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Latest Life Sciences News

UCL researchers set to take their research to parliament

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SET for Britain group

Sixteen researchers from around UCL have been shortlisted to present their research to a panel of expert judges and over 100 MPs in this year’s SET for Britain competition.

Natural selection has altered the appearance of Europeans over the past 5,000 years

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Yamnaya Skeleton

Ancient DNA from archaeological skeletons shows that Europeans had darker skin, hair, and eye pigmentation 5,000 years ago.

Spread of antibiotic resistance understood by unravelling bacterial secretion system

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Bacterial type IV secretion system

The system that allows the sharing of genetic material between bacteria – and therefore the spread of antibiotic resistance – has been uncovered by a team of scientists from UCL and Birkbeck, University of London.

Climate change causes high, but predictable, extinction risks 

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Ornate box turtle

Judging the effects of climate change on extinction may be easier than previously thought, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Interactive map of human genetic history revealed

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Genetic Atlas

A global map detailing the genetic histories of 95 different populations across the world, showing likely genetic impacts of European colonialism, the Arab slave trade, the Mongol Empire and European traders near the Silk Road mixing with people in China, has been revealed for the first time.

Mathematical beauty activates same brain region as great art or music

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Beautiful formula

People who appreciate the beauty of mathematics activate the same part of their brain when they look at aesthetically pleasing formula as others do when appreciating art or music, suggesting that there is a neurobiological basis to beauty.

Brain asymmetry improves processing of sensory information

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Zebrafish

Fish that have symmetric brains show defects in processing information about sights and smells, according to the results of a new study into how asymmetry in the brain affects processing of sensory information.

Cancer death rates could be halved by 2030 with effective treatment

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Pills

UK cancer death rates are likely to fall more rapidly between now and 2030 than they have done in the previous 20 years, according to research presented today by the UCL School of Pharmacy.

Novel Genetic mutations discovered that cause neuro-muscular disease in children

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UCL Institute of Child Health

Mutations in a gene causing mixed neurological and muscular disease in children have been found for the first time.

New project explores using algae to produce speciality oils

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Microalgae 'hanging bags'

A new UCL project is developing the idea that microalgae could provide more sustainable production of a wide range of useful oils – from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to lubricants to next-generation biofuels.

A gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found

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Beer glass by Tim Dobson on Flickr (square)

UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking. They have also identified the mechanism underlying this phenomenon.

High salt levels in common medicines put patients at risk

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Soluble pills

Researchers have called for salt content in medicines to be labelled in the same way as food products in order to limit the risk of cardiovascular events, after research highlighted high salt levels in common medicines.

Electronic prescribing in NHS hospitals patchy at best

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Patent records

Patchy use of electronic prescribing in NHS hospitals – and the huge diversity of systems - creates huge challenges for both patient safety and staff training, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE.

UCL top in research council income

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UCL researchers and those who support their grant applications to research councils are to be congratulated, writes Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research).

New NERC Doctoral Training Partnership announced for London institutions

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NERC DTP

UCL and eight other leading London institutions have today announced the creation of a new London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, which will specialise in training 120 new environmental scientists over the next five years.

Striking research images sought for UCL competition

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Twitter languages of London

Does your research produce images that have aesthetic and artistic appeal? If so, consider entering the annual ‘Research Images as Art / Art Images as Research’ competition and exhibition.

UCLPartners Academic Health Science Centre video

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UCLPartners have produced a short film in which the leaders of our Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) discuss strengths and successes.

European hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side

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Farmland

Hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the hunter-gatherer communities died out or were absorbed into the farming population.

Athena SWAN awards: success for UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences

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Athena SWAN recently announced awards from the April submissions with all six UCL departments who applied being successful in achieving awards.Athena SWAN awards recognise a commitment to addressing the recruitment, promotion and retention of women in academic STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) sciences. Submissions are judged by STEMM academics, HR and Equality and Diversity professionals from across the sector.

Oldest existing lizard-like fossil hints at scaly origins

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Vellberg jaw

The fossilised remains of a reptile closely related to lizards are the oldest yet to be discovered.

Two new fossil jaws discovered in Vellberg, Germany provide the first direct evidence that the ancestors of lizards, snakes and tuatara (known collectively as lepidosaurs), were alive during the Middle Triassic period – approximately 240 million years ago.

New Director for UCL Division of Biosciences

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Professor Frances Brodsky

The Faculty of Life Sciences is delighted to announce that Professor Frances Brodsky will become the new Director of the UCL Division of Biosciences in January 2014. Professor Brodsky has spent much of her career at the University of California, San Francisco working in the field of cell biology and is a world expert on the protein clathrin, a key player in intracellular membrane traffic influencing the immune response, metabolism, neuronal function and development.

Digesting milk in Ethiopia: A case of multiple genetic adaptations

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Pints of milk

A genetic phenomenon that allows for the selection of multiple genetic mutations that all lead to a similar outcome -- for instance the ability to digest milk -- has been characterised for the first time in humans.

Size of personal space is affected by anxiety

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Crowd

The space surrounding the body (known by scientists as ‘peripersonal space’), which has previously been thought of as having a gradual boundary, has been given physical limits by new research into the relationship between anxiety and personal space.

Winners of inaugural Student Choice Teaching Awards honoured at ceremony

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Seven members of UCL staff have received 2013 Student Choice Teaching Awards, and three are part of SLMS. Their achievements were honoured at the Provost's Teaching Awards ceremony in July. The scheme, run by UCLU, is completely student-led, with students having chosen the categories (Outstanding Teaching, Outstanding Support for Teaching and Outstanding Personal Support), set the criteria, and nominated and chosen the winners. 

The secret of male beauty (in turkeys)

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Wild turkey

The essence of male beauty is down to the way males use their genes rather than what genes they have, according to a new study into the sexual attractiveness of turkeys.

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