All 2012

NUI Galway Win Award in HSA National Competition

Monday, 13 February 2012

A team of engineering students from NUI Galway have won second place in the Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) ‘Safety in Design and Construction’ third-level competition. The NUI Galway team consisted of: Kevin Carney, a fourth year BSc in Project and Construction student from Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon; fourth year BE in Civil Engineering student Grant Deeney from Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon; and Conor Higgins a fourth year BE in Civil Engineering student from Wicklow Town.At the finals, held recently in Dublin, six short-listed teams battled it out to win the first prize. The overall winners were Carlow IT, with third place going to Letterkenny IT.  Other third-level institutions represented in the final included Cork IT and two teams from Carlow IT.The aim of the competition is to provide an environment where undergraduate students can collaborate and work together to enhance, develop and embed their knowledge and understanding of health and safety in construction.  The challenge involved the selection, procurement and installation of a complete MRI Modular Unit, and all associated site preparatory and interface works within an existing hospital. The project also included the design and specification of any necessary internal reconfiguration works required to be carried out to the hospital. Central to the brief was to minimise all risks to the safety and health of patients, staff, and construction workers arising from the installation works.Chairperson of the Authority’s Third Level Education Group, Dr Anne Drummond, said: “This competition goes beyond the boundaries of the classroom and brings together students who may not yet have interacted at an undergraduate level and yet, will work together as professionals. The approach to the competition is based on problem-based learning which resembles professional life far more than many more traditional methods of assessment. The feedback from students and their lecturers is that the engagement of working together with their colleagues on the competition is a rewarding and enjoyable part of their learning experience.”Joanne Harmon, Education Manager with the Health and Safety Authority said: “This competition is in its third year and it’s great to see the level of engagement from students and their lecturers as well as the continual high standards and creativity on display.  I would like to congratulate NUI Galway and thank everyone else who took part.  We kept the brief as real as possible so that students had to be creative in their solutions but are also as likely to come across similar scenarios in their future working life.”Dr Jamie Goggins Programme Director for BSc in Project and Construction Management at NUI Galway, said: “We would like to congratulate Kevin, Grant and Conor on winning second place in this competition. Members of this team also won the competition last year, which is a credit to the students. The aim of the competition fits very well with the ethos of our undergraduate degree programmes in construction related programmes – to provide an environment where undergraduate students can collaborate and work together to enhance, develop and embed their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of engineering and construction. Furthermore, this competition provides a platform for students to work in multidisciplinary groups, which is an experience that we value and promote in our undergraduate degree programmes.”The judging panel was made up of the following members: Paraig Earley, Construction Policy Inspector, HSA; Mike Keyes, Aegis Safety Management; and Tony Sheridan, Health and Safety Manager, John Sisk and Son Ltd.-ENDS-

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Research Breakthrough Shows Promise in Offsetting Cornea Transplant Rejection

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Success rates for cornea transplants could be greatly improved following a major advance in genetically modifying donor corneas. Scientists at National University of Ireland Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) have determined a method, in pre-clinical trials, to genetically modify donor corneas so that they are less likely to be rejected by the host immune system. With more than 100,000 procedures a year worldwide, cornea transplantation (keratoplasty) is the most frequent transplant procedure. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of the eye, and accounts for a large part of its focussing power. Transplantations can restore vision, reduce pain and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea.Although keratoplasty is a procedure with good success rates, incidence of graft rejection still exists. For some high-risk patients, rejection rates can be as high as 50%. Using their breakthrough technique on the donor corneal tissue before grafting, the REMEDI team showed success in laboratory trials of decreased inflammatory response and protection against rejection.The research team at NUI Galway, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, was led by Dr Thomas Ritter: “What we have succeeded in doing with the latest molecular biology techniques is to successfully encourage the donor cornea to produce ample PD-L1. It is known that Programmed Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) stops the activity of the body’s fighter immune cells and prohibits their ability to disrupt the transplantation process. By encouraging the donor cornea to produce PD-L1, it increased what known as the ‘immune privilege’ or ability of the eye to accept the graft.”Dr Ritter added: “Potentially, what is most exciting is that these strategies could be of value for other transplant models. It could be applied, for example, to protect pancreatic islet cells transplanted for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.”With Dr Ritter’s research, significant prolongation of transplant survival was observed which was associated with a reduction of the inflammatory response. No additional anti-rejection treatment was necessary for the recipients of the engineered corneas. These encouraging results may lead to a novel treatment protocol for ‘high-risk’ corneal graft recipients who are more likely to reject the graft than other patients. The research is published in this month’s American Journal of Transplantation.Mr Gerry Fahy, Consultant Ophthalmologist at University Hospital Galway, who was involved in this study, commented on the results of this study: “Prevention of corneal transplant rejection is very important. This research describes a new exciting method of achieving that goal. I look forward to its translation into clinical use.”Further investigations using mesenchymal stem cells by scientists at REMEDI will examine how these potent cells could also be used to prevent graft rejection.-end-

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Mick Loftus Launches Sigerson Cup Finals Weekend at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

NUI Galway Gaelic Club will this year host the Irish Daily Mail Sigerson Cup Finals and today (Monday, 13 February) former GAA President Mick Loftus was on campus to officially launch the event.  NUI Galway has won the prestigious Sigerson Cup on no less than 22 occasions, the last being 2003. Loftus was a member of the University team on three of those occasions. Over the weekend of the 24/25 February NUI Galway will host over 400 of the brightest talents on the forefront of Gaelic football nationally. As well as the Sigerson cup semi-finals and final, the Trench cup semi-finals and final along with Corn na Mac Léinn semi-finals and finals will take place. The final of the Sigerson and Trench cups will take place in Pearse Stadium with the Sigerson final live on TG4 at 3pm on Saturday, 25 February. Speaking at the launch, Niamh NicLiam, Marketing Manager with The Irish Daily Mail, said: We are delighted to sponsor this year’s Sigerson Cup Finals at NUI Galway. As Ireland’s youngest newspaper we’ve been cementing our relationship with the GAA over the last few years and The Irish Daily Mail GAA third level leagues and championship is a fantastic opportunity for us to build on this even further. We are sure that the Sigerson Cup Finals weekend in NUI Galway will be a huge success and we would like to wish all involved the very best of luck.” NUI Galway Gaelic football club will also honour the 1962 and 1963 Sigerson winning teams with a Sigerson reunion dinner at the Radisson Hotel on Friday, 24 February. Ten of the players being honoured on the night went on to backbone the legendary Galway three-in-a-row team of 1964 - 1966.  2012 is also the centenary of the very first Sigerson win in 1912, and a bespoke colour programme will be published to honour this centenary and other great wins and memories of Sigerson cup in NUI Galway over the decades. Speaking before the official launch NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “The Sigerson Cup weekend promises to be a great weekend of sport at NUI Galway.  I pay tribute to our former Sigerson Cup players who return to their alma mater, traveling from Ireland and overseas, for this weekend of sporting reunion.  By returning they celebrate with us the spirit of participation and achievement which has distinguished the club for the past 100 years.  In particular, I welcome the members of the 1962 and 1963 teams who gather to mark the 50th anniversary of their Sigerson success.  On this Sigerson centenary occasion, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of many students, alumni, current and former staff who have been involved over the years in building support for Gaelic Games on our campus.” NUI Galway GAA Club has issued a welcome to football followers from all over the region to make their way to Dangan and other venues for what promises to be a weekend of Gaelic football to remember from the stars of tomorrow. ENDS   Seolann Mick Loftus Deireadh Seachtaine Chorn Sigerson in OÉ Gaillimh Tionólfaidh Club Peile OÉ Gaillimh Cluiche Ceannais Chorn Sigerson an Irish Daily Mail i mbliana agus inniu (Dé Luain, 13 Feabhra) bhí iar-Uachtarán an CLG Mick Loftus ar an gcampas chun an ócáid a sheoladh go hoifigiúil.  Tá Corn Sigerson buaite ag OÉ Gaillimh 22 babhta, in 2003 go deireadh. Bhí Loftus ar fhoireann na hOllscoile trí bhabhta acu sin. I rith dheireadh seachtaine an 24/25 Feabhra beidh 400 de na himreoirí is fearr ag imirt peile sa tír faoi láthair in OÉ Gaillimh. Chomh maith le cluichí leathcheannais agus cluiche ceannais Chorn Sigerson beidh cluichí leathcheannais agus cluiche ceannais Chorn Trench mar aon le cluichí leathcheannais agus cluiche ceannais Chorn na Mac Léinn ar siúl an deireadh seachtaine céanna. Beidh cluichí ceannais Chorn Sigerson agus Chorn Trench ar siúl ar Pháirc an Phiarsaigh agus beidh cluiche ceannais Chorn Sigerson beo ar TG4 ag 3pm Dé Domhnaigh, an 25 Feabhra. Ag labhairt ag an seoladh, dúirt Niamh NicLiam, Bainisteoir Margaíochta le The Irish Daily Mail: Tá an-áthas orainn urraíocht a dhéanamh ar Chluiche Ceannais Chorn Sigerson i mbliana in OÉ Gaillimh. Is é nuachtán s'againne is nuachtán is nuaí ar an margadh agus táimid ag iarraidh an caidreamh atá againn le CLG a láidriú le roinnt blianta anuas. Is iontach an deis sraitheanna agus craobhchomórtas CLG The Irish Daily Mail an tríú leibhéal chun an caidreamh sin a láidriú. Táimid cinnte go n-éireoidh go maith le deireadh seachtaine Chorn Sigerson in OÉ Gaillimh agus ba mhaith linn gach ádh a ghuí ar gach a bheas páirteach.” Beidh dinnéar Sigerson ar siúl ag club peile OÉ Gaillimh chomh maith d'fhoirne buaiteacha 1962 agus 1963 in Óstán an Radisson Dé hAoine, an 24 Feabhra. Bhí deichniúr de na himreoirí a bheidh i láthair ar an oíche ar fhoireann cháiliúil na Gaillimhe a bhuaigh trí bliana as a chéile 1964 - 1966.  Tá sé céad bliain chomh maith ó crochadh Corn Sigerson den chéad uair i 1912, agus foilseofar clár speisialta daite chun é seo agus buanna agus cuimhní eile in OÉ Gaillimh le céad bliain anuas a chomóradh. Ag labhairt roimh an seoladh oifigiúil, dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Beidh neart spóirt in OÉ Gaillimh i rith dheireadh seachtaine Chorn Sigerson.  Tréaslaím le hiarimreoirí Chorn Sigerson atá ag filleadh ar a n-alma mater, as ar fud na tíre agus na cruinne, don deireadh seachtaine spórtúil seo.  Beidh siad ag ceiliúradh rannpháirteachas agus éachtaí an chlub seo le céad bliain anuas.  Ba mhaith liom fáilte ar leith a chur roimh fhoirne 1962 agus 1963 atá ag ceiliúradh leathchéad bliain ó bhuaigh siad Corn Sigerson.  Don chomóradh céad bliain, ba mhaith liom aitheantas a thabhairt don obair atá déanta ag mic léinn, ag alumni, agus ag comhaltaí foirne in imeacht na mblianta chun tacú leis na Cluichí Gaelacha ar an gcampas.” Tá cuireadh tugtha ag Club Peile OÉ Gaillimh do lucht leanúna na peile ar fud an réigiúin a mbealach a dhéanamh go dtí an Daingean agus ionaid eile don deireadh seachtaine chun réaltaí an lae amárach a fheiceáil. CRÍOCH

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NUI Galway and Druid Announce Director-in-Residence

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

NUI Galway and Druid Theatre have announced the joint appointment of Thomas Conway as the first Director- in –Residence to be based between Druid Theatre and the School of Humanities at the University. The ‘Druid Director-in-Residence,’ will participate in the development of theatre and performance education at NUI Galway.  Speaking on his appointment, Mr Conway said:  “NUI Galway is moving into an ambitious and exciting phase in its aim to develop the next generation of Irish theatre practitioners – not the least of which is the partnership with Druid. It is an immense honour to me to be given a chance to play a part in this. It is clear that an appetite for theatre, dance and performing arts – and a real high quality engagement with them – is running through the university, from the students, the academics, and the practitioners working with them. As I take my first steps in the role, I am excited by the prospect of working with this amazing energy, and look forward to promoting and supporting it, and to feel supported by it in turn. I look forward to the good times ahead as Druid Director-in-Residence.”  Thomas Conway, a practising professional director, will particularly focus on enhancing the undergraduate programmes in drama at NUI Galway, including the new BA in Drama Theatre and Performance. He will also contribute to the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies as well as expanding the University’s current offerings in these areas. As well as teaching on the current drama and theatre programmes, Mr Conway will also coordinate workshops offered to the BA and MA programmes by members of the Druid Theatre Company, and will direct an annual student production with BA and MA students. Dr Patrick Lonergan, English Lecturer at the School of Humanities, NUI Galway: “Thomas Conway is admired throughout the Irish theatre community for his knowledge of drama – not just from Ireland but from around the world. He is also a superb teacher. NUI Galway is delighted to welcome him as part of our unique partnership with Druid Theatre, and looks forward to working with him in building links between the university and theatre practitioners at home and abroad. Thomas will make a key contribution to our partnership with Druid, helping us to advance our aim of identifying and educating the next generation of Irish theatre-makers.” Speaking of the announcement, Artistic Director of Druid Theatre Company, Garry Hynes said: "All of us at Druid look forward to this semester and working with Thomas Conway in his new role as Druid-Director-in-Residence. As a graduate of NUI Galway I am thrilled to see the students working so closely with me and my colleagues at Druid to help develop the next generation of theatre-makers.” The new BA degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies has recently been launched by NUI Galway and is designed for students with a keen interest in all aspects of drama and performance. It is a world-class programme, providing a unique opportunity to study drama, theatre and performance from a practical, theoretical and historical perspective. The first intake of students for the new BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies will be in September 2012. Applications will be accepted via the CAO process, on which the new course code is GY118.

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Major €14 million European Initiative to Develop the Potential of Seaweed as Biofuel

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Researchers at NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute are involved in a major €14 million European initiative to develop the potential of algae as a source of sustainable energy.As a partner in the project, NUI Galway is responsible for the initial step of producing some of the biomass required for conversion to biofuel. This will be accomplished by cultivating macroalgae (seaweed) biomass at sea in a one-hectare pilot facility.Currently, algal bioenergy technologies are immature, but rapid advances are being made in the field. NUI Galway’s part of the ‘EnAlgae’ project is valued at almost €1.2 million, over the next four years.The project will focus on the cultivation of some of Ireland’s native kelp species (large brown seaweeds, commonly seen cast up on the beach after a storm). Growth of the seaweed crop occurs in two phases, the first phase of which is being carried out at the Ryan Institute’s Carna Research Station, Co. Galway.Dr Maeve Edwards, a research scientist at the Ryan Institute’s Carna facility, explains: “In our facilities here, microscopic stages of the algae are cultured and sprayed onto ropes. Once the seaweed has been ‘seeded’ onto hundreds of metres of rope, they are deployed at sea in the one-hectare experimental plot in Ventry Harbour, Co. Kerry.”Seaweed will also be cultivated in Northern Ireland (by Queen’s University Belfast) and Brittany, France (by Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues, CEVA). NUI Galway will coordinate the cultivation efforts between all three institutions.Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, commented: “Ireland and the European Union recognise the need to reduce our dependence on dwindling petroleum stocks and are promoting the use of biofuels. I am delighted to see that bright young researchers in the Ryan Institute have spotted the opportunity to engage in international and innovative research into a source of biomass - in this case, seaweed - whose conversion to biofuels could help in the transformation of the transport sector.”The four-year transnational Energetic Algae - or EnAlgae - project, led by Swansea University in Wales, is a strategic initiative funded by the INTERREG IVB North West Europe Programme via the European Regional Development Fund, together with a range of co-sponsors.EnAlgae involves 19 Partners and 13 Observers across eight EU member states; France, Belgium, UK, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, and aims to reduce CO2 emissions and dependency on unsustainable energy sources, through the accelerated development and deployment of algal-based biomass and bioenergy technologies.The project’s manager Dr Robin Shields, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea University’s College of Science, said: “Thanks to close transnational cooperation, EnAlgae partners and stakeholders will gain access to those sustainable technologies most suited to their local operating conditions. As project lead partner, Swansea University is delighted to extend its industry-focused research on algal bioremediation and biorefinery technologies, in partnership with acknowledged experts from across North West Europe.”-ends- Olltionscnamh Eorpach €14m chun na féidearthachtaí a bhaineann le Feamainn mar Bhithbhreosla a fhorbairt Tá taighdeoirí in Institiúid Uí Riain in OÉ Gaillimh ag obair ar olltionscnamh Eorpach, ar fiú €14 milliún é, chun forbairt a dhéanamh ar algaí mar fhoinse fuinnimh in-athnuaite. Mar chomhpháirtí sa tionscadal, tá freagracht ar OÉ Gaillimh as an gcéad chéim a bhaineann le cuid den bhithmhais a tháirgeadh atá ag teastáil le tiontú go bithbhreosla. Déanfar é seo trí bhithmhais mhacralga (feamainn) a shaothrú san fharraige i saoráid phíolótach aon heicteár. Faoi láthair, tá teicneolaíochtaí bithfhuinnimh algaigh neamhaibí, ach táthar ag déanamh an-dul chun cinn sa réimse. Sna ceithre bliana atá le teacht, is fiú beagnach €1.2 milliún an pháirt atá ag OÉ Gaillimh sa tionscadal ‘EnAlgae’.  Díreoidh an tionscadal ar chuid de speiceas nádúrtha ceilpe na hÉireann (feamainn mhór dhonn, a fheictear caite ar thránna go minic i ndiaidh stoirme) a shaothrú. Fásann feamainn in dhá chéim, tá an chéad chéim ar siúl i Stáisiún Taighde Institiúid Uí Riain i gCarna, Co. na Gaillimhe. Deir an Dr Maeve Edwards, eolaí taighde i saoráid Institiúid Mháirtín Uí Riain i gCarna: “Inár saoráid anseo, saothraítear céimeanna micreascópacha de na halgaí agus spraeáiltear ar théada iad. Nuair a bhíonn an fheamainn ‘síolaithe’ ar na céadta méadar téide, forbraíonn siad san fharraige sa tsaoráid thurgnamhach aon heicteár i gCuan Fhionntrá, Co. Chiarraí.” Saothrófar feamainn i dTuaisceart Éireann chomh maith (faoi stiúir Ollscoil na Ríona, Béal Feirste) agus sa Bhriotáin, an Fhrainc (faoi stiúir Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues, CEVA). Déanfaidh OÉ Gaillimh comhordú ar na hiarrachtaí saothraithe idir na trí institiúid. Deir an tOllamh Colin Brown, Stiúrthóir Institiúid Uí Riain, OÉ Gaillimh: “Aithníonn Éire agus an tAontas Eorpach an gá atá ann gan a bheith ag brath an oiread ar na stoic pheitriliam atá ag laghdú de shíor agus tá siad ag cur úsáid bithbhreoslaí chun cinn. Tá an-áthas orm a fheiceáil gur thug taighdeoirí óga éirimiúla in Institiúid Uí Riain faoi deara an deis le bheith páirteach i dtaighde idirnáisiúnta agus nuálaíoch ar fhoinse bithmhaise – sa chás seo, feamainn – má athraítear feamainn go bithbhreosla d’fhéadfaí athrú ó bhonn a dhéanamh ar an earnáil iompair. Is tionscnamh straitéiseach maoinithe ag Clár Iar-Thuaisceart na hEorpa INTERREG IVB trí Chiste Forbraíochta Réigiúnaí na hEorpa, chomh maith le réimse comhurraitheoirí é Energetic Algae – EnAlgae. Is é Ollscoil Swansea sa Bhreatain Bheag atá mar cheann feadhna ar an tionscadal ceithre bliana trasnáisiúnta seo. Tá baint ag 19 gComhpháirtí agus 13 Bhreathnóir as ocht mballstát AE leis an tionscadal; an Fhrainc, an Bheilg, an Ríocht Aontaithe, an Ghearmáin, Éire, an Ísiltír, an Eilvéis, agus Lucsamburg. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an tionscadal astaíochtaí CO2 agus spleáchas ar fhoinsí fuinnimh in-athnuaite a laghdú, trí bhithmhais algaí agus trí theicneolaíochtaí bithfhuinnimh a fhorbairt agus a úsáid gan mhoill. Deir bainisteoir an tionscadail, an Dr Robin Shields, an Stiúrthóir, the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), i gColáiste na hEolaíochta in Ollscoil Swansea: “A bhuíochas le comhoibriú trasnáisiúnta, beidh teacht ag comhpháirtithe agus ag páirtithe leasmhara EnAlgae ar na teicneolaíochtaí inmharthana is mó a fheileann dá gcoinníollacha áitiúla féin. Mar phríomhpháirtí an tionscadail, tá an-áthas orainn in Ollscoil Swansea ár dtaighde, atá dírithe ar an tionscal, ar theicneolaíochtaí bithleigheasacháin agus bithscaglainne algaí a leathnú, i gcomhpháirt le saineolaithe aitheanta ó Iar-Thuaisceart na hEorpa.” -críoch-

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