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Medical research

Life-saving medical research: detection, prevention, and treatments

Your donations have helped us to make a significant number of advances in several important areas. Here are some of the causes you have funded in the past 12 months.

Cancer Research

Nick JamesCancer is something which one in three people will develop throughout their lifetime. It's obviously a huge challenge and at Warwick we're approaching it in three main ways: cancer detection, cancer treatment and patient care.

We are already making important advances with new drugs and therapies, and this autumn we are launching our new Cancer Research Unit - an exciting hub of expertise and discovery.”

Dr Nick James Director of Cancer Research Unit

Ian Cree
We're coming up with more tailored cancer therapies for patients, which will make a real difference in their outlooks and outcomes."

Professor Ian Cree, Yvonne Carter Professor of Pathology

Melina Kunar
“We're working to improve mammograms, which are complicated and differ from woman to woman, producing many false alarms. We want to help radiologists with their work and prevent unnecessary worry.”

Dr Melina Kunar, Associate Professor

Sian Taylor Philips"We're looking at the process of breast cancer screening, and whether we can improve the performance so that more cancers can be detected earlier when they're more treatable."

Dr Sian Taylor-Philips, Senior Research Fellow

Annie Young
"We're looking at scalp-cooling treatments for patients undergoing chemotherapy so that we can prevent hair loss. It's such a psychological blow to patients and if we can prevent it, we should.”

Professor Annie Young, Professor of Nursing

James Covington
“We're developing ways of detecting diseases through rapid, un-invasive diagnosis, like ‘smelling' the disease with an artificial nose. As soon as you get a result, you can start your treatment quicker, and you can go off and get on the road to recovery quicker.”

Dr James Covington, Associate Professor

Diabetes and Nutrition research

Sudhesh Kumar"Diabetes is a major problem, first because of the sheer number of people affected by it, and the second thing is it's such a dangerous disease.We do the whole spectrum of research, from discovery right through to delivery of diabetes services –and we've made a big impact on the quality of diabetes care in the UK already.”

Professor Sudhesh Kumar Deputy Dean of Warwick Medical School

Naila RabbaniWe're looking at many ways of tackling Diabetes. It's a chronic disease which elevates the high sugar level in the body, and you can't then use those sugars. It accumulates in the kidney, and ultimately the kidney fails. Our trials with Vitamin B have been really effective so far, and we hope to be able to reverse the damage.”

Dr Naila Rabbani, Associate Professor Metabolic & Vascular Health

Thomas Barber

“We're examining human brown fat, a tissue which actually burns energy rather than stores it. If you maximally activate it for a year, you can perhaps burn your way through three or four kilograms of fat, so this is a really exciting area that we can perhaps manipulate in the future for therapies for obesity.”

Dr Thomas Barber, Associate Clinical Professor Metabolic & Vascular Health

Healthy minds research

Bruno Frenguelli“We're looking at how brain cells communicate, so that we can come up with new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other conditions that affect the brain. We look at how the brain develops and responds to positive sensory input.

We're also looking at what happens during brain injuries, and working on ways to stop it as soon as possible – for example, in the ambulance on the ride to hospital after an accident.”

Professor Bruno Frenguelli, Professor of Life Sciences

Dieter Wolke“We're looking at the implications of childhood bullying. We've proven that intentional, repeated and harmful behaviour causes problems in later life including poor social skills, poor health, and poor economic circumstances. It's an international problem, and it's demonstrably as harmful as child abuse – so we're making formal policy recommendations and coming up with tools to help too.”

Professor Dieter Wolke, Professor of Psychology

Franco Cappuccio
“We're examining sleep function, and how it affects the brain. As we get older, we can decline towards dementia, and sleep may have an important contribution to make. We hope to help understand the link between bad sleep and the number of physiological and para-physiological conditions leading to health and wellbeing.”

Professor Franco Cappuccio, Cardiovascular Medicine and Epidemiology

Sarah Stewart-Brown“We're looking at healthy minds: most people are now aware that their emotional and mental health has an impact on their physical health. Our work addresses how we can, as human beings in our various different states, make ourselves healthier and what tools we can use to achieve this.”

Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, Professor in Public Health

Healthy ageing research

Joanna Collingwood“We're looking at trace metals like iron, copper, and zinc in the human brain. We know these are important for normal brain function, and that the levels change when people suffer degenerative diseases. If we can identify what's changed, we can help to diagnose the type of dementia early on, which makes a huge improvement to the patient's quality of life.”

Dr Joanna Collingwood, Associate Professor

Elizabeth Burton“We're investigating how the built environment affects wellbeing; identifying positive features and creating guidance for architects. We want to design places that help people with dementia to flourish as people, so they're not just kept from harm but can actually flourish and be more fulfilled.”

Professor Elizabeth Burton, Sustainable Building Design and Wellbeing

Mother and child research

"We're researching into recurrent miscarriage, which can really devastate couples over time. I've already developed tests which help tell me when patients need certain Siobhan Quenbytreatments – like steroids in later pregnancy – but the next step is to try and help patients before the pregnancy itself.”

Professor Siobhan Quenby,
Director of the Biomedical Research Unit & Professor of Obstetrics

Ponnusamy Saravanan“We're looking at how a mother's nutrition affects her and her child, making them both more prone to getting diabetes during pregnancy. We've already run some interesting trials with Vitamin B12, and if our theories are successful, we are looking at a true prevention of diabetes in the next generation.”

Dr Ponnusamy Saravanan, Professor of Obstetrics, Metabolic & Vascular Health

Jane Barlow“We're working on ways of helping parents with their children. Parenting is a significant predictor of a child's outcomes, and we've already proven the importance of things like eye contact, gentle voice, and mirroring. We need to keep working to help those who struggle to look after or keep their children so that we can keep families together.”

Professor Jane Barlow, Professor of Public Health in the Early Years

 Wellcome TrustingThank you to the Wellcome Trust

Giving extra time for the biggest questions

The Wellcome Trust funds scientists who have excellent track records and are in established academic posts. The funding offers them the flexibility and time to tackle the most important questions in their field.

Three Warwick academics have received awards for their work recently.


James NokesProfessor D James Nokes (Life Sciences)

Awarded New Investigator in December 2013 for his research into patterns of infection in viruses, which will help to treat viral infections more effectively.

Robert Cross

Professor Robert Cross (Warwick Medical School)

Awarded Senior Investigator in April 2014 for his research into how certain proteins move and self-organise, which will have a number of medical and agricultural applications.

Professor Hilary Marland (Centre for the History of Medicine)

Awarded Senior Investigator Award to research healthcare in prisons, which will result in a number of outreach projects and engagement with policy makers and prison reform organisations.


Visit the Wellcome Trust website

Royal SocietyThank you to the Royal Society

Prestigious University Research Fellowships

The Royal Society has announced the appointment of 41 new University Research Fellows (URFs) including Dr Thomas Blake and Dr Vladimir Dokchitser from Warwick:

  • Dr Thomas Blake: Exploring new physics through rare decays of B meson particles at LHCb at CERNDr
  • Vladimir Dokchitser: Special values of L-functions and arithmetic

The Royal Society University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career.

The scheme is extremely competitive and URFs are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

Visit the Royal Society's website

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