Congratulations to all our Life Sciences students who graduated today.
The many-headed-slime: It's alive!
As part of British Science Week, members of Life Sciences took part in the Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair held at the NEC 16-19 March. Representing the Faculty of Science, staff and students from Life Sciences joined colleagues from Chemistry, Engineering and Physics to demonstrate science to children, parents and teachers.
Visitors were able to meet Mazie and learn about the fascinating life of this slime mold.
For more details about this interesting and clever slime visit the Knowledge Centre - The many-headed-slime;It's alive!
Matt Teft is part of winning team at Warwick Staff Awards
Matt Teft, a second year MIBTP (Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership) student, is part of a team that has won an award for Public Engagement at the University of Warwick Staff Awards.
The MIBTP is a BBSRC funded Doctoral Training Partnership between the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham and Leicester. As part of their training, the BBSRC requires students to complete a Professional Internship for Phd Students (PIPS). Matt participated in the University's activities at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2015 as part of his PIPS and has written a blog of his experience: blogs.warwick.ac.uk/mibtp/entry/cheltenham_science_festival
Matt is a PhD student with Dr Miriam Gifford in the School of Life Sciences working on a project entitled 'Investigating conservation of function of SCARECROW-LIKE/GRAS transcription factors and their interactions in controlling root architecture responses'.
IFSTAL Away Day Success
On Saturday 5 March, Oxford University hosted the first IFSTAL (Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning) Away Day, where students from Warwick, Reading, Oxford, City and LCIRAH were able to meet and network with fellow students and food sector professionals, including Gavin Milligan – Group Sustainability Director at William Jackson Food and Angela Baker – Deputy Director, Health and Wellbeing, Public Health England. Two Masters students and two PhD students from the School of Life Sciences were involved in the day, presenting their own research and working with others to solve ‘real’ workplace scenarios in a relaxed and fun environment.
IFSTAL is an interactive training programme designed to improve postgraduate knowledge and understanding of the food system through numerous activities and events throughout the year, as well as an interactive Moodle site.
Want to get involved? To join you must be a postgraduate registered at Warwick University (or one of our partner institutes), although some events will be open to all.
Email Kelly Reed at IFSTAL-Warwick@Warwick.ac.uk to be put on the mailing list.
Alternatively find us on Facebook, Moodle and Twitter – simply search for IFSTAL.
Summer research placements in Entomology and Pathology
The School of Life Sciences has a number of summer research placements available in Entomology and Plant Pathology during the summer vacation of 2016. The placements are funded by the BBSRC through its Strategic Training Awards for Research Skills (STARS) scheme and provide training in strategically important and vunerable skills for bioscientists.
The 10-week placements are for second year undergraduate students enabling them to join a research group in Life Sciences and undertake a small research project related to the group's activities.
Each student will receive a bursary of £2000 (£200 per week).
For further details and how to apply see the Summer research placements flyer (pdf).
The closing date for applications is 18 April.
SLS authors publish new edition of 'Introduction to Modern Virology'
The new 7th edition of the popular textbook ‘Introduction to Modern Virology’ is published today.
First published in 1974, this was one of the first textbooks in the field of virology. Authored by academics from the School of Life Sciences, the purpose of the book was and remains to provide a clear and comprehensive coverage of virology at a level accessible for undergraduates. It provides a broad introduction to virology, which includes the nature of viruses, the interaction of viruses with their hosts and the consequences of those interactions that lead to the diseases we see.
The latest edition, authored by Professor Nigel Dimmock, Professor Andrew Easton and Dr Keith Leppard, has been updated throughout to cover the ever growing subject area. The book includes new chapters focusing on the economic impact of virus infections and the impact that viruses have on the planet.
The text provides ideal reading for students in biology and medicine wishing to study virology.
Dr Leppard said, “the book underpins teaching of the subject to our undergraduates in Medical Microbiology and Virology, and Biomedical Science.”
Professor Nicholas Dale receives MRC Discovery Award
Innovative University of Warwick research will be accelerated thanks to funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to take ground-breaking ideas into industry and out to patients. A Discovery Award of £973k will support vivo microscopy researchers investigate the dynamic activity of individual neural cells during complex behaviours.
Led by Professor Nicholas Dale, researchers will investigate the activity of neural cells deep in the mammalian brain that help control complex behaviours such as feeding and breathing and the operation of the body’s circadian clock.
Dr Elizabeth Fullam wins Seed Grant Award to study Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Dr Elizabeth Fullam has been awarded a seed grant of £25k from the Warwick Quantitative Biomedicine Programme (funded through the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund). In a programme open to all Warwick researchers, seed grants are provided through an open, peer reviewed competition to explore quantitative biology in all areas of modern biology. Dr Fullam's project aims to quantify nutrient uptake and metabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and will fund a postdoctoral researcher for 6 months.
Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is a major global health problem, with the World Health Organisation reporting 9 million new cases of TB and 1.5 million deaths from TB in 2014 alone. It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population is latently infected with Mtb and Mtb is unique in its ability to be able to survive within the human host for decades.
Currently there is a lack in our understanding of the nutrients that Mtb is able to utilise to survive intracellularly. The aim of this Quantitative Biomedical Seed Grant is to utilise advanced imaging techniques to enable us to understand and quantify these essential nutrient uptake and metabolism processes in this pathogenic organism.
Research Fellow vacancy - apply by 16 February 2016
SBRI funding received to develop diagnostic biosensors for strokes
Sarissa Biomedical, a spin-out company established by Professor Nick Dale, Ted Pridgeon Professor of Neuroscience in the School of Life Sciences, has been awarded £150,000 from Innovate UK’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI). Sarissa Biomedical has pioneered highly sensitive analytical devices known as microelectrode biosensors, which can be used to monitor in real-time the levels of purines - neurochemicals that influence the function of the nervous system. These biosensors have been used to demonstrate that purines are elevated in the blood of stroke patients compared to healthy controls.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the UK – in 2010 there were an estimated 150,000 strokes and 50,000 deaths attributable to stroke. Stroke currently costs the UK economy approximately £9billion per year in health and social care costs. Rapid treatment of ischaemic strokes to remove the blockage of cerebral circulation can allow perfect recovery and avoid lasting disability. On average for every 15 minutes saved in the period from stroke onset to the provision of treatment, one extra month of disability-free life is achieved. Point-of-care tests that can detect stroke from its earliest moments would help to shorten treatment delays and ensure that as many patients as possible receive treatment.
The SBRI funding will enable the project team to develop the biosensor technology into a prototype diagnostic device for strokes that can be used by paramedics. It will also support the analysis of the stroke clinical pathway to determine how the device can be used most effectively, and it will allow the design of a large-scale clinical trial involving paramedics and ambulance staff across the UK. Deployment of this test with paramedics will allow speedier identification of stoke victims at the point of injury, and facilitate rapid coordination of the clinical treatment pathway to maximise the chances of the best possible patient outcomes.
Plants use a molecular clock to predict when theyll be infected
Dr Katherine Denby and colleagues discovered that a plant's molecular clock is connected to their immune system to increase levels of resistance to infection at dawn – the time at which fungal infections appear most likely to occur, with plants unable to maintain the highest level of resistance at all times of day.
The researchers identified a single protein, JAZ6, in the plant cell which drives this time-of-day difference in the effectiveness of the immune response, with it connecting the plant clock to the immune system.
Professor Liz Wellington receives BBSRC award to investigate bovine tuberculosis control strategies
Professor Liz Wellington, Professor of Environmental Microbiology in the School of Life Sciences, has been awarded £1,172,973 from BBSRC for her project on ‘The farm environment: an overlooked reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis?’.
M. bovis is the causative agent of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), a disease that affects cattle health and welfare and has serious impacts on the agriculture industry. Uncertainty around the transmission of bTB has impeded the development of effective control measures, but recent research has suggested that indirect transmission through M. bovis in the environment may play an important role in the spread of bTB between cattle and wildlife. This project brings together interdisciplinary expertise in epidemiology, microbiology, genomics and ecology, to investigate the distribution and survival of M. bovis in the farm environment and to determine how biosecurity measures may be adjusted to limit the transmission of this harmful bacterium. The research will be carried out in collaboration with Professor Mark Pallen from Warwick Medical School, Professor Rosie Woodroffe from the ZSL Institute of Zoology, and Professor Christl Donnelly from Imperial College London.
The project was funded by BBSRC’s Eradication of bovine tuberculosis through basic research and discovery (ERADbTB) scheme, which is also supported by DEFRA and is part of the wider Research Councils UK programme in Global Food Security.