University of Galway

Our prestigious history spans almost two centuries. Our spectacular location boasts the unique landscape and culture of the west of Ireland. Our global network connects us to partners around the world. Our researchers are shaping the future. Our students are shaping their own.

Galway is the place to realise your ambitions

Leading Research Globally

The purpose of our research and innovation is to advance the public good. Our people are creative in their thinking and collaborative in their approach. Our place is a distinct and vibrant region deeply connected internationally and open to the world. Read more.


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8 June 2023

University of Galway researchers develop new approach in study of cancer vaccine design

University of Galway researchers have developed a modular approach to vaccine synthesis, potentially enabling production of a new cancer vaccine prototype. The study, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, is a collaboration involving a number of laboratories in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and the US. The research paper, available here, describes a novel approach and has implications for vaccine design.  The vaccine contains three different components which can be assembled like lego blocks. The first is a targeting component, a glycocluster, to selectively deliver and increase uptake of the vaccine into the relevant cells of the immune system. The second component is a T-helper epitope in order to to generate long-term immunity. The third component is a cancer T-antigen containing molecule (MUC-1), in order to stimulate the immune system to generate immunity against cancer associated antigens found on breast tumour cell surfaces.   The incorporation of the glycocluster has led to a much-improved immune response to the vaccine. The glycocluster molecule is comprised of multiple sugars and has a high stickiness or affinity for a receptor (macrophage galactose C-type lectin) on certain immune cells (dendritic cells). The vaccine is about 10 times stickier when it has the glycocluster than when it is absent, which explains its greater uptake into the immune cells and increased efficacy observed for the vaccine prototype. The modular or lego-block approach means that other types of glycoclusters targeting other immune cell lectins or T-helper epitopes or tumour antigens could be built and studied in a systematic manner and thus contributes to the field of vaccine design.   The study was primarily carried out by Dr Adele Gabba while she was a PhD student at University of Galway, under the supervision of Professor Paul Murphy, and subsequently as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Pol Besenius at the Johannes Gutenburg University of Mainz, Germany. During the PhD study, Adele obtained an EMBO travel award which enable travel to the laboratory of Professor Ulrika Westerlind at Umea University in Sweden where vaccine constructs used in the study were prepared.  The research was performed in a collaboration with laboratories also in Amsterdam, Boston and in Spain. Professor Paul Murphy, Established Professor of Chemistry at University of Galway and SFI Investigator said: “I am hugely in debt to all the collaborators for all their contributions, and especially grateful to Dr Adele Gabba, for the persistence she showed throughout, which was the key to the success of this research, spanning her PhD study and a subsequent period as a postdoctoral researcher in Mainz. “Glycoclusters, after many years of study, are beginning to show applications that benefit health and industry. It may even be possible to use the modular approach incorporating glycoclusters to design vaccines for infectious diseases caused by bacteria or viruses or for the targeted delivery of biopharmaceuticals or small molecule drugs to where they are needed. Importantly, no adverse effects were observed of the prototype during the study, while the efficacy was improved.” The research was supported by the Irish Research Council, European Molecular Biology Organisation, Science Foundation Ireland, the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the Kempe Foundation, as well as the various institutions supporting the researchers who contributed to the paper. Ends

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7 June 2023

University of Galway launches MicroCreds and hosts special Adult Learning info evening

University of Galway is to launch its new MicroCreds Project with an opportunity for prospective students to come to campus to find out more about the extensive range of part-time, flexible-learning courses on offer.  Micro-credentials are small, accredited courses designed to meet the upskilling and reskilling needs of adult learners, enterprise and organisations. People may choose to undertake an individual micro-credential or continue studying, stacking their skills and knowledge over time.  Janice Mulvany Glennon, Micro-credentials Project Lead at University of Galway, said: “We are one of seven universities working on the innovative MicroCreds national project, with the goal of developing short learning courses, to upskill and reskill people who are in work. Micro-credentials are short, accredited modules developed with and for enterprise and industry, for professional development and are innovative in their approach to lifelong learning.” The MicrcoCreds launch takes places on campus on Wednesday June 14, 2023 and coincides with University of Galway’s Adult Learning Information Evening on the same day from 5.30-7.30pm in the Human Biology Building. Over the course of the evening prospective students will have an opportunity to join one of our talks on Progression Pathways & RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), Introduction to Micro-credentials, Springboard+ courses and Fees & Funding.  Hosted by the University's Centre for Adult Learning & Professional Development, it creates the opportunity for students to meet representatives from more than 40 part-time courses which will be showcased at the event, including in the subject areas of Business & Management, Science & Technology, Languages, Information Technology, Community Education, Training & Education and Pre-University Courses. Students can find out about the extensive range of part-time, flexible-learning courses on offer.   Information on Springboard+ courses offering funded places on programmes to people who are in work and those who are out of work will also be available, as well as application information for the Adult Learning tuition scholarships for students who are in receipt of specific payments from the Department of Social Protection. Acknowledging the role that work and life experience plays in contributing to learning and the development of skills, the University has been actively involved with industry and adult learners in recognising the prior learning which students bring to their studies.   Suzanne Golden, RPL Project Lead at the University of Galway, explains: “Recognition of Prior Learning is an essential component of the University’s approach to widening access to qualifications and supporting lifelong learning. We recognise that knowledge and skills can be acquired from a range of learning experiences and we aim to offer accessible and flexible progression routes for people who want to build on their prior learning. Using Recognition of Prior Learning, the University can give recognition for what someone already knows, understands and can do, prior to starting on a programme or module.’’  Springboard+ approved courses for 2023/24 available here Student support services and the Career Development Centre will also be on hand on the night to answer any queries learners may have as they decide on course options. For further information on this event and to register for this event visit:  More information on MicroCreds here More information on RPL here  Ends

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6 June 2023

University of Galway secures research projects under SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme

University of Galway has secured funding for several projects under Science Foundation Ireland’s Frontiers for the Future Programme. The awards were unveiled by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, as part of grants totalling €42 million to support research across the higher education sector. Among the projects being supported are methods to assess past climate change impacts in the Arctic and oceanic shifts in Ireland to help resolve our current global climate; advanced therapeutic treatment to alleviate suffering in some patients with blood vessel blockages; and a collaboration with Tyndall National Institute on making advancements in electronic devices.  Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President Research and Innovation at University of Galway, said: “Government investment in these research projects at University of Galway are testament to the expertise and excellence of our people and their vision to tackle issues of global importance. We wish all of the successful researchers the best as they work to make lasting impact.” University of Galway research projects are: Dr Gordon Bromley, School of Geography & Archaeology, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, aims to improve future climate projections by investigating the impact of historic oceanic shifts in Ireland. The project is co-funded by Geological Survey Ireland. Dr Audrey Morley, School of Geography & Archaeology, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, will pioneer a new approach to assess past climate change effects in the Arctic, providing a basis to resolve current climate debates on the stability of our global climate. The project is co-funded by Geological Survey Ireland. Dr Derek Morris and Dr Dara Cannon, College of Science and Engineering and College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences aim to research the prediction cognitive dysfunction and psychosocial disability in schizophrenia using genetic, neuroimaging and environmental data. Timothy O'Brien, Professor in the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, is researching new hybrid advanced therapy medicinal products - using combinations of genes, cells and biomaterials - to treat patients who suffer blood vessel blockage in the legs leading to bypass surgery or amputation. Dr Andrea Erxleben, College of Science and Engineering, will research novel platinum-based mitocans for the treatment of resistant cancers. Conor O'Byrne, College of Science and Engineering, will research the characterisation of the function and regulation of GadR, a novel transcriptional regulator of acid resistance in Listeria monocytogenes. Ger O'Connor, Professor in the College of Science and Engineering, is collaborating with Dr Ray Duffy, Tyndall National Institute, to substantially increase the scalability, functionality, performance and energy efficiency of electronic devices while keeping full compatibility with existing mass production technologies. They will research components which affect almost all day-to-day consumer devices. This Frontiers for the Future programme was funded in collaboration with the Children’s Health Foundation (CHF) and Geological Survey Ireland (GSI). Minister Harris said: “These awards, supported under the SFI Frontiers for the Future programme, will enable research ideas to contribute new knowledge, solving problems faced by our society, while also providing a continuum of support from early career to established researchers, thus growing and retaining top talent in Ireland. The SFI Frontiers for the Future programme takes important steps to address gender imbalance and to provide support and opportunity for emerging investigators who are returning to their research after a period of leave.” Professor Philip Nolan, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, said: “A key action of SFI’s strategy is to deliver 140 investigator grants every year to support excellent research and to attract top talent. The Frontiers for the Future programme is the primary mechanism to achieve this goal. It is vital that we invest in excellent and innovative research in Ireland. I would like to thank the Children’s Health Foundation and Geological Survey Ireland for collaborating on this programme with SFI, allowing us to fund projects which will have a significant impact in key areas." Commenting on the announcement Koen Verbruggen, Director, Geological Survey Ireland, said: “Geological Survey Ireland has partnered with SFI for several years, and we are very pleased to again support geoscience researchers through the Frontiers programme. Both SFI-GSI projects funded this year will improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change in the past and what this might mean for our future.” Ends

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