Wednesday, 24 May 2023

University of Galway host European Dialogue Digital Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

University of Galway will welcome 150 researchers, PhD students and external industry stakeholders from across the ENLIGHT network to campus for a special event to address and discuss solutions for global societal challenges.  The ‘ENLIGHT European Dialogue Digital Innovation in Health and Wellbeing’ runs from 23 to 25 May, 2023 and brings together ENLIGHT universities and external stakeholders to share best practices and foster future research and education collaborations. One of the highlights of the networking event is the Academic Industry Meeting (AIM) day on Wednesday May 24. Created by Uppsala University in Sweden, AIMday is an exchange of knowledge and ideas focused on finding novel approaches to real-world challenges, and has been successfully adapted by universities around the world to open new networks and develop new collaborations between academia and industry. Numerous local companies will participate in the event including SymPhysis Medical, FeelTect, Croí and Boston Scientific and they will be joined by digital health companies from across ENLIGHT regions.  President of University of Galway Professor Ciaran Ó hÓgartaigh said: “University of Galway’s mission is to be a university for the public good. At the edge but in the middle of everything, the openness and shared respect of the European ideal is central to us. Through working together, we are always seeking new ways to build connections and make an impact in our society and the ENLIGHT AIMDay is part of that.” Professor Becky Whay, Vice President International at University of Galway,  said: “The ENLIGHT alliance exemplifies University of Galway’s commitment to openness and diversity in our University, creating opportunities for students and staff, as well as for our region.  “Our partnership in a European University Network puts us at the forefront of designing models for cross European collaboration, in education, research and our external stakeholders in Galway and throughout Europe.”  ENLIGHT is a partnership of nine universities, supported by the Government and the European Commission, to build a platform for the creation a new type of European university campus where students and staff have increased opportunities for international study, training, teaching, research and sharing of services. The ENLIGHT University Alliance includes University of Galway; Comenius University, Bratislava (Slovakia); University of Groningen (Netherlands); University of Bordeaux (France); Gent University (Belgium); University of Tartu (Estonia); University of Gottingen (Germany); University of the Basque Country (Spain); and Uppsala University (Sweden). ENLIGHT aims to collaboratively transform higher education and research, addressing societal challenges and promoting equitable quality of life, sustainability and external engagement with the communities of the partner universities. Ends

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Wednesday, 17 May 2023

University of Galway is to join 18 international research and academic partners in a Horizon Europe funded project to develop new biodegradable vascular implants. The BIOMEND programme will be led by Dr Ted Vaughan, Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Principal Investigator in the Biomechanics Research Centre at the University of Galway, with his colleague Professor Peter McHugh, and in close partnership with Dr Alexander Kopp, founder of Meotec Gmbh, located in Aachen, Germany, a world-leader in the production of biodegradable metal alloys for medical applications. Biodegradable materials are a category of biomaterial that gradually degrade when implanted in the body and have the potential to form the basis for the next-generation of endovascular stents, as they can reduce long-term complications associated with existing devices. Together with the wider BIOMEND consortium, the research team will tackle key technological challenges in the area of biodegradable implants so that they can be safely used in the human body. Dr Ted Vaughan, Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at University of Galway, said: "We are delighted to receive this funding, which allows us to bring together leading experts from across Europe to develop the next-generation of biodegradable implants. Our goal is to develop a range of endovascular stent implants that reduce the risk of long-term complications and improve patient outcomes." Funded through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions scheme, the BIOMEND project is structured as an integrated research and training programme. As the proposal lead and BIOMEND training coordinator, Dr Eva Barrett, School of Engineering at University of Galway, explains: “BIOMEND will deliver world-class interdisciplinary training to 15 PhD researchers, who will carry out industry-based doctorates across the BIOMEND network. This will significantly enhance the career development and employment prospects of these researchers, promoting their future development into leading innovators of medical technologies.” Ends

Monday, 15 May 2023

University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics has hosted a leadership conference and reunion gala, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations of its Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme.    During the event, the University announced plans to establish a new University of Galway MBA Alumni Network for more than 600 MBA graduates who have come through the programme, many of whom have gone on to senior leadership roles across sectors nationally and globally.   The leadership conference and reunion gala served as a platform to showcase the outstanding expertise and experiences of the MBA alumni who have contributed significantly to their respective industries over several decades.    The conference, opened by President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, featured panel sessions focusing on the impact of the MBA on business and society; talent development for future success; career reflections from alumni; and a CEO Leaders’ forum hosted by Danny McCoy, Director of Ibec.     Since it was founded in the 1972/73 academic year, University of Galway’s MBA has established itself as one of the leading programmes of its kind in the country, providing exceptional business education and preparing leaders for the challenges of the ever-evolving global marketplace.     Speaking at the event, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “I would like to congratulate the University’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics on 50 successful years of the MBA programme. The programme, and more importantly our graduates have made a significant impact to the world in the last five decades, helping to create the capacity, talent and leadership that would not otherwise be here. “The establishment of programmes such as the MBA are inflection points, envisioned by the people involved, facilitated by the place, responding to the needs of the time. We are facing new challenges now, in social cohesion, health and wellbeing, and climate action. And University of Galway is stepping up again to identify and respond to future opportunities and challenges. “In fifty years’ time, what will people say we did now that made a positive difference across the decades?” Professor Alma McCarthy, Dean of J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at University of Galway, said: “Over the past five decades, our MBA has consistently produced exceptional business leaders who have made significant contributions to their organisations and the business community as a whole. The events that we have been able to hold as part of the 50 year celebrations are testament to the achievements of our graduates, our alumni, and the enduring impact of the University of Galway MBA.”    Professor Kate Kenny, MBA Programme Director at University of Galway, said: "As Programme Director, it was an honour and a pleasure to welcome so many MBA alumni, current students, faculty and even our founding Programme Director Professor Jim Doolan. During the day, I appreciated the rich insights from our panellists, on all manner of leadership learnings and challenges overcome since their time on campus as MBA students. But my stand-out memory is the strong sense of camaraderie and friendship among classes, past and present."   The University of Galway MBA is accredited by AMBA, the global mark of excellence for MBA education.    The two-year part-time executive leadership programme enables participants to prepare for accelerated career progression while also applying learning in their organisation from the start of the programme, with graduates going on to senior leadership roles across a broad range of sectors.     For further information about the MBA at University of Galway visit     Ends 

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Researchers at University of Galway studying cell interactions in bowel cancer have identified innovative strategies to enhance how the body and drug treatments fight the disease. Colorectal, also known as bowel, cancer is a leading cause of death globally with increasing incidence in developing countries and in younger people. In Ireland alone, there are more than 2,500 newly diagnosed cases of bowel cancer every year, with limited treatment options for patients at advanced disease stage.  The findings of the research have been published in life science journal Cell Reports. Aideen Ryan, Associate Professor in Tumour Immunology at University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “Unfortunately, a high proportion of colorectal cancer patients do not respond to immunotherapy. We have identified sugar coated molecules with sialic acid, called sialoglycans, that are present on cells in tumours, known as stromal cells. These are associated with poor responses to immunotherapy. Targeting these molecules enhances the immune response in tumours that have high levels of these cells.” The research was carried out by University of Galway in collaboration with VUB, Belgium; Palleon Pharmaceuticals, Boston, USA; CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre based at University of Galway; Glasgow Beatson Institute for Cancer Research; Queen’s University Belfast.   What did the researchers investigate? Approximately 25% of bowel cancer patients have a high density of stromal cells, a type of cancer-supporting cell found in close proximity to cancer cells. These patients are the hardest to treat.  Stromal cells use a number of methods to inhibit or suppress immune cell responses, many of which are utilised by the cancer cells themselves, to promote tumour growth.  This leads to conventional anti-cancer therapies such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and, more recently, immunotherapies, having less than favourable results. The researchers studied a previously unknown mechanism of stromal cell immunosuppression. It occurs as sugar coated molecules expressed on the stromal cell surface binds to specific protein receptors expressed on the surface of immune T-cells.    What did the researchers discover? The sugars - sialic acids (or sialoglycans) – bind to receptors called Siglecs. The Siglecs stop the cancer killing T cells from working.  The research showed that stromal cells, when exposed to inflammatory molecules released by bowel cancer cells, express increased amounts of the sialoglycans - on their surface. It also showed that T cells could be re-activated by using specific drugs to disrupt the binding between the cells. The researchers tested the findings using stromal cells isolated from bowel cancer patient biopsies and got the same results, confirming that targeting the binding of sialic acid/Siglecs may represent an innovative strategy to enhance anti-tumour immunity in immunosuppressive tumour microenvironments.   Dr Ryan added: “Our plan now is to test the effects of combining this new targeting approach with clinically approved immunotherapies in the hope that the combination will improve immune responses to cancer.  “We are fortunate to have access to drugs, called sialidases, that target sialoglycans through our collaborators Palleon Pharmaceuticals to test these new combinations in our laboratory. These sialidase molecules derived from Palleon's EAGLE glyco-immunology drug development platform has recent clinical proof of mechanism.” Li Peng, chief scientific officer, Palleon, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Dr Ryan in studying the role of sialoglycans on tumour-associated stromal cells in inhibiting anti-tumour immune responses. Dr Ryan's ground-breaking research highlights the therapeutic potential of targeting stromal cell sialoglycans in the tumour microenvironment as a cancer treatment approach, utilising a sialidase molecule derived from Palleon's EAGLE glyco-immunology drug development platform that has clinical proof of mechanism." Ends

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