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Life Sciences - 21.08.2019
Separate polarisation and brightness channels give crabs the edge over predators
Separate polarisation and brightness channels give crabs the edge over predators
Fiddler crabs see the polarisation of light and this gives them the edge when it comes to spotting potentials threats, such as a rival crab or a predator. Now researchers at the University of Bristol have begun to unravel how this information is processed within the crab's brain. The study, published in Science Advances today [Wednesday 21 August], has discovered that when detecting approaching objects, fiddler crabs separate polarisation and brightness information.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.08.2019
’Key player’ identified in genetic link to psychiatric conditions
Scientists have identified a specific gene they believe could be a key player in the changes in brain structure seen in several psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia and autism. The team from Cardiff University's Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute has found that the deletion of the gene CYFIP1 leads to thinning of the insulation that covers nerve cells and is vital for the smooth and rapid communications between different parts of the brain.

Health - Life Sciences - 16.08.2019
New insight into bacterial infections found in the noses of healthy cattle
New insight into bacterial infections found in the noses of healthy cattle
New research led by academics at the University of Bristol Veterinary and Medical Schools used the 'One Health' approach to study three bacterial species in the noses of young cattle and found the carriage of the bacteria was surprisingly different. The findings which combined ideas and methods from both animal and human health research could help prevent and control respiratory diseases.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 16.08.2019
Could biological clocks in plants set the time for crop spraying?
Could biological clocks in plants set the time for crop spraying?
Plants can tell the time, and this affects their responses to certain herbicides used in agriculture according to new research led by the University of Bristol. The study, in collaboration with Syngenta, found that plant circadian rhythms regulate the sensitivity of plants to a widely used herbicide according to the time of day.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 15.08.2019
Faulty gene leads to kidney disease
Faulty gene leads to kidney disease
New insights into why a faulty gene involved in a devastating form of a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome leads to disease in some patients have been identified in new Kidney Research UK-funded research led by the University of Bristol. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), could pave the way for new ways to prevent or treat the condition, by revealing new targets to intervene in the process.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 15.08.2019
Dinosaur brains from baby to adult
Dinosaur brains from baby to adult
New research by a University of Bristol palaeontology post-graduate student has revealed fresh insights into how the braincase of the dinosaur Psittacosaurus developed and how this tells us about its posture. Psittacosaurus was a very common dinosaur in the Early Cretaceous period - 125 million years ago - that lived in eastern Asia, especially north-east China.

Life Sciences - 14.08.2019
What a group of bizarre-looking bats can tell us about the evolution of mammals
What a group of bizarre-looking bats can tell us about the evolution of mammals
Bats with skulls and teeth adapted to a wide range of diets are helping scientists understand how major groups of mammals first evolved. By analysing the skulls of a group of bats that feed on everything from nectar to blood, researchers from the US and Imperial College London have identified how the bats have tweaked their development to adapt to different diets.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.08.2019
Researcher discusses the mystery of why we sleep
Poor sleep can badly affect health but we still do not understand the purpose of sleep, said an Imperial researcher at a recent talk. Professor Nick Franks, Professor of Biophysics and Anaesthetics at Imperial College London, talked about his work on the neuroscience of sleep and what is understood about the role of sleep at the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) seminar earlier this month.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.08.2019
Scientists untangle links between our genes and intake of alcohol and of salt
Scientists have shed light on the complicated relationship between the makeup of our DNA and how much alcohol we drink. In another study, they have explored the links between our genes and our intake of salt. Genetic markers linked with alcohol intake In the first study, published in Nature Human Behaviour , the international team, led by Imperial College London, identified new genetic markers associated with alcohol intake.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 12.08.2019
Animal welfare and research 3Rs symposium
Scientists had the opportunity to find out about current research and share best practice of the '3Rs': Replace, Reduce and Refine at this year's University of Bristol Animal Welfare and Research 3Rs symposium, held earlier this summer. The principles of 3Rs, developed over 50 years ago as a framework for humane animal research, are fixed in European and UK law.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.08.2019
Inflammatory disease and animal research expert shares insights in Reddit AMA
Inflammatory disease and animal research expert shares insights in Reddit AMA
In a live Reddit 'Ask Me Anything', Dr Laurence Bugeon shared insights into how inflammation is mediated by bad lifestyle habits. In the latest of a series of animal research Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions Dr Bugeon and PhD student Madina Wane held the Reddit Q&A on Wednesday 31 July interview on the social media channel's IAmA subreddit to talk about how zebrafish as animal models are revolutionising their field.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 07.08.2019
Thriving animal collectives like ants should move through their environment like ‘savvy gamblers’
Many animals have to move around in their environment to find resources to live and reproduce. Scientists have studied particular examples of this for many years but there are not many unifying frameworks to understand the general organising principles of animal movement. This is especially true for animal collectives like ant colonies, whose individual routes as they search for food can look rather like a ‘random walk'.

Environment - Life Sciences - 06.08.2019
Gut changes in polar bears linked to retreat of Arctic sea ice
Gut changes in polar bears linked to retreat of Arctic sea ice
Retreating sea ice in the Arctic is altering the gut bacteria of polar bears, potentially holding negative implications for the long-term health of the species, finds a new study by Cardiff University and the United States Geological Survey. Polar bears are one of the most ice-dependent marine mammals in the Arctic and are key indicators of Arctic ecosystem health and environmental change.

Life Sciences - 02.08.2019
Genes that first enabled plants to grow leaves identified by scientists
Genes that first enabled plants to grow leaves identified by scientists
The genes that first enabled plants to grow shoots and conquer the land have been identified by University of Bristol researchers. The findings, published in Current Biology [1 August], explain how a 450-million years ago a switch enabled plants to delay reproduction and grow shoots, leaves and buds.

Health - Life Sciences - 02.08.2019
Space snacks and rates of mutation: News from the College
Here's a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial. From new insights into martian microbes to fresh understanding of the evolution of mutation rate, here is some quick-read news from across the College. Space snacks Extreme temperatures, radiation, and a thin atmosphere: the surface of Mars is an inhospitable place.

Life Sciences - Health - 30.07.2019
Simple genetic system is behind complex movements
Simple genetic system is behind complex movements
Fruit fly studies reveal simple genetic system is behind complex movements Neuroscientists at the University of Sussex have revealed that complex movements, such as those that maintain our posture, can be controlled by a simple genetic system, providing a framework to better understand the molecular basis of diseases that affect motor control, like Huntington's and Parkinson's.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 29.07.2019
Researchers build artificial cells that sense and respond to their environment
Imperial College London scientists have created artificial cells that mimic biological cells by responding to a chemical change in their surroundings. The artificial cells could be used to sense changes in the body and respond by releasing drug molecules, or to sense and remove harmful metals in the environment.

Life Sciences - 29.07.2019
Increasing value of ivory poses major threat to elephant populations
Increasing value of ivory poses major threat to elephant populations
The global price of ivory increased tenfold since its 1989 trade ban by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), new research has found. The University of Bristol Veterinary School study, published in Biological Conservation [25 July], is the first to analyse trends in global ivory market values since the ban came into effect.

Life Sciences - 25.07.2019
Strange bacteria hint at ancient origin of photosynthesis
Structures inside rare bacteria are similar to those that power photosynthesis in plants today, suggesting the process is older than assumed. The finding could mean the evolution of photosynthesis needs a rethink, turning traditional ideas on their head. We're beginning to see that much of the established story about the evolution of photosynthesis is not supported by the real data Dr Tanai Cardona Photosynthesis is the ability to use the Sun's energy to produce sugars via chemical reactions.

Health - Life Sciences - 24.07.2019
Hijacking the hijackers: new clue to understand antibiotic resistance
Scientists at the University of Glasgow have found a new paradigm in the understanding of bacterial evolution - an important element in the wider context of antibiotic resistance. The ability of most bacterial pathogens to cause disease depends on the presence of a class of genetic elements called "pathogenicity islands".
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