthit’s work plays with formal conventions of painting such as colour, composition, and paint handling. Her choice of subject matter is intuitive and the completed works express an emotional response to memories of places and people she has encountered. Collette Egan creates expressive drawings inspired by the experience of being within a particular time and place. Through a process of mapping, she traces journeys through life, paying particular attention to the material she encounters along the way. The impermanence of the journey is reflected through the use of transient materials such as chalk, which is employed in immersive installations and then erased, so that the viewer is only able to experience the work for a limited time. Through drawing, Egan seeks to connect to a place while also creating a new world in which to exist, where the artwork ultimately creates a sense of home. Founded in 1994, Burren College of Art is an internationally recognised not-for-profit independent college specialising in undergraduate and graduate fine art education. In 2002, NUI Galway agreed to accredit the first of a series of postgraduate programmes at Burren College of Art. This was the beginning of a fruitful relationship that has continued to develop year on year. For further information on the exhibition and the graduate programme visit www.burrencollege.ie , www.facebook.com/groups/BurrenDegree/. Details on College Egan and Mollie Douthit are available at www.colletteegan.com and www.molliedouthit.com. -Ends-
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
New evidence from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention indicates one in 68 children, including one in 42 boys, has an Autism Spectrum Disorder On World Autism Awareness Day, Wednesday, 2 April 2014, the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopment Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway is inviting the public to engage in planning the future direction of the provision of services for those with autism in Ireland. ICAN, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin and US advocacy group, Autism Speaks, is working to develop an Irish Autism / Neurodevelopmental Registry and Biobank to inform research and long-term public policy decisions around autism. Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN, underlined the vital role this national resource will play and encouraged members of the autism community families, researchers and service providers to complete the online Irish Autism / Neurodevelopmental Registry and Biobank survey. The survey can be completed at www.iarb.ie The Irish Autism Registry will serve as a national resource for research in the areas of health, education and social services and to inform policy development related to autism. Clinical registries will gather detailed information on autism in Ireland to inform the development of clinical practice, services and future research. Dr Geraldine Leader said: “There is an urgent need to establish a registry and biobank to inform the development of clinical practice, services and future research in Ireland. Given the potential implication of this initiative for the Irish community, we are currently conducting a national consultation process. The aim of the consultation is to provide detailed information about the specific needs of the community and what kind of information should be included in a registry and biobank. As part of this process, we would encourage members of the autism community, families, researchers and service providers to complete our online survey at www.iarb.ie” Autism is a lifelong disorder and has profound effects on an individual’s social, emotional and cognitive development, and has implications for the family, state services and society at large. Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organisation, and over the last nine years has funded awareness, advocacy and research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. Autism Speaks Board Member and NUI Galway graduate Adrian Jones said: "As recently as last week's Centres for Disease Control announcement, we've seen in the US the impact that data collection is having on autism awareness which, in turn, is driving improvements in both the provision of care for those affected by autism and our understanding of the condition. The families who participate in this Irish initiative will be empowering those who are demanding better services in Ireland, while also making a powerful contribution to global autism research." NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: ‘ICAN’s research and in particular the Irish Autism / Neurodevelopmental Registry and Biobank can help to shape the delivery of care for those with autism in the coming years and highlight the ongoing need for improved services for those living with the condition.’ Registries and biobanks have effectively been used in other health areas such as cancer and stroke in Ireland. Some of the best known examples of registries are those that exist in Scandinavian countries where there are well established patient registries which have helped not only to uncover important risk factors for autism but also to inform improvements to systems of care for affected families. The development of a registry will address a range of research questions including: The scale of autism in Ireland across the lifespan. The behavioural health and medical needs of the Irish autism community. The impact of early intervention on later outcomes. Factors that influence successful school placement. Factors that influence improved quality of life among adolescents and adults with autism. Planning for transitions in service delivery, e.g. from preschool to school and from school to adult services. Autism Speaks Campaign ‘Light it Up Blue’ works with a range of partners to light up major global landmarks in order to draw attention to the issue of autism annually on World Autism Awareness Day. -Ends-
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
ALIVE Certificate Awards Ceremony Celebrates Student Commitment to Community NUI Galway’s ALIVE Programme today (Tuesday, 1 April) celebrated 11 years of student volunteering with the presentation of awards to 865 student volunteers at a special ceremony on campus. The ALIVE certificate acknowledges volunteering efforts by NUI Galway student both on and off campus in a range of clubs, societies and community-based organisations. Senator Hildegarde Naughton, who presented the awards, said “I continue to be overwhelmed by the efforts of NUI Galway students in terms of their contribution and generosity to the wider community and society. I feel that students have some much to contribute, not least having a positive influence on so many children in our local communities through youth based activities, mentorship and homework club assistance. I am honoured to be part of this important celebration.” The ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience) programme was established by NUI Galway’s Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in 2003 to harness, acknowledge and support student volunteering. Over 8,000 students have received ALIVE Certificates, under the scheme endorsed by the President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne. The programme draws on a strong tradition of student engagement both on and off campus and assists students who wish to actively volunteer while developing tangible and transferable skills alongside practical volunteering experiences. ALIVE is the first ever student volunteer programme to be embedded within an institution of higher education in Ireland. At today’s ceremony, Daithí de Buitléir also launched RAG Ireland’s latest initiative called the #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT. This initiative challenges students to do at least one positive deed every day for the month of April, capture the deed on their phone and share via the Twitter machine or Facebook with the hashtag #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT. This initiative aims to change the way the world looks at students while also earning some life affirmation. Daithí de Buitléir, founder of RAG Ireland, said: “I want to tell the students that they are doing great and to ask them to continue to make a difference as we have a stake in society. I think that many of them will sign up to #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT as it resonates with their aspirations and ambitions for community engagement. RAG Ireland is very excited to bring #COLLEGEFOOTPRINT to NUI Galway.” More information is available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/cki or http://www.ragireland.ie/. -Ends-
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
Secondary schools students from across Ireland participated in the seventh All-Ireland Final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition last week in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin. After closely contested debates, St Joseph's Secondary CBS, Fairview from Dublin were victorious to become the 2014 Debating Science Issues winners, with Colaiste Mhuire, Crosshaven, Co. Cork awarded second place. The other schools involved in these hotly-contested debates were St. Brigid’s Vocational School, Loughrea, Galway and Our Lady and St. Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast. Four teams, narrowed down from 34 came through regional preliminary debate rounds on a variety of contemporary biomedical science. DSI is a dynamic debating competition, the only All-Ireland collaborative science outreach initiative of its kind, which invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Open to students in the senior cycle of secondary school, the competition provides a great opportunity for students to expand their communication and scientific skills. Danielle Nicholson, All-Ireland Co-ordinator of Debating Science Issues (DSI) and REDDSTAR Dissemination Officer, said “DSI provides young people with insight into science as an institution and the processes by which scientific knowledge is produced. Incorporating the values and limits in science as well as its tactics for decision-making, DSI employs a discussion-based teaching model in the pre-competition workshops.” She continued “It is important that students do not judge their understanding of scientific knowledge to be insufficient to allow them to engage with socio-scientific issues of concern. Argumentation is one of the cornerstones of the scientific process. DSI increases student engagement with science content and promotes reasoning and justification skills that help prepare an informed citizenry. Data collected from six cycles of DSI involving more than 4,000 students shows an increase in interest in science as a subject and as a career as a result of participation in the project.” Judges on the day were: Dr Jill McMahon, Senior Neuroscientist at NUI Galway; Jane Butler, Education and Research Communications Officer, RCSI; Dr Andriana Margariti, lecturer in the Centre of Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast; Brian Molloy, CEO of Orbsen Therapeutics; Maria Delaney, Science Journalist and Founder of Science Calling; Assistant Professor Cormac Taylor, School of Medicine and Medical Science, UCD; Dr Anne Cody, Head of Clinical and Applied Biomedical Research, Health Research Board; Professor of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine, Fergal O’ Brien, Deputy Director of Research and Head of Tissue Engineering Research Group of RCSI; and Dr Paola Atzei of Science Foundation Ireland. The DSI All-Ireland Finals event was funded by a Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme award. The competition is co-ordinated by REDDSTAR at NUI Galway and collaborators include APC at UCC, BDI at DCU, RCSI, CIT, CRANN at Trinity College, W5 in Belfast, INSIGHT at UCD and the University of Ulster. For more information visit www.debatingscienceissues.com or www.reddstar.eu. -Ends-
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
NUI Galway Psychology PhD student Brian Slattery has scooped the top prize of €10,000 at the NUI Galway Students’ Union Enterprise Awards. His winning project Student Talks is an online knowledge platform for students to communicate their ideas, connect with other students and find out about courses and careers. Originally from Dundrum, Co. Dublin, Brian was presented with his prize by local entrepreneurs Joanne Sweeney-Burke and Gill Carroll, together with NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Sean Kearns. The competition, which is an initiative of NUI Galway Students’ Union, is supported by NUI Galway and seeks to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst students. In its four years, the competition has attracted entries from students studying a variety of subjects. The two runner-up prizes of €5,000 were awarded to The NUI Galway Student Managed Investment Fund and Loyal-T Stamped. The NUI Galway Student Managed Investment Fund is a real-life financial portfolio operated under the guidance of industry experts and alumni for the benefit of the University and its students. NUI Galway students Martin Wietbrecht, Conor Hanniffy, Shane Reilly and Maurice Kelter are the team behind the Fund. Loyal-T Stamped seeks to revolutionize the way we collect and redeem customer loyalty points through a visually striking user friendly application. NUI Galway students Nathan Regan, Fergal Walsh, Gearoid O’Connor and Robert Courtney developed this project. Joanne Sweeney-Burke, who spoke at the awards ceremony said: “The drive, determination and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic. It is heartening to see that within NUI Galway the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I would also like to congratulate the University and the Students’ Union for their vision in fostering the talents of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.” NUI Galway Students’ Union President, Sean Kearns said: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries to the NUI Galway Student Enterprise Awards. The entrants are testament to the exceptional initiative and creativity of students in social and business enterprise. They show that students are both able and willing to create the big ideas that will help fuel our recovery. The Students’ Union is delighted to be in a position to facilitate some of these ideas as they take their first steps. I have no doubt but that we are working with the leaders of the future.” -Ends-
Monday, 7 April 2014
Four NUI Galway postgraduate courses have been shortlisted for the national gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards 2014. The award winners will be announced on Wednesday, 30 April at a reception in the Mansion House in Dublin. NUI Galway, with four courses shortlisted, leads the way among higher education institutions shortlisted. This year saw 111 courses nominated in the Awards. The annual Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards recognises excellence amongst Irish postgraduate course providers. The winning courses are judged on the success of the course including employability of graduates, recognition of the course’s quality or ranking by external bodies, research record of academic staff, and providing a good experience for students. Judges also take feedback from students into consideration when selecting a winner. NUI Galway courses shortlisted for the Postgraduate Course of the Year in Business Award include the MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the MSc in Marketing Practice. Two NUI Galway courses are nominated as Best IT Course: MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Software Design and Development – Industry Stream). The Masters in Surgery programme is shortlisted in the Postgraduate Course of the Year in (Health) Sciences Award category. NUI Galway’s MSc in Cloud Computing Research and the Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Software Design and Development – Industry Stream) are also shortlisted for the Best New Course category. Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer at NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to again make the shortlist for these important national awards; it’s great that the calibre of our postgraduate courses is being acknowledged. We hope to repeat last year’s success at the Postgraduate Awards. The shortlisted courses in question are accepting applications now so those interested can apply via the Postgraduate Applications Centre at www.pac.ie. This year we are also offering full-time taught masters scholarships for first class students, a further reason to consider NUI Galway for your graduate studies.” 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 Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. Almost 3,500 postgraduate students (including international students) currently attend NUI Galway. For further information on any of the postgraduate courses available at NUI Galway call 091-495148 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/courses. -Ends-
Monday, 7 April 2014
Professor Pat Dolan holds the UNESCO Chair on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at The Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway Ireland's UNESCO Chair on Children Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway, Professor Pat Dolan, has been invited to attend a special Youth Workshop as part of the State Visit of President Michael D. Higgins to the United Kingdom. The event is part of the President’s ongoing ‘Being Young and Irish’ initiative. ‘Take Charge of Change Together’ will bring together young people from the islands of Ireland and Britain to discuss the challenges they face and to explore new ideas that promote collaboration and advance youth participation and leadership across these islands. Mayor of London Boris Johnson will welcome President Higgins to the event at City Hall, London on Wednesday afternoon. (April 9th) The President be briefed by the young people on the content of their workshop and, following his speech, will present certificates and awards to some of the young people present. The event is co-hosted by Gaisce – The President’s Award, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the British Youth Council. All of those taking part are aged between 16 and 24 and have been nominated by Gaisce – The President’s Award, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, the British Youth Council, the Being Young & Irish initiative and Irish Community groups in Britain. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair on Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway, on accepting the invitation, said “The ‘Take Charge of Change Together’ Event is a further opportunity during this historic State Visit to examine and explore the many common challenges faced by young people on these islands. The strong ties that bind our nations are the product of many years of courageous leadership; I trust that these young leaders will, in turn, will strengthen those bonds in coming years through a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities of young people engaging in civil society.” The UNESCO Centre, part of NUI Galway’s new Institute for the Social Sciences, undertakes research, education and training in the area of Family Support and Youth Development with an emphasis on prevention and early intervention for children and young people experiencing adversity. The Centre is committed to promoting child and youth engagement in policy, programme design and services. ENDS
Monday, 7 April 2014
Two PhD researchers in NUI Galway’s Civil Engineering department have been chosen to represent Ireland at the 23rd European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (EYGEC) to take place in Barcelona this September. Martin J. Timoney from Keash, Ballymote, Co. Sligo and Brian Sheil, from Mullagh, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, were recently chosen on the basis of their presentations at a national qualifying competition held at the headquarters of Engineers Ireland in Dublin. The annual conference is open to researchers and practitioners, aged 35 or younger, and working in the area of geotechnical engineering. Geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering which looks at the behaviour of soil during construction. In his research, Martin is investigating methods of testing the strength of soil stabilised with a binder, a technique that is used to improve soft ground for roads and buildings. Brian’s research involves studying the behaviour of monopile foundations used for offshore wind turbines. Both students are supervised by Dr Bryan McCabe, lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at NUI Galway and hope to submit their PhD theses in the coming months. -Ends-
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
NUI Galway is holding a University Taster Day for Leaving Certificate students during the Easter break. The Taster Day will combine a series of revision sessions on aspects of the Leaving Certificate curriculum, together with some taster workshops in Arts subjects not covered in the curriculum. Participants will gain unique insights into Leaving Cert subjects in revision sessions taught by University lecturers. A choice of 23 subjects is on offer in areas such as English, Irish, French, History, Geography and more. Students will also enjoy taster workshops in University level Arts subjects like Psychology, Economics, Drama, Film Studies and Sociology and Politics. Organiser of the University Taster Day, Joe Mac Donnacha explained: “Students are focused on their revision for the Leaving Certificate at this time of year. The aim of the NUI Galway Taster Day is to help them maximize their revision in key subject areas, while also giving them an enjoyable introduction to some of the subjects taught on the University’s Arts degree.” The Arts degree at NUI Galway is the second largest undergraduate course in the country, attracting over 1,000 new students every year. Commenting on the ongoing popularity of the Arts degree at NUI Galway for students, Dean of the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies, Dr Edward Herring, said: “Arts and Social Science students are very creative. More start-up enterprises are founded by Arts graduates than Business graduates. You find successful Arts and Social Sciences graduates in almost every walk of life. Of course, we need scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs but we also need those people who understand and can critique human behaviour, social values and cultural creativity. That is what Arts graduates are trained to do.” The NUI Galway Taster Day runs from 9.30am to 3.15pm on Wednesday, 23 April, in the Arts Millennium Building on the NUI Galway campus. Advanced booking is essential for this FREE revision session and taster day. Bookings can be made online at: www.nuigalway.ie/university_taster_day. Enquiries should be directed to 091 494 145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ENDS
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Students of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy programme, along with staff of NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, recently held the a Disability Awareness Week - Access All Areas Funded through the EXPLORE project at NUI Galway, the week saw a range of inter-disciplinary events organised all over campus with the aim of raising awareness around disability, diversity and equality in access to higher education and inclusion in society. More specifically, this project aimed at increasing staff, student and public awareness about people with disabilities, with a view to combating stereotypes and promoting the contributions of people with disabilities through a campus-wide awareness week. At the beginning of the week the innovative 'Going to College' Project was showcased. This is a pioneering education initiative supporting the full inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities into NUI Galway. Students currently enrolled at NUI Galway as part of this project, as well as their mentors spoke and shared their experiences. An Employability Seminar was organised on the second day of the week. At the morning seminar attendees, mostly students, heard from representatives from local, national and international organizations working to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. The seminar also addressed issues such as disability awareness within the corporate environment. Speakers included Pauline Dwyer of Employability Galway, Claire Hurley from the NUI Galway Career Development Office, a representative from the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability, and members from the Kanchi initiative, a social enterprise that works with businesses to encourage the employment of persons with disabilities. Highlights during the week included: a seminar on ‘Mental Illness or Psychosocial disability- What’s the difference?’; an Introduction to Irish Sign Language class, a Disability Awareness Workshop; a Disability Equality e-learning module, designed by the National Disability Authority; and a tandem cycle event around campus, organised by the Galway Visually Impaired Activity Club. Students also presented the outcomes of their Accessibility Audit of NUI Galway. The cast of the Blue Teapot Theatre Company also spoke about the recent production, ‘Sanctuary’, a poignant, funny and bittersweet play that explores the lives and relationships of people with intellectual disabilities and the obstacles they must overcome to be together. PhD Candidate Siobhán Purcell of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences at NUI Galway discussed how disability is represented in the Irish literary tradition, particularly exploring the works of Joyce and Beckett. The Awareness Week was an opportunity for the LLM students to apply what they have learnt in practice and work towards dismantling the barriers to inclusion and participation faced by persons with disabilities. The week was effective and meaningful in terms of introducing the disability friendly environment in the college. The Disability Support Office and local organisations also significantly contributed to the week which will be repeated on an annual basis. Throughout the week, the students manned a stand to provide information about the week and from which they also made a film asking students to comment on what disability meant to them. The video is available to view at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gmo1762o53umfjw/WhatDoesDisabilityMean.m4v -Ends-
Thursday, 10 April 2014
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny present at the signing of US$16m (€11.7m) collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland NUI Galway has signed an agreement with the Mayo Clinic to bring intellectual property (IP) to Ireland allowing the development and commercialisation of a novel medical technology. The agreement, supported by Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital in Dublin, Ireland and Aisling Venture Capital New York will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this morning. (9am) The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in a collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014). Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide with substantial hospitalisation costs, but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone. Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “This exciting agreement builds on the many links between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.” -ends-
Friday, 11 April 2014
NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne has expressed his sadness at the news of the passing of former Canadian Finance Minister, The Honourable James M. Flaherty. Jim Flaherty was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at NUI Galway on 29 June 2012, in recognition of his key role as Minister for Finance in steering Canada through the tumult of the Great Recession. Canada, with a well-regulated banking system, was the first major industrial economy to recover its pre-crisis levels of output and jobs. This achievement, guided by Jim Flaherty, was all the more remarkable given the deep recession in the United States, Canada’s main trading partner. Dr Jim Browne said “Jim Flaherty was a man of huge vitality and energy. Throughout his long tenure as Canadian Finance Minister, he advocated balanced economic growth, built on a foundation of rigorous regulation. He championed the cause of Ireland both within the IMF and as Chair of the G7, when few others had the courage to do so. His loss will be deeply felt in the West of Ireland, his ancestral home.” On behalf of NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife Christine and their three sons. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís. -ends-
Monday, 14 April 2014
The NUI Galway Singers were singing on high after winning the top prize in the 2014 Galway Choir factor Competition which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday night ( 12th April) Directed by Peter Mannion, the choir saw off stiff competition from GUH Choral Society, Avaya Voice, Something to Sing About, The Medtronic Chorale, The Boston HP Party and the Galway Golf Club Choir to claim the Choirfactor trophy. Specially formed for last year’s Choirfactor competition, the NUI Galway Singers comprises lecturers, administration staff and post graduate students. The 55 member choir delighted Saturday night’s audience with their programme which include Paul Simon’s ‘Homeless’, a Britney Spears Medley and ‘Diffusa est gratia’ by Giovanni Nanni. The choir have performed at the Kiltimagh and Sligo Choral Festivals and their next project is to record a cd of choral music ‘as gaeilge’. Adjudicators for the competition Brendan O’ Connor, Maire Ni Dhuibhir and Dottie Knauer congratulated the NUI Galway Singers for their award winning performance and applauded all the choirs for the very high standard of choral singing. The NUI Galway received a specially commissioned Liam Butler trophy and all choirs received an inscribed commemorative piece of the occasion. Organised by SCCUL Enterprises in conjunction with Corrib Lions Club as a fundraising initiative for Kilcuan Retreat Centre in Clarinbridge, the event attracted a capacity audience of over 700 people. Guest performers on the night were the Marine Institute Singers directed by Carmel Dooley, who won the title at last year’s inaugural event. Speaking after the event, SCCUL Enterprises Chairman John Lenihan thanked the seven choirs and the choir directors who participated in the event for their dedication and commitment to the novel initiative. “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the seven choirs who took part in the competition. Their conductors Seamus Leonard, Peter Mannion Eoin Grealis, Annemarie Taylor, Pat Lillis, Lisa Seery and Dympna O’Beirne worked extremely hard over the past eight weeks to create a show stopping performance here tonight." Liam Bluett, General manager of SCCUL Enterprises, paid tribute to the staff of Ballybane Enterprise Centre for their hard work in organising the competition. “I’d like to thank Michael Smith and the staff of Ballybane Enterprise Centre who worked day and night over the past couple of weeks to ensure everything was in place for this event. I’d also like to thank the members of the Corrib Lions Club for their support in staging this event." A special word of thanks is due to the joint MC’s Brian Duffy and Trisha Murphy, Ed Shiels and musical advisors John Grealish and Christine Canavan for their invaluable expertise,” concluded Liam. Funds raised from the Galway Choir Factor competition will be used to enable a wide variety of groups such as carers, the elderly, multiple sclerosis sufferers, people living with cancer and those bereaved by suicide to benefit from healing therapies and wellbeing workshops in the SCCUL Sanctuary in Kilcuan, Clarinbridge. ENDS
Monday, 14 April 2014
Mr. Mike Feerick, MBA (Harvard Business School) and CEO of ALISON and Ireland Reaching Out addressed a group of more than 70 MBA students, MBA alumni and business leaders on the role of disruptive innovation. The 8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in association with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter. ALISON, the company which Mike Feerick founded, has become a world leader in offering free courses online and was the first MOOC (massive open online course). This disruptively innovative approach to education has seen him open up the education market through offering courses with no fees and operating a business model that generates operating income from advertising revenue. Mike said that Innovation centred on "offering new tools for old problems" and believes that "innovation is like a flood, it comes into your business every way except through the front door". Commenting on the role that education has as a means to empowerment, he signalled the commoditisation of some forms of education that were happening currently and a levelling of the playing field in the sector. Mr. Feerick found that MBA graduates had a unique ability to process and distil large amounts of data in a time where data was everywhere. The seminar with lots of audience interaction, participation and questions was very well received. “This is the 8th event in the NUI Galway Executive MBA Masterclass series which offers MBA students and graduates a chance to hear from leading national and international business experts and we are pleased to run the series in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter” said Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director. - ends -
Wednesday, 16 April 2014
The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the NUI Galway will host the inaugural Máirtín Ó Briain Lecture to be given by Professor Benjamin Hudson. The lecture titled “Macbeth – Making a Monster” will start at 4pm in the McMunn Theatre on Tuesday, 29 April and will be followed by refreshments. Members of the public are particularly welcome. The lecture will mark the tenth anniversary of the death, at the age of 53, of the Irish scholar and academic Máirtín Ó Briain. Máirtín Ó Briain was a renowned scholar of Irish language and literature, an internationally acknowledged expert on the Fiannaíocht tradition of Ireland and Scotland, a member of The Irish Manuscripts Commission, and of the Irish Folklore Society. Máirtín was held in the highest regard by his colleagues but especially by his students, many of whom went on to pursue careers in the field of Celtic Studies. Professor Hudson is Professor of History and Medieval Studies at Penn State University and an internationally acknowledged expert on the Atlantic, especially the maritime sphere of Ireland, Britain, and the Isle of Man in the Middle Ages. He is the author of a large number of books including Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), and Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). More information is available from Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Department of Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway at 091 493369. -ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture Fógartha ag Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh An tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal ‘Macbeth - Making a Monster’ Tionólfar Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain faoi choimirce Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr mar chomhartha ómóis do Mháirtín Ó Briain. Is é an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, Penn State University a thabharfaidh an léacht Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn in OÉ Gaillimh. Deich mbliana go ham seo a d’imigh uainn, in aois a 53 bliain, an scoláire teastúil Máirtín Ó Briain. Mar chomhartha ar an meas agus ar an ngean a bhí ar Mháirtín, agus mar chomóradh ar thráth a imeachta uainn, reáchtálfaidh Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Léacht Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Lecture ina onóir. Deis a bheas i Léacht Uí Bhriain an réim idirnáisiúnta a bhain le saothar an Bhrianaigh a mhóradh agus a chuimhne a bhuanú. Cé gur beag réimse de Léann na Gaeilge ón Oghamchraobh aniar nach raibh suim agus saineolas ag Máirtín ann, ba í an Fhiannaíocht a chéadrogha agus sméar mhullaigh an léinn aige. Is é a sheanchara dílis an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise in Penn State University, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal “Macbeth – Making a Monster”. Tá aithne idirnáisiúnta ar an Ollamh Hudson mar shaineolaí ar mhuirchríoch an Atlantaigh sa Mheánaois, go mór mór ar an trácht mara idir Éirinn, Manainn, agus an Bhreatain. I measc a chuid leabhar, tá Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), agus Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn, a thabharfar an léacht. Beidh sólaistí le fáil ina diaidh. Cuirfear fáilte chroíúil roimh chuile dhuine go mór mór roimh an bpobal. Tá eolas breise le fáil ó Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Roinn na Gaeilge, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí, agus na gCultúr, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091-493369. -críoch-
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
The School of Law at NUI Galway, in association with the French embassy in Ireland, will host a Franco-Irish discussion on marriage equality. The discussion will take place on Friday April 25th at 12pm at AM150 the Martin Ó Tuathail Theatre, and is open to the public. The keynote speaker is Erwann Binet, deputy of the French National Assembly. Deputy Binet was the rapporteur for the French “mariage pour tous” (marriage equality) bill in 2013 and will speak on the political challenges faced in passing the bill through the French parliament. Dr Eoin Daly of the School of Law said: “Whereas marriage equality was legislated for in France without a referendum – despite significant political and public opposition - the Irish government has committed to holding a referendum to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015, as it believes that the Constitution in its current form would prevent this from being introduced through ordinary legislation.” He added: “More than three quarters of the members of the Constitutional Convention recommended that the Constitution should be amended for provide for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Parallel to the debate on marriage rights, there has been move towards legislative reform concerning assisted reproduction and adoption rights in both countries.” The event, chaired by Dr Eoin Daly, will provide an insight on the shared experience of Ireland and France in undertaking legislative and constitutional reform in controversial areas of family law. For queries contact email@example.com 091 493362 -ends-
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Orbsen Therapeutics, a spin-out from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), will partner with the University of Birmingham in the €6 million EU FP7 funded MERLIN project to develop a cell therapy inflammatory liver disease Orbsen Therapeutics is Irelands leading Cell Therapy biotechnology company and is a spin-out from NUI Galways’ Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). The EU FP7-funded project known by the acronym “MERLIN” (MEsynchymal stem cells to Reduce Liver INflammation) is led by Professor Phil Newsome, Clinical Director of the Birmingham University Stem Cell Centre. MERLIN will advance Orbsen’s proprietary cell therapy to a Phase 2a clinical trial in patients with inflammatory liver disease. This MERLIN project will evaluate the Orbsen cell therapy in 4 different research laboratories across Europe and the project will culminate in a Phase 2a clinical trial of the therapy in the crippling inflammatory liver disease, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. This is Orbsen’s fourth success in attracting FP7 funding (the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research), making them one of Ireland’s most successful private companies in this funding programme and now connects Orbsen to 23 global collaborators. Other successful cell therapy projects for Orbsen include PURSTEM (completed), REDDSTAR (ongoing) and DeCIDE (ongoing). Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd. is a privately-held company founded in 2006 as a spin-out from Ireland’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) in NUI Galway. As part of the PurStem EU FP7 program, Orbsen developed proprietary technologies that enable the prospective purification of highly defined and therapeutic (stromal) cells from several human tissues, including bone marrow, adipose tissue and umbilical cord. Orbsen’s CEO Brian Molloy said, “Orbsen has secured substantial amounts of research funding in the last 18 months which will further validate our product and bring us through to a “first in man” clinical trial in 2015/16. Our model has always focused on putting the ‘science first’ and we have successfully used that approach to develop a technology that could potentially position us and indeed Ireland at the leading edge of European Cell Therapy development.” Mr Molloy continued, “As a spin-out from the NUI Galway based REMEDI Institute we have focused the majority of our collaborations with an Irish research team. Our success in the MERLIN project now demonstrates that we are capable of playing a key role in collaborations led by researchers across Europe.” The total research budget for the MERLIN project is close to €6 Million of which €1 Million will go directly to Orbsen Therapeutics over the 4-year period of the project. Dr Stephen J Elliman, Head of Research for Orbsen Therapeutics added, “The EU projects, like MERLIN have enabled us to build a very strong research network of 23 invaluable collaborators across Europe, who are independently validating our technology and aiding our development toward the clinic and market. In addition, the FP7 program has helped us develop a research team of 14 over the past 18 months – these are all highly qualified researchers who are working within Orbsen to develop our cell therapy for conditions that are currently not adequately treated with existing medicines. MERLIN allows us to further expand our pipeline and to develop our understanding of how adult mesenchymal stromal cells can aid the treatment of a range of immunological and inflammatory conditions.” The MERLIN project commenced in February 2014 and will run for 4-years culminating in a Phase 2a clinical trial in primary sclerosing cholangitis (an uncommon condition affecting the bile ducts and liver). The project is being co-ordinated by University of Birmingham and includes the NHSBT in the UK, Orbsen Therapeutics in Ireland, Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Fondazione Humanities per la Ricerca in Italy and BioInvision Inc. in the US. Pintail Ltd are based in Dublin and are providing administration and co-ordination services to the MERLIN project. The novel aspects of Orbsen’s technology place it at the leading edge of research, development and regulatory compliance of adult mesenchymal stromal (stem) cell therapies. The Orbsen cells can be purified from a single human donor, expanded and frozen to generate many doses of high-margin, allogeneic (“off-the-shelf”) therapeutic products for conditions with unmet need. Orbsen’s proprietary ORB1-MSC (Orbsen developed mesenchymal stromal cells) therapy is being developed for several diseases, including inflammatory disease of the lungs and liver, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, joint disease, kidney injury, organ graft rejection and wound repair. For further information on Orbsen Therapeutics visit www.orbsentherapeutics.com -Ends-
Friday, 25 April 2014
Scientists in the NUI Galway Plant and AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) have been conducting research on an oilseed crop, Camelina, to develop new higher-yielding varieties of the crop for Irish growing conditions and new markets. The research team, led by Professor Charles Spillane, has been collaborating with scientists in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to sequence the genome of Camelina. Camelina sativa (false flax or gold of pleasure) was cultivated in Europe for many centuries before being displaced by higher-yielding crops such as oilseed rape. However, Camelina is a low-input crop whose low environmental footprint is driving a resurgence of interest in the crop as a source of sustainable protein and oils for both nutritional and industrial applications (e.g. lubricants). In Ireland, Camelina is currently grown by a small number of farmers, in particular for the production of edible Camelina oil under the Newgrange Gold label. Initial field trials of Camelina conducted in collaboration with Teagasc have already identified some promising high yielding varieties. In addition to field trials, the NUI Galway team has been developing new genetic tools for the breeding of new Camelina lines with higher yields and improved characteristics. In the global aviation sector, Camelina has gained much attention as a crop whose oil profile is suitable for use as a renewable aviation fuel. The airline sector is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport sources. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that sustainable next-generation biofuels for aviation could reduce CO2 emissions by 80%, on a full carbon life-cycle basis. A wide range of airlines (e.g. Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa) and the US military have already run successful test (and passenger) flights with planes flown on Camelina biojet fuel. In 2013, Professor Spillane was an invited speaker on Camelina oilseeds at the Europe-Canada Biojetfuel Meeting in Saskatoon. The meeting aimed to advance the development of plant-based aviation biojetfuel supply chains for the European airline industry to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets. Reetu Tuteja, NUI Galway Bioinformatics PhD student who is working with Professor Spillane, identified genes within the overall genome which are specific to Camelina, and which could be responsible for some of the crop’s unique characteristics. The complete genome sequence of Camelina has now been published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications. “The publication of the genome sequence will accelerate research efforts in Europe and globally on this promising oilseed crop” said Professor Spillane. Research on Camelina in Professor Spillane’s Genetics and Biotechnology laboratory is supported by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. -Ends-