NUI Galway celebrates seven Fulbright awards

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galway daily news fulbright awards seven nui galway awardees
Front row, from left: Ciara Shortiss, Dr Sharon Glynn, Dr Jenny Mc Sharry, Aoibhín Sheedy, and Dr Ruth Melia. Back row, from left: Dr Eoin Whelan and Dara Kerins. Credit - Andres Poveda Photography.

Seven academics, researchers and graduates of NUI Galway have been named among the 40 Fulbright awardees in Ireland for 2022-2023.

Each year, the Fulbright programme awards grants to Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the United States, and for US citizens to do the same in Ireland.

The seven NUI Galway Fulbright awardees are Dr Sharon Glynn, Dara Kerins, Dr Jenny Mc Sharry, Dr Ruth Melia, Aoibhín Sheedy, Ciara Shortiss and Dr Eoin Whelan.

NUI Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh commended the seven awardees on their achievement.

“NUI Galway has a proud history of excellence in education and research, and the internationally-recognised Fulbright Awards are associated with excellence and prestige,” he said.

“We are proud to have them represent our university. Fulbright made a big difference to my academic, research career and, as a Fulbright alumnus, I wish our awardees the very best of success in the United States.”

The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Joe Hackett and the Deputy Chief of Mission, Alexandra McKnight, announced the Fulbright awardees on behalf of US Ambassador to Ireland Clare Cronin.

About the awardees

  • Dr Sharon Glynn – Associate Professor in Pathology at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research at NUI Galway, and a Funded Investigator in CÚRAM. Dr Glynn’s Fulbright Scholar Award with be hosted at Houston Methodist Hospital Weill Cornell and is linked to breast cancer research. Dr Glynn will explore the use of multiplex spatial digital pathology to understand tumour microenvironment in patients with breast cancer responds to cancer therapy, and to identify factors that contribute to successful treatment response. She will also visit the Harper Cancer Center at Notre Dame University to build new collaborations.
  • Dara Kerins – Social scientist with a BSc (Applied Social Sciences) and Higher Diploma (Economic Science) from NUI Galway. Dara Kerrins has worked as a community development officer, a director/trustee of a marine conservation organisation, and an award-winning fundraiser for the humanitarian-aid organisation Concern, and has founded, and currently coordinates a sustainability initiative at NUI Galway entitled Glassary. Building upon his passion to help people through the development of a more safe, sustainable, and equitable world, he will use his Fulbright-EPA Award to undertake a Master’s programme in financial economics, before embarking upon a PhD in public policy in the years to come.
  • Dr Jenny Mc Sharry – Chartered Health Psychologist, lecturer in the School of Psychology and Assistant Director of the Health Behaviour Change Research Group at NUI Galway. As a Fulbright-HRB HealthImpact Scholar at City University New York, she will complete “Student Experiences of Health Psychology in the US (STEP-US): A mixed methods study with US Health Psychology doctoral students and programme leads”. The project will facilitate the development of international recommendations to support students from a diversity of backgrounds in training as Health Psychologists and to become the future leaders needed to address global healthcare challenges.
  • Dr Ruth Melia – Senior Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead at HSE Mid-West, and a researcher on the use of mobile health technology in suicide prevention at NUI Galway. She is Principal Investigator on the SafePlan trial, a National Office for Suicide Prevention-funded study of mobile-based safety planning within Irish mental health services. Ruth is an Adjunct Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at NUI Galway, and provides teaching and research supervision to psychologists across institutions. As a Fulbright-HRB HealthImpact Scholar, Ruth will further her work on the use of Artificial Intelligence in Suicide Prevention with researchers at the Joiner Lab, Florida State University.
  • Aoibhín Sheedy – PhD student in Biomedical Engineering and CÚRAM at NUI Galway. Her PhD is funded by the SFI LiFTETIME CDT Programme and investigates advanced immunotherapy and delivery strategies to treat ovarian cancer. As a Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Awardee at the University of Minnesota, she will investigate the currently developed therapeutics at the Miller Lab through the device developed at the Dolan Lab in NUI Galway.
  • Ciara Shortiss – PhD student in the Anatomy Department and Regenerative Medicine Institute, NUI Galway. Funded by the Irish Research Council her research investigates viral gene therapy vectors to reduce the production of molecules in spinal cord injury scarring. The scar that forms after injury is one obstacle stopping nerve re-growth, preventing signals from being transmitted to and from the brain. Therapies that target multiple obstacles preventing regeneration show the most promise in treating spinal cord injury. As a Fulbright-Enterprise Ireland Awardee at the Neurobiology Lab, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, Ciara will investigate combining her gene therapy with a biomaterial scaffold developed in the Mayo Clinic to further promote nerve growth after spinal cord injury.
  • Dr Eoin Whelan – Professor of Business Analytics and Society at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in the NUI Galway. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute d’Economie Scientifique et de Gestion, France, and a visiting researcher at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. His research explores the psychology underlying engagement with interactive digital media. As a Fulbright-TechImpact Scholar in the summer of 2023, he will work alongside colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder to determine if an abstinence from social media, commonly known as a digital detox, is an effective intervention strategy for promoting a healthy way of life for teenagers.

The next round of applications for Fulbright Irish Awards will open on August 31, 2022.