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Warwick and Waitrose tackle global food security together

Food security is at the heart of a new doctoral training collaboration between the University of Warwick and Waitrose, thanks to an award from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Warwick will work with Waitrose and their suppliers, to provide PhD students with a unique combination of academic development and industry training in the field of agriculture and sustainable crop production.

Tue 29 November 2016, 09:36 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Press Release Faculty of Science

£1.1million funding for research into the structural basis of brain CO2-detection

nick_dale_pictureb.jpgProfessor Nick Dale has been awarded £1.1million from the MRC for his project ‘Structural and biophysical basis of Connexin26 channel mediated disease'. Dr Alex Cameron and Dr Corinne Smith are co-investigators.

CO2 is the unavoidable by-product of metabolism and its regulated excretion via breathing is a key homeostatic process. The gap junction protein Connexin26 (Cx26) is an extremely important physiological sensor for CO2. This project will show how CO2 binds to Cx26 to gate channel opening thereby providing the structural underpinnings for one of the most important life preserving reflexes: the CO2-dependent regulation of breathing. Additionally, we will transform mechanistic understanding of how certain Cx26 mutations linked to human pathology alter CO2 binding. This new knowledge will impact across the many diverse fields of biomedical science where connexins, and in particular Cx26, have important roles in normal and abnormal (patho) physiological function in health and disease.

Mon 28 November 2016, 12:56 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Faculty of Science

Public Science event: 'The Fly Room'

On the afternoon of Friday 25 November 2016, Professor Kevin Moffat led a Public Science screening of the critically acclaimed arthouse film ‘The Fly Room’. This film centered around the famous Fly Room at the University of Columbia, run by Dr Thomas Hunt Morgan. It was here that the basic laws that govern heritability and the passing of traits were discovered – work that would eventually win their lab a Nobel Prize in 1933 and formed the foundation of the genetic discoveries that continue today. The focus of the film was on Dr Calvin Bridges and his daughter Betsy, and how their relationship evolved after a father-daughter visit to the lab. This film mixed science and arts in an attempt to not only engage the audience with the scientific story of genetics but also the social story about the relationship between a father and daughter.

After the film showing a Q&A with the director Alexis Gambis was held. Following that, a poster discussion about current Drosophila research from various West Midlands genetics researchers took place.

Feedback from local residents and attendees was incredibly positive with many approving of the film:

Beautiful and intriguing. I loved the interplay between past and present, memories, dreams and reality’

'Beautifully filmed piece on the analysis between relationships and science, with a great non-linear narrative’ 

‘Very engaging I loved the photography and the portrayal of characters and their relationships. Great alternative to a factual lecture in a sterile environment. The music score was great and enhanced the film, especially it’s gentle background presence. This film is a very effective medium to deliver a message, a story and idea. People enjoy stories’

‘Showing a film about science and relationships to an audience of scientists and non-scientists, the duality was there for the viewers as in the film. This is the best way to communicate science to the community’

Why not come to one of our future public science events? For details visit



Clathrin: maintaining cell health in geometric style

Dr Corinne Smith, reader in structural biology and biophysics, was recently awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship for her work on clathrin. To find out why Corinne is intrigued by clathrin read her post for the Royal Society of Biology at

Clathrin cage structures
(images from Kyle Morris and Corinne Smith)

Free film screening of The Fly Room on Friday 25 November

The Fly RoomOn Friday 25 November, the School of Life Sciences has sponsored a free showing of the critically acclaimed arthouse film ‘The Fly Room’ in the Warwick Arts Centre Cinema. This film explores the relationship between a father and daughter as the father spends all of his time in ‘The Fly Room’, where is he responsible for the discovery of modern day genetics.

This film has a very limited release and the director is coming especially over from the USA to do a Q&A at the end. If you would like to know more about the film please visit

Sign up to attend at

Mon 21 November 2016, 16:58 | Tags: Biomedical Science Outreach Faculty of Science

New study identifies scope for more innovation in horticulture

A unique study has taken a thoughtful approach to understand why parts of the horticulture industry do not take up some of the innovative ideas that emerge from universities and research institutes, as well as other areas of the industry. The study has been undertaken by PhD student Jonathan Menary from Warwick Crop Centre, part of the School of Life Sciences.

Read Full Press Release

Fri 11 November 2016, 14:52 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Press Release Faculty of Science

Growers face headache over crop protection chemicals

Over-reliance on crop-protection chemicals has created a situation analogous to the growth of antibiotic resistance in human health says Dr Dave Chandler, researcher at Warwick Crop Centre.

Read full news item

Fri 11 November 2016, 10:29 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Faculty of Science

Warwick School of Life Sciences - Funded PhD Opportunities

The School of Life Sciences combines the University of Warwick’s renowned research and teaching excellence to provide outstanding, diverse and multidisciplinary training in the Life Sciences. World-class facilities and internationally-recognised scientists develop pioneering research ideas and innovations in a wide range of disciplines – from the study of single molecules to models of entire ecosystems. We apply our expertise to solving major global challenges in areas such as food security, disease control, bioenergy, systems biology, neurobiology and climate change. The school has a number of funded postgraduate studentship opportunities to start in October 2017.

Synthetic Biology Centre for Doctoral Training (SynBioCDT) – 4 year studentships

This centre is a collaboration between the Universities of Warwick, Oxford and Bristol. We encourage PhD applications from students with a wide range of academic backgrounds, including Engineering, Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Plant Sciences, Chemistry, Statistics, Mathematics and Computing.
Warwick SynBio CDT webpage 
Application deadline Round 1: 18 November 2016 
Application deadline Round 2: 13 January 2017

CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership – 3.5 year studentships

Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA) is a consortium of Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training in Environmental Science. PhD project themes include: Anthropogenic Impact and Environmental Sustainability, Evolution of Organisms and Ecosystems, Dynamic Earth, Organisms, ’omics and biogeochemistry
Warwick CENTA webpage
Application deadline 23 January 2017

Warwick Chancellor's International Scholarship – 3.5 year studentships

This competition is open to Overseas students. Scholarships will be awarded to the most outstanding international PhD applicants. Students are strongly encouraged to identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal before completing an application form. (see the website for a list of some possible PhD projects).
Application Deadline 18 January 2017

MIBTP Doctoral Training Partnership – 4 year studentships

The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) is a doctoral training partnership between the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham and Leicester. The MIBTP has an ambitious vision to deliver innovative, world class research across the Life Sciences to boost the growing Bioeconomy in the Midlands and across the UK.

PhD Studentship projects will be focussed in vital research areas such as food security, bio-energy and quantitative biology. Students from a wide diversity of academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Projects are available for those with creative drive in both theoretical (IT and mathematical) and experimental (biology, biomedicine, chemistry, biotechnology) research.
MIBTP website 
Application deadline 8 January 2017

Industrial Collaboration PhD Studentships linked with MIBTP

These studentships are an excellent opportunity to initiate new industrial contacts, develop existing links and help enhance the impact of research. The BBSRC-funded iCASE studentships are designed to provide students with a first-rate challenging research training experience within the context of a mutually-beneficial research collaboration between academic and non-academic partner organisations.
MIBTP website

Behind-the-scenes access at Warwick’s life sciences labs

AntibioticsScientific laboratories at the University of Warwick are once again being opened up to members of the public – giving YOU behind-the-scenes access to cutting-edge research happening in Coventry.

Over the next year, the School of Life Sciences is running a series of open events, allowing the local community to come along and find out how the natural world works – from our superbrains to superbugs!

The next event, ‘Getting to grips with antibiotic resistance’, will explore the international threat of antimicrobial drug-resistant bacteria – which are predicted to kill more people than cancer by 2050.

Read full Press Release

Exploiting natural resistance to Turnip yellows virus in oilseed rape

oil seed rapeDr Max Newbert and Dr John Walsh have prepared videos on the outcomes of their BBSRC Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC) project on exploiting sources of plant virus resistance for deployment in oilseed rape. Dr Graham Teakle and Dr Guy Barker were project co-investigators and Dr Adam Baker was the PDRA. Sources of resistance were identified in oilseed rape and lines of the diploid progenitors of oilseed rape; QTLs associated with the three resistance sources have been mapped. All three resistances have been shown to be effective against viral isolates representing the different genetic groups of the virus. The diversity of the virus across Europe has been investigated with 179 whole genomes sequenced, detailed phylogenetic analyses performed, new weed hosts identified and a full-length infectious clone of the virus generated.

The videos were funded by BBSRC’s Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) grant to Warwick Ventures which also funded Max as an Impact Fellow supervised by Suzy Wood.

Fri 21 October 2016, 10:20 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Faculty of Science

Exploring brain research at Warwick

Brain public science eventOn the evening of Tuesday 11 October Professor Nick Dale organised a public science event devoted to the human brain.

Members of the public were given the chance to find out about the cutting-edge neuroscience research taking place at the University of Warwick. Researchers gave demonstrations of science in action and tours of our laboratories. The event, ‘A healthy brain for a healthy life’, gave visitors the opportunity to find out how we can keep our brains in shape as we get older and how to put things right when the brain goes wrong.

There was also a demonstration of how our sense of self can be tricked into adopting inanimate objects, and a Q&A session where people found out about all those brain queries they wanted to know but were too afraid to ask!

If you missed this opportunity to visit the School of Life Sciences, other events will be running throughout the year including:

  • Getting to Grips with antibiotic resistance
  • Food Security – keeping plant pathogens at bay
  • The Microbiome
  • Films and Science

Public Science event schedule

Wed 12 October 2016, 11:38 | Tags: Biomedical Science Outreach Faculty of Science

SLS Online Open Day

Our brand new Online Open Day has just gone live. It has been designed to help prospective students discover more about studying here. Current students and staff talk about courses, support for study and the student experience.

Have a look at

Wed 28 September 2016, 08:55 | Tags: Study Faculty of Science

Lameness treatment guidelines for sheep save UK farmers £700M

Lame lambEvidence provided by researchers, led by Professor Laura Green from the School of Life Sciences, has helped cut the number of lame sheep in the UK national flock by half, saving the industry £700M over ten years and preventing 7.5 million sheep from becoming lame every year.

Read more about the BBSRC funded study

Your chance to explore science in the School of Life Sciences

Members of the public are to be given behind-the-scenes access to scientific laboratories at the University of Warwick, as well as the chance get to grips with cutting-edge research.

Over the next year, the School of Life Sciences will be running open events, allowing people of all ages to come along and find out how the natural world works – from the human brain, to antibiotics and climate change.

Researchers and staff will give live demonstrations of science in action and tours of working laboratories, and they’ll be on hand to answer your questions.

The first event, ‘A healthy brain for a healthy life’, will be devoted to exploring our amazing brains.

Read full press release

Event schedule

Dr Corinne Smith awarded Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship

Corinne SmithDr Corinne Smith has been awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship for her project entitled "defining clathrin network interactions using advanced cryo-electron microscopy". The Fellowship will enable Dr Smith to spend a year away from teaching in order to focus on her research activities.

Read full Press Release

Thu 08 September 2016, 09:47 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Award Faculty of Science

Next step towards preventing cancer and Alzheimer's

Dr NezisDr Ioannis Nezis has led a research team to identify, and create a database of, the proteins needed for an essential cellular process, autophagy, which keeps our bodies healthy, but which declines as we age.

Better understanding of how these proteins work could lead to the development of drugs to stop this decline, and keep cells healthy for longer - thus preventing major age-related conditions, such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, neurodegenerative conditions, as well as viral and bacterial infections.

Read full Press Release

Thu 08 September 2016, 09:36 | Tags: Biomedical Science Infection Faculty of Science

New IGGY Life Sciences Pages

The new IGGY Life Sciences pages go live today with a competition for IGGY members. Winners will receive free tickets to New Scientist Live.

For a short period the pages are open for non-members to view.

Need more information about IGGY?

Wed 17 August 2016, 14:19 | Tags: Knowledge Transfer Faculty of Science

Warwick Crop Centre Joins Historic Tractor Parade

WCC tractor driversStaff and students from Warwick Crop Centre took part in the ‘70 tractors for 70 years’ Massey Ferguson procession organised by Coventry Transport Museum on Saturday 30 July.

Read the full Press Release

Life Sciences Graduation 2016

Congratulations to all our Life Sciences students who graduated today.

Fri 22 July 2016, 14:58 | Tags: Faculty of Science

Unique Herbicide Binding Pattern discovered via Dow Agrosciences and University of Warwick collaboration

Richard NapierSynthetic auxin herbicides have played an important role in weed management for decades with a highly effective yet complex mode of action. Dow AgroSciences collaborated with the University of Warwick to discover unique attributes of this important class of herbicides. The research highlighted receptor-binding uniqueness of Dow AgroSciences’ new arylpicolinate herbicides, including Arylex™ active and Rinskor™ active, compared to other commercial auxin herbicides.

Professor Richard Napier, from the School of Life Sciences, was the key cooperator who identified these unique differences. The way auxin herbicides bind to receptors in plant cells alters plant growth in susceptible species, leading to weed control.

Read full press release

Fri 01 July 2016, 09:15 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Faculty of Science

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