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.
Going viral: What are bacteriophages and how can they help us?
Antibiotics are going to stop working. Bacteria are developing resistance to the drugs we have to treat them and there is no doubt that without action getting an infection or having surgery is going to get a lot more risky. With a global health crisis on our hands, scientists across the world are now trying to find alternatives to the drugs which have kept us alive for the past decade.
One possible solution is the use of bacteriophages.
Dr Antonia Sagona is working on understanding how phages fight infections.
Academic job opportunity: Associate Professor or Professor of Infection Microbiology
Applications are invited for an Associate Professor or Professor of Infection Microbiology to join our vibrant research and teaching community in the School of Life Sciences.
We particularly encourage applications from candidates who complement existing strengths in the School and who will lead research in the areas of laboratory based antimicrobial resistance and anti-infective discovery, the human microbiome, host-pathogen interactions and immunology, microbial genetics and chemical biology approaches to address human and animal infection.
Great Wall Symposium 2019
Bacterial cell biology researchers from across the world gathered at The Pasteur institute in Paris at the end of September to attend the 6th biennial Great Wall symposium organised by Professor David Roper and Professor Ivo Boneca (Pasteur). This three day meeting on all aspects of bacterial cell wall biosynthesis was attended by just under 200 interdisciplinary researchers on all aspects of bacterial cell wall microbiology.
Dr Adrian Lloyd from SLS provided an invited talk on his recently submitted research on 'Substrate and stereochemical control of cell wall crosslinking by E. coli PBP1B' as well as a posters from a number of Warwick PhD students from SLS and WMS.
Videos from First Labcut Workshop
Funded by the Wellcome Trust and Warwick Quantitative Biomedicine Programme (WQBP), LabCut is a science film workshop run by SynBio CDT PhD students Cansu Kuey, Charlotte Gruender and Patrick Capel. The five films created during the inaugural workshop are now available to be viewed and will be screened during the British Science Festival in September. Find out more
National livestock movement bans may prove economically damaging
New research led by Dr Mike Tildesley has pioneered an economic perspective on controlling livestock diseases. Focusing on Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), bovine TB (bTB) and bluetongue virus (BTV), the researchers draw striking conclusions about the role of movement bans in controlling an outbreak.
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 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).
A cure for the common cold?
Listen as Professor Nigel Dimmock discusses his career and his new antiviral research on the BBC.
Download or listen online bbc.in/2GA7W74
Bacteria such as E. coli detected in minutes by new technology
Dr Munehiro Asally, Dr James Stratford and colleagues, showed that bioelectrical signals from bacteria can be used to rapidly determine if they are alive or dead.
The findings offer a new technology which detects live bacteria in minutes instead of waiting for lab-test results which can take days.
When 'zapped' with an electrical field, live bacteria absorb dye molecules, causing the cells to light up and allowing them to be counted easily.
This rapid technique can detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Beer and fodder crop has been deteriorating for 6000 years
The diversity of the crop Sorghum, a cereal used to make alcoholic drinks, has been decreasing over time due to agricultural practice. To maintain the diversity of the crop and keep it growing farmers will need to revise how they manage it. According to Professor Allaby and colleagues, different groups of sorghums have ‘rescued’ each other from damage, giving insight into how such crops could be rescued in the future.
The milkweed bug’s orange wings and DNA: how insects’ diets are revealed by the genome
The evolution of Maize is more complex than thought
New evidence reveals that the evolution of Maize in South America is more complex than initially thought, and there was a further geographical area in which partial domestication occurred in the Southwest Amazon - according to an international collaboration of researchers including the University of Warwick, and published in the journal Science.
Crops can be grown in Arsenic contaminated soil without being poisonous
Researchers in Life Sciences are working on ways to contribute to developing safe crops which can be grown in As contaminated soil but reduce the amount of As going to the edible part.
Who wants to live for ever?
Research into the process of ageing hasn’t quite found the key to immortality, but it is revealing the way our bodies change over time and what factors contribute to longer and healthier lives. Evolutionary biologist Dr Andre Pires da Silva is looking at the genetics of a species of roundworm and the length of their lives, with a view to gaining insight into human aging. He has found some astonishing results.
Over the next 5 years NERC (The Natural Environment Research Council) will invest £100m to support PHD students, including those at the University of Warwick, meaning the next generation of world-class scientists trained and engaged in both industrial and academic environmental solutions will be produced by the University.