Wednesday, 17 April 2024

University celebrates student success in journalism and societies

University of Galway students have won big at the annual National Student Media Awards (Smedias) and the BICS – Board of Irish College Societies.  The Discipline of Journalism praised the standard of work and achievements of MA and BA students, after scooping a Smedias award for their online newspaper Galway Pulse.  Law student Tom O’Connor made it a success two-years in a row at the Smedias, walking off with three awards for his radio reports on politics, refugees, religion and education in Uganda as well as the Sleep Out for Simon event on campus. In 2023, Tom O’Connor won the Smedias podcast of the year for a documentary on Kevin Boyle, a leading figure in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement.  Societies took home seven awards from the BICS – more than any other university.   Ríona Hughes, Societies Officer at University of Galway, said: “I could not be more proud of all the students from the University who represented us at the BICS National Society Awards. They represent the vital impact societies have on campus life creating invaluable opportunities for the students to enrich their learning journey and creating meaningful opportunities for their fellow students. Winning these seven awards is a fitting end to a very busy year for our societies.”  Dr Mei-Ling McNamara, Assistant Professor and Programme Director of the MA/BA Journalism, said: “The MA Journalism and BA Journalism students at University of Galway have shown exceptional talent and dedication to high-production multimedia storytelling. They should all be very proud that their hard work in journalism is being recognised at the national level.”  Enda Cunningham, editor of Galway City Tribune and lecturer, said: “The awards are fantastic news and a well-deserved win for all involved. It gives recognition to the hard work and dedication of University of Galway students against the backdrop of very strong competition from their peers across the country. The exceptionally high standard of content produced by the Galway Pulse team over the past year is indication that the future of journalism is in safe hands.” The full list of University of Galway winners from the Smedias is:  Website of the Year – online newspaper Galway Pulse.  Virgin Media Belonging Award - MA student Michelle Geraghty for her work on accessibility in Galway’s parks  Radio Journalist of the Year – Tom O’Connor – Law  Radio Doc of the Year and Radio Production – News and Current Affairs – Tom O’Connor – Law  The full list of University of Galway winners from the BICS is:  Best Mental Health Promoting Event - University of Galway Law Society Best Green Initiative - Environmental Society for the Organic Garden relocation Best Fresher Large College - Latisha McCrudden, Law, Politics and Minceirs Whidden Societies University of Galway Best Event Large College Fansci - Itzacon University of Galway Best Departmental Society Large College - University of Galway Zoological Society Best Society Charity Civic Large College - University of Galway Feminist Society Best Society Cultural Academic Social Large College - University of Galway Dramsoc Ends 

News Archive

Thursday, 11 April 2024

Findings are first in the field and will pave the way for the development of new therapeutic devices Researchers at CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at University of Galway, together with collaborators at the Medical University of South Carolina and Vienna University of Technology, have for the first time identified critical targets in the molecular signature of Parkinson's disease across different stages of the disease's progression. The results of their research are published in the prestigious journal PNAS Nexus. More than 10 million people are living with Parkinson's disease worldwide, making it the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease. The complete molecular signature of Parkinson’s, however, remains unclear. In particular, untangling molecules related to the disease called glycans has been challenging due to their complexity and lack of analytical tools. Glycans (sugars) are found on the cell's surface and are fundamental in ensuring the correct flow of information between cells. Glycans participate in cell-to-cell communication by attaching to other molecules, such as fats (lipids) and proteins. The research published in PNAS Nexus provides a complete characterisation of the glycans associated with the connections in the brain that are affected by Parkinson’s disease. These findings can potentially advance the development of glycan-focused therapeutic devices to treat and diagnose Parkinson’s. Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM and project lead, said: "The work presented here will act as a valuable resource for subsequent investigations into the impact of brain glycans on neurodegeneration. It has been established that modifications in glycans have a bearing on other physiological aspects, which could potentially serve as catalysts for additional degeneration. Our study has specifically focused on Parkinson's disease, but there are other neurodegenerative conditions for which the glycan environment remains unexplored, and this research will therefore lay the groundwork for future studies on other diseases." Ana Lúcia Rebelo, lead author of the study, said: "In this study, we aimed to specifically look at a side of the Parkinsonian brain that was previously unexplored – the glycome. This research is a significant step towards understanding, in-depth, what is happening in this life-altering condition and exploring other therapeutic avenues that could target previously unaccounted-for changes. Emerging technologies currently in development will be instrumental in expanding upon the preliminary ‘glyco’ characterization that has been initiated with this research, culminating in further discoveries in future." Ends

Tuesday, 9 April 2024

ReelLIFE SCIENCE public engagement programme hosts showcase of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) from Foróige youth groups in Galway City, Gort, Ballyhaunis, Ballaghaderreen and Athlone From dancing robots to dancing rappers, the next generation of scientists, engineers and filmmakers have taken part in University of Galway’s inaugural ReelLIFE SCIENCE STEAM Showcase. More than 100 young science enthusiasts, aged from 10 and 18, exhibited their Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) projects developed in 10 Foróige youth services and youth development programmes in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Westmeath. Young people from Eastside Youth Service in Ballybane demonstrated chemical reactions via exploding volcanoes Ballyhaunis Targeted Youth Service Programme youth members built and coded a dancing robot using Lego Education Spike kits On the big screen, Gort Youth Project presented a time-lapse of their street art mural project Galway City Youth Project members debuted a short film about science and nature and a drama entitled The Things I Could Have Said. The Foróige Roscommon rap group The Roma Boys’ music video Yeshua was also well received by the audience A gallery of images is available at ReelLIFE Science The STEAM Showcase was funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Programme and is a joint initiative between ReelLIFE SCIENCE and Foróige. Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society at SFI, said: “SFI would like to congratulate all of the participants of the ReelLIFE SCIENCE and Foróige STEAM Showcase. STEAM initiatives are vital for broadening participation in science and technology, promoting greater engagement with and understanding of STEM topics and to break down STEM stereotypes and misconceptions. Learning to communicate STEM is a vital skill that will stand to all of the participants going forward.” Speaking at the event, Foróige Digital Youth Work Coordinator, Megan Depinna, said: “As we celebrate the young people’s work, fusing science and creativity, we are reminded of the boundless possibilities that emerge when we combine knowledge with imagination. The projects showcased are not just demonstrations of STEM knowledge; they are displays of curiosity, determination, and imagination.” Foróige’s Digital Youth Work Strategic Plan aims to ensure that all young people develop the key digital skills, values and competencies necessary to excel in the digital era by design and not simply by chance. The University of Galway ReelLIFE SCIENCE programme challenges young people in schools and youth groups across the island of Ireland to engage with science and technology while developing the communication and digital skills so important for the 21st century. Attendees at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society took part in activities run by Foróige’s Digital Youth Work Team, including GO Build, GO Virtual, GO LevelUP, GO Safely and GO Sonic as well as ReelLIFE SCIENCE stop-motion animation workshops run by College of Science and Engineering students. Since 2013, more than 26,000 young people, supported by teachers and youth workers in 750 schools and youth groups, have taken part in the ReelLIFE SCIENCE video competition. More information about this year’s competition, which closes for entries on October 11, can be found at Ends

Monday, 8 April 2024

Research and analysis at the University’s CORRIB Core Lab at the cutting edge of cardiovascular and coronary artery disease planning Trial shows non-invasive cardiac-CT, with AI-powered blood flow scanning, is safe and feasible and a potential game-changer for planning coronary artery bypass grafting   A new approach to the guidance, planning and conduct of heart bypass surgery has been successfully tested on patients for the first time in a clinical trial coordinated by a research team at University of Galway.   The FAST TRACK CABG study, overseen by the University’s CORRIB Research Centre for Advanced Imaging and Core Lab, has seen heart surgeons plan and carry out coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), based solely on non-invasive cardiac-CT scan images, with HeartFlow’s AI-powered blood flow analysis of the patient’s coronary arteries.   The research was published today in the European Heart Journal.   The key findings of this first-in-human study is the 99.1% feasibility, which means that heart bypass surgery without undergoing invasive diagnostic catheterisation is feasible and safe, driven by the good diagnostic accuracy of the cardiac CT scan and AI-powered blood flow analysis.   The trial was sponsored by University of Galway and funded by GE HealthCare (Chicago, USA) and HeartFlow, Inc. (Redwood City, California, USA).   In comparing the safety and effectiveness of heart bypass surgery, the trial had similar outcomes to recent surgical groups of patients who underwent conventional invasive angiogram investigations, which involves inserting a catheter through an artery in the wrist or groin to access diseased arteries and using dye to visualise blockages.   The findings of the FAST TRACK CABG trial suggest that the less invasive approach to heart bypass surgery offers comparable safety and efficacy to established methods. The research team noted that safety issues inherent to invasive investigation can be replaced by a non-invasive technique using CT scan imaging and AI-powered blood flow analysis.   Trial chairman Professor Patrick W Serruys, Established Professor of Interventional Medicine and Innovation at University of Galway, said: “The results of this trial have the potential to simplify the planning for patients undergoing heart bypass surgery. The trial and the central role played by the CORRIB Core Lab puts University of Galway on the frontline of cardiovascular diagnosis, planning and treatment of coronary artery disease.”   The study was carried out in leading cardiac care hospitals in Europe and the US and involved 114 patients who had severe blockages in multiple vessels, limiting blood flow to their heart.   The cardiac CT used in this study (Revolution CT, GE HealthCare) has a special resolution that makes the non-invasive images as good or even better than the images traditionally obtained by a direct injection of contrast dye in the artery of the heart through a catheter.   During the trial, the analysis of high resolution cardiovascular imagery and data was carried out by the CORRIB Core Lab team and shared by telemedicine with surgeons in trial hospitals.   The HeartFlowTM Analysis, which provides AI-powered blood flow analysis called Fractional Flow Reserve derived from CT (FFRCT), quantifies how poorly the narrowed vessel provides blood to the heart muscle, assisted the surgeon in clearly identifying which of the patient’s vessels should receive a bypass graft.   Professor Serruys added: “The potential for surgeons to address even the most intricate cases of coronary artery disease using only a non-invasive CT scan, and FFRCT represents a monumental shift in healthcare. Following the example of the surgeon, interventional cardiologists could similarly consider circumventing traditional invasive cineangiography and instead rely solely on CT scans for procedural planning. This approach not only alleviates the diagnostic burden in cath labs but also paves the way for transforming them into dedicated ‘interventional suites’- ultimately enhancing patient workflows.”   Dr Yoshi Onuma, Professor of Interventional Cardiology at University of Galway and the medical director of CORRIB Research Centre, said: “Exploring the potential for minimising diagnostic catheterisation procedures is important for several reasons- a catheterisation procedure is invasive and it is unpleasant for the patient. It is also costly for the health service. While there is a minimal risk associated with the procedure, it is not entirely risk free.   “CT scan analysis, FFRCT, and guidance from the team in Galway is a world first in bypass surgery. It may become a game-changer, altering the traditional relationship between GP, radiologist, cardiologist and cardio-thoracic surgeon for the benefit of the patient.”   Dr Saima Mushtaq, Director of Cardiovascular CT in Centro Cardiologico Monzino, Milan, Italy, said: “This is a historical trial that may change our approach for patients who are candidates for CABG revascularisation and with the FAST TRACK CABG trial we have been part of this revolution in which a CT scan is considered a tool to plan revascularisation skipping invasive coronary angiography.”   Dr John Puskas, Mount Sinai Morningside, New York and Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia, said: “As the only North American surgeon, enrolling many patients in this trial, I have a unique perspective: I can conclusively state that there is no loss in diagnostic precision or accuracy nor any decrement in the quality of surgical planning or performance when the surgical team is guided solely by data from a latest-generation, non-invasive coronary CT scan. Once the surgeon is familiar with this new imaging modality, there are several ways in which it is actually a better guide than the historical invasive coronary angiogram.”   Professor Fidelma Dunne, Director of the Institute for Clinical Trials at University of Galway, said: “The outcomes of this inaugural human trial are highly promising, prompting further exploration of the advantages offered by this non-invasive methodology through an extensive randomised trial. At the Institute for Clinical Trials we are committed to conducting high-impact trials that have the potential to revolutionise patient care globally.”   The pioneering research of the CORRIB Core Lab at University of Galway into cardiovascular diagnosis and coronary artery disease will be further investigated in a large scale randomised trial. The research team is planning it will involve more than 2,500 patients from 80 hospitals across Europe. Ends

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