€2.2 billion will be split between Ireland’s seven universities for infrastructure projects.
Trinity is one of seven higher education institutions that will receive part of a €2.2 billion fund, announced today as part of the government’s National Development Plan 2018 to 2027.
In addition to this, the government has also committed to continued investment in research funding.
The Trinity projects listed in the report include the new business school, the Engineering, Energy and Environment (E3) Institute, student accommodation and the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus. The funds will be delivered over the next 10 years and are being primarily funded by private finance and borrowing from the European Investment Bank.
All the projects listed have been previously announced, with some still waiting for the full go-ahead. With all the projects planned requiring €3 billion in investment, the money will comes from a mixture of own resources, borrowing, philanthropy and exchequer grants.
Other projects that will receive funding include a new business school in University College Cork, new student residences in NUI Galway and a new teaching and learning building in University College Dublin.
As well as the investment in universities, the government reiterated its promises to fund 11 infrastructure projects in various institutes of technology. A lot of the institutes in line for funding are also part of consortiums which are bidding to become technological universities. The money will help increase capacity in the institutes while also supporting increased enrollment levels.
The Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus is mooted to cost €1 billion with Trinity previously admitting that it could require up to 20 per cent government funding. The full cost of the project has yet to be established with further plans expected to be released this summer.
Similarly to the new technology campus, E3 is one of Trinity’s flagship developments for the next few years. A massive partnership between the School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity, it is also still in the planning stages.
Trinity’s business school, on the other hand, is entering the final stages of construction. The topping ceremony was held several weeks ago with the project on track to be completed on time and on budget.
The strategy also outlined the allocation of funding from enterprise that will go into supporting new cycles of the programme for research in third-level institutions and a new disruptive technologies innovation fund.
You wouldn’t want to skip a class in these breathtakingly beautiful schools
By Sophia Lam
Schools are probably the last place that come to mind when you’re planning for an escape – especially if they are what you’re escaping from in the first place – but these postcard-like campuses will make you wish you were back to school again. Here are some of the most beautiful universities around the world, and some tips on how to plan your itinerary.
Trinity College, Dublin
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College in Dublin stands alongside Oxbridge among the seven ancient universities in Britain and Ireland. The academic complex is infused with serenity, despite being located at the centre of the capital just across the street from the Irish Houses of Parliament. The campus, spanning 190,000 square metres, features a mix of old collegiate architecture on the west side, and modern establishments on the east. It was ranked by Forbes as one of the 15 most beautiful college grounds in the world in 2010.
Up your game at the library of Trinity College, the largest research library in Ireland. Being a legal deposit library, it is legally entitled to a copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland, accounting for its staggering volume of six million printed materials including an extensive collection of manuscripts, music scores and maps.
The Old Library, a masterpiece of Irish architect Thomas Burgh within the library complex, houses the precious Book of Kells and has become one of the most frequented tourist attractions in the country. Before you lose yourself among the hefty shelves of books, grab a book and read the afternoon away in the Long Room, a 65-metre-long main chamber adorned with marble busts of philosophers and writers under a luxurious barrel-vaulted ceiling. Tips for those who want a quick selfie with your idol’s bust: find out the location of every bust on the library’s official website before your visit.
While you’re there … explore the many whisky distilleries around town, including the Old Jameson Distillery, which has stopped running for a while but offers guided tours, a re-enactment of whisky making, and a sampling of various scotches and whiskies.
University of Salamanca, Spain
If you are a history buff, you would have heard of the Unesco World Heritage city of Salamanca, and the oldest university in Spain located in the city.
The University of Salamanca dates back to the early 12th century when the Cathedral school was recognised as a “General School of the Kingdom” by King Alfonso IX. The school has been the cradle of many notable figures in history, including Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, and Aristides Royo, president of Panama (1978 – 1982).
The ornate plateresque facade of the university overlooks the giant statue of Fray Luis de León, an Augustinian friar and academic who assumed the post of vice rector at the university in mid-15th century. If you go deep into the maze of baroque architecture, you can still find his classroom preserved in the school’s old building.
While you’re there … delve into the history and culture of Salamanca, where you will find 12th century cathedrals, Dominican monasteries and the Roman bridge, which dates back to as early as 89 A.D.
Flagler College, Florida
This is a school where one could have actually taken a vacation a century ago. The predecessor of the Flagler College is the old Ponce de León Hotel, built by architects John Carrère and Thomas Hastings in 1888. Voted by Travel+Leisure as “the most beautiful college in Florida”, Flagler College is a private liberal arts college in St Augustine some miles off the coast of Florida.
The 129 year-old establishment, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is an illustration of the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style which resulted from the Spanish rule in St Augustine starting from the 15th century.
The front facade of the building, with a striking orange roof covered in clay tiles and irregularly shaped chimneys, opens to a luscious courtyard filled with bushes and pine trees. Small classes are sometimes held on the lawns.
While you’re there … join one of St Augustine’s infamous creepy crawls that will take you on a walk featuring tales of ghosts, romance and murder in this old city founded by Spanish explorers.
University of Cape Town, South Africa
The highest-ranked university in Africa has the advantage of being surrounded by one of the world’s most picturesque landscapes. Founded in 1829 as a boys’ school, the University of Cape Town is the oldest tertiary education institute in South Africa.
Propped against the slopes of Devil’s Peak, the main teaching campus began construction in 1928, based on the blueprint designed by architect JM Solomon. The compact campus converges upon the Jameson Hall – fondly known to students as “Jammie” – which serves as the location for major ceremonies and examinations and stands out in the hilly backdrop with its distinctive triangular pediment and classic white columns.
While you’re there … pay a visit to the contemporary art galleries that litter the suburban Woodstock at the foot of Devil’s Peak, an area that is quickly rising to become the city’s latest art hub.
The University of Oxford
The oldest university in the English-speaking world made our list for not only the beauty that meets the eye, but also that of the imagination it inspires.
The 11th century labyrinth of cloisters, pillars and alleys has been the muse of many writers and directors – some modern instances include the parallel universe of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy set at the Exeter College, and a Christ Church College’s cameo in the Harry Potter series.
Do not miss the Radcliffe camera, built in the 17th century to be the university’s science library which has now retired to become a reading room for the Bodleian Library. The Camera, which stands for “room” in Italian, epitomises a traditional circular library with its dome and vaulted stone ceiling. It is occasionally open to the public in summertime, but is otherwise restricted to students and staff.
While you’re there … drop by Alice’s Shop, a quaint stonewalled gift shop at 83 St Aldate’s which was featured in Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking Glass as the Old Sheep Shop. Alice fans will enjoy the thrill of rummaging for Alice-related souvenirs before enjoying a Mad Hatters tea party at Café Loco next door.
Researchers in Ireland report that immune responses and regulation of autoimmunity are affected by the time of the day when the immune response is activated. Understanding the effect of the interplay between 24-hour day–night cycles and the immune system may help inform drug-targeting strategies to alleviate autoimmune disease, say the scientists who published their study (“Loss of the Molecular Clock in Myeloid Cells Exacerbates T Cell-Mediated CNS Autoimmune Disease”) in Nature Communications.
Using mice as a model organism, they show that a master circadian gene, BMAL1, is responsible for sensing and acting on time-of-the-day cues to suppress inflammation. Loss of BMAL1, or induction of autoimmunity at midday instead of midnight, causes more severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, which is essentially an analog of multiple sclerosis in mice.
“Loss of myeloid BMAL1 or midday immunizations to induce EAE [experimental autoimmmune encephalomyelitis] create an inflammatory environment in the CNS through expansion and infiltration of IL-1β-secreting CD11b+Ly6Chi monocytes, resulting in increased pathogenic IL-17+/IFN-γ+ T cells,” say the investigators. “These findings demonstrate the importance of the molecular clock in modulating innate and adaptive immune crosstalk under autoimmune conditions.”
“In the year that the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded for discoveries on the molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm, our exciting findings suggest that our immune system is programmed to respond better to infection and insults encountered at different times in the 24-hour clock,”says Kingston Mills, Ph.D., professor of experimental immunology at Trinity College, Dublin. “This has significant implications for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases and suggests there may be important differences in time of day response to drugs used to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.”
Although further investigations are needed to understand how to precisely modulate circadian rhythm or time-of-the-day cues for beneficial immunity, our findings serve well to remind us the importance of “keeping the time” when dealing with the immune system, he adds.
“Our study also shows how disruption of our body clocks, which is quite common now given our 24/7 lifestyle and erratic eating and sleeping patterns, may have an impact on autoimmune conditions,” notes Annie Curtis, Ph.D., of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. “We are really beginning to uncover exactly how important our body clocks are for health and well-being.”
Researchers combine EEG and MRI to monitor brain changes.
Our brains function by electrical and chemical signalling. Recording brain wave patterns can be very helpful in conditions like epilepsy, but the potential of this inexpensive and easily applied technology has not been fully recognised.Researchers in the Academic Unit of Neurology at Trinity College Dublin have been studying brain wave patterns in the neurodegenerative condition Motor Neuron Disease (MND). They have made the surprising discovery that some specific parts of the brain are “over-connected” in MND, while other parts show reduced activity as the brain networks disintegrate.
A previous study by the Trinity group had indicated the potential changes in EEG recordings. The new findings considerably advance our understanding of the brain regions that start to get overconnected as the disease progresses, and how they relate to the death of the motor neurons. These changes in comparison to the healthy brain indicated new dynamics of the disease in the brain and have revealed some previously unrecognised abnormalities in the brain.
Their findings, published in the recent issue of the journal Cerebral Cortexhttp://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhx301 imply that MND, along with other neurodegenerative conditions, are associated with important changes in neural communication between different brain networks, rather than changes in a single region of the brain. The new discoveries are pointing to the mechanisms in the brain that are associated with the disease, that were not previously taken into account, assuming that MND is simply a focal isolated degeneration in certain parts of the brain.
“Understanding how the networks in the human brain interact in health and disease is a very important area that has not been adequately researched” said Dr Bahman Nasseroleslami, Senior Research Fellow and Neural Engineer, who is the lead author of the study.
“Using EEG to decipher changes in brain function has not been possible until recently. The computational power, mathematical and statistical tools were just not available. But our findings have shown that we can now explore the living human brain in a very sophisticated and non-invasive way, and that we can link our dynamic EEG changes with anatomical changes captured by MRI. This expands enormously our ability to understand how the brain is working in real-time, and how these changes in brain networking correlate with structural changes that we can see on MRI scans. This is breakthrough science”.
“These findings will change how we study MND” said Professor Hardiman, Head of the Academic Unit of Neurology in Trinity. “Our identification of specific changes in brain wave patterns in different forms of neurodegeneration will allow us to develop new drugs, and monitor the effects of these drugs in ways that have not been possible up to now.”
Professor Hardiman continued: “Our findings will revolutionise how we measure changes in brain function in MND and many other related neuro-degenerations such as frontotemporal dementia. Our findings will also help in understanding the links we have shown previously between MND and schizophrenia. There is much to do, but this is the first step in developing new and innovative measurements that will have a major impact on how we conduct future clinical trials.”
There are 120 number of new cases of MND diagnosed in Ireland every year. 350 people are living with the condition in Ireland.
Yolanda Kennedy, Press Officer for the Faculty of Health Sciences | firstname.lastname@example.org | +353 1 896 4337
Marie Sophie Hingst, a PhD candidate at the School of Histories and Humanities and a graduate fellow at the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute from 2015 to 2017 has been chosen as the winner from Trinity College in the Financial Times competition ‘The Future of Europe Project’.
Hingst wrote her winning article, entitled “Europeans should not abandon a collective identity”, which was published by the financial times on November 23. The article which looks at the idea of a common European identity and Europe’s four founding freedoms was selected as one of the six winning submissions, each chosen by a panel consisting of both Financial Times journalists and external judges.
The competition named ‘The Future of Europe Project’ was a collaboration between the Financial Times, the participating students and their professors, aiming to give a voice to some of Europe’s brightest young minds, whilst allowing them the opportunity to engage in the ever growing conversation concerning the future of Europe. Six European universities participated in the competition, Sciences Po in Paris, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Bocconi in Milan, Trinity College Dublin, The Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and The Athens University of Economics and Business.
Professors from each university supplied students with the chance to write on one of four questions regarding the future of the EU. The four options to chose from asked: Should the next frontier for Europe be deeper integration, or handing back some power to nation states? Would it be wise to reconsider the four founding freedoms in the EU treaties? Is it time to concentrate on the Eurozone rather than the broader EU27? And to what extent is German leadership of Europe desirable or necessary? The departments in each college selected three articles for submission to the Financial Times, leaving a total of 18 finalists for the judges to pick just six winners from.
In her winning article, Marie Sophie Hingst asks if there is a common European way of life and discusses how we can see both a common European identity and a set of shared European values. She discusses how this shared identity can be used as a way of linking Ierapetra in Crete, the EU’s southernmost town with the small Irish Port of Dingle in County Kerry, the EU’s westernmost settlement. Her essay looks back more than two centuries to Edmund Burke’s 1796 statement on Europe for inspiration, written during a time when the continent found itself in a crippling period of violence and war, despite which he still said “No European could be a complete exile in any part of Europe”.
With the words of Burke acting as influence, Marie Sophie Hingst argues Europe isn’t “a religious, a political or historical construct but a call for a constant civilizational sensibility for each other. A sense of urgency that links the cheese-monger in Kerry with the winemakers of Bordeaux.” The winning article finishes by reminding us that Burke’s words are as true today as they were in the 18th Century. “The four founding freedoms of the European Union are as debatable as they are unquestionable: giving them up for reconsideration would make every single one of us an exile in any part of Europe.”
University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin students won the inaugural competition
A team of medical students from University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin were champions at recent inaugural ‘Move Neurology’ competition at the famous Pitiè-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris — the birthplace of modern day neurology.
Prof Emmanuel Flamand-Roze, who teaches clinical neurology at the Pitie-Salpêtrière and the Pierre and Marie University Paris, devised a novel teaching technique called ‘The Move’ to help young medical students overcome neurophobia, which is a well-recognised fear of neurology.
The Move aims to tackle this fear and untangle the perceived complexity of neurology through simulation-based learning techniques for various neurological complaints.
It uses miming to teach medical students neurological semiology — the expression of neurological diseases.
Miming the symptoms of neurological illnesses gives students a unique insight and deeper understanding of what it is like to have a neurological illness. It also enhances their understanding of neurology and increases empathy.
The inaugural ‘Move’ final brought together a team of medical students from Paris and Dublin, where they showcased their neurological skills. An international judging panel comprised Profs Michael Hutchinson and Niall Tubridy, consultant neurologists at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin; and a team from the Pitiè-Salpêtrière Hospital.
This novel teaching technique has gained momentum and is being incorporated into the teaching curriculum of several university teaching hospitals throughout Europe.
Coverage by French media of this technique has also created a greater public awareness of neurological illness.
Researchers from the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity College Dublin and the Department of Psychiatry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have identified a genetic factor which contributes to the development of schizophrenia.
In conjunction with scientists at Cardiff University, Stanford University, Stanley Medical Research Institute and Duke University, the Irish team established that there exist abnormal vessels which essentially threaten the structure which delivers blood to the brain – a factor which can give rise to the development of the mental health disorder.
Focussing on a chromosomal abnormality known as 22q11 deletion syndrome, researchers ascertained that changes to these genes can affect the blood brain barrier, and leaves those with the syndrome 20 times more likely to develop schizophrenia.
Dr Matthew Campbell, Assistant Professor in Neurovascular Genetics at Trinity, provided an insight into the significance of the discovery, and the impact it can have on those living with the condition.
“The concept of tailoring drugs to regulate and treat abnormal brain blood vessels is a novel treatment strategy and offers great potential to complement existing treatments of this debilitating disease,” he said.
Elaborating on the use of cardiovascular drugs in the treatment of cerebral conditions, he added: “While it is very well accepted that improving cardiovascular health can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks, we now believe that drugs aimed at improving cerebrovascular health may be an additional strategy to treating brain diseases in the future.”
The findings have been published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry.
Findings may explain why people with obesity have impaired capacity to fight disease
Scientists at Trinity College, Dublin have worked out how a biological engine that powers cancer-killing cells functions.
Crucially, their research highlights how that engine is fuelled and confirms the presence of cholesterol-like molecules act as a “cut-off” switch, making it hard for our “natural killer” (NK) cells in the body to act against cancer. This is particularly so with patients that have cancer and are obese.
The scientists, led by Dr David Finlay, assistant professor in immunometabolism at TCD, have published their findings in the journal Nature Immunology. They outline a previously unknown metabolic switch, which is essential for initiating the anti-tumour actions of NK cells. These are immune cells that play an important role in defences against cancer, as they can directly kill tumour cells.
Once activated – eg by proteins known as cytokines which occur with inflammation – NK cells increase uptake of cellular fuel, which is then converted into energy which powers the all-important tumour-killing machinery.
The research shows activated NK cells use a very different engine configuration to that observed in other immune cells, and that the key factor that switches NK cells to this engine configuration is a protein called an SREBP.
Similar to cholesterol
When the scientists used oxysterols, which are very similar to cholesterol, to prevent this switch from activating, NK cells failed to kill tumour cells.
Dr Finlay said: “The function of SREBP – the key factor that controls the energy production in natural killer cells and thus fuels their activity – is known to be blocked by cholesterol and cholesterol-like molecules called oxysterols. Therefore, our findings reveal a previously-unknown way by which the cancer-killing functions of natural killer cells can be disrupted.”
As tumour cells can produce oxysterols and cholesterol, and levels tend to be higher in people with obesity, the scientists believe they may now have part of the explanation for why NK cells typically perform poorly in patients living with cancer and obesity.
“The next step is to investigate whether the functions of NK cells are indeed impaired in individuals with high cholesterol level, and whether cholesterol-lowering interventions can restore NK cell function in these individuals,” Dr Finlay added.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is set to take part in a talk at Trinity College Dublin next October.
The Alabama native, who previously ranked as one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people is set to discuss the fight against fake news, the launch of his recent news website WikiTRIBUNE, and how threats to online knowledge-sharing can be combatted with evidence-based journalism.
The event celebrates Ireland’s Internet Day in Trinity College Dublin on Thursday, October 26 and tickets can be booked online.
Now in its third year, Ireland’s Internet Day, aims to promote awareness, knowledge, use and understanding of the internet in Ireland by its citizens, businesses and communities.
It highlights the achievements of Irish and international internet entrepreneurs and the impact on society of the internet innovations and technologies.
Mr Wales, founded the free encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, in 2001. Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website globally and counts half a billion unique visitors each month.
Mr Wales is also the president of Wikia, a for-profit wiki hosting company that allows users to build their own specialised wikis typically relating to a specific interest or ‘fandom’.
On a mission to combat the rise of ‘fake news’ with evidence-based journalism, this year Mr Wales will launch WikiTribune.
Jimmy Wales’s Internet Day address will take place on Thursday, 26 October at 18:15 in the MacNeill Theatre, Hamilton Building, Trinity College Dublin. Tickets cost €15, with all proceeds going to CoderDojo, the volunteer programming club for young people. Click here to book your ticket.
Researchers at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland have made a significant breakthrough in the treatment of allergic conditions, such as asthma and eczema. The team, led by Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Professor of Translational Immunology, Padraic Fallon, of the School of Medicine in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, demonstrated that a molecule, referred to as PD-L1, functions as a trigger to the inflammation characteristic of an allergic reaction in mice.
An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes something (e.g., pollen and dust mites) for a pathogen and responds by taking measures to rid the body of that perceived threat. Treatment of allergies usually involves antihistamines, decongestants, and/or corticosteroids.
All of these medications operate by reducing allergic inflammation. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl or Claritin, block the action of the compound histamine. Histamine causes the inflammation symptoms characteristic of an allergic reaction, and is deployed by the immune system in an attempt to expel something from the body through the excess production of mucus. Decongestants, such as Sudafed and Afrin, and corticosteroids, such as Flonase and Nasacort, both function by reducing the inflammation that results from an allergic reaction.
While these three types of medication are effective at what they do, an allergic reaction is caused by a chain biochemical reaction within the body, and these drugs only stop said reaction at the end, or the symptomatic stage.
Fallon predicts that his team’s identification of the beginning of this chain reaction will be utilized by drug manufacturers to create medications that can halt allergic reactions at their origination, rather than at their conclusion. “This new discovery identifies a checkpoint that regulate the processes that start allergies at the early stages whereby cells talk to each other to instruct the immune system,” Fallon told The University Network (TUN).
Hence, blocking this checkpoint would stop the progression from the earliest cellular events that initiate allergies.
When asked what was next for this research, Fallon replied: “The next step is to address the clinical relevance of this discovery. Key questions to consider are, ‘is the same checkpoint happening in humans with allergies, can we block this response to prevent or delay the development of allergies in man?’”
If this biochemical checkpoint does in fact occur in humans as it does in mice, and a compound can be developed that blocks action at said checkpoint, then this research will revolutionize the way we think of allergies and how we treat them.
The full paper is published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Dr. Christian Schwartz, Adnan R. Khan, Achilleas Floudas, Sean P. Saunders, Emily Hams, Hans-Reimer Rodewald, and Andrew N.J. McKenzie contributed to this research.