All 4 entries tagged Lifesciences

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March 05, 2011

Warwick Week – Water efficient seeds, training doctors in Malawi, and why family meals are essential

New path to water efficient seeds discovered

Research by University of Warwick's School of Life Sciences has opened up a new path to produce water efficient seeds that will be a significant tool to help create drought resistance, and ensure global food security. The research team, led by Dr Lorenzo Frigerio, looked at two proteins that are members of the large family of "Major Intrinsic Proteins", or MIPs, which are widespread among living organisms and are known to act as water channels governing water uptake.

The researchers focussed much of their attention on an understudied group of intrinsic proteins known as "Tonoplast Intrinsic Proteins" or TIPs. The University of Warwick's research team work not only resulted in the most complete plant TIP expression map produced to date - it also threw up a major surprise in that they found that TIP not only had a role to play in water management in seed maturation and germination - in fact they found that it probably plays the crucial water management role.

Dr Frigerio said:

We are now on the right path to build a real understanding of how water uptake is regulated in seed development and germination. That understanding will help researchers produce seeds to meet the challenges of Global climate change, and food security through improved  drought resistance and increased water use efficiency.

Find out more at PhysOrg >>

£12 million to help local SMEs design products that even targets customers' emotional experience

A new £12 million programme has just be announced to help Midlands SMEs access some the world's leading product and service design Technology. The new International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (IIPSI) at WMG at the University of Warwick, is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Warwick in a funding partnership brought together by the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands (AWM).

The institute will bring into one place some of the world's leading product and service technologies including:  multi functional polymers that enable advanced electronics and functionality to be embedded in three dimensional plastic moulded components, and digital design tools that will allow the creation of virtual products that can shared with production partners. However the very latest digital design tools that will be available to SMEs the new institute  will go one step further than most in that they will also be designed deliver the best emotional experience for consumers.

WMG Director Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya said:

Today even the most low tech of products benefit enormously from the latest design technology in creating them and fitting them for the marketplace. The best product design technology will ensure that even the sound, feel and look of a product is perfected and even tailored to the customer's desires. This new International Institute for Product and Service Innovation will allow Midlands SME to find the technology they need to deliver that customer expectation.

Find out more in the press release >>

€2.6 million research project to prevent mothers and babies dying in Malawi

Warwick Medical School has just begun a €2.6 million three year research and training programme to train Malawian clinical officers in a bid to reduce the country's high death rate for pregnant mothers and babies. Their aim is to train 50 clinical officers as advanced leaders who will then be expected to teach and cascade to others what they have learnt.

In a country with a population of just over 14 million, only 40 doctors complete their training each year and there is a chronic shortage of skilled obstetricians. By training up the existing network of non-physician clinicians - who would be described as somewhere between midwives and obstetricians in this country - Warwick doctors are sharing their expertise to ensure they are taught the extra skills to deal with the 15 per cent of pregnancies which end up in difficult births and improve the care for mothers and newborns to increase their chances of survival.

Dr Paul O'Hare, Reader in Medicine from the University of Warwick Medical School, said:

There are probably more Malawian doctors in Manchester, than there are in the whole of Malawi. Whilst it's difficult to stem the numbers of qualified doctors leaving Africa for better pay and work conditions elsewhere, what we can practically do is ensure that the existing clinical officers and midwives are provided with the a higher level of clinical training and education. This means, for example, not only teaching them to improve their surgical skills such as C-Sections, but to be more aware that the aftercare treatment can have a profound effect on survival rates.

Find out more in the press release >>

Family meals are the key to happiness

A study conducted by academics from the universities of Warwick, Essex, Oxford and Surrey suggests that eating a family meal at least three times a week will strengthen bonds between parents and children, and prevent family breakdowns.

Other findings included that married couples are most likely to happy with their relationships, yet the longer a couple stays together, the more dissatisfied they are likely to become with each other.

The findings are among the first results to emerge from Understanding Society, a £50 million, government-funded study following the lives of 100,000 people in 40,000 households across the country.

Find out more in the Daily Telegraph >>


November 26, 2010

Warwick Week – Queen Camilla, Saving our Sprouts and NATO's History Lessons

Queen Camilla

During an interview with the American broadcaster NBC that was shown on Friday night, Prince Charles suggested that the Duchess of Cornwall “could be” Queen Camilla when he becomes king, becoming Britain’s first queen consort since the late Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1937. But will she? Dr Sarah Richardson, Department of History, looks at some incidents of historical precedence:

There is no constitutional reason why the Duchess of Cornwall shouldn’t be crowned queen. There is no law that says a divorcée is excluded and, of course, Charles was himself divorced from Diana. Ever since Henry VIII got divorced, constitutionalists have tended to shy away from worrying about the issue of divorce. It all boils down to whether something is acceptable in the prevailing public opinion of the day. For example, Edward VIII did not have to abdicate for a constitutional reason, he abdicated because Wallis Simpson was considered unsuitable by the government.

Read the article in the Daily Telegraph >>

Saving sprouts from deadly cigar burns

Brassicas like brussels sprouts, cabbages and broccoli are all susceptible to the turnip mosaic virus, commonly referred to by gardeners as ‘cigar burns’ because of the black spots it leaves on prize vegetables. The Government-funded Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have invested more than £13 million into helping scientists discover new breeds of plants that are resistant to disease.

One of the most successful projects so far is led by Dr John Walsh, Department of Life Sciences:

TuMV causes really nasty-looking black necrotic spots on the plants it infects - ‘a pox on your’ vegetables! This can cause significant yield losses and often leaves an entire crop unfit for marketing. At best, a field of badly affected brussels sprouts provide some animal fodder, but these vegetables would not be appealing to most shoppers. The virus is particularly difficult to control because it is transmitted so rapidly to plants by insect vectors like greenfly.

Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>
Listen to John Walsh speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Material World (1:35) >>

Warwick Arts Centre's tribute to wealthy benefactor

Warwick Arts Centre’s new studio has been named the Helen Martin Studio after the wealthy Kenilworth woman who donated the equivalent of £28 million to the university. Helen Martin, of Spring Lane, Kenilworth, loved classical music and regularly attended classical concerts in at the arts centre’s Butterworth Hall.

She was a major benefactor of the university and from its earliest days established a trust fund that in today’s money would be worth £28 million. She insisted on being anonymous during her lifetime and was referred to by the university simply as ‘The anonymous benefactor.’

University of Warwick Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said:

Helen Martin’s name and her support for Warwick is now well known but despite her generosity being behind many of university buildings none of them bear her name. Now we will put that right by naming this fine new studio created as the final part of the recent £8 million redevelopment of Warwick Arts Centre.

Read more in the Coventry Telegraph >>

History lessons to inform NATO exit strategies

As politicians and military strategists try to negotiate the NATO withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, academics are looking at what history can tell us about how exits have been managed in the past. A research team from Oxford and Warwick Universities will examine two centuries of British imperialism, from the late eighteen century to the 1990s, in a wide-ranging study that focuses on the alliances and deals that the British brokered in conquering and controlling their empire.

The three-year research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will culminate in a conference in 2013 at which policymakers and academics will assess whether we can learn lessons from past experience. 

Dr Daniel Branch, from the Department of History at the University of Warwick, said:

National myths don’t help us understand how empires worked and the fate of those who backed the losing side in anti-colonial rebellions. It is discomforting for some now to consider that as many Americans opposed the revolution there as supported it in the eighteenth century. The same is true for Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s.

Read the press release by Oxford University >>

Warwick academics awarded research grants from the Leverhulme Trust

A clutch of young academics from the University of Warwick have been awarded research grants from the Leverhulme Trust. Philip Leverhulme Prizes are awarded to outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, recognised at an international level, and where the expectation is that their greatest achievement is yet to come.

Dr Giorgio Riello, of the University’s History department, has been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize – one of only 25 young academics in the country to be handed the honour. A further eight academics have been granted Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships – more than ten percent of the national awardees.

University of Warwick’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Mark Smith said:

The University of Warwick’s research has long been established in the top ten of UK universities and these nine prestigious awards are testament to the quality of our young staff at the start of their academic careers. Such colleagues are essential to maintain and enhance Warwick’s research reputation in the future. Warwick is one of the top ten research universities in the UK and these nine awards to some of our young academics show the next generation are ready to keep us in the top ten.

Read the press release to learn more >>


October 01, 2010

Warwick Week – Miliband, IGGY, Diabetes, WBS Branding, Life Sciences

Warwick in the News

Wyn Grant discusses David Milband’s departure from front-line politics
Prof Wyn Grant, Politics and International Studies, was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Wednesday evening talking about David Miliband’s departure from front-line politics. Wyn said;

I think it was quite difficult for him because he has been the front-runner in the election, up to the last minute he thought that he had won and then to be defeated by a very narrow margin, that was psychologically difficult. He also has a young family and I think he would probably like to spend a bit of time with them as they are growing up.

I think it’s quite possible that at some future shadow cabinet election he might decide then that he can stand again but as he said in his statement he hopes he will be doing policy background work for the party.

Discussing David Miliband’s response to Ed ‘s comments on Iraq, Wyn said:

I think he was really quite annoyed about that comment about Iraq, I mean obviously I think in that speech yesterday Ed Miliband was trying to tack both to the left and to the right and what he said about Iraq was something to reassure those on the left of the party. But of course Iraq’s not really a live issue any more, the live issue in terms of foreign policy is Afghanistan.

Listen to the full discussion on BBC iPlayer (0:26.40) >>

Donald Singer discusses Diabetes on BBC Arabic TV
Professor Donald Singer took part in a live TV interview on BBC Arabic TV Live News on the 26th September for a report on a new gene abnormality in migraine which may provide a new biomarker to help in treatment choice in migraine. It is thought that the new discovery may give clues to development of new treatment approached in selected patients - a further advance in personalising medicines.
Watch the video (translated into Arabic) >>

Nurturing Gifted and Talented Youth
Prof George Rowland, Department of Physics was on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire earlier this week talking about the International Gateway for Gifted Youth. Prof Rowland spoke to Annie Othen about the importance of providing opportunities for talented young people to help them reach their potential.
Listen again (1:11.13) >>

Announcements

The New School of Life Sciences
As of today (1 October 2010) the Department of Biological Sciences and Warwick HRI have officially amalgamated to form the new School of Life Sciences. This exciting initiative brings together the renowned research and teaching excellence in the two departments, and will form a platform to further enhance multidisciplinary Life Sciences activity in the University.
Find out more on the Life Sciences website >>

New branding for Warwick Business School
On Monday, Warwick Business School unveiled their new corporate logo and launched a new design for their website. At the official unveiling of the logo, Dean of Warwick Business School, Professor Mark Taylor, said:

Today is the first day of our new WBS brand, and I have to say I am delighted with it. The logo is modern yet timeless, clear and striking, and implies a dynamic and forward-looking institution; the blue background also co-brands us with the rest of the University.

Watch a video of the event on the WBS website >>

Research News

£650,000 Funding Grant Awarded to West Midlands’ Foremost Research Universities
The University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham have been awarded a £650,000 research grant by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for a collaborative project developing new materials for a highly efficient class of fuel cells. The research will investigate novel doping strategies to improve the performance of electrolyte and electrode materials for use in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell systems.
Read the press release >>



July 23, 2010

Warwick Week: Graduation, England U–19s, Extreme Sports and a Special Relationship

Each week we will be bringing you a round-up of the news from Warwick - the big stories, latest research and perspectives on the latest media headlines.

It’s been a busy week on campus with our summer degree ceremonies – we hope all those graduating students have had memorable occasions. Amongst the 3,500 students graduating, honorary degrees were also awarded to Home Secretary Baron Baker of Dorking, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford and Fellow of the Royal Society, Professor Sir John Bell FRS and Trade unionist Baroness Brenda Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde amongst others. The Warwick Awards for Teaching Excellence (WATE) were also presented to Dr Peter Corvi from Warwick Business School, Jonathan Heron from The CAPITAL Centre, Dr Catherine Lambert from Sociology, Dr Paul Taylor from Chemistry and Dr Nicolas Whybrow from Theatre and Performance Studies.

Warwick in the News

New Chemistry Labs opened by Nobel Prize Winning Chemist
Professor Robert H. Grubbs, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2005, opened our new £2.3 million Chemistry Teaching Labs on Tuesday after receiving his honorary degree at the ceremony on Monday afternoon. Professor Robert Grubbs is Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and is the author of more than 400 publications and has over 80 patents.
Read the press release >>

Good luck to the England Under-19s
The England Under-19 team were training here at the University last week before embarking on the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in northern France. The team trained at the University Sports Centre and were hosted by Warwick Conferences. A few weeks ago, the University also hosted the International Women's Under 23 Tournament featuring England, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
Find out more >>

Top ten performance for Formula Student racing car
A team of undergraduate engineering students have just come 7th overall in the UK and 22nd in the world in an international competition to build a “formula student” racing car. Congratulations to the whole team!
Read the press release >>

Announcements

New Head for School of Life Sciences
The University has announced that Professor John McCarthy has been appointed Head of the new School of Life Sciences. Professor McCarthy is currently BBSRC Professorial Research Fellow and Director of the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre (MIB) at the University of Manchester. Professor McCarthy will join the University on 1 October 2010.
Read the press release >>

Professor Peter Mack appointed Director of Warburg Institute
Professor of English at the University Warwick, Peter Mack, has been appointed as the new Director of the Warburg Institute and will assume the Directorship from 1 October 2010. The Warburg Institute is one of the 10 prestigious Institutes that make up the University of London’s School of Advanced Study.
Read the press release >>

Partnership with IIT Kharagpur helps establish new IIT Bhubaneshwar
An international partnership between IIT Kharagpur and WMG is helping drive significant expansion for IIT Kharagpur as it moves to support an Indian Government Initiative to increase the number of Indian Institutes of Technology.
Read the press release >>

Research News

Embodiment and identity in extreme sporting culture
Warwick sociologist, Dr Karen Throsby will be swimming the Channel next month as part of a research project sub-titled “Embodiment and identity in an extreme sporting culture”.  Her research aims to explore what motivates people to engage in extreme sports such as Channel swimming. She has funding from the Economic and Social Research Council for two and a half years, towards the end of which she hopes to write a book that will tap into the post-Olympic debate on the motivation to take part in sport.
More on the Guardian website >>

Warwick Comment

A special relationship? – Wyn Grant comments on David Cameron’s trip to America
David Cameron’s visit to the United States for talks with President Obama has once again highlighted the so-called ‘special’ relationship between Britain and the United States. There are those who doubt that there is a special relationship at all and in these talks it was re-christened a ‘special’ relationship. It had a particular character during the Cold War when Britain was an important base for the United States, sometimes referred to as a static aircraft carrier.  

However, anyone who doubts that the relationship is an enduring one in the context of the fight against terrorism should look at the recent book on electronic eavesdropping by GCHQ written by my colleague Richard Aldrich and obtain favourable reviews in the quality press. The intelligence partnership has always been central to the relationship and in that sense it is special.

On this visit David Cameron has been under pressure on the subject of BP, both on the oil spill in the Gulf and unproven allegations that the release of the Lockerbie bomber was in some way linked with an oil deal with Libya. The fact that Cameron opposed the prisoner release in opposition helped him to navigate this tricky issue. However, one of his central objectives on this visit was to attract US investment to boost the UK economy which is why he went to New York and was seen eating a hot dog with the mayor.


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