Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Insights into Links between Stress and Cancer

HRB funded researchers in Trinity College Dublin have discovered that blocking a particular stress response can significantly reduce the metastasis (or spread) of breast cancer.

The research published today (1 June) in the Journal of Clinical Oncology by Dr Ian Barron, a HRB Postdoctoral Fellow in Pharmacology and Therapeutics* at Trinity College Dublin looked at women diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland between 2000 and 2007. Using data from the National Cancer Registry, and the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Services, they found that those taking drugs that blocked a particular hormone related stress pathway had a much lower risk of dying from their cancer.

According to Dr Barron, “For patients with cancer, higher levels of stress are associated with more frequent disease recurrence, faster disease progression and higher rates of death from cancer. Some lab based studies have suggested how stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, could play a role in this process. Ours is the first study in humans to show that blocking this stress response significantly reduces the risk of cancer spreading or metastasising. Because the majority of all cancer deaths are due to the growth of tumour metastases, this research could have significant implications for clinical practice.”

New Masters in Public History and Digital Humanities Launched by Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan, launched two new postgraduate Masters programmes, in ‘Public History and Cultural Heritage’ and ‘Digital Humanities and Culture’ at Trinity College Dublin on May 31st last that will add a new dynamic to the development of Ireland’s Cultural Heritage.

The programmes have been developed under the umbrella of Trinity’s Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture initiative and are an outcome of the new partnership between the university and some of Ireland’s leading cultural institutions located in close proximity at the centre of Dublin. The National Library of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane, Dublin City Public Library and Archive Services and the Chester Beatty Library among others will collaborate with Trinity in the development of these new programmes.

Students will pursue courses in Trinity in established research areas such as History, English, Languages and Cultural Studies, and Computer Science while undertaking internships in the cultural institutions and gaining practical experience of working in the cultural heritage industry.

In the digital area, Trinity is working closely with some of the major IT companies, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. On completion of the Digital Humanities and Culture course, students will have highly specialised IT skills in relation to text, images, audio, and video.

The graduates of these new programmes, highly skilled and rigorously trained, will represent an important pool of expertise for the creative industries and cultural sector especially in the current economic climate.

Commenting on the significance of the new Masters Programmes, Minister Deenihan said: “Cultural Heritage is a major industry for Ireland. The Book of Kells in Trinity, for example, is the second most popular tourist attraction attracting 600,000 visitors per annum. These Masters Programmes will feed directly into this all-important industry. They will promote job creation in areas as diverse as curation, cataloguing, digital archiving and data-mining. The skill sets needed to engage in these disciplines are rare, and Ireland now has the potential to become a world leader in this area.”

On the occasion of the launch, Minister Deenihan also announced a series of bursaries financed by his Department to be awarded by the National Library of Ireland for students taking the Masters Programmes. The students who receive these bursaries will hold their internships at the National Library. “The National Library of Ireland is putting in place six bursaries in cooperation with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. These bursaries, three for each course, reflect the close working relationship between Trinity and the NLI since the joint appointment of a Cultural Co-ordinator. The total value of the bursaries is €20,000,” concluded Minister Deenihan.

Describing the new courses, Trinity’s Professor of Modern History, David Dickson, the academic leader of the ‘MPhil in Public History and Cultural Heritage’ explained: “It will involve the study of cultural memory and the public status of history in modern society. It will examine the political issues surrounding public commemoration and the role of museums, archives, galleries and the media in shaping public perceptions of the past. It will also survey the more concrete questions involved in the conservation, presentation and communication of the physical heritage of past cultures, particularly where interpretation and meaning are contested.”

Senior Lecturer in Digital Humanities at Trinity, Dr Susan Schreibman, the academic leader for the ‘MPhil in Digital Humanities and Culture’ explained that "it is a new and dynamic interdisciplinary field of study at the intersections of humanities and computer science opening up possibilities for research that could only have been dreamed about a generation ago.”

The courses will commence next September, and the deadline for application for the Public History and Cultural Heritage course is 30 June 2011. Late applications are being accepted for the Digital Humanities and Culture course until places are full.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to succeed with grant applications - Zoë Corbyn

Interesting article in Nature News on "How to succeed with grant applications" by Zoë Corbyn - Look at the respondent views underneath for more insight

Read the article here:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Intellectual Property System for the Internet Age, James Boyle

Excellent review of copyright issues being reviewed in the UK currently.
An Intellectual Property System for the Internet Age, James Boyle
In November 2010, the Prime Minister commissioned a review of the Britain’s intellectual property laws and their effect on economic growth, quoting the founders of Google that “they could never have started their company in Britain” because of a lack of flexibility in British copyright.. Mr. Cameron wanted to see if we could have UK intellectual property laws “fit for the Internet age.” Today the Review will be published. Its conclusion? “Could it be true that laws designed more than three centuries ago with the express purpose of creating economic incentives for innovation by protecting creators’ rights are today obstructing innovation and economic growth? The short answer is: yes.” Those words are from Professor Ian Hargreaves, head of the Review. (Full disclosure: I was on the Review’s panel of expert advisors.)

The Review makes 10 specific recommendations covering patent, copyright and the policy-making process. Some examples: Patent law needs reform to prevent the formation of “thickets” that actually impede innovation, while patents should never be extended to non-technical software inventions or business methods. We found that while patents are working well for standalone innovations, such as a particular drug developed to treat a particular disease, there are problems in technical fields marked by “sequential innovation” such as information technology.
Read the full article here:

The Value of Libraries to Research and Researchers

RLUK/ RIN Report 'The Value of Libraries to Research and Researchers'. Press Release and key points at

Guide for Researchers on Using Social Media for Research

Excellent Guide for Researchers on Using Social Media for Research by the Research Information Network

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Guide to Web 2.0/Social Media for Arts and Humanities

Chances are, if you are reading this post, then you are already familiar with Web 2.0 tools that can facilitate you in your research. But if not, you might like to check out Web 2.0 for arts and humanities researchers which is a resource created by Newcastle University Library to show academic researchers (particularly in arts and humanities) how web 2.0 (or 'social media') can help at all stages of the research process. The site contains brief web tutorials illustrated with real-life examples. Worth a look!