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New TB drugs possible with understanding of old antibiotic

AntibioticsTuberculosis, 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.

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Tue 05 December 2017, 16:04 | Tags: Biomedical Science Press Release Research Faculty of Science

NERC CENTA Environmental Science PhD Studentships available

Sediment samplingA 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

Tue 28 November 2017, 15:35 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Environmental Bioscience Study

‘Lost’ 99% of ocean microplastics to be identified with dye?

OceanThe 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.

Press Release

Tue 28 November 2017, 13:15 | Tags: Biotechnology Environmental Bioscience Press Release

Lettuce at risk from Fusarium wilt

Fusarium wilt An outbreak of an aggressive soil-borne fungus has been reported in UK glasshouse lettuce crops for the first time and growers are being urged to look out for symptoms to get diagnosis early.

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

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.”

Mon 27 November 2017, 14:09 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science

SLS Student wins Photo Competition

Photo by Fabio RodriguesPhD student Fabio Rodrigues has been awarded the best photographer by @uniwarwick for his autumn picture of campus.

Wed 22 November 2017, 10:22

Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) - 4 year studentships available

PipettingThe 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.

Funded PhD Studentships


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.

The programme includes lectures by:

  • Martin Mahaut-Smith, Leicester
  • Tobias Engel, Dublin
  • Mark Wall, Warwick
  • Arthur Butt, Portsmouth

The symposium will be followed by a Sarissa Biomedical workshop on applications of microelectrode biosensors in physiological research.

You are invited to submit abstracts for oral or poster communications and they will be published in Purinergic Signalling.

Registration fees (includes refreshments during the day including lunch and an evening reception):
£40 Academics & Post-Docs,
£30 PhD Students.

For further details and to register visit UK Purine Club Symposium 2017

Thu 09 November 2017, 15:22

What to teach an aspiring scientist

Creative ThoughtsMost 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.

Knowledge Centre Article

A Critical Reflection on the 28th International Biology Olympiad

Branagh Crealock-AshurstThe 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

Mon 06 November 2017, 14:29 | Tags: Publication Faculty of Science

Colon cancer breakthrough could lead to prevention

AutophagyColon cancer, Crohn’s, and other diseases of the gut could be better treated – or even prevented – thanks to a new link between inflammation and a common cellular process, established by Dr Ioannis Nezis and colleagues.

Press Release

Thu 02 November 2017, 13:23 | Tags: Biomedical Science Press Release Faculty of Science

Crops evolving ten millennia before experts thought

Dr Robin AllabyAncient hunter-gatherers began to systemically affect the evolution of crops up to thirty thousand years ago – around ten millennia before experts previously thought – according to new research by Professor Robin Allaby.

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Antibiotics and farming

Liz WellingtonProfessor Elizabeth Wellington talks to Adam Rutherford on BBC Radio 4 about how the agricultural use of antibiotics is contributing to the global spread of resistance to them on this week's Inside Science: 

Fri 13 October 2017, 11:23 | Tags: Environmental Bioscience TV/Radio Faculty of Science

VirionHealth Raises Series A Funding from Abingworth

Laura Lane, Profs Easton and DimmockVirionHealth Ltd, a new biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for respiratory viral infections, today announced that it has raised up to £13 million in Series A funding from Abingworth, the international investment group dedicated to life sciences.

VirionHealth, founded on pioneering research by Professors Nigel Dimmock and Andrew Easton at the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, is a world leader in the development of precisely engineered, non-infectious, defective interfering particles. This new class of biological antiviral acts by outcompeting replication of infectious viruses to both prevent and treat viral infections.

Press Release

(Image: Laura Lane from Warwick Ventures, Professor Andrew Easton and Professor Nigel Dimmock on day of signing)

Molecular Microbial Ecology Group Meeting (MMEG 2017)

MMEG 2017 will be held between 14-15 December 2017 at the University of Warwick. The event is a two-day symposium for postgraduate students and early career postdoctoral researchers to present their research in an informal setting. The meeting also aims to provide an opportunity for networking and discussion of research in the fields of microbial ecology and environmental microbiology.

Mon 09 October 2017, 15:12

Reaching out at New Scientist Live

The School of Life Sciences, Engineering and Physics are teaming up this week to deliver exciting outreach activities at New Scientist Live.

Taking place from Thursday 28 September – Sunday 1 October at the ExCeL London, New Scientist Live sets out to be ‘the world’s most exciting festival of ideas’, attracting over 22,000 science curious visitors to the event. When an exhibitor space became available, the School of Life Sciences Outreach Team, led by Professor Kevin Moffat, were quick to seize this opportunity to showcase cutting edge research and study at Warwick.
Our activities at the stand cluster broadly around the theme of Antimicrobial Resistance, spanning timescales from medieval plagues to contemporary Tuberculosis and futuristic treatments using viruses to cure infection. Our exciting line up includes a virtual reality protein explorer, plague-infested Jelly Babies propelled from trebuchets, an ‘Electronic Nose’ that can sniff out your breath, a pestilent poetry competition…

You can find out more about Warwick activities at New Scientist Live at 

Follow us on Twitter @SlsOutreachWrwk

Wed 27 September 2017, 11:58 | Tags: Biomedical Science Outreach Faculty of Science

Brain cells that control appetite identified for first time

Nick DaleDieting could be revolutionised, thanks to the ground-breaking discovery of the key brain cells which control our appetite. Professor Nicholas Dale in the School of Life Sciences has identified for the first time that tanycytes – cells found in part of the brain that controls energy levels – detect nutrients in food and tell the brain directly about the food we have eaten.

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Wed 27 September 2017, 11:05 | Tags: Biomedical Science Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Antimicrobial resistance tackled with new £2.85m PhD Training Programme

Chris DowsonNew scientists will be trained to explore ways to tackle antimicrobial resistance - one of the greatest emerging threats to human health – with the creation of a £2.85m national PhD Training Programme, funded by the Medical Research Council and part-led by the University of Warwick.

Professor Chris Dowson from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences is part of the Programme Leadership Team, and has been integrally involved with the establishment of the training programme.

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Cells programmed like computers to fight disease

AlfonsoCells can be programmed like a computer to fight cancer, influenza, and other serious conditions – thanks to a breakthrough in synthetic biology by the University of Warwick.

Led by Professor Alfonso Jaramillo in the School of Life Sciences, new research has discovered that a common molecule - ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is produced abundantly by humans, plants and animals - can be genetically engineered to allow scientists to program the actions of a cell.

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Asian hornet “adds to growing number of threats to honeybees” – Warwick research on BBC

Dan with BBCResearch to help prevent the spread of Asian hornet across the UK - carried out by the University of Warwick - was recently featured on BBC Midlands Today and BBC Online.

Led by the Warwick’s Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER), the recent study predicts that Asian hornet – a voracious predator of honey bees and other beneficial insects – could colonise the UK within two decades.

The BBC’s David Gregory-Kumar interviewed Dr Daniel Franklin at the School of Life Sciences.

Press Release

Fri 01 September 2017, 12:49 | Tags: Environmental Bioscience Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Warwick’s iGEM students take on E.coli

Blueprint 361Warwick’s 2017 iGEM team, Blueprint 361, is determined to make E.coli work in their favour. The team is made up of 5 engineering undergraduates, 4 students from the School of Life Sciences and a chemist, and are supervised by Dr Alfonso Jaramillo.

Their project is going to use E.coli to produce a biopolymer, which will then in turn be used as the bio-ink for their 3D printer. Over the course of the summer months, the team have been relentlessly working away in many labs around the campus to use this system for the creation of surface coatings with improved biocompatibility and osseointegration. If successful, the team could see revolutionary increase in both the strength and versatility of artificial joints and dental implants.

Excitingly, further development could even see this technology lead to the 3D printing of biological structures, such as trachea frameworks or even organ scaffolds.

The Blueprint 361 team will be taking their project to Boston in November 2017 to compete in the iGEM Jamboree against over 300 other teams from around the world. The team are urgently seeking additional funds in order to allow them to further develop their project. Can you help them? If so, please email

iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition, which was established by MIT in 2003. Each iGEM team works over the summer to produce a new genetically engineered biological system, and competes in the following categories: the environment, manufacturing, diagnostics, therapeutics and food.

Keep up to date with the team here:
Facebook @warwickIGEM
Twitter @warwickigem
Instagram @igemwarwick

Thu 17 August 2017, 10:50 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Study Faculty of Science

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