King House, Boyle

Military Road
Co, Roscommon

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A Naggin of Knowledge with Professor Eilís Dowd, Professor Amanda Clifford & Dr. Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain


Please note this will be a 90 minute event

Brain (cell) transplantation for Parkinson’s: fact or fiction?

Professor Eilís Dowd is originally from Carna in the Connemara Gaeltacht. She spent her childhood alternating between playing outdoors in the gorse, heather & rocks, and being confined to bed with severe asthma, struggling to breathe. Her interest in biology stemmed from a fascination with the profound impact her anti-asthma medications had on her quality of life, and this was encouraged by her mother who was herself a secondary school science teacher. As an undergraduate student studying for a BSc in Applied Biology, Eilís first learned how her inhalers actually produced their biological effects, and this cemented her love of pharmacology which she retains to the present day.

By pure chance (that’s another story!), Eilís was offered a PhD position in Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh, and this was the beginning of a 12 year period studying and working abroad – including at the University of Cambridge, McGill University and Cardiff University. Through a combination of hard work, good fortune and timing, Eilís was then offered a Lectureship in Pharmacology back in her home city of Galway in 2005 where she is now Professor in Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

In NUI Galway, Eilís balances her role as a pharmacology teacher to undergraduate and postgraduate science and medical students, with her leadership of an active and dynamic Parkinson’s disease research team. Over the years, her research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the European Union, Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council.  She has also served as President of Neuroscience Ireland, Ireland’s National Neuroscience Society, and President of NECTAR, the Network for European CNS Transplantation & Repair, while she currently sits on both the Executive Committee and the Governing Council of FENS, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. Sometimes Eilís has to pinch herself to see if this career really belongs to that severely asthmatic girl from Carna in the Connemara Gaeltacht

The Benefit of Dance for people with Parkinsons

Prof Amanda Clifford is an Associate Professor in Physiotherapy at the University of Limerick in Ireland.  Her research programme of work includes the design and evaluation of evidence-based programmes to optimise health and wellbeing, and prevent falls in older people and people with neurological conditions. She previously worked clinically as a Physiotherapist at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, NHS Trust, the Whittington Hospital, NHS Trust London, UK and the Wellington Hospital, St. John’s Wood London; with experience in range of rehabilitation settings including a neurological rehabilitation unit and an outpatient falls clinic.

 Dr. Orfhlaith Ní Bhriain is an ethnochoreologist, Senior Lecturer and Course Director of the MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance and MA Irish Dance Studies  programme at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, Ireland. As an accomplished performer and teacher of Irish music, song and dance, she delivers workshops and seminars nationally and internationally. Her research interests include Arts in Health, Community Based Research and Irish music and dance studies. Orfhlaith and Amanda have worked together for years to design and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of evidence based dance programmes for older adults and people living with Parkinson’s disease.