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Health - Life Sciences - 27.12.2019
7 times Imperial made you double-take in 2019
7 times Imperial made you double-take in 2019
Some surprise headlines need a second look, but quirky studies can often have a significant impact. From singing fish to anti-malarial soup, we take a look back at the stories which made readers do a double-take in 2019. Grandma's miracle soup In November, schoolchildren from London found their traditional family soups had antimalarial properties.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 25.12.2019
Imperial’s food for thought in 2019
What better accompaniment to festive feasting and your impending food coma than a roundup of tasty stories from 2019? Sit back as Imperial serves up some festive food for thought, featuring unusual stuffing, strange pudding, dried cricket snacks, and food sensors. After all, ‘tis the season to be jolly and enjoy all the treats Christmas has to offer! Grub's up In the 1800s, lobsters were considered the food of slaves and prisoners; a poor person's food.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 24.12.2019
Large scale feasts at ancient capital of Ulster drew crowds from across Iron Age Ireland, new evidence reveals
Large scale feasts at ancient capital of Ulster drew crowds from across Iron Age Ireland, new evidence reveals
People transported animals over huge distances for mass gatherings at one of Ireland's most iconic archaeological sites, research concludes. Dr Richard Madgwick of Cardiff University led the study, which analysed the bones of 35 animals excavated from Navan Fort, the legendary capital of Ulster. Researchers from Queen's University Belfast, Memorial University Newfoundland and the British Geological Survey were also involved in the research.

Environment - Life Sciences - 19.12.2019
Scientists uncover world's oldest forest
Scientists uncover world’s oldest forest
Scientists have discovered remnants of the world's oldest fossil forest in a sandstone quarry in Cairo, New York. It is believed the extensive network of trees, which would have spread from New York all the way into Pennsylvania and beyond, is around 386 million years old. This makes the Cairo forest around 2 or 3 million years older than what was thought to be the world's oldest forest at Gilboa, also in New York State and around 40 km away from the Cairo site.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 18.12.2019
Researchers move one step further towards understanding how life evolved
A fundamental problem for biology is explaining how life evolved. How did we get from simple chemical reactions in the prebiotic soup, to animals and plants? A key step in explaining life is that about 4 billion years ago, all we had was just the simplest molecules that could replicate themselves. These are called 'replicators' - the earliest form of life, so simple that that they are almost chemistry rather than biology.

Life Sciences - 16.12.2019
Strength of conviction won’t help to persuade when people disagree
If you disagree with someone, it might not make any difference how certain they say they are, as during disagreement your brain's sensitivity to the strength of people's beliefs is reduced, finds a study led by UCL and City, University of London. The brain scanning study, published , reveals a new type of confirmation bias that can make it very difficult to alter people's opinions.

Life Sciences - 12.12.2019
Parakeet ’crime map’ busts Bogart and Hendrix myths
Using geographic profiling to map half a century of ring-necked parakeet sightings, a research team involving UCL has found no evidence to support any of the colourful legends surrounding the birds' origins in the UK. Stories have circulated in recent years that seek to explain how the non-native bright green birds ( Psittacula krameri ) started breeding and spread to become one of Britain's most successful alien species.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.12.2019
Chimpanzees may have evolved resistance to HIV precursor
Simian immunodeficiency virus, the monkeyand ape-infecting virus that HIV originated from, may have influenced the genetics of chimpanzees, finds a new UCL-led study. The virus is a leading contributor to differences between chimpanzee subspecies, according to the findings published in  PLOS Genetics .

Health - Life Sciences - 09.12.2019
Probiotics and prebiotics work differently in girls and boys according to piglet study
Baby boy's and girl's immune systems respond differently to prebiotics and probiotics, according to new research. The paper published in Frontiers in Immunology today [9 December] suggests that differences in male and female immunity begin much earlier than previously thought. The team from the Universities of Bristol and Reading found that 28-day old piglets produced very different levels of immune cells, antibodies and other immune-associated molecules depending on their sex, contradicting previous evidence suggesting that the difference in immunity begins during puberty.

Environment - Life Sciences - 05.12.2019
Wildlife in tropics hardest hit by forests being broken up
Wildlife in tropics hardest hit by forests being broken up
Tropical species are six times more sensitive to forests being broken up for logging or farming than temperate species, says new research. A team led by Oregon State University and including Imperial College London scientists found that sensitivity to forest fragmentation - the breakup of forests by human activities like logging or farming - increased six-fold at low versus high latitudes, putting tropical species at greater risk of extinction.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 05.12.2019
Social influencers: what can we learn from animals?
Research from Oxford University calls us to reconsider how behaviours may spread through societies of wild animals, and how this might provide new insights into human social networks. Our social connections to one another, whether it be online or in real life, give rise to our 'social networks'. Previously, it has often been assumed that the individuals with the most social connections are the primary 'social influencers' and most likely to acquire, and spread, new behaviours.

Life Sciences - Health - 05.12.2019
Protein antibiotics offer new hope for fighting common crop diseases
Scientists have tested a new way to protect crops from a widespread and devastating bacterial disease, without using environmentally damaging chemical sprays. An interdisciplinary team at the University of Glasgow have revealed a new method that could protect many important crop species against the common crop bacteria Pseudomonas syringae ( Ps ).

Health - Life Sciences - 05.12.2019
Being active reduces risk of prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK*, yet we still don't know all of its causes. The largest ever study to use genetics as a measurement for physical activity to look at its effect on prostate cancer, reveals that being more active reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Over 140,000 men were included in the study, of which, 80,000 had prostate cancer.

Life Sciences - Health - 03.12.2019
World first as artificial neurons developed to cure chronic diseases
Artificial neurons on silicon chips that behave just like the real thing have been invented by scientists - a first-of-its-kind achievement with enormous scope for medical devices to cure chronic diseases, such as heart failure, Alzheimer's, and other diseases of neuronal degeneration. Critically the artificial neurons not only behave just like biological neurons but only need one billionth the power of a microprocessor, making them ideally suited for use in medical implants and other bio-electronic devices.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.12.2019
Reveals climate change impact on Antarctic penguins | University of Oxford
Reveals climate change impact on Antarctic penguins | University of Oxford
Antarctic penguins have been on the forefront of climate change, experiencing massive changes to their natural habitat as the world's temperatures and human activity in the region have increased. Now, new research has revealed how penguins have dealt with more than a century of human impacts in Antarctica and why some species are winners or losers in this rapidly changing ecosystem.

Life Sciences - History / Archeology - 02.12.2019
1940s blood samples reveal historical spread of malaria
DNA from 75-year old eradicated European malaria parasites uncovers the historical spread of one of the two most common forms of the disease, Plasmodium vivax, from Europe to the Americas during the colonial period, finds a new study co-led by UCL. The research published in Molecular Biology and Evolution reports the genome sequence of a malaria parasite sourced from blood-stained medical microscope slides used in 1944 in Spain, one of the last footholds of malaria in Europe.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.11.2019
Placenta changes could mean male offspring of older mums more likely to develop heart problems in later life, rat study finds
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Life Sciences - Paleontology - 27.11.2019
Animal embryos evolved before animals
Animal embryos evolved before animals
Animals evolved from single-celled ancestors, before diversifying into 30 or 40 distinct anatomical designs. When and how animal ancestors made the transition from single-celled microbes to complex multicellular organisms has been the focus of intense debate.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 25.11.2019
Changes in oxygen concentrations in our ocean can disrupt fundamental biological cycles
Changes in oxygen concentrations in our ocean can disrupt fundamental biological cycles
The nitrogen cycle is essential to all forms of life on Earth - nitrogen is a basic building block of DNA. The marine nitrogen cycle is strongly controlled by biology and small changes in the marine nitrogen cycle have major implications on life. It is thought that the marine nitrogen cycle has stayed relatively stable over geological time due to a range of different feedback mechanisms.

Health - Life Sciences - 25.11.2019
Air pollution linked to higher glaucoma risk
Living in a more polluted area is associated with a greater likelihood of having glaucoma, a debilitating eye condition that can cause blindness, finds a new UCL-led study in the UK. People in neighbourhoods with higher amounts of fine particulate matter pollution were at least 6% more likely to report having glaucoma than those in the least-polluted areas, according to the findings published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science .
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