A weekend of Galway-based science films!

A weekend of Galway-based science films!

This weekend (5th to 8th November) saw Ireland’s first Science Film Festival, Science on Screen, taking place. The ‘Science on Screen Film Festival’ showcased the best of science in film, and this year incorporated themes of representation and diversity in science, public trust in science and the value of art-science collaborations.

Featuring on the programme were several Galway-based neuroscience films, some of which were made as part of the Science on Screen scheme. These included “Feats of Modest Valour” featuring the Parkinson’s research by Eilís Dowd and her team; “A Tiny Spark” featuring the stroke research being carried out by Karen Doyle and her team; as well as “The Patient Effect” which tells the story of Public and Patient Involvement in Research.

The programme also featured short film submissions from around the world from which the Galway neuroscience film, “Mood Atlas” was awarded the Inaugural Best Short Film Award. Mood Atlas tells the story of Shane Hickey, a young man living with bipolar disorder, and the neuroimaging research being carried out by Dara Cannon and her research team on trying to understand this disorder.

The festival was hosted by CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based in NUI Galway, and the Galway Film Centre, who together established the successful Science on Screen scheme in 2016.

Biochemical Society webinar with GNC’s Prof David Finn

Biochemical Society webinar with GNC’s Prof David Finn

The UK’s Biochemical Society and their publishing arm, Portland Press, have initiated a series of webinars called the Biochemistry Focus webinar series.

On 29 October 2020 at 3 pm (GMT), the webinar will be ‘Neurobiology of Chronic Pain – mechanisms, management, and in-between’.

This will feature the Galway Neuroscience Centre’s former Director, Prof David Finn as an expert speaker, as well as Dr Eilís Dowd as Chairperson of the event.

The registration link is provided below and registration is free. Each webinar will provide attendees with the opportunity to ask questions and these online events are free to attend.

Link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3454134880462562315

If you are unable to attend on the day, please note that all webinars are recorded and will be made freely available to watch at a later date.

Fiona Martyn writes for RTÉ Brainstorm on Ireland’s problem with alcohol

Fiona Martyn writes for RTÉ Brainstorm on Ireland’s problem with alcohol

Galway Neuroscience Centre PhD student, Fiona Martyn, from the Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory, tells RTÉ Brainstorm why we need to talk about Ireland’s problem with alcohol.

Read Fiona’s article in full here.

Fiona began her PhD in September 2018 under the supervision of Dr Dara Cannon. Her PhD research uses in vivo neuroimaging techniques to investigate the relationship between alterations in the structure and function of the brain, and moderate and binge alcohol use in bipolar disorder.

In September 2020, Fiona who won the “ECNP’s Got Talent” contest at the 33rd European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference which was held online from 12-15th September. Read more about this win here.

Fiona has a BSc Psychology with Neuropsychology from Bangor University, North Wales. She has previously worked as a Youth Outreach Alcohol and Other Drugs counsellor in Melbourne, Australia, and as a Drug Diversion Alcohol and Other Drugs Counsellor in rural Australia.

GNC Researchers publish Huntington’s research in PNAS

GNC Researchers publish Huntington’s research in PNAS

Dr Gregory Williams and Prof Bob Lahue from Galway Neuroscience Centre have led an international study on Huntington’s disease that was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that causes serious cognitive, psychological and movement symptoms.  HD normally affects adults and lasts approximately 15 years until premature fatality.

Postdoctoral fellow Dr Gregory Williams and principal investigator Prof Bob Lahue studied how a protein called MutSb makes HD worse.  “Recent research in HD shows that highly-active MutSb causes HD to occur earlier in life and to accelerate patient decline once the disease begins.  We wanted to know if there is a way to deactivate MutSb and thereby possibly slow the genetic changes that occur in HD.”

Using cell experiments, Williams showed that blocking an enzyme called HDAC3 prevents activation of MutSb.  The publication went on to show how this process works.  Valuable contributions from collaborators in the UK and USA added key information to complete the study.

Lahue comments that experimental drugs in preclinical studies showed that inhibiting HDAC3 provided multiple benefits.  “The drugs are still experimental and require further testing before clinical trials can be considered. However, we are now one step closer to that goal.”

Link to the original publication: https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2020/09/04/2013223117.full.pdf

Congratulations Bob and Gregory on this fantastic publication from all in the Galway Neuroscience Centre!

 

GNC welcomes two new academic members

GNC welcomes two new academic members

The Galway Neuroscience Centre are pleased to welcome two new academic members to the Centre, Dr Robert Munn and Dr Lieve Desbonnet. Both Rob and Lieve have joined the Discipline of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and we wish them well with their new roles!

Dr Robert Munn

Rob Munn joins the Discipline of Pharmacology from California. Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Rob did his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand with Professors Neil McNaughton and David Bilkey. Rob then moved to Stanford University in the San Francisco bay area in 2013 to do postdoc work with Assoc. Prof. Lisa Giocomo.

Rob is an in vivo behavioural electrophysiologist, with a side-interest in in vivo Calcium imaging. He studies learning and memory in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortices and is currently working with a Down syndrome mouse model.

Dr Lieve Desbonnet

Lieve Desbonnet is from Galway and is currently a lecturer in the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in NUIG. Before this she worked as a lecturer in Neuroscience in the University of Glasgow for four years, and received her PhD in Neuroscience from University College Cork in 2007, after completing a BSc in Anatomy, and an MSc in Neuropharmacology in NUIG.

Lieve’s research focusses on investigating the long-term effects of adverse environmental events in early life, stress, immune activation, and alterations in gut microbiota, on brain development and behaviour. In her early career she spent a year as a Marie Curie fellow in Maastricht University in 2003. Following her PhD, she continued her research work in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) developing gene-environment models for schizophrenia, and a further 2 years as a senior postdoctoral researcher focussing on the role of the gut microbiota in neurodevelopment and behaviour. Currently she works as part of the iRELATE project that examines the role of the immune system in cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.

 

 

Fiona Martyn wins ENCP’s Got Talent 2020!

Fiona Martyn wins ENCP’s Got Talent 2020!

Congratulations to PhD student, Fiona Martyn, from Dr Dara Cannon’s research team who won the “ECNP’s Got Talent” contest at the 33rd European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference which was held online from 12-15th September.

You can read Fiona’s full report on the event, and her fantastic win, here.

Fiona began her PhD in NUI Galway’s Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory in September 2018. Her PhD research uses in vivo neuroimaging techniques to investigate the relationship between alterations in the structure and function of the brain, and moderate and binge alcohol use in bipolar disorder.

Fiona has a BSc Psychology with Neuropsychology from Bangor University, North Wales. She has previously worked as a Youth Outreach Alcohol and Other Drugs counsellor in Melbourne, Australia, and as a Drug Diversion Alcohol and Other Drugs Counsellor in rural Australia.