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Pint of Science Coventry brings scientists out of the lab and into your local pub 14-16 May

Andrew NelsonThe public science festival, Pint of Science, is coming to Coventry for the first time this year, with experts from the Universities of Warwick and Coventry talking about their research work in a selection of pubs and venues around the city.

There are a number of talks from researchers in the School of Life Sciences:

14 May - Life is the name of the game
Professor Chris Dowson on 'Antibiotic Resistance: No drugs, bad bugs'

15 May - Drink, Drugs and Sunscreen
Professor Kevin Moffat on 'The life of fly - alcohol, sex and violoence!'

16 May - The future of health
Dr Andrew Nelson on 'Invasion of trophoblasts: maintaining prenancy'
Dr Corinne Hanlon on 'Synthetic Biology - who draws the line'

More information and book tickets

Wed 11 April 2018, 16:06 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Knowledge Transfer Outreach

New academic appointments in the School of Life Sciences

The School of Life Sciences invites applications for four new academic positions to strengthen key research areas in the School. This is part of our strategic growth on the Gibbet Hill Biology campus, supported by investment in a new Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building that will bring together researchers from Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School to understand the origins and mechanistic basis of diseases.

Life Sciences gets share of £2.6 million research funding from Diabetes UK

FreyaDiabetes UK has committed to invest £2.6 million in 19 brand new projects which aim to make life-changing improvements in diabetes care, and reduce people’s risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The funding will be given to projects looking into Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

In one of these projects, Dr Freya Harrison, from the School of Life Sciences, will be using medieval remedies to find new sources of antibiotics. She has already discovered a combination that can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the lab.

Press Release

Fri 27 April 2018, 11:16 | Tags: Biomedical Science Press Release Research

HE Bioscience Technician of the Year Award

HE Bioscience Technician of the Year AwardOn Thursday 19 April Gill Scott, School of Life Sciences Teaching Laboratory Manager, was awarded the Higher Education Bioscience Technician of the Year Award at the University Bioscience Managers’ Association (UBMA) Annual Conference at Imperial College London. The competitive award, presented by Professor James Stirling, recognises the superb work of technical staff which underpins the bioscience research and teaching at all levels in universities across the UK. The judges were incredibly impressed with the quality and breadth of Gill’s technical work. She received a £400 prize and a free year of Royal Society of Biology membership.

Gill first came to SLS in 1978 and over the years has made a tremendous contribution to the School’s lab-based teaching and outreach activities. In 2018 Gill was instrumental in SLS delivering the International Biology Olympiad practical exams.

Gill retires at the end of April and we wish her all the best for the future.

(Photo courtesy of UBMA)

Mon 23 April 2018, 11:11

Warwick-backed state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy facility opened

Cryo-electron microscopyA new state-of-the-art Cryo-Electron Microscope (Cryo-EM) facility that will advance the understanding of the processes of life has been officially opened.

The Midlands Regional Cryo-EM Facility is the result of a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leicester, led by the University of Leicester. The universities are members of the Midlands Innovation partnership. The total investment exceeds £6M with £3.7M from the Medical Research Council (MRC). The four partner Universities provided the remaining funds.

Press Release

Thu 12 April 2018, 13:47 | Tags: Press Release

Professor R.John Ellis to be presented with 2019 Centenary Award

Prof R.John EllisProfessor R.John Ellis, an Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences, has been honoured in the Biochemical Society's annual Awards. The awards recognise scientists for the excellence of their work and the impact it has had within the bioscience community and wider society.

Professor Ellis will be presented with the 2019 Centenary Award for his pioneering research on molecular chaperones and their role in protein folding.

Biochemical Society 2019 Award Winners

Wed 04 April 2018, 09:51 | Tags: Biomedical Science Award Research

Professor Laura Green appointed to BBSRC Council

LauraProfessor Laura Green OBE, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Warwick, has been appointed to the Council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Press Release

University of Warwick brings TB awareness to Coventry on World TB Day

Scientists from the University of Warwick will be helping to promote an important public health message about tuberculosis (TB) this weekend in Coventry.

On World TB Day (Saturday 24 March) researchers from the Fullam lab at the University of Warwick will be running a public information stand at the Herbert Museum and Art Gallery to help raise awareness of TB and what they are trying to do to combat this deadly disease. They will also be at Coventry Library on Tuesday 27 March.

Press Release

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.

Press Release

Tue 13 March 2018, 14:27

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.

Press Release

Mon 05 March 2018, 12:58 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Press Release

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) 

Press Release

Wed 14 February 2018, 11:54 | Tags: Environmental Bioscience Press Release

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building

IBRBThe 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.

Industry Partnering Day 28 Feb - Opportunities and innovation in academia-industry interactions

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;

  • Joint funding opportunities
  • Access to state-of-art facilities
  • Introductions and collaborations with world-leading experts

  • From student internships or highly trained personal exchanges to funded development and research programmes
  • Innovation tokens worth up to £5000 that can be used for collaborative work with SLS
  • Our research interests and technology platforms extend across the breadth of plant, crop, biomedical, drug discovery, biotechnology, environmental and analytical research. 

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.

Read Press Release

Fri 05 January 2018, 12:22 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Press Release Research

Sprout science

SproutsOn Monday 18 December, Dr Guy Barker spoke on BBC Midlands Today on how Warwick Crop Centre are improving sprouts through traditional plant breeding. Watch (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 (1:41-1:45)


Tue 19 December 2017, 13:07 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science TV/Radio Crop Centre Research Interview

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.

Read Press Release

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

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