news 2020

Health - Aug 4
A second COVID-19 peak can be prevented if enough people are tested and traced with schools opening and more people returning to workplaces, finds research co-led by UCL and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). In the study, published today in The  Lancet Child and Adolescent Health the authors used mathematical modelling calibrated to the UK epidemic to explore the impact of combining test-trace-isolate (TTI) strategies with reopening schools and society from September 2020.
Health - Aug 4

Scientists at UCL have discovered new biomarkers, which may identify those people with Type 1 diabetes who would benefit from the immunotherapy drug Abatacept, a finding which could eventually help thousands manage the disease more effectively.

Life Sciences - Aug 3

Our brains have an upper limit on how much they can process at once due to a constant but limited energy supply, according to a new UCL study using a brain imaging method that measures cellular metabolism.

Life Sciences - Aug 4
Life Sciences

Researchers have demonstrated the use of tinted, semi-transparent solar panels to generate electricity and produce nutritionally-superior crops simultaneously, bringing the prospect of higher incomes for farmers and maximising use of agricultural land.

Health - Aug 3
Health

Four stranded DNA structures - known as G-quadruplexes - have been shown to play a role in certain types of breast cancer for the first time, providing a potential new target for personalised medicine, say scientists at the University of Cambridge.


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Health - Social Sciences - 04.08.2020
Testing and tracing must be scaled-up to prevent second COVID-19 wave
A second COVID-19 peak can be prevented if enough people are tested and traced with schools opening and more people returning to workplaces, finds research co-led by UCL and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). In the study, published today in The  Lancet Child and Adolescent Health the authors used mathematical modelling calibrated to the UK epidemic to explore the impact of combining test-trace-isolate (TTI) strategies with reopening schools and society from September 2020.

Health - Pharmacology - 04.08.2020
Immunotherapy biomarker discovery could benefit thousands with Type 1 diabetes
Scientists at UCL have discovered new biomarkers, which may identify those people with Type 1 diabetes who would benefit from the immunotherapy drug Abatacept, a finding which could eventually help thousands manage the disease more effectively. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means it is caused by the body's own immune system attacking healthy body tissues.

Life Sciences - 04.08.2020
Green energy and better crops: tinted solar panels could boost farm incomes
Green energy and better crops: tinted solar panels could boost farm incomes
Researchers have demonstrated the use of tinted, semi-transparent solar panels to generate electricity and produce nutritionally-superior crops simultaneously, bringing the prospect of higher incomes for farmers and maximising use of agricultural land. Our calculations are a fairly conservative estimate of the overall financial value of this system.

Life Sciences - Physics - 03.08.2020
Energy demands limit our brains’ information processing capacity
Our brains have an upper limit on how much they can process at once due to a constant but limited energy supply, according to a new UCL study using a brain imaging method that measures cellular metabolism. The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience , found that paying attention can change how the brain allocates its limited energy; as the brain uses more energy in processing what we attend to, less energy is supplied to processing outside our attention focus.

Health - Life Sciences - 03.08.2020
Four-stranded DNA structures found to play role in breast cancer
Four-stranded DNA structures found to play role in breast cancer
Four stranded DNA structures - known as G-quadruplexes - have been shown to play a role in certain types of breast cancer for the first time, providing a potential new target for personalised medicine, say scientists at the University of Cambridge. We're all familiar with the idea of DNA's two-stranded, double helix structure, but over the past decade it's become increasingly clear that DNA can also exist in four-stranded structures and that these play an important role in human biology Shankar Balasubramanian In 1953 'double helix' structure.

Physics - 31.07.2020
How human sperm really swim: research challenges centuries-old assumption
How human sperm really swim: research challenges centuries-old assumption
A breakthrough in fertility science by researchers from Bristol and Mexico has shattered the universally accepted view of how sperm 'swim'. “However, our discovery shows sperm have developed a swimming technique to compensate for their lop-sidedness and in doing so have ingeniously solved a mathematical puzzle at a microscopic scale: by creating symmetry out of asymmetry,” said Dr Gadelha.

Environment - Physics - 31.07.2020
Opinion: John Tyndall - the forgotten co-discoverer of climate science
Honorary Research Associate Sir Roland Jackson (UCL Science & Technology Studies) calls for more public recognition of Irish scientist John Tyndall, who worked alongside Louis Pasteur, made discoveries in physics and was an early thinker in the field of climate science. It is surprising that the Irish scientist John Tyndall, born 200 years ago on August 2 1820, is not better known.

Health - 31.07.2020
Less than half of people in England understand current lockdown rules
Under half (45%) of people in England report having a 'broad understanding' of the current lockdown rules, compared to 90% across the UK during the strict lockdown period, finds UCL's Covid-19 Social Study. Levels in Scotland and Wales have also fallen but are higher than those in England, with reported levels of understanding at 75% and 61% respectively.

Health - 31.07.2020
Genetic tool can identify Asian women at higher risk of breast cancer
Genetic tool can identify Asian women at higher risk of breast cancer
A genetic study in Asian women, led by Malaysian scientists in collaboration with Singapore and the University of Cambridge, has revealed that a genetic tool developed to help assess breast cancer risk in European women also works in Asian women. This could help address the rising incidence of breast cancer in Asia.

Astronomy / Space Science - Physics - 31.07.2020
Universe is more uniform than theory predicts
The Universe is nearly 10 percent more uniform than predicted, according to new results from the Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS) co-led by UCL astronomers. The findings, submitted as part of a series of five papers to Astronomy & Astrophysics , suggest that dark matter - which makes up one quarter of the Universe - is more evenly spread than previously thought.

Social Sciences - 31.07.2020
New evidence review: the implications of contact for the well-being of children and young people
A new evidence review examines what is known about the implications of contact for the well-being of children and young people who have been separated from their birth parents in public law contexts. Contact following placement in care, adoption, or special guardianship: implications for children and young people's well-being brings together findings from 49 studies published in the UK and internationally between 2000 and 2020.

Health - Pharmacology - 30.07.2020
'Pill on a string' test to transform oesophageal cancer diagnosis
’Pill on a string’ test to transform oesophageal cancer diagnosis
A 'pill on a string' test can identify ten times more people with Barrett's oesophagus than the usual GP route, after results from a 3-year trial were published in the medical journal  The Lancet . It's taken almost a decade of research and testing thousands of patients to show that we've developed a better route to diagnosing Barrett's oesophagus Rebecca Fitzgerald The test, which can be carried out by a nurse in a GP surgery, is also better at picking up abnormal cells and potentially early-stage cancer.

Physics - Astronomy / Space Science - 30.07.2020
CERN reports first evidence for ultra-rare process that could lead to new physics
CERN reports first evidence for ultra-rare process that could lead to new physics
The CERN NA62 collaboration, which is part-funded by the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and involves scientists from the University of Bristol, presented at the ICHEP 2020 conference in Prague the first significant experimental evidence for the ultra-rare decay of the charged kaon into a charged pion and two neutrinos, (i.e.

Chemistry - 30.07.2020
Reveals origin of Stonehenge’s great sarsen stones
The giant sarsen stones that form the primary architecture of Stonehenge originate from West Woods on the edge of Wiltshire's Marlborough Downs, according to new research involving UCL. While the smaller 'bluestones' near the centre of the monument have been traced to Wales, the origin of the sarsen stones used to construct Stonehenge around 2,500 BC have remained a mystery for over four centuries.

Computer Science - 30.07.2020
New imaging system creates pictures by measuring time
A radical new method of imaging which harnesses artificial intelligence to turn time into visions of 3D space could help cars, mobile devices and health monitors develop 360-degree awareness. Photos and videos are usually produced by capturing photons - the building blocks of light - with digital sensors.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.07.2020
The genetic basis of bats’ superpowers revealed
Greater Horseshoe bat Daniel Whitby For the first time, the raw genetic material that codes for bats' unique adaptations and superpowers such as the ability to fly, to use sound to move effortlessly in complete darkness, to survive and tolerate deadly diseases, to resist ageing and cancer - has been fully revealed by an international research team including scientists at Bristol.

Life Sciences - Health - 29.07.2020
New way to kill tuberculosis
Scientists find new way to kill tuberculosis Our scientists have found a new way to kill the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB). TB is the world's deadliest infectious disease and causes nearly 1.5 million deaths each year. Whilst most cases can be cured with proper treatment, the number of antibiotic-resistant infections are steadily increasing.

Physics - 29.07.2020
Scientists make quantum technology smaller
A way of shrinking the devices used in quantum sensing systems has been developed by researchers at the UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing , which is led by the University of Birmingham. Sensing devices have a huge number of industrial uses, from carrying out ground surveys to monitoring volcanoes.

Pedagogy - Career - 29.07.2020
The future of work is flexible - says new study
New research from the University of Kent and the University of Birmingham has found that mass homeworking during the COVID-19 lockdown has presented significant challenges for parents, particularly mothers, but has also changed the way that many people intend to work in the future.

Pharmacology - Health - 29.07.2020
Prescribed CBD could help people quit cannabis
Cannabidiol (CBD) could be a safe and effective treatment for problematic cannabis use, according to new findings from a benchmark clinical trial involving UCL. The study, published today in The Lancet Psychiatry , was the first-ever randomised clinical trial of CBD, a non-intoxicating constituent part of the cannabis plant, for cannabis use disorder.
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