Free Public Science Evening: Tuesday 2 May 2017
The microbes on us and around us: We can't see them but can't live without them
We all have one, but what is a microbiome? Come and find out at the School of Life Sciences Public Science Evening on Tuesday 2 May.
The event will explore the impact of the microbiome on animals, plants and humans and the huge impact that your microbiome has on you and your health. Come and discover how we can manipulate microbiomes to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.
This event is led by Professor Elizabeth Wellington and follows on from our highly successful Public Science Evenings covering topics such as Neurobiology, Antibiotic Resistance and Plant Pathogens.
The event will include a variety of talks, lab tours and interactive stalls as well as the chance to speak to experts in this field. Light refreshments will be provided. The event will take place in the School of Life Sciences Atrium, Gibbet Hill Campus from 18:00 – 20:00.
Register your place(s).
Free event: Monday 8 May 2017 - Fixing houses to fight Chagas disease
Public talk by Professor Caryn Bern of University of California, San Francisco 'Fixing houses to fight Chagas disease'.
Please register to attend this free event. Spaces are limited on a first come first served basis.
Chagas disease is caused by a parasite transmitted to humans by a large bloodsucking insect called a triatomine, which lives in the walls and roofs of rural mudbrick houses in Latin America. In the southern Bolivian villages where we work, more than half the people are infected and about a third develop potentially fatal Chagas heart disease. Come and learn about the disease and our project to improve houses using local materials to reduce places for the insects to hide and prevent children from becoming infected in the first place.
Please note: This event will take place in the Oculus Building, OC0.03 from 6-8pm. Refreshments and a selection of sandwiches and wraps will be available on arrival.
This presentation will be led by Professor Caryn Bern, University California, San Fransico, in collaboration with the University of Warwick School of Life Sciences.
Further Information: Caryn is currently visiting the SLS and Mathematics departments on an Institute of Advanced Study International Visiting Fellowship. Caryn is an expert on neglected tropical diseases (NTD), particularly Visceral Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, and has a wealth of experience in field research from working at the Centers for Disease Control in the US for 20 years. For more information about the research that the University of Warwick is carrying out on NTD, please visit the NTD Modelling Consortium webpages.
Bill Gates praises University of Warwicks impact in fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases
Speaking at the Geneva summit on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Bill Gates, co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today applauded the efforts of UK scientists in protecting the world’s poorest people from NTDs: “UK aid and Britain’s world-leading research institutions like the University of Warwick are playing a major role in protecting the world’s poorest people from Neglected Tropical Diseases and enabling them to live healthier, more prosperous lives.”
The University of Warwick’s research, which is part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focuses on providing quantitative data on the prevalence of NTDs and the impact of the intervention programmes designed to combat them.
Dr Deirdre Hollingsworth, Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the University of Warwick, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the international effort to rid the world of these terrible diseases. Over the last two years we have made significant progress in understanding how these diseases spread, measuring the impact of eradication efforts and highlighting areas where additional interventions will be required to achieve our 2020 goals. We're optimistic that, with continued coordination and investment, we can protect more of the world’s poorest communities from NTDs.”
Read the Press Release
Catapult open for business with £1m investment in cutting-edge lab capacity to support UK drug discovery
World-class technology and expertise are now available to UK drug discovery companies as a result of new laboratory facilities developed by the Medicines Discovery Catapult and launched on Wednesday 29th March at the University of Warwick.
Professor Chris Dowson welcomed the addition of the Medicines Discovery Catapult to the University. He said:
“This Catapult laboratory has an extraordinary amount of capability in a small space, enabling us to make great advances in microbiology, chemistry and structural biology.
Read the Press Release
On the 24 March 2017 the Fullam lab will be at Cannon Park Shopping Centre from 11:00-19:00.
Come and join us to find out more about TB, and the research that we are doing. There will be the opportunity to talk to people from the lab, take part in a number of competitions to win a tuberculosis petri dish (sponsored by Giant Microbes) and also win a voucher for the best selfie taken in our World TB Day Instaframe that is uploaded to the twitter #WarwickTB. There will be leaflets, balloons and stickers and an interactive activity featuring the 'Big Mouth' clown. Come and join us!
Learn more from our TB video
Any questions, please get in touch with warwickTB@warwick.ac.uk
Biochemistry students reunite after thirteen years
On 17 March 2017 at a Wellcome Trust Fellows meeting, three Life Sciences students were reunited. Dr Philip Elks, Dr Amy Saunders and Dr Thomas Clarke graduated in 2004 with degrees in Biochemistry. From an undergraduate class of thirty they feel it’s pretty impressive that three of them have secured prestigious Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale fellowships which have enabled them to set up their own research groups at the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Imperial. They have fond memories of Life Sciences and the School wishes them every continued success in their careers.
Dr Emily Noel, from the same year group, is a British Heart Foundation Fellow holder also in Sheffield.
The Food Standards Agency has announced that Professor Laura Green is to be a member of its new Science Council. The Council will provide high-level, expert and independent advice and challenge to the Agency on how it uses science to underpin its work.
Professor Nick Dale tells the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) about a point-of-care device for the detection of stroke. Hear what inspired his research, the challenges he faces and the role NIHR has played in his success.
New TB drug candidates developed from soil bacteria
A new treatment for tuberculosis (TB) is set to be developed using compounds derived from bacteria that live in soil - according to an international collaboration of researchers, including the University of Warwick.
The research, ‘Sansanmycin Natural Product Analogues as Potent and Selective Anti-Mycobacterials that Inhibit Lipid I Biosynthesis’ is published in Nature Communications today.
The collaboration was led by the University of Sydney, and included the University of Warwick, Monash University, Colorado State University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Queensland.
Key reagents and expertise in antimicrobial resistance from the research groups of Dr David Roper, Professor Chris Dowson and Professor Tim Bugg at the University of Warwick, played a crucial role in successfully targeting TB bacteria with the new compounds.
Read Press Release
New BBC drama shaped by Warwick expertise
The rise of antibiotic resistance is at the heart of a brand-new BBC drama, written by renowned author Val McDermid – and shaped by scientific expertise from the University of Warwick.
Airing on BBC Radio 4 in March, Resistance is a three-part story about an epidemic of a drug-resistant disease – and was informed by Professor Chris Dowson from the School of Life Sciences, the scientific advisor for the programme.
Read Press Release
Countering the Courgette Crisis
It seems we are facing a Courgette Crisis. Although it’s really just a bit of a run on green vegetables, it does remind us that actually, courgettes – and now iceberg lettuce – shouldn’t be ‘February vegetables’. This raises some important issues about what we as consumers have learned to expect when it comes to food.
Researchers at Warwick Crop Centre are looking at ways of improving existing UK vegetable and fruit crops as well as looking for completely new ones.
Professor Kevin Moffat has been shortlisted for the 2017 Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award
The Royal Society of Biology has announced finalists for the 2017 Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year Award. Professor Kevin Moffat has been shortlisted for the award which recognises teachers who have shown an outstanding contribution to higher education in the biosciences.
PhD student Daniel Wilson wins poster prize!
Warwick Crop Centre PhD student Daniel Wilson won first prize for his poster at the Royal Entomological Society Postgraduate Forum held at Sheffield University on 2-3 February. The poster was entitled ' The colonisation of outdoor vegetables and salad crops by aphids'.
Daniel's project is funded by the Waitrose Agronomy Group and the University of Warwick. Daniel is seen here with fellow Warwick PhD student Victoria Woolley who also presented a poster.
Breathing molecule discovered: vital to treating respiratory conditions
Respiratory conditions could be better targeted and treated, thanks to the discovery of the vital molecule which regulates breathing – according to research by the University of Warwick.
Professor Nicholas Dale has exploited evolutionary principles to identify Connexin26 (Cx26) as a key molecule that reacts to CO2 in our bodies and activates breathing.
BRAVO: making Brassica crops more resilient
Protecting the UK’s most valuable crops by making them more resilient is at the heart of a new five-year project, in which the School of Life Sciences will play a key role.
The Brassica, Rapeseed and Vegetable Optimisation (BRAVO) project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), aims to combat losses of Oilseed rape and Brassica vegetable crops by unravelling the processes that control key aspects of plant development.
Read Press Release
SLS alumnus raises awareness of the homeless
James Beavis, a former Biomedical Science student who gradated in 2016, spent his Christmas sleeping rough on the streets of London. His aim was to raise money for and to try to better understand the homeless community.
Read about his life on the streets in the Guardian: 'Spat on and ignored': what I've learned from a month sleeping rough in London
Free Public Science evening on 7 February 2017: 'Keeping plant disease at bay'
The School of Life Sciences is proud to host a free Public Science event, 'The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust Food Security Lecture - Keeping plant disease at bay’ on Tuesday 7 February 2017.
Our ability to grow plants productively is under severe and increasing threat from climate change. Increasing global temperatures could decrease the amount of food on our shelves, leading to global food shortages of our favourite products such as beans. These rising temperatures may also lead to the spread of harmful plant diseases that destroy our crops and threaten farmers’ livelihoods. Discover how our research, which covers weeds and crops through to trees and even includes bananas, strives to understand and mitigate these threats to ensure that we can feed ourselves in the future. Interesting demonstrations and talks will explain how we keep our food secure via pest management, pollinators, and whole plant imaging.
The evening will be hosted by Professor Murray Grant who took up the role of Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security in June 2016. Professor Grant’s post has been funded by The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust, which was established in memory of Elizabeth Creak - a highly capable and well respected farmer who brought many creative ideas to the world of farming.
Professor Murray Grant, said
“Warwick Crop Centre based at Wellesbourne, close to the original farm of Elizabeth Creak, provides the unique ability for translating findings from the lab into the field.”
Registration to attend the event is now open. All are welcome, and we are especially keen to see alumni and members of the local community attend. This event follows on from our previous highly successful Public Science events ‘A healthy brain for a healthy life’, ‘Getting to grips with antibiotic resistance’ and ‘The Fly Room’. This event is free to attend and will start at 18:00 and end at 20:00.
Ash dieback: Insect threat to fungus-resistant trees
Ash trees which can resist the killer dieback fungus may be more vulnerable to attacks by insects, according to new research.
Scientists from the universities of Exeter and Warwick examined trees which are resistant to ash dieback and – unexpectedly – found they had very low levels of chemicals which defend against insects.
With efforts under way to protect ash trees from dieback, the scientists warn that selecting trees for fungal resistance could put them at risk from insects.