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Scientists reveal why sprouts taste better as you get older… and why your grandparents were right all along

Researchers from Warwick Crop Centre are sharing food for thought about the humble sprout this Christmas and tell us:

• Why having a gene mutation makes sprouts taste horrid

• Why sprouts taste better after frost

• Why they make us gassy

Press release (15 December 2022)

Thu 15 Dec 2022, 13:46 | Tags: Press Release Research Plant & Agricultural Bioscience

£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)


£1.7m memorial donation enables new antimicrobial research

A £1.7 million memorial donation will help drive new research into antimicrobial resistance at the University of Warwick. The donation, made in recognition of the late Sir Howard Dalton, will fund research and scholarships to help discover new drugs that target resistant microbes.

On Thursday 20 October, a launch event was held in the University of Warwick’s new Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building (IBRB) for the Sir Howard Dalton Centre for Translational Mechanistic Enzymology. Professor Chris Dowson, Co-Director of the new Centre said “A key focus for scientists at the Centre will be understanding changes to enzyme structures which underpin drug resistance in microbes. We want to discover how these modified enzymes are formed and what we can do to overcome the resistance".

Press Release (21 October 2022)


Warwick included in ancient DNA compilation celebrating Nobel Prize

Robin AllabyNature 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.


Warwick researchers identify novel cellular process that helps us understand the mechanisms of ageing-related diseases

A team of researchers led by Professor Ioannis Nezis has identified the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate selective autophagy in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Press Release (31 May 2022)


Vacancies - Assistant or Associate Professor in Life Sciences

Two female scientists in the labWe have three positions available for Assistant or Associate Professor to join the School of Life Sciences (SLS). We are looking for individuals who are capable of developing innovative and original research programmes that address current and future challenges in life science, such as environmental change, sustainable intensification, biology of disease, neuroscience, understanding whole organism dynamics or engineering biology.

Closing date: Sunday 16 January 2022.

Find out more

Mon 06 Dec 2021, 13:36 | Tags: Teaching Research Faculty of Science

CTP programme for Sustainable Agricultural Innovation - funded PhD project opportunity

John Clarkson in lettuce fieldThe UKRI and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has awarded a Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) grant to a consortium led by G’s Growers Ltd. The CTP programme for Sustainable Agricultural Innovation (CTP-SAI) is a groundbreaking partnership between leading businesses, charities and research providers to offer outstanding training for the agri-food sector.

Through this programme, the University of Warwick is offering a PhD enabling the successful candidate to gain a wide range of experience in conventional and molecular plant pathology and also of microbial community analyses through next generation sequencing approaches. This PhD is a unique opportunity to blend research techniques from lab to field and work with one of Europe’s biggest lettuce producers. The project on 'Integrated control of Fusarium wilt of lettuce in relation to pathogen and microbial community dynamics' will be supervised by Professor John Clarkson (SLS) and Dr Helen Bates (NIAB).

The deadline for applications is 8 April 2022.

Find out more about the project


Arctic Drift: A Year in the Ice - watch the documentary on 16 October

scientists taking ice cores on the MOSAiC expeditionOn Saturday 16 October 2021 at 6:30pm, Channel 4 will be showcasing the documentary 'Arctic Drift: A Year in the Ice', covering the goal of MOSAIC and the science undertaken during the Expedition.

In September 2019, the icebreaker RV Polarstern left her home port in Bremerhaven to sail north. Her goal was to act as the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC), the largest Arctic Research Expedition ever undertaken, with the collaboration of over 80 institutions from 20 countries, to study both winter and summer processes and relationships between ocean, ice and atmosphere.

University of Warwick SLS scientists Dr Alison Webb, Professor Hendrik Schaefer and Professor Yin Chen, undertook the 'Sea Ice Microbiology and the Role in Cycling of Sulfur' (SIMbRICS) Project during the second half of MOSAiC. Overall, this project, in collaboration with the University of Groningen (NL) and the University of East Anglia (UK), aimed to study the in-situ production of the climate-relevant biogenic gas dimethylsulfide (DMS) and to link this with the diversity of the microbial community.

As the sea ice transitioned from the long Arctic winter, through a short spring to summer of 24 hours of daylight, ice melt created a highly variable environment of meltponds and a stratified surface ocean, which changed again through the onset of autumn. These changes create a high stress environment for the microbiome and the SIMbRICS project is investigating how these changing conditions affect the production of climate-relevant trace gases such as DMS.

Find out more about the MOSAiC Expedition

Thu 14 Oct 2021, 13:27 | Tags: TV/Radio Research Faculty of Science

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)

Fri 16 Apr 2021, 14:08 | Tags: Publication Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Associate Professor/ Professor of Infection Microbiology position available

Applications are invited for an Associate Professor or Professor of Infection Microbiology to join the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick.

The School of Life Sciences has an international presence in microbiology, particularly within the global research priority of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We aim to appoint an outstanding new academic staff member to strengthen research in cross-disciplinary approaches, complementing existing strengths in the School and leading a laboratory based research group in one or more of the following areas: antimicrobial resistance, anti-infective discovery, host-pathogen interactions and immunology including the microbiome, microbial genetics, virology and structural and chemical biology approaches to address human and animal infection.

Closing date: 30 April 2021

Find out more

Fri 26 Mar 2021, 12:03 | Tags: Vacancies Teaching Research Faculty of Science

Construction completed on “world-class” biomedical research building

IBRB biomedical research building Our impressive new IBRB biomedical research building has been completed. The new state-of-the-art lab spaces will support our interdisciplinary world-class research in neuroscience, microbiology and infection, and cell biology.

Press Release (24 March 2021)

Wed 24 Mar 2021, 15:14 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

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

Hunting for life-saving phage in sewage

Dr Eleanor Townsend and Dr Ellie Jameson were part of a documentary on the ‘Secret Science of Sewage', aired on Thursday 18 March. The researchers were filmed collecting samples from Minworth Sewage works and characterising the phages they contain, as a possible solution in the fight against antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Dr Eleanor Townsend was filmed in the School of Life Sciences imaging suite, imaging the phages on the Transmission Electron Microscope. Dr Ellie Jameson discussed the results with Dr George McGavin.

The Jameson laboratory, at the University of Warwick, is developing phage cocktails to prevent the most common UTI infections (Enterobacteriaceae) that can lead to severe complications. Findings have recently been published on the use of phages to prevent catheter biofilms: Townsend, E. M., Moat, J., & Jameson, E. (2020). CAUTI’s Next Top Model–model dependent Klebsiella biofilm inhibition by bacteriophages and antimicrobials. Biofilm, 2, 100038. This involves hunting for novel, diverse phages in sewage and characterising them.

The Jameson laboratory has also supplied their rigorously characterised phages for compassionate use in patients with no other treatment options. This work was recently peer reviewed and accepted in the journal; Phage - Townsend, E., Kelly, L., Gannon, L., Muscatt, G., Dunstan, R., Michniewski, S., ... & Jameson, E. (2020). Isolation and characterisation of Klebsiella phages for phage therapy. bioRxiv. 

Work is currently being expanded to design phage cocktails to treat pneumonia, bloodstream infections and inflammatory bowel disease in collaboration with Professor Trevor Lithgow at Monash University.

Watch 'The Secret Science of Sewage' 

Tue 16 Mar 2021, 09:00 | Tags: TV/Radio Research Faculty of Science

Identified: A mechanism that protects plant fertility from stress

Maize cellsAs temperatures rise due to global warming the need to protect plants from stressful conditions has increased, as stress can cause a loss in yield and cause further impact economically. A consortium led by Professor Jose Gutierrez-Marcos have successfully identified two proteins that protect crops from stress, which is key in safeguarding food production.

Press Release (1 March 2021)

Mon 01 Mar 2021, 11:12 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

University of Warwick signs agreement with agronomy specialist to bring UK beans to market

Prof Holub in a field holding navy beansThe University of Warwick’s research commercialisation wing, Warwick Innovations, has signed a contract with agronomy specialist Agrii to promote the commercial production of UK haricot beans developed by Professor Eric Holub from Warwick’s Crop Centre, part of the School of Life Sciences. Professor Holub has bred three haricot bean varieties which are adapted for growing in the UK climate and are more suited to standard farm machinery.

“Self-sufficiency in food production is important for reducing human impact on global climate. British-grown beans can help us shift our diets to a healthier future, adding to other UK ingredients to supply the growing trend of flexitarian diets with new markets like Brit-Mediterranean and Brex-Mexican style food.” Professor Holub.

Press Release (9 February 2021)

Tue 09 Feb 2021, 14:47 | Tags: Crop Centre Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Soil bacteria hormone discovery provides fertile ground for new antibiotics

StreptomycesResearch by Dr Chris Corre and colleagues could lead to improved manufacturing of existing antibiotics, and open up opportunities to discover new ones.

Press Release (3 Feb 2021)

Wed 03 Feb 2021, 16:37 | Tags: Publication Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Chemical memory in plants affects chances of offspring survival

Professor Jose Gutierrez-Marcos and an international team of researchers have uncovered the mechanism that allows plants to pass on their ‘memories’ to offspring, which results in growth and developmental defects.

Press Release (1 December 2020)

Tue 01 Dec 2020, 10:29 | Tags: Publication Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Warwick scientists design model to predict cellular drug targets against Covid-19

A computational model of a human lung cell has been used to understand how SARS-CoV-2 draws on human host cell metabolism to reproduce by Dr Hadrien Delattre and Professor Orkun Soyer. This study helps understand how the virus uses the host to survive, and enable drug predictions for treating the virus to be made.
Press Release (25 November 2020)

Wed 25 Nov 2020, 13:16 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Diabetic drug could slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease

A hallmark of Parkinson's disease is the degeneration of a group of neurons in the brain that release the neurotransmitter dopamine (dopaminergic neurons). By introducing low concentrations of structurally-defined aggregates of alpha synuclein, a key toxic species in Parkinson’s disease, into single dopaminergic neurons, Emily Hill and Dr Mark Wall have shown these protein aggregates open a specific channel in the cell membrane, reducing neuronal excitability.

Press Release (24 November 2020)

Wed 25 Nov 2020, 13:12 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

Breakthrough in studying the enzyme that ultimately produces fish odour syndrome

Fish odour syndrome (trimethylaminuria) is a debilitating disease, in which the liver cannot break down the smelly chemical trimethylamine which is produced by enzymes from bacteria residing in the gut leaving people with a fish like odour. Dr Mussa Quareshy and colleagues are paving the way to prevent the syndrome after a breakthrough in studying the enzyme in the gut which produces trimethylamine.

Press Release (23 November 2020)

Mon 23 Nov 2020, 10:49 | Tags: Press Release Research Faculty of Science

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