‘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.
Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) - 4 year studentships available
The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) is a BBSRC-funded doctoral training partnership between the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham and the University of Leicester. The MIBTP has an ambitious vision to deliver innovative, world class research across the Life Sciences to boost the growing Bioeconomy in the Midlands and across the UK.
PhD Studentship projects will be focused in vital research areas such as food security, bio-energy and quantitative biology. Students from a wide diversity of academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Projects are available for those with creative drive in both theoretical (IT and mathematical) and experimental (biology, biomedicine, chemistry, biotechnology) research.
What to teach an aspiring scientist
Most people perceive scientists as logical and determined people, their mission to find the answer through painstaking research. So what are two of the most important things you can teach an aspiring scientist to help them on the road to success? Critical thinking? Statistics? Not necessarily. It’s the ability to think creatively, and a capacity to deal with failure says Professor Kevin Moffat.
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)
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.
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
Warwicks iGEM students take on E.coli
Warwick’s 2017 iGEM team, Blueprint 361, is determined to make E.coli work in their favour. The team is made up of 5 engineering undergraduates, 4 students from the School of Life Sciences and a chemist, and are supervised by Dr Alfonso Jaramillo.
Their project is going to use E.coli to produce a biopolymer, which will then in turn be used as the bio-ink for their 3D printer. Over the course of the summer months, the team have been relentlessly working away in many labs around the campus to use this system for the creation of surface coatings with improved biocompatibility and osseointegration. If successful, the team could see revolutionary increase in both the strength and versatility of artificial joints and dental implants.
Excitingly, further development could even see this technology lead to the 3D printing of biological structures, such as trachea frameworks or even organ scaffolds.
The Blueprint 361 team will be taking their project to Boston in November 2017 to compete in the iGEM Jamboree against over 300 other teams from around the world. The team are urgently seeking additional funds in order to allow them to further develop their project. Can you help them? If so, please email
iGEM is an international synthetic biology competition, which was established by MIT in 2003. Each iGEM team works over the summer to produce a new genetically engineered biological system, and competes in the following categories: the environment, manufacturing, diagnostics, therapeutics and food.
Keep up to date with the team here:
Multi-million-pound investment in a regional cryo-electron microscopy facility
A state-of-the-art Midlands regional cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) facility has been established, following a successful bid by the Universities of Warwick, Nottingham and Birmingham, led by the University of Leicester.
The total investment exceeds £6M, with £3.7M from the Medical Research Council. The four partner Universities will provide the remaining funds, with the University of Warwick contributing £460,000.
The co-applicants of the project from Warwick were Dr Corinne Smith from the School of Life Sciences, with Professors Mohan Balasubramanian and Rob Cross from Warwick Medical School.
As part of the investment, a new 200KV cryo transmission electron microscope will be placed in the Advanced Bioimaging Research Technology Platform, located within Warwick’s School of Life Sciences.
On Tuesday 4 July 2017 (10:00 - 18:30), the School of Life Sciences is proud to host a national Athena SWAN event on the topic of 'Supporting Women's Careers in Science'. This event will take place in the Medical Teaching Centre at the Gibbet Hill Campus of the University of Warwick. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. Registration is now open.
University of Warwick ranked eighth in the UK by the Guardian University Guide with Life Sciences listed in top 5 departments for biosciences
The University of Warwick has once again been ranked top ten in the latest UK university league table with Biosciences (Life Sciences) listed in the top five in the UK.
Read Press Release
Bill Gates praises University of Warwicks 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.”
Read the Press Release
Catapult open for business with £1m investment in cutting-edge lab capacity to support UK drug discovery
World-class technology and expertise are now available to UK drug discovery companies as a result of new laboratory facilities developed by the Medicines Discovery Catapult and launched on Wednesday 29th March at the University of Warwick.
Professor Chris Dowson welcomed the addition of the Medicines Discovery Catapult to the University. He said:
“This Catapult laboratory has an extraordinary amount of capability in a small space, enabling us to make great advances in microbiology, chemistry and structural biology.
Read the Press Release
Professor 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.
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.
Read Press Release
New BBC drama shaped by Warwick expertise
The rise of antibiotic resistance is at the heart of a brand-new BBC drama, written by renowned author Val McDermid – and shaped by scientific expertise from the University of Warwick.
Airing on BBC Radio 4 in March, Resistance is a three-part story about an epidemic of a drug-resistant disease – and was informed by Professor Chris Dowson from the School of Life Sciences, the scientific advisor for the programme.
Read Press Release
£1.1million funding for research into the structural basis of brain CO2-detection
Professor Nick Dale has been awarded £1.1million from the MRC for his project ‘Structural and biophysical basis of Connexin26 channel mediated disease'. Dr Alex Cameron and Dr Corinne Smith are co-investigators.
CO2 is the unavoidable by-product of metabolism and its regulated excretion via breathing is a key homeostatic process. The gap junction protein Connexin26 (Cx26) is an extremely important physiological sensor for CO2. This project will show how CO2 binds to Cx26 to gate channel opening thereby providing the structural underpinnings for one of the most important life preserving reflexes: the CO2-dependent regulation of breathing. Additionally, we will transform mechanistic understanding of how certain Cx26 mutations linked to human pathology alter CO2 binding. This new knowledge will impact across the many diverse fields of biomedical science where connexins, and in particular Cx26, have important roles in normal and abnormal (patho) physiological function in health and disease.
Clathrin: maintaining cell health in geometric style
Dr Corinne Smith, reader in structural biology and biophysics, was recently awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship for her work on clathrin. To find out why Corinne is intrigued by clathrin read her post for the Royal Society of Biology at blog.rsb.org.uk/clathrin-maintaining-cell-health-in-geometric-style
Clathrin cage structures
(images from Kyle Morris and Corinne Smith)
Your chance to explore science in the School of Life Sciences
Members of the public are to be given behind-the-scenes access to scientific laboratories at the University of Warwick, as well as the chance get to grips with cutting-edge research.
Over the next year, the School of Life Sciences will be running open events, allowing people of all ages to come along and find out how the natural world works – from the human brain, to antibiotics and climate change.
Researchers and staff will give live demonstrations of science in action and tours of working laboratories, and they’ll be on hand to answer your questions.
The first event, ‘A healthy brain for a healthy life’, will be devoted to exploring our amazing brains.
Dr Corinne Smith awarded Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship
Dr Corinne Smith has been awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship for her project entitled "defining clathrin network interactions using advanced cryo-electron microscopy". The Fellowship will enable Dr Smith to spend a year away from teaching in order to focus on her research activities.