Anti-depressants could combat infections

Researchers here at the University of Brighton have found drugs used to treat mood disorders are also potentially active against bacteria which cause catheter infections.

The discovery could lead to new methods of treating infections and could contribute to overcoming problems with antibiotic resistance.

The research, led by Dr Brian Jones, Reader in Molecular and Medical Microbiology and Deputy Head of the our School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Dr Jones and collaborators Dr Mark Sutton from Public Health England and Dr Khondaker Miraz Rhaman from King’s College London have been studying infections associated with the use of urinary catheters which are used in their millions across the world every year. The bacterium Proteus mirabilis often causes catheter infections and forms crystalline biofilms on catheter surfaces that block urine flow and lead to potentially life-threatening complications.

Catheters are widely used for long-term bladder management in both the community and nursing homes but the care of individuals undergoing long-term catheterisation is frequently undermined by infections.

Dr Jones said: “The majority of patients undergoing long-term catheterisation are cared for outside the hospital environment where catheter blockage is often not noticed until more serious complications arise.

“A particular hazard of catheter blockage is the accumulation of infected urine in the bladder, which eventually results in upper urinary tract infection and the onset of potentially fatal complications including septicaemia.

“It has been estimated that 50 per cent of individuals undergoing long-term catheterisation will suffer from catheter blockage at some point during their care, with chronic blockage also a common problem.

“It is perhaps then unsurprising that blockage is also the cause of numerous emergency hospital referrals, and not only damages the health of patients but also places significant strain on healthcare resources.” Continue reading

Welcome Biosciences

For our Welcome Events in the Biosciences we conducted an Actionbound scavenger hunt, aimed at improving the students’ knowledge and navigation of the Moulsecoomb campus. The points gained in the scavenger hunt resulted in awarded straws which were used to build the egg-holding contraptions needed for the big “Egg Drop Challenge”. 105 students took part in the scavenger hunt – we had 23 teams complete the missions and tasks, resulting in some great pictures with Matt from the School Office. Unfortunately not a single egg survived the big egg drop challenge – but we still had chocolates all round –  in my eyes a great way of ending an afternoon filled with fun and activity – Dr Anja Rott

 

Egg Drop Challenge straw constructionEgg Drop ChallengeEgg Drop Challenge parachute attempt Scavenger Hunt SelfieScavenger Hunt SelfieScavenger Hunt Selfie

Is austerity really to blame for stalling life expectancy in England?

Professor Richard Faragher, Professor of Biogerontology in our school, writes in The Conversation that: “Far from being a hopeless search for cash, we can increase life expectancy and lower care costs. What we need if political vision and will. Both are currently in short supply.”

Read the full article here.

How good is your garden for wildlife?

Our mammalian biologist Dr Dawn Scott and fellow experts are revealing the secret lives of animals and insects that live in gardens and lawns.

Watch out for Dr Scott who is featuring in a new BBC 4 TV programme ‘The British Garden: Life and Death on your lawn’.

Dr Scott said: “For this programme we assessed the biodiversity in eight gardens to see how different gardens support wildlife and what features of those gardens were the best for wildlife.”

Presented by Springwatch’s Chris Packham, the film looks “beneath the peonies and petunias” to reveal how male crickets bribe females for sex, how a robin’s red breast is actually war paint and how a single litter of foxes can have up to five different fathers.

The programme is scheduled for broadcast at 9pm on 11 July.

A warm welcome at our open day

Sunshine, blue skies, our brilliant ambassadors and friendly staff welcomed visitors to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June.

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and campus where you will be studying. You’ll also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking about beginning your studies in 2018 and missed this one, find out more about upcoming events on our website.

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Moulsecoomb Campus Open Day

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and the campus where you will be studying. You will also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking of beginning your studies in 2018 come along to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June. Find out more about open days on our website.

Quorum Technologies Electron Microscopy prize

If you are currently in your final year and using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) in your project you are eligible for consideration for this years Quorum Technologies Electron Microscopy prize 2016-17, for final year undergraduate projects.

There is a £200 project prize this year, which will be awarded in recognition of the most commendable undergraduate final year project utilising microscopy.

To enter please send a copy of your project to Dr Jonathan Salvage either by email or as a paper copy marked for Dr Salvage’s attention to the school office, by Friday 9 June (latest).

Good luck!

Investigating Lyme disease on the South Downs

Lyme borreliosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borelia burgdorferi. The bacterium is transmissible between hosts through the bite of blood-sucking ticks which parasitise mammals, birds, and humans. Landscape features, such as woodland or grassland, affect the movement of host animals, however, a knowledge gap exists on the extent of LB spread in Southern England. Mr Jo Middleton, Dr Anja Rott & Dr Ian Cooper presented a poster at the Microbiology Society annual conference in Edinburgh a few weeks ago, detailing their on-going research in to this neglected disease.

Investigating Lyme disease on the South Downs

 

Early morning mist on fields and trees

Royal Society honour

Professor Colin Smith, expert on genomics and how the science could lead to improved ways of combatting diseases has been invited to organise a Royal Society meeting with world leaders in the field.

The prestigious Theo Murphy International Scientific meeting at Chicheley Hall on 5 – 6 March next year is entitled ‘Changing views of translation: from ribosome profiling to high resolution imaging of single molecules in vivo’. It will bring together senior and early career scientists from around the world to discuss how new technologies are providing novel insights into how cells function.

Professor Smith is Professor of Functional Genomics in our school. He joined the university last year and is establishing a new genomics facility to investigate future potential for highlighting disease risk and revealing the genetic basis for human diseases.

A ‘genome’ comprises the complete set of DNA molecules within each cell of an organism and in 2013 Professor Smith had his whole genome sequenced. He became the first person to donate his genome sequence under ‘open consent’ to the Personal Genome Project UK.

Genomics technologies have been at the heart of Professor Smith’s research for the past 15 years and he has been engaged in a range of interdisciplinary national and international collaborations, investigating antibiotic production by bacteria, human sleep and human nutrition.

Professor Debra Humphris, our Vice-Chancellor, said: “Huge congratulations to Colin. This is a highly prestigious event and an acknowledgement of his work and his global connections in the field of genomics.”

Professor Smith said: “It is a great honour to have been given the privilege to bring together some of the top scientists in this field to discuss recent breath-taking advances in our understanding of fundamental biological processes.”

Explaining our research on the BBC

The university’s Diabetes Research Group (DRB) featured on BBC South East’s Inside Out programme on 27 February.

Professor Adrian Bone, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology and Head of the DRB, and his team explained cutting-edge research being undertaken at the university to improve treatment for a disease that, for Type 1 diabetes alone, affects 10,000 people in the South East.

To watch the programme go to the BBC’s iPlayer service and scan along to 17.40 mins.