All 2012

Major Stem Cell Conference Marking Ireland’s Standing in Regenerative Medicine

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Conference, NUI Galway, 2-3 July Focussing on adult stem cells, the Mesenchymal Stem Cell Conference takes place in NUI Galway on 2-3 July. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell, and this event brings together the world’s leading scientists in the field to discuss their latest ideas and findings. This international meeting is the first major stem cell conference to take place in Ireland, and will look at all aspects of adult stem cells, from basic biology to manufacturing to clinical trials and therapeutics. Scientists at NUI Galway are investigating how adult stems cells might be used to develop new treatments for vascular disease, osteoarthritis and lung injury. The University has become a leading centre of translational research in adult stem cells involving its National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) and Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). NUI Galway also collaborates with other Irish research institutes, including UCC and NUI Maynooth, who will participate in the event. There will also be significant participation from multinational and Irish companies working in the stem cell field.  Adult Stem Cells Stem cells can divide to produce more stem cells (self-renewal) or can change into many different specialized cell types.  There are two main types, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are found in many of our tissues, where they act as the body’s own repair mechanism. They can be easily isolated from tissues such as bone marrow and fat. The focus on adult stem cells at the conference relates to the fact that these cells are at the forefront of the global translational effort in stem cell therapy and also reflects the area of particular expertise of researchers at NUI Galway.  “Work in the field of adult stem cell therapy has advanced rapidly because they are relatively easy to isolate and grow in the laboratory and because there is increasing evidence to suggest that they will represent an effective and safe treatment for a number of diseases”, explains Frank Barry who is Professor of Cellular Therapy at NUI Galway, Director of the NCBES and a principle investigator at REMEDI. Professor Barry adds: “However, stem cell therapy is complex and controversial and sometimes exaggerated claims are made. This gathering of research experts and industry leaders in Galway will focus on the realities of adult stem cell research, what is possible now and what is likely in the future.” Conference Programme The conference will cover five strands including Therapy, Immunology, Manufacturing, Gene Therapy, and Biology. Speakers include: Professor Anthony Hollander, University of Bristol, was one of a team of scientists and surgeons who successfully created and then transplanted the first tissue-engineered trachea (windpipe), using a patient’s own stem cells. The bioengineered trachea immediately provided the patient with a normally functioning airway, thereby saving her life. Professor Arnold Caplan, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio is one of the leaders in the field and the founder of Osiris Therapeutics, a global leader in of adult stem cell therapy. Professor Catherine Verfaillie, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, looks at stem cell based and stem cell derived therapies in models of hematopoietic, cardiovascular, liver and metabolic (diabetes) disorders. Professor Robert Deans works with Athersys Inc., a company developing cell therapeutics based on stem cells isolated from adult bone marrow. Professor Cosimo De Bari, fromUniversity of Aberdeen in Scotland, has expertise is in translational stem cell research for musculoskeletal repair, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Dr Luc Sensebé of University of Brest in France coordinates EU projects dedicated to the development of quality production processes for MSCs and their uses for clinical trials. Dr Elena Jones of Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine in the UK, has developed novel ideas on large-scale extraction of MSCs from soft tissues including synovium and joint fat.  Professor Barry concluded: “Given the presence of significant research programmes in MSC biology, immunology, manufacturing and transplantation in Ireland the staging of this conference in 2012 is timely and important. The event will enhance the profile of regenerative medicine research and give Irish scientists an opportunity to interact with leading scientists and industry leaders.” The conference is supported by Orbsen Therapeutics, Science Foundation Ireland, NUI Galway and Fáilte Ireland. -ends-

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Summer Conferring Ceremony at NUI Galway

Thursday, 21 June 2012

NUI Galway today conferred over 200 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies. The largest cohort of students to graduate was 81 Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating were 46 PhD students from across all disciplines. International students were well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia and Kuwait, who along with students from across Ireland will receive Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I congratulate each of today’s graduates. It is very encouraging to see the number of research and graduate degrees which we are conferring today. These graduate numbers continue to grow and we have doubled the number of Ph.D degrees awarded each year since the start of the decade.” President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: “Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous.” The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 29 June. -Ends-   Searmanas Bronnta an tSamhraidh in OÉ Gaillimh Bronnadh cáilíocht ar bhreis agus 200 mac léinn as Coláiste an Leighis, an Altranais & na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte, Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice, Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí, agus an Dlí, Coláiste na hEolaíochta, agus Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta, agus an Léinn Cheiltigh inniu (Déardaoin, 21 Meitheamh). Ar an ngrúpa is mó díobh bronnadh Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Leigheas, Baitsiléir Onóracha sa Mháinliacht agus Baitsiléir i Liacht Bhan (MB, BCh, BAO) ar 81 mac léinn. Bronnadh céim PhD ar 46 mac léinn as na disciplíní éagsúla freisin.   Bhí mic léinn idirnáisiúnta i láthair ag an searmanas chomh maith, mic léinn ón Mhalaeisia agus ón gCuáit ina measc. Bronnadh idir Dhioplómaí, Céimeanna, Máistreachtaí agus PhDanna ar na mic léinn sin agus ar na mic léinn Éireannacha. Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne le linn an tsearmanais: “Thar ceann OÉ Gaillimh, tréaslaím le gach duine agaibh. Ábhar misnigh dúinn ar fad is ea go bhfuil an oiread sin céimeanna taighde agus iarchéimeanna á mbronnadh againn inniu. Tá níos mó agus níos mó céimeanna á mbronnadh againn bliain i ndiaidh bliana agus go deimhin tá a dhá oiread céimeanna PhD á mbronnadh againn anois le hais mar a bhí ag tús an chéid." Dúirt an tUachtarán leis na céimithe gur cheart dóibh aghaidh a thabhairt ar na blianta amach rompu le teann dóchais: “Ná cuireadh cúrsaí geilleagair an lae lagmhisneach oraibh. Tá an cumas ag gach duine agaibh dul i bhfeidhm ar an tsochaí ar shlí éigin. Níl teorainn ar bith leis na deiseanna atá agaibhse an cineál saoil is mian libh a chruthú daoibh féin agus lántairbhe a bhaint as na deiseanna a thiocfaidh in bhur dtreo sna blianta amach romhainn.” Beidh an chéad searmanas bronnta eile ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh Dé hAoine, an 24 Meitheamh, tráth a ndéanfar na Céimeanna Oinigh a bhronnadh.     -Críoch-

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Soros Foundation Announce Major Support for the Summer School Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy at NUI Galway

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Open Society Foundations, part of the Soros Foundation, has announced new support for the annual Summer School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy. The Summer School will take place at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway from 6-13 July 2012. Following its successful development over the last six years, the Summer School in Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy will receive support as part of the Open Society Media Program and Youth Initiative. The Summer School’s unique and successful programme was originally launched in 2006 in Venice in co-operation with the Venice International Film Festival. In 2010, supported by the Galway University Foundation, the Summer School moved to NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media and the Irish Centre for Human Rights, in co-operation with the Galway Film Fleadh. The programme continues to attract young talented filmmakers and professionals from across the world to engage in an intense week’s training course where ideas and projects are shared, developed and challenged by fellow participants and internationally acclaimed experts in film, television, photography and human rights. The Summer School is working with human rights film festivals in Jordan and Ethiopia and with film schools in Belgium and Burkina Faso. “The new support will enable us to extend the reach and activities of the Summer School and enable us to offer a number of scholarships. The focus on issues of human rights encourages filmmakers and activists to share concerns for the health and prosperity of the global community and the global environment” said Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film and Digital Media at NUI Galway. For more information please visit or call 091 495076. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Engineering Building Wins Major Architectural Award

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The new Engineering Building at NUI Galway, designed by Taylor Architects/RMJM, has been voted Ireland’s favourite new building: it was the Public Choice in this year’s RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2012, which are announced later today at the RIAI annual awards ceremony. The Public Choice Award is set up to raise awareness of architecture in Ireland. Since the shortlist of 34 projects was announced two weeks ago, the RIAI has received over 12,500 votes, over 40 % of which went to the NUI Galway Engineering Building. Situated on the north campus, beside the Quincentennial Bridge, the immense glass, steel and zinc structure was officially opened in July 2011 by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. The 14,250m2 building is now home to 1,100 students and 110 staff. The building supports an emerging generation of engineers, embracing innovation and entrepreneurship, and reflects a new wave of technologies through the array of ecological building methods embodied in its design and construction. The building has been designed to be an interactive teaching tool and operates as a ‘living laboratory’. Viewing panels have been created so that the students can literally peer into the foundations. Sections of the steel embedded in the cement walls for reinforcement can be seen. Also on show is an array of ‘green’ building methods which will help inform students about a raft of modern sustainable technologies. Live data from numerous sensors measures the behaviour of the structure and its energy consumption, and is used as a teaching tool for structural engineering and building performance concepts. Pipes and ducting in corridors and rooms have been left exposed and labelled. Speaking about the award, NUI Galway’s Vice-President for Capital Projects, Keith Warnock, said: “We are delighted to receive the news that the Engineering Building is Ireland’s favourite new building. The design of this world-class teaching and research facility reflects the role of engineering in Ireland’s future. The building fulfils multiple roles, providing facilities for research and development, educating future generations and reinforcing the relationship between Galway City and the University. The ‘Public Vote’ award adds to the growing appreciation of the physical infrastructure at NUI Galway and reaffirms our confidence in the programme of campus development we are undertaking.” The award also adds to the accolades for this innovative building, which was awarded the Sustainability Award at the 30th Irish Concrete Society Awards, recognising excellence in both design and construction in concrete. -ENDS-

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Final Prep Underway for NUI Galway Entry in 2012 Round Ireland Yacht Race

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The countdown has begun for this year’s Round Ireland Yacht Race where NUI Galway is supporting the first ever university-backed entry into the 1400km race. Ten NUI Galway students and graduates will be on the start line in Wicklow this Sunday, 24 June. The race is a non-stop circumnavigation of Ireland by sea and will take anything from anything from four to six days. The NUI Galway crew is one of the youngest teams to ever compete in the event. Sailing together in the NUI Galway sailing club over the past few years has built up the trust and camaraderie which they will rely on during the race. The team have loaned a 38-ft racing yacht for the race. The past few months have been very busy for the NUI Galway crew says skipper Cathal Clarke: “We have been following a tough training plan, attending safety courses and getting professional coaching. We recently competed in our first offshore race as a crew across the Irish Sea from Wales to Wicklow and were very happy with a second place result. The aims of this campaign are high, with a lot of experienced sailors on board; we will certainly be looking for good results.” Pat Morgan, Vice-President for the Student Experience at NUI Galway, said: “The determination and drive of this crew is to be admired, especially given that they are one of the youngest crews to participate in the race. They have worked very hard and displayed incredible determination and dedication over recent months in their preparation for the race. The University actively promotes leadership and team building skills and is delighted to support this crew to further develop these attributes as they compete in the Round Ireland Race. We wish them every success.” 37 boats have entered this prestigious race from Ireland, the UK and Europe. Entries include previous race winners Tonnerre de Breskens 3 and Volvo Ocean Race entrant Green Dragon. Cillian McGovern, project manager of Green Dragon commented: "The camaraderie and team work displayed by this young NUI Galway team is to be admired. What an opportunity to freshen up the sailing circuit in Ireland!” The NUI Galway team is very proud to be supported by Dubarry, Lifes2good, SF Engineering, Celtic Linen, Meteogroup Offshore, Cadbury's, Michael Durkan (Mayo Sailing Club), Rory Casey (Mayo Sailing Club), Galway Bay Sailing Club and the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association. The Round Ireland Race begins on Sunday, 24 June 2012 in Wicklow town. The NUI Galway crew’s progress can be followed on the live race tracker online at ENDS

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