Jul 04 2018 Posted: 00:00 IST

New film will focus on research into removed blood clots that can lead to a stroke which is currently underway at NUI Galway and the first study of its kind in the world

Wednesday, 4 July, 2018: CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway and Galway Film Centre are delighted to announce
A Tiny Spark as the recipient of the 2018 Science on Screen scheme.

The selected film, A Tiny Spark, to be directed by Niamh Heery and produced by Caroline Kealy of Swansong Films, will examine the effect of stroke on people’s lives and will specifically look at research into clots.

This year’s Science on Screen applicants were invited to submit ideas for a documentary that engages with research into cardiovascular illnesses and stroke, currently underway at CÚRAM. A Tiny Spark will focus on research, being led by Dr Karen Doyle from the Discipline of Physiology at NUI Galway, which involves analysis of removed blood clots to see what information they may yield. This is the first study of its kind in the world and is an international collaborative study between NUI Galway, hospital partners in Beaumont Hospital and throughout Europe and the Mayo Clinic in the US.

Contributors to the documentary will include individuals who have had a stroke, as well as the scientists and clinicians who work in the stroke area in Galway and Dublin. Filming will take place in Dublin, Limerick and Galway throughout July 2018.

The Swansong Films team has an adventurous plan to 3-D animate the brain highlighting the functions that the various parts serve such as the Amygdala, which is the emotional part of the brain and is responsible for affection. They will also use this method to highlight the journey of blood clots and their potential for destruction.

Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, said “This year’s film will focus on stroke and clot research which is yet another area which will have a significant impact on audiences all over the country. These stories, narrated through our Science on Screen documentaries, show the real challenges that people face when living with chronic illness but also how we are trying to address them here at CÚRAM, to improve quality of life for all.”

Galway Film Centre Manager, Alan Duggan, said: “The Science on Screen commission scheme shows the real human side of the application of science. We are delighted to continue working with CÚRAM on this scheme and we will be supporting Niamh, Caroline and the filmmaking team in bringing A Tiny Spark to the screen this year.”

The Science on Screen scheme has been running since 2016 and has awarded €35,000 each to three documentaries on topics such as Parkinson’s disease (Feats of Modest Valour), tendon injury (Mending Legends) and diabetes (Bittersweet: The Rise of Diabetes). The films have reached audiences of over 0.5 million and have received accolades at festivals internationally.

The 2017 Science on Screen film, Bittersweet: the Rise of Diabetes, directed by Hugh Rodgers and produced by Anna Rodgers and Zlata Filipovic of Invisible Thread films will be screened at the Galway Film Fleadh on Wednesday, 11 July at 11am in the Town Hall Theatre.  

A Tiny Spark will premiere in Galway in November 2018.

Video of Dr Karen Doyle speaking about her stroke research: https://youtu.be/vXZjRI6dfqM


For more information on Science on Screen 2018 contact Claire Riordan, Science Engagement Manager, CÚRAM, NUI Galway at claire.riordan@nuigalway.ie or 091 494414.

For Press contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Press and Information Executive, NUI Galway at gwen.osullivan@nuigalway.ie or 091 495695.

Notes to Editors

Follow Science on Screen on Twitter at:

#ScienceOnScreen @curamdevices @galwayfilmcentr @GalwayCityFilm @niamhzer @carolinekealy

About Dr Karen Doyle, Discipline of Physiology, NUI Galway

Dr Karen Doyle is a Senior Lecturer in Physiology and Investigator with CÚRAM. Her research involves studying neurovascular stress, the causes of neuronal loss and investigating novel strategies to protect brain tissue from damage. Dr Doyle’s focus is on understanding the pathophysiology of occlusive stroke, the characteristics of human blood clots that cause occlusive strokes and also the effect of cerebral hypoperfusion and reperfusion strategy on the survival of brain tissue. Dr Doyle is the founder leader of Galway Neuroscience Centre, is a former Vice President of Neuroscience Ireland and Vice Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway.

About the Swansong Team:

Caroline Kealy is a producer, coordinator and researcher for films and television. She has produced a number of short films, documentaries and music videos which have been shown at festivals worldwide. Follow on Twitter @carolinekealy

Niamh Heery is an award-winning Irish filmmaker. Her film work with diverse communities and international NGOs often inspires the range of themes and subjects she explores as a director, in both fiction and documentary. Follow on Twitter on @niamhzer


CÚRAM, the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices is part of the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre network. It aims to radically improve the quality of life for patients living with chronic illnesses, by developing the next generation of smart, implantable medical devices. CÚRAM’s academic partners include the National University of Ireland Galway, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, University Limerick and Clinical Research Development Ireland. Clinical targets include cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, musculoskeletal and respiratory illnesses as well as soft tissue and wound healing. CÚRAM brings together clinical, industry and research teams with expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, glycoscience and device design. Read more at www.curamdevices.ie or follow on Twitter @curamdevices

About Galway Film Centre

Galway Film Centre is a non-profit, members-based organisation dedicated to the development of film as an artistic medium in the West of Ireland. To this end, we support filmmakers and community and youth groups through education and training, equipment provision, funding schemes and information. The Film Centre also runs the UNESCO City of Film designation on behalf of Galway City and County Councils. We are a member of Screen Talent Europe, an international network of support centre for filmmakers across Northern Europe. More information at www.galwayfilmcentre.ie or follow on @galwayfilmcentr or @GalwayCityFilm

About NUI Galway

The University was established in the heart of Galway City, on the west coast of Ireland, in 1845. Since then it has advanced knowledge teaching and learning, through research and innovation, and community engagement.

Over 18,000 students study at NUI Galway, where 2,600 staff provide the very best in research-led education.

NUI Galway’s teaching and research is recognised through its consistent rise in international rankings. The University is placed in the Top 250 of both the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2016/2017 and the QS World University Rankings 2016/17.

With an extensive network of industry, community and academic collaborators around the world, NUI Galway researchers are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our times. Internationally renowned research centres based here include CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Whitaker Institute, Moore Institute, Institute for Life course and Society and The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy.

NUI Galway has been listed as one of the most beautiful universities in Europe according to Business Insider. For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie or view all NUI Galway news here.

*The University's official title is National University of Ireland Galway. Please note that the only official abbreviation is NUI Galway.


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