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Life Sciences News

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Microbial interactions in aquatic environments to be investigated

Prof Orkun SoyerThe microbes found in aquatic environments and their interactions will be investigated by Warwick researcher Professor Orkun Soyer, thanks to an investigator award from The Gordon and Betty Moore foundation.

Press release


Learning and Teaching Workshop: Re-imaging the first year student experience - 20 March 2020

SLS is hosting a FREE Royal Society of Biology sponsored HUBS learning and teaching workshop on 20 March 2020 to develop ideas and strategies to inform our understanding of what makes for the best possible undergraduate bioscience first year.


Infectious diseases to be detected and prevented thanks to £4m grant

A £4 million grant from The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) was awarded to researchers led by Professor Xavier Didelot, to set up a new Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Genomics and Enabling Data. This unit will ensure that cutting edge genomic methods are being used to protect public health.

Mon 27 Jan 2020, 11:11 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Faculty of Science

Warwick ranked as one of UK’s top 3 Universities for “High Flier” graduates most sought after by leading employers

Leading employers have ranked the University of Warwick as one of UK’s top three universities for “High Flier” graduates most sought after.


Slime Santa beard likes hot peppers

· A slime Santa beard has been made by Ian Hands-Portman at the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences

· The slime is a not a plant, animal or fungi it is a myxomycete, and feeds off oats, likes hot peppers, but doesn’t like chocolate

· Slime molds are useful to scientists and are being used to research cancer treatments as it is one cell with multiple nuclei, they also solve mazes and maps in a more efficient way than humans, so computer scientists are looking at using them for faster lower energy computers and sat-navs.

Knowledge Centre article

Tue 17 Dec 2019, 14:50 | Tags: Biotechnology Article Faculty of Science

Superbugs, stem cells and more at University of Warwick’s showcase of science

Whether you are fascinated by superbugs, stem cells, or circadian rhythms, a new programme of free events from the University of Warwick will give you the ideal vantage point on biological and medical science.'Science on the Hill' is a new programme of public engagement events jointly hosted by the School of Life Sciences and the Wellcome-Warwick Quantiative Biomedicine Programme at Warwick Medical School. These interactive two hour events taking place across the academic year will feature 20 researchers giving a birds-eye view of the latest exciting developments in their discipline.

Press release


MIBTP Recruitment for 2020/21 entry is now open

The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) is a BBSRC funded doctoral training partnership between the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, Aston University and Harper Adams University.

The MIBTP has an ambitious vision to deliver innovative, world class research across the life sciences to boost the growing bio-economy in the Midlands and across the UK.

PhD studentship projects are focussed in vital research areas such as Sustainable Agriculture and Food, Understanding the Rules of Life, Renewable Resources and Clean Growth and Integrated Understanding of Health and uses interdisciplinary and quantitative approaches to biology.

Students from a wide diversity of academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply: those with creative drive in both theoretical disciplines (for example, maths, computer science, statistics) as well as experimental science (for example, biology, biomedicine, chemistry, biotechnology).

Apply now

Deadline for applications: 12 January 2020


Going viral: What are bacteriophages and how can they help us?

BacteriophageAntibiotics are going to stop working. Bacteria are developing resistance to the drugs we have to treat them and there is no doubt that without action getting an infection or having surgery is going to get a lot more risky. With a global health crisis on our hands, scientists across the world are now trying to find alternatives to the drugs which have kept us alive for the past decade.

One possible solution is the use of bacteriophages.

Dr Antonia Sagona is working on understanding how phages fight infections.

Read Knowledge Centre article


Synthetic Biology UK 2019

Synthetic Biology UK: 9-10 December 2019, University of Warwick

Synthetic biology is a convergence of multiple fields that can generate both improved understanding of biological systems as well as cutting-edge biotechnology. The establishment of six UK centres focused on synthetic biology has significantly enhanced growth of this area, and there is accordingly a sizeable community in this country working on a diversity of projects. In addition, there are many companies in the biotech and pharma sectors that are incorporating synthetic biology technologies into their R&D programmes. In response to this growth, the community initiated a series of annual SBUK conferences. These have so far been hosted by the respective Synthetic Biology Research Centres at Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol.

Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre (WISB) pursues a diverse and distinctive research programme of synthetic biology research, with strengths in both experimental and computational aspects. We have strong links to other international synthetic biology centres, including in the USA, Germany, Estonia, Denmark, China and Brazil as well as to multiple international companies.

The fourth SBUK, to be held on Warwick campus, will feature a wide range of themes presented by colleagues from the UK and from abroad. It will appeal to researchers from many other fields because of the state-of-the-art technologies and wide range of organisms and challenges that will be discussed. Colleagues are encouraged to look at the programme and to consider joining us at what is expected to be an exciting and informative event.

Find out more and register

Fri 22 Nov 2019, 12:18 | Tags: Biotechnology Conference Faculty of Science

Over £20 million government award marks Midlands’ bio-economy strengths

A consortium of Midlands research-active universities has just been awarded research studentships worth over £20 million to build on the Midlands’ already significant bio-economy and success in life sciences and agricultural research.

The Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership 2020 (MIBTP2020) is led by the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick and brings together a number of other Warwick research departments, in partnership with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, Aston University and Harper Adams University. The funding comes from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council arm of the Government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding organisation. This award will be matched by the universities in the partnership to fund a total of 245 doctoral students (59 per year) over the next 5 years.

Press release


Great Wall Symposium 2019

Group photo of delegates attending the Great Wall Symposium

Bacterial cell biology researchers from across the world gathered at The Pasteur institute in Paris at the end of September to attend the 6th biennial Great Wall symposium organised by Professor David Roper and Professor Ivo Boneca (Pasteur). This three day meeting on all aspects of bacterial cell wall biosynthesis was attended by just under 200 interdisciplinary researchers on all aspects of bacterial cell wall microbiology.

Dr Adrian Lloyd from SLS provided an invited talk on his recently submitted research on 'Substrate and stereochemical control of cell wall crosslinking by E. coli PBP1B' as well as a posters from a number of Warwick PhD students from SLS and WMS.


First milestone for IBRB

The Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building (IBRB) will be a new state-of-the-art research building on the Gibbet Hill campus that will bring together up to 300 biomedical researchers from across the School of Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School to fight human diseases.

Wed 18 Sep 2019, 10:44 | Tags: Biomedical Science Biotechnology Faculty of Science IBRB

Warwick rises a further two places to 77th in the THE World University Rankings

The University of Warwick has risen two places to 77th overall in the THE (Times Higher Education) 2019 World University Rankings published on the evening of Wednesday 11th September 2019. This rise is in addition to Warwick’s leap of a dozen places in the 2018 table.


SLS Graduation 2019

Graduation 2019On Tuesday 16 July, graduands from the School of Life Sciences attended the Summer Graduation Ceremony held in Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre. The Head of School, Professor Lorenzo Frigerio, academic tutors and other staff also attended the ceremony. Staff gathered afterwards to meet the graduates, their friends and family, at a buffet lunch in the Rootes Building. Students were congratulated on their achievements and class prizes were awarded.

We wish our graduates all the best as they embark on the next stage of their careers.


Life Sciences welcomes the next generation of scientists

Students working in the lab as part of Headstart courseThis week the School of Life Sciences is welcoming students from across the UK as part of the 2019 Headstart Programme.

Taking place at the Gibbet Hill campus 7– 11 July, the Headstart course provides a university taster course for 16-17 year olds with the opportunity to explore the different biological disciplines taught within the School of Life Sciences. The Life Sciences course enables students to gain experience at a prestigious university prior to making UCAS applications, showing them the different courses and career paths available.

Across the week, students will take part in a wide range of hands-on laboratory experiments and lectures including physiology, microbiology, epidemiology and molecular biology.

Administered by the EDT (Engineering Development Trust), a charitable trust, Headstart provides hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities and taster courses to encourage young people into technology-based careers.

Discussing the summer school’s programme Dr Daniel Franklin, Senior Teaching Fellow and summer school organiser, said ‘The students are experiencing all of the successful teaching elements of our degrees, lectures, labs and importantly one of our excellent tutorials. It is very satisfying to see that they are embracing the different subjects being covered, and clear that the students are scientifically curious. I am really pleased that some of our excellent teaching is giving the students a rewarding time.’

We hope to inspire students to study life sciences at university in the future.

At Warwick we offer:


Thesis Prize Winners

Every year, the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and the School of Life Sciences, jointly run a PhD Thesis Prize competition with prizes provided by each. Supervisors are invited to put forward students for consideration.

This year, the winner of the Faculty Thesis Prize is Dr Fábio Henrique dos Santos Rodrigues, who did his PhD with Prof John McCarthy. The thesis title is 'Targeting trypanosomatid translation factor interactions'. The work has been published in a joint first author paper in Nucleic Acids Research.

The winner of the School of Life Sciences Thesis Prize is Dr Jenny Goodman, who did her PhD with Dr Alex Jones. Jenny's thesis is entitled 'The role of Feronia in regulating growth and development in Arabidopsis Thaliana roots'. A methods paper and a middle author paper have already come from the PhD, and two first author papers – including one for PNAS – are in process.


Warwick Ranked in UK Top 10 and World Top 100 by QS

The University of Warwick has been named as one of the UK’s top ten, and one of the world’s top 100, universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Press Release


Bacteria such as E. coli detected in minutes by new technology

Dr Munehiro Asally, Dr James Stratford and colleagues, showed that bioelectrical signals from bacteria can be used to rapidly determine if they are alive or dead.

The findings offer a new technology which detects live bacteria in minutes instead of waiting for lab-test results which can take days.

When 'zapped' with an electrical field, live bacteria absorb dye molecules, causing the cells to light up and allowing them to be counted easily.

This rapid technique can detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Press Release

Thu 13 Jun 2019, 15:10 | Tags: Biotechnology Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Pint of Science returns next week bringing scientists out of the lab and into your local pub

  • Scientists from Coventry and Warwick universities to appear in city pubs and venues as the world's largest festival of public science talks arrives in Coventry and Leamington from the 20-22 May
  • Talks will cover a wide range of topics including sleep, batteries, space, dyslexia, pollution, plastic and paramedics
  • Coventry to join nearly 300 cities around the world taking part in this global festival
  • Some evenings are already sold out. Tickets are on sale from: pintofscience.co.uk/events/coventry

See Press Release

Examples of talks from Life Sciences

It's in your genes - 20 May 7:30-9:30pm - a series of three talks, including:

Dr Robert Spooner and Professor Kevin Moffat - The DNA Double Act

Who discovered DNA? Well, the double act Watson and Crick - right? Well, not according to Kevin and Robert, who will introduce you to a host of “lesser known” pairs that helped to pioneer the discovery, sequencing and understanding of DNA. Exploring historical events, the 100,000 Human Genome project and beyond; this talk literally has “something for everyone” as genetic research paves the way to personalised medical treatments. Even DNA likes a companion – just look at its structure! So, why not bring a friend and come along to find out more about DNA, and who really did discover it!

Nurturing nature – 20 May 7:30-9:30pm - a series of three talks including:
Amy Newman (PhD Student, University of Warwick) - More than dirt: the hidden world under our feet

Many of us give little thought to the soil beneath our feet but it's vital for all life on earth. Amy's talk will unearth some fascinating examples of the microscopic life that's living all around us. Come along to find out about the microbes which helped to create the first plants to colonise the Earth's surface millions of years ago, and to hear about recent advances in scientific methods which show exciting potential for the discovery of new chemicals such as pharmaceuticals.


Self-lighting Christmas trees could be the future

Self-lighting xmas treeSay goodbye to tangled up Christmas lights, as self-lighting Christmas trees could be the future thanks to scientists from the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre (WISB) using VR.

Press Release


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