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Life Sciences welcomes the next generation of scientists

Students working in the lab as part of Headstart courseThis week the School of Life Sciences is welcoming students from across the UK as part of the 2019 Headstart Programme.

Taking place at the Gibbet Hill campus 7– 11 July, the Headstart course provides a university taster course for 16-17 year olds with the opportunity to explore the different biological disciplines taught within the School of Life Sciences. The Life Sciences course enables students to gain experience at a prestigious university prior to making UCAS applications, showing them the different courses and career paths available.

Across the week, students will take part in a wide range of hands-on laboratory experiments and lectures including physiology, microbiology, epidemiology and molecular biology.

Administered by the EDT (Engineering Development Trust), a charitable trust, Headstart provides hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities and taster courses to encourage young people into technology-based careers.

Discussing the summer school’s programme Dr Daniel Franklin, Senior Teaching Fellow and summer school organiser, said ‘The students are experiencing all of the successful teaching elements of our degrees, lectures, labs and importantly one of our excellent tutorials. It is very satisfying to see that they are embracing the different subjects being covered, and clear that the students are scientifically curious. I am really pleased that some of our excellent teaching is giving the students a rewarding time.’

We hope to inspire students to study life sciences at university in the future.

At Warwick we offer:


Warwick Award Winners 2019

Congratulations to our University Staff Award winners:

WAPTE Winner
Dr Leanne Williams won the 2019 Warwick Award for Personal Tutoring Excellence (WAPTE). This is a new award that recognises staff who have made an outstanding contribution to the support of students through the personal tutoring system. Leanne already holds a Warwick award for teaching excellence and has been doing amazing work supporting our students over the years.

WATE Winner
Dr Rebecca Freeman won a Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence (WATE). Beccy has made an enormous difference to SLS by radically changing our approach to teaching and the students’ approach to learning. She has engaged students as collaborators in the development of our curricula and helped us develop rigorous yet innovative and flexible teaching approaches, which have now become examples of best practice for the University.

Public Engagement Contribution
Professor Nick Dale won the Public Engagement Contribution award. Nick explains "the complexities of his subject, the brain, in a way that drives interest from those who know something and a fascination from others who know less".

Supporting Student Employability
David Molyneux, SLS Senior Careers Advisor, won the award for Supporting Student Employability. David is described "As a colleague, he is unstinting in his devotion. He is giving, generous of spirit and passionately cares about students and their employability".

Wed 03 Jul 2019, 16:07 | Tags: Knowledge Transfer Teaching Study Award Faculty of Science

Thesis Prize Winners

Every year, the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and the School of Life Sciences, jointly run a PhD Thesis Prize competition with prizes provided by each. Supervisors are invited to put forward students for consideration.

This year, the winner of the Faculty Thesis Prize is Dr Fábio Henrique dos Santos Rodrigues, who did his PhD with Prof John McCarthy. The thesis title is 'Targeting trypanosomatid translation factor interactions'. The work has been published in a joint first author paper in Nucleic Acids Research.

The winner of the School of Life Sciences Thesis Prize is Dr Jenny Goodman, who did her PhD with Dr Alex Jones. Jenny's thesis is entitled 'The role of Feronia in regulating growth and development in Arabidopsis Thaliana roots'. A methods paper and a middle author paper have already come from the PhD, and two first author papers – including one for PNAS – are in process.


Warwick Ranked in UK Top 10 and World Top 100 by QS

The University of Warwick has been named as one of the UK’s top ten, and one of the world’s top 100, universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Press Release


Bacteria such as E. coli detected in minutes by new technology

Dr Munehiro Asally, Dr James Stratford and colleagues, showed that bioelectrical signals from bacteria can be used to rapidly determine if they are alive or dead.

The findings offer a new technology which detects live bacteria in minutes instead of waiting for lab-test results which can take days.

When 'zapped' with an electrical field, live bacteria absorb dye molecules, causing the cells to light up and allowing them to be counted easily.

This rapid technique can detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Press Release

Thu 13 Jun 2019, 15:10 | Tags: Biotechnology Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Construction begins on new hi-tech greenhouse at the Wellesbourne Campus

Work is underway on an innovative new greenhouse research facility at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne Campus. The project is a partnership between Crop Health and Protection (CHAP), one of the four UK Agritech Centres funded by Innovate UK, the innovator and developer, RIPE Building Services, and the University of Warwick, which will coordinate research through its School of Life Sciences.

It is the first major construction at Wellesbourne Campus since Warwick acquired the site in 2004. The new greenhouse will also be built in the year the site celebrates 70 years as a national centre of excellence for crop research.

The new structure, named the Natural Light Growing (NLG) Centre, is being built by RIPE using patented materials and construction technology and will allow the full spectrum of natural light through into the protective growing environment. This is expected to increase crop yield and speed of growth as well as improve qualities like taste, plant health and vigour. The beneficial effects of the full spectrum growing conditions on crop plants are not yet fully understood and the greenhouse will act as a demonstration facility and experimental hub to study several crop characteristics.

Professor Richard Napier, Director of Research at the University’s School of Life Sciences, said: “We are delighted that Wellesbourne Campus has been chosen as the location for such an innovative facility.

“Our academic crop researchers are looking forward to trialling this next generation growing environment to extend our research into crop improvement, the results of which will benefit farmers and growers and ultimately consumers.”

The new structure will be completed this month and officially opened in summer 2019.

Fri 24 May 2019, 10:45 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Crop Centre Faculty of Science

Pint of Science returns next week bringing scientists out of the lab and into your local pub

  • Scientists from Coventry and Warwick universities to appear in city pubs and venues as the world's largest festival of public science talks arrives in Coventry and Leamington from the 20-22 May
  • Talks will cover a wide range of topics including sleep, batteries, space, dyslexia, pollution, plastic and paramedics
  • Coventry to join nearly 300 cities around the world taking part in this global festival
  • Some evenings are already sold out. Tickets are on sale from: pintofscience.co.uk/events/coventry

See Press Release

Examples of talks from Life Sciences

It's in your genes - 20 May 7:30-9:30pm - a series of three talks, including:

Dr Robert Spooner and Professor Kevin Moffat - The DNA Double Act

Who discovered DNA? Well, the double act Watson and Crick - right? Well, not according to Kevin and Robert, who will introduce you to a host of “lesser known” pairs that helped to pioneer the discovery, sequencing and understanding of DNA. Exploring historical events, the 100,000 Human Genome project and beyond; this talk literally has “something for everyone” as genetic research paves the way to personalised medical treatments. Even DNA likes a companion – just look at its structure! So, why not bring a friend and come along to find out more about DNA, and who really did discover it!

Nurturing nature – 20 May 7:30-9:30pm - a series of three talks including:
Amy Newman (PhD Student, University of Warwick) - More than dirt: the hidden world under our feet

Many of us give little thought to the soil beneath our feet but it's vital for all life on earth. Amy's talk will unearth some fascinating examples of the microscopic life that's living all around us. Come along to find out about the microbes which helped to create the first plants to colonise the Earth's surface millions of years ago, and to hear about recent advances in scientific methods which show exciting potential for the discovery of new chemicals such as pharmaceuticals.


A Wilder Future: The Need for a Strong Environment Act - 9 May 2019

Our natural world is in a critical condition. The laws and systems to keep it healthy are failing. More than 60% of plants and animals in the UK are now under threat. One in eight faces extinction.

The Government is currently shaping a new Environment Bill, the first in more than twenty years. It will set out a legal framework for the government’s promise to leave the environment in a better state over the next 25 years. NUS are working with The Wildlife Trusts and WWF to ensure that students and younger generations have their say in this once in a generation opportunity, to set us on a path to restoring nature and securing a just and sustainable future for all.

The Wilder Future evening, at 18:45-21:00 on Thursday 9 May at the University of Warwick, will be an opportunity to hear from leading conservationists and academics and find out what you can do to help achieve nature's recovery.

Keynote speakers include Sir John Lawton, author of the 2010 Making Space for Nature report, and Baroness Parminter, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Dr Rosemary Collier, Academic Lead for the Warwick Global Research Priority on Food, is one of the panel members at this Question Time style event.

Book your free ticket

Thu 02 May 2019, 11:00 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Environmental Bioscience Event

Lab Experience Days for Sixth Form Students - book now!

A rack of test tubes

The highly successful Lab Experience day programme in the School of Life Sciences has been running for over 7 years. Students from over 20 different schools and colleges have attended.

This year, the Lab Experience days will be held daily from Monday 1 July to Friday 5 July 2019.

Full details of Lab Experience days

Mon 15 Apr 2019, 13:10 | Tags: Outreach Teaching Faculty of Science

Beer and fodder crop has been deteriorating for 6000 years

Field of sorghumThe diversity of the crop Sorghum, a cereal used to make alcoholic drinks, has been decreasing over time due to agricultural practice. To maintain the diversity of the crop and keep it growing farmers will need to revise how they manage it. According to Professor Allaby and colleagues, different groups of sorghums have ‘rescued’ each other from damage, giving insight into how such crops could be rescued in the future.

Press Release


The milkweed bug’s orange wings and DNA: how insects’ diets are revealed by the genome

Milkweed bugAn international collaboration of researchers, including Dr Kristen Panfilio from the School of Life Sciences, have sequenced the genome of the milkweed bug, enabling scientists to understand at the molecular level what makes the bug, from its colourful development to its toxic diet.

Press Release


Salmonella could be combated by enhancing body’s natural process

autophagyAutophagy – the process of recycling cellular material in the body, can help combat Salmonella and other pathogens according to Dr Ioannis Nezis and colleagues who have studied how autophagy can get rid of bacteria, and prevent diseases developing.

Press Release

Wed 27 Mar 2019, 09:32 | Tags: Biomedical Science Press Release Faculty of Science

Raising Awareness on Bullying and Harassment -13 June 2019

H&B bannerOn Thursday 13 June, the School of Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School Athena SWAN committees will jointly be hosting an event on 'Raising Awareness on Bullying and Harassment'.

Please, register for this FREE event.

If you have any queries, please contact asevent2019@warwick.ac.uk

Mon 11 Mar 2019, 15:01 | Tags: Athena SWAN Faculty of Science

The Chemistry and Biology of Natural Products Symposium XIII – Warwick, 25 June 2019

The thirteenth annual meeting exploring the chemistry and biology of natural products will be held at the University of Warwick on 25 June.

Last year’s conference attracted 180 delegates. We believe this meeting will once again be an excellent opportunity for PhD students and PDRAs to present their work to an audience of experts. Registration is £15, including lunch, wine reception, dinner and prizes for best talks and posters. Further details can be found at: warwick.ac.uk/naturalproducts

For any enquires please contact: Matthew Jenner (m.jenner@warwick.ac.uk) or Fabrizio Alberti (f.alberti@warwick.ac.uk).

Fri 08 Feb 2019, 10:02 | Tags: Conference Faculty of Science

Statement regarding the recent disciplinary hearings

The School of Life Sciences wants to express its continued support for all students who have been affected by the group chat case, directly or indirectly. We ask that any current student who requires support relating to this or any other incident talks to their Personal Tutor, Senior Tutor, Director of Wellbeing or any other member of staff in the School. Our doors are open.

We are committed to providing a community which is safe, respectful and inclusive to all our students and staff. We pledge to support all of our students, present and prospective, to ensure they have the best possible learning experience in an environment in which they feel safe to learn and work together.

We have expressed to senior management our concern about the way in which the group chat case has been handled and support the University's recent commitment to strengthened values and disciplinary procedures. More must be done to ensure that all students at the University feel safe, respected and included.

Mon 04 Feb 2019, 09:07

Man’s impact on flax evolution more limited than thought

Prof AllabyFlax naturally adapted to new environments rather than by human influence due to a set of genes that enable it to change its architecture according to research led by Professor Robin Allaby.

Press Release


Self-lighting Christmas trees could be the future

Self-lighting xmas treeSay goodbye to tangled up Christmas lights, as self-lighting Christmas trees could be the future thanks to scientists from the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre (WISB) using VR.

Press Release


The evolution of Maize is more complex than thought

MaizeNew evidence reveals that the evolution of Maize in South America is more complex than initially thought, and there was a further geographical area in which partial domestication occurred in the Southwest Amazon - according to an international collaboration of researchers including the University of Warwick, and published in the journal Science.

Press Release


Is Ageing Inevitable? - event held on 27 November

On Tuesday 27 November the School of Life Sciences (SLS) held its second Public Science event of the 2018/19 academic year on the Gibbet Hill campus. The event entitled ‘Is Ageing Inevitable?’ was run by Dr Andre Pires da Silva and Professor Nicholas Dale.

Mon 10 Dec 2018, 10:29 | Tags: Biomedical Science Faculty of Science

Five things you need to know about soil

SoilAs children we learn that plants grow in it and worms live in it and that's generally as far as we go. But the mix of minerals, water, air, decaying plant and animal matter and countless microorganisms that make up the top layer of the earth's surface is hugely important, not only for plant life, but for all life on earth. In an article for Warwick Knowledge Centre, Professor Gary Bending and doctoral research student Amy Newman tell us five things we should know about soil.

Five things you need to know about soil


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