Oct16

Which is your favourite image? 

These are just three of the short-list finalists from the Images with Impact competition. See all the images and vote at http://bbsrc2014.picturk.com.

Top image credit: Kevin Rangeley

Middle image credit: Declan King

Bottom image credit: Jill Harrison

#ImageswithImpact

Oct13

Food for Thought
The world is facing a potential crisis in terms of food security. The challenge is to provide the world’s growing population with a sustainable, secure supply of safe, nutritious, and affordable high-quality food using less land, with lower inputs, and in the context of global climate change, other environmental changes and declining resources.
The UK’s main public funders of food-related research, are working together through the Global Food Security programme to meet the challenges we face.
On the 27th October 6.30-8.00pm, BBSRC are running a free event that will be hosted by the Global Food Security Champion Professor Tim Benton and promises to be an exciting opportunity to discuss all things food security.
Venue: The Gallery Café, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL View Map
For more information please see our event page (http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/sciencecafe).

Food for Thought

The world is facing a potential crisis in terms of food security. The challenge is to provide the world’s growing population with a sustainable, secure supply of safe, nutritious, and affordable high-quality food using less land, with lower inputs, and in the context of global climate change, other environmental changes and declining resources.

The UK’s main public funders of food-related research, are working together through the Global Food Security programme to meet the challenges we face.

On the 27th October 6.30-8.00pm, BBSRC are running a free event that will be hosted by the Global Food Security Champion Professor Tim Benton and promises to be an exciting opportunity to discuss all things food security.

Venue: The Gallery Café, 21 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PL View Map

For more information please see our event page (http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/sciencecafe).

Oct09

The Flu Fighters
In this image you can see cells infected with influenza virus – virus proteins labelled with green and red fluorescent markers.
Flu Fighters, an exhibit that will be at the Great British Bioscience Festival, focuses on influenza viruses and the science behind the different approaches to combating the yearly flu epidemic.
The exhibit gives people a chance to find out about cutting-edge influenza research going on around the UK.
Get more information: http://bit.ly/1oPMxVF
Copyright: The Roslin Institute

The Flu Fighters

In this image you can see cells infected with influenza virus – virus proteins labelled with green and red fluorescent markers.

Flu Fighters, an exhibit that will be at the Great British Bioscience Festival, focuses on influenza viruses and the science behind the different approaches to combating the yearly flu epidemic.

The exhibit gives people a chance to find out about cutting-edge influenza research going on around the UK.

Get more information: http://bit.ly/1oPMxVF

Copyright: The Roslin Institute

Oct06

Animal cultures: Nature’s second inheritance system

It’s easy to think that human culture completely separates our species from others. However, BBSRC-funded research has revealed cultural processes of varying complexity in primates, birds and fish. 

Studies have identified cultural differences across different wild populations and shown migrating individuals conforming to local group habits.

Understanding different animal’s cultures illuminates human cultural evolution, and has implications in areas as varied as child development, robotics, welfare and conservation.

If you want to find out more about this research, the scientists will have an exhibit at the Great British Bioscience Festival in November in London.

Top image copyright: Dr Simon Walker

Bottom image copyright: Catherine Hobaiter

Read more: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/society/exhibitions/gb-bioscience-festival/animal-cultures-natures-second-inheritance-system.aspx

Oct02

Catch the knitting bug

As part of the Great British Bioscience Festival, BBSRC is running Knit-a-Bug: The Great British Bioscience Knitting Competition. BBSRC invites knitters from across the UK to get creative with bioscience by knitting bacteria and viruses that can impact human and animal health. 

Send in pictures of your knitted nasties for a chance to win a  luxury knitter’s hamper and a subscription to Simply Knitting Magazine. Your bug will be judged by an expert team of scientists and knitters who will look for creativity and flair.

To enter, send in pictures of your knitted bugs to competition@bbsrc.ac.uk by 24 October 2014. Patterns for various bacteria and viruses are available to download from http://ow.ly/CbXLz or you can create your own.

For more information and full terms and conditions visit: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/events/1410-knit-a-bug.aspx.

Follow our knitting competition on Twitter using the hashtag #knitabug.

Images: Copyright Glasgow City of Science

Sep29

For the first time flowering plants have been successfully engineered to fix carbon like the blue-green algae do – this can potentially increase photosynthesis and yields in crop plants.

Plants, algae and some bacteria capture light energy from the sun and transform it into chemical energy by the process named photosynthesis. Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) have a more efficient mechanism in carrying out photosynthesis than plants. For a long time now, it has been suggested that if plants could carry out photosynthesis with a similar mechanism to that of the blue-green algae, plant productivity and hence crop yields could improve.
Rothamsted Research scientists strategically funded by the BBSRC and in collaboration with colleagues at Cornell University funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation have used genetic engineering of tobacco plants - a tobacco plant can been seen above - to demonstrate for the first time that flowering plants can carry out photosynthesis utilizing a faster bacterial Rubisco enzyme rather than their own slower Rubisco enzyme. These findings represent a milestone toward the goal of improving the photosynthetic rate in crop plants.
Copyright: Rothamsted Research

Read more on this story: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/food-security/2014/140917-pr-big-step-towards-efficient-photosynthesis.aspx

For the first time flowering plants have been successfully engineered to fix carbon like the blue-green algae do – this can potentially increase photosynthesis and yields in crop plants.

Plants, algae and some bacteria capture light energy from the sun and transform it into chemical energy by the process named photosynthesis. Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) have a more efficient mechanism in carrying out photosynthesis than plants. For a long time now, it has been suggested that if plants could carry out photosynthesis with a similar mechanism to that of the blue-green algae, plant productivity and hence crop yields could improve.

Rothamsted Research scientists strategically funded by the BBSRC and in collaboration with colleagues at Cornell University funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation have used genetic engineering of tobacco plants - a tobacco plant can been seen above - to demonstrate for the first time that flowering plants can carry out photosynthesis utilizing a faster bacterial Rubisco enzyme rather than their own slower Rubisco enzyme. These findings represent a milestone toward the goal of improving the photosynthetic rate in crop plants.

Copyright: Rothamsted Research

Read more on this story: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/food-security/2014/140917-pr-big-step-towards-efficient-photosynthesis.aspx

Sep26

When you look at cool science images do you think about the technology behind the picture?

BBSRC funds a range of state-of-the-art imaging facilities that do more than just take a pretty picture.

One of these facilities is found at the Babraham Institute from where the images above, of HeLa cells at different stages of cell division, were taken.

The top image shows HeLa cells dividing into two. Cells (green) and chromosomes (blue). The Image was taken on a confocal microscope, a device which allows for live cell imaging with minimal specimen damage. Credit: Robert Cooper and Simon Walker

In the bottom image, HeLa cells can be seen at the end of the separation process, after cell division. Tubulin (green) nucleus (blue). The image was captured and reconstructed using a super resolution microscope. Image credit: Simon Walker

Advances in imaging technologies have revolutionized many fields of scientific research and their continued development is constantly changing the way we see science.

Read more about the way new imaging techniques are changing science: http://tmblr.co/ZtJ7bq1QJY5Ye

Read more about the Babraham Institute: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/organisation/institutes/institutes-of-bbsrc/babraham.aspx

Sep24

Changing the properties of mucus to aid nutritional uptake

Lipase is an enzyme that the body uses to break down fats in food so they can be absorbed in the intestines. As a result of digestion by lipases, in the small intestine, lipid droplets from our food slowly release a complex array of self-assembled structures (coloured red) as shown in the top image. This range of particle types and sizes must diffuse through the mucus barrier if they are to be absorbed by the body.

In the bottom image, of a mouse small intestine, you can see the mucus layer (coloured green) in the environment that the lipid products must diffuse through in order to reach the gut wall where they can be absorbed. Cell nuclei are labelled blue and the mucus secreting goblet cells are seen secreting mucus into the space between the villi.

Dr Alan Mackie, from the Institute of Food Research, the only publicly funded UK research institute that focuses on the underlying science of food and health, studies what food structures and food component can be used to change the properties of the intestinal mucus. Understanding this process could allow us to control and modify nutritional uptake by manipulating the food structures and therefore their uptake through the mucus layer.

This research will be used to help design foods that can release their nutrients more slowly, which is helpful in the fight against the onset of type 2 diabetes and can also decrease appetite and may thus be used to combat obesity.

Credit: Dr Balazs Bajka

Read more: http://www.ifr.ac.uk/research/scientists/alan-mackie/

Read more on research from the Institute of Food Research :http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/health/2014/140915-pr-botulisms-genetic-triggers-found.aspx

                                                                                                                

Sep22

Rounding up Rinderpest
This stunning image by Philippa Hawes, is of rinderpest virus infected cells in culture from BBSRC’s 2009 image competition. 
Described as the most dreaded of all animal diseases, rinderpest in its most virulent form could result in more than 80% mortality of cattle, buffalo, and other cloven-hoofed wildlife species.
The Pirbright Institute, formerly the Institute for Animal Health, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, has played a significant role in eradicating the disease as the World Reference Laboratory for rinderpest. 
Enter this years #ImageswithImpact competition, open to the UK pubic, researchers and students, seeking the best pictures that represent how life sciences are changing the world, in areas like: food, farming, bioenergy, biotech, industry and health - http://bbsrc2014.picturk.com/
Copyright: Philippa Hawes
Read more on the eradication of rinderpest: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/research/impact/eradicating-rinderpest.aspx
Enter free UK competition at: http://bbsrc2014.picturk.com/

Rounding up Rinderpest

This stunning image by Philippa Hawes, is of rinderpest virus infected cells in culture from BBSRC’s 2009 image competition. 

Described as the most dreaded of all animal diseases, rinderpest in its most virulent form could result in more than 80% mortality of cattle, buffalo, and other cloven-hoofed wildlife species.

The Pirbright Institute, formerly the Institute for Animal Health, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, has played a significant role in eradicating the disease as the World Reference Laboratory for rinderpest. 

Enter this years #ImageswithImpact competition, open to the UK pubic, researchers and students, seeking the best pictures that represent how life sciences are changing the world, in areas like: food, farming, bioenergy, biotech, industry and health - http://bbsrc2014.picturk.com/

Copyright: Philippa Hawes

Read more on the eradication of rinderpest: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/research/impact/eradicating-rinderpest.aspx

Enter free UK competition at: http://bbsrc2014.picturk.com/

Sep18

New sequence of naked mole rat genome aids cancer resistance research
Director of Science at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) Federica Di Palma co-authors new genetic study on the naked mole rat’s resistance to cancer, identifying key genomic variations that may have contributed to the evolution of this extraordinary species.
The naked mole rat is an exceptionally long-lived and cancer-resistant rodent native to East Africa. The new study presents a higher-quality assembly of the rodent’s genetic structure to previous sequences of the species genome, enabling the research community to benefit from this key data.
The study, led by international scientists from TGAC, University of Liverpool, Broad Institute, Uppsala University and Harvard Medical School, re-analysed the naked mole rat genome using the improved assembly that revealed further candidate genes of potential relevance to adaptive changes in the context of ageing and cancer.
With a life span of over thirty years, not only is the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) the longest-lived rodent, but it is also extremely resistant to neoplasia (tumours), and therefore is an ideal model for research on longevity, cancer and disease resistance.
Copyright: John Trainor - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/trainor/
Read more: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/health/2014/140903-pr-sequence-mole-rat-aids-cancer-research.aspx

 

New sequence of naked mole rat genome aids cancer resistance research

Director of Science at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) Federica Di Palma co-authors new genetic study on the naked mole rat’s resistance to cancer, identifying key genomic variations that may have contributed to the evolution of this extraordinary species.

The naked mole rat is an exceptionally long-lived and cancer-resistant rodent native to East Africa. The new study presents a higher-quality assembly of the rodent’s genetic structure to previous sequences of the species genome, enabling the research community to benefit from this key data.

The study, led by international scientists from TGAC, University of Liverpool, Broad Institute, Uppsala University and Harvard Medical School, re-analysed the naked mole rat genome using the improved assembly that revealed further candidate genes of potential relevance to adaptive changes in the context of ageing and cancer.

With a life span of over thirty years, not only is the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) the longest-lived rodent, but it is also extremely resistant to neoplasia (tumours), and therefore is an ideal model for research on longevity, cancer and disease resistance.

Copyright: John Trainor - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/trainor/

Read more: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/health/2014/140903-pr-sequence-mole-rat-aids-cancer-research.aspx