Brighton research showcased in South Africa

Dr Mary Gearey, Research Fellow from the School of Environment and Technology, presented the work from three University of Brighton research projects at the South African National Wetlands Indaba, held in the Eastern Cape town of Port Edward during 16th to 19th October 2017. The Indaba is a prestigious event, bringing together academics, environmental activists, NGOs and government officials from South Africa and beyond in a forum for mutual learning and policy development across sectors, with wetlands integrity at its heart.

Showcasing the school’s work at the conference, Dr Gearey presented the work that she and her colleagues have developed, exploring human wellbeing within a variety of UK wetlands. Particularly focusing upon community engagement to support the long term health of wetlands, Dr Gearey outlined work undertaken in the River Adur catchment, in support of the AHRC funded Towards Hydrocitizenshipand within the current WetlandLIFE project (www.wetlandlife.org) running until 2019.

San Lameer wetlands, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa 17th October 2017

As Dr Gearey explains: “The Indaba was a tremendous opportunity to learn from our African colleagues, who have consistently argued and championed for the right to a thriving and protected natural environment. Drawing upon examples of best practise from across the continent, the case studies presented at the Indaba highlighted the need to encourage practitioners, activists, and communities to collaboratively work together to problem solve in the context of both degraded environments and in light of potential climate change impacts.

Examples of collaborative interventions include the restoration of the Lake St Lucia estuarine wetlands in Kwa-Zulu Natal utilising GIS modelling to enable government departments to visualise, and so invest in, land use change; reappraising eldritch pre-colonial community totems for wetland protection in Benin and using cosmic ray probes to profile wetland hill-slope soil moisture in Swaziland in support of open source data for citizen science initiatives.

Presenting my inter-disciplinary wetlands research, with its strong focus on social science, was welcomed by the Indaba attendees. Although the social and economic contexts between the global South and North are vastly different, we all agreed that community support and engagement is essential to enable the security of wetland environments around the world. Walking through KwaZulu Natal’s beautiful San Lameer wetlands, a combination of protected indigenous wetland and constructed wetland to support the water needs of the local community, it is fantastic to see an example of both working with nature and leaving space for nature. I have been invited by wetland scientists at the University of Swaziland to share our School of Environment and Technology’s water and community work; so I very much hope to be returning to this beautiful part of the world as soon as I can.”

Brighton scientists make breakthrough in India

Scientists from the University of Brighton have made a breakthrough in helping combat typhoid among slum dwellers in the Indian city of Kolkata.

Dr James Ebdon (left) and Professor Huw Taylor

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr James Ebdon, Reader in the university’s School of Environment and Technology, shared Brighton’s microbial source tracking methods with Indian and US scientists and successfully used the method for the first time to identify pollution of human origin in what is India’s second largest city.

Dr Ebdon said: “This breakthrough is an important first step in a three-year project to map environmental transmission routes of typhoid in urban India by combining novel microbiological protocols with social science approaches.”

Typhoid is a bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs, and without prompt treatment, can be fatal. It remains one of the most serious health burdens in India, particularly for children, and is compounded by poverty, inadequate water supply and poor sanitation.

It is hoped that the breakthrough research by the Brighton scientists will demonstrate how typhoid spreads through poor urban communities so that more effective barriers to the disease can be put in place. The work in India is the latest example of the Brighton team’s efforts to support disease prevention in developing countries. Previously the team played a key role in responding to the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti and its advice was later sought by the WHO in response to the West African Ebola outbreak.

Dr Ebdon led the Kolkata work, which is part of the ‘Sanipath Typhoid’ project, run by the Global Centre for Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at Emory University in Atlanta. He works alongside the University of Brighton’s Dr Diogo Trajano, Research Fellow in the School of Environment and Technology, who has made similar progress in Africa, with funding from the Medical Research Council.

Professor Huw Taylor, the University of Brighton’s Professor of Microbial Ecology, accompanied Dr Ebdon in India. He said: “This is a very exciting step forward for water and sanitation research at the university. In recent years we have become widely-recognised for the global impact of our work but James’ success in India, along with Diogo’s advances in rural Kenya, are now using Brighton’s practical knowledge for the benefit of those in greatest need.”

For more information on sanitation research click here.

Jurassic Park: could it happen?

Jurassic Park brought dinosaurs to roaring, stomping life using the latest CGI technology, revolutionising the film industry and setting a new baseline for how we imagine dinosaurs to look and behave.

Join us for a special screening of Jurassic Park interrupted by our panel of palaeontologists, at Komedia, City Centre from 12.00-14.00 on Saturday 9 September. Discuss the science behind the film and find out how things have changed since this iconic blockbuster first hit cinemas in 1993.

The British Science Festival 2017 begins on September 5 and runs through till September 9.

Book your free tickets: https://www.britishsciencefestival.or…

Sussex heritage in the digital age

Lecturers Jamie Kaminski and Karina Rodriguez give you the chance to explore the unique ‘Sussex Loops’ which were used as body ornamentation 3,200 years in the Bronze Age,  at the British Science Festival on 7 September.  You will gain insight on the use of scientific approaches and digital technologies used to experience the way of life of our Sussex ancestors.

Location Asa Briggs Arts, University of Sussex

Room: A1

Duration: 13:30 – 14:30

Date: Thursday 7 September 2017

Book your place now!

Clearing 2017

Good luck to everyone receiving A-Level results tomorrow!

If your exams have gone differently from the way you expected, or you have had a change of heart about the course you want to do then Clearing can be a great way to start that journey.

Our Clearing hotline will be open on Thursday from 7am
Call us on 01273 644000

Full advice about Clearing can be found on the University of Brighton website:
www.brighton.ac.uk/clearing

Get to know us better and visit us at a Clearing information day.
You’ll meet academics from your subject, take a tour of your campus and facilities and get advice about student finance, university life and accommodation.
Find out more about Clearing information days.

Brighton joins global efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance

The university’s Professor Huw Taylor has joined world experts to draw up an action plan to fight antimicrobial resistant (AMR) disease transmission through the water cycle.

More than 700,000 people worldwide die every year from infection from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the threat is increasing every year. A UK government report warns that by 2050, 10 million people worldwide will be suffering from life-threatening infections from these bacteria if the issue is not urgently tackled.

Professor Taylor, Professor of Microbial Ecology, in 2015 led an international team that advised the World Health Organization (WHO) on how to address the potential spread of Ebola through the water cycle through improved emergency sanitation measures.

He is now lending his expertise to this new world-wide effort to tackle the problem of antimicrobial resistance and recently joined a host of experts at a meeting in the Netherlands organised by the WHO and KWR, a leading international water research institute.

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Dinosaur expert’s double award

The University of Brighton’s dinosaur expert, Dr Susannah Maidment, has won two top awards.

Dr Susannah Maidment has collected the Palaeontological Association’s Hodson Award for her 10 years research following her PhD and her contribution to science.

Her nominee said: “Susie is an outstanding early career palaeontologist who has made several highly significant and substantial novel research contributions. She has developed a strong international research reputation, generated significant external grant funding, and played an important role in promoting palaeontology through her outreach and media activities.”

Dr Maidment has also received an award from the Geological Society’s Lyell Fund, given to contributors to the earth sciences on the basis of noteworthy published research.

Her nominee said: “Susie is an outstanding palaeontologist with a track record of collaborative, multidisciplinary research that spans biology, palaeontology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy.

“She has already made numerous significant achievements in her career, as demonstrated by a series of well-regarded and cited high-profile papers. She brings a rare combination of laboratory and fieldwork skills to her research, and is an excellent communicator of her science to academia and the wider public. Susie is firmly on course to develop into a true international leader within palaeobiology

Dr Maidment’s research hit the headlines in 2015 when she and a collaborator discovered blood cells preserved in 75-million-year-old dinosaur bone.

She said: “I’m extremely honoured and absolutely delighted to receive these awards. As a new member of staff, I hope to be able to build on these awards and develop an internationally-recognised research group in palaeobiology at the University of Brighton.”

For more information on Dr Maidment’s research click here

Source: Dinosaur expert’s double award

The struggle behind the smile

A University of Brighton graduate is launching a charity to help international and ethnic students realise their academic dreams.

Lagos slums where Dr Akinlotan was born and raised

Dr Oladapo Akinlotan was brought up in slums in Nigeria and after years of financial hardship he finally achieved his goal of being awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.

He now wants to share his journey “to inspire overseas students facing financial challenges in the UK and worldwide”.

Dr Akinlotan said: “To achieve this I want to set up a charity to help inspire and motivate people from less privileged backgrounds so they can achieve their dreams, no matter what the challenges.

“I want to visit high schools, colleges and universities in deprived areas across the UK and encourage the younger generation to follow their dreams even in the midst of challenges.”His charity, he said, would provide financial assistance to those “whose dreams are threatened” by lack of funds, and he will be looking to organisations and individuals to back him with donations.

Dr Akinlotan, whose PhD was awarded at the university’s Winter Graduation last month (Feb) for his work on sedimentary geology in South East England, said he hoped also to inspire the next generation of geologists and geoscientists as a lecturer.

He praised the university: “It deserves huge credit for this success story particularly the international office and the School of Environment and Technology for providing financial assistance. By giving me one of the Doctoral College’s four International Research Scholarship slots in that year the university has made world class education accessible to aspiring oversea students like me who desperately need financial support to achieve their goals.

“The scholarship paid 50 per cent of my tuition for three years while the School paid the tuition for the fourth year.”

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