Tuesday, 7 May 2024

Harnessing AI would enable advancement of cardiovascular care for millions, with greatest impact in the developing world   Pioneering technology offers physicians more accurate understanding of heart condition, leading to better patient outcomes   A world-leading interventional cardiologist and researcher at University of Galway has called for a revolutionary change in healthcare – with artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality to be used to better diagnose and treat cardiac patients. Professor of Interventional Cardiology William Wijns, along with international colleagues from China, Italy, Switzerland and the USA, is urging the adoption of the most advanced technologies to empower clinicians to uncover previously concealed information within a coronary angiogram. Professor Wijns made the call in a specially commissioned article in Nature Review in Cardiology. In the paper, Professor Wijns emphasised the limitations of relying solely on traditional visual angiographic guidance for diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease. He cited previously published research which showed that diagnosis and treatment through the cardio-angiogram led to inappropriate stenting and overtreatment in 37% of patients; that 30% of interventional procedures are deemed unnecessary; and 20% are found to be needed but not performed. Stenting, although a common procedure, comes with potential problems to the patient, such as restenosis, thrombosis, damage to blood vessels and other risks. When the cardiologist uses angiographic images to precisely navigate catheters through arteries, results are not always optimal - about 50% of patients end up with suboptimal functional outcomes, leaving them vulnerable to further heart issues in the short and long term. Professor Wijns explained: “It is time for a paradigm shift in how we diagnose and treat coronary patients. We have good evidence that a new approach, taking into account the unique physiological characteristics of each patient’s heart, allows for more precise and effective treatment decisions. By integrating advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, into the interventional procedures, physicians can obtain a more accurate understanding of the heart's condition, leading to better patient outcomes, reducing the risk of adverse events, and preventing subsequent problems.” Research contends that recent advances in AI, machine learning and virtual reality can empower interventional cardiologists to uncover previously concealed information within a standard cardio-angiogram. This additional information holds significant implications and advantages for patients, providing a deeper insight into their individual condition. Blockages in smaller blood vessels in particular can also now be uncovered from image based AI. This new approach enables a more tailored response and treatment approach. This advancement will enable physicians to refine patient treatments, resulting in enhanced interventions compared to traditional angiograms, that don’t use AI assistance. Professor Wijns continued: “While the integration of artificial intelligence into coronary disease diagnosis and treatment planning represents a significant step forward in boosting accessibility on a global scale, it has never been more important to increase access to resources. Our new approach is refining the understanding of how blockages and other obstacles are impeding normal blood flow to the heart. Enabling access to this AI-led approach will advance cardiovascular care in emerging nations, bridging the gap with the first world and fostering substantial global impact, while also decreasing differences in quality of care in centres in the developed world. “Additional research is currently underway to validate the effectiveness of these new strategies, and we are optimistic about the potential to revolutionise care of coronary artery disease and improve the lives of millions of patients worldwide.” The paper can be accessed here: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41569-024-01014-0 Ends

Tuesday, 7 May 2024

University of Galway marks 10th anniversary of itag innovation Industry and academia are to come together to explore tech issues around cybersecurity, AI, cloud computing and empowering communities as part of this year’s AtlanTec Festival.  University of Galway and non-profit enterprise association itag - Innovation Technology AtlanTec Gateway – will mark 10 years of collaboration and innovation at a one-day event with informative, practical and engaging displays of the latest technology developments that impact both society and the workplace.  Taking place on Thursday May 16th, the annual AtlanTec Festival Conference is one of the highlights of the 10th annual AtlanTec Festival, which kicks off in Galway today.   The event - Connecting Communities through Technology Innovation - is expected to attract more than 300 delegates and includes international speakers and the region’s tech companies.  Canada-based author and futurist Peter Scott, who hosts the weekly podcast “AI and You”, will deliver a keynote address, dissecting the role technology plays in modern-day life. Querying whether technology is serving us or whether we serve technology, his talk will challenge attendees to view AI not merely as a tool, but as a catalytic force capable of shaping not only a productive but meaningful future of work.  Other speakers will include Dr Mamoona Asghar from University of Galway’s School of Computer Science who will discuss cyber security and modern social engineering attacks and Laura Brodahl, Senior Associate at Wilson Sonsini, who will discuss the future impact on business of Europe’s new AI Act which will regulate aspects of this evolving technology.   Andrew Ayres, Master Strategist for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will provide insights into the methodologies behind AI-driven analytics and the pivotal role they play in informing strategic business initiatives.   The conference is backed by University of Galway’s Innovation Office, which supports industry academic collaborations and start-ups.    Professor Jim Livesey, Vice-President Research and Innovation at University of Galway, said: "We are thrilled to host itag’s AtlanTec Conference Connecting Communities through Technology Innovation. This conference serves as a platform for academia and industry to draw inspiration from each other and collaborate to capitalise on the transformative potential of technology - resulting in building stronger, more interconnected communities.”   itag Board Chair and Senior Vice President, Fidelity Investments, Sharon Walsh said: “The AtlanTec festival has been pivotal in the advancement of the technology community here in the west of Ireland for the past 10 years. Through the ongoing support of our members and University of Galway, the annual conference brings together people and companies redefining the global tech industry. We connect through discussion, active listening and ideation on the most relevant tech industry developments that will shape our future work.”  For more information on the conference and to register, visit www.atlantec.ie  Ends  

Thursday, 2 May 2024

Report presents data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey 2022 Study highlights concerns over mental health and wellbeing, with older children and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds more vulnerable Children report less alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use but an increase in vaping   Research by University of Galway has shed new light into the health behaviours of children and adolescents in Ireland, emphasising areas of progress and concern that require urgent attention. Commissioned by the Department of Health, the findings are from the latest Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey conducted in 2022. More than 9,000 children, from a representative sample of 191 primary and post-primary schools nationwide, were asked to report on a series of questions related to their lifestyles, behaviours and experiences. The report is available online at https://www.universityofgalway.ie/hbsc/hbscireland/2022study/. Key findings for 10-17 year-olds include: Alcohol, tobacco - some improvements 69% of children reported never drinking alcohol (66% in 2018) 9% reported having ever smoked (12% in 2018) Vaping - girls and older children more likely to report use 18% report having ever used vapes or e-cigarettes 13% report having ever used vapes or e-cigarettes in the last 30 days Cannabis - older children more likely to report cannabis use and no social class difference found 6% reported cannabis use in the last 12 months, (8% in 2018) Mental health and wellbeing - older teenage girls less likely to report high levels of life satisfaction, happiness and wellbeing.  54% of 10-17 year-old girls report high life satisfaction, compared to 69% of boys 22% of girls and 33% of boys report feeling very happy with their lives at present Covid - the impact of the pandemic was reported on for the first time in the 2022 survey 40% of children reported that the public health restrictions had a negative impact on their mental health and school performance Girls and older children were more likely to report these negative impacts Bullying - Boys and children from the middle social class group are more likely to report bullying others at school once or more in the past couple of months 29% reported being bullied once or more in the last couple of months (30% in 2018) 13% report having bullied others once or more in the last couple of months (14% in 2018) Cyberbullying - Girls, younger children and children from lower social class groups are more likely to report being victims once or more in the past couple of months 18% report being cyberbullied (15% in 2018) 9% report having taken part in cyberbullying, with boys and those from lower socioeconomic groups more likely to have reported taking part (8% in 2018) Dietary behaviour - some positive findings, with more children eating fruit and vegetables One in four children report eating fruit and 23% report eating vegetables every day 19% report never having breakfast on school days (13% in 2018) 18% report having gone to school or bed hungry because there was not enough food in the house (19% in 2018) 13% report trying to lose weight (14% in 2018) Sexual health - a decrease in numbers reporting condom use One in four 15-17 year-olds report ever having sex (25% in 2018) 48% of those report that they or their partner used a condom at their last sexual intercourse (62% in 2018) And 34% of those who report having sex also report that they or their partner used no contraception at their last sexual intercourse (22% in 2018) Exercise and Physical Activity - recurring finding of low numbers of children meeting physical activity guidelines Only 24% of children report reaching the recommended level of 60 minutes physical activity every day of the week (22% in 2018). 50% of children report participating in vigorous exercise four or more times per week (49% in 2018). Boys, younger children and children from higher social class groups are more likely to report participating in vigorous exercise four or more times per week. Menstrual health and period poverty - being reported for the first time as part of the survey in 2022 10% of girls reported experiencing period poverty - defined by ever being unable to afford period products 60% reported ever missing school due to period symptoms Sun safety 85% of children report always or sometimes using sunscreen on a sunny day, (80% in 2018) 75% of children report having been sunburnt at least once last summer (73% in 2018) Professor Colette Kelly, Director of the Health Promotion Research Centre at University of Galway, highlighted the significance of the findings, particularly given the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: "These insights provide a critical understanding of children's health behaviours during a time of unprecedented challenges. Overall, the findings underscore the need for targeted interventions and supports to ensure the well-being of Ireland's youth, for example there are indications of a positive shift in healthy eating, yet far too many children go hungry at times. One concerning trend is that children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds consistently report more negative health outcomes. This highlights the urgent need to address health disparities and to ensure equitable access to resources for all children.” Aoife Gavin, Senior Researcher at the Health Promotion Research Centre, and lead author of the report, commented on findings related to mental well-being and happiness: “Findings concerning wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction, particularly among older teenage girls are deeply troubling. While the impact of COVID-19 can be seen to exacerbate these challenges, it’s crucial to recognise that this trend existed pre-pandemic. This is now a longstanding issue requiring immediate attention and while further research is underway to understand these findings, interventions are imperative to reverse this concerning trajectory and to ensure the wellbeing of our youth.” Dr Andras Kolto, Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at the Health Promotion Research Centre at University of Galway, said: “The decline in condom use, and overall contraception use among adolescents is alarming. With only 48% reporting condom use at the last sexual intercourse, and a notable increase in those using no contraception, urgent action is needed to address Relationships and Sexuality Education in schools, to enhance education for young people and increase access to resources, such as sexual health services for our youth.” Professor Kelly emphasised the need for continued data collection: “This data is not merely numbers - it is the foundation upon which effective policy and society changes are built. Without robust data and thorough analysis, we cannot hope to enact meaningful improvements in the lives of children in Ireland. Our ambition remains clear: to collect data that informs evidence-based recommendations, driving positive policy changes that will enhance the well-being of future generations.” Ends

Wednesday, 1 May 2024

Marine Institute Research Vessel Celtic Explorer carries cargo of bronze replica famine shoes on symbolic journey to Canada    University of Galway has supported the Marine Institute in a transatlantic initiative to expand the Famine Way internationally.  Fifteen pairs of bronze replica famine shoes - which mark Ireland’s official Famine Heritage Trail from Strokestown, Co Roscommon to Dublin and symbolise the countless lives lost and forced migration of An Górta Mór/the Great Famine - are being carried on an historic journey to Canada aboard the Marine Institute’s Research Vessel Celtic Explorer.   The Marine Institute hosted a special ceremony on board the vessel at Galway Port ahead of the shoes being brought to St John’s, Newfoundland.  University of Galway Vice-President International Professor Becky Whay took part in the transatlantic crossing and events to launch the Global Famine Way.  Professor Whay said: “We are taking pairs of these shoes on the voyage across to St John’s and in doing so we are retracing the journey of so many Irish citizens who were forced to take a leap into the unknown in an effort to survive. For University of Galway, we are so thrilled to be involved in this project. The connections with Canada and deepening our relations with Canada are so important, and this is symbolic of that as well as the famine journey.”  A pair of bronze replica famine shoes will be installed in The Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St John’s marking the first part of the expansion of the Famine Way.   The shoes were crafted by artist Alannah O'Kelly. They are based on a pair of shoes found in a disused 19th century thatched cottage and were originally placed on the path from Strokestown to Dublin to remember and symbolise the countless lives lost and the forced migration of Irish people during the Great Famine. The Famine Way will later be expanded further into Canada and the US, Liverpool and Australia, with the aim of raising awareness about its enduring impact on Ireland and Irish communities worldwide.  The Marine Institute partner with Strokestown House to bring the shoes to Canada aboard the RV Celtic Explorer.   Caroilín Callery of the National Famine Way, said: “We are delighted and grateful to partner with the Marine Institute to have the Bronze Shoes brought on this leg of their journey to Canada. It is symbolic and important to us that their voyage mirrors the journey of the famine emigrants they represent – following the path they took in 1847.”   Dr Rick Officer, chief executive of the Marine Institute, said: "We are honoured to bring the Bronze Famine Shoes to Canada aboard the RV Celtic Explorer. This journey represents a powerful symbol of solidarity and remembrance, highlighting the enduring legacy of the Great Irish Famine and its impact on Irish communities around the world. It is fitting that the bronze shoes, a poignant symbol of our past, are now being carried on a journey aboard Ireland’s state of the art research vessel connecting history with the promise of tomorrow.  The Atlantic crossing for the RV Celtic Explorer - Ireland’s largest national research vessel – will also lead to a research expedition and significant survey along the western Greenland shelf as part of the Biological Carbon Export in the Labrador Sea (BELAS) survey.   This international, collaborative, interdisciplinary survey is being led by Dr Brain Ward, University of Galway, with partners from Dalhousie University of Nova Scotia and Memorial University of Newfoundland. It is supported by Ship-time funding from the Marine Institute, the Canadian Research council, the Ocean frontiers Institute (Canada) as well as the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre in Applied Geosciences, based at University College Dublin (iCRAG)   Ends  

Wednesday, 1 May 2024

University of Galway has announced the appointment of Des Ryan as the new Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing.  As Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing Mr Ryan will play the lead role in the strategic management of sport and physical wellbeing in the University, including the development of infrastructure, facilities and participation for all sport activity.   President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are delighted to have someone with such a breadth of experience as Des Ryan to lead the development of sports and physical wellbeing at the University. From premier league soccer, to inter-provincial and world rugby, to gaelic games, and expertise in sports science, Des Ryan will bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight to the University. We are conscious of the relationship between academic performance, health and wellbeing, and we often look to our values of excellence, respect and openness when we think about the importance of sport and physical activity. I look forward to working with Des Ryan and colleagues in Spórt to ensure the broadening of opportunities and achievements of our students.”  Congratulating Des Ryan on his appointment, University of Galway’s Dean of Students, Professor Ciara Meehan, said: "We are very pleased to have someone with Des Ryan’s experience and background to lead and develop our reputation as a leading third level institution for sport. As an established sports manager Des Ryan combines a passion for sport and a commitment to inclusion and diversity with a promise to support our elite athletes and promote the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff. We look forward to ensuring that our strengths and successes in sport will continue to grow and prosper."  Speaking of his appointment, Des Ryan said: “I am delighted to be joining the University of Galway. I look forward to working with the whole student and staff community to develop a dual-aspirational plan to help increase the physical wellbeing of everyone in our University community and, secondly, to help people in the sporting community to be their best. I will work with all the students, staff and volunteers to help University of Galway be a healthy environment where everyone feels they belong and an environment where they can improve their physical wellbeing and sporting potential.  “I would love to speak to any graduates or people from the wider community who would be interested in volunteering or supporting the University Sporting and Physical Activity projects.”     Originally from Aughrim in Co. Galway, Mr Ryan is a leading youth coach and performance manager in sport and a world-renowned practitioner and speaker in the field of youth athletic development.   Prior to joining the University, he worked for Setanta College as Director of Coaching and Athletic Development; Arsenal Football Club Academy as Head of Sport Medicine and Athletic Development; Head of Strength and Conditioning at Connacht Rugby; and Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fitness Education Manager within the IRFU.  Over the years Des Ryan has presented at the UKSCA – the UK's Professional Body for Strength and Conditioning, the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) conferences, as well as many other conferences around the world. He also has worked as a consultant to World Rugby, Brentford FC and the National Cricket academy in India. Des works closely with the Gaelic Games community as a member of the Sports Science Working Group and also the Coaching Advisory Working Group.    Des Ryan has a Masters in Strength and Conditioning and is also an Accredited Strength and Conditioning coach with the UKSCA. He also has achieved the High Performance Sports Accreditation from the British Association of Sports and Exercise Science and is a chartered scientist.    University of Galway is home to 40 active sports clubs, which are student-led and organised, with more than 6,000 students participating in sport and physical activity at the University.  Ends

Wednesday, 1 May 2024

Tá sé fógartha ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe go bhfuil Des Ryan ceaptha ina Stiúrthóir nua Spóirt agus Folláine Coirp. Ina ról mar Stiúrthóir Spóirt agus Folláine Coirp, beidh Des Ryan i gceannas ar bhainistíocht straitéiseach cúrsaí spóirt agus folláine coirp san Ollscoil, lena n-áirítear forbairt bonneagair, áiseanna agus rannpháirtíochta in imeachtaí spóirt den uile chineál. Seo mar a labhair Uachtarán Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “Cuireann sé lúcháir orainn duine mar Des Ryan, leis an taithí fhairsing atá aige, a bheith againn chun ceannaireacht a thabhairt ar fhorbairt cúrsaí spóirt agus folláine coirp san Ollscoil. Béarfaidh Des Ryan raidhse eolais, taithí agus léargas leis chuig an Ollscoil, gnóthaithe ó shacar an Premier League, ó rugbaí idir-chúige agus idirnáisiúnta, ó na cluichí Gaelacha agus ón saineolas atá aige ar an eolaíocht spóirt. Aithnímid an caidreamh atá idir feidhmíocht acadúil, sláinte agus folláine, agus cuimhnímid go minic ar ár mbunluachanna – barr feabhais, ómós agus oscailteacht – nuair a labhraímid ar thábhacht an spóirt agus na gníomhaíochta coirp.  Táim ag súil le bheith ag obair leis agus lena chomhghleacaithe spóirt chun cur leis na deiseanna a bhíonn ag ár mic léinn agus leis na héachtaí a bhaineann siad amach.” Agus í ag tréaslú le Des Ryan ar a cheapachán, dúirt Déan na Mac Léinn in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, an tOllamh Ciara Meehan: “Táimid an-sásta duine mar Des Ryan, leis an taithí agus an cúlra atá aige, a bheith againn chun ár gcáil mar cheann de na hinstitiúidí tríú leibhéil is fearr ó thaobh an spóirt de a threisiú agus a fhorbairt. Bainisteoir aitheanta spóirt é Des Ryan a chuirfidh a phaisean don spórt agus a thiomantas don chuimsiú agus don éagsúlacht lena ghealltanas tacaíocht a thabhairt do na lúthchleasaithe is fearr agus sláinte agus folláine na mac léinn agus na gcomhaltaí foirne go léir a chur chun cinn. Táimid ag súil go mór lenár láidreachtaí agus éachtaí spóirt a threisiú i gcónaí." Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Des Ryan faoina cheapachán: “Tá áthas an domhain orm a bheith ag teacht go hOllscoil na Gaillimhe. Táim ag súil le bheith ag obair le pobal na hollscoile ar fad, idir mhic léinn agus chomhaltaí foirne, chun plean ardaidhmeannach le dhá sprioc ar leith a chur i dtoll a chéile: folláine coirp gach duine dár bpobal ollscoile a fheabhsú, agus cuidiú le pobal spóirt na hollscoile barr a gcumais a bhaint amach. Oibreoidh mé leis na mic léinn, na comhaltaí foirne agus na hoibrithe deonacha go léir chun timpeallacht fholláin a chothú in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, timpeallacht ina mbeidh gach duine ar a suaimhneas agus a ligeann dóibh a bhfolláine coirp agus a n-acmhainneacht spóirt a threisiú. “Ba bhreá liom labhairt le céimithe nó daoine eile sa phobal i gcoitinne a mbeadh spéis acu obair i bpáirt linn mar oibrithe deonacha nó tacú le tionscadail spóirt agus gníomhaíochta coirp na hOllscoile.”  As Eachroim i gCo. na Gaillimhe ó dhúchas dó, is cóitseálaí óige agus bainisteoir feidhmíochta den chéad scoth é Des Ryan, agus tá cáil dhomhanda air mar chainteoir agus mar chleachtóir i bhforbairt lúthchleasach na hóige. Sular tháinig sé ar fhoireann na hOllscoile, bhí sé ina Stiúrthóir Cóitseála agus Forbartha Lúthchleasaí le Setanta College; bhí sé ina Cheann Míochaine Spóirt agus Forbartha Lúthchleasaí le hAcadamh Chlub Peile Arsenal; bhí sé ina Cheann Nirt agus Aclaithe le foireann rugbaí Chonnacht; agus ina Chóitseálaí Nirt agus Aclaithe agus Bainisteoir ar Oiliúint Chorpacmhainne leis an IRFU. Thar na blianta, tá cuireadh faighte ag Des Ryan labhairt ag comhdháil UKSCA – Comhlacht Gairmiúil na Ríochta Aontaithe maidir le Neart agus Aclú – comhdháil Chumann Nirt agus Aclaithe na hAstráile (ASCA), comhdháil an Chumainn Náisiúnta Nirt agus Aclaithe (NSCA) agus go leor eile ar fud an domhain. Lena chois sin, bhí sé ina shainchomhairleoir do Rugbaí an Domhain, do Brentford FC agus don Acadamh Náisiúnta Cruicéid in India. Tá dlúthchaidreamh ag Des le pobal na gcluichí Gaelacha chomh maith, agus é ina bhall de Ghrúpa Oibre na hEolaíochta Spóirt agus den Ghrúpa Oibre Comhairleach don Chóitseáil.  Tá Máistreacht ag Des Ryan sa Neart agus Aclú, agus is Cóitseálaí Creidiúnaithe Nirt agus Aclaithe é le UKSCA. Ina theannta sin, tá Creidiúnú sa Spórt Ardfheidhmíochta aige ó Chumann Eolaíochta Spóirt agus Aclaíochta na Breataine, agus is eolaí cairte é freisin.  Tá breis is 40 club spóirt – iad uile faoi stiúir na mac léinn – gníomhach in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus glacann breis is 6,000 mac léinn páirt in imeachtaí spóirt agus gníomhaíochta coirp san Ollscoil. Críoch

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

SMARTSHAPE consortium, led from University of Galway, will develop a disruptive technology sensor  The European Union has awarded a European consortium €4.4million for the SMARTSHAPE project to focus on developing an implantable medical device for continuous blood pressure monitoring. Hypertension is the leading global contributor to premature death, accounting for more than 9 million deaths a year. Elevated blood pressure is a chronic lifetime risk factor that can lead to serious cardiovascular events if undiagnosed or poorly controlled. Many high-risk patients require long-term monitoring to tailor drug treatments and improve healthcare outcomes, but there is no clinically accepted method of continuous beat-to-beat blood pressure monitoring that patients can use outside of the hospital setting.  The SMARTSHAPE consortium is led by Professor William Wijns, a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded Research Professor in Interventional Cardiology at University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. According to Professor Wijns: “The best innovations start with a clinical need. Patients who require monitoring are better off in their own homes rather than in a hospital setting. There is a huge market opportunity for a medical-grade, user-friendly, and minimally invasive solution for continuous blood pressure monitoring.” Professor Wijns is also a Funded Investigator at CÚRAM, the SFI research centre for medical devices based at University of Galway which focuses on developing biomedical implants, therapeutic and diagnostic devices that address the needs of patients living with chronic illness. Dr Atif Shahzad, joint director of the Smart Sensors Lab at the University of Galway and a research fellow at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research at the University of Birmingham, said: “Our SMARTSHAPE consortium has developed an IP-protected technologically disruptive sensor for continuous pressure measurement. There are challenges related to biocompatibility, longevity, and delivery to the target tissue, and these need to be overcome to deliver the sensor to the market.”  Dr Shahzad added: “This project will address these challenges by formulating an innovative biomaterial: a novel temperature-dependent shape memory polymer (SMP). SMPs will enable the development of a microsensor that can be curled up, introduced into the body through a minimally invasive procedure, and ‘opened up’ when placed at body temperature to take a predefined shape.” The consortium of eight partner institutions is led by the University of Galway and includes partners across Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, consisting of two academic partners, two multinationals, one ISO-certified company, two SMEs and a patient collaboration company. Kevin Michels-Kim, chief executive of Merakoi, which facilitates patient collaboration in research. He said: “We are committed to putting the patient at the centre of SMARTSHAPE, allowing us to create novel solutions that truly meet the needs of patients. Merakoi will play a crucial role in the SMARTSHAPE consortium by integrating the patient voice across the product lifecycle. Our ability to harness deep patient understanding from the start enables the consortium to develop patient-beneficial solutions that maximise the adoption and impact of innovative technologies and devices.” Dr Sandra Ganly, Senior Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Risk Factor Research, College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, at the University of Galway, said: “Blood pressure monitoring will represent the first SMARTSHAPE application. However, the potential of this sensing solution goes significantly beyond BP monitoring. Continuous physiological pressure monitoring can provide key information for early diagnosis, patient-specific treatment, and preventive healthcare in a wide range of healthcare indications. This will significantly broaden the potential and open avenues for other products and research innovation.” Ends

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Johnson & Johnson announced today its prestigious Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Undergraduate Award recipients from University of Galway. The Award recognises outstanding female students in STEM2D disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design. Each recipient will receive a student award, industry mentoring and leadership training, along with the opportunity to attend careers workshops, visit Johnson & Johnson sites and participate in WiSTEM2D events designed to support them with pursuing future STEM careers. The Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D programme fuels the development of the female STEM2D talent pipeline by awarding and sponsoring girls and women at critical points in their educational experience and their careers, in STEM disciplines. The Undergraduate programme was first introduced at University of Limerick in 2016. Since then, it has expanded to include University College Cork in 2018, University of Galway in 2021, and Munster Technological University in 2022, supporting more than 400 female students over the last 6 years. The University of Galway students selected to receive the scholarships are: Emer Nic Roibín; Bachelor of Science; Belfast; Co. Antrim Gemma O'Brien Hehir; Biomedical Engineering; Galway Laura Burke; Biomedical Engineering, Moycullen; Galway Laura Quinn; Bachelor of Arts (Mathematical Studies and Information Technology); Renmore, Galway Mairéad Rowland; Biomedical Science; Rossport, Ballina, Co. Mayo Niamh Corcoran; Biomedical Engineering; Leacarrow, Co. Roscommon Rebeccca Norris; Bachelor of Science; Athlone, Co. Westmeath Sarah Daves; Marine Science; Austin, Texas; USA Sophie Spellissy; Computer Science and Information Technology; Ennis, Co. Clare Syakira Amani Khairul Nazri; Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology); Waterford City Michael Gilvarry, General Manager at Cerenovus said:“I would like to congratulate the students who have been chosen as recipients of the WiSTEM2D award. I am sure that they will enjoy the benefits that the programme has them to offer in supporting career development, including visits to our facilities, and the opportunity to engage with a mentor. Johnson & Johnson recognises the importance of supporting women early in their careers, to aid the development of female STEM leaders for the future. We believe in the power of diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and progress. That's why we are committed to supporting women in STEM, and providing them with the resources, opportunities, and support they need to succeed and thrive in their careers. Programmes like WiSTEM2D help allow us to partner with academic institutions to develop high-impact strategies, which can inspire and support the STEM workforce of the future.” University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are delighted to strengthen our partnerships with industry and especially with Johnson & Johnson through initiatives such as the WiSTEM2D programme. We can achieve more together as the Irish term Meitheal suggests - describing how neighbours would come together to achieve a mutually better harvest. As access to tertiary education expands, we recognise that support for underrepresented students while they are part of our community is critical. Industry support for our underrepresented students in STEM can act as a catalyst to level the playing field, which is increasingly important against the backdrop of growing diversity in Ireland and the need to recognise and design for intersectionality in education. “The industry mentorship, provided as part of the programme, is a significant boon to our female student scientists, mathematicians and engineers and it is an essential ingredient, which energises them to address the world’s most pressing challenges, as framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to innovate for our society, our people and our planet. We care about our students and their ambitions and we are guided by our values of openness, excellence, sustainability and respect in our role in shaping our students as the leaders of the future.” The awards ceremony was held in Áras Na Mac Léinn, University of Galway, and was also attended by Anna Rafferty, Director of Strategy, Johnson & Johnson Campus Ireland; Anna Lisa Smullin, Senior R&D Engineer and WiSTEM2D Lead at CERENOVUS; and Cara Feely, Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist at CERENOVUS. Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Award scholarship were also presented with bespoke framed glass artwork created by Fermoy-based artist, Suzanne O’Sullivan. Ends

Monday, 30 January 2023

University of Galway’s student innovation hub, IdeasLab, has officially launched their Empathy Lab, a physical and virtual learning environment in the heart of campus.      The University of Galway Empathy Lab is the first of its kind in Europe and combines the science of human behaviour with the art of human centred design with Boston Scientific the inaugural enterprise partner.   It has been developed as part of the University’s Designing Futures project, which is funded under the Government’s Human Capital Initiative.   The University of Galway Empathy Lab will enable University of Galway students who want to come up with solutions to specific problems to understand the feelings and experiences of those affected.   Students will use new technologies including simulation suits; infant simulators; haptic gloves; scent masks.   Speaking about the Empathy Lab launch Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said: “Respect is a core value of the University and the pathway to respect is paved with empathy and knowledge. Through the University of Galway Empathy Lab, we will work with our partners to further embed empathy as a core attribute that students can develop and practice - supporting and shaping our innovations, placing the lived experience and our society at the heart of what we create with and for others.”   Empathy is the common denominator at the heart of all great collaboration, invention and innovation - it is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference.   The University of Galway Empathy Lab will offer consideration of the deeper layers of the human experience, using technology and human simulation to capture the essence of our real, messy, human selves. It will focus on the how of empathy and developing empathic individuals and teams. Scholars describe empathy as a muscle; as such, it should be capable of growth and regeneration. Following this logic, the lab will use a variety of empathy training approaches to train and further develop students’ appreciation of empathy.   Martin Hynes and Richard Crawford of Boston Scientific are the inaugural enterprise partners who will work alongside students in 2023. Students and their mentors will experience multiple scenarios and simulations to create better ways to innovate with customers and patients in the area of endoscopy procedures.    Dr Natalie Walsh, Director of Entrepreneurial Development and co-lead of the Public Patient Involvement Ignite network in University of Galway, said: “The University of Galway Empathy Lab will take a multidimensional approach to experiences so that we better understand what people are feeling and how innovation can develop to respond to the needs and wants of our society. We will bring technology and people together to give our students unique insights and experiences that can shape future innovations and respond to our society’s most pressing needs.”   University of Galway will also launch a new Empathy in Action module which brings together expertise from across the campus and reflects the many voices and perspectives of empathy and create action oriented and empathetic future leaders and innovators. Empathy Lab and the new immersive learning environment is being supported through a funding award through the Bodyswaps & Meta's Immersive Soft Skills Education Grant. University of Galway’s IdeasLab was one of 100 educational institutions worldwide to be supported and will receive two Meta Quest 2 headsets and three months free access to Bodyswaps VR learning programs.  Dr Walsh added: “This will have a significant impact on soft skills for both students and staff. Building soft skills amongst students will allow higher education institutions around the world to level the playing field and boost opportunities for their students in the competitive global market.” According data from Bodyswaps, after using this kind of technology as part of their learning experience, 87% of learners report a significant improvement in their self-awareness and knowledge of how to improve their skills and 85% of learners report a significant improvement in their confidence to apply the simulated soft skills in real situations. Ends 

Monday, 30 January 2023

University of Galway’s postgraduate open evening takes place on campus, on Tuesday February 7, 2023, from 4.30pm-7.30pm, in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. With more than 200 postgraduate courses on offer across a range of subjects including Humanities, Business, Law, Engineering, Science and Computer Science, Nursing, and Medicine and Health Sciences, the postgraduate event is a key event for those who want to broaden their skills-set, define their areas of expertise, increase their specialist knowledge and ultimately improve their job prospects. The informal networking event will showcase the suite of full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes available, including taught and research masters, as well as doctoral research options. Flexible, online, and blended learning options are also on offer. Academic staff will be available to meet prospective students to discuss study opportunities, entry requirements and career paths and postgraduate support staff will be on hand to discuss applications, admissions, scholarships and fees. The ‘Postgraduate Funding and Scholarships’ talk will present a range of schemes designed to make postgraduate study more affordable.  As part of University of Galway’s strategic focus on recognising excellence and success, EU students with first class honours in their undergraduate degree are eligible to apply for a €1,500 scholarship towards their taught master’s degree at the University. Emily Atkinson, graduate of the MSc in Consumer Psychology, who was awarded a scholarship said: “The postgraduate scholarship is a fantastic opportunity that rewards and incentivises the hard work it takes to achieve first class honours. The scholarship allowed me prioritise finding the right postgraduate course for me, and to focus on my studies during my masters.”  Valerie Leahy, Postgraduate Recruitment Officer, University of Galway, said: “We especially encourage visitors considering a return to university studies to attend our Postgraduate Open Day. Almost half of those applying to our postgraduate courses are not recent graduates, they are returning to study or upskill for their current job. “The value of a postgraduate qualification is proven in terms of improving employability and career progression, increasing lifetime earnings, learning invaluable transferable skills that employers value, and many of our courses also offer opportunities for placement and internships.” Booking in advance for the event is recommended and is available at www.universityofgalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day.  Ends

Monday, 30 January 2023

Beidh oíche oscailte iarchéime Ollscoil na Gaillimhe ar siúl ar an gcampas Dé Máirt, an 7 Feabhra 2023 ó 4.30pm-7.30pm i Halla Bailey Allen, Áras na Mac Léinn. Beidh níos mó ná 200 cúrsa iarchéime á dtairiscint ag oíche oscailte Ollscoil na Gaillimhe idir na Daonnachtaí, Gnó, Dlí, Innealtóireacht, Eolaíocht agus Ríomheolaíocht, Altranas, agus Leigheas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte. Is imeacht tábhachtach é seo dóibh siúd ar mian leo a scileanna a leathnú, a réimsí saineolais a bheachtú, a saineolas a mhéadú agus a ndeiseanna fostaíochta a fheabhsú ar deireadh thiar. Beidh eolas le fáil faoi chláir iarchéime lánaimseartha agus pháirtaimseartha atá á dtairiscint san Ollscoil, lena n-áirítear máistreachtaí múinte agus taighde, agus roghanna taighde dochtúireachta. Tá roghanna foghlama solúbtha, ar líne agus cumaisc ar fáil freisin. Beidh cuid den fhoireann acadúil ar fáil chun bualadh le mic léinn ionchasacha chun deiseanna staidéir, riachtanais iontrála agus cosáin gairme a phlé agus beidh cuid den fhoireann tacaíochta iarchéime ar fáil chun iarratais, iontrálacha, scoláireachtaí agus táillí a phlé. Cuirfidh an chaint ‘Scoláireachtaí agus Maoiniú Iarchéime’ i láthair raon scéimeanna atá ann chun cuidiú le staidéar iarchéime a dhéanamh níos réasúnta. Mar chuid den fhócas straitéiseach atá ar bhunchéim ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe maidir le haitheantas a thabhairt d’fheabhas agus do rathúlacht, tá mic léinn de chuid an AE a bhfuil céadonóracha bainte amach acu ina mbunchéim i dteideal iarratas a dhéanamh ar scoláireacht €1,500 i dtreo a gcúrsa máistreachta múinte san Ollscoil. Dúirt Emily Atkinson, céimí de chuid an MSc in Consumer Psychology agus ar bronnadh scoláireacht uirthi, an méid seo a leanas: “Is deis iontach í an scoláireacht iarchéime a spreagann agus a thugann luach saothair don obair chrua a bhaineann le céadonóracha a bhaint amach. Thug an scoláireacht deis dom díriú ar an gcúrsa iarchéime ceart a aimsiú dom féin, agus díriú ar mo chuid staidéir le linn mo mháistreachta.” Dúirt Valerie Leahy, Oifigeach Earcaíochta Iarchéime, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe: “Molaimid go háirithe do chuairteoirí atá ag smaoineamh ar fhilleadh ar staidéar ollscoile freastal ar ár Lá Oscailte Iarchéime. I gcás beagnach leath díobh siúd a chuireann isteach ar ár gcúrsaí iarchéime níl siad díreach tar éis céim a bhaint amach, tá siad ag filleadh ar an staidéar nó ag tabhairt faoi bhreisoiliúint dá bpost reatha. “Tá luach cáilíochta iarchéime cruthaithe i dtéarmaí infhostaitheachta agus dul chun cinn gairme a fheabhsú, tuilleamh saoil a mhéadú, scileanna inaistrithe luachmhara a fhoghlaim a bhfuil meas ag fostóirí orthu, agus cuireann go leor dár gcúrsaí deiseanna socrúcháin agus intéirneachtaí ar fáil freisin.” Moltar áit a chur in áirithe roimh ré agus is féidir é sin a dhéanamh ag www.universityofgalway.ie/postgraduate-open-day. Críoch

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Sheol Méara Chathair na Gaillimhe, an Comhairleoir Clodagh Higgins, dhá thionscnamh nua de chuid Ollscoil na Gaillimhe agus Gaillimh le Gaeilge ag preasócáid a bhí ar siúl in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe le déanaí chun úsáid na Gaeilge labhartha a mhéadú i gcathair na Gaillimhe. Is príomhbhearta iad an dá thionscnamh seo atá leagtha amach sa Phlean Teanga do Chathair na Gaillimhe agus a bhfuil ról lárnach acu chun stádas mar ‘Baile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta’ a bhaint amach do Ghaillimh.   Faoi Acht na Gaeltachta 2012, sainmhínítear Bailte Seirbhíse Gaeltachta mar na bailte sin atá suite i Limistéir Pleanála Teanga Ghaeltachta nó in aice leo. Tá Gaillimh le Gaeilge ag comhoibriú le Comhairle Cathrach na Gaillimhe, le hOllscoil na Gaillimhe agus le páirtithe leasmhara tábhachtacha eile chun an próiseas a bhaineann leis an bPlean Teanga a chur i bhfeidhm sa chathair a éascú. Is é cuspóir Phlean Teanga Chathair na Gaillimhe, de réir pholasaí an Rialtais, cur le húsáid agus eolas cumarsáide na Gaeilge mar theanga pobail i gCathair na Gaillimhe ar bhonn incriminteach. Moltar sa phlean áis ar líne a fhorbairt a thabharfadh eolas faoi sheirbhísí Gaeilge na cathrach mar aon le suaitheantais chun cainteoirí Gaeilge a aithint. Is éard a dúirt Méara Chathair na Gaillimhe, an Comhairleoir Clodagh Higgins agus í ag labhairt ag an ócáid: “Tháinig an smaoineamh chun cinn arís i bPlean Teanga Chathair na Gaillimhe do shuaitheantas mar mholadh agus mar bhealach do Ghaeilgeoirí aithne a chur ar a chéile.  Cuirfidh na suaitheantais nua atá deartha ag Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, le húsáid na Gaeilge agus beidh an Ghaeilge níos feiceálaí. Tuigim go leathnófar an tionscnamh seo amach go cathair na Gaillimhe freisin agus measaim gur an-smaoineamh é sin. Tá lúcháir orm ‘An tEolaire - Seirbhís i nGaeilge’, cruthaithe ag Gaillimh le Gaeilge, a sheoladh inniu freisin. Is liosta cuimsitheach é seo de na gnólachtaí agus de na heagraíochtaí sa chathair atá in ann ‘seirbhís i nGaeilge’ a chur ar fáil – acmhainn úsáideach do dhuine ar bith ar mian leo a ngnó a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge. Cuirfidh An tEolaire eolas ar fáil freisin maidir le himeachtaí Gaeilge atá ar tí tarlú sa chathair. ” Dúirt Uachtarán Ionaid agus Meabhránaí na hOllscoile, an tOllamh Pól Ó Dochartaigh, go mbeifí in ann: “Freastal níos fearr agus níos leithne a dhéanamh ar phobal Gaeilge na hOllscoile’ mar go léireodh na suaitheantais ‘a mhéad daoine atá ag obair ar fud na hOllscoile a bhfuil ar a gcumas agus atá sásta seirbhísí a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge.  Léiríonn an taithí idirnáisiúnta nach leor seirbhísí dátheangacha a chur ar fáil lena chinntiú go mbainfear leas astu.  Ní mór iad a phoibliú agus deimhniú go bhfuil siad ar aon chaighdeán leis na seirbhísí atá ar fáil i mBéarla ionas go mbeidh daoine ar a gcompord á n-éileamh agus sin é go díreach atá uainn anseo san Ollscoil.”  Léirigh sé a shástacht faoin gcomhoibriú leanúnach idir an Ollscoil agus Gaillimh le Gaeilge freisin agus é ag tagairt don ról atá ag an Ollscoil i bhfeidhmiú Phlean Teanga Chathair na Gaillimhe. Is céim eile chun cinn é an tionscnamh nua seo ó thaobh Straitéis Gaeilge na hOllscoile chomh maith.  I measc na mbeart eile atá bainte amach ó seoladh Straitéis na Gaeilge 2021-2025 áirítear ceapachán Oifigeach Gaeilge na hOllscoile agus athsheoladh ar an Scéim Cónaitheachta Gaeilge. Den chéad uair riamh bronnadh scoláireachtaí ar an 16 mac léinn atá ag cur fúthu i dTeach na Gaeilge i mbliana.   Labhair Cathaoirleach Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, Bernadette Mullarkey, ag an ócáid freisin agus dúirt sí an méid seo a leanas: “Is céim thar a bheith nádúrtha agus tábhachtach é seoladh an dá thionscnamh seo inniu chun úsáid na Gaeilge a mhéadú i gCathair Dhátheangach na hÉireann. Tá lúcháir orainn a bheith ag obair i gcomhar le hOllscoil na Gaillimhe ar an tionscnamh seo agus tá muid ag tnúth go mór le bheith ag obair as lámh a chéile ar chomhfhiontair straitéiseacha fhéideartha eile amach anseo. “Tá an stádas chun ‘Baile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta’ a bhaint amach ar cheann de na príomhchuspóirí atá leagtha amach ag Gaillimh le Gaeilge sa straitéis nua do na trí bliana atá amach romhainn. Mholfainn d’aon duine atá in ann seirbhís i nGaeilge a chur ar fáil, é sin a chur in iúl do ‘chuile dhuine’ trí chlárú le Gaillimh le Gaeilge inniu. Tá sé chomh tábhachtach céanna go mbaineann gach Gaeilgeoir leas as an tseirbhís atá curtha ar fáil i nGaeilge agus go leanfadh siad ag cruthú éileamh ar a leithéid de sheirbhísí amach anseo.” Chuir sí in iúl go raibh  64 gnó agus eagraíocht liostáilte san Eolaire agus go raibh 96 duine cláraithe ann faoi láthair ó réimsí leathan earnálacha sa chathair. Ghabh  sí buíochas  le gach duine a chláraigh san Eolaire agus le príomhmhaointheoirí Ghaillimh le Gaeilge, An Roinn Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Galtachta, Spóirt agus Meán a thug deontas aonuaire chun an tEolaire a fhorbairt. Má sholáthraíonn do ghnó/d’eagraíocht seirbhís i nGaeilge i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus más mian leat a bheith cláraithe ar an liosta, is féidir leat teagmháil a dhéanamh le Gaillimh le Gaeilge ag eolas@gleg.ie nó cuir glaoch ar 091 568876. Is féidir leat cuairt a thabhairt ar - https://gleg.ie/claraigh-linn/ agus foirm ghearr a chomhlánaú chun clárú san Eolaire. Críoch

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

The Mayor of the City of Galway, Cllr. Clodagh Higgins launched two new initiatives by University of Galway and Gaillimh le Gaeilge to increase the use of spoken Irish in Galway city at a press event in University of Galway recently. Both initiatives are key measures outlined in the Irish Language Plan for Galway City which have an instrumental role to play in achieving the status of ‘Gaeltacht Service Town’ for Galway. Under the Gaeltacht Act 2012, Gaeltacht Service Towns are defined as those towns situated in or adjacent to Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas. Gaillimh le Gaeilge is collaborating with Galway City Council, University of Galway and other key stakeholders to facilitate the process of implementing the Irish Language Plan in the city. The objective of the plan, in line with Government policy, is to increase on an incremental basis, the communicative use and knowledge of Irish in Galway city as a community language.  The plan includes the creation of a local directory, along with badges, to identify those who can speak Irish. Speaking at the event, the Mayor of the City of Galway Cllr. Clodagh Higgins said: “The idea of a badge came up again in Galway City’s Irish Language Plan as a suggestion, as a way for Irish speakers to get to know each other. The brooch pins which University of Galway have designed will contribute to the visibility and use of Irish and I understand that the initiative will also be extended to Galway city, which I believe is a great idea. I’m also delighted to launch ‘An tEolaire - Seirbhís i nGaeilge’  created by Gaillimh le Gaeilge. This is a comprehensive list of businesses and organizations in the city who can provide a ‘seirbhís i nGaeilge'– a useful  resource to anyone who wishes to conduct their business as Gaeilge. An tEolaire will also include information regarding upcoming Irish language events in the city. ” University of Galway’s Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “This latest initiative will ensure that we can improve and broaden Irish language services for the Irish speaking University community as the new brooch pins will ensure that the large amount of staff members across the University who are providing services in Irish are easily identifiable.  It is evident from international experience that making bilingual services available does not ensure that they will be acquired. The services must be publicised and must be of equal standard to the English services so as to ensure that people are at ease requesting and availing of the services and that is exactly what we are striving for here. ” He also commended the ongoing collaboration between the University and Gaillimh le Gaeilge and spoke of the University’s role in the implementation of the Galway City Irish Language Plan. This new initiative is also significant in terms of the University’s Irish Language Strategy.  The appointment of the Irish Language Officer and the relaunching of the Irish Language Residential Scheme are among the other achievements which have been reached since the Strategy for the Irish Language 2021-2025 was launched.  For the first time ever, the sixteen Irish speaking students residing in Teach na Gaeilge were also awarded special scholarships this year. Chair of Gaillimh le Gaeilge Bernadette Mullarkey spoke at the event and said: “Launching these two initiatives today is a very natural and important step to increase the use and the position of the Irish language in Ireland’s Bilingual City. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with University of Galway on this initiative and we look forward to many other bilingual collaborations in the future. Gaining the status as a ‘Baile Seirbhíse Gaeltachta’ is one of Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s main objectives outlined in our new strategy for the next 3 years. I would encourage anyone who can provide a service as Gaeilge to let ‘everyone’ know about it by signing up with Gaillimh le Gaeilge today. It is also equally important that all Irish speakers avail of the Irish language service provided and continue to create a demand for such services into the future.” If your business / organisation provides a service in Irish in Galway city and you wish to be listed, you can contact Gaillimh le Gaeilge on eolas@gleg.ie or on 091 568876. You can also visit - https://gleg.ie/claraigh-linn/ and fill in the short online form to register for the Eolaire.  Ends

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Is cúis mhór áthais é d’Ionad Léann na hÉireann, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, a fhógairt go bhfuil Máirín Mhic Lochlainn ceaptha mar Ealaíontóir Cónaithe Scéalaíochta i mbliana.  Is as Ros an Mhíl ó dhúchas í Máirín agus tá sí ag cur fuithí in Indreabhán. Luann Máirín a hathair, Beartla Ó Maoileoin mar an chéad scéalaí a chuala sí agus tionchar a chuid léirithe drámatúla, a bhí uirthí.  Tá roinnt gradam scéalaíochta buaite ag Máirín, ina measc Corn Neidí Frainc ag Féile an Oireachtais. Tá Máirín tiomanta chun ceird na scéalaíochta a fhorbairt agus tá ceardlanna scéalaíochta á stiúradh aici ar fud na hÉireann, na Breataine Bige agus na Danmhairge. Cuimsíonn a stór scéalaíochta na Scéalta Fiannaíochta agus tá an-áthas uirthi an deis seo a fháil le forbairt cheird na scéalaíochta a chur chun cinn. Chuir an tOllamh Louis de Paor, Stiúrthóir Ionad Léann na hÉireann fáilte mhór roimh an gceapachán: “Deis iontach is ea é seo dúinne chun ealaín na scéalaíochta béil a aithint agus cumas neamhchoitianta Mháirín sa réimse sin den gcultúr dúchais a cheiliúradh. Táimid ag súil go mór le bheith ag obair ina teannta as seo go ceann bliana.”  Beidh sraith ceardlann cúig seachtaine á múineadh ag Máirín san Ollscoil san Earrach agus arís san Fhómhar. Beidh béim ar leith ar na Scéalta Fiannaíochta aici san Earrach.  Tá na cúig ceardlanna san Earrach saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Beidh na ceardlanna ar siúl gach Déardaoin ag 7pm, ag tosnú ar an 2 Feabhra, san Ionad Léinn na hÉireann, 4 Bóthar na Drioglainne, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Is iad Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta, An Chomhairle Ealaíon agus Ionad Léann na hÉireann, OÉ Gaillimh, a mhaoiníonn an tionscnamh seo.  Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó samantha.williams@universityofgalway.ie Críoch

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

University of Galway’s Centre for Irish Studies has announced the appointment of Máirín Mhic Lochlainn as Storyteller-in-Residence for this year.  Living in Indreabhán, Co. Galway, but originally from Rós a Mhíl, Máirín cites her father, Beartla Ó Maoileoin as the first storyteller that she heard and his dramatic renditions have had a long standing influence on her. Máirín has won several awards for story-telling including Corn Neidí Frainc at the Oireachtas festival. Developing the craft of story-telling is a mission for Máirín and she has conducted workshops in story-telling throughout Ireland, Wales and Denmark. Her story-telling repertoire includes the Scéalta Fiannaíochta and she is delighted at this opportunity to further the development of the craft of story-telling.  Professor Louis de Paor, Director of the Centre for Irish Studies welcomed the appointment: “This is a great opportunity for us to recognise the art of oral storytelling and to celebrate Máirín's particular ability in this area of our native culture. We are really looking forward to working with her for the next year.”  Máirín will teach a series of five workshops the University in early 2023 and a second series in the autumn. The spring workshops will focus in particular on the Scéalta Fiannaíochta.  The five spring workshops, which will be delivered through Irish, are free and open to the public and will run every Thursday, beginning Thursday 2 February, at 7pm at the Centre for Irish Studies, 4 Distillery Road, University of Galway.   This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Arts Council, in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at University of Galway. Further information contact Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or samantha.williams@universityofgalway.ie. Ends

Monday, 23 January 2023

The global study, involving 5,869 patients from ICUs across 50 countries, recommends a systematic approach to reduce the duration of ventilation to improve risk of death A new study from University of Galway has found high death rates in weaning intensive care patients from ventilation.  During this clinical study, carried out in 50 countries, 35% of patients who required ventilation for longer than two days could not be successfully weaned from invasive mechanical ventilation.  The WEAN SAFE study is the first global study to describe the weaning process in detail, characterising different approaches used by physicians in regard to weaning for mechanical ventilation, and the impact of delayed and failed weaning from ventilation, in patients requiring at least two days of invasive ventilation.  The study was funded by the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and by the European Respiratory Society, and performed by a consortium of investigators from 481 ICUs across 50 countries.  The research was published recently in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.  Weaning in the context of invasive ventilation for ICU patients is the process of decreasing the degree of ventilator support and allowing the patient to take on a greater proportion of their ventilation independent of machinery - for example spontaneous breathing trials or a gradual reduction in machinery support.  A patient is successfully weaned from invasive ventilation when the invasive ventilator support is completely removed.  The study found that successful weaning of patients from invasive mechanical ventilation represents a crucial step in the recovery process following severe respiratory failure. Many of the serious complications of mechanical ventilation are directly related to the duration of ventilation.  Professor John Laffey, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at University of Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Galway University Hospitals, explained: “Where the process of weaning becomes prolonged, the risk of dying and of increased length of stay in intensive care and hospital increases substantially. In terms of longer term outcomes, older age and the duration of ventilation are the strongest predictors of survival and quality of life at one year following critical illness.” Professor Laffey added: “Despite the importance of the weaning process, this area is not well studied. Our research on this clinical practice is the largest study to date to offer data relating weaning practices to outcomes from invasive mechanical ventilation in a global cohort of patients at risk for prolonged weaning and/or weaning failure.” It was found that of the patients enrolled in the study: :: 30% died in the ICU, while 38% died in hospital. Of patients who did not successfully wean from ventilation, 78% died in the ICU. :: Of patients who entered the weaning process, 65% had a short wean (≤1 day), 10% had intermediate (2-6 days) weaning, 10% had a prolonged (≥ 7 days) weaning duration, while 16% ultimately failed (i.e., died, were transferred or still invasively ventilated at day 90).  :: Higher sedation levels were independently associated with delays in initiating weaning from the ventilator. Higher sedation levels and a delay in initiating ventilator separation were potentially modifiable factors independently associated with weaning failure. Researchers involved in the  global study said its findings can help shape clinical approaches relating to weaning from invasive mechanical ventilation. They also noted that future studies to develop strategies to reduce weaning delays, and optimize patient sedation levels, should improve survival in patients weaning from ventilation. Ends 

Monday, 23 January 2023

Researchers conducted the first study of its kind in Ireland, investigating the background level of exposure to the herbicide  About one quarter of those tested found to have low levels of exposure of the chemical glyphosate Scientists at University of Galway investigating exposure to glyphosate in families have detected low level traces of the controversial herbicide in a quarter of people tested. The IMAGE research project ran from 2019 to 2020 and is the first of its kind to investigate levels of background exposure to glyphosate among Irish households. Led by Exposure Science researchers at University of Galway, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine in Bochum, Germany and the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt-UBA), the study tested urine samples collected from farm and non-farm families for the presence of glyphosate and its main human metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA). Dr Alison Connolly, exposure scientist who conducted the research while at University of Galway, said: "This study produced important results on human exposures to a chemical of public concern and is particularly timely with the European Commission currently re-evaluating glyphosate.  “Though the quantifiable levels were low, it is essential to understand how chemical exposures can occur among different groups, particularly vulnerable people such as children. This information is necessary for conducting robust regulatory risk assessments, managing exposure levels, and fully understanding their effect on human health. This study also demonstrated how beneficial human biomonitoring is for evaluating chemical exposures.”  Dr Marie Coggins, Senior Lecturer in Exposure Science at University of Galway, said: “The glyphosate exposure data published in the IMAGE study is relevant as the European Commission evaluate their renewal assessment for this controversial pesticide.  “Although the exposure data reported is low compared to the current acceptable daily intake value set by EFSA, our risk assessment could change following the publication of EFSAs renewal assessment in early 2023. Furthermore, the data suggests that occupational users may have a slightly higher exposure than background levels, which could and should be reduced further by substitution with less harmful methods, careful chemical handling practices and the use of exposure controls such as personal protective equipment.” - Why was the study carried out?  The research was carried out as a European project on Human Biomonitoring, the HBM4EU project, has identified a number of priority substances, including both glyphosate and AMPA, for which further information on human exposure is required to better understand the risk to human health. HBM4EU called for more research, such as the University of Galway’s IMAGE study, to characterise population exposures to chemicals such as pesticides.  - What does the study show?  A total of 68 families took part – 14 of whom were living on farms, with one of those family members spraying glyphosate-based pesticide. The study analysed tests from 226 people along with detailed dietary and lifestyle questionnaire.  Glyphosate was detectable in 26% of samples. AMPA was detectable in 59% of samples.  The daily intakes for participants were back-calculated from urinary glyphosate concentrations and compared to the acceptable daily intake. Calculated intakes were equivalent to 3% or less of the EFSA acceptable level. There was no statistical difference between farm and non-farm families' exposures, though higher concentrations were detected among some fathers living on farms, likely because they sprayed glyphosate-based pesticide products the day before sampling.  Researchers said the higher detection frequency for AMPA may be due to dietary exposure, i.e. from residues on foods and water.  They also found maximum exposures to glyphosate are low compared to the current acceptable daily intake set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) without presenting an appreciable health risk.  - What next? The global scientific community has still not reached a consensus on the potential carcinogenic health effects of glyphosate. However, EFSA currently concludes that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the results of this study are interpreted using the current EFSA acceptable daily intake. This study will enhance Europe's understanding of glyphosate exposures among different demographic groups and contribute to scientific knowledge on exposures required for regulatory risk assessments, currently under re-evaluation by the European Commission with results due in 2023.  Glyphosate Glyphosate is the active ingredient in over 750 products, including Roundup®. More of this herbicide is used around the world than any other, to combat weeds, as a pre-harvest drying treatment on certain food crops, in home gardens and in parks, public spaces, lawns, gardens and roadsides.  There has been much controversy over the potential adverse health effects of this commonly used pesticide.  Dietary exposure to pesticides can occur through ingestion of residues (i.e. glyphosate) on fruit, vegetables, grains and contaminated water or via skin contact or inhalation exposure during home use of glyphosate-based pesticide products. The debates significantly increased when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “Group 2A – probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015.  The European Chemical Agency’s (ECHA) Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) have classified glyphosate as causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life. It has stated that it is not justified to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen. Glyphosate is currently approved for use in the EU, an approval which is under review by the European Commission. The final EFSA conclusion is expected in July 2023.  Ends

Monday, 23 January 2023

University of Galway and the Mary Robinson Centre will host the first Mary Robinson Climate Conference this summer. The event takes place on July 6th and 7th, 2023, in Ballina, Co Mayo. Mary Robinson said: “This situation must not lead us to despair, rather it should propel us into action.”  Dr Gordon Bromley, Lecturer in Physical Geography & Climate at University of Galway, said: “Climate change is the greatest socio-economic force of the 21st Century, creating uncertainty and threatening to undermine basic societal foundations. As we stand at this critical juncture – seeking to prevent, mitigate, and adapt to global warming – the time is ripe and the need is clear to chart our awareness into truly new waters and to use our collective knowledge to better plan for the future.” In the spirit of this view, the Mary Robinson Climate Conference will bring together voices from all sectors of academia and society to share climate-related research and discuss pathways for a sustainable future in an inclusive multidisciplinary forum. The schedule will feature presentations, discussions, roundtables, and workshops related to the impact of climate change on the physical, social, cultural, political, health, and economic environments of our planet and ways to address it. The call for session proposals is now open. Suggestions are invited from a wide spectrum of disciplines.  For more information, please visit the conference website. Ends

Friday, 20 January 2023

Digital microbe database unlocks patient response to treatment for diseases such as Parkinson’s and colorectal cancer Researchers at University of Galway associated with APC Microbiome Ireland, a world-leading SFI Research Centre, have created a resource of over 7,000 digital microbes – enabling computer simulations of how drug treatments work and how patients may respond. The resource is a milestone in scientific understanding of human response to medical treatment as it offers the opportunity for computer simulations and predictions of differences in metabolism between individuals, including for diseases such as inflammatory bowel, Parkinson’s and colorectal cancer. The database  - called AGORA2 - builds on the expertise developed in the creation of first resource of digital microbes known as AGORA1. AGORA2 encompasses 7,203 digital microbes, created based on experimental knowledge from scientific publications, with a particular focus on drug metabolism.  The resource has been built by a team of scientists at University of Galway’s Molecular Systems Physiology group, led by APC Microbiome Ireland principal investigator Professor Ines Thiele. The team’s research aims to advance precision medicine by using computational modelling.  Professor Thiele explained: “AGORA2 is a milestone towards personalised, predictive computer simulations enabling the analysis of person-microbiome-drug interactions for precision medicine applications. “Humans are hosting a myriad of microbes. Just like us, these microbes eat and interact with their environment. Considering that we are all unique, each of us hosting an individual microbiome our metabolism is also expected to vary between individuals.  “The insight provided by the database of digital microbes presents a healthcare opportunity to harness individual differences in metabolism to provide personalised, improved treatments in ‘precision medicine’, compared to a currently more general ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. “Besides our food, our individual microbiomes also metabolise the medicines we take. The same drug may therefore manifest diverse effects in disparate people because of the differences in metabolism performed by the different microbiomes.” Using the digital microbe resource AGORA2, computer simulations have shown that drug metabolism varies significantly between individuals, as driven by their own microbiomes.  Uniquely, the AGORA2-based computer simulations enabled the identification of microbes and metabolic processes for individual drugs correlated with observations in a clinical setting.  The research was published today in Nature Biotechnology.  The team at University of Galway demonstrated that AGORA2 enables personalised, strain-resolved modelling by predicting the drug conversion potential of the gut microbiomes from 616 colorectal cancer patients and controls, which greatly varied between individuals and correlated with age, sex, body mass index and disease stages. This means that the team can create digital representations and predictions specific to the divergent microbes. Professor Thiele added: “Knowledge of our individual microbiomes and their drug metabolising capabilities represents a precision medicine opportunity to tailor drug treatments to an individual to maximise health benefit while minimising side effects. “By using AGORA2 in computer simulations our team have showed that the resulting metabolic predictions enabled superior performance compared to what was possible to date.” Professor Paul Ross, Director of APC Microbiome Ireland, said: “This research is a perfect illustration of the power of computational approaches to enhance our understanding of the role of microbes in health and disease – significantly this digital platform will be a fantastic resource that could lead to the development of novel personalised therapeutic approaches which take the microbiome into account.”  This work was led by University of Galway and completed as part of a collaboration between many international institutions, including the Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Lorraine, and University Medicine Greifswald. Ends

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Inter-professional Simulation and Skills Facility recognised as European Centre for Multispecialty Skills University of Galway’s healthcare and patient safety simulation facility - the Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation (ICAPSS) - has secured accreditation as part of the Network of Accredited Skills Centres in Europe (NASCE).  The inter-professional simulation and skills facility, based at the University’s School of Medicine, has also been identified by NASCE as a European centre for multispecialty skills.  The simulation facility provides clinical and procedural skills training for medical, nursing and health sciences students and staff at Saolta University Healthcare Group.  The simulation staff and facility itself are now accredited in the USA, Europe and UK and are the recent recipients of an AMEE Aspire to Excellence award for simulation.  Commenting on the accreditation, Professor Isabelle Van Herzeele of Ghent University Hospital, chair of the NASCE accreditation board, commented that the facility was "rated highly and will become an important member of the NASCE network.” The review team commended the broad range of educational activities being delivered at the facility, using up-to-date simulation modalities across undergraduate and postgraduate levels and the excellent facilities and equipment, with multiple flexible learning spaces. The review team also commended the centre leadership, technical support staff and the team’s dedication to multidisciplinary team training and high level of experience and expertise.  Professor of Simulation Education Dara Byrne, who leads the ICAPSS team, said: "We deliver very high quality inter-professional translational simulation across the continuum of healthcare professions' education and accreditation is an important part of what we do. It means that the quality of our work and services are being recognised on an international stage.  “Learners are benefitting from immersive interactive learning in a safe learning environment that bridges the gap between being a student and working as a health professional. This supports their transition to clinical practice and working through improving capabilities and confidence.  “Our accreditations across Europe, the UK and the US places us at the top of the league when it comes to simulation-based education and research. I am delighted with the outcome of the accreditation process and proud of the team who have made this possible.”   The Simulation facility was officially opened in 2022 by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly T.D., and has since made huge strides in innovative and modern health professions’ education. The activities reach the undergraduate, postgraduate and life-long learner across the continuum of the healthcare and across all health professions.  Professor Byrne added: “One of the next ambitions of our centre is to expand our reach out into the community and to support patients and carers who have medical devices in the home. We also aim to provide interprofessional taster programmes for second level students that will give them a flavour of healthcare programmes and modern health professions’ education prior to making choices about their future careers.” Ends

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

 Researchers outline how the building blocks of DNA can boost penicillin-type antibiotics in fight against MRSA Scientists at University of Galway have detailed a new discovery with the potential to improve treatment options for superbug MRSA infections with penicillin-type antibiotics that have become ineffective on their own. The research has been published in the flagship journal of the American Society for Microbiology, mBio. Professor James P O’Gara and Dr Merve S Zeden in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of Galway, led the study. Professor of Microbiology James O’Gara said: “This discovery is important because it has revealed a potentially new way to treat MRSA infections with penicillin-type drugs, which remain the safest and most effective antibiotics.” The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis is one of the greatest threats to human health with superbugs like MRSA placing a significant burden on global healthcare resources.  The microbiology research team at University of Galway showed that MRSA could be much more efficiently killed by penicillin-type antibiotics when combined with purines, which are the building blocks for DNA.  Dr Zeden said: “Purine nucleosides, Adenosine, Xanthosine, Guanosine are sugar versions of the building blocks of DNA, and our work showed that they interfere with signalling systems in the bacterial cell which are required for antibiotic resistance.” This study was recently highlighted in the American Society for Microbiology’s This Week in Microbiology (TWiM) podcast https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bacteria-sing-the-blues/id422332846?i=1000591551514 The discussion noted the drugs derived from purines are already used to treat some viral infections and cancers. Aaron Nolan is a PhD student at University of Galway and was co-first author on the paper. He said: “Finding new ways to re-sensitize superbugs to currently licenced antibiotics is a crucial part of efforts to tackle the AMR crisis. Our research implicated the potential of purine nucleosides in re-sensitizing MRSA to penicillin-type antibiotics”  This research, which was funded by the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council, was conducted in collaboration with scientists at Imperial College London and the University of Sheffield. The full paper can be accessed here. Ends

Friday, 13 January 2023

NI Mental Health Champion, Derry Mayor and others attend Atlantic Futures Launch in the Guildhall, Derry~Londonderry today A major €4million four-year cross-border research partnership has been launched to research and address structural and societal imbalances across the North West Atlantic Innovation Corridor. The Atlantic Futures Project is a collaboration between Ulster University, University of Galway, Atlantic Technological University and University of Limerick for sustainable regional development to make a real world impact on aspects of industry and civic society in the North West Atlantic Innovation Corridor region.  Announced in March, the flagship project has seen the creation of a research team organised in three co-located hubs in Derry/Londonderry, Galway and Limerick, working to understand and address issues which uniquely affect this section of the Atlantic corridor, namely: relative slow economic growth; low levels of female entrepreneurship; higher rates of mental health difficulties among young people than ever before; barriers to digitalisation in rural areas; and issues with international freight connectivity with no state ports or airports in the region. The large-scale social science research will seek to examine these issues based on three themes with six working projects in order to face into and embrace digital, green and energy transitions and to focus efforts on societal, business and community outcomes: Theme 1: Innovation in Regional Context Project I: comparing rural entrepreneurial ecosystems with those in small towns/cities to identify bottlenecks and work with agencies to take action Project II: identifying successful management practices in scaling businesses and running masterclasses with organisations along the corridor   Theme 2: Institutional and Cultural Factors – those that affect this region’s innovation opportunities:  Project I: fostering female entrepreneurship along the West Coast – looking at external factors that have impacted negatively (Brexit, COVID-19, lack of funding), partnering with female entrepreneurship programmes and delivering a mentorship programme  Project II: mental health as a public good – looking at new ways to respond to young people’s needs: developing new digital tools and early intervention in the community with partner agencies Theme 3: Technological and Infrastructural Opportunities and Challenges Project I: Digitalisation: establishing the challenges and opportunities for digital transformation in rural areas and looking at the links between changing skills needs and regional innovation and economic performance to embrace digitalisation and inform policy Project II: International freight connectivity in the North-West and its implications for regional competitiveness, outlining ways to enhance connectivity by road, rail and air. Each project engages with partners in civil society, business, and government, with many major partners being involved across several projects.  Industry stakeholders and partner agency representatives such as InterTrade Ireland, Catalyst, the NI Mental Health Champion, Airporter, FTA Ireland, and Causeway Chamber will join with Derry’s Mayor Sandra Duffy to discuss these themes and explore solutions to challenges and the opportunities to maximise benefits for communities along the corridor. Liam Maguire, PVC Research, Ulster University commented: “Atlantic Futures combines the significant research prowess of the four institutions to advance challenges in this distinct region. Our collective work aligns closely with national goals set out by both governments in the New Decade New Approach in Northern Ireland and the National Development Plan in the Republic of Ireland. Namely, of a regionally balanced economy which is common to both, a high quality international transport connectivity (NDP) and exploring digital connectivity and infrastructure (NDNA). From our progressive Derry~Londonderry campus, we are uniquely placed to contribute to this regional partnership, through research that can drive forward practical solutions for the benefit of individuals, organisations and communities. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues in Galway, Limerick and ATU.”  Jim Livesey, Vice-President Research and Innovation, University of Galway, said: “Our ambition is large and clear: we want Atlantic Futures to be recognised internationally for understanding what drives economic, social and cultural aspects of life in the region, on the edge of Europe. This project is a big responsibility and we want to see it make a tangible difference with research in action such as mentoring for female entrepreneurs and management masterclasses along with focus groups and information from the people who live and work in the region. This brand new cross-border data and the insights it uncovers will be shared with others carrying out similar work in Europe and beyond, to help inform similar programmes for sustainable regional development.” Professor Norelee Kennedy, Vice-President Research at University of Limerick said: “We want our research to have an impact in the area. We are working together to achieve four outcomes. They are the alignment of the research capacity of the leading research institutions along the west coast of the island of Ireland around the problems of transition and transformation in our shared region; development of a body of research to inform policy, co-created with relevant stakeholders addressing specific salient issues affecting the three city region; garnering new and robust insights into the developmental pathways for multi-city regional transformation; and understanding the role inter-cultural understanding and misunderstanding plays in cross-border collaboration and co-ordination.” Dr Rick Officer, Vice-President for Research and Innovation based at ATU’s Galway City campus is enthusiastic about the programme: “The Atlantic Futures programme will foster sustainable innovation along the island’s Atlantic coast, from the western counties of Northern Ireland and Donegal down to the Shannon Estuary. Atlantic Futures will focus on addressing challenges experienced by these areas, such as retention of local talent, over-reliance on foreign direct investment, and a lack of indigenous small and medium-sized enterprise growth. This Atlantic corridor has high-performing economic sectors such as the MedTech, FinTech and Advanced Manufacturing, but it also faces problems including housing, and persistent loss of talent to other regions. Previous models of economic and social transition have focussed on metropolitan centres. Atlantic Futures differs in its focus. Our ambitious programme will take a multi-pronged approach to identifying obstacles to sustainable innovation in the region and ways to support its development. The programme focusses on how a complex, distributed, and multi-city region, such as the cross-border, west and north-west of Ireland, can successfully foster sustainable innovation.“ The North-South Research Programme is a collaborative scheme funded through the Government’s Shared Island Fund. It is being administered by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.  Ends

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

FLIARA - Female Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas to identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures  University of Galway is to lead a new research project running across 10 countries in Europe focusing on enhancing the role of women in agriculture, rural life and affairs.  The Horizon Europe project, FLIARA, which stands for Female-Led Innovation in Agriculture and Rural Areas proposes a unique and innovative approach to improve understanding, awareness and recognition of women’s role in a more sustainable rural future, as well as developing more effective policy and governance frameworks that can support and enhance the capacity of women who live and work in these areas to contribute to it.  Launching the FLIARA project, President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “At University of Galway, we are here for the public good. This project speaks to that mission in such an important aspect of the lived experience of women in our rural communities. We give credit here to our colleagues in their work respecting the role of women in sustaining and maintaining rural life for the generations which have gone before us and how they are key to renewing it today and into the future. In particular, the winning of Horizon Europe funding for this project is testament to the excellence of the work and to its significance not only in Ireland but more generally. Tréaslaím leis an obair agus guím gach rath ar an togra thábhachtach seo.” The project is being led at University of Galway by Associate Professor Maura Farrell.  Outlining the vision for the project, Professor Farrell said: “To overcome Europe’s rural challenges and embrace potential opportunities, there is a need for all individuals and communities to participate in rural innovation.  “Traditionally, rural women’s employment opportunities and contribution to innovation has been overshadowed, and often suppressed, by a patriarchal ethos.” Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme, FLIARA is a three year project, which aims to combine futures and case study methods, alongside network building and policy benchmarking, while being underpinned by a co-created conceptual and assessment framework. It will actively involve female farmers and female rural entrepreneurs.  FLIARA will identify visions for sustainable farm and rural futures and the sustainability innovations needed to realise these visions.  Researchers will also investigate women-led innovations on farms and in wider rural areas looking at their pathways in the innovation ecosystem. Building on the power of social networks, a series of Community of Practice networks will bring together female rural innovators identified throughout the case study process.  Professor Farrell added: “Community of Practice Networks will occur in conjunction with a Campaign of Visibility for women-led rural innovations, spotlighting women as key innovation actors. Project outcomes will result in end-user ready resources, including policy proposals and practical tools supporting women-led innovation.” The FLIARA project is led by a research team from the University of Galway’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, including Associate Professor Maura Farrell (Principle Investigator); Louise Weir (Project Manager and Research Associate); Dr Aisling Murtagh (Postdoctoral Researcher); Dr Shane Conway (Postdoctoral Researcher) and additional Geography colleagues, Associate Professor Marie Mahon, Associate Professor John McDonagh and Dr Therese Conway.  The diverse project partnership, includes universities, SMEs and other practitioners across ten EU countries.  Ends

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Professor Peter Doran joins University of Galway with extensive experience in leading clinical research University of Galway has appointed Professor Peter Doran as the new director of a clinical trials institute. This new institute will transform the University’s ability to evaluate cutting-edge clinical treatments, medical diagnostics and preventative therapies.  University President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Peter Doran to University of Galway and to the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences where he will lead the new clinical trials institute.   “As a cornerstone of our research architecture, this institute led by Professor Doran, will give further impetus and focus to translating our research discoveries from the lab-bench to the bedside and builds on our considerable strengths in Medical Technologies and Advanced Therapies.” Professor Peter Doran earned his BSc from Dublin City University in 1998 and his PhD from University College Dublin in 2001. He was the founding Director of the UCD Clinical Research Centre. Under his leadership the UCD CRC has developed an internationally renowned clinical research programme which supports investigators to ask clinically impactful research questions in a quality assured, scientifically excellent and patient focused environment.   Professor Peter Doran said:  “The development of the clinical trials institute at the University of Galway will have impact locally, nationally and globally.  “Our research programme will tackle the major health issues facing society today and into the future. By developing and growing linkages with our clinical partners in Saolta, with Community Health Organisation Area 2 and with industry we will ensure that today’s health research becomes tomorrow’s healthcare. We will leverage our current expertise and experience to ensure Galway is the national lead in clinical research.” Professor Doran leads a significant biomarker research programme and has established a high throughput biomarker validation laboratory, which is contributing to major national and international end organ damage biomarker studies, reflecting his research interests in the molecular drivers of organ damage, biomarker discovery and translation to practice.   In addition, he established the graduate taught programme in clinical and translational research which includes a suite of programmes designed to address the career stage specific education and training requirements of clinical research personnel.   Professor Doran has also served as Associate Dean for Research at the UCD School of Medicine, Vice-Principal for Research at the UCD College of Health & Agricultural Science and Director of the Ireland East Hospital Group research network.  Ends

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Collaborative research between University of Galway and Brunel University London has found that patients with severe and complicated obesity respond differently to a dietary weight loss programme based on their genes. The GERONIMO project studied patients attending the obesity clinic at Galway University Hospital who were undergoing an intensive short-term programme of medically supervised dietary restriction in order to attempt to reverse some of the medical problems with severe obesity.  During the research scientists were able to analyse small variations in hundreds of genes that are known to be associated with obesity. By combining information from these measured gene variations together, a “genetic risk score” was calculated for six different obesity-related traits. Professor Francis Finucane, senior lecturer in the School of Medicine at University of Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospitals who led the clinical study, said: “Mechanistic studies like these, which help us to understand why some people respond better than others to the same intervention, are really important in providing more personalised and effective treatments for people with obesity.  “We know that in general, heritability and ‘genetics’ play a huge role in influencing body weight and the risk of obesity-related complications like diabetes, but finding the genes that account for this risk has been a challenge.” Professor Alex Blakemore, Professor in Human Genomics at Brunel University London, said: “No-one chooses their genes, so, as a society, we need to recognise that when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, the challenge is greater for some people than for others. This study reveals just a small part of the picture of how our genes can help or hinder us in reaching our health goals.”  The GERONIMO project involved 93 patients who volunteered for the study. They were monitored while taking part in a meal replacement programme.  Their average body mass index at the start of the study was 52kgm-2, which means that they weighed more than twice their maximum ‘healthy weight’.  The participants lost an average of 16% of their body weight, or 21kg after 24 weeks.  The research found that that the “waist hip ratio” genetic risk score, which measures an individual’s genetic tendency to hold on to central or abdominal fat, was associated with less weight loss after the intervention. Speaking about next stages in the research Professor Finucane said: “This work is exciting and important because it is the first Irish study to demonstrate a genetic effect on the response to a treatment for obesity.  “The genetic effects we found here were subtle, but we think it would be good to explore this further, in larger studies and with different obesity treatments, such as drug therapy or ‘metabolic surgery’.” Ends

Friday, 6 January 2023

Reáchtálfaidh Ionad Rochtana Ollscoil na Gaillimhe an oíche eolais bhliantúil sin a dhíreoidh ar riachtanais na mac léinn lánfhásta agus na bhfoghlaimeoirí fásta atá ag smaoineamh ar thabhairt faoi staidéar lánaimseartha nó páirtaimseartha don bhliain acadúil 2023-24. Beidh an oíche eolais ar siúl Dé Céadaoin, an 11 Eanáir 2023, ó 6.30pm – 9pm ar an gcampas san Institiúid Cúrsa Saoil agus Sochaí, Bóthar an Chaisleáin Nua Uachtarach, Gaillimh. Tá an ócáid dírithe go háirithe orthu siúd atá 23 bliain d’aois nó níos sine atá ag iarraidh tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi na roghanna staidéir atá ar fáil in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe. Beidh deis ag an lucht freastail ceisteanna a chur ar mhic léinn lánfhásta reatha agus ar shaineolaithe na gcúrsaí a chabhróidh leo cinneadh a dhéanamh faoi na roghanna is fearr a oireann dá gcúinsí pearsanta agus dá riachtanais forbartha gairmiúla. Dúirt Kathleen Hartigan, Oifigeach na Mac Léinn Lánfhásta san Ionad Rochtana: “Tá an-áthas orainn i mbliana a bheith ar ais ar an gcampas don ócáid seo agus blaiseadh den ollscoil a thabhairt do mhic léinn ionchasacha leis na cainteanna atá beartaithe againn, agus an deis labhairt le mic léinn reatha go díreach. Tugann an ócáid seo an t-eolas riachtanach dóibh chun cabhrú leo an rogha oideachais is fearr a oireann dóibh féin a dhéanamh in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe.” Beidh comhaltaí foirne ó chúrsaí fochéime agus iarchéime Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, mar aon le hionadaithe ó Sheirbhísí Mac Léinn na hOllscoile, ar fáil freisin chun treoir a thabhairt don lucht freastail maidir leis an raon cúrsaí agus tacaíochtaí atá ar fáil. Beidh an fhoireann acadúil i láthair freisin chun ceisteanna sonracha a fhreagairt maidir le céimeanna agus bealaí chun cinn. Beidh baill d’fhoireann an Ionaid Rochtana ar fáil chun ceisteanna a fhreagairt faoi chúrsaí réamh-ollscoile ar nós Cláir Rochtana agus Tacaíocht Mhíchumais dóibh siúd a bhfuil riocht sláinte (fisiciúil nó meabhrach) fadtéarmach orthu, nó a bhfuil deacracht shonrach foghlama acu. Déanfaidh Ionad Forbartha Gairmeacha na hOllscoile cur i láthair a dhíreoidh ar an gcúrsa staidéir is fearr a oireann do chúinsí aonair agus do bhealaí gairme. Is féidir tuilleadh eolais a fháil agus clárú ag www.universityofgalway.ie/mature Críoch

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

University of Galway’s Access Centre will hold its annual information evening focusing on the needs of mature students and adult learners who may be considering full-time or part-time studies for the 2023-24 academic year. The information evening will take place on Wednesday January 11, 2023, from 6.30pm – 9pm on campus in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, Upper Newcastle Road, Galway. The event is designed particularly for those aged 23 or over who want to find out more about study options at University of Galway. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of current mature students and course experts to help them decide which options best suit their personal circumstances and professional development needs. Kathleen Hartigan, Access Centre’s Mature Students Officer, said: “We are delighted this year to be back in person with this event and to give prospective students a feel for what university is like with our scheduled talks, and the opportunity to speak to current students face to face. This event provides them with the necessary information to help them choose the best educational option for them at University of Galway.” Staff from University of Galway’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses, along with representatives from the University’s Student Services will also be available to guide attendees on the range of course options and supports that are offered. Academic staff will also be presented to answer specific queries on degrees and progression. Members of the Access Centre team will be available to answer questions on pre-university courses in terms of Access Programmes and Disability Support for those who may have a long-term health condition (physical or mental), or a specific learning difficulty, might require guidance. The University’s Career Development Centre will deliver a presentation focusing on what course of study will best suit individual circumstances and career pathways. Further information and registration is available at www.universityofgalway.ie/mature  Ends

Monday, 27 February 2023

University of Galway is calling all wannabe engineers to participate in a free family event ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day.   The Family Fun Day takes place on Saturday March 4 from 10am–4pm in the Alice Perry Engineering Building on the University campus.   Organised as part of Engineers Week 2023, which celebrates engineering across Ireland, the event will provide plenty of science and engineering shows, movie screenings, workshops and hands-on activities that will inspire both the young and the old. Families can attend two movie screenings - Dream Big: Engineering Our World and John Phillip Holland: Submarine Inventor. Dream Big: Engineering Our World is narrated by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges. The documentary celebrates the human creativity behind engineering marvels big and small, from the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, and show how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. John Phillip Holland: Submarine Inventor delves into the life of a revolutionary Irish engineer, who was behind the first fully functioning modern submarine. Professor Jamie Goggins, School of Engineering at University of Galway, said: “Children are natural engineers. They love to design and build things, using whatever they can get their hands on. With knowledge, innovation and creativity, engineers change the reality and future of all human beings. We want to see as many families join us for the day-long events to help mark and celebrate Engineers Week and explore engineering through exciting and fun, hands-on activities and shows, as well as meeting with practising engineers to better learn about the world around us, understand the role of engineering in our lives and its impact on our future.” Among the events at University of Galway Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day are: :: Young and older attendees can engage with the ‘Eccentric Energy Show’ show with Dr Naomi Lavelle from the award winning science website Dr How’s Science Wows. There will be balls bouncing, sticks leaping, fireworks popping and toilet rolls flying all over the place! This is an interactive show, aiming to get the audience as hands-on as possible while they learn about all the different types of energy, what wacky things we can do with them and how they are transferred. To finish it all off you can watch Dr How set her custom-built Eccentric Energy Machine in motion and see how many different types of energy will be used to pop one single balloon. :: In ‘Fun Fantastic Physics’ show by Anyone4Science, children will use physics to do unbelievable things - escape from jail, make a mechanism to lift an adult, sit comfortably on a bed of nails, stand on balloons, see if they are full of hot air, make a teabag fly and much more! :: Families are encouraged to come and build their own wind turbine, investigate the fantastic DNA with Cell Explorers, have fun with 3D printing, explore bicycle mechanics with An Mheitheal Rothar, build a biomaterial using slime, see the world differently through cameras, explore the GEEC: Galway Energy Efficient Car, free-play in LEGO play area or learn about our rich engineering heritage. :: Attendees can practice their driving and hazard perception skills on state-of the art car, motorbike or bicycle simulators provided by Road Safety Authority. :: For the first time this year, there will be a sensory room available for our youngest engineers and all those who would like some timeout in peace and quiet. These and many other activities showing the world of civil, environmental, mechanical, biomedical, electronic, energy systems and computer engineering will be available on the day. All details about the Family Fun Day available at www.universityofgalway.ie/engineersweek Tickets are free and they can be booked for some shows in advance through the website. Families are also advised that they can turn up on the day, on a first come, first served, basis. For further information on ‘Engineering Our Future: Family Fun Day’ contact jamie.goggins@universityofgalway.ie william.finnegan@universityofgalway.ie Ends

Friday, 24 February 2023

Government, media, professionals, churches and the public can learn how to avoid stigmatising and compounding hurt  Researchers at University of Galway have compiled a report on terminology and language associated with institutions historically known as “Mother and Baby Homes”, “County Homes” and related institutions.   The project sets out guidance for those in power - including government departments, professionals, the media, the churches - and for the general public in relation to education, awareness, and actions which can be taken in response to hurt and offence caused and learning for the future. The research project - Language, Terminology and Representation Relating to Ireland’s Institutions Historically Known as ‘Mother and Baby Homes’, ‘County Homes’ and Related Institutions - was undertaken by researchers from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at University of Galway.  The report states: “Changing how we use language and terminology and radically reviewing how past experiences have so often been misrepresented will not in itself achieve the justice so many people still need regarding their experiences in institutions run by state and church, together or in parallel. However, such change represents one of many steps needed to achieve historical justice.” The project was commissioned through the COALESCE Irish Research Council Funding scheme and jointly funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. It is a direct response to recommendations made in the first report of the Collaborative Forum of Former Residents of Mother and Baby Homes and Related Institutions in relation to language, terminology and representation. The study is also part of the Government’s response to the Final Report of Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. The purpose of the research was to build on the work of the Collaborative Forum to highlight the need for special attention in relation to the use and misuse of language, terminology and misrepresentation related to the former institutions.  Based mostly on the testimonies of people who have direct experience of the institutions, either as mothers or from their childhood, the report provides guidance to tackle and eradicate the use of stigmatising language like “unmarried mother” and “illegitimate child” which still causes hurt and offence today even though no longer officially in use.  The study identified many other words that should not be used like describing the institutions as “homes” or people who spent time there as “residents”. The study found terminology of “victim” and “survivor” very contested and complicated, with some people identifying with this and others finding it offensive. Many saw the need to have an alternative terminology, with one suggestion referring to persons as “separated” using the Gaelic term “scaradh” and the word “citizen” promoted as a more acceptable term.  Highlighting the complex and diverse views of people, many different words that are used to describe mothers, and those who spent time in institutions in their childhood, are criticised.  The report has many examples of how use and misuse of stigmatising language by those in power has such an impact and needed to be changed. It shows how those with power to influence often misrepresented, disrespected and reinforced stigma by their use of language. Welcoming the launch of the report, authors Caroline McGregor, Carmel Devaney and Sarah-Anne Buckley commended the participants who contributed to the study.  Professor Caroline McGregor said: “Participants who contributed to this research project have given us unique and in-depth understanding of the power of words and the hurt they can cause. As one person put it: ‘words are like weapons’. We thank all of the participants and steering group members especially the collaborative forum representatives for their significant contribution to this project.” Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley said: “Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to change past experiences but there is a huge amount we can do in the present to acknowledge the trauma and stigma still imposed on individuals through the use of stigmatizing language and historical labels.” Dr Carmel Devaney said: “As highlighted in this report, listening, being mindful about how we speak, and taking affirmative action based on what we hear or read is a responsibility for all. We hope this research will be widely used to inform the use of more appropriate language, terminology and representation in the future.” The report and a summary report are available at University of Galway - Unesco Child and Family Research Centre Ends

Friday, 24 February 2023

CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices researchers have published in Nature Communications a key study establishing a new pre-clinical model to develop clinically relevant treatments for heart attacks.  Heart attacks (myocardial infarction (MI)) occur due to an acute complication of coronary artery disease and are a major cause of global mortality. The two main types of heart attack are ST-elevation (STEMI) and Non-ST elevation (NSTEMI). A non-ST-elevation is a type of heart attack that usually happens when your heart's oxygen needs are unmet. This condition gets its name because it doesn't have an easily identifiable electrical pattern like with an ST elevation that can be read from an electrocardiogram (ECG). Patients who survive a heart attack have variable degrees of damage to their cardiac tissue, which can lead to heart failure in a significant proportion of these patients. In the last two decades, NSTEMIs have markedly risen in hospitalised patients. This subtype of heart attack results in a smaller amount of tissue damage compared to STEMIs. Still, importantly, recent clinical registry data shows that NSTEMIs are associated with higher long-term mortality than STEMIs. Currently, preclinical models of heart attack mimic only full-thickness STEMI and hence cater only for an investigation into therapeutics and interventions directed at the NSTEMI subset of heart attack. In this new study, researchers have developed a preclinical model of NSTEMI by adopting a novel surgical procedure that closely resembles the complexity of clinical cases in humans. Researchers validated the presented model by comparing it with an established method to achieve STEMIs. They performed a detailed analysis at the main acute and late time points after the induction of NSTEMI, at 7 and 28 days, respectively.  Dr Paolo Contessotto and Dr Renza Spelat said: "Advanced analyses on the affected heart tissue highlighted a distinctive pattern of alterations in the tissue, especially in the sugar moieties (glycans) which compose cardiac cell membranes and extracellular matrix (the network of proteins and other molecules that surround, support, and give structure to cells and tissues in the body). Identifying such changes in molecular elements that can be accessed and treated with injectable drugs sheds light on how we can develop targeted pharmacological solutions to correct these changes." This research resulted from an established collaboration of CÚRAM with European institutions in Italy (University of Milano-Bicocca), France (University of Paris Est Créteil), Sweden (University of Gothenburg) and Lithuania (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences). Professor Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM Scientific Director and senior author of the study, said: "There is a need in the field to adopt clinically relevant models to study NSTEMI pathophysiology and reveal its functional differences with STEMI induction. This new model will facilitate the translation of future research in the field, enabling the discovery of new clinically relevant treatments for patients." Mr Mark Da Costa, Clinical Investigator at CÚRAM and senior author of the study, said: "Currently, NSTEMI is the most common presentation of acute heart attack. The concern is that NSTEMI patients have lower in-patient (during their admission for the primary NSTEMI) and short-term mortality rates but significantly higher long-term mortality than those of STEMI patients. A Danish registry study of 8,889 patients showed that the 5-year mortality after NSTEMI was 16%, and another registry study highlighted a 10-year survival rate of only around 50%. To the best of our knowledge, there are currently no models that can reproduce both the functional and histological characteristics of NSTEMIs. This novel model may specifically serve as a preclinical foundation to study interventions that could combat the short and long-term effects of NSTEMI." Ends