Image of virus

COVID 19: a lesson on why vaccines are so vital

The Coronavirus crisis has highlighted the critical need for families to keep up with vaccinations, according to a Brighton immunologist.

Dr Nadia Terrazzini said: “We are living through the biggest case study of what the world would look like without vaccines – they are the single most effective way to protect us from infections.

“This crisis will be over and we will probably all come out if it feeling different people, on many levels. And it will, hopefully, make us all more aware of the importance of vaccines and the role of immunology research.”

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Dr Nadia Terrazzini

Remote teaching: It felt like a jump into cold water

Here, Dr Nadia Terrazzini, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Immunology, tells of the trials of switching to remote teaching.

“I feel like I have started a new job. Only last week I was busy working in the lab with my final year students who had to complete the final experiments for their lab projects.

And on Monday morning there I was setting up the laptop that I was lucky to get from the school, in our designed, personal area in a house I share with hubby and three kids (all connected to internet for work and home schooling) and joining a meeting on Microsoft Teams (MT).

It felt like a jump in cold water. I even forgot to switch on my camera at first (sorry team) as I was still hot and flustered after just completing an online PE session with my daughter (PE with Joe Wicks!).

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Headshot of Bhavik Patel smiling

Distance teaching – so how’s it going?

Here, Professor Bhavik Patel, Professor of Clinical and Bioanalytical Chemistry in the Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease, details how he’s coping – and how he’s found his patio windows at home are perfect substitutes for white boards:

The transition to teaching and assessing students at distance practically over the course of 24 hours has certainly brought out many mixed emotions. There is the concern of how this format of distance teaching and assessment will be received by the students and that we have limited experience of distance learning. A part of me is up for the challenge of exploring creative ways to teach and assess our students.

 

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We’re making waves – around the globe

University of Brighton researchers and academics have been in demand from media around the world in recent weeks on a variety of subjects, but mainly informing the debate about the coronavirus.

Dr Clare Weeden, Principal Lecturer from the Tourism, Hospitality and Events Research and Enterprise Group in the School of Sport and Service Management, was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph and quoted in their article on how tourism is coping in the face of the infection outbreak.

Jennifer Holland, Lecturer in Competitive Marketing in the same school, wrote an article on how the cruise liner industry has been disrupted in The Conversation. Holland was interviewed by BBC radio and the feature was broadcast by more than 50 BBC stations around the UK.

And Dr Sarah Pitt, Principal Lecturer in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences and diagnostic virologist with the Institute of Biomedical Science, was interviewed by BBC South East Today and also BBC Radio Stoke about the coronavirus and invited to explain how people in contact with those with the infection are being traced and what precautions people should take.

Meanwhile, Professor Richard Faragher, Professor of Professor of Biogerontology from the Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease, also featured in The Conversation on the subject of ‘How to add five healthy years to UK life expectancy’. His article was reprinted by a number of publications worldwide including the Metro newspaper in the UK, the Paris Guardian, the Shanghai Sun and the Nigeria Sun.

Paul Levy’s The Conversation article on ‘Why laptops could be facing the end of the line’ garnered over 133,000 reads and was one of the most widely read on the website for February. The Senior Lecturer in our Brighton Business School saw his article go viral – it was republished by a number of media including CNA (Asia, Australia and Middle East),  Knowridge Science Report and EconoTimes.

City Nature Challenge photo with logos

Competing against the world to discover wildlife

This World Wildlife Day, the University of Brighton is calling on everyone to take part in April’s City Nature Challenge to see who can find the most nature.

Dr Rachel White, senior lecturer in Ecology & Conservation, will be leading The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere’s (The Living Coast) entry into the challenge, which aims to connect people with nature by discovering and recording as much wildlife as possible between 24-27 April 2020. Read More

free roaming animals sign at Knepp Estate

Wilding – a story of hope in conservation

Ella Scott, who is studying Ecology and Conservation BSc(Hons) tells us about a recent talk by Isabella Tree about rewilding Knepp Castle Estate.

On the other side of the South Downs, approximately 20 miles from Brighton University, something unique has been unfolding over the last twenty years, at Knepp Castle Estate. I had the pleasure of attending Isabella Tree’s talk on 19th November in which, she passionately shared the results of the project thus far.

In 1999, Tree and her husband, Charlie Burrell, decided to stop intensive farming and begin the Knepp Wildland project. Catalysed by the growing economic afflicting farmers and a new found understanding of the decreasing quality of soil and the consequences on the estate’s ancient oaks, Burrell and Tree decided to return the estate to nature and reintroduce ancient native grazers to the land. Acting as their ancient ancestors, Old English long horn cattle, Exmoor ponies, roe deer, fallow deer, red deer and Tamworth pigs were introduced to Knepp. By doing so, natural succession process has gradually created a diverse range of niches and habitats. They are also in the process of receiving permission to introduce European Bison and European beavers to the estate.

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Launch Nature 2020 team

University kicks off involvement in Nature2020

MPs have helped launch a year-long celebration of biodiversity within the Brighton and Lewes Downs UNESCO World Biosphere Region.

The calendar of events marks the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity, with the University of Brighton leading on the area’s involvement in the 5th global City Nature Challenge in April. The Nature2020 programme aims to raise awareness of – and connect people to – the environment we live and work in.

Local MPs Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle joined the deputy Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Alan Robins, at a packed programme on Friday 31 January, which included speeches and a Healthwalk led by the University’s Becky Walton and Dr Rachel White to observe bird and plant species which make their home along the Undercliff walk.

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Eve on Kenya research trip

Eve’s amazing research opportunity with the leopards of Kenya

Eve Hills, Ecology and Conservation MRes student, tells us about the opportunities and experiences she had studying here and why she recommends Ecology at Brighton.

I came into higher education late in life after deciding that I wanted to develop my passion for animals into a career in wildlife conservation. I enrolled on a foundation degree course in Animal Science, and this provided me with the opportunity to further my knowledge and develop new skills. As part of the course I got to design and carry out my first research project (studying cheetah movement on a Namibian wildlife sanctuary). I enjoyed the course so much, that after graduating I went on to top up my degree with a BSc (Hons) in Ecology at the University of Brighton.

The BSc provided another opportunity to conduct a research project – and this time my focus was the leopards of Kenya’s, Masai Mara National Reserve. I very much enjoyed the research side of my studies and the opportunities that were opening up for me were really exciting.

The MRes appealed to me particularly because it was relatively light on taught modules and heavy on the research. I wanted the opportunity to experience the kind of research I might get do in industry.

My research focused on the African leopard… after starting to study leopards during my BSc I wanted to continue – particularly as little is known about the Mara’s leopard population. In 2016, I made contact with a biologist who had been studying the Mara’s cheetah population for several years. After flying out to meet her and spending a couple of weeks assisting on her project, she encouraged me to start building a database of leopards in the Mara. It was working on the database which led to both my BSc and MRes project ideas.

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Photo of trout swimming in river

Are superfoods damaging fish communities?

Brown trout in our rivers are in danger of being poisoned by a toxin produced in the watercress farming industry, according to new research at the University of Brighton.

Penethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) potentially is leaching into water courses and researchers are concerned the toxin can kill trout embryos and cause deformities.

Dr Neil Crooks, from the University’s Centre for Aquatic Environments, who led the research said: “Results show the need to accurately quantify and monitor environmental levels of PEITC in the environment.”

Dr Crooks, with Asa White, a PhD student, and Centre colleagues Dr Angelo Pernetta and Professor Chris Joyce, Professor of Ecology, looked into the sources of PEITC.

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