News in 2011

  • Children of the 90s founder, Professor Jean Golding, named in New Year honours list 31 December 2011 Professor Jean Golding has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year honours list, on the eve of the 21st birthday of Children of 90s (also known as ALSPAC), the world-famous population study she founded in Bristol in 1991.
  • Three new eczema genes discovered 25 December 2011 Researchers from Children of the 90s at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with 22 other studies from across the world, have discovered three new genetic variants associated with the skin condition eczema, a chronic inflammatory disease that afflicts millions of patients around the world.
  • Chinese fossils shed light on the evolutionary origin of animals from single-cell ancestors 22 December 2011 Evidence of the single-celled ancestors of animals, dating from the interval in the Earth’s history just before multicellular animals appeared, has been discovered in 570 million-year-old rocks from South China by researchers from the University of Bristol, the Swedish Museum of Natural History, the Paul Scherrer Institut and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.
  • SPAIS Visiting Fellow wins British Library award 21 December 2011 Sheila Rowbotham, Visiting Fellow in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, has been appointed a Writer in Residence at the British Library's Eccles Centre for American Studies.
  • Dr Heather Whitney wins experimental biology award 21 December 2011 Dr Heather Whitney has been awarded the 2012 President's Medal in Plant Sciences by the Society for Experimental Biology.
  • Bristol academic receives Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award 21 December 2011 Professor Kei Cho, Chair of Neuroscience in the University’s School of Clinical Sciences, has received one of the Royal Society’s most prestigious awards, a Wolfson Research Merit Award.
  • Pioneering partnership is set to tackle brain disease 21 December 2011 A new partnership between Bristol University and a leading South Korean University will be at the forefront of research into tackling neurodegenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Can nerve growth factor gene therapy prevent diabetic heart disease? 20 December 2011 New research by academics in the University of Bristol's School of Clinical Sciences has investigated if nerve growth factor (NGF) gene therapy can prevent diabetic heart failure and small vascular disease in mice.
  • Balancing the womb 20 December 2011 New research by academics at the University of Bristol hopes to explain premature births and failed inductions of labour.
  • Bristol psychologist gives 2011 Royal Institution’s Christmas Lectures 20 December 2011 Professor Bruce Hood's three-part series of lectures, entitled Meet Your Brain, will be broadcast on BBC Four on 27, 28 and 29 December
  • Bristol law professor in prestigious book prize finals 19 December 2011 Julian Rivers, professor of jurisprudence in the School of Law, was one of five finalists in the competition for the 2011 Inner Temple Book Prize.
  • What are the prospects for sustaining high-quality groundwater? 19 December 2011 New research led by the University of Bristol’s Department of Civil Engineering has looked at nitrate transport from agricultural land to water in the Thames basin.
  • Media coverage for nitrate pollution in the Thames River basin 19 December 2011 Research led by Dr Nicholas Howden that looked at water quality measurement over the last 140 years to track nitrate pollution in the Thames River basin was the lead story on BBC News online science and environment.
  • The use of science to predict a hit song attracts huge media coverage 19 December 2011 New research using artificial intelligence to predict the popularity of a song has hit the headlines both in the UK and abroad, being covered extensively by national newspapers and radio stations as well as by the specialist music press.
  • Can science predict a hit song? 17 December 2011 New research by academics in the University of Bristol’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory has looked at whether a song can be predicted to be a ‘hit’
  • First hints of the Higgs boson? 16 December 2011 Physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider have received an early Christmas present. Using apparatus partly designed in Bristol, the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) collaboration has presented the first tentative evidence of the Higgs boson
  • University presents Long Service Awards 16 December 2011 At the annual meeting of University Court on Friday 9 December, seven members of staff were presented with Long Service Awards in recognition of 40 years or more of service to the University.
  • A healthy diet can cost less than junk food, says new research 15 December 2011 Parents of some obese children could save up to £6.58 each week by changing their shopping habits and opting for a healthier diet, according to University of Bristol research published in the latest issue of the British Journal of General Practice.
  • Less knowledge, more power: Uninformed can be vital to democracy, study finds 15 December 2011 Contrary to the ideal of a completely engaged electorate, individuals who have the least interest in a specific outcome can actually be vital to achieving a democratic consensus. These individuals dilute the influence of powerful minority factions who would otherwise dominate everyone else, according to new research published in Science.
  • Chemists find new way to break amide bonds 15 December 2011 Researchers in the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry have found a way to accelerate the breakdown of amide bonds. The work, published in Angewandte Chemie, features as the lead highlight in the American Chemical Society's C&ENews this week.
  • Bristol University’s iconic buildings inspire new range of merchandise 15 December 2011 Bristol University’s iconic buildings and symbols have been used to create an eye-catching design by local artist Susan Taylor. Her vibrant green, turquoise and black design will be making its first appearance in the form of a tea towel – the first in a new range of merchandise which the University and Students’ Union hope will be popular not just with past and present students, but with people from across the city.
  • Ministry of Cheer visits Bristol students to spread safer drinking messages 15 December 2011 A new campaign is urging students at Bristol University to keep their festive frivolities under control this Christmas. The Ministry of Cheer is touring local universities and colleges in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, aiming to help students make safer choices when indulging this winter.
  • Criminal justice system still failing the innocent 15 December 2011 Innocent people are still languishing in prison despite a publicly funded body that was set up to assist them to overturn their wrongful convictions. The Innocence Network UK (INUK) calls today for the reform of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) — the last resort for innocent victims of wrongful conviction.
  • How Harry Potter fans are bringing Quidditch to life in Bristol 15 December 2011 The magical world of Harry Potter is no longer confined to Hogwarts. In fact, the wizarding sport of Quidditch – broomsticks and all – has been brought to muggle life on the Downs thanks to keen Potter fans at Bristol University.
  • Bankers’ bonuses not to blame, shows university research 14 December 2011 Research from the University of Bath and Bristol counters the claim that large bonuses in the banking industry are at the root of the global financial crisis.
  • Media coverage for scientists discover new way to target cancer 14 December 2011 Scientists from the University’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology have discovered a new way to target cancer through manipulating a master switch responsible for cancer cell growth. The findings, which reveal how cancer cells grow faster by producing their own blood vessels, have been covered by ITV Westcountry, People Daily (China), China Daily, The Mirror, Daily Mail, Bristol Evening Post, BBC Radio Bristol.
  • Scientists provide potential explanation for mechanisms of associative memory 13 December 2011 Researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered that a chemical compound in the brain can weaken the synaptic connections between neurons in a region of the brain important for the formation of long-term memories. The findings, published today [13 Dec] in the Journal of Neuroscience, may also provide a potential explanation for the loss of memory associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • Media coverage for chronic fatigue and school absence 13 December 2011 New research by Dr Esther Crawley in the School of Social and Community Medicine into the cause of school absence finds that up to one per cent of secondary pupils could be suffering from chronic fatigue. The findings have been covered in the national media including BBC Breakfast TV and BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme.
  • Is chronic fatigue a major cause of school absence? 12 December 2011 New research into the cause of school absence finds that up to one per cent of secondary pupils could be suffering from chronic fatigue. The study, led by academics at the University of Bristol is published today in the BMJOpen.
  • Scientists discover new way to target cancer 12 December 2011 Scientists have discovered a new way to target cancer through manipulating a master switch responsible for cancer cell growth. The findings, published today [12 Dec] in the journal Cancer Cell, reveal how cancer cells grow faster by producing their own blood vessels.
  • DNA damage across a cellular barrier depends on barrier thickness 12 December 2011 Scientists at the University of Bristol have shown that signalling molecules that damage the DNA of cells grown underneath a barrier are transmitted only when the barrier is more than one layer thick and DNA damage and cytokine release is signalled across the barrier.
  • Campaign takes off with the addition of iconic Bristol balloon 12 December 2011 A marketing campaign to maximise awareness of the University of Bristol, as well as that of the city of Bristol, has been extended to include images of hot air balloons, recreated in QR codes.
  • Multi-purpose photonic chip paves the way to programmable quantum processors 11 December 2011 A multi-purpose optical chip which generates, manipulates and measures entanglement and mixture—two quantum phenomena which are essential driving forces for tomorrow's quantum computers—has been developed by researchers from the University of Bristol's Centre for Quantum Photonics. This work represents an important step forward in the race to develop a quantum computer
  • University spin-out company wins award for growth 9 December 2011 KWS BioTest, a company specialising in drug efficacy trials, has won the Growth Award at the Biomedical iNet Innovation Awards.
  • Bristol scientists awarded €5.6 million by European Research Council 9 December 2011 Three European Research Council Advanced Grants worth a total of more than €5.6 million have been awarded to Professor Jens Marklof (Maths), Professor Andrew Orr-Ewing (Chemistry) and Professor Sandu Popescu (Physics).
  • House-hunting honey bees shed light on how human brains come to a decision 8 December 2011 Avoiding deadlock in group decision making is a common problem for committees – but house-hunting honey bees may hold the answer, according to new research from the University of Bristol. The study, published today in Science Express, also reveals a striking similarity between how honey bee swarms and our own brains choose between alternatives.
  • Celebrating cats at Christmas 8 December 2011 A talk to celebrate cats with a festive look at their behaviour will take place on Tuesday 13 December at 7.30 pm at the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, Langford.
  • Babies born 32-36 weeks fare less well at school 8 December 2011 Only 71 per cent of babies born between 32 and 36 weeks are successful in key stage 1 (KS1) tests (defined as achieving at least level 2 in reading, writing and maths), compared to 79 per cent of babies born at full term (37-41 weeks) according to researchers at the University of Bristol's Children of the 90s .
  • New study aims to help parents have less stress and more fun in family life 7 December 2011 University of Bristol researchers are offering parents of 5- to 9-year-olds living in Horfield and Southmead the chance to take part in a free eight-week course that aims to help parents increase their children’s physical activity levels through providing practical ideas about being active, happy and healthy.
  • Global sea surface temperature dataset provides new measure of climate sensitivity over the last half million years 7 December 2011 Scientists at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton have developed important new insight into climate sensitivity – the sensitivity of global temperature to changes in the Earth’s radiation balance – over the last half million years.
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