All 2012

NUI Galway Invites Graduates to DruidMurphy in the Gaiety

Thursday, 20 September 2012

NUI Galway’s Dublin Alumni Club invites alumni and friends to attend DruidMurphy Conversations on a Homecoming in the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin on Tuesday, 2 October. An Alumni Reception will take place prior to the performance at 6.30pm, followed by the play at 7.30pm. A special Alumni Rate of €32 is available to NUI Galway alumni and friends. To reserve a place for the performance visit or contact the Alumni Office at 091 493750. If you are an NUI Galway graduate and would like to get participate in the University’s Dublin Alumni Club please contact the Alumni Office for information on how you can become involved. DruidMurphy is the story of Irish emigration; a story both of those who went and those who were left behind. Told through three plays by Tom Murphy; Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine, DruidMurphy is a major celebration of one of Ireland’s most respected living dramatists. DruidMurphy covers the period from The Great Hunger of the 19th century to Ireland of the 1970s. DruidMurphy is presented in a co-production with NUI Galway, Galway Arts Festival, Quinnipiac University Connecticut and Lincoln Center Festival. -ENDS-

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NFB Registers Strong Presence at Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Event

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The 3rd Annual Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERMIS) World Congress took place from 5-8 September in Vienna, Austria. Attracting over 2000 attendees, the congress has once again featured a strong display of field-leading research conducted by researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway. NFB featured prominently at the 2012 congress where it was represented by 11 researchers. Over ten podium presentations and eight poster presentations by NFB were made over the four-day World Congress. The congress was also attended by two of NFB’s principal investigators, Dr Wenxin Wang and Dr Dimitrios Zeugolis both of whom chaired a poster presentation session and symposia entitled “Gene Transfer Approaches in Tissue Engineering”, and “Tissue Engineering of Functional Tendons and Ligaments”. The travelling researchers were accompanied by NFB director, Professor Abhay Pandit who, in addition to chairing a number of sessions, was invited to deliver a keynote address. Speaking in the morning session of the final day of the congress, Professor Pandit’s lecture, entitled “Bridging the spinal cord – a step towards functionalisation”, drew on ongoing, cutting edge research into the repair of spinal cord injuries being carried out in the NFB. Two of this year’s presenting researchers, Andrew English and Dr Mangesh Kulkarni, travelled to Vienna on grants awarded by the TERMIS Student and Young Investigator Section (SYIS). TERMIS SYIS seeks to promote the scientific and professional development of promising young researchers in the tissue engineering and regenerative medicine field. In addition to his travel award, Andrew English was selected by an international review board, along with four of his peers from across the globe, as a finalist in the TERMIS SYIS Young Investigators’ competition. His presentation, entitled “Preferential Tenocyte Response to Anisotropic Topography and Implications on Medical Device Design”, was judged by a committee selected from leading experts in the field. Andrew was awarded the second place in this prestigious World Congress. NFB, which was established with funding from Science Foundation Ireland under the Strategic Research Cluster Programme, conducts research on biomaterials, developing technologies for use in clinical applications in the fields of orthopaedics, soft-tissue healing and neural and cardiovascular regeneration. -ends-

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NUI Galway Hosts Conference on the Children’s Constitutional Referendum with Leading Child Law Experts

Thursday, 20 September 2012

NUI Galway’s LLM in Public Law programme will host a conference on the forthcoming children’s constitutional referendum. The conference will take place on Friday, 21 September from 9.45am to 2pm at the Burren College of Art, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. The second annual conference of the LLM in Public law will critically consider the Children’s Constitutional Referendum, which will be held on Saturday, 10 November. The referendum on the rights of the child is considered to be one of the most significant referendums in the history of the State. Marie McGonagle, Director of the LLM in Public Law at NUI Galway, said: “The choice of topic for our conference is particularly apt and timely. We are especially fortunate to have two of the country’s leading experts speaking, along with members of the NUI Galway academic staff who will present interesting perspectives based on their doctoral research.” Chairing the conference is former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness, with Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection and leading expert on child law, delivering the keynote address. Other speakers at the seminar will include: Dr Anne Egan, Family Law Lecturer at NUI Galway; Fergal Landy, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; and Connie Healy, solicitor and child law expert. Throughout the conference, the speakers will be reflecting upon the wording of the referendum. NUI Galway also holds the holds the UNESCO Chair in Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement led by Professor Pat Dolan. More information is available at -ENDS-

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Nanomaterials in a Heart Beat

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Stem cell scientists have capitalised on the electrical properties of a widely used nanomaterial to develop cells which may allow the regeneration of cardiac cells. The breakthrough has been led by a team of scientists at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland Galway in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ireland. Once damaged by heart attack, cardiac muscle has very little capacity for self-repair and at present there are no clinical treatments available to repair damaged cardiac muscle tissue.  Over the last 10 years, there has been tremendous interest in developing a cell-based therapy to address this problem. Since the use of a patient’s own heart cells is not a viable clinical option, many researchers are working to try to find an alternative source of cells that could be used for cardiac tissue repair.  REMEDI researchers Dr Valerie Barron and Dr Mary Murphy have brought together a multi-disciplinary team of Irish materials scientists, physicists and biologists from REMEDI at National University of Ireland Galway and Trinity College Dublin to address this problem. The researchers recognised that carbon nanotubes, a widely used nanoparticle, is reactive to electrical stimulation. They then used these nanomaterials to create cells with the characteristics of cardiac progenitors, a special type of cell found in the heart, from adult stem cells. “The electrical properties of the nanomaterial triggered a response in the mesenchymal (adult) stem cells, which we sourced from human bone marrow. In effect, they became electrified, which made them morph into more cardiac-like cells”, explains Valerie Barron of REMEDI at National University of Ireland Galway. “This is a totally new approach and provides a ready-source of tailored cells, which have the potential to be used as a new clinical therapy. Excitingly, this symbiotic strategy lays the foundation stone for other electroactive tissue repair applications, and can be readily exploited for other clinically challenging areas such as in the brain and the spinal cord.” This work has recently been published in two leading scientific journals, Biomaterials and Macromolecular Bioscience, and was carried out in collaboration with Professor Werner Blau, Investigator in CRANN and the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). “It is great to see two decades of our pioneering nanocarbon research here at TCD come to fruition in a way that addresses a major global health problem. Hopefully many people around the world will ultimately benefit from it. Some of our carbon nanotube research has been patented by TCD and is being licensed to international companies in material science, electronics and health care,” said Professor Blau. Nanoweek 2012 is currently underway, running 14-21 September. It offers an opportune time to reflect on the type of healthcare solutions that nanomaterials can offer. Ireland is a world leader in nanoscience research, ranked 6th globally. -ends-

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UNESCO Chair Welcomes Children’s Referendum

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

One of Ireland’s leading experts on child and family issues has welcomed the announcement of a date for the Children’s Rights Referendum, calling it a ‘historical and internationally significant step’. Based at NUI Galway, Professor Pat Dolan holds the UNESCO Chair in Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement. “There is growing recognition internationally of children as independent rights holders. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended that the State take further measures to incorporate children’s rights into the Irish constitution. Opening up debate around this issue, and asking the public to ultimately make the decision on where we place our children within our constitution, is vital”, said the Professor. A former social worker, he welcomed the commitment by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD to hold a referendum on the Rights of the Child in Ireland: “I hope that all parties approach the campaign in an open and honest way, making arguments based on evidence, and always with the best interests of children as the primary motivating concern.” Professor Dolan said: “The rights and well-being of children, parents and society are inextricably linked and complementary. What is good for children is good for their parents and ultimately to the benefit of civic society. This could be a defining moment for children and young people in Ireland. And it needs to be – the best legacy that we can leave the next generation is a commitment that their rights are protected and enhanced, that they have some certainty in an increasingly uncertain world.” As a member of the UNESCO International education network, Professor Dolan was co-author on a report on the proposed referendum earlier this year called, ‘Children’s Rights and the Family’.  The document pointed out that “incorporating a stronger commitment to children’s rights in the constitution would build a stronger culture of children’s rights in Irish society and is in keeping with the state’s international obligations”. -ENDS-

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