Dr Dan Smith named as honorary SLS Industry Professor
Dr Smith is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Cobra Biologics Ltd., but he started his scientific career here at Warwick, with a BSc in Biochemistry then a PhD on the mechanism of action at the cellular level of cytotoxic proteins such as ricin.
By becoming an honorary Industrial Professor in our School, Dr. Smith will bring widespread experience in both the workings of a multi-million budget R&D company in a sector at the forefront of biomedical products and also in academic research. His specific expertise in knowledge transfer and experience in developing successful collaborations between regional development agencies, industry and academics will be enormously useful.
Dr Smith will bring many links with industries that we do not yet interact with, both in the UK and internationally. He will contribute ideas and contacts to help our undergraduate students secure industrial placements, a key strategic development area for the School.
Dr Smith will also aid our technology transfer to support start-ups with commercial promise. His past work is highly interdisciplinary in both the academic and industrial sides in chemistry and biology, knowledge of which can massively impact startup success.
We welcome him to the School.
Memory processes depend on protein ‘off-switch’ – could lead to new Alzheimer’s treatments
Memory, learning and cognitive flexibility depend on a protein ‘off-switch’ in the brain, according to a breakthrough discovery made by an international research collaboration co-led by Dr Mark Wall at the University of Warwick.
This new knowledge could enable us to better understand and combat neurological diseases which inhibit memory, such as Alzheimer’s.
Life Sciences gets share of £2.6 million research funding from Diabetes UK
Diabetes 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.
Warwick-backed state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy facility 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.
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.
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.
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)
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. www.virionhealth.com
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New TB drugs possible with understanding of old antibiotic
Tuberculosis, 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.
‘Lost’ 99% of ocean microplastics to be identified with dye?
The 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.
VirionHealth Raises Series A Funding from Abingworth
VirionHealth 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.
(Image: Laura Lane from Warwick Ventures, Professor Andrew Easton and Professor Nigel Dimmock on day of signing)
Brain cells that control appetite identified for first time
Dieting 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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Antimicrobial resistance tackled with new £2.85m PhD Training Programme
New 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
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
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.
Asian hornet to colonise UK within two decades without action
The yellow legged or Asian hornet – a voracious predator of honey bees and other beneficial insects – could rapidly colonise the UK unless its spread is combatted, according to new research by the Universities of Warwick and Newcastle, working with the National Bee Unit.
Professor Matt Keeling, from Warwick’s Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER), predicts that if Asian hornet nests are left to thrive in the UK, there could be hundreds of thousands of them in just over two decades – putting a critical strain on British populations of honey bees and other beneficial insects.
GP-based testing for HIV is cost-effective and should be rolled out in 74 local authorities
That’s according to a study, published in The Lancet HIV, involving over 86,000 people from 40 GP surgeries.
Using a mathematical model which was co-developed by Professor Deirdre Hollingsworth at the University of Warwick that includes all the costs associated with HIV testing and treatment, the team show that primary care HIV screening in high prevalence settings becomes cost-effective in 33 years (according to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE] criteria).