Here's a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial. From new models of Brazilian investment without ecological destruction, to fresh insights into photosynthesis, here is some quick-read news from across the College.
A technique that will enable cancer patients to hold their breath during prolonged bouts of radiotherapy treatment has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham.
One of the most common antidepressants, sertraline, leads to an early reduction in anxiety symptoms, commonly found in depression, several weeks before any improvement in depressive symptoms, a UCL-led clinical trial has found.
A report investigating travel habits in seven European cities reveals environmental and social drivers that make people choose to walk. The new research reveals these include social factors such as how safe people feel and how concerned they are about air pollution, and urban design, such as how connected streets are and how close people are to public transport links.
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Today, Sunday 30 December at 7pm, Cambridge University's Chris Smith and his fellow 'Naked Scientists' will present Science Night, which dedicates the first hour of the programme to examining some of the cyber security dangers currently facing technology users. In the first feature, the team describe just how easy it is to recover previously deleted items from hardware.
Living close to an active landfill site reduces house prices by 2.6% and the cost to home owners can still be counted two decades after the facility has shut, new research shows. Experts at the University of Birmingham have found that houses situated within 3 kilometres of an active site, or within 1 kilometre of a historic site, suffer a significant price drop.
" Research published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that some bacterial cells carry a molecular 'suicide complex' to kill themselves in the event of lethal infection by viral parasites. Such 'altruistic suicide' prevents or limits viral replication and protects the rest of the bacterial population from subsequent infection.
Rare DNA faults in two genes have been strongly linked to bowel cancer by Oxford University researchers, who sequenced the genomes of people from families with a strong history of developing the disease. The researchers sequenced the entire DNA genomes of 20 people from families with a strong history of bowel cancer.
Current thinking on how the Toxoplasma gondii parasite invades its host is incorrect, according to a study published today describing a new technique to knock out genes. The findings could have implications for other parasites from the same family, including malaria, and suggest that drugs that are currently being developed to block this invasion pathway may be unsuccessful.
23 Dec 2012 Charles Streuli and Nasreen Akhtar of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research have conducted new research that leads to a better understanding of cell polarity. Properly organised tissues are vital to maintaining functional organs and a healthy body. Part of being organised includes cells being in the correct position within the tissue and the right way up, because the top and bottom of cells have different functions.
A Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association funded research project at UCL has given new insights into the structure and function of an MND gene called C9ORF72. The work is published in the journal Scientific Reports . Pietro Fratta (UCL Institute of Neurology) is first author of the paper which successfully identifies the structure of the six-letter genetic mistake in C9ORF72.
I am delighted that Tavaré will be leading the Cambridge Institute. One of my main aims in Cambridge is to cross-fertilise different disciplines and Simon's work applying mathematical approaches to understanding cancer is a fantastic example of how powerful this can be." —Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge The University of Cambridge and Cancer Research UK have appointed Simon Tavaré to be the next director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.
A team of scientists led by King's College London has identified a particular set of genes that interact with one another to regulate pain in humans, and found that differences in these genes may influence people's sensitivity to pain. The study, published today in PLoS Genetics , adds to a growing body of evidence that particular genes are involved in chronic pain and highlights this pathway as a potential target for more effective pain relief treatments for patients.
The pain relief offered by cannabis varies greatly between individuals, a brain imaging study carried out at the University of Oxford suggests. The researchers found that an oral tablet of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tended to make the experience of pain more bearable, rather than actually reduce the intensity of the pain.
Today's Health Survey for England reveals more than 14 million sufferers of chronic pain - pain which has lasted for more than three months. The study found that pain is more common among some groups than others, pain incurs significant costs and has serious mental health and wellbeing implications.
Eating meals together as a family, even if only twice a week, boosts children's daily fruit and vegetable intake to near the recommended 5 A Day, according to researchers at the University of Leeds. It is published today in the British Medical Journals Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health .
A new study of the brain anatomy of therizinosaurs, plant-eating dinosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous Period, has revealed interesting links with their notorious meat-eating 'cousins' Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor .
When the hairs of the plant are wet, the ants' adhesive pads essentially aquaplane on the surface, making the insects lose grip and slip into the bowl of the pitcher. This is the first time that we have observed hairs being used by plants in this way, as they are typically used to make leaves water repellent." —Dr Ulrike Bauer An insect-trapping pitcher plant in Venezuela uses its downward pointing hairs to create a 'water slide' on which insects slip to their death, new research reveals.
Scientists have shown how the common fruit fly Drosophila, which possess similar electrophysiological and pharmacological properties as humans, could now be used to screen and develop new therapies for alcohol-related behavioural disorders and some genetic diseases.
19 Dec 2012 Researchers funded by Cancer Research UK have been looking at why new drugs called "MEK inhibitors”, which are currently being tested in clinical trials, aren't as effective at killing cancer cells as they should be. They discovered that MITF - a protein that helps cells to produce pigment but also helps melanoma cells to grow and survive - is able to provide cancer cells with a resistance to MEK inhibitors.
Men with more brothers than sisters may have faster swimming sperm and are more likely to have increased fertility according to new research carried out by experts from the University of Sheffield. Scientists from the University of Sheffield in collaboration with researchers at Brown University in America found a correlation between the swimming speed of a man's sperm and the number of brothers he has.
Health Technology Assessment is not 'pure science'. The drug industry is a key actor in the process of issuing recommendations" —Professor Larry King King and colleagues Piotr Ozieranski (University of Leicester) and Martin McKee (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) found that multinational drug companies are deploying their massive financial resources to capture stakeholders at every stage of the process for the scientific recommendation of drugs in Poland.
By Eliot Barford Researchers at Imperial College London have identified a molecule that sounds the alarm when viruses invade our cells. Our immune system has evolved to recognise distinctive features of infectious agents like bacteria, fungi and viruses in order to fight infections, but some viruses are hard to detect.
Dr Gemma Catney is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Geography and Planning A study of the 2011 Census by the University of Liverpool has found that the population of England and Wales is more diverse than ever yet is more integrated. The study of the data found that the proportion of people who report themselves as being from an ethnic group other than `White' has increased to 14 per cent, an increase of five percentage points since 2001.