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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Photo of Dr Sarah Pitt

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.

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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Chloe smiling with young man

Fund winner Chloe’s South African game reserve experience

Chloe Morel recently visited South Africa as part of her International Experience. The International Experience Fund is a fund  kindly supported by Santander Universities and other generous donors, which helps eligible undergraduate students take advantage of opportunities overseas such as work placements, volunteering or studying abroad.

Chloe tells the story

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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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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 drones and sirens can help save the rhino

University of Brighton researchers have found new ways to help save white rhinoceros from illegal poaching – using drones and sirens.

They investigated the most effective ways of deterring rhinos from danger areas such as near perimeter fences where poachers often operate and spent six months on a South African game reserve testing the most effective way of persuading the animals to move to safer areas.

Poaching, fuelled by the international trade in horn, has caused the deaths of over 1,000 white and black rhinoceros per year between 2013 and 2017 and South Africa alone lost 5,476 rhinoceros to poaching between 2006 and 2016.

Lead researcher Samuel Penny, PhD student and lecturer in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, exposed a population of southern white rhinos to drones, sirens and the sound of a swarm of bees to see which best encouraged them to move.

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They also tried scattering different smells including chilli to deter the rhinos from danger areas. Read More

National appointment for Brighton professor

Matteo Santin, the University of Brighton’s Professor of Tissue Regeneration, has been appointed a member of the science and technology strategic advisory board of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity.

The group, which held its first meeting on 2 July, chaired by Lord Filkin CBE, aims to identify “the most effective ways to increase healthspan and democratise access to the ‘longevity dividend’ for citizens”. Read More