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Onion Crisis: Researchers Combatting Destructive Crop Disease Costing Farmers £10m Annually

The British Onions Producers’ Association (BOPA) leads a £1 million project, with researchers from Warwick, industry leaders, and innovators to combat Fusarium Basal Rot (FBR), a menace to the UK onion industry.

Professor John Clarkson, Plant Pathologist, said: This project is an exciting opportunity for the School of Life Sciences and School of Engineering to provide new approaches to tackling Fusarium basal rot of onion, which is increasingly devastating for UK onion growers. As well as supporting Engineering and the wider consortium with expertise on the disease, my team at the Warwick Crop Centre will develop new DNA-based molecular diagnostic approaches to detect the pathogen in soil so that growers can use this test to avoid planting onions in highly infested fields. The test may also help to assess the risk of onions developing basal rot in storage”.

Press Release (19 February 2024)


Funding for joint Warwick-Aston Engineering Biology research paves the way for enhanced sustainable manufacturing and drug discovery

A team of academics from The University of Warwick and Aston University has secured a £1.8m grant to engineer microbial cell factories to produce membrane proteins which will support future drug screening and sustainable chemical production.
Press Release (19 February 2024).

Mon 19 Feb 2024, 10:50 | Tags: Press Release Faculty of Science Cells & Development

British-grown beans available for purchase

New varieties of Britain’s favourite pulse are available for purchase from 10 February 2024. These UK Registered beans (URBeans) were created by Professor Eric Holub as part of his work to diversify British cooking using home-grown ingredients.

A dry bean mix of Godiva and Capulet are on sale from Zero Store shops in Stratford-on-Avon and Leamington Spa.

Press Release (9 February 2024)


Life Sciences Research with Impact

The recently published BBSRC Impact Showcase 2023 presents a collection of impact stories arising from BBSRC investments. The showcase highlights the vital role bioscience has in addressing key strategic global challenges and features research by Professor Eric Holub to develop new varieties of beans compatible with the British Climate.
Find out more (Scroll down the homepage to find 'Homegrown production of designer dry beans').


University of Warwick's bean grower Andy Ward grapples with impacts of torrential rain

Lincolnshire farmer Andy Ward, known for cultivating the first British Baked Beans in partnership with University of Warwick scientist Eric Holub, is facing a harsh reality as standing waters inundate his farmlands.

Press Release (5 January 2023)


Webinar: Introduction to Warwick Agri-Tech - Thursday 25 January

The University of Warwick recently announced the formation of Warwick Agri-Tech to help the future of farming with automation – addressing issues such as labour shortages, food insecurity and loss of biodiversity.

On Thursday 25 January, Emilio Loo Monardez, WMG and Dave Chandler, Warwick Crop Centre will talk about some of the projects that Warwick Agri-Tech are undertaking currently and their plans for the future.

Find out more and book your place.

Fri 05 Jan 2024, 14:52 | Tags: Faculty of Science Plant & Agricultural Bioscience

In memory of David Hodgson

We are deeply saddened by the death of Professor David Hodgson, who passed away on 29 December 2023 after a long illness.

David Hodgson was a microbiologist of worldwide renown who was a highly valued member of the Department of Biological Sciences and latterly the School of Life Sciences. His generous nature and encyclopaedic knowledge were shared freely with Warwick staff and students alike. His wisdom and humour were also highly appreciated by his colleagues from around the globe, whose esteem was illustrated by the international roll-call of distinguished contributors to the two-day celebration of his career in 2015 when he retired. He had uniquely diverse expertise in the genetics of streptomycetes, myxococci and Caulobacter (types of bacteria unusual in having different cell types), and his fascination with their life cycles and physiology led to intriguing insights into their regulatory mechanisms. His innovative research in this area, which benefited from a Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship to spend a year working with US-based academics sharing his interests, was reflected in his DSc, awarded in 2007. David collaborated with many other academics and was a visiting academic at the University of Surrey. He was an important contributor to collaborative research work at Warwick, in particular playing a key part in a large Warwick-based transnational research programme which helped to redraw the carbon metabolic pathways of Streptomyces coelicolor.

Wed 03 Jan 2024, 15:26 | Tags: Faculty of Science

Warwick Agri-Tech ploughs the future of farming and forestry with robotics

The University of Warwick announces Warwick Agri-Tech to help the future of farming with automation – addressing issues such as labour shortages, food insecurity and loss of biodiversity.

Warwick Agri-Tech, will also support the UK to meet climate targets while enabling the production of enough nutritious food for the growing population. It will combine two world class faculties at WMG at The University of Warwick and the School of Life Sciences (SLS), working with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to spearhead automation in areas such as horticulture, crops and forestry.

Press release (21 December 2023)


“We three beans”: Capulet, Godiva and Olivia beans on sale in the New Year

Godiva, Capulet and Olivia are new varieties of the nation’s favourite pulse, common beans, developed and grown in the UK. The trio are set to go plastic-free in the new year when they go on sale in local zero-waste stores.

The UK Registered beans (URBeans) mark an important milestone, kicking-off the celebrations of 75 years of horticultural research at the site of the National Vegetable Research Station, now Warwick Crop Centre, at the University of Warwick Innovation Campus, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

The URBeans are named after iconic figures from the Stratford and Coventry areas. These common beans represent the latest efforts of the University of Warwick’s Professor Eric Holub, in his work to to diversify British cooking. He’s starting close to home - in and around Warwickshire.

Press Release (7 Dec 2023)

Thu 07 Dec 2023, 16:02 | Tags: Faculty of Science Plant & Agricultural Bioscience

British grown baked beans ‘in the can’

The first ever commercial crop of British-grown baked beans have progressed to the tinning phase, a pivotal step in their journey orchestrated by Professor Eric Holub. It is hoped that the baked bean breakthrough will reduce the reliance on imports.
Press Release (29 November 2023)


Warwick Agri-Tech: Innovation for a Sustainable Future

On 29 and 30 December, Warwick Agri-Tech is showcasing its expertise at The CropTec Show 2023 at Stoneleigh. Warwick Agri-Tech is a WMG-SLS collaboration combining advanced engineering with plant science to shape the future of agriculture.

Watch the Agri-Tech video

Wed 29 Nov 2023, 09:44 | Tags: Faculty of Science Plant & Agricultural Bioscience

New academic appointments available in Life Sciences

Applications are invited for 3 new academic appointments to join us in the School of life Sciences:

  • Assistant Professor or Associate Professor of Human Microbe Interactions
  • Assistant Professor or Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolution
  • Assistant Professor or Associate Professor of Cardiorespiratory Physiology
Tue 28 Nov 2023, 11:35

My placement year in antimicrobial research

Emilie Cummerson, a Biomedical Science with Placement Year student, has just completed a year-long placement in the Sagona Lab and the university’s spinout company Cytecom. She describes her experience in an article for the Microbiologist.
Read the article.


The enigma of embryonic development: how certain animals trim their genomes

New research by Professor Andre Pires da Silva is underway to decipher a fascinating biological puzzle—how some animals can naturally discard more than half of their genetic information during embryonic development. The new study is part of the BBSRC Pioneer Awards, which could revolutionise our understanding of the rules of life. Sixty two researchers across the UK, including Professor Pires da Silva, are to receive a share of £12 million to pursue visionary bioscience research.

Press Release (9 November 2023)


SLS researchers contribute to UK Parliament report on horticulture

On 6 November, the House of Lords published a report entitled ‘Sowing the seeds: A blooming English horticultural sector’. The report looks at the development of the horticultural sector in England and includes citations from Professor Richard Napier and contributions from Professor Rosemary Collier and Alex Kelly.

Read the report

Tue 07 Nov 2023, 13:29 | Tags: Faculty of Science Plant & Agricultural Bioscience

Microbiologist of the Year

Chelsea Brown, a PhD student with Professor Phill Stansfeld and Dr Liz Fullam, won the Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year for her talk entitled 'Modelling Mycobacterial Membranes: Anyone for PIMS?' at the 2023 Annual Microbiology conference. Chelsea presented her research to a panel of judges at the Microbiology Society Showcase on Tuesday 3 October 2023.

Wed 01 Nov 2023, 11:22 | Tags: Faculty of Science Microbiology & Infectious Disease

Farming and Environment Award

Professor Rosemary Collier has been Highly Commended by the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists in the first Caroline Drummond Award, Celebrating and Communicating Farming Excellence. Rosemary will be presented with a trophy later in the year.
Find out about the awardLink opens in a new window.

Wed 01 Nov 2023, 10:31 | Tags: Faculty of Science Plant & Agricultural Bioscience

Epilepsy Research Theme Lead

Dr Amol Bhandare has been appointed as an Early Career Lead on the 'Mortality, Morbidity and Risk' theme of the Epilepsy Research Institute. On Wednesday 25 October, Amol attended the official launch of the Epilepsy Research Institute at a reception hosted by George Freeman MP, Minster for Science, Research and Innovation, at 10 Downing Street. The event brought together research leaders, industry representatives, founding partners, research programme theme leads and people affected by epilepsy.
Find out about the Epilepsy Research Institute launch

Wed 01 Nov 2023, 10:25 | Tags: Faculty of Science Neuroscience

Researchers to benefit from £18 million investment in world-class frontier bioscience

Researchers at The University of Warwick are among four world-class teams receiving a share of £18 million to pursue transformational bioscience research programmes. The School of Life Sciences team will investigate the bacterial cell wall – which could help to develop new classes of antibiotics, tackling the global challenge of antibiotic resistance. The project is led by Professor David Roper in collaboration with Dr Séamus Holden, Professor Phill Stansfeld and Dr Stephen Cochrane (Queen's University Belfast).
Press Release (29 September 2023)


The University of Warwick celebrates the successful harvest of "GODIVA" and ‘OLIVIA’ – two novel dry beans inspired by local cultural history.

Researchers at Warwick Crop Centre have celebrated the successful harvest of a homegrown bean developed to thrive in a British summer.

Press Release (9 September 2023)

Professor Eric Holub and research fellow Rosanne Maguire discuss the novel bean varieties on BBC CWR.

Radio interview 


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