Monday, 10 April 2017

Fighting Ebola and other 'emergent' viruses

One of our academics, Dr Michael Jarvis, is working hard on an exciting new approach that could prevent the sudden appearance of serious infection from pathogens, such as bird flu, SARS, and Ebola by vaccinating the animals that habour these microbes and from which these microbes ‘spill over’ into humans and agricultural animals. One example is the deadly Ebola virus, which in Africa periodically spills over into humans from great apes. Closer to home, this approach is also being developed to prevent bovine TB infection of cattle. You can read about Michael's work in the top science journal Nature and on the Popular Science website. Not only could this work protect humans from deadly microbes, but when applied to control of Ebola it would also protect the wild apes too (Ebola is deadly for them): this online article looks at Michael's work from an ape conservation angle.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Progress in fighting antibiotic resistance

Mat Upton, one of our lecturers, writes "Antibiotic resistance is very newsworthy at the moment (have you been listening to Val McDermid’s Dangerous visions: Resistance on Radio 4?!). This really is a genuine threat to human health and could undermine all of modern medicine. There are many ways we can help to reduce the impact of antibiotic resistance, or drug resistant infections - discovery of new antibiotics is just one aspect. In my group, we are working to develop new ways of preventing and treating infections caused by MRSA, often called a superbug in the news. Our latest paper reports that a single dose of our lead antibiotic is as effective as 6 doses of the current standard treatment in an animal model of MRSA infection. This is the first report of single dose efficacy in this infection model and could lead to shorter therapies in humans. We now hope to secure funding to take the antibiotic into pre-clinical toxicity testing and phase 1 clinical trials."

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Working with local colleges

Recently staff from the Nutrition and Exercise laboratories hosted a group of students from Stoke Damerel Community College. Thirty students and their teachers visited the Exercise Physiology laboratory where final year Nutrition, Exercise and Health students Ashley and Shelley put them through their paces measuring the effect of exercise on heart rate and blood pressure. They also assessed their body mass index and grip strength. Students also had the opportunity to take part in a short lecture on exercise and health delivered by Associate Lecturer Gavin Seymour.