News in 2015

  • BTec students solve forensic mystery in Bristol Biochemistry 17 December 2015 On 9th December 2015, BTec students from North Bristol Post-16 Centre visited the School of Biochemistry Teaching labs to try their hand at biochemistry research techniques and solve a forensics scenario.
  • Art of Science 2015 20 November 2015
  • Ada Lovelace day 20 November 2015 On the 18th November, the Equality & Diversity and Widening Participation offices welcomed over 100 schoolchildren to take part in a Science Showcase as part of the University's celebrations of Ada Lovelace's 200th birthday.
  • Making Movies: Biochemistry research showcased as video synopsis 28 October 2015
  • Bristol Biochemistry undergraduate student wins poster prize 7 October 2015 Congratulations to Rebecca Dixon-Steele, one of our final year undergraduate students, on winning the best poster prize at the Drug Discovery 2015 conference in Telford, organised by ELRIG. Rebecca gave a 10 minute presentation in a poster taster session in the ‘Innovation in Assay Development and Screening’ track, winning her the best poster prize.
  • DNA shredding by a bacterial enzyme 22 September 2015 The integrity of the genetic information stored in DNA relies on maintenance of its double-stranded structure. Nonetheless, cells sometimes need to break DNA by cutting each of the polynucleotide strands. These DNA cleavage events are catalysed by enzymes called nucleases; nature’s molecular scissors. Many nucleases are complexes of two proteins, one subunit to cut each DNA strand (i.e., each subunit is a blade of the molecular scissors). A dimer structure ensures that the cuts are close together, leading to a simple DNA break. A collaboration between research teams in Bristol and Pune, India, has now revealed an alternative mechanism, where a pair of nuclease subunits are held distantly apart and the DNA cleavage is more ragged.
  • Bristol to benefit from new £3M Blood and Transplant Research Unit 11 September 2015 A new £3 million NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit [BTRU] to advance pioneering research on the manufacture of red blood cells from stem cells and their translation from the lab to human trials has been announced today [11 September 2015].
  • Welcome Imré and Christiane 11 September 2015 Bristol Biochemistry extends a very warm welcome to our two recent Professorial appointments, Imré Berger and Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel.
  • Biochemist announced as winner of BBC science writing competition 5 August 2015 Aspiring writers were invited to submit a 700-word article on ‘The science that will transform our future’ under two categories: ‘20 and under’ and ‘Over 21’.
  • Biochemistry researcher celebrates double success 30 July 2015 Bristol Biochemistry researcher Dr Sara Alvira de Celis has recently been recognised with not just one but two esteemed awards.
  • Congratulations to our Students! 22 July 2015 The School is delighted to congratulate its undergraduate students from all years on an excellent set of examination results, perpetuating the strength and reputation of the Bristol Biochemistry degree programmes.
  • Nature study adds new evidence linking brain mutation to autism, epilepsy and other neuro disorders 17 July 2015 Findings, published on the 15th July in Nature Communications, reveal the extent a mutation associated with autism and epilepsy plays in impairing a biochemical process in the brain. The study, led by University of Bristol researchers, could provide a new target for treating neurological disorders.
  • Ultrasound accelerates skin healing – especially for diabetics and the elderly 15 July 2015 Healing times for skin ulcers and bedsores can be reduced by a third with the use of low-intensity ultrasound, scientists from the Universities of Sheffield and Bristol have found.
  • Cancer surgery or biopsy collection could influence disease progression 2 July 2015 Scientists at Bristol Biochemistry studying the body’s inflammatory response to wounds following cancer surgery or biopsy have found that these procedures may cause growth signals to be delivered to any remaining cancer or pre-cancerous cells which may negatively influence disease progression.
  • Bristol Biochemistry Academic Scoops Two Teaching Awards 26 June 2015 The winners of the 2015 Bristol Teaching Awards have been announced on Monday 15th June. The Bristol Teaching Awards are a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol SU (the Students’ Union). The Awards are to recognise the most outstanding members of staff who have delivered exceptional contributions to teaching and supporting students.
  • Human trials of manufactured blood within two years 25 June 2015 The first human trials of lab-produced blood to help create better-matched blood for patients with complex blood conditions has been announced by NHS Blood and Transplant. Research led by scientists at the University of Bristol and NHS Blood and Transplant, used stem cells from adult and umbilical cord blood to create a small volume of manufactured red blood cells.
  • ESCRT-III controls nuclear envelope reformation 4 June 2015 Mitosis is the process by which eukaryotic cells divide up their chromosomes and form two genetically identical daughter cells. It involves a series of highly co-ordinated steps mediated by a plethora of proteins. During the final stages of mitosis (telophase) the nuclear envelope reassembles around the segregated chromosomes in a two-step process first involving the coating of chromatin by membranes from the endoplasmic reticulum followed by annular fusion of these membranes together to create a sealed barrier. Staff and Facilities of the School of Biochemistry collaborated with King's College London to investigate this, culminating in a publication in Nature.
  • Molecular basis of rapamycin insensitivity of Target Of Rapamycin Complex 2 revealed 1 June 2015 In eukaryotes, cell growth and division is stimulated by the availability of nutrients, presence of growth factors and of other cells. One of the key factors controlling cell growths is Target Of Rapamycin (TOR), a conserved, atypical protein kinase which is an important cancer therapeutic target and which is inhibited by the immunosuppressive, anti-proliferative drug rapamycin in complex with the FKBP12 protein. Decreased TOR activity has been found to increase life span in S. cerevisiae, C. elegans and mice. TOR kinase is part of two very large multi-protein complexes: rapamycin-sensitive TOR complex 1 (TORC1) and rapamycin-insensitive TOR complex 2 (TORC2). Why TORC2 is insensitive to rapamycin has been a longstanding mystery in the TOR field. In a paper published by Molecular Cell, this essential question has now been answered.
  • Bristol Biochemistry receives Athena SWAN Bronze Award 15 May 2015
  • Pint of Science 12 May 2015 Several members of the School of Biochemistry's staff and students are discussing their science with the public in pubs across Bristol as part of the national Pint of Science festival taking place 18th-20th May
  • Ribbon Cut by Professor Judith Squires at Official BrisSynBio Opening 7 May 2015 £3.3m research facilities for synthetic biology open in Bristol
  • Wishing farewell and good luck to Dr Mark Bass 20 March 2015 Dr Mark Bass joined the School of Biochemistry in November 2009 as Wellcome Trust funded Research Fellow, and is now moving on to a permanent Lectureship in the University of Sheffield.
  • Key step of protein targeting revealed by high-resolution electron cryo-microscopy 18 March 2015
  • New insights into the wiring of one of nature's nanoscale solar batteries 9 March 2015 A Bristol-Netherlands collaborative study has shown that when it comes to a choice over the route electrons take when tunnelling across a protein in a nanoscale electrical circuit, nature knows best.
  • Biochemistry PhD student takes science to Parliament 5 March 2015 Louisa Cockbill, a Biochemistry PhD student, is attending Parliament to present her science to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges, as part of SET for Britain on Monday 9 March.
  • Experiments and calculations performed by Bristol scientists shed light on a controversial 40-year old theory of protein structure. 16 February 2015 A team of chemists, biochemists and mathematicians at the University of Bristol have published a paper in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, which explores how protein structures are stabilised.
  • Two Biochemistry members appointed to editorial roles at Journal of Cell Science 5 February 2015
  • Congratulations to two Bristol Biochemistry graduates and friends 4 February 2015
  • Bristol awarded share of £40 million investment for UK synthetic biology 30 January 2015 The University of Bristol has been awarded a share of £2.2 million as part of a new £40 million investment for UK synthetic biology. Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the multi-million investment at the Manchester Institute for Biotechnology, where researchers are using the technology to investigate how to use bacteria in place of fossil fuels to produce the chemicals we need to manufacture a wide variety of everyday products from credit cards, to nappies, to Tupperware tubs
  • Cellular assembly mechanisms of essential transcription factor complex revealed 23 January 2015 Our cells contain a plethora of proteins that catalyse biological activity. Typically these proteins do not act alone. Rather they form large multicomponent assemblies that, in humans, often contain 10 or more subunits. For instance the machinery that reads out our genes is composed of more than 100 proteins. The cell exploits this astounding complexity to meticulously fine-tune gene expression in the cell nucleus, which contains our genome. Vital cornerstones of this process are the general transcription factors (GTFs) which together recruit RNA polymerase II, the enzyme that transcribes genes into messenger RNA. The largest human general transcription factor is TFIID, a megadalton-sized multiprotein complex containing 22 subunits. TFIID was discovered more than two decades ago, and much effort has been expended to elucidate its structure and function. How our cells manage to assemble TFIID from its individual components, however, remained entirely enigmatic.
  • Biochemistry launches PhD exit talks 20 January 2015
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