Abstracts 2017

 Recombinant Expression of cp19 barnacle cement protein in E. coli

Joanne Duffy, College of Science

Barnacle glue is a biological adhesive, and undergoes its curing process in the marine environment at varying levels of submersion in water. It has the ability to adhere to a plethora of surfaces; both those found in the natural environment of the barnacle and synthetic surfaces. Although barnacle fouling presents an economic problem which proves difficult to overcome (Chandramouli et al., 2015), the tenacity and steadfastness of the adhesive has the potential to be exploited for biomedical purposes. This study sought to express a 19 kDa protein dubbed cp19k from the barnacle species Pollicipes pollicipes in recombinant form using Escherichia coli BL21 as a host. The genetic construct of the protein to be expressed includes a leader sequence ompA and a poly-histidine tag which is cleavable by a tev site. The construct was inserted to a pIG6 vector which contains a gene for ampicillin resistance and places the construct under the control of the lac operon. The study illustrated the improvements in expression of the target protein when using trigger factor, a molecular chaperone, as compared with solitary expression. The protein in its purified form was used to perform adhesion assays based on the work of Liang et al. (2015). The assays performed did not show adhesive capabilities of cp19k, which is thought to be due to the low concentration of protein obtained following extraction and purification. The project also engaged in science communication.

Glial cells implications as a cause of long term exposure to antidepressants

Gertruda Ceburnyte, College of Science

1)My research aims to look at the way that psychiatric disorders are treated and the way that the medications can cause more serious problems than they are trying to solve. There is a series of interrelated events that occur from taking antidepressants to them causing further psychiatric disorders in the future of the patient.
2)There is very little research done to show that specific antidepressants show a decrease or alteration in glial cells.
3)My project doesn't show a direct correlation but a causation from one event to the next.
4)I have examined what brain cells of affected patients look like with neuro imaging. I have done research in the type of medication used to treat depression and how it causes a glucocorticoid increase in the body. Furthermore I looked at experiments to see how these increased levels of glucocorticoids effect glial cell populations in the brain.
5)Is it possible that people who take antidepressants for chronic depression can develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other major mood disorders later on in their life.
6)Can antidepressants cause further psychiatric disorders?

The Clonbrock Photographic Collection: Anglo-Irish identity and the Dillon family of Galway

M. Úna Kavanagh, College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies


This project examines the Clonbrock Photographic Collection of the Dillon family, Clonbrock, Ahascragh, Co. Galway. It explores a rural Anglo-Irish cultural identity and its representation through the medium of photography. Clonbrock Photographic Collection extends over three generations of the Dillon family and dates from 1860 to 1930, a revolutionary period in Irish history. This project focuses on two particular decades: 1863- 1873, which observes the emergence of photography in Ireland and 1900-1910, the first decade of the twentieth century. Through critically selected images from 1863-1873 family life at the Big House is interrogated. The first decade of the new century sees a wider representation of Anglo-Irish culture beyond the Big House. How the dual identity of the Dillon family is evidenced through flags present in certain photographs will be explored. Lady Augusta Dillon is a central figure in the Clonbrock Photographic Collection and a key character in both periods.

The extent of dissemination of linezolid resistant Enterococcus faecalis in routine rectal screens– Is optrA prevalent in Galway patient populations?

Mary C. Byrne, College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

A recent publication described an emerging mechanism of resistance to linezolid in E. faecalis from three Irish isolates via the resistance gene optrA1, 2,3.
One of the isolates was referred from University Hospital Galway. The prevalence of linezolid resistant E.faecalis in Galway patient populations is unknown.  We developed a screening method to determine the prevalence of linezolid resistant E.faecalis in rectal swabs routinely submitted for screening for other antimicrobial resistant organisms. Mechanism of resistance was established for any linezolid resistant isolates to determine if the optrA mechanism was implicated.
Over a 3-week period, June 2016, all rectal swabs (N=182) received in the microbiology department of University Hospital Galway for routine ESBL and VRE screening were also screened for linezolid resistant E. fecalis.
Swabs were plated onto Slanetz and Bartley agar, an Enterococcus selective medium. A 10µg linezolid disk was added, plates incubated at 37 °C and reviewed at 24 and 48 hours for bacterial growth.
Colonies displaying growth within 21mm of the linezolid disk at 24 or 48h were identified by Matrix-assisted laser desorbtion/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF). An eTEST® was performed on any E. fecalis identified to establish the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) value. Samples with a MIC >4mg/L, indicating linezolid resistance, were sent to a reference laboratory for confirmation and identification of resistance mechanisms.
2 (1%) of 182 swabs yielded E.faecalis with a linezolid MIC >4mg/L. 1 (0.5%) of these was confirmed by the reference laboratory as linezolid resistant with resistance conferred by the OptrA gene.
Consideration should be given to including screening for linezolid resistant E.faecalis along with routine screening of rectal swabs for ESBL and VRE.

Aneurin Bevan: Father of the British Health Service

John Cunningham, College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies


This work follows the life of Aneurin Bevan,from his early days as a child miner in Wales, overcoming personal disabilities and his rise to Cabinet in the post war Labour government, his dual ministry in housing and health, and his successes in both at the very challenging time of a post war Britain. The establishment of a health service that today is the envy of the world, all which commenced at midnight on 12th August 1948 and changed from a fee paying health service to a free service, available to all.

Complex Topologies in Particle Swarm Optimization

David Newell, College of Engineering & Informatics

Small problems can be solved using exact mathematical methods but as the problem space increases exact solutions require more computational time and effort. Many real-world problems are very complex and non-linear in nature meaning that they cannot be solved in any reasonable amount of time. Optimization algorithms are widely used in computer science to solve real-world problems by providing estimate solutions in an appropriate amount of time. The applicable problems are wide-ranging in nature and include image recognition, managing investment portfolios and coordinating generators to minimize fuel costs. Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) is just one such optimization algorithm. It is modeled off the flight of a bird flock. The algorithm operates by deploying a number of particles to the problem space. It is desired that particles first carry out rough exploration of the problem space before exploiting promising areas to produce the best results. Particles are setup to communicate in certain patterns that influence the ability of the swarm to explore or exploit.
This thesis analyzed variants of the PSO algorithm that changes the way particles are connected over time. The aim was to understand the exploration versus exploitation tendencies of the swarm over time. The communication connections between particles were modeled as a graph and the application of graph theory to describe the communication of swarm particles was investigated. It was found that the operation of the swarm could be effectively described. From this new insight, flaws were identified that were improved upon to produce favourable results.

The integration of Syrian refugees into German society

Laura Kelly, College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Millions of refugees crossed into Europe from war- torn areas such as Syria and Iraq in the past five years. Between the years of 2014 and 2016 we saw European countries struggling to cope with the influx, and creating division in the EU over how best to deal with resettling people. My research deals specifically with the integration of Syrian refugees into German society. Germany has taken in an incredible of amount of refugees since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 and my research deals with how the German government along with the German citizens aim to integrate these refugees into German society. Many of these refugees are children and my research conveys the problems that have arisen and how they aimed to be fixed in Germany. The research focuses on the different aspects relating to these children such as education, healthcare and the different approaches Germany as a nation need to consider in order to offer the incoming refugees safety and a place they can call home without constantly living in fear.

Predictors of change detection and eyewitness identification accuracy

Nicole Sylver, College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Eyewitness memory errors are a major cause of false imprisonment. Change blindness may give rise to an instance of unconscious transference whereby the eyewitness infers that the innocent person and the perpetrator are the same person during encoding and subsequently misidentifies the innocent person. Several studies have confirmed that face processing ability is linked to eyewitness identification accuracy. It has been suggested that competence in face processing is reflective of general proficiency in visual processing. Therefore, it is possible that visual processing ability is also linked to eyewitness identification accuracy. Perhaps enhanced change detection mediates this relationship. Affective states associated with personality traits regulate attentional breadth. Positive affect, which is associated with extraversion, has been shown to broaden attentional scope. The first aim of this study is to assess whether visual processing ability and extraversion predict change detection. The second aim of this study is to assess whether those who detect a change are more accurate in their eyewitness identification than those who do not detect a change. Depending on the results of this study, the legal system may benefit from introducing visual processing ability and extraversion assessments for eyewitnesses to determine the weight that should be given to their testimonies.

Emerging young adults

Sylvia Nolan, Adult Learning and Professional Development

This is a 5 minute presentation on emerging young adults.the presentation was part of my second year exam in the diploma of counseling of psychology.problems this age group may face as a result of behavior during this period of life.

The Affects of Maternal Glucose Levels on Birth Complications

Maleeha Virk, College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

Higher maternal glucose levels result in increased incidence of birth complications such as caesarean sections,overweight babies,and higher risk of perinatal morbidity.The purpose of this study is to analyse if a correlation exists between maternal glucose levels and a variety of birth complications which include birth weight, week of delivery, mode of delivery, and baby size to age.Therefore, our study seeks to investigate how maternal glucose levels affects birth outcomes and complications to better understand this interaction.By carrying out statistical analysis we were able to use our results to fill in the gap to determine how to improve health outcomes of both the mother and newborn.A multicentre cross-sectional study was carried out on a sample group of 542 overweight mothers of ages 23 to 45 years during the time period of January 2010 to December 2016.Information from the mother and baby were collected and statistical tests were performed on the recorded dataset to analyse whether a correlation existed between maternal glucose levels and birth complications.The level of significance for this statistical study was p=0.05 and the tests performed on the dataset included a Spearman’s correlation test,a Pearson’s chi square test,a Kruskal Wallis test and a Mann Whitney U test and was carried out using the software SPSS 23 to generate the results.The findings of the study were then compared to the results of peer reviewed research papers.The results of our study determined that elevated maternal fasting glucose levels were associated with an increased birth weight of the new-born, higher baby size to gestational age,and these mothers had normal vaginal delivery.The study also determined that mothers with gestational diabetes were more likely to have preterm delivery.Our research concluded that proper management of gestational diabetes of overweight mothers will improve health outcomes and reduce birth complications.

Women in World War II

Natalie O`Shea, College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

This topic is about the role women played in world war II and how their major impact is often overlooked as the male role dominates this area. While there are various different literature on this topic which are very useful they often incorporate the males role to such an extent that the females position is undervalued. The material i examine in this paper is the role of women in world war II in industry and every day life but also in the Special Operations Executive particularly discussing Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne

Histopathological Inspection between the New Live Vaccine and RD1-deleted Vaccine in Mycobacterium Bovis

So Jeong Kang, College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences

Tuberculosis (TB) is zoonosis that occurs simultaneously in both animals and humans. Currently, TB vaccine used in humans is called BCG. BCG uses Mycobacterium bovis, the cause of Bovine Tuberculosis, with its pathogenic parts have been removed through long-term subculture. BCG is a live vaccine and its efficacy is still controversial. Effective vaccines against TB as an alternative of BCG have not been developed. Thus, in this paper, we would like to observe the histopathological results of new vaccines to effectively prevent TB.
Two vaccines will made are new live vaccine and vaccine with its pathogenic regions (RD-1) are completely removed. Mycobacterium bovis will be totally attenuated in new live vaccine in different way than the current BCG and the specific pathogenic region (RD1) will be removed using a vector. After administration of these two vaccines, the result will be observed through histopathological comparison of lung and spleen
When pathogenic microorganism enter the body, it cause production of the antibody which can be used as a decisive clue to the serological diagnosis. Since the pathogenic part of BCG has been removed, the formation of antibodies is weak and can’t guarantee complete defense against TB. Therefore, it is believed that the vaccine will be more efficacious in the presence of the pathogenic site but presence of pathogenic site may cause other disease reactions. Thus, further research need to be done but at this moment, we believe that new live vaccine of Mycobacterium bovis may be more effective than RD1-deleted vaccine.

Walkability in West Galway

Sandie Laurent, College of Business, Public Policy, & Law

My research is about if it is possible to walk in a special neighbourhood in Galway which is the part on the west of the city center.
If no other studies had taken an interest in this special geographical area, the last 10 years there has been a growing interest on how the built environment can have an influence on our safety, our health and our sociability (included a study on that topic in Galway itself). But there is still a need for local and micro studies that can help planners to built the futur city; and that is, in a small way, what this study tries to do. I used the Council draftwork to design the geographical field, and an active observation for the findings. I expose in this paper all the obstacles that a walker can find in this area (lack of sidewalk, narrow sildewalk, etc.), and then try to find solutions, through examples elsewhere in the world. To conclude I would say that there is still a huge lack of taking walk in consideration when it is about planning, and probably more in poorer area than in wealthier.

Maternal/ Foetal Conflict: Gender Equality for patients

Lorraine Lally,  College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

The question can the State can intervene in cases of maternal/foetal conflict? Curran commented that ‘illicit drug and alcohol use in pregnancy is a grey area of Irish social and legal policy’. The same can also be said in relation to issues of diet and treatment refusal during pregnancy. In a High Court case from 2002 a woman refused to undergo treatment which would have substantially reduced the risk of her unborn child contracting HIV. The woman eventually submitted to the treatment without the need for the Courts to consider the issue. Finnegan J warned her of the possibility of issuing orders which would have had a serious effect on her bodily integrity. As the woman submitted to the treatment it is not clear what the nature of possible orders could have been. This case provided the impetus for this article. It raised questions such as the conflict of maternal and foetal rights, what forms of maternal/foetal conflict were the Court concerned with, the potential statutory or constitutional provisions which could be relied on by the Court and the overarching question of whether the State can legitimately intervene in cases of maternal/foetal conflict?