Five things you need to know about soil
As 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.
Crops can be grown in Arsenic contaminated soil without being poisonous
Researchers in Life Sciences are working on ways to contribute to developing safe crops which can be grown in As contaminated soil but reduce the amount of As going to the edible part.
Professor Christopher Dowson has been awarded a Medical Research Council (MRC) grant of £3million to run a three year China-UK AMR Partnership Hub alongside the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The award is part of a project to address antimicrobial resistance in China and support the global fight against superbugs.
Who wants to live for ever?
Research into the process of ageing hasn’t quite found the key to immortality, but it is revealing the way our bodies change over time and what factors contribute to longer and healthier lives. Evolutionary biologist Dr Andre Pires da Silva is looking at the genetics of a species of roundworm and the length of their lives, with a view to gaining insight into human aging. He has found some astonishing results.
Applications are invited for an Assistant, Associate or Professor of Ecology and/or Environmental Bioscience to join the School of Life Sciences.
We are also recruiting for an Assistant Professor in Environmental Microbiology.
This is part of our strategic growth on the Gibbet Hill Biology campus, supported by investment in a new £54M Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building that will bring together researchers from Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School.
Neuroscience Tech Award Winner
Dr Amol Bhandare was awarded a $250 Tech Award from Inscopix at the recent Society for Neuroscience's (SfN) 48th Annual Meeting in San Diego, USA. Inscopix is a discovery phase neurotechnology company in Silicon Valley, California which brings together expertise in neuroscience, physics, engineering, and data science and is developing radically new approaches to understanding the brain in health and disease.
The Inscopix Tech Awards are an initiative to encourage graduate students and postdocs to present their research at SfN. Dr Bhandare received the award for his abstract on Central circuits for CO2 chemosensory regulation of breathing in freely behaving mice.
Arctic's Global Seed Vault to receive 101 samples from Warwick's Vegetable Genebank
101 seed samples from 18 different types of crop species including onions, carrots and cauliflower are to be deposited at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Arctic Norway on the 31 October 2018, from the UK Vegetable Genebank (UKVGB) at the University of Warwick.
School of Life Sciences achieves Athena SWAN silver charter award to 2022
The School of Life Sciences achieved a Silver Athena SWAN Charter Mark in the 2018 submission round. The charter mark is an important indicator of work undertaken to address gender equality in academia and professional and support roles.
In the same round the University retained its Silver award and Politics and International Studies (PAIS) received a Bronze award.
Over the next 5 years NERC (The Natural Environment Research Council) will invest £100m to support PHD students, including those at the University of Warwick, meaning the next generation of world-class scientists trained and engaged in both industrial and academic environmental solutions will be produced by the University.
M4 Midlands Microbiology Conference held 13-14 September 2018
On 13-14 September, the University of Warwick hosted the 5th annual M4 Midlands Microbiology Conference organised jointly by Dr Freya Harrison, Dr Yin Chen and Profesor David Roper in SLS as well as Dr Meera Unnikrishnan, and Dr Chrystala Constantinidou, from WMS. The conference attracted over 140 participants from throughout the UK with outside speakers from the Pasteur and Karolinska Institutes, and featured a wide breath of microbiology from environmental phage biology to the influence on the bacteria cell wall in host physiology. Microbiology research at Warwick featured prominently at the conference including poster prize winner Carmina Micelli as well as the Antimicrobial Screening Facility which is a unique facility in the area supporting academic and industrial requirements. The conference was sponsored with generous support from the Microbiology Society, The Company of Biologists and Society for Applied Microbiology as well as a number of exhibiting companies.
Undergraduate runs STEM CREST Awards
Brittany Harrison, a Life Sciences undergraduate student, has been running STEM projects in the SLS teaching labs over the summer. Here she tells us more:
'Every Wednesday throughout August, 25 year 9 and 10 students from secondary schools across Nuneaton, Rugby and Bedworth have joined me in the Life Sciences department at the University of Warwick to complete STEM CREST awards- the only nationally recognised award by the British Science association for STEM enrichment outside of school curriculum. Throughout my summer, I have been an intern for ThinkHigher, a project ran in collaboration with The University of Warwick, Coventry University, local authorities and local FE colleges. ThinkHigher has provided me with a platform to offer these young people the facilities and learning space to expand on their own scientific interests. We have been carrying out investigations in the undergraduate laboratories related to health and disease, which has involved microbiology techniques that I didn’t get to practice until the second year of my degree, as well as interactive tours around the WMG engineering workshops and the Phytobiology facility.
Science is an eternally incomplete topic, and I feel that this fact is only truly understood when exploring science in a practical and creative way, as opposed to text-book learning in schools. Running the CREST awards has provided these young people with a mature learning experience which much more truly represents the everyday life of a scientist.'
UK scientists to join Arctic research ship 'drifting' past North Pole
UK scientists will join what could be the largest-scale Arctic research expedition ever planned when the German research ship RV Polarstern is deliberately lodged into sea ice to drift past the North Pole. Research includes Dr Hendrik Schaefer of the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences.
Image courtesy of Alfred Wegener Institute.
Student satisfaction at Warwick
Survey results out recently reflect very positively on the School of Life Sciences. These surveys reveal student perception of study here in Life Sciences and also what graduates go on to achieve. We are pleased to see the satisfaction our students show with their education at Warwick. We greatly value their feedback and respect their judgement.
Our 2018 NSS (National Student Survey) results are excellent with a score of 93% for overall student satisfaction. This is a survey of all undergraduate finalists at UK universities and colleges to understand and improve students’ experience of higher education. Staff and students are working very closely on developing new ways to extend and enhance their learning and the NSS is a key element of our collaborative approach to overall enhancement at Warwick. PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey) results are also excellent with a score of 89% for overall student satisfaction, which is above the Russell Group and Sector average.
DLHE (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education) surveys graduates 6 months after graduation to find out whether they are in work or further study. The recent 2017 results are excellent for Life Sciences with 96% of UG graduates in work or further study (up from 94% in 2015) and 88% in graduate level work or study (up from 79% in 2015). The Government’s 2018 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) show that Warwick's Life Sciences graduates are ranked in the top 10 in the UK for high earnings five years after their graduation.
It is great to see the work that goes into planning and delivering these degrees by so many people in the School, has such a positive impact on students.
Real-time foot-and-mouth strategy to better fight disease
Future outbreaks of foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease can be combatted quickly and efficiently from early on – when authorities have minimal information – thanks to a new real-time strategy, developed by researchers in the School of Life Sciences.
Congratulations to Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (interdisciplinary research and impact) and former Head of the School of Life Sciences, Professor Laura Green, who has been appointed to the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. She will take up her new role on 1 October 2018.
Delivering STEM experience to young people
Taking place at the Gibbet Hill campus 15-19 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, cell biology and molecular biology.
Organised by the EDT (Engineering Development Trust), Headstart has been established for more than 18 years as a charitable trust providing hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities and taster courses to encourage young people into technology-based careers.
On Tuesday 17 July graduands from the School of Life Sciences attended the Summer Graduation Ceremony held in Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre. The Head of School, Professor Lorenzo Frigerio, academic tutors and other staff also attended the ceremony.
Warwick ranked 4th in Europe in new Times Higher Education (THE) Europe Teaching Rankings 2018
THE (the Times Higher Education) have announced in their Thursday 12 July 2018 edition, that the University of Warwick has been ranked 4th in Europe in their new Times Higher Education (THE) Europe Teaching Rankings 2018 and is the 3rd placed University in Europe offering Biological Sciences.
Enzyme discovery could help in fight against TB
An enzyme structure discovery made by scientists at the University of Warwick could help to eradicate tuberculosis (TB).
Research by a team led by Dr Elizabeth Fullam, has revealed new findings about an enzyme found in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) the bacterium that causes TB. TB causes more deaths than any other infectious disease, including from HIV and malaria.