Prof Colin Smith

Vitamin D – it won’t prevent COVID-19

Top scientists have dismissed social media reports that high doses of Vitamin D can protect people from COVID-19 but have emphasised the importance of maintaining a healthy level of vitamin D in the body.

Among them are Professor Colin Smith, the University of Brighton’s Professor of Functional Genomics, who said: “There are currently some very misleading articles doing the rounds on social media about mega doses of vitamin D as a Covid-19 protective measure – which are not true – and hence the urgent need to inform the public.” Read More

pipette

University helps with hospital COVID test

University of Brighton technical staff stepped up when a hospital ran short of vital equipment for running COVIC-19 tests.

The microbiology laboratory at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital had to change one part of its COVID-19 testing protocol and needed special pipettes – multichannel pipettes capable of transferring small quantities of liquids – to perform the tasks.

They contacted the University and technical staff in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (PABS) came to their assistance.

Senior Technicians Bertie Berterelli and Joe Hawthorne searched round and found a quantity of pipettes, tested them to ensure they worked properly, and then delivered them to the hospital.

PABS Technical Officer Cinzia Dedi said: “My colleagues were pleased to help the hospital, especially in these trying times.”

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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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

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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World-first study into microplastics in crustacean brains

University of Brighton researchers have carried out the world’s first study into microplastics in the brain of a crustacean species.

The research – conducted by University graduate Hannah Parker, Dr Neil Crooks, Dr Angelo Pernetta – showed that ingested microplastics remained in the brain of the velvet swimming crab at more consistent levels than in other areas such as the stomach and gills.

The presence of microplastics in the brain has possible implications for a range of behaviours in the crab, including predator avoidance, foraging and reproduction. Read More

How the garden snail could help solve the antibiotics crisis

A Brighton scientist has made a breakthrough in the search for new antibiotics – courtesy of the common garden snail.

Dr Sarah Pitt, taken by Simon Dack

Researchers have suspected that snail mucus contains antibacterial properties but the University of Brighton’s Dr Sarah Pitt has conclusively identified proteins that could directly lead to the development of an antibiotic cream to treat deep burn wounds, and an aerosol for lung infections suffered regularly by patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

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