Case studies

  • Observing the battle of the stem cells 22 January 2018 Stem cells must compete with one another to remain among a smaller number of pluripotent, self-renewing cells rather than transform into a specialised cell. But how does this process play out, and with what effects? Dr Marc Amoyel, a developmental biologist, received an EBI Early Career Fellowship award to examine stem cell competition in the fruit fly, Drosophila.
  • Improving outcomes following surgery for breast cancer 17 January 2018 Clinical scientist Dr Shelley Potter is passionate about improving the lives of women with breast cancer. A key focus of her research is women undergoing breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, since there is a lack of reliable evidence to inform women’s choice of reconstruction surgery. An award from the EBI Bridging Fund provided her with the opportunity to pursue this work while completing her specialist surgical training.
  • Shooting from the hip: tracing the genetics of osteoarthritis 17 January 2018 You’re more likely to get osteoarthritis of the hip if your parents have had it, and certain hip shapes can increase the risk. So could changes in hip shape associated with hip osteoarthritis be inherited?
  • Integrating population health data for better interventions 19 October 2017 An EBI-funded study to improve health and social outcomes for children in care could be an important first step towards developing a ‘digital population health laboratory’ to boost the health and wellbeing of people in Bristol.
  • Can opioids make pain worse by disturbing sleep? 19 October 2017 One in four of us will suffer chronic pain in our lifetime. Opioids such as morphine can sometimes help. However, deaths relating to opioid use have trebled in the last 20 years. Greater understanding of the risks and benefits of opioids could result in better and safer management of chronic pain.
  • Novel pacemaker technology could transform treatment of heart failure 19 October 2017 Implantable devices to restore heart rhythm (eg pacemakers) are commonly used to treat heart failure and cardiovascular diseases. Groundbreaking technology, developed by academics at Bristol and Bath and supported by the EBI, promises to revolutionise the therapeutic potential of these implants.
  • Brain imaging offers novel insights into appetite control 16 October 2017 It’s one of the biggest public health problems facing society today: one in three adults and three in ten children worldwide are overweight or obese. Why do some people seem to ignore their body’s internal satiety (fullness) signals and continue eating high-calorie foods in the face of weight gain? Brain imaging could shed new light on what goes wrong.
  • A new avenue for synthetic bone grafts 2 October 2017 Bone grafts are the second most commonly transplanted tissue after blood transfusions. The use of synthetic bone graft substitutes is increasing, but the challenge is to make them as ‘clever’ as their natural counterparts in stimulating fusion with the host bone. Bristol researchers believe a tiny lipid molecule could provide the answer.
  • Helping frail older people stay out of hospital 8 June 2017 Our ageing population, with an associated rise in the number of people living with frailty, is increasing pressure on hospital services in a financially squeezed NHS. If support for these more vulnerable patients were given earlier, fewer might be hospitalised. However, community assessment is still relatively untried and untested.
  • Reducing heart risk from fluid overload in children on dialysis 8 June 2017 Teenagers on kidney dialysis have a high a risk of heart disease – as high as people 50 years older in the general population. One major problem is that there has been no reliable method of measuring fluid overload, a condition that can cause heart damage. A novel use of ultrasound could address this, and lead to more accurate dialysis prescriptions and improvements in children’s long-term cardiovascular health.
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