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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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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)


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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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


Asian hornet to colonise UK within two decades without action

MattThe 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.

Press Release


GP-based testing for HIV is cost-effective and should be rolled out in 74 local authorities

DeirdreOffering HIV testing to people at health checks when they register at a new GP surgery in high-prevalence areas is cost-effective and will save lives.

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).

Press Release


University of Warwick study to help understanding of childhood epilepsy

MarkA University of Warwick study to understand a form of epilepsy that affects children has received a grant from the charity Epilepsy Research UK. The research focuses on absence epilepsy which is largely a childhood condition which is characterised by sudden, brief interruptions of consciousness.

In severe cases there may be more than 200 of these episodes each day, and these can be accompanied by or develop into convulsive seizures. Many children with absence seizures don’t respond to existing antiepileptic medication, which can present numerous difficulties in daily life, particularly with schooling.

Dr Mark Wall, Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences, is leading the research. He said: “Our work will hopefully identify a new therapeutic target to treat absence epilepsy and increase understanding of the disease. The findings from this project will give important new information about how absence seizures arise, and may reveal new targets for the development of more promising treatments. The methods used will also be useful for the screening process of anti-absence seizure drugs in the future.”

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Ebola: lives to be saved with new management approach

Ebola outbreaks are set to be managed quickly and efficiently – saving lives – with a new approach developed by an international team of researchers, including the University of Warwick, which helps to streamline outbreak decision-making.

Dr Michael Tildesley from the School of Life Sciences - with researchers from Penn State University in the USA – have discovered that educating people in areas affected by Ebola about how the disease spreads through communities is the most effective strategy for halting an epidemic.

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Head of Life Sciences shortlisted for BBSRC Innovation Award

LauraProfessor Laura Green, Head of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, has been shortlisted for an Innovator of the Year award from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Nominated in the ‘Social Impact’ category, Professor Green’s research has led to halving the level of lameness in sheep flocks - from ten percent to five percent - in a decade, saving a million sheep a year from becoming lame.

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Bill Gates praises University of Warwick’s impact in fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases

Speaking at the Geneva summit on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Bill Gates, co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today applauded the efforts of UK scientists in protecting the world’s poorest people from NTDs: “UK aid and Britain’s world-leading research institutions like the University of Warwick are playing a major role in protecting the world’s poorest people from Neglected Tropical Diseases and enabling them to live healthier, more prosperous lives.”

The University of Warwick’s research, which is part-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focuses on providing quantitative data on the prevalence of NTDs and the impact of the intervention programmes designed to combat them.

Dr Deirdre Hollingsworth, Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the University of Warwick, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the international effort to rid the world of these terrible diseases. Over the last two years we have made significant progress in understanding how these diseases spread, measuring the impact of eradication efforts and highlighting areas where additional interventions will be required to achieve our 2020 goals. We're optimistic that, with continued coordination and investment, we can protect more of the world’s poorest communities from NTDs.”

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World TB Day 24 March

On the 24 March 2017 the Fullam lab will be at Cannon Park Shopping Centre from 11:00-19:00.

Come and join us to find out more about TB, and the research that we are doing. There will be the opportunity to talk to people from the lab, take part in a number of competitions to win a tuberculosis petri dish (sponsored by Giant Microbes) and also win a voucher for the best selfie taken in our World TB Day Instaframe that is uploaded to the twitter #WarwickTB. There will be leaflets, balloons and stickers and an interactive activity featuring the 'Big Mouth' clown. Come and join us!

Learn more from our TB video

Any questions, please get in touch with warwickTB@warwick.ac.uk


Producing a rapid diagnostic blood test for stroke to improve treatment and recovery

Sarissa TeamProfessor Nick Dale tells the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) about a point-of-care device for the detection of stroke. Hear what inspired his research, the challenges he faces and the role NIHR has played in his success.

Thu 09 Mar 2017, 13:25 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Research

New TB drug candidates developed from soil bacteria

A new treatment for tuberculosis (TB) is set to be developed using compounds derived from bacteria that live in soil - according to an international collaboration of researchers, including the University of Warwick.

The research, ‘Sansanmycin Natural Product Analogues as Potent and Selective Anti-Mycobacterials that Inhibit Lipid I Biosynthesis’ is published in Nature Communications today.

The collaboration was led by the University of Sydney, and included the University of Warwick, Monash University, Colorado State University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Queensland.

Key reagents and expertise in antimicrobial resistance from the research groups of Dr David Roper, Professor Chris Dowson and Professor Tim Bugg at the University of Warwick, played a crucial role in successfully targeting TB bacteria with the new compounds.

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Foot-and-mouth crises to be averted with vaccination strategy

CowResearch by Dr Mike Tildesley and colleagues shows foot-and-mouth epidemics could be controlled quickly and effectively by rapidly establishing how many animals can be vaccinated per day of an outbreak.

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Countering the Courgette Crisis

CourgettesIt seems we are facing a Courgette Crisis. Although it’s really just a bit of a run on green vegetables, it does remind us that actually, courgettes – and now iceberg lettuce – shouldn’t be ‘February vegetables’. This raises some important issues about what we as consumers have learned to expect when it comes to food.

Researchers at Warwick Crop Centre are looking at ways of improving existing UK vegetable and fruit crops as well as looking for completely new ones.

Read Knowledge Centre article 


Breakthrough in stroke detection

Nick DaleProfessor Nicholas Dale and team have developed a unique biosensor technology that has the potential to radically improve the life of stroke victims.

Read full article -The Guardian 22 January 2017

(Photograph: Antonio Olmos for the Observer)

Mon 23 Jan 2017, 15:28 | Tags: Biomedical Science Article Research Faculty of Science

BRAVO: making Brassica crops more resilient

oil seed rapeProtecting the UK’s most valuable crops by making them more resilient is at the heart of a new five-year project, in which the School of Life Sciences will play a key role.

The Brassica, Rapeseed and Vegetable Optimisation (BRAVO) project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), aims to combat losses of Oilseed rape and Brassica vegetable crops by unravelling the processes that control key aspects of plant development.

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Ash dieback: Insect threat to fungus-resistant trees

Ash treeAsh trees which can resist the killer dieback fungus may be more vulnerable to attacks by insects, according to new research.

Scientists from the universities of Exeter and Warwick examined trees which are resistant to ash dieback and – unexpectedly – found they had very low levels of chemicals which defend against insects.

With efforts under way to protect ash trees from dieback, the scientists warn that selecting trees for fungal resistance could put them at risk from insects.

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Deadly sleeping sickness set to be eliminated in six years

deploying_targets_in_drc_photo_by_inaki_tirados.jpgGambian sleeping sickness – a deadly parasitic disease spread by tsetse flies - could be eliminated in six years in key regions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to new research by the University of Warwick.

Kat Rock and Matt Keeling at the School of Life Sciences, with colleagues in DRC and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, have calculated the impact of different intervention strategies on the population dynamics of tsetse flies and humans - establishing which strategies show the most promise to control and eliminate the disease.

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