All 2012

Bardic Voices, Horns and Medieval Harps Focus of NUI Galway Concert

Monday, 19 November 2012

On Friday, 30 November, NUI Galway's Aula Maxima will resound with the ancient sounds of early Irish harp, voice and horn.  Gold-strung cláirseachs (harps), played by Ann Heymann, will accompany 7th-18th century Gaelic poems, including genres of laoi, rosc and amhrán, sung by Charlie Heymann and NUI Galway’s Lillis Ó Laoire.  Ann Heymann is a Visiting Fellow with the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Studies, NUI Galway where she is studying the use of the harp in the performance of early Irish poetry.  Early Welsh poetry by the famous poets Aneirin and Taliesin, accompanied by horsehair harp, crwth and various lyres will also featured.  Adding to the musical soundscape will be Simon O'Dwyer's pre-historic and medieval horns, bells and pipes. Dr Lillis Ó Laoire, Lecturer in Irish and Head of NUI Galway’s School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, is an award winning sean-nós singer, scholar, and writer from the Gaelic speaking region of Donegal. Dr O’Laoire teaches courses in Gaelic language, culture and folklore at NUI Galway, and his publications include On a Rock in the Middle of the Ocean: Songs and Singers in Tory Island, Ireland. Ann Heymann is renowned for having recreated specialised techniques that articulate the voice of the cláirseach. Her use of gold wire, which is based both on evidence in the literature and in the physical construction of the cláirseach, has restored a brilliant rich voice to the instrument. Her husband Charlie is both a vocalist and instrumentalist, and for over 35 years the couple have performed and taught across four continents.   Simon O'Dwyer has brought the sound of ancient Irish horns, bells and pipes to audiences around the globe.  Author of Prehistoric Music of Ireland, O'Dwyer documents both his research and his making of these reproduction instruments. This event is free and open to the public and takes place at 7pm in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. -ENDS-

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Stem Cell Clinical Trials to Tackle Diabetes

Monday, 19 November 2012

NUI Galway’s REMEDI and Orbsen Therapeutics win €6 million European funding NUI Galway has been awarded a major new €6 million European project, designed to address complications associated with diabetes. The research project will examine the ability of stem cells to safely control glucose levels and alleviate the damage caused by six different diabetic complications. Professor Timothy O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, who is also a Consultant in Endocrinology at Galway University Hospitals, will co-ordinate the project. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited, an NUI Galway spin-out company, is the lead SME on the project. Clinical trials will take place in Ireland and Denmark using stem cells discovered by Orbsen. In total, nine new research jobs are to be created in Ireland by the project. An estimated 60 million patients with diabetes mellitus in the EU are using prescription drugs to control blood glucose levels. Poor control of blood glucose levels may lead to a number of diabetic complications, including: nephropathy, retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, neuropathy, impaired bone repair and wound ulceration. “At the moment, there are very few treatment options available to control the initiation and progression of these complications”, explains Professor O’Brien. “In addition, there are no treatments which will improve glucose levels and simultaneously treat the diabetic complication. These complications therefore continue to be a major challenge for clinicians and patients alike.” The REDDSTAR project, originally conceived by Dr Steve Elliman, Head of Research & Development at Orbsen Therapeutics, will take place over two phases. The first will examine which diabetic complication responds best to stem cell treatment in various models of diabetes. The second phase will involve a clinical trial at the Steno Diabetes Centre in Denmark, in collaboration with clinicians at the Diabetes Centre in Galway University Hospitals, specifically in the complication which showed the most promising results in the first phase. Orbsen Therapeutics Limited was formed as a spin out company to advance and commercialise new intellectual property developed by researchers at the SFI-funded REMEDI at NUI Galway. The University has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and REMEDI. Co-ordinated by NUI Galway, the REDDSTAR (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration) project brings together ten expert teams from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and the US will comprehensively examine if stem cellscan safely address this challenge. Converting research funding into job creation The REDDSTAR EU FP7 funding will be used to create three new positions within REMEDI and a further five new positions at Orbsen. Administration of the REDDSTAR project will be supported by a third SME, Dublin-based EU specialists Pintail Ltd, bringing the total number of new Irish jobs created by this project to nine. Professor O’Brien states: “The creation of new jobs is a very important impact of government-funded research through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). The funding of REMEDI by SFI has allowed this EU support to be leveraged resulting in job creation in Ireland.”  Orbsen CEO Brian Molloy adds: “Our participation in REDDSTAR assists us in the development of our core stem cell technology and will make a substantial contribution to our R&D programme. Our mission is to become Europe’s leading Stem Cell Therapy company. Collaborations such as this with REMEDI and NUI Galway help to position Ireland as a European hub for cell therapy development.” Orbsen recently developed and is patenting a unique method of isolating therapeutic stem cells from human tissue at class-leading levels of purity. The Orbsen cell therapy product is unique in that it has been designed to meet future EU regulations regarding cell-based medicines. The Orbsen therapy will be independently assessed by the REDDSTAR experts in each diabetic complication.   Dr Steve Elliman, states: “This project design has a number of advantages over similar approaches being taken by other researchers. Primarily, this is the first FP7 project to unite EU experts on all six diabetic complications to work together and assess how a therapy might impact all six tissues at the same time. It is expected that this REDDSTAR ‘network’ of researchers will live beyond this project and be used by other drug developers.” In addition, REDDSTAR has permitted a unique collaboration between Orbsen and the US-based SME, Owl Biomedical Inc. Owl Biomedical is developing the unique “Nanosorter”, a bench-top device that will permit isolation of the Orbsen cell therapy for clinical use in line with forthcoming EU regulations. -ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Clonmel

Monday, 19 November 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Clonmel on Wednesday, 28 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7-9pm in the Clonmel Park Hotel, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand to answer any questions in relation to courses and practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a whole suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts with Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and a Bachelor of Arts with Journalism which are brand new for 2013. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Tipperary, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Clonmel is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the information evening in Clonmel, contact NUI Galway’s Schools Liaison Officer, Celine O’Donovan on 087 239 1219 or ENDS

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Mary Robinson Visits NUI Galway to Mark the Beginning of New Ballina Visitor Centre

Monday, 19 November 2012

Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, visited NUI Galway this weekend to mark the beginning of a new partnership with the University. Recent plans have been unveiled to establish a Mary Robinson Centre in the former President’s home town of Ballina, Co. Mayo. The Centre, supported by Mayo County Council and Ballina Town Council will be established at Mary Robinson’s birthplace and will include both a Visitor Centre and an academic research centre, supported by NUI Galway and focused on scholarly research and education in the fields of Human Rights and Women’s Leadership. Speaking at NUI Galway, Mary Robinson also announced details of a public interview on her life and work, with Fintan O’Toole, to take place at NUI Galway on January 14, 2013. Mary Robinson’s archive will be the centrepiece of the educational facility, and as academic partner to the project, NUI Galway will bring researchers and students from all over the world to Ballina to engage with the archive. NUI Galway is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of Human Rights and Gender research, and offers undergraduate degrees and Masters programmes in the area. The University will also advise on the cataloguing and making available of the extensive archive which is valued at over €2.5 million. President Jim Browne of NUI Galway commented: “We at NUI Galway are delighted to have been invited to become involved in this project.  We believe that the Mary Robinson Archive is very important  for scholarship globally; for our region – it adds a truly unique piece of infrastructure to the knowledge capital of the West of Ireland; and for Ireland as a nation  preserving the narrative of the life and work of probably the most significant figure to emerge from our country – a transformative figure of modern Ireland – Mary Robinson.” The proposed Visitor Centre, which is set to open to the public by the end of 2014, will provide a unique cultural tourism resource for Mayo as visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about Mary Robinson’s life and work, including her early roots in Ballina. The project will involve the refurbishment of Victoria House, a protected 19th century Georgian house, together with the construction of an Annex to the house. Parts of the house will be recreated to its original condition at the time of Mary Robinson’s birth in 1944. The property at Victoria House, which has been in the Bourke Family for generations, is being made available to the Centre by the owner, Mary’s brother Adrian Bourke, and will be leased in perpetuity. Mary Robinson’s archive is a vast collection illuminating the life and career of one of Ireland’s most distinguished public figures. The archive includes a library of books, and periodicals, Mary Robinson’s personal diaries, working files and detailed records of her career as a champion of human rights and women’s equality. Also included are numerous recordings and manuscripts from her time as President of Ireland. ENDS

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Accessing a Wealth of Medical Information

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A new €4.4 million EU project A new €4.4 million EU project is using the latest web technologies to make the most of the wealth of medical information contained in electronic medical records. The project aims to aid decision-making for medical practitioners and improve safety in clinical research. The Linked2Safety project will build a medical and clinical data management infrastructure, using privacy-aware, semantic technology. At the forefront of technologies being deployed by the project, are researchers from the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at the National University of Ireland Galway. Their task is to imbue meaning into the data contained within the European healthcare information space, which is fragmented and disparate, and connect that data. To do so, the project will use ‘linked-data’ and other sematic technologies developed by DERI. “So much valuable information sits in seclusion in medical records in hospitals across Europe. They have the potential to significantly help and advance medical research, as well as improve health policies,” explains Ronan Fox, Health Care and Life Sciences Leader at DERI. “What we need to do is put in place a framework so that the information can be interconnected, this could lead to all kinds of possibilities. For example, within the context of the data governance, and legal and ethical framework created in Linked2Safety, individuals could be identified to join a clinical trial for a rare disease, whether they are in Ireland or Cyprus.” In addition, using ‘linked data’, information contained in the records will be leveraged in clinical research for the early detection of potential patient safety issues. Such issues might be based on genetic data analysis and the extraction of the bio-markers associated with an identified type of an adverse event. The Linked2Safety project will also support the effective organization and execution of clinical trials by allowing health carers and medical scientists to easily submit their own query and get homogenized access to high-quality medical data. Linked2Safety is an FP7 project funded by the European Commission under the area of ICT for health. With over 140 researchers, DERI is the largest web science institute of its kind in the world, set up in 2003 with funding from Science Foundation Ireland and the National University of Ireland Galway. -ends-

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