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£1.5m Crop Research Centre opens at University of Warwick

A facility using gene-editing technology to improve quality, resilience and sustainability of vegetable crops has opened at the University of Warwick.

The Elizabeth Creak Horticultural Technology Centre (ECHTC), which also contains The Jim Brewster Laboratory, is a £1.5 million facility which will use cutting edge techniques such as gene-editing to improve vegetable crops.

Addressing issues relating to disease resistance, crop yield, adaptability to climate change and nutritional value in horticultural plants, the research will help with the key global challenges of climate change and feeding the world’s growing population.

Press Release (10 November 2022)

SLS students represent University of Warwick at Botanical University Challenge

The room was full of tension and enthusiasm on Wednesday 16 February as Warwick’s team, Pistils at Dawn, entered this year’s Botanical University Challenge (BUC). Pistils at Dawn fought well in the closely run competition, coming 11th out of the 18 institutions that entered. Only 4 points separated Pistils at Dawn from the top eight teams, which went on to compete in the finals on 23 February. The Challenge organiser, Dr Jonathan Mitchley sent team Pistils at Dawn “huge commiserations for such a close shave” and told the team to “be proud, very proud” as they were the first ever team to enter for the University of Warwick.
Co-captains Jamie Pike and Annabelle de Vries, along with Andy Gladman, Stefania Luca, and reserve Andis Gyori László, were quizzed on a broad range of botanical subjects including botanical literature and art, plant identification, and national flags! The team hopes to enter again next year, with eyes set on top place. You can see how well you fair and meet the teams by visiting the BUC YouTube channel.

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

A Wilder Future: The Need for a Strong Environment Act - 9 May 2019

Our natural world is in a critical condition. The laws and systems to keep it healthy are failing. More than 60% of plants and animals in the UK are now under threat. One in eight faces extinction.

The Government is currently shaping a new Environment Bill, the first in more than twenty years. It will set out a legal framework for the government’s promise to leave the environment in a better state over the next 25 years. NUS are working with The Wildlife Trusts and WWF to ensure that students and younger generations have their say in this once in a generation opportunity, to set us on a path to restoring nature and securing a just and sustainable future for all.

The Wilder Future evening, at 18:45-21:00 on Thursday 9 May at the University of Warwick, will be an opportunity to hear from leading conservationists and academics and find out what you can do to help achieve nature's recovery.

Keynote speakers include Sir John Lawton, author of the 2010 Making Space for Nature report, and Baroness Parminter, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Dr Rosemary Collier, Academic Lead for the Warwick Global Research Priority on Food, is one of the panel members at this Question Time style event.

Book your free ticket

Thu 02 May 2019, 11:00 | Tags: Event

Delivering STEM experience to young people

Headstart 2018This week the School of Life Sciences is welcoming students from across the UK as part of the 2018 Headstart Programme.

Taking place at the Gibbet Hill campus 15-19 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, cell biology and molecular biology.

Organised by the EDT (Engineering Development Trust), Headstart has been established for more than 18 years as a charitable trust providing hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities and taster courses to encourage young people into technology-based careers.

Thu 19 Jul 2018, 13:30 | Tags: Event Faculty of Science

Life Sciences Graduation and Awards 2018

On Tuesday 17 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.

Wed 18 Jul 2018, 16:07 | Tags: Event Faculty of Science

Life Sciences Graduation and Awards 2017

Graduation 2017On Friday 21 July, graduands from the School of Life Sciences attended the Summer Graduation Ceremony held in Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre.

Mon 24 Jul 2017, 09:43 | Tags: Teaching Event Study Faculty of Science

Demonstrating Food Security Research at the Kenilworth Show - Saturday 10 June

Crop with sunsetA team of academics and students, supported by the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust and British Society of Plant Pathology, are taking part in the Kenilworth Show on Saturday 10 June with a stand demonstrating aspects of their research related to food security, plant pathogens and soil health.

Thu 08 Jun 2017, 15:51 | Tags: Event Faculty of Science

Supporting Women's Careers in Science

AS labOn 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.

Mon 05 Jun 2017, 10:32 | Tags: Athena SWAN Event Faculty of Science

Free event: Monday 8 May 2017 - Fixing houses to fight Chagas disease

Fixing houses to fight Chagas disease

Public talk by Professor Caryn Bern of University of California, San Francisco 'Fixing houses to fight Chagas disease'.

Please register to attend this free event. Spaces are limited on a first come first served basis.

Chagas disease is caused by a parasite transmitted to humans by a large bloodsucking insect called a triatomine, which lives in the walls and roofs of rural mudbrick houses in Latin America. In the southern Bolivian villages where we work, more than half the people are infected and about a third develop potentially fatal Chagas heart disease. Come and learn about the disease and our project to improve houses using local materials to reduce places for the insects to hide and prevent children from becoming infected in the first place.

Please note: This event will take place in the Oculus Building, OC0.03 from 6-8pm. Refreshments and a selection of sandwiches and wraps will be available on arrival.

This presentation will be led by Professor Caryn Bern, University California, San Fransico, in collaboration with the University of Warwick School of Life Sciences.

Further Information: Caryn is currently visiting the SLS and Mathematics departments on an Institute of Advanced Study International Visiting Fellowship. Caryn is an expert on neglected tropical diseases (NTD), particularly Visceral Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease, and has a wealth of experience in field research from working at the Centers for Disease Control in the US for 20 years. For more information about the research that the University of Warwick is carrying out on NTD, please visit the NTD Modelling Consortium webpages.

Fri 21 Apr 2017, 11:15 | Tags: Event Faculty of Science

Public Science event: 'The Fly Room'

On the afternoon of Friday 25 November 2016, Professor Kevin Moffat led a Public Science screening of the critically acclaimed arthouse film ‘The Fly Room’. This film centered around the famous Fly Room at the University of Columbia, run by Dr Thomas Hunt Morgan. It was here that the basic laws that govern heritability and the passing of traits were discovered – work that would eventually win their lab a Nobel Prize in 1933 and formed the foundation of the genetic discoveries that continue today. The focus of the film was on Dr Calvin Bridges and his daughter Betsy, and how their relationship evolved after a father-daughter visit to the lab. This film mixed science and arts in an attempt to not only engage the audience with the scientific story of genetics but also the social story about the relationship between a father and daughter.

After the film showing a Q&A with the director Alexis Gambis was held. Following that, a poster discussion about current Drosophila research from various West Midlands genetics researchers took place.

Feedback from local residents and attendees was incredibly positive with many approving of the film:

Beautiful and intriguing. I loved the interplay between past and present, memories, dreams and reality’

'Beautifully filmed piece on the analysis between relationships and science, with a great non-linear narrative’ 

‘Very engaging I loved the photography and the portrayal of characters and their relationships. Great alternative to a factual lecture in a sterile environment. The music score was great and enhanced the film, especially it’s gentle background presence. This film is a very effective medium to deliver a message, a story and idea. People enjoy stories’

‘Showing a film about science and relationships to an audience of scientists and non-scientists, the duality was there for the viewers as in the film. This is the best way to communicate science to the community’

Why not come to one of our future public science events? For details visit



Thu 01 Dec 2016, 16:31 | Tags: Knowledge Transfer Outreach Event Faculty of Science

Behind-the-scenes access at Warwick’s life sciences labs

AntibioticsScientific laboratories at the University of Warwick are once again being opened up to members of the public – giving YOU behind-the-scenes access to cutting-edge research happening in Coventry.

Over the next year, the School of Life Sciences is running a series of open events, allowing the local community to come along and find out how the natural world works – from our superbrains to superbugs!

The next event, ‘Getting to grips with antibiotic resistance’, will explore the international threat of antimicrobial drug-resistant bacteria – which are predicted to kill more people than cancer by 2050.

Read full Press Release

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.

Read full press release

Event schedule

Mon 19 Sep 2016, 09:08 | Tags: Knowledge Transfer Event Faculty of Science

Warwick Crop Centre Joins Historic Tractor Parade

WCC tractor driversStaff and students from Warwick Crop Centre took part in the ‘70 tractors for 70 years’ Massey Ferguson procession organised by Coventry Transport Museum on Saturday 30 July.

Read the full Press Release

Mon 01 Aug 2016, 10:03 | Tags: Crop Centre Event Press Release Faculty of Science

School of Life Sciences hosts British Biology Olympiad finals 4-6 April

Sixteen of the country’s best young biologists came to the University of Warwick this week for the British Biology Olympiad (BBO) finals; organised by the Royal Society of Biology and sponsored by BBSRC. The students had been selected through three rounds of examinations from more than 7,200 secondary school applicants.

The British Biology Olympiad final practical training programme in the School of Life Sciences was organised by Dr Leanne Williams and Dr Kevin Moffat, with Dr Miriam Gifford and Dr Logan Kistler. The students faced intensive high-level practicals covering a huge range of topics: animal anatomy, systemics and evolution, biochemistry and molecular biology, plant morphology, taxonomy and physiology. Their skills were assessed the following day with exams in the lab, and together with theory exams in the evening, an Olympiad team of 4 students was selected. Teaching was supported by the professional and enthusiastic Life Sciences lab technical team, who rapidly turned around the labs during the quick-fire four-course banquet of practicals and exams!

Details of the participating students and the winning team that will complete in the International Biology Olympiad in Vietnam this summer can be seen at British Biology Olympiad results

In July 2017 the University of Warwick in partnership with the Royal Society of Biology will host the International Biology Olympiad (IBO). This is a week-long biology competition for 16/17 year-olds which brings together winners of the National Biology Olympiads from over 60 countries. The School of Life Sciences will be involved in the practical and theory components of the competition utilising our excellent facilities and biological expertise.

BBO student 1 BBO student 3 BBO student 2
Mon 04 Apr 2016, 13:58 | Tags: Event Faculty of Science

BBC Radio 4 visits Warwick Crop Centre to find out about Pesticide Development

On Saturday 20 October, BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme visited the Warwick Crop Centre to find out how pesticides are developed and regulated. The programme includes:

  • Dr Rosemary Collier on Integrated Pest Management and approaches to the development of pesticides (04:12 - 06:16, 18:17 - 19:43, 24:18 - 24:32))
  • Dr Dave Chandler on biopesticides (06:16 - 10:18)
  • Dr John Clarkson investigating biofumigation to control Sclerotinia (13:26 - 16:00)

Listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer (available until Fri 26 October)

Find out more about Warwick Crop Centre

Tue 23 Oct 2012, 12:33 | Tags: Event