Soapbox Science’s first visit to Brighton

Head down to the seafront between 1-4pm on Saturday 29 July and celebrate women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) with Soapbox Science.

Soapbox Science hosts events across the UK and the world raising the profile of women in science – breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes about who a researcher is. And they are coming to Brighton for the first time this summer.
Chantal Nobs, a PhD student at the University of Brighton, was one of 12 women selected to participate in the Soapbox Science London event on London’s Southbank in 2016.

Find out more about the Brighton event here.

Lunchtime learning

huxley_oct2010_001Our school are hosting a series of seminars on Fridays from 1-2pm in H400. Everyone is welcome so put the dates in your diaries.

Here’s what is coming up over in the next few weeks:

 

Friday 18 November
“e-learning apps: could they have an impact on student engagement and retention?”
presented by Dr George Olivier

Friday 25 November
“What we do not know about our hearing”
presented by Andrei Lukashkin

Friday 9 December
“Yeast: a versatile living test tube to screen drug targets and inhibitors”
presented by Dr Cathy Moore, Institute for Infection and Immunity

Studying and socialising in our nationally recognised building

estates_cockcroft_aw_048The recent, multi-million pound project transforming the Cockcroft building into a state-of-the-art research, teaching and information building has been recognised in the prestigious Green Gown Awards for 2016.

Our university and the architects we worked with Fraser Brown MacKenna were named Finalist in the Built Environment category for what was one of the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK.

The transformation was described by judges as “an innovative approach integrating architectural, building services and structure design” which unlocked the environmental potential of the 10,500m2 building using the latest technology.

Innovations include an aquifer thermal energy store, potentially reducing energy demand, CO2 emissions and fuel savings. The system stores and recovers thermal energy beneath the ground and provides heating and cooling.

A spokesperson for the awards told the university: “On behalf of the Green Gown Awards Team we wanted to congratulate you on your achievement. Being a Green Gown Awards Finalist is something to be extremely proud of.”

Earlier this year the Cockcroft project won in the Higher Education category of the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2016. Judges called it a bold project and a model for future similar projects. Continue reading

PABS joins in BAFTA success

hal-in-moscow-2A children’s medical programme, supported by the University of Brighton, has been nominated for a 2016 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award.

Professor Hal Sosabowski, Professor of Public Understanding who is based in our school, acts as science consultant for the CBBC children’s series Operation Ouch!, which aims to make medicine and science fun and accessible for children.

Professor Sosabowski, who advises on how to conduct safe experiments, said: “The programme has already won two BAFTAs and is now one of CBBC’s crown jewels. It focuses on the more macabre and disgusting but at the same time, strangely compulsive elements of the human body.”

Our school, the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, has been contributing to the programme since it was launched in 2012 and filming has been conducted at labs at the Huxley Building here in Moulsecoomb and at a lab at the Hastings campus. The programme is hosted by Christoffer and Alexander van Tulleken.

Professor Sosabowski said: “The programme is now syndicated worldwide and our involvement can only happen due to the goodwill of School colleagues to whom I extend my heartiest thanks. Season Six has been commissioned and the University and the School receive credits at the programme’s end which will reach literally millions of young scientists.”

The BAFTA awards ceremony is on 20 November. Watch this space!
Continue reading

Award nomination for Brighton graduate

Congratulations to Post Graduate Diploma Pharmacy (OSPAP) graduate Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman on being a finalist at The Pharmacy Business Awards 2016.

Mahfuz was one of two pre-reg pharmacists in the UK to be short-listed for the Pharmacy Business Pre-Registration Award at the ceremony in London. The award is for the pre-registration trainee who has achieved success from an innovative approach to professional services and patient care. The judges praised Mahfuz for the way he “approached his pre-registration year with the kind of precise attention to detail that has epitomised his progress as a promising young pharmacist.”

Having passed the GPhC assessment Mahfuz is now an MUR accredited Pharmacist working for Boots. He said of his time at Brighton: “I would definitely recommend the OSPSP course at Brighton. Not only does it contribute to the academic intent but it also provides insight into the professional world.”

British Science Festival heads for Brighton

british-science-festival-logoOne of Europe’s leading and longest established science festivals is coming to Brighton next year. And we will be co-hosting it!

The University of Brighton will co-host the 2017 British Science Festival with the University of Sussex from 5-8 September.

The festival, organised by the British Science Association, will have a programme of over 100 events featuring cutting-edge science from world-leading academics covering everything from technology and engineering to social sciences.

Welcoming the announcement, Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “I am delighted that the University of Brighton will be co-hosting the British Science Festival next year. We were keen to grasp this wonderful opportunity to showcase our world-leading research alongside cutting-edge science from around the globe in an accessible and engaging way.

“The city of Brighton & Hove is world-renowned for its Arts Festival. By hosting the British Science Festival, we can throw open the doors of our facilities to the wider community, including our new state-of-the-art Advanced Engineering Building that is currently under construction.”

We’ll keep you posted as more details are confirmed, and hope to see you all there!

University building scoops top award

The project to refurbish the University of Brighton’s iconic Cockcroft Building has won in the Higher Education category of the prestigious Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2016.

The Cockcroft Building on the University’s Moulsecoomb campus has been a familiar landmark on Brighton’s Lewes Road since the 1960’s.

The awards jury said: “This is a bold project, particularly from a sustainability point of view – and a model for future similar projects. It focuses well on how people use the building. The exterior has been elegantly improved and the interior creatively revamped.”


Welcoming the award, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debra Humphris said: “This is really excellent news and I congratulate the team involved in this major project. The refurbishment of the Cockcroft Building is an important part of our ongoing investment programme which aims to ensure that our students have access to world-class facilities.”

The multi-million pound refurbishment programme, which took three years to complete, was carried out whilst the building was still being used by staff and students and included:
• Development of state-of-the-art new learning laboratories and office spaces to house schools within the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences
• Installation of new windows to improve insulation throughout the building
• Exposing the ceiling space to highlight the architectural features of the building’s interior
• Opening up corridors in the building to improve lighting, people movement and provide social and informal learning spaces for students and staff to use.
• Reducing noise levels by putting in place sound buffering and dampening features
• Installing a new roof surface to improve insulation and energy efficiency.

Festival of chemistry

hal-in-moscow-2More than 90 students from 24 schools will take part in the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry here at the University of Brighton later this month.

The 11 to 13-year-olds will take part in hands-on, practical events including a ‘murder mystery’ which will involve students using their analytical chemistry skills. There will also be a ‘University Challenge’ to invent a new colour indicator to show how much sugar is in food products.

And Professor Hal Sosabowski, the university’s Professor of Public Understanding of Science based on our school, will provide an “explosive” lecture using liquid nitrogen, liquid oxygen and solid carbon dioxide.

All students will be given individual prizes and certificates and winning teams will be awarded prizes for their schools.

The Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry are an initiative run by The Salters’ Institute which promotes the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences amongst the young, and to encourage careers in the teaching of chemistry and in the UK chemical and allied industries.

This year event on 14 June will be the festival’s twentieth appearance at the university. The festival is one of 49 taking place at universities and colleges throughout the UK and Ireland. This year, the institute is working in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Discovering new antibiotics

Scientists at the University of Brighton are working with a team in South Korea on research that could lead to the development of new antibiotics.

Just weeks after Prime Minister David Cameron called for a worldwide cut in the unnecessary use of antibiotics and rewards for drug companies which develop new medicines to fight drug-resistant superbugs, the scientists have been studying soil bacteria which, they say, have the genetic potential to “produce tens of thousands of novel antibiotics”.

The South Korean-led study has been supported by University of Brighton scientists Professor Colin Smith and Dr Giselda Bucca in the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences.

The scientists undertook a detailed study of the activity of genes that are responsible for antibiotic production in a soil bacterium called Streptomyces. These bacteria are the major producers of antibiotics that are used worldwide to treat infections. Their study reveals how the activity of the genes for antibiotic production are controlled in the particular species of bacterium they studied – Streptomyces coelicolor – and this new knowledge, they say “suggests new ways for scientists to increase production of known antibiotics and, perhaps more importantly, to discover new antibiotics”.

Professor Smith said: “There is a critical need for developing new antibiotics because of the global rise in antibiotic resistance. Soil bacteria such as Streptomyces have the genetic potential to produce tens of thousands of novel antibiotics. However, it can be very difficult to coax them to produce these antibiotics in detectable quantities under laboratory conditions.

“The results from our study suggest how we could manipulate these bacteria to switch on production of antibiotics. This could allow us to ‘awaken’ genetic pathways for antibiotics that are not usually active outside of their natural soil environment. This, in turn, could enable us to study their properties and to scale up their production in the laboratory if they look promising as new antibiotics.”

Professor Smith and Dr Bucca are now embarking on a proof-of-concept study with the global pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to establish whether the same genetic controls operate in other Streptomyces bacteria. Professor Smith said: “If they do then this will open up new possibilities for increasing production of clinically-important antibiotics.”

The research is published in Nature Communications, find out more here.

Professor Colin Smith

Professor Colin Smith