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Science on the Hill event 30 March - New Scientists: New Research

Science on the Hill is a programme of events jointly organised by the School of Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School - both based on the Gibbet Hill campus.

Our next event is on Tuesday 30 March, 7-8pm - New Scientists: New Research.

Hosted by Prof Kevin Moffat the speakers are Dr Erin Greaves from Warwick Medical School and Dr Ellie Jameson and Emily Hill from the School of Life Sciences.

Find out more

Tue 23 Mar 2021, 10:27 | Tags: Event Research Faculty of Science

Recruitment for 30 new PhD pandemic research scholarships opens today at University of Warwick thanks to over £3 million in donations

The search for 30 people to take up new PhD pandemic research scholarships begins today (Friday 19 March 2021) thanks to philanthropists donating to the University of Warwick’s newly created Institute for Global Pandemic Planning. The 30 new doctoral students will research the best ways for global leaders to respond to pandemics.

Mathematical epidemiologist Dr Mike Tildesley is among the academics who will be supervising the new PhD scholars.

Press Release (19 March 2021)

Fri 19 Mar 2021, 16:15 | Tags: Scholarships Faculty of Science

How bacterial traffic jams lead to antibiotic-resistant, multilayer biofilms

New insight on the physical interactions that take place between swarming bacteria when exposed to antibiotics could lead to novel approaches for treating infections in patients. The bacterial equivalent of a traffic jam causes multilayered biofilms to form in the presence of antibiotics, shows a study by Dr Munehiro Asally and colleagues.

Press Release (16 March 2021)

Wed 17 Mar 2021, 11:12 | Tags: Press Release Faculty of Science

Hunting for life-saving phage in sewage

Dr Eleanor Townsend and Dr Ellie Jameson were part of a documentary on the ‘Secret Science of Sewage', aired on Thursday 18 March. The researchers were filmed collecting samples from Minworth Sewage works and characterising the phages they contain, as a possible solution in the fight against antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Dr Eleanor Townsend was filmed in the School of Life Sciences imaging suite, imaging the phages on the Transmission Electron Microscope. Dr Ellie Jameson discussed the results with Dr George McGavin.

The Jameson laboratory, at the University of Warwick, is developing phage cocktails to prevent the most common UTI infections (Enterobacteriaceae) that can lead to severe complications. Findings have recently been published on the use of phages to prevent catheter biofilms: Townsend, E. M., Moat, J., & Jameson, E. (2020). CAUTI’s Next Top Model–model dependent Klebsiella biofilm inhibition by bacteriophages and antimicrobials. Biofilm, 2, 100038. This involves hunting for novel, diverse phages in sewage and characterising them.

The Jameson laboratory has also supplied their rigorously characterised phages for compassionate use in patients with no other treatment options. This work was recently peer reviewed and accepted in the journal; Phage - Townsend, E., Kelly, L., Gannon, L., Muscatt, G., Dunstan, R., Michniewski, S., ... & Jameson, E. (2020). Isolation and characterisation of Klebsiella phages for phage therapy. bioRxiv. 

Work is currently being expanded to design phage cocktails to treat pneumonia, bloodstream infections and inflammatory bowel disease in collaboration with Professor Trevor Lithgow at Monash University.

Watch 'The Secret Science of Sewage' 

Tue 16 Mar 2021, 09:00 | Tags: TV/Radio Research Faculty of Science

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine features Crop Centre PhD student Andy Gladman

Andy GladmanAs part of a monthly series featuring the eight finalists in the 2020 BBC Gardeners World Magazine Gardens of the Year competition, Andy Gladman, a Crop Centre PhD student and his Leamington Spa ornamental allotment are the subject of March's edition.

The six page article plots his journey,' driven from a lifelong passion for plants', especially kniphofia, echinops, verbena and buddleas and the set back of living in a top floor north facing flat, in transforming an overgrown allotment plot in 2018 from 'a field of couch grass and bindweed' to an 'astonishingly vibrant and drought tolerant garden'. With his interest in plant diversity there are 'around 100 cultivars of kniphofia (red hot poker') that he has been trying to accumulate and is planning on applying for a National Collection status for these and his echinops (globe thistle).

Working on a tight budget and with using materials that otherwise would go to waste as a very important aspect to him,' seed sowing and recycling have been key'. 'The entire path is made up of pavers from a fellow allotmenteer's old driveway' and both greenhouses, furniture in the summer house and one of the greenhouses and water trough are either secondhand or from charity shops.

Many of the plants are a haven for insects and the bees are everywhere. He noted a lot of butterfly diversity when taking part in the Big Butterfly Count 2020 and believes the allotment holders are pleased with the amount of pollinators his garden attracts to the allotments.

More information - Gardeners' World Magazine, March 2021, pages 72-77.
Andy Gladman is a PhD student with Dr Dave Chandler.

Wed 03 Mar 2021, 12:17 | Tags: Crop Centre Interview Faculty of Science

Identified: A mechanism that protects plant fertility from stress

Maize cellsAs temperatures rise due to global warming the need to protect plants from stressful conditions has increased, as stress can cause a loss in yield and cause further impact economically. A consortium led by Professor Jose Gutierrez-Marcos have successfully identified two proteins that protect crops from stress, which is key in safeguarding food production.

Press Release (1 March 2021)

Mon 01 Mar 2021, 11:12 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

New research finds no evidence that schools are playing a significant role in driving spread of the Covid-19 virus in the community

New research by epidemiologist Dr Mike Tildesley and colleagues has found that there is no significant evidence that schools are playing a significant role in driving the spread of the Covid-19 disease in the community, particularly in primary schools. However, careful continued monitoring may be required as schools re-open to stay well informed about the effect they have upon community incidence.

Press Release (15 February 2021)

Mon 15 Feb 2021, 16:31 | Tags: Press Release Faculty of Science

Women in science, innovate in science

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February 2021, young researchers at Warwick, including PhD student Rosanne Maguire, were asked about their hopes for their research and the importance of equality in their chosen field.

Article (11 February 2021)

Thu 11 Feb 2021, 11:15 | Tags: Interview Faculty of Science

University of Warwick signs agreement with agronomy specialist to bring UK beans to market

Prof Holub in a field holding navy beansThe University of Warwick’s research commercialisation wing, Warwick Innovations, has signed a contract with agronomy specialist Agrii to promote the commercial production of UK haricot beans developed by Professor Eric Holub from Warwick’s Crop Centre, part of the School of Life Sciences. Professor Holub has bred three haricot bean varieties which are adapted for growing in the UK climate and are more suited to standard farm machinery.

“Self-sufficiency in food production is important for reducing human impact on global climate. British-grown beans can help us shift our diets to a healthier future, adding to other UK ingredients to supply the growing trend of flexitarian diets with new markets like Brit-Mediterranean and Brex-Mexican style food.” Professor Holub.

Press Release (9 February 2021)

Tue 09 Feb 2021, 14:47 | Tags: Crop Centre Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Soil bacteria hormone discovery provides fertile ground for new antibiotics

StreptomycesResearch by Dr Chris Corre and colleagues could lead to improved manufacturing of existing antibiotics, and open up opportunities to discover new ones.

Press Release (3 Feb 2021)

Wed 03 Feb 2021, 16:37 | Tags: Publication Press Release Research Faculty of Science

How do plants from the past protect plants of the future?

The UK Vegetable Gene Bank, on our Wellesbourne campus, is celebrating 40 years of vital work, making sure the plants we all rely on for a healthy diet have a future.

Watch a recent short BBC video on the Gene Bank.

Mon 14 Dec 2020, 10:00 | Tags: Video Faculty of Science

Future Leader to Watch – Fabrizio Alberti

FabrizioFuture Leader to Watch is a series of interviews with the first authors of a selection of Reviews published in Biology Open, helping early-career researchers promote themselves alongside their papers. Dr Fabrizio Alberti is first author on ‘Recent developments of tools for genome and metabolome studies in basidiomycete fungi and their application to natural product research’, published in BiO.
Read the interview 

Wed 09 Dec 2020, 10:33 | Tags: Interview Faculty of Science

New centre puts farmer priorities at heart of innovation research

Warwick has joined forces with the University of Reading, Royal Agricultural University, Harper Adams University and Newcastle University to focus agricultural research where it can make most difference on the ground. The new Centre for Effective Innovation in Agriculture (CEIA) will see the universities work together to address the gap between scientific research on innovation and real-life farming experience. The centre will focus on how research and development investment can best support innovation to be adopted by farmers.

Press Release (5 December 2020)

Fri 04 Dec 2020, 11:06 | Tags: Press Release Faculty of Science

Chemical memory in plants affects chances of offspring survival

Professor Jose Gutierrez-Marcos and an international team of researchers have uncovered the mechanism that allows plants to pass on their ‘memories’ to offspring, which results in growth and developmental defects.

Press Release (1 December 2020)

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 10:29 | Tags: Publication Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Warwick scientists design model to predict cellular drug targets against Covid-19

A computational model of a human lung cell has been used to understand how SARS-CoV-2 draws on human host cell metabolism to reproduce by Dr Hadrien Delattre and Professor Orkun Soyer. This study helps understand how the virus uses the host to survive, and enable drug predictions for treating the virus to be made.
Press Release (25 November 2020)

Wed 25 Nov 2020, 13:16 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Diabetic drug could slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease

A hallmark of Parkinson's disease is the degeneration of a group of neurons in the brain that release the neurotransmitter dopamine (dopaminergic neurons). By introducing low concentrations of structurally-defined aggregates of alpha synuclein, a key toxic species in Parkinson’s disease, into single dopaminergic neurons, Emily Hill and Dr Mark Wall have shown these protein aggregates open a specific channel in the cell membrane, reducing neuronal excitability.

Press Release (24 November 2020)

Wed 25 Nov 2020, 13:12 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Breakthrough in studying the enzyme that ultimately produces fish odour syndrome

Fish odour syndrome (trimethylaminuria) is a debilitating disease, in which the liver cannot break down the smelly chemical trimethylamine which is produced by enzymes from bacteria residing in the gut leaving people with a fish like odour. Dr Mussa Quareshy and colleagues are paving the way to prevent the syndrome after a breakthrough in studying the enzyme in the gut which produces trimethylamine.

Press Release (23 November 2020)

Mon 23 Nov 2020, 10:49 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Understanding lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis

For young people with cystic fibrosis, lung infection with Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, is common and is treated with antibiotics in the hope that this will prevent a decline in lung function. However there has recently been debate over the role S. aureus plays in CF lung disease. Dr Esther Sweeney, Dr Freya Harrison and colleagues have used a new model of CF lungs which could be used to make better decisions about future use of antibiotics.

Press Release (19 November 2020)

Thu 19 Nov 2020, 16:52 | Tags: Publication Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Chemical clues in leaves can reveal ash tree resistance to deadly disease

Dr John Sidda, Professor Murray Grant and colleagues, have identified a group of chemicals present in ash leaves which could be used as biomarkers to look for susceptibility or resistance to ADB.

Press Release (11 November 2020)

Wed 11 Nov 2020, 11:16 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Could insect manure help grow crops? Warwick and Durham researchers to investigate

The waste from larvae production could be used as a crop fertiliser should commercial insect farms get off the ground in the UK. This is the concept that Rob Lillywhite and researchers at Durham University are investigating as part of a major government-funded project to look at the viability of rearing insects for animal feed in the UK.

Press Release (26 October 2020)

Mon 26 Oct 2020, 16:31 | Tags: Press Release Faculty of Science

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