All 2012

NFB Researchers Receive Prestigious Travel Awards in Distinguished Laboratories

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Four researchers at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), NUI Galway, have been awarded Short-Term Travel Fellowships by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Bill Daly, Mohammad Abu-Rub, Dr Xuejun Hu and Shane Browne will travel to prestigious research institutes in the US and China to progressing NFB ambitions in the cardiac, neural and wound-healing fields.Shane Browne will travel to Harvard Medical School where he will work with Professor Richard Lee for six months on a study to demonstrate the efficacy of a biomaterial-based gene delivery system for treatment following myocardial infarction (heart attack). The complex delivery system addresses the inflammatory response and promotes healing following cardiac events. This system, which will enable re-modelling and re-vascularisation of damaged cardiac tissue, has already been developed at the NFB as part of Shane’s doctoral thesis. The work undertaken at Harvard will facilitate progression to Phase I clinical trials.Mohammad Abu-Rub and Bill Daly, both PhD students, will spend six months working withDr Simon Dillon at the Proteomics Facility at the Dana Faber Cancer Institute, part of the Harvard Medical School in the US. Mohammad’s PhD thesis is in the area of neural regeneration, and he has developed a platform technology, based on a hydrogel system, to target spinal cord injury at the cellular and molecular level. Bill’s work will focus on neural cell behaviour on engineered scaffolds. He has already developed a novel, collagen-based technology as a solution to neural tissue damage in the peripheral nervous system, resulting from injury or neural degenerative diseases. Postdoctoral researcher Dr Xuejun Hu’s studies are centred on the development of a gene therapy to promote skin regeneration. This new therapy is of potential benefit to patients of Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (RDEB). RDEB is a condition characterised by hard-to-heal, chronic wounds which can leave patients in constant pain. Xuejun will spend three months working at Dalian Medical University, China, with Professor Qi Wang, in order to further develop this gene therapy, determining which gene vector will be constructed, with a view to improved treatment for RDEB patients. According to Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB: “Travel awards allow researchers to undertake training and gain skills in leading edge technologies which they can later apply when they return to Ireland.”The four researchers are supervised by Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr. Wenxin Wang, of the NFB at NUI Gawlay, an SFI-funded Strategic Research Cluster. The NFB, which includes national and international academic and industry partners, aims to design the next generation of functional biomaterials, providing clinical solutions to unmet clinical needs. ENDS

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NUI Galway Host Genetic Discrimination Seminar in European Parliament

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The NUI Galway Centre for Disability Law and Policy will host a seminar in the European Parliament in Brussels on 'Genetic Discrimination - Transatlantic Perspectives on the Case for a European Level Legal Response'. The seminar, organised in conjunction with the European Disability Forum and the European Parliament Disability Intergroup, will take place on Tuesday, 6 March.The purpose of this event is to bring together key stakeholders to examine and further highlight the case for a European level legal and policy response to protect the privacy of genetic information. Ways to prevent genetic discrimination will also be examined, particularly in the employment and insurance contexts.The event will highlight the issues of genetic discrimination and genetic privacy on a European forum.  It will also raise awareness of these issues to the key European Institutions in Brussels.  This is an important and necessary step towards introducing reform in the area and taking the opportunity to make recommendations for legal intervention. The outcome of the seminar will further the discussion on what an appropriate European level response might be – involving stakeholders who will be contributing towards drafting, producing and implementing such a legislative response. The potential practical impact of this seminar is that it will make a meaningful contribution towards framing the necessary legal reform in this area.Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy, said: “NUI Galway hosted a conference of the same title in Galway at the end of 2011. This conference highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of this area and focused on the interaction between genetic science, technology, ethics and the law, and in particular, how best to regulate this complex area. On foot of the scientific and legal expertise offered, and on consideration of the potential for abuse and the fundamental human rights at stake, the conference strongly indicated a need for an appropriate regulatory response at European level to protect the privacy of genetic information and to prevent genetic discrimination. This event in March aims to build upon the discussion generated from the NUI Galway conference and further highlight this issue at European level.”The European seminar will be chaired by Andre Gubbels, Belgian Ministry. Speakers at the seminar will include: Professor Ciaran Morrison, Centre for Chromosome Biology, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway; Professor Yann Joly, Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University, Canada; Professor Peter Blanck, Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University; Dr Delia Ferri, Faculty of Law, University of Verona; Dr Ine Van Hoyweghen, Department of Health, Ethics and Society, Maastricht University; Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor; Jan Jareb, Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights; Marian Harkin, Member of the European Parliament; and J. Patrick Clarke, member of European Disability Forum Executive Committee and President of Down Syndrome Ireland.For further details, or to register for this free event, visit -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Hosts Reception for Eleven US Fulbright Scholars

Friday, 17 February 2012

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology President, Michael Carmody, welcomed eleven US Fulbright Awardees at a reception held recently to mark the commencement of Inter-changes: an Orientation Programme for 2011 – 2012 hosted by NUI Galway. This academic year (2011-2012), 14 Fulbright Awardees from the US are based in Higher Education Institutions around Ireland studying, researching and lecturing in disciplines ranging from American History and animation to journalism and civil engineering. Two of the Fulbright awardees are based in Galway, Dr Kathryn Laity in NUI Galway and Professor Gurram Gopal in GMIT. Inter-changes, running over three days, was an event-filled programme helping US Fulbright Scholars gain insights into various aspects of Ireland’s culture, history, society and geography. Part funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, an important part of the programme is also to learn more about the Irish language speaking regions and practice cúpla focal in the Gaeltacht. In addition to NUI Galway, the US Fulbrighters visited Galway Chamber of Commerce, TG4, Office of the Language Commissioner, Stiúideo Cuan in Spiddal and Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in Carraroe, Co. Galway. The Fulbright awards are jointly funded by the Irish and US governments under the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange. Fulbright scholarships have provided Irish and US students, scholars and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture and research at top universities and institutions in the US and Ireland respectively since 1957. For more information visit ENDS Fáiltiú do 11 Scoláire Fulbright in OÉ Gaillimh         Chuir Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne agus Uachtarán Institiúid Teicneolaíochta na Gaillimhe – Maigh Eo, Michael Carmody, fáilte roimh aon scoláire dhéag a fuair Scoláireachtaí Fulbright Mheiriceá ag ócáid a bhí ar siúl le gairid chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar thús Inter-changes: an Orientation Programme for 2011 – 2012 atá ar siúl in OÉ Gaillimh. I mbliana (2011-2012), tá 14 scoláire Fulbright ó Mheiriceá in Institiúidí Ard-Oideachais ar fud na hÉireann ag staidéar, ag déanamh taighde agus ag tabhairt léachtaí i ndisciplíní éagsúla ó Stair Mheiriceá agus beochan go hiriseoireacht agus innealtóireacht shibhialta. Tá beirt de na Scoláirí Fulbright lonnaithe i nGaillimh, an Dr Kathryn Laity in OÉ Gaillimh agus an tOllamh Gurram Gopal in GMIT. Bhí Inter-changes ar siúl ar feadh trí lá, agus clár imeachtaí ann chun cabhrú le Scoláirí Fulbright Mheiriceá tuiscint a fháil ar ghnéithe éagsúla de chultúr, stair, sochaí agus tíreolaíocht na hÉireann. Tá an clár á pháirtmhaoiniú ag an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, agus is cuid thábhachtach den chlár é níos mó a fhoghlaim faoi na réigiúin Ghaeltachta agus deis a thabhairt do na scoláirí cúpla focal Gaeilge a labhairt sa Ghaeltacht. Chomh maith le cuairt a thabhairt ar OÉ Gaillimh, chuaigh na scoláirí Fulbright chomh fada le Cumann Tráchtála agus Tionscail na Gaillimhe, TG4, Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga, Stiúideo Cuan sa Spidéal agus Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge ar an gCeathrú Rua, Co. na Gaillimhe. Déanann rialtais na hÉireann agus Mheiriceá cómhaoiniú ar na gradaim Fulbright faoi Choimisiún na hÉireann-Stát Aontaithe um Malartú Oideachasúil. Trí scoláireachtaí Fulbright tá deis faighte ag mic léinn, scoláirí agus gairmithe na hÉireann agus na Stát Aontaithe staidéar, léachtóireacht agus taighde a dhéanamh in ollscoileanna agus in institiúidí den scoth sna Stáit Aontaithe agus in Éirinn faoi seach ón mbliain 1957. Le tuilleadh eolais a fháil, féach   CRÍOCH

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NUI Galway Law Lecturer Appointed To Law Reform Commission

Friday, 17 February 2012

NUI Galway law lecturer, Donncha O’Connell, has been appointed by the Government, on the nomination of Attorney General, Máire Whelan, SC, to the Law Reform Commission to replace Mr. Justice Donal O’Donnell of the Supreme Court. He will serve as a part-time Commissioner. The Law Reform Commission is an independent, statutory body established under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975. Its purpose is to keep the law under review and to make recommendations for law reform in keeping with the changing nature of Irish society. Its scope was expanded in 2006 to include new projects on statute law restatement and the legislation directory. O’Connell was the Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 and he continues to teach European Human Rights and Constitutional Law in the School of Law. He has extensive experience on European human rights bodies having served as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the EU Commission in 2002 and as the senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna. He spent the academic year 2009-2010 as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights LSE and is the editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review published annually by Clarus Press. Donncha was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) from 1999-2002 and he has, in the past, been a board member of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and Amnesty International-Ireland. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights. He is also a member of the Legal Aid Board. ENDS  

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NUI Galway Host Free Family Events for National Engineers Week

Monday, 20 February 2012

NUI Galway is calling all wanna-be-engineers to participate in a week of events and activities from 27 February to 4 March as part of National Engineers Week. As part of the line-up NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute and College of Engineering and Informatics will host a free family-event.  Taking place at St Nicholas Church in Galway City on Saturday, 3 March from 11am to 5pm, Connecting our Lives promises to be a great day out for everyone, with activities to suit all ages. Speaking about engineering and Engineers Week, Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway, said: “Engineering is an exciting profession. Everything around you has been engineered in some way, yet you may not see the engineers behind the scenes. Engineers take maths and science from the lab to invent, design, and build things that matter. By dreaming up creative and practical solutions, engineers are changing the world all the time. Come and explore engineering through cool, fun and exciting demonstrations, meet with practicing engineers and IT specialists, learn about robotics, mobile phone apps, sports engineering, building design, renewable energies, medical implants and much more.” At the one day family event, visitors will be able to take part in hands-on experiments, workshops, and demonstrations. Each activity will explore the engineering behind many aspects of our lives including sustainable building and living, transport, water pollution and treatment, and electricity. There will be puppets and a lego-build area especially for the young visitors and a display of antique engineering equipment to make the grown-ups feel at home. Highlights of the event will include a K’Nex Bridge Building Contest, an Eco-House Design Challenge, a Renewable Energy Demonstration Station, Water Treatment experiments, Robotics and more.  Speaking about the Connecting our Lives event, Professor Colin Brown, Director of the Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, said: “Every aspect of how we live is connected by Engineering, and it’s an area that is becoming more and more important as we are looking to a future where we need to think about how we can build, live and play more sustainably.  Each year this event is sure to be a good pick for a fun, family-friendly day out, with visitors walking away with a much better understanding of the role of Engineering in our lives.” Connecting our Lives is part of National Engineers Week, which aims to showcase the diversity of engineering and to celebrate the role of engineers in Ireland. Other NUI Galway events being hosted during National Engineers Week include guided tours of the recently opened €40million Engineering Building at NUI Galway and a series of free lunchtime concerts provided by the staff and students of the College of Engineering and Informatics. The event will also provide an opportunity for secondary school pupils to meet practicing engineers and IT specialists at the ‘Explore Engineering and Technology’ event, a show called ‘It’s all done with Mirrors’ for primary school pupils which explores the science and technology behind many self working magic tricks, as well as many more events during Engineers Week. All of these events are free of charge. For more information on these and other events visit For further information on Connecting our Lives contact Sarah Knight, Outreach Officer, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, NUI Galway at 091 495061 or email -ENDS-

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