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Professor Nigel Stallard appointed as new Director of Warwick Clinical Trials Unit

We are delighted to announce that Professor Nigel Stallard is appointed as the new Director of Warwick Clinical Trials Unit. Read the full news item here

Wed 31 May 2023, 10:22

GibsonGroup discover material to prevent phage infection

Bacteriophage (phage) are present wherever their bacteria hosts are. Phage have huge biotechnological potential, but lytic phages can also cause complete loss of bacterial cultures. For example in the food industry, or in every research laboratory, where rigorous sterile handing is the primary containment strategy. For industrial biotechnology using microorganisms to enable sustainable of chemicals, materials and drugs, phage infection must be addressed. In our latest (patent pending) work, in collaboration with the SagonaLab at Warwick, and Cytiva, we discovered that a simple polymer can prevent phage infection of bacteria when applied to the growth media. This process is simple, requires no change to working practises and prevents phage infections. We are still investigating the mechanistic aspects, but this is virustatic (inhibitory) rather than virucidal.

Read the press release here.
Read the paper here.

Fri 21 Apr 2023, 09:49 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

Genetically encoded imaging tools for investigating cell dynamics at a glance

The biology of a cell is the sum of many highly dynamic processes, each orchestrated by a plethora of proteins and other molecules.

Microscopy is an invaluable approach to spatially and temporally dissect the molecular details of these processes. Hundreds of genetically encoded imaging tools have been developed that allow cell scientists to determine the function of a protein of interest in the context of these dynamic processes. Broadly, these tools fall into three strategies: observation, inhibition and activation. Using examples for each strategy, in this Cell Science at a Glance and the accompanying poster, we provide a guide to using these tools to dissect protein function in a given cellular process. Our focus here is on tools that allow rapid modification of proteins of interest and how observing the resulting changes in cell states is key to unlocking dynamic cell processes. The aim is to inspire the reader's next set of imaging experiments.

Read the paper here.

Thu 20 Apr 2023, 13:07 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

Warwick Medical School hold inaugural Graduation event for successful education partnership

Graduands from around the World and their families gathered on Saturday 1 April at University of Warwick to enjoy a truly wonderful event celebrating the first cohort of students graduating from Warwick-iheed partnership programmes.

The ceremony was presided over by the University of Warwick Vice Chancellor Stuart Croft alongside several iheed colleagues including CEO and Founder Tom O’Callaghan. The event celebrated the hard work, dedication and achievement of the students, but also created an opportunity to celebrate the success of the partnership itself - To read the full news item click here

Wed 05 Apr 2023, 13:02 | Tags: news, Community, Education

Fruit Fly helps Warwick Scientists Understand human heart development

Dr Timothy Saunders and team have been awarded almost £300,000 by the British Heart foundation to study Fruit Fly Hearts!

Read more here:
Fruit fly helps Warwick scientists understand human heart development - BHF

Wed 05 Apr 2023, 09:19 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

Warwick Medical School named hub university for Schwartz rounds in the Midlands

The NHS is investing £490,400 to help universities in the Midlands establish Schwartz Rounds for their health and social care students and staff. Fourteen Midlands-based universities have accepted the offer to begin working with the Point of Care Foundation to establish Schwartz Rounds, and Warwick Medical School has been named as the midlands hub university. To find out more about Schwartz Rounds and read the full news item click here.

Thu 30 Mar 2023, 12:15 | Tags: news

Professor Amy Grove appointed as new Head of Division for Health Sciences

Professor Amy Grove has been appointed as the new Head of Division for Health Sciences at Warwick Medical School following a competitive process. She will start her new role on 3 April. Read more about Amy, and the full news piece here.

Wed 29 Mar 2023, 07:28 | Tags: news HealthSciences

Pathogen mapped for the first time – to understand evolution and potential treatments

A sleeping sickness parasite is the first pathogen to have its proteins located and mapped within its cells. These parasites have made large areas of Africa unsuitable for livestock production, costing rural farmers up to £3.7bn each year.

For the first time ever, scientists have developed a detailed “protein atlas” of a pathogen – a kind of biological map that locates proteins in cells. They conducted the research on Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei), helping to understand where proteins are within its cells, providing functional insights that may ultimately help treat parasite infections.

Read the press release hereLink opens in a new window.
Access the resource here and read the full paper here.

Tue 28 Mar 2023, 13:58 | Tags: BMS

Circulating effector γδ T cell populations are associated with acute coronavirus disease 19 in unvaccinated individuals

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a small proportion of infected individuals. The immune system plays an important role in the defence against SARS-CoV-2, but our understanding of the cellular immune parameters that contribute to severe COVID-19 disease is incomplete. Here, we show that populations of human effector γδ T cells are associated with acute COVID-19 in unvaccinated patients. We found that circulating killer-type γδ T cells were enriched in COVID-19 patients with acute disease. Surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 infection did not alter the γδ T cell receptor repertoire, like in other viral infections. Thus, our work demonstrates a link between the systemic activation of effector populations of γδ T cells and acute COVID-19 in unvaccinated individuals.

Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Tue 28 Mar 2023, 13:57 | Tags: BMS

Students launch Dementia Cafe in Leamington

Our MB ChB students are hoping to make a real difference in the community by opening a Dementia Café in a popular residential area of Leamington.

Memory Lane café will take place on Wednesdays from 1pm – 3pm at the Sydni Centre from Wednesday 22 March, providing a friendly space for older people with memory loss, to chat, undertake a range of activities and have some refreshments. For more information click here

Thu 16 Mar 2023, 15:52 | Tags: news Community HealthSciences

Professor Andrew McAinsh granted £2.5M Wellcome Discovery Award

Congratulations to Professor Andrew McAinsh, Pro Dean for Research at WMS, who has just been awarded a Wellcome Discovery Award and Research Grant of over £2.5M. The research programme ‘Kinetochore self-correction mechanisms underlying faithful chromosome segregation in humans’ will run for eight years. Read the full news item here.

Tue 14 Mar 2023, 11:18 | Tags: news BMS Research Wellcome

Inhibiting Ice Growth Using Polyproline

The GibsonGroup, in collaboration RCSI (Dublin), have demonstrated that polyproline is a structurally simple mimic of antifreeze glycoproteins. The GibsonGroup have a large interest in developing materials which can control ice growth/formation, and their application in biotechnology. This is inspired by antifreeze proteins, which can be challenging to obtain and are not suitable for scale up. The antifreeze glycoproteins are known to adopt a PPII helix in solution, and in this latest work the team show that polyproline itself is sufficient for ice binding and inhibiting ice growth, when it has sufficiently high molecular weight. This is significantly simpler than using a glycoprotein and supports growing evidence that the ‘hydrophobic’ face of AFGPs binds the ice, rather than the glycans, and that hydrogen bonding to the ice is not always essential for activity. Finally, this also shows that bio-renewable resources can be used to obtain ice growth inhibitors which themselves could be biodegradable.

Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Fri 03 Mar 2023, 15:26 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

Dr Hollie White appointed to the Board of Certification for Athletic Training International Committee

Dr Hollie White, Assistant Professor in Health Sciences, and Theme Co-Lead for WMS BSc Health and Medical Sciences course has been appointed to the Board of Certification for Athletic Training International Committee (BOC-IC). For more information Click here

Tue 28 Feb 2023, 10:09 | Tags: news HealthSciences

Flow Rate-Independent Multiscale Liquid Biopsy for Precision Oncology

Liquid biopsies of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have the potential to transform cancer management through non-invasive, real-time feedback on patient conditions. However, immunoaffinity-based liquid biopsies typically suffer from low throughput, relative complexity, and postprocessing limitations. Here, we addressed these issues simultaneously by decoupling and independently optimizing the nano-, micro-, and macro-scales of an enrichment device that is simple to fabricate and operate. Unlike other affinity-based devices, our scalable mesh approach enables optimum capture conditions at any flow rate. The device detected CTCs under experimental conditions and in the blood of cancer patients where it also allowed for postprocessing and, thus, identification of clinically relevant biomarkers such as HER2, but also has the potential to predict patient response to therapies such as immune checkpoint inhibition therapy in the future. This suggests that our approach can overcome major limitations associated with affinity-based liquid biopsies and help improve cancer management.

Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Fri 24 Feb 2023, 15:22 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

From cereus to anthrax and back again: Assessment of the mechanism of temperature-dependent phenotypic switching in the “cross-over” strain Bacillus cereus G9241

Bacillus cereus G9241 was isolated from a Louisiana welder suffering from an anthrax-like infection. The organism carries two transcriptional regulators that have previously been proposed to be incompatible with each other in Bacillus anthracis: the pleiotropic transcriptional regulator PlcR found in most members of the Bacillus cereus group but truncated in all B. anthracis isolates, and the anthrax toxin regulator AtxA found in all B. anthracis strains and a few B. cereus sensu stricto strains. Here we report cytotoxic and haemolytic activity of cell free B. cereus G9241 culture supernatants cultured at 25 °C to various eukaryotic cells. However, this is not observed at the mammalian infection relevant temperature 37 °C, behaving much like the supernatants generated by B. anthracis. Using a combination of genetic and proteomic approaches to understand this unique phenotype, we identified several PlcR-regulated toxins to be secreted highly at 25 °C compared to 37 °C. Furthermore, results suggest that differential expression of the protease involved in processing the PlcR quorum sensing activator molecule PapR appears to be the limiting step for the production of PlcR-regulated toxins at 37 °C, giving rise to the temperature-dependent haemolytic and cytotoxic activity of the culture supernatants. This study provides an insight on how B. cereus G9241 is able to ‘switch’ between B. cereus and B. anthracis–like phenotypes in a temperature-dependent manner, potentially accommodating the activities of both PlcR and AtxA.

Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Fri 24 Feb 2023, 15:21 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

The influence of extrachromosomal elements in the anthrax “cross-over” strain Bacillus cereus G9241

Bacillus cereus G9241 was isolated from a welder who survived a pulmonary anthrax-like disease. Strain G9241 carries two virulence plasmids, pBCX01 and pBC210, as well as an extrachromosomal prophage, pBFH_1. pBCX01 has 99.6% sequence identity to pXO1 carried by Bacillus anthracis and encodes the tripartite anthrax toxin genes and atxA, a mammalian virulence transcriptional regulator. This work looks at how the presence of pBCX01 and temperature may affect the lifestyle of B. cereus G9241 using a transcriptomic analysis and by studying spore formation, an important part of the B. anthracis lifecycle. . Here we report that pBCX01 has a stronger effect on gene transcription at the mammalian infection relevant temperature of 37˚C in comparison to 25˚C. At 37˚C, the presence of pBCX01 appears to have a negative effect on genes involved in cell metabolism, including biosynthesis of amino acids, whilst positively affecting the transcription of many transmembrane proteins. The figure below shows the first image of the anthrax G9241 cross-over strain linear chromosome bacteriophage (unusual in bacteriophage itself).

Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Fri 24 Feb 2023, 15:20 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

Dr Helen Nolan wins Education Innovation Award

Congratulations to Dr Helen Nolan, Warwick Medical School, who was selected for an Education Innovation Award by the ASME’s Educator Development Committee (EDC). The ASME EDC Education Innovation Awards have been developed to highlight, promote and disseminate examples of innovative educational practice in healthcare professionals’ education.

Read the full news item here Dr Helen Nolan wins Education Innovation Award (

Mon 20 Feb 2023, 14:32 | Tags: news, Education, Research

Professor Sian Taylor-Phillips has been awarded a prestigious £1.8m NIHR Professorship

Congratulations to Professor Sian Taylor-Phillips who has been awarded a prestigious £1.8m NIHR Professorship to drive national policy for medical screening tests in the UK. She is one of six research leaders to receive this award, and the first at University of warwick, her research will consider the benefits and harms of population screening, which will help support government policy making. Read the full press release here

Fri 17 Feb 2023, 13:21 | Tags: news HealthSciences Research

Appointment of Professor Charles Craddock

Warwick Medical School is delighted to welcome the new appointment of Professor Charles Craddock CBE to the Clinical Trials Unit as Professor of Haemato-Oncology. Professor Craddock will take a lead role in developing high-quality research programmes in clinical and cost effectiveness research of cancer therapies and support the University’s work on Innovation particularly in the health theme including the development of the University’s supra-regional health innovation campus Arden Cross and other projects - Read more here.

Wed 15 Feb 2023, 14:02 | Tags: news, Research, CTU

JNK signaling in pioneer neurons organizes ventral nerve cord architecture in Drosophila embryos

We reveal that the developing Drosophila nerve cord has a distinctive architectural structure, which is driven by JNK signalling.
Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Tue 14 Feb 2023, 13:18 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

Hunterian Professor Award to Dr Hannah James

Dr Hannah James, Specialist Registrar in Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery at UHCW and PhD graduate from Warwick Clinical Trials Unit has been awarded a very prestigious Hunterian Professorship by the Royal College of Surgeons for her ground breaking surgical education research work.

Dr James recently completed an outstanding body of research for her PhD on the impact of cadaveric surgical training on improving patient outcomes. She becomes the first female Trauma and Orthopaedic (T&O) surgeon to become a Hunterian Professor. Read the full article here

Fri 27 Jan 2023, 10:41 | Tags: news WCTU Research PhD CTU

Machine learning to forecast the peak and magnitude of winter healthcare pressures due to respiratory syncytial virus

Seasonal winter peaks in infectious diseases put significant pressures on national health services, including hospitals and general practitioners. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common virus which for the majority of people causes mild symptoms like a common cold, but it can be serious for very young infants and older adults. Currently, RSV is a significant contributor to pressures in paediatric intensive care. Find out more about how machine learning can predict the peaks in RSV and ultimately improve patient care - click here for more information

Tue 24 Jan 2023, 15:01 | Tags: news, Warwick Evidence, Research

The impact of cross-reactive immunity on the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants

A collaborative study by the Thompson group with Dr Robin Thompson's (Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick) and Dr Uri Obolski's (Tel Aviv University) groups. The study examines the impact of prior immunity conferred by SARS-CoV-2 or seasonal coronavirus infection on the emergence of new variants using mathematical modelling . We find that, if cross-reactive immunity is complete (i.e. someone infected by the previously circulating virus is not susceptible to the novel variant), the novel variant must be more transmissible than the previous virus to invade the population. However, in a more realistic scenario in which cross-reactive immunity is partial, we show that it is possible for novel variants to invade, even if they are less transmissible than previously circulating viruses. Finally, we find that if previous infection with the antigenically related virus assists the establishment of infection with the novel variant, as has been proposed following some experimental studies, then even variants with very limited transmissibility are able to invade the host population.

Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Tue 24 Jan 2023, 12:50 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

New method to detect protein glycoforms published

The GibsonGroup have a programme of research to investigate how glycans (sugars) can be used in biosensing or diagnosis of disease. In the latest publication from the team, they show how otherwise identifical proteins with different glycosylation patterns can be identified and discriminated between. This is achieved by using antibodies immobilised on biolayer interferometry sensors which can first target all glycoforms (and hence are are not specific). In a second step, gold nanoparticles labelled with lectins (carbohydrate binding proteins) are used to identify which glycoform is present, and due to the large mass of the gold particles leads to signal enhancement. This is demonstrated for prostate specific antigen - a key biomarker for prostate diseases including cancer. It is known that the glycosylation pattern, not just protein concentration, is a hallmark of disease state but current techniques do not distinguish glycoforms. The method shown her can be automated and takes < 90 minutes to complete in this proof of concept study.
Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Tue 24 Jan 2023, 12:49 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

New method to cryopreserve 3D tissue models

3-D tissue models (such as spheroids and organoids) better predict physiological responses than 2D monolayers and may play a role in reducing animal usage, particularly in toxicology. Spheroids are more challenging, however, to work with than cell monolayers and hence there is a barrier to their use. Spheroids can also not (always) be easily cryopreserved and hence buying them ‘off the shelf’ and ‘ready to use’ is not common or is expensive. The GibsonGroup, working with Cryologyx, have show in this latest work that their macromolecular cryoprotectants can protect live cell spheroids during cryopreservation allowing the recovery of viable spheroids direct from the freezer.
Read the paper hereLink opens in a new window.

Thu 19 Jan 2023, 10:23 | Tags: BMS BMS_newpub

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