Medicines, by Dr. Enda O’Connell

In the ninth of our weekly series of articles, I have taken off my ReelLIFE SCIENCE hat and put on my Scientist hat.  Or labcoat, gloves and goggles, to be more precise…  As a Senior Technical Officer in NUI Galway, I support a range of research projects across the campus, from Cancer Biology and Stem Cell Research to Chemistry and Biomaterials.  In this article, I write about ‘Medicines’ and how researchers at NUI Galway are looking for new uses for old drugs.

The History of Medicines

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Chinese Emperor Shennong tasting plants to test their qualities on himself (image from Wikipedia)

The word ‘medicine’ originally comes from the Latin phrase ‘ars medicina’, which translates as the ‘art of healing’, while the Oxford English Dictionary defines medicine (n) as ‘a substance or preparation used in the treatment of illness; a drug’. The earliest medicines were plant extracts, animal parts and minerals, and their use in healing rituals overseen by medicine men and shamans, often involved much more art than science.  Continue reading “Medicines, by Dr. Enda O’Connell”

The Power of Science, by Dr. Oliver Carroll

In the eighth of our weekly series of articles by NUI Galway researchers, Dr. Oliver Carroll, Research Technical Officer with the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials, writes about the power of tissue engineering to help the body to repair injured or degenerated tissue.

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Various scaffolds used to promote cell growth and tissue repair: Osteoblast cultured on calcium phosphate scaffold. Collagen sponge for bone regeneration. Collagen sponge for wound healing. Nerve cells cultured on non-aligned collagen scaffold. Aligned electrospun nanofibres (Images courtesy NFB http://www.nfb.ie/research)

Cell regeneration therapy is a developing technology to meet the increasing demand to treat injured or degenerated tissue. Organ transplants are the ideal treatment for many patients with tissue damage, but the demand of organs surpasses available organs for transplantation. There are several types of cell-based regenerative therapies currently being applied, including injection of isolated cells, scaffold engineering, and cell sheet tissue engineering.  Continue reading “The Power of Science, by Dr. Oliver Carroll”

Science in the Garden by Dr. Naomi Lavelle

This week, in the seventh of our series of articles, we have a real treat in store for our readers. The one and only Dr. How (aka Dr. Naomi Lavelle) has written a very special article for us about Science in the Garden, and has enlisted the help of two very capable junior scientists, Culann (aged 8) and Rohan (aged 4), who you will meet in the videos below!

The Hot, Dry Biome, Eden Project - geograph.org.uk - 219410 by Pam Brophy
The Hot, Dry Biome, Eden Project, Cornwall, UK (Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons)

I watched the ReelLIFE SCIENCE school video competition with great interest last year. What a wonderful way to get children excited and involved in Science. I was delighted to be asked to write an article this year in celebration of the launch of the 2014 competition. I think the topic of Science in the Garden is a great way to open children’s minds up to the science around them… literally right outside their door!

Continue reading “Science in the Garden by Dr. Naomi Lavelle”