Life Sciences News
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Warwick Award Winners 2019
Congratulations to our University Staff Award winners:
Dr Leanne Williams won the 2019 Warwick Award for Personal Tutoring Excellence (WAPTE). This is a new award that recognises staff who have made an outstanding contribution to the support of students through the personal tutoring system. Leanne already holds a Warwick award for teaching excellence and has been doing amazing work supporting our students over the years.
Dr Rebecca Freeman won a Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence (WATE). Beccy has made an enormous difference to SLS by radically changing our approach to teaching and the students’ approach to learning. She has engaged students as collaborators in the development of our curricula and helped us develop rigorous yet innovative and flexible teaching approaches, which have now become examples of best practice for the University.
Public Engagement Contribution
Professor Nick Dale won the Public Engagement Contribution award. Nick explains "the complexities of his subject, the brain, in a way that drives interest from those who know something and a fascination from others who know less".
Supporting Student Employability
David Molyneux, SLS Senior Careers Advisor, won the award for Supporting Student Employability. David is described "As a colleague, he is unstinting in his devotion. He is giving, generous of spirit and passionately cares about students and their employability".
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.
Pint of Science Coventry brings scientists out of the lab and into your local pub 14-16 May
The public science festival, Pint of Science, is coming to Coventry for the first time this year, with experts from the Universities of Warwick and Coventry talking about their research work in a selection of pubs and venues around the city.
There are a number of talks from researchers in the School of Life Sciences:
14 May - Life is the name of the game
Professor Chris Dowson on 'Antibiotic Resistance: No drugs, bad bugs'
15 May - Drink, Drugs and Sunscreen
Professor Kevin Moffat on 'The life of fly - alcohol, sex and violoence!'
16 May - The future of health
Dr Andrew Nelson on 'Invasion of trophoblasts: maintaining prenancy'
Dr Corinne Hanlon on 'Synthetic Biology - who draws the line'
Free Public Science Evening: Tuesday 2 May 2017
The microbes on us and around us: We can't see them but can't live without them
We all have one, but what is a microbiome? Come and find out at the School of Life Sciences Public Science Evening on Tuesday 2 May.
The event will explore the impact of the microbiome on animals, plants and humans and the huge impact that your microbiome has on you and your health. Come and discover how we can manipulate microbiomes to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.
This event is led by Professor Elizabeth Wellington and follows on from our highly successful Public Science Evenings covering topics such as Neurobiology, Antibiotic Resistance and Plant Pathogens.
The event will include a variety of talks, lab tours and interactive stalls as well as the chance to speak to experts in this field. Light refreshments will be provided. The event will take place in the School of Life Sciences Atrium, Gibbet Hill Campus from 18:00 – 20:00.
Register your place(s).
World TB Day 24 March
On the 24 March 2017 the Fullam lab will be at Cannon Park Shopping Centre from 11:00-19:00.
Come and join us to find out more about TB, and the research that we are doing. There will be the opportunity to talk to people from the lab, take part in a number of competitions to win a tuberculosis petri dish (sponsored by Giant Microbes) and also win a voucher for the best selfie taken in our World TB Day Instaframe that is uploaded to the twitter #WarwickTB. There will be leaflets, balloons and stickers and an interactive activity featuring the 'Big Mouth' clown. Come and join us!
Learn more from our TB video
Any questions, please get in touch with warwickTB@warwick.ac.uk
Countering the Courgette Crisis
It seems we are facing a Courgette Crisis. Although it’s really just a bit of a run on green vegetables, it does remind us that actually, courgettes – and now iceberg lettuce – shouldn’t be ‘February vegetables’. This raises some important issues about what we as consumers have learned to expect when it comes to food.
Researchers at Warwick Crop Centre are looking at ways of improving existing UK vegetable and fruit crops as well as looking for completely new ones.
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 www.warwick.ac.uk/lifesci/outreach/publicscievents
Behind-the-scenes access at Warwicks life sciences labs
Scientific 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.
Lameness treatment guidelines for sheep save UK farmers £700M
Evidence provided by researchers, led by Professor Laura Green from the School of Life Sciences, has helped cut the number of lame sheep in the UK national flock by half, saving the industry £700M over ten years and preventing 7.5 million sheep from becoming lame every year.
Read more about the BBSRC funded study
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.
New IGGY Life Sciences Pages
The new IGGY Life Sciences pages go live today with a competition for IGGY members. Winners will receive free tickets to New Scientist Live.
For a short period the pages are open for non-members to view.
Need more information about IGGY?
Warwick-Monash Alliance funds workshop on Autophagy research
On September 24-25, a Warwick-Monash Alliance funded workshop on Autophagy research was held at Monash University. The workshop was organised by Professor Rodney Devenish (Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Monash University) and Associate Professor Dr Ioannis P. Nezis (School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick). The workshop included formal presentations, an idea-sharing forum, small group interactions and a public lecture with keynote speaker Professor Ana Maria Cuervo, a world-leader in autophagy research field, from Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The main focus of the workshop was to bring Warwick and Monash researchers together to collaborate and to develop ideas and concepts for future joint funding.
Formed in early 2012, the Monash Warwick Alliance represents an innovation in higher education and research and aims to accelerate the exchange of people, ideas and information between Monash University and the University of Warwick.
(Image: Prof Devenish, Prof Cuervo and Prof Nezis)
Marine conservation research in top 20 global impact case studies
The UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) has listed the School of Life Sciences marine conservation case study as one of its top 20 favourite impact stories showing how research is improving lives of people around the world. The study led by Prof Charles Sheppard was selected from 6,975 impact case studies submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) which is a system used to assess research quality in UK universities.
The case study shows how Prof Charles Sheppard and colleagues have been co-ordinating new approaches to coral reef conservation, restoration and management, using the coral reefs and islands in the Chagos Archipelago as a reference site. Underpinned by UK research, this British Indian Ocean Territory has now been declared a Marine Protected Area, supporting ecosystem conservation to benefit tropical habitats and help preserve livelihoods in some of the poorest countries in that region.
For full details visit UKCDS Conserving marine environments
(Image courtesy of Anne Sheppard)
Plant science collaboration with Brazil to improve vegetable crops
Dr John Walsh, Associate Professor in the School of Life Sciences, and his collaborators have been awarded £15,000 for a research project on the characterisation of Potyviruses infecting vegetable crops in Brazil. The project was funded through the FAPESP SPRINT scheme (São Paulo Researchers in International Collaboration), which aims to encourage and promote the advancement of scientific research through partnerships between researchers in São Paulo State and overseas. The University of Warwick is one of only five UK institutions that has partnered with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to support this scheme.
Dr Walsh’s project will be carried out in collaboration with Prof Elliot Kitajima from the University of São Paulo’s Department of Plant Pathology and Nematology in Piracicaba and Dr Marcelo Eiras from the Instituto Biologico in São Paulo. Initial activities to develop this partnership were supported by the University of Warwick’s Brazil Partnership Fund in 2014. The Brazilian operation of the commercial seed company Sakata are also involved in the research programme.
Potyviruses cause significant losses in agricultural, pastoral, horticultural and ornamental crops. This project focusses on Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV), which causes diseases in the economically important brassica family of crops including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip and oilseed rape. Through determining the diversity of TuMV and investigating broad-spectrum resistance to the virus the team is expecting to identify naturally occurring resistance genes which can then be introduced into commercial crop lines. The collaboration brings together complementary expertise in plant science research which will lead to significant synergies and knowledge exchange, but also has the potential to generate substantial societal and economic benefits through collaboration with industry and the resulting exploitation of intellectual property.
GARNish newsletter puts spotlight on plant science at Warwick
The latest GARNish newsletter highlights plant science in Life Sciences, profiling the work of our academics.
'Plant science research at the University of Warwick is characterised by the breadth of expertise - from fundamental molecular mechanisms to projects with direct application to industry. We have world-class basic science in signalling, gene regulation, development, plant– environment (microbes, virus, soil) interactions, and evolution through to pest management, crop genetics and genomics underpinning the development of new varieties.'
Read the newsletter (pdf)
Getting agricultural information to smallholder farmers can help improve food security
BBSRC-funded PhD student Andrew Tock, from Warwick Crop Centre, explores 'plant clinics' in Uganda where farmers can receive objective and impartial advice on how to best treat their crops to protect them from pests. The diary is based on a three-month project in Uganda, and part of the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP), a BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership. Find out more in Andy's blog.
Video courtesy of BBSRC
Life Sciences researchers feature in scientific video journal
Sophie Piquerez, Alex Jones and Vardis Ntoukakis describe a protocol for the purification and characterization of plant protein complexes in the latest Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) video. Using Nicotiana benthamiana and the tomato Prf/Pto complex as a model, they demonstrate that by immunoprecipitating a single protein within a complex, they can identify its post-translational modifications and its interacting partners.