See our Latest Journal Publications
Warwick included in ancient DNA compilation celebrating Nobel Prize
Nature Portfolio has compiled a collection of key ancient DNA papers in celebration of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine award to the field’s principal pioneer, Svante Pääbo, which includes the work of Professor Robin Allaby published in Nature Reviews Methods Primers. The paper outlines the best current methodological approaches to the field, the wide range of applications possible and ethics involved. The primer is freely available for a month.
The Nobel Prize was awarded in particular for the discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution which has dramatically changed how we understand human evolution and contributes to our understanding of modern-day human physiology. At Warwick, Professor Allaby has applied ancient DNA to past genomes of crop plants which is rewriting our understanding of domestication, recently reviewed in Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
Scientists develop a new non-opioid pain killer with fewer side effects
A team of scientists, co-led by researchers from the School of Life Sciences, has investigated a compound called BnOCPA (benzyloxy-cyclopentyladenosine), found to be a potent and selective analgesic which is non-addictive in test model systems. BnOCPA also has a unique mode of action and potentially opens a new pipeline for the development of new analgesic drugs.
Press Release (20 July 2022)
Consider farmers at individual level when controlling livestock disease outbreaks, researchers say
The findings are the latest from the BBSRC-funded Farmer-led Epidemic and Endemic Disease-management (FEED) project, an interdisciplinary research group including epidemiologists, mathematical modellers, behavioural scientists and veterinarians from the Universities of Warwick and Nottingham. The research is published this week, in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, in a paper entitled “Modelling livestock infectious disease control policy under differing social perspectives on vaccination behaviour”.
Press Release (15 July 2022)
New insights into how cyanobacteria regulate zinc uptake in the open ocean
Marine cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are major contributors to the global carbon cycle and are the basis of the food web in many of the world’s oceans. They only require sunlight, carbon dioxide, plus a panel of essential elements, including metals, to sustain life. However, little is known about whether and how cyanobacteria utilize or regulate zinc, an element often considered to be essential to life.
An interdisciplinary research team including Professor Dave Scanlan and Dr Alevtina Mikhaylina, has identified a remarkably efficient regulatory network that controls zinc accumulation in the open ocean cyanobacterium Synechococcus.
Press Release (9 June 2022)
Warwick researchers identify novel cellular process that helps us understand the mechanisms of ageing-related diseases
Compounds made from ‘digested’ molecules feeds appetite for greener pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals
A method of producing vital chemical building blocks for use in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries that mimics how plants manufacture them has been developed by a team at the Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre. The new method uses enzymes to produce indolic amides, carboxylic acids and auxins – vital for use in pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.
Press Release (1 February 2022)
New research giving insight into the persistence of highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease virus features on front cover of Science Magazine
A major new study, featured on the cover of Science Magazine today (1 October 2021), undertaken by Dr Erin Gorsich and colleagues at The Pirbright Institute, Oregon State University, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute and SANParks, Veterinary Wildlife Services, Kruger National Park explores the mechanisms at play that enable the persistence of highly infectious pathogens in their host populations, a major problem in endemic disease ecology.
Press release (1 October 2021)
Starving Tuberculosis (TB) of sugars may be a new way to fight it
Tuberculosis is a devastating disease that claims over 1.5 million lives each year. The increase in TB cases that are resistant to the current antibiotics means that novel drugs to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) are urgently needed. Dr Elizabeth Fullam and colleagues have successfully discovered how Mycobacterium tuberculosis uses an essential sugar called trehalose, which provides a platform to design new and improved TB drugs and diagnostic agents.
Press Release (15 April 2021)
Chemical memory in plants affects chances of offspring survival
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)
Precautionary Breaks: planned, limited duration circuit breaks to control the prevalence of COVID-19
Cases of COVID-19 are rising exponentially in almost all regions of the country, with some areas experiencing extremely high levels of infection - new research involving University of Warwick researchers has found. Against this backdrop of rising cases, their paper examines the impact of a short 2-week period of intense control.
Press Release (14 October 2020)
Breakthrough in studying ancient DNA from Doggerland that separates the UK from Europe
Real-time foot-and-mouth strategy to better fight disease
Future outbreaks of foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease can be combatted quickly and efficiently from early on – when authorities have minimal information – thanks to a new real-time strategy, developed by researchers in the School of Life Sciences.
Odd genetics of a tri-sexual worm
In a recent paper published in Current Biology, Dr Andre Pires da Silva and colleagues describe a species of nematode that has three sexes - male, female and hermaphrodite. Auanema rhodensis, the worm featured in the study, uses an unusual reproductive strategy with only one sex chromosome (X). Hermaphrodites and female worms have two X chromosomes; males have just one X chromosome. Researchers found that some hermaphroditic worms will produce sperm with two X chromosomes and eggs with no chromosomes. When the hermaphroditic worms and male worms mate, only more male worms are produced. One possible explanation is that male worms may be important for the species' genetic diversity, providing A. rhodensis with the ability to adapt to changing conditions more efficiently than other species.
- Read paper: Sex- and Gamete-Specific Patterns of X Chromosome Segregation in a Trioecious Nematode Current Biology, Vol 28, Issue 1 p93-99e
- Interview in Newsweek
A Critical Reflection on the 28th International Biology Olympiad
The 28th International Biology Olympiad (IBO) took place at the University of Warwick between 23 – 30 July 2017 with 264 international competitors (aged 14 – 18) competing in a series of practical and theoretical exams devised by School of Life Sciences staff and colleagues from the Royal Society of Biology.
Branagh Crealock-Ashurst, our Student Experience and Outreach Assistant, has written a critical reflection on the IBO from how the event was logistically organised to a semi-statistical analysis of the overall results of the competition and what they meant in terms of the pedagogical approach to examination. The paper entitled 'A Critical Reflection on the 28th International Biology Olympiad' was published in the October issue of Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal (available at http://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/article/view/221).
Ash dieback: Insect threat to fungus-resistant trees
Ash trees which can resist the killer dieback fungus may be more vulnerable to attacks by insects, according to new research.
Scientists from the universities of Exeter and Warwick examined trees which are resistant to ash dieback and – unexpectedly – found they had very low levels of chemicals which defend against insects.
With efforts under way to protect ash trees from dieback, the scientists warn that selecting trees for fungal resistance could put them at risk from insects.