Physical Sciences Industry Day to welcome businesses to Warwick
Businesses from around the country are coming to the University of Warwick to learn how they collaborate with one of the world’s leading research universities.
The Physical Sciences Industry Day on 19 March will showcase Warwick’s research capabilities and how they can be directed towards the research development and productivity challenges of industry.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet with Warwick researchers to discuss their business needs and learn how industrial research is driving the work of universities.
Drug-producing bacteria possible with synthetic biology breakthrough
Bacteria could be programmed to efficiently produce drugs, thanks to breakthrough research into synthetic biology using engineering principles, from the University of Warwick and the University of Surrey.
Led by the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey, new research has discovered how to dynamically manage the allocation of essential resources inside engineered cells - advancing the potential of synthetically programming cells to combat disease and produce new drugs.
The researchers have developed a way to efficiently control the distribution of ribosomes – microscopic ‘factories’ inside cells that build proteins that keep the cell alive and functional – to both the synthetic circuit and the host cell.
Global mapping of planktonic "chameleons"
Cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus are ubiquitous in the world ocean and contribute significantly to both the marine food chain and the carbon cycle. Like chameleons of the plankton world, some of them are able to change pigmentation to match the ambient light color. Yet, their distribution or abundance has remained unknown so far. Research scientists from CNRS and CEA, together with international collaborators including Professor Dave Scanlan from the University of Warwick, have just demonstrated these color-shifters are the most abundant group of Synechococcus in the ocean —representing about 40% of the whole population at depth and high latitudes. This adaptive capacity is an important asset for such planktonic organisms that are carried around by currents in areas where the color of the water varies as it allows them to keep photosynthesizing efficiently and to supply energy to the rest of the food web. This discovery represents a major breakthrough in our understanding of these organisms, which prove to be excellent bio-indicators of climate change.
Their findings are published in PNAS (February 12, 2018)
The University plans to invest £54.3M in a new state-of-the-art research building on the Gibbet Hill campus that will bring together up to 300 biomedical researchers from across the School of Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School to fight human diseases.
Odd genetics of a tri-sexual worm
In a recent paper published in Current Biology, Dr Andre Pires da Silva and colleagues describe a species of nematode that has three sexes - male, female and hermaphrodite. Auanema rhodensis, the worm featured in the study, uses an unusual reproductive strategy with only one sex chromosome (X). Hermaphrodites and female worms have two X chromosomes; males have just one X chromosome. Researchers found that some hermaphroditic worms will produce sperm with two X chromosomes and eggs with no chromosomes. When the hermaphroditic worms and male worms mate, only more male worms are produced. One possible explanation is that male worms may be important for the species' genetic diversity, providing A. rhodensis with the ability to adapt to changing conditions more efficiently than other species.
Come and discuss opportunities and innovation in academia-industry interactions in the School of Life Sciences on Wednesday 28 February.
Our Industry Partnering Day will provide you with a range of information on how to work with our scientists including;
The day will start with short presentations about different types of successful partnerships that are possible, followed by a lunchtime networking event.
In the afternoon, most importantly, we would like to hear from you about your needs and experiences so that we can offer solutions to help improve research, development, innovation and competitiveness in your company, taking advantage of existing and future innovation and investment opportunities in the UK.
Later in the afternoon there will be the opportunity to meet with our researchers, tour our facilities and engage in extended discussions, including an evening drinks and dinner reception.
VirionHealth receives up to $4.2M from DARPA
University of Warwick spin-out company, VirionHealth - a new biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for respiratory viral infections, has announced that it has won non-dilutive funding worth up to $4.2 million from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Founded in 2017 on pioneering research of Professors Easton and Dimmock in the School of Life Sciences, VirionHealth is developing a new class of biological antivirals to create improved therapeutics for respiratory viral infections, focusing on prevention and treatment of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The company is a world leader in the development of precisely engineered, non-infectious, defective interfering particles. www.virionhealth.com
Read Press Release
On Monday 18 December, Dr Guy Barker spoke on BBC Midlands Today on how Warwick Crop Centre are improving sprouts through traditional plant breeding. Watch www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09jg8fl/midlands-today-evening-news-18122017 (from 23 minutes)
Dr Barker also spoke with Phil Upton on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, describing how researchers are utilising genetic diversity from the UK Vegetable Genebank to enhance the appearance, quality and resistance of sprouts. Listen at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05nlj64 (1:41-1:45)
New TB drugs possible with understanding of old antibiotic
Tuberculosis, and other life-threatening microbial diseases, could be more effectively tackled with future drugs, thanks to new research into an old antibiotic led by Professor David Roper at Warwick’s School of Life Sciences and Dr Luiz Pedro Carvalho from The Francis Crick Institute.
NERC CENTA Environmental Science PhD Studentships available
A number of fully funded studentships in environmental sciences are available to UK and EU students that meet the residency and qualification eligibility criteria. These studentships are available as part of the NERC DTP CENTA consortium. Application deadline: 22 January 2018.
View available projects
‘Lost’ 99% of ocean microplastics to be identified with dye?
The smallest microplastics in our oceans – which go largely undetected and are potentially harmful – could be more effectively identified using an innovative and inexpensive new method, developed by researchers at the University of Warwick.
New research, led by Gabriel Erni-Cassola and Dr. Joseph A. Christie-Oleza from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, has established a pioneering way to detect the smaller fraction of microplastics – many as small as 20 micrometres (comparable to the width of a human hair or wool fibre) - using a fluorescent dye.
Lettuce at risk from Fusarium wilt
Lettuce Fusarium wilt has previously been found in mainland Europe, but the identification of this strain of the disease in Lancashire, was the first time it has been confirmed in the UK. The pathogen, which causes lettuce to wilt and die, is a particularly aggressive strain with no known treatments or resistant varieties currently available.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), an advisory body for growers, has commissioned the University of Warwick to deliver a technical review to compile detailed information on management options to help minimise the impact on the UK lettuce industry. The full report will be published in early February 2018, but information will be shared with industry as the review proceeds.
Growers who suspect lettuce Fusarium wilt in their crops should send samples for diagnosis. Dr John Clarkson from Warwick Crop Centre, at the University of Warwick, will accept lettuce samples for free testing. For further information visit horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/lettuce-fusarium-wilt-and-root-rot
Dr John Clarkson, said: “This disease is very serious. It is very aggressive and difficult to get rid of because the fungus produces long-life spores that survive in the soil.”
Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) - 4 year studentships available
The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) is a BBSRC-funded doctoral training partnership between the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham and the University of 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 focused 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.
8th UK Purine Club Meeting Christmas Symposium 2017
We are pleased to announce that the 8th UK Purine Club Symposium will be held at the University of Warwick Gibbet Hill Campus on Monday 11 December 2017.
For further details and to register visit UK Purine Club Symposium 2017
What to teach an aspiring scientist
Most people perceive scientists as logical and determined people, their mission to find the answer through painstaking research. So what are two of the most important things you can teach an aspiring scientist to help them on the road to success? Critical thinking? Statistics? Not necessarily. It’s the ability to think creatively, and a capacity to deal with failure says Professor Kevin Moffat.
A Critical Reflection on the 28th International Biology Olympiad
The 28th International Biology Olympiad (IBO) took place at the University of Warwick between 23 – 30 July 2017 with 264 international competitors (aged 14 – 18) competing in a series of practical and theoretical exams devised by School of Life Sciences staff and colleagues from the Royal Society of Biology.
Branagh Crealock-Ashurst, our Student Experience and Outreach Assistant, has written a critical reflection on the IBO from how the event was logistically organised to a semi-statistical analysis of the overall results of the competition and what they meant in terms of the pedagogical approach to examination. The paper entitled 'A Critical Reflection on the 28th International Biology Olympiad' was published in the October issue of Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal (available at http://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/article/view/221).