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Life Sciences News

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Arctic's Global Seed Vault to receive 1000 types of seeds from Warwick's Vegetable Genebank

Just under 1000 seed samples from different crop species including kale, carrots and cauliflower are to be deposited at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Arctic Norway on Tuesday 25 February 2020, from the UK Vegetable Genebank (UKVGB) at the University of Warwick Wellesbourne campus.

Press Release


UK researchers aim to tackle top horticultural pests and diseases

National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) researchers are taking on four new research programmes tackling high priority pests and diseases, thanks to a new £250,000 initiative from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and AHDB.

This pilot initiative between AHDB and BBSRC will address critical research questions associated with high priority pests and diseases that present a significant threat to UK horticultural production. The projects will run from late 2019 until March 2020 and the results will be shared with the industry when available.

Dr John Clarkson is a collaborator with NIAB Research Scientist Dr Helen Bates on a project to develop disease prediction of onion basal rot using a quantitative molecular test.

Fri 14 Feb 2020, 15:09 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science Faculty of Science

Check your pulses

Eric HolubThe Knowledge Centre look at research by Professor Eric Holub into new haricot bean varieties which are suitable for growing in the UK climate.
Read the article


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.


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.


Seventy years of crop research at Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus celebrated at industry event

Over 100 scientists, industry experts and employees past and present gathered at Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus this week (Wednesday 18 December) to mark 70 years of crop research on the site.

Press release


The Vegetables of Christmas Future

If you think about a traditional Christmas dinner, there’s turkey with pigs in blankets, or maybe you prefer a nut roast. But the rest is vegetables. A large proportion of our plate should be covered in vegetables, and the standard winter varieties, like carrots and sprouts, are grown very successfully in the UK.

But will this always be the case? Climate change is bringing with it new challenges as well as making known pests and diseases more difficult to tackle. Scientists at Warwick's Crop Centre, are working to understand the pests and diseases of the some of the UK’s major crops and developing, using traditional plant breeding and genetic expertise, new resistant varieties.

Knowledge Centre article


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


NERC CENTA DTP funded studentships are recruiting for PhD study for 2020/21 entry

CENTA stands for Central England NERC Training Alliance, a consortium of Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training within the remit of the Natural Environment Research Council. As a CENTA student, you will belong to a consortium well-resourced to provide you with extensive training to give you confidence in all aspects of your research.

PhD Project themes:

·  Climate and Environmental Sustainability

·  Organisms and Ecosystems

·  Dynamic Earth

Apply now

Deadline for applications: 10 January 2020


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


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


Seed collection conserves genetic diversity of vegetables

Listen to Dr Charlotte Allender discuss the need to conserve the genetic diversity of vegetables, and how this is being done at the University of Warwick's seed bank facility.

Radio discussion (28 Sept 2019)

The Warwick Genetic Resources Unit houses the UK Vegetable Genebank, a globally significant collection of around 14,000 seed samples of a range of vegetable crops.


How close are we to there being a British Baked Bean?

Prof Eric Holub being interviewed by the BBCDr David Gregory-Kumar from BBC Midlands Today reports on the harvest of the first full size field of a new variety of haricot bean bred by Professor Eric Holub for the UK's climate. Watch the report and read the press release

Thu 19 Sep 2019, 10:37 | Tags: Plant and Crop Science TV/Radio Faculty of Science

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.


New awards target breakthrough technologies to enhance food security

A recent collaboration between the BBSRC, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is helping researchers potentially advance technology that brings more security to crop agriculture of the future. Dr Stephen Jackson and Dr Jose Gutierrez-Marcos are amongst those receiving funding.

Press release


Phenom UK 2019

On Monday 22 July, researchers from the University of Sheffield, Rothamsted Research and the University of Nottingham attended a networking event at the University of Warwick Wellesbourne campus. The event was organised by Dr Beatriz Lagunas and sponsored by Phenom UK (‘Technology Touching Life programme funded jointly by BBSRC/EPSRC/MRC). In the morning, visitors enjoyed a guided tour around the field research facility including the pathogen quarantine fields, insect pest trial area, the low nutrient field, and the main rotation fields for irrigated trials. In the afternoon, a round table discussion focused on the challenges of field-based phenotyping.

The breadth of expertise amongst participants allowed discussion of ideas for relating aerial spectral imaging of the crop canopy with below-ground differences in soil nutrient/root/microbe interactions. The consensus was that pilot data is needed in a specific crop from small-scale controlled experiments to identify disease signature wavelengths and then move to field phenotyping based, for example using drone-based imaging in collaboration with both the University of Sheffield and Rothamsted Research. The PhenomUK website will provide a useful forum for further discussions. All Warwick people interested in following up the discussions are encouraged to do it through the Plant & Crop Science Theme and to register at the Phenom UK website.

Phenom UK participants standing in a field of haricot beans

Phenom UK networking visit attendants standing in a field of haricot beans (from left to right):
Craig Sturrock (U. of Nottingham), Patrick Schäfer (U. of Warwick), Rob Lillywhite (U. of Warwick), Stephen A. Rolfe (U. of Sheffield), Graham Teakle (U. of Warwick), Gabriel Castrillo (U. of Nottingham), John Clarkson (U. of Warwick), Beatriz Lagunas (U. of Warwick), Guilhem Reyt (U. of Nottingham), Sally Mann (U. of Warwick), Malcolm Hawkesford (Rothamsted Research), Alexander McCormack (U. of Warwick), Tim Mauchline (Rothamsted Research), Rosemary Collier (U. of Warwick), Joost H.M. Stassen (U. of Sheffield), Rory Hayden (U. of Nottingham) and Eric Holub (U. of Warwick).


When and how did we first start to domesticate wild plants?

Professor Robin Allaby talks to CrowdScience on the BBC World Service and explains all.

Listen to bbc.in/2JV7jpV (Interview starts at approx 5:28).


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.


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