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.
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.
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.
Two million pounds awarded to fight disease in East Africa
The University of Warwick has been awarded £2 million to tackle the spread of viruses in East Africa.
The award has been made to the NIHR Global Health Research Group on the Application of Genomics and Modelling to the Control of Virus Pathogens (GeMVi) in East Africa at the University of Warwick. GeMVi brings together expertise in pathogen sequencing and predicative modelling. Life Sciences academics Professor James Nokes and Professor Matt Keeling are co-investigators.
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.
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
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.
Professor R.John Ellis to be presented with 2019 Centenary Award
Professor 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.
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.
- Read paper: Sex- and Gamete-Specific Patterns of X Chromosome Segregation in a Trioecious Nematode Current Biology, Vol 28, Issue 1 p93-99e
- Interview in Newsweek
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
Read Press Release
On Monday 18 December, Dr Guy Barker spoke on BBC Midlands Today on how Warwick Crop Centre are improving sprouts through traditional plant breeding. Watch www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09jg8fl/midlands-today-evening-news-18122017 (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 www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05nlj64 (1:41-1:45)
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.
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.
Read Press Release
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.
Read Press Release
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).
University of Warwick study to help understanding of childhood epilepsy
A 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.”
Read Press Release
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.