Prof Fergus Shanahan: ‘The trillions of bugs that colonise our skin, our bowel and our lungs gives us our immune education.’ Photograph: Tomas Tyner, UCC.

From gut bugs to inter-related bodily systems, chronic inflammatory conditions need a ‘big-picture’ perspective if we are to tackl(...)

Crowdfunding: ‘It has to be the correct flavour for the correct cause’

Parkinson’s research and water treatment in Kenya are two examples of successful crowdfunded efforts

Mags Mullarney’s social enterprise, Move4Parkinson’s, is helping people with the condition to understand how they can take a more active role in managing their life. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

From set-dancing to choir sessions, Mags Mullarney’s social enterprise Move4Parkinson’s is helping people with the degenerative co(...)

Left to right: Sadhbh O’Muirí (Dunshaughlin Community College), Lydia Koilparambil (St Dominic’s Cabra), Mary Ishabigi (St Dominic’s Cabra) and Niamh Scanlon (Girls Hack Ireland mentor) at Girls Hack Ireland in DCU

Dublin City University hosts first ever all-girls hackathon

TEDx talk: Adam Harris tries to give the  audience at DCU an insight into being a person on the autistic spectrum.

Adam Harris is a social entrepreneur who wants to give people with autism in Ireland more of a voice, and to encourage an autism-f(...)

Mary Nally, the founder of Third Age, a national voluntary organisation that represents older people. Photograph: Alan Betson

Social entrepreneur Mary Nally saw how older people could help others in the community and set up the Third Age organisation to ha(...)

 Liam Redmond of HeadstARTS at the club for people with intellectual disability with some volunteers at DCU. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Social entrepreneur Liam Redmond wants to build a network of clubs for people with intellectual disabilities to learn the arts

Jean O’Brien, founder of Irish Charity Lab, which was set up last year to help charities in Ireland develop skills and strategies for digital communications to support their causes. Photograph:  Laurence McMahon/Laurence J Photography

Social entrepreneur Jean O’Brien is helping Irish charities get a healthier return from their digital communications

Start the siren: cabbage white caterpillars attack. Photograph: Thinkstock

A study has found that plants recognise the chewing vibrations of insect herbivores and mount appropriate chemical defences

John Kearney, chief executive of Irish Community Rapid Response, in  Baltimore, west Cork. Photograph: Emma Jervis Photography

John Kearney is expanding a rapid response programme to get medical assistance to local emergencies

Jennifer Ryan of MyLife Solutions: ‘The idea that I am an entrepreneur baffles me; I don’t have a business head.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Psychologist Jennifer Ryan is helping children to build up skills to protect against bullying

Ray Burke of Active Connections pictured in Farran Woods, Cork. Photograph:  Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Social entrepreneur Ray Burke uses adventure activities to push young people out of their comfort zone and help them address negat(...)

Dr David McKeown, a research engineer at University College Dublin: ‘It will be just me and the microphone and that is scary.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Access Science: Researchers will take to a stage in Dublin to inform audiences while also making them laugh

The Earth seen in relation to a solar eruption

Sunspotter.org needs your time and brainpower to compare sunspot groups

Claire O’Connell at home in Dublin, trying to improve her life month by month. Photograph: Alan Betson

Instead of giving yourself one massive challenge at the beginning of the year, why not change habits one month at a time?

Dr Cliona Murphy: is taking part in the BioInnovate programme at NUI Galway

Winning idea looks to make it safer to introduce devices into arteries through needle puncture

Online reviews form a treasure trove of information, whether people are looking for advice or leaving their own opinions for others to read

Online reviews offer a trove of information for fellow customers, and researchers in UCD are figuring out how to analyse what the(...)

Taste is a powerful sense and can evoke vivid memories, but the primary function of our senses is far more basic. Background: a microscopic image of a tongue and taste buds. Images: Thinkstock, Getty

Our ancestors’ perception of taste was important for survival and thriving. Now researchers are trying to produce food with reduce(...)

Dr Cliona Murphy, a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Barry Cronin

Getting gynaecological issues checked out in good time can pay dividends for quality of life

Émer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow and Ciara Judge from Kinsale, Co Cork, winners of the BT Young Scientists of the Year 2013 title. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Three girls whose passion has had award-winning and groundbreaking results offer tips for excelling at science

Dr David Mckeown, based at UCD is using maths to control space rocket vibrations

From freak waves to gut bugs, Irish scientists are working to crack some of the imponderables in life

Sthenurines: the largest of the species could grow to an estimated 240kg

Did extinct Sthenurines stride rather than hop at low speeds?

A microscopic view of bacteria in the digestive system

Changing the day/night rhythms of mice leads to fluctuations in the rhythms of their gut microbes too

From left, Gerard Scully, Angela Doyle and Nicholas Nolan, participants in the chronic illness exercise rehabilitation programmes at DCU.

The Pathway system tracks participants’ movements and provides feedback during exercise sessions

‘Blood Vessels’ by Charlie Murphy

Some people ‘will love’ an upcoming exhibition about blood and ‘some will find it pretty tough’

A new website and app called Hello Brain, developed by researchers at Trinity College Dublin, offers suggestions for daily conditioning tips or “brain buffs”

Keeping your brain fit and active now could have a protective effect later on, and a new initiative called Hello Brain tells you(...)

A study is hooking up native Irish speakers with a portable ultrasound device that can capture how their tongue movements correspond with saying consonants in their broad and slender forms

The consonant sounds of the Irish language may be under threat, and are being documented for posterity

William Rowan Hamilton

The annual Hamilton Walk celebrates a famous Irish ‘Eureka’ moment

Tissue bank: researchers can apply to use the banked tissue and data to help develop more effective ways to diagnose and treat the relevant condition

Biobanking makes donated human tissue accessible for research, so why isn’t more of it being done?

Dr Pete Klimley in action

Pete Klimley believes that white sharks – the type portrayed in the film Jaws – do not like to eat humans because we don’t have en(...)

A ruby-throated hummingbird

All birds lack sweet taste perception. So why do hummingbirds gravitate towards nectar?

ESA’s team of astronaut trainers in the caves of Sardinia preparing for Caves 2014, a two-week course for astronauts to get to grips with living in extreme conditions

It turns out that caves are good for space training. But how?

‘Raindrop’ by Alistair McClymont, part of the ‘Strange Weather’ exhibition at the Science Gallery

A forthcoming event at the Dublin venue is all about ‘battening down the hatches and imagining you are trapped in a storm’

Mind what you say near bags of crisps

Researchers have shown how it is possible to ‘eavesdrop’ by filming vibrations on objects such as crisp packets

Liberian nurses carry the body of an Ebola victim from a home in the Banjor Community on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. Photograph: EPA/AHMED JALLANZO

Derry-born scientist Dr Christopher Logue will travel to Guinea to help diagnose patients infected with the virus

A stuffed great horned owl

Two animal exhibitions are on show at the UCC venue

Remains at the prehistoric site at Al Khiday, central Sudan

Studies on ancient remains suggest that prehistoric people had a detailed understanding of plants long before agriculture

Tiny mite has been named Litarachna lopezae after the singer

Actor’s songs and videos ’kept researchers in a good mood’ when writing paper

Curious Science with theoretical physicist and comedian Dara O Briain will take place at Dublin’s Mansion House

The second Festival of Curiosity will host events including talks, guided walks, performances and discussions

Alice Ryan, organiser of the FutureBook Hack at the event in UCL. Photograph: Porter Anderson

A weekend-long workshop event in London generated new ideas about using digital technology in new ways for publishing

The octopus has a built-in non-stick mechanism that may have medical uses, according to researchers. Plus: When liquid meets solid(...)

Cliona O’Farrelly, professor of comparative immunology, and Luke O’Neill, professor of biochemistry, curators of the Fat: It’s Delicious exhibition in the Science Gallery, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

An exhibition at Dublin’s Science Gallery wants to broaden our perceptions of fat

Fat chance: Cliona O’Farrelly, professor of comparative immunology at Trinity College, with Luke O’Neill, professor of biochemistry at Trinity College,  at the Science Gallery. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Listen up: Claire O'Connell on a new exhibition - Fat, it's delicious - at the Science Gallery Dublin

The Pint of Science festival will see researchers give informal talks and take part in panel discussions in Dublin pubs

A butterfly and a bee sip the tears of a caiman in Costa Rica. Photograph courtesy of Dr Carlos de la Rosa A butterfly and a bee sip the tears of a caiman in Costa Rica. Photograph courtesy of Dr Carlos de la Rosa

Why would insects ‘drink’ a caiman’s tears?

The ProDural syringe has an inflating diaphragm at its tip designed to collapse when the needle is in place to aid a physician when administering an epidural

Irish start-ups made it to the finals of an international MedTech Idol competition in Dublin earlier this month – and one of th(...)

The Osteoid, the brainchild of Turkish designer Deniz Karasahin

The airy design makes it light, and the limb less prone to becoming itchy and smelly than with conventional casts

Prof Mike Lenardo

Advances in DNA genomics are helping researchers to understand conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer’s

Drosophila: an accomplished dancer. Photograph: Getty Images

‘Moonwalking’ drosophila flies are shedding new light on how the brain controls backward gait

Tian Tian: urine trouble. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Monitoring urine samples to increase the chances of two giant pandas reproducing is no mean feat

Dr Ivan Coulter of Sigmoid Pharma winning the Innovation of the Year award at the inaugural The Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards in 2010 – the company has a lead compound for ulcerative colitis heading into phase three clinical trials

With two weeks until the Irish Times InterTradeIreland awards, we see how two early winners have fared

The ‘Technology’ design, with electroluminescent wire and patches across the torso

The public can choose between three designs for the protective outer layer of the new garb

The findings of a new study debunk the belief that humans are terrible smellers

Prof John Foxe: believes incoming signals get combined early on as they are processed in the brain – much earlier than had been previously suspected. Photograph: Jason Torres

How we integrate the inputs from our senses could provide new insights into autism

Inspired by actor Alan Alda’s success with US scientists, a UCD workshop helps researchers find new ways to talk about their work (...)

‘In a pedestrian environment, inability to maintain a straight path would be likely to increase potential for collisions, trips and traffic accidents’

An Australian study has found that using a phone has an effect on gait

‘We assumed that people on Twitter had little time and they retweeted the most recent thing they saw, and we didn’t need to assume that some people have more followers’

University of Limerick researchers used a mathematical model to look at how information gets retweeted

Line-dancing in Nashville, Tennessee. Photograph: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

A sideways gait could be three times as expensive energetically as walking forward: good exercise, then

A cat exhibition in Kyrgyzstan last year. Photograph: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images

A recent study claims to provide evidence for commensal relationships between people and cats from 5,300 years ago

Nasa’s Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating the red planet’s past or present ability to sustain microbial life. Image: Reuters/Nasa-JPL/Handout

The initial plan was for ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’ to spend just a few months trundling around the surface of Mars. But they kept(...)

Naked mole rat: appears to be cancer-resistant

It might not be cute, but Science magazine recently named the toothy underground rodent its ‘Vertebrate of the Year’ for 2013

A group at UCD’s school of physics uses low-power lasers to build up images of the living retina to better understand how light coming in from different angles is picked up. Image: Getty

Some scientists get deeply, personally involved in their research, whether by zapping their muscles as they sleep, using lasers on(...)

Cheese made using bacteria from the human armpit, bellybutton and foot, from Science Gallery exhibition Grow Your Own

Other out-there stories included a building powered by algae and ‘yawn contagion’ in dogs

“The area of digital learning is one which is exploding, literally exploding with potential,” says Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn

Ireland is caught behind the curve in digital learning, so can a new centre remedy the situation?

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the world’s largest neutrino detector, at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. Photograph: Sven Lidstrom, IceCube/NSF via The New York Times

Discovery made at IceCube Neutrino Observatory

Ultra-high definition image of the transit of Venus (right) across the face of the sun last year. Photograph: Nasa via Getty Ultra-high definition image of the transit of Venus (right) across the face of the sun last year. Photograph: Nasa via Getty

Researchers have taken images of a dust ring, thought to be about 220 million kilometres in diameter

Gut bugs: a study of older people found that those who had less diverse diets tended to have less diverse populations of bacteria in their gut, and this was also linked with poorer health

Studies have uncovered links between particular foods and a healthy diversity in our intestinal ‘populations’

Researchers found that pop and rock trumped classical music for power-boosting effects

Researchers have found that playing popular tunes near a particular type of solar cell could improve photovoltaic efficiency

Russian astronaut Oleg Kotov holds an Olympic torch (in foreground) during a spacewalk as Russian astronaut Sergey Ryazansky gives instructions outside the International Space Station. Photograph: Reuters/Nasa TV/Handout via Reuters

The unlit torch arrived at the International Space Station last Thursday before returning to Earth this week

Dr Imelda Lambkin, national director of Ireland’s National Support Network for Horizon 2020: “Irish researchers are often getting involved in small activities, but I would urge them where possible to look at leading or co-ordinating a project.”

Irish researchers urged to claim their share of €70 billion in European funding up for grabs under the Horizon 2020 programme

Dr Edmund Carton (left), medical director of the Mater hospital ECLS Service, with Paul Lynam who was an ECLS patient (right) and Susanne Lynam (second left) and Liza Hayes, ECLS nurse at the Mater hospital.Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Extracorporeal life support technology in the Mater’s intensive care unit provides hope when conventional support has reached its (...)

A grasshopper mouse takes on a scorpion

The desert-dwelling grasshopper mouse can brush off the venom with apparent ease

Kepler 7b, left, is 1.5 times the radius of Jupiter, right

The Planet Hunters initiative, where volunteers trawl through light curves from Kepler, has found numerous exoplanets

The fifth skull found in Dmanisi: ‘The five Dmanisi individuals are conspicuously different from each other, but not more different than any five modern human individuals.’ Photograph: Guram Bumbiashvili, Georgian National Museum

A 1.8-million-year-old skull found in Georgia suggests that there might not be as many groups of hominids as previously thought

The Dart of Physics initiative is putting various statements and challenges up on Darts between now and Christmas. Photograph: David Sleator

Passengers will get a dose of accessible science during their daily commute for the next eight weeks

Seven-year-old Oisín Blaney Shorte, from Terenure, Dublin, who has asthma, with clinical nurse manager Bríd Ryan O’Malley at Dr Steeven’s Hospital, where the HSE simulated giving a vaccination jab. Photograph: bryan O’Brien

Appeal aimed at groups at risk of complications from the flu amid fears 1,000 could die if season is severe

Measuring up: small nations face similar constraints around research policy in determining the right options for investment

Representatives from six small countries met last week to find better ways to benchmark their scientific research

From left: Smart Wall Paint’s Ronan Clarke and Denise Doran with Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock at last week’s Big Ideas event at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas showcase gave early stage start-ups the chance to pitch their ideas to potential investors

An Ig Nobel Prize at the Harvard University ceremony. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

The humorous science prizes reward offbeat research on subjects such as ridding aircraft of hijackers and the effects of Mozart on(...)

University partnership: ASU president Dr Michael Crow (left) and DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith

Universities combine skills for better outputs in research, IP and social benefit

Pod complex: Jean-Louis Etienne’s proposed ‘polar pod’  will float vertically, drifting around the Antarctic, led by the current.

French doctor Jean-Louis Etienne is embarking on a ‘polar pod’ project to gather data about the Antarctic

Prof Valeria Nicolosi: “We need alternative – and better – ways of storing energy.”

Scientist exploring how atom-thick sheets of ‘two-dimensional’ nanomaterials could be used to better store energy

Red Kite: Several kites have been fitted with solar-powered satellite tags that relay the position of the birds up to six times a day.

Initiative by University of Aberdeen in collaboration with staff from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds aims to track (...)

‘One would have thought that NaCl would have been studied to death by now, but we discovered a new morphology for table salt’

Scientists have discovered that crystals of sodium chloride could ‘grow’ tiny wires

Earth-sized exoplanet named Kepler 78b, which whips around its host star in less than nine hours – one of the shortest orbital periods ever detected

A planet outside our solar system zips around its star in roughly the same time as a good night’s sleep on Earth

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