All 2011

NUI Galway Researcher Contributes to UK End Loneliness Campaign

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A leading researcher at NUI Galway has helped to shape a new campaign that aspires to end loneliness amongst older people in Britain. The Campaign to End Loneliness, which was launched recently, aims to help people create and maintain personal connections in older age. Professor Thomas Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, has been involved since the early stages of the Campaign. Working with some of Europe's leading researchers in the field of loneliness, Professor Scharf has helped to synthesise existing research relating to loneliness in later life. His main focus is on the ways in which loneliness relates to other forms of disadvantage that can affect people as they age, most notably low incomes and a lack of access to services. The Campaign aims to raise awareness of loneliness among older people, and build an evidence base of research into the area. A further component of the Campaign is to engage in actions to reduce and eradicate loneliness into the future and to inspire a vision for later life without loneliness for all older citizens. Professor Scharf says: "While the overwhelming majority of older people in countries like Ireland and Britain are not greatly affected by loneliness, it is important that society supports people whose life quality is severely reduced by feelings of loneliness. The Campaign to End Loneliness aims to provide some practical help and advice for people affected by loneliness in Britain. In time, I hope that this campaign might also extend to Ireland, where loneliness is an equally important issue." Professor Scharf continues: "Loneliness affects around one in ten older people, seriously limiting the quality of later life. Recent research even suggests that loneliness may be a greater threat to people's health than smoking." Information about the Campaign to End Loneliness, including details of key research findings on loneliness in later life, are available at: -Ends-

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NUI Galway Biomedical Engineering Professor Receives Prestigious Award

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

NUI Galway's Professor Peter McHugh from the Discipline of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, is the 2011 recipient of the Silver Medal of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI). The coveted medal is awarded by the RAMI Section of Bioengineering for outstanding career contributions to the field of bioengineering. The Silver Medal was instituted by the Academy in 1995 and previous awardees include Professor Tony Keaveny, University of California, Berkeley, and Professor Frank Gannon, former Director of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The medal was awarded to Professor McHugh at the 17th annual Bioengineering in Ireland conference held in Galway, recently. At the conference, as is customary for the recipient, Professor McHugh delivered the annual Dr. Samuel Haughton lecture entitled Bioengineering: A Truly Grand Challenge for Engineers. Dr Samuel Haughton FRS, MRIA, 1820-1897, is regarded as the father of Irish Biomechanics. Professor McHugh is the Established Professor of Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, Director of the Micromechanics Research Unit at the University and Biomechanics Research Cluster Leader, at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES). He is author of almost ninety international research journal papers in the field of Biomedical Engineering. According to Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, "Receiving this award is a tremendous honour for Professor McHugh and for NUI Galway. It is a testament to Professor McHugh's significant achievements in biomedical engineering over almost two decades, and it also reflects the tremendous growth and strength in biomedical engineering research and teaching at NUI Galway which is recognised internationally and which is of critical value to the local and national medical technology industry." The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) was founded in 1882 through the amalgamation of the four main medical societies including, the Dublin Society of Surgeons, the Medical Society of the College of Physicians, the Pathological Society and the Dublin Obstetrical Society. At present there are 22 sections of the Academy covering many disciplines with over 1200 Fellows, Members and Associate Members. -Ends-

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A Life Course Institute Election Event at NUI Galway

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Life Course Institute (LCI) at NUI Galway will host a pre-election debate entitled Future Policies: Older People, Children and Families, and Persons with Disabilities. The event, to be held in Aras Moyola on the North Campus of NUI Galway, will take place on Thursday 17 February at 8pm. The organisers of this event have invited the election candidates from the main political parties to set out their future policy plans for older people, children and families, and persons with disabilities. Each of these policy areas is central to the work of the LCI. Representing the political parties are Fidelma Healy Eames (Fine Gael); Michael D. Higgins (Labour); Niall Ó Brolcháin (Green); Trevor O'Clochartaigh (Sinn Féin); and Eamon O'Cuiv (Fianna Fáil). Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent at the Irish Times Newspaper will chair the proceedings. Donncha O'Connell, of the School of Law at NUI Galway, will act as Rapporteur. Each of the representatives will have the opportunity to outline their party position, followed by a question and answer session with representatives from a range of community groups and members of the public. Professor Pat Dolan, Academic Director of the Life Course Institute, said "the event will provide an opportunity for the stakeholder groups to engage in a discussion with the political parties on the proposed policies which are directly relevant to them. Scrutinising party policies in relation to children and families, persons with disabilities and older people is critically important, particularly in a time of limited resources." The Life Course Institute comprises a multidisciplinary facility which is intended to integrate and enhance the work of three existing centres at NUI Galway, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, the Child and Family Research Centre, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. The aim of the Life Course Institute is to impact positively on future policies for children and families, persons with disabilities and older people through advancing an integrated approach to research, policy and services. Each of the three centres already makes an important contribution to its respective field in Ireland and internationally. The Life Course Institute will add value to this existing work through collaboration - while retaining each centre's distinct identity. The Institute is funded through philanthropic donations and in collaboration with The Atlantic Philanthropies. The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited and anyone wishing to attend must register online at - when registering please notify the organisers if you have any special requirements. ENDS

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NUI Galway Student Named TG4 Young Musician Of The Year

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

An NUI Galway student has been named TG4 Young Musician of the Year at this year's TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2011 (Traditional Music Awards). Uilleann piper Pádraic Keane hails from Maree, Co Galway and was born into a great musical family in 1991. He is currently a second year student in NUI Galway pursuing a BA degree with Irish Studies. His father Tommy is a well known piper, originally from Waterford who was taught by the legendary piper Tommy Kearney. His mother Jacqueline McCarthy is a very respected concertina player and is the daughter of the late Tommy McCarthy from West Clare who was a multi-instrumentalist playing pipes, whistle and concertina. Jacqueline's sister Marion also plays pipes. Pádraic began learning the pipes at the age of eight under the guidance of his father. He also received tuition from many leading pipers at various summer schools including Robbie Hannan, Mick O'Brien, Emmett Gill, Jimmy O'Brien-Moran, Seán McKeon, Brian McNamara and Ronan Browne. His first pipes were a practice set borrowed from Na Píobairí Uilleann under their Pipes on Loan scheme. Since then Pádraic has inherited his grandfather's pipes – a concert pitch set made by Leo Rowsome. When playing solo he likes to perform on a flat set in C made by Geoff Wooff. He has performed at many events organised by Na Píobairí Uilleann, including recitals at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, NPU Annual Tionól, Session with the Pipers in The Cobblestone and Ceol sa Chlub, the latter in the company of his fiddle playing sisters – Siobhán and his twin Maisie-Kate. His music has been broadcast on Clare FM, Galway Bay FM, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTÉ Radio 1. He is a member of the traditional group Eamhain Mhacha – a group of musicians who became friends at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy and Scoil Acla. They competed in the Gael Linn Siansa competition, have appeared on RTÉ Television, played support to The Chieftains and performed at the Cooley Collins Festival in Gort. His piping comes from the style of Willie Clancy but other influences such as Seán McKiernan and Séamus Ennis are also discernable in the playing of a young man who is acutely aware of the tradition from which he stems and who displays a musical maturity and understanding way beyond his years. He in turn is now passing on his love for piping and has a number of fledgling pipers coming to him for tuition. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Hosts Major Conference on Biomedical Engineering

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The major national conference on biomedical engineering, Bioengineering in Ireland 17, was hosted by NUI Galway on 28 and 29 January, and attended by over 180 researchers from Universities, Institutes of Technology and industry in Ireland and overseas. Biomedical engineering is the application of engineering techniques to improve understanding of the human body in health and disease, and to develop new medical therapies and devices. Engineers and scientists at the conference discussed latest findings on topics as diverse as the design of new stents for treatment of arterial and heart disease, analysis of sport technique, and the forces experienced by cells in tissue-engineered constructs. Keynote speaker Mr. John Power, CEO of Galway-based Aerogen, spoke about the development of the company's innovative nebulisers, which are in use worldwide for the treatment of respiratory and other diseases. Another guest speaker, Dr. Kerem Pekkan of Carnegie Mellon University, USA, spoke about his research into the mechanics of blood flow and the implications for congenital heart disorders in new-born infants. Professor Peter McHugh of NUI Galway was presented with an award by the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, in recognition of his career achievements in biomedical engineering. The conference organiser, Dr. Nathan Quinlan of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at NUI Galway, commented "Biomedical engineers study the human body in terms of classical engineering concepts of force and motion, and design devices that work with the body's cells and organs, alongside medication and surgical procedures. We've seen lots of examples at this conference of engineers working closely with clinicians to solve some clinical problem. Often this work is done in close collaboration with the medical device industry, which is one of the most important employers in the country, particularly here in the West." In association with the conference, IMDA, the organisation of the medical device industry in Ireland, held an event in which researchers spoke to an industry audience about technology concepts which have emerged from their work in university laboratories. "More and more, we see biomedical engineers in Universities and ITs working closely with industry," said Dr. Quinlan. "Discoveries made in academic laboratories get translated into new products and better medical treatments." Bioengineering in Ireland 17 was sponsored by the Irish Medical Devices Association, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Zwick-Roell, KHPB Scientific, National Instruments, Stryker, Aerogen and IDAC. -Ends-

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