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Title: Welcome to the first edition of the Biological Sciences Department Newsletter' As you may have gathe

Research Newsletter Spring 2003
Welcome to the first edition of the Biological
Sciences Department Newsletter. As you may have
gathered from the email requests posted, the
primary goal of the newsletter is to (further)
inform departmental members of staff and students
of current and on-going research activities. By
doing this regularly (maybe every 3 to 6 months),
it is hoped that the newsletter will help to
facilitate better working relationships and
research collaborations within the department. An
obvious question to ask is - has this first
edition gone someway to achieving this? I guess
you will make your own mind up, but one
particularly salient feature of this first
edition is that we welcome the arrival of nearly
20 new members of staff, visitors and students!
That is, 20 people with useful research
talent/expertise, which would have gone largely
unadvertised prior to this newsletter! However
(and I am sure that you will agree), the
newsletter also highlights the diverse array of
research activities and successes which provide
tangible indicators of the impressive swell of
research potential building within the
department. In addition to the primary goal, I
feel that there are other benefits of a research
newsletter, not least that the research profile
of the department can be advertised outside of
the department and to prospective students (e.g.
UCAS open days). I hope that that you find this
first edition useful and that it will inspire
contributions for a second edition. And of
course, comments regarding the format or type of
content or anything that you feel will improve
this newsletter are welcome. Finally, many thanks
to those members of staff who demonstrated their
support for this initiative and submitted
contributions.   Stephen Roberts   The
Department is now entering an exciting and
challenging time during which we must define the
focus of our future research strategy in more
detail. With the recent appointment of our new
Vice Chancellor, Paul Wellings (Professor of
Population Ecology), we are pleased to welcome a
biologist with a strong interest in the
environment. On his arrival, Paul initiated a
Strategic Review of the University with 24
consultation groups which included 12 members of
this Department. This strategic process is
on-going as you know! A major current initiative
is the transfer of two NERC research institutes
onto this campus. Once this has taken place
Lancaster University will have one of the highest
concentrations of environmental researchers in
Europe! There are also active discussions about
the potential transfer of the Freshwater
Biological Association to this campus. These
developments give major new opportunities for
collaborative research. The buildings programmes
associated with the development of the Lancaster
Environment Centre and with accommodating NERC
researchers on the campus have greatly impacted
upon the Departments day-to-day life and I would
like to take this opportunity to thank all staff
for their help in necessary laboratory and office
moves and for their forbearance during the many
disruptions. We must recognise, however, that
these upheavals have also resulted in major
opportunities for the Department to modernise
some of its laboratory facilities. The conversion
of the former mechanical workshop space into a
suite of well-equipped plant molecular biology
laboratories is a good example of such upgrading.
In June 2003 we anticipate the completion of the
LEC1 building which will provide first class
research facilities for staff in Biological
Sciences and Environmental Science. This
development will also provide Biology with 8 new
offices which should help to relieve our acute
office space problems. We also anticipate the
LEC2 project (September 2003) in which NERC will
take over some of the A floor of the west wing of
Biological Sciences. Here again the laboratories
vacated by Bill Davies and his colleagues will be
upgraded to accommodate the displaced researchers
from A floor. We have also been in extensive
discussions relating to LEC3 in which it is
proposed to move the Geography Department onto
this site. This move would largely involve
displacement of Environmental Science and
construction of new laboratory facilities in a
LEC3 building. We anticipate that a considerable
proportion of Biologys ecological research would
also move into the LEC3 building. This latter
proposal has been submitted as a SRIF2 bid to the
University, as has our Proteomics bid. Finally,
and to return to my theme of our research
strategy, I would like to announce that we
propose to have an away day within the next
couple of months and our strategy for research
will be one of the items for discussion. The
plans for this event, which have been developed
by Alistair Hetherington and Elaine Martin, are
now quite advanced and we look forward to
engaging fully with members of the Department in
developing our plans. I would like to end by
thanking Stephen Roberts and the many
contributors in the Department for producing this
newsletter. I am sure that we all wish this new
initiative every success!  Ian Nieduszynski A
big welcome to the following  Ms Ljilja Prokic
(Belgrade University) will be working with Martin
McAinsh as a Royal Society-funded visiting
Research Fellow studying Ca2, pH and hormones
interactions and effects on stomata from 6th Jan
to 4th May. Dr Ramani Jayakody (Open University
of Sri Lanka) will be working with Martin McAinsh
and Jane Taylor as a Commonwealth Fellow studying
salt stress mutants of Arabidopsis from 3rd Feb
to 3rd August. Dr John Bothwell (MBA Plymouth)
will be working with Martin McAinsh and Alistair
Hetherington as a BBSRC-funded post-doc studying
the role of calcium in co-ordinating cell cycle
and polarization in Fucus. Although John is based
in Plymouth, he will be spending 12 months out of
the 36 months in Lancaster in various bit-sized
chunks. Dr Carl Ng (University College Dublin)
will be visiting Martin and Alistair between the
3rd and 27th March investigating guard cell
signalling. Dr Michael Hansen is working with
Brian Forde as a Research Technician until
August working on a project that is looking at
the post-translational regulation of nitrate
transporters in barley roots. Michael has just
moved up from John Gray's group in Cambridge and
has a wealth of experience in a wide range of
molecular and biochemical techniques.    
New and visiting members of staff
Words from the Head of Department
Dr Pia Walch-Liu started in mid-January on a
3-year EU-funded post-doc position working with
Brian Forde investigating post- translational
regulation of nitrate transport with an emphasis
on Arabidopsis and the use of mutants and
transgenic lines. Pia obtained her PhD in 2001
from the University of Hohenheim and her
background is in plant nutrition. Dr Lijun
Shang started in January on a 2 year
BBSRC-funded post-doc position working with
Stephen Roberts investigating the membrane
transport properties of the methylotropic yeast,
Pichia pastoris with an emphasis on using Pichia
for the functional expression of plant membrane
transporters. Lijun has a background in
electrophysiology.   Michaela Kitschke is
working with Stephen Roberts as a Research
Technician until February 2004 and will be
mainly assisting in the identification and
cloning ion transporters in filamentous fungi.
Miss Emma Chambers (University of Manchester)
will be working with Paul McKean as a visiting
research assistant for the next 2 years. Emma
will undertaking the phenotypic analysis of
trypanosome cells following induction of RNA
interference. Dr Dagmar Tscherko (University of
Hohenheim, Suttgart) will be working with Richard
Bardgett until April 2003. Dagmar is a soil
biologist with particular interests in the
sensitivity of soil biological properties to
environmental change in Alpine regions. Meneerah
Al-Jafary (Dammam, Qatar) will be working with
Bob Lauder for a year exploring normal
age-related changes in the structure of the
proteoglycans found in the meniscus. Meniscal
damage is strongly correlated with osteoarthritis
(OA) and by characterising normal age-related
changes in meniscal proteoglycans Meneerah hopes
to identify diagnostic early markers for the
onset of OA. Meneerah obtained her B.Sc. in
Zoology from the University Of Qatar in 1999 and
was appointed to a lectureship in the Girls
College in April 2000. Dr Lisa Bishop and Dr
Linda Harrison have been working in lab A44 over
the last 6 months on a project funded by the
Foundation for Sudden Infant Death. The project
is a collaboration between Linda, Lisa, Dr Bob
Lauder, Dr Christine Taylor and Dr Tom Huckerby
of this department and Professor Jim Morris from
the RLI. Jim was heavily involved in the recent
Sally Clark case, who you may recall successfully
appealed against her jail sentence for killing
her two children. Professor Morris provided
evidence in support of his Common Bacterial
Toxins hypothesis claiming they had in fact
suffered sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Linda and Lisa have been validating tools for the
analysis of infants in the high risk age range
and now have a robust method in place. The work
is moving forward and is incorporated into a
current grant application to test the Common
Bacterial Toxins hypothesis for SIDS. Jasber
Singh will be working with Michael Roberts as a
temporary part-time Research Technician
investigating plant-pathogen defence responses.
Jasber's PhD studentship funding ended in
December 2002 and so when he not full-filling his
technical role his supervisor (M. Roberts) is
hoping that he will be writing up his
thesis. Daniel Wright started in December,
studying for a PhD with Richard Bardgett, funded
by NERC. Daniel graduated with a degree in
Zoology from the University of Nottingham. He
then continued his studies at Nottingham for an
MSc in Environmental Science. His project is
joint with CEH Banchory, and he will be studying
how seabirds impact on island ecosystems. Much of
his work will be carried out on the Isle of May,
an island off the north-east coast of Scotland.
Here, seabirds impact substantial on the
vegetation and food web structure of the island
ecosystem, largely through the input of nitrogen
and phosphorus in their faeces.  
  • Sue Ward started her studies for PhD with Nick
    Ostle (CEH) and Richard Bardgett, funded by NERC.
    Many will know Sue, having graduated with a first
    class degree in Ecology from Lancaster in 2002.
    She will be studying patterns and dynamics of
    carbon and nitrogen cycling in mountain
    ecosystems, based at the Moor House National
    Nature Reserve in north-east Cumbria. Sue will
    work mainly at Merlewood, until their move to the
    Lancaster campus later this year.
  • Sofia Dos Santos Da Rocha began studying for a
    PhD, jointly supervised by Dr Keith Davies of
    Rothamsted and Richard Bardgett. Sofia is from
    Portugal where she studied for her first degree
    and MSc in Ecology at the Universidade de
    Coimbra. She is now working on a project funded
    by the EU Training Network which links ecologists
    from collaborating groups in Holland, Belgium,
    France, UK, and Portugal. She will be
    investigating the tritrophic interactions in sand
    dunes, between marram grass (Ammophila
    arenaria), plant parasitic nematodes, and their
  • Richard Bardgett has been awarded 153,000 from
    BBSRC to study the ecological significance of
    niche partitioning of soil nitrogen forms by
    plants and soil microbes in botanically diverse
    grasslands. The overall aim of the study is to
    test whether competition for soil N between plant
    and microbes is avoided through niche
    partitioning of the differently available forms
    of N, but especially amino acids, in soil.
  • Paul McKean has been awarded 306,284 from the
    BBSRC as part of the Exploiting Genomics
    Initiative. The aim of this project is to exploit
    the protozoan parasites Trypanosoma brucei and
    Leishmania major as models for studying the
    assembly of the eukaryotic flagellum. By
    identifying orthologous proteins in humans the
    project aims to provide a basis for understanding
    the structure and function of flagella/cilia in
    human health as well as their involvement in
    inherited diseases such as primary ciliary
    dyskinesia (PCD). This is a collaborative project
    including Prof. Keith Gull (Sir William Dunn
    School of Pathology, University of Oxford) and
    Prof. Simon Gaskell (UMIST, Manchester).
  • Paul McKean has been awarded 10,000 from the
    Royal Society to purchase a Casy Model TT Cell
    Counter. Paul will use this equipment as part of
    his on-going research into the study of flagella
    formation. Using the protozoan parasite, T.
    brucei, as a model organism the project will be
    to use gene-silencing technology to 'knock-down'
    the expression of specific trypanosome proteins
    and investigate the consequences for flagellum
    structure and function. Following the
    identification of cell lines exhibiting
    functionally defective flagella (paralysed,
    altered beat pattern), further analysis using
    thin section electron microscopy will be used to
    elucidate structural basis for the observed
    motility defect.
  • Martin McAinsh and Alistair Hetherington have
    been awarded 189,920 from the BBSRC to
    investigate calcium-based guard cell signalling
    pathways. Specifically, this three year study
    will examine the roles of sphingosine-1-phosphate
    and phospholipase C in calcium signalling events
    during ABA-induced gene expression in guard
  • Departmental Fellowship Award. The North West
    Cancer Research Fund (NWCRF) has agreed to fund a
    5 year research fellowship based in the
    department. The specific area of research is not
    specified but it needs to come under the general
    remit of NWCRF which relates to "the causes of
    cancer".Several staff have previously received
    funding from NWCRF so there is scope for the
    candidates to be in any one of a number of groups
    in the department. The Fellowship will be
    advertised in March.
  • Bardgett, R.D. (2002) Causes and consequences of
    biological diversity in soil. Zoology, 105,
  • This paper, published in December, resulted from
    a plenary lecture that Richard Bardgett gave to
    the German Zoological Society in Halle, May 2002.
    The paper explores the vast diversity

Recent Grant Annoucements
New research students
Recent Publications
  • basis for the elucidation of ion channel function
    in fungal physiology.
  • Price, H.P., Menon, M.R, Panethymitaki, C.,
    Goulding, D., McKean, P.G. and Smith, D. F.
    (2003) Myristoyl CoA protein N-myristoyltransfer
    ase an essential enzyme and potential drug
    target in trypanosomatid parasites. Journal of
    Biological Chemistry 278, 7206 - 7214.
  • Co-translational modification of eukaryotic
    proteins by N-myristoylation aids subcellular
    targeting and protein-protein interactions. The
    enzyme that catalyses this process, N-myristoyl
    transferase (NMT) has been characterised in the
    protozoan parasites Leishmania major and
    Trypanosoma brucei. The experiments described in
    this paper suggest that the NMT enzyme may be an
    appropriate target for the development of
    anti-parasitic agents.
  • "Protein-Protein Interactions" - A special issue
    of Plant Molecular Biology Vol 50(6), 2002.
    M.R. Roberts, J. Denecke D.B. Collinge (Eds.)
  • including Roberts, M.R., Salinas, J., Collinge,
    D.B. (2002) 14-3-3 proteins and the response to
    abiotic and biotic stress. Plant Mol. Biol. 50
  • The special issue of Plant Molecular Biology was
    produced with the aim of introducing scientists
    with backgrounds in molecular biology and
    genetics to the range of techniques available to
    study protein-protein interactions. It carries
    articles on methodologies, case study reviews of
    plant protein complexes, and articles on 14-3-3
    proteins. Mikes article describes the functions
    of this regulatory protein family in plant
    responses to environmental stresses.
  • Also recently published
  • McMillan, T.J. (2002) Principles of Radiobiology.
    In Textbook of Radiotherapy Eds. CK Bomford and
    IH Kunkler. Pp286-295
  • Fell, LJ, Paul, ND. and McMillan. TJ, (2002) The
    role of the non homologous end joining in the
    cytotoxicity of UVA. Int. J. Radiat. Biol. 78,
  • Cedervall, BE and McMillan, TJ (2002) The
    fraction of DNA released on pulsed field gel
    electrophoresis gels may differ significantly at
    low levels of doublestrand breaks. Radiation
    Research 158(2)247-9.
  • Tobi, S, Gilbert, M, Paul, N and McMillan, TJ
    (2002) The green tea polyphenol,epigallocatechin-3
    -gallate (EGCG), protects against the oxidative
    cellular and genotoxic effects of UVA radiation.
    International J of Cancer 102. 439-444.
  • Michael Roberts organized and spoke at a one day
    discussion meeting of the Society for
    Experimental Biologys Plant Development Group
    entitled Protein-Protein Interactions In Plant
    Development, held at the Lancaster House Hotel
    Conference Centre on 9th January 2003.
  • The idea that proteins interact with one another
    in the cell is nothing new, but recent
    developments in genomics, proteomics, etc. have
    placed an emphasis on the study of whole systems,
    and central to this is the analysis of protein
    networks involved in cellular organisation,
    signalling and metabolism. New techniques such as
    two-hybrid screening, mass spectrometry, various
    forms of protein chips and so on, have allowed
    the business of detecting and characterising
    protein interactions to become more widely
    accessible. So I thought it timely to try and
    bring together people with interests in diverse
    areas of plant biology who share protein-protein
    interactions as a common theme in their work. The
    meeting brought together researchers from
    different branches of plant science to hear about
    protein interactions in cytoskeletal
    organisation, pathogen recognition, signalling,
    development and metabolism.
  • Richard Bardgett has organised the annual
    symposium of the British Ecological Society,
    entitled "Biological Diversity and Function in
    Soils" and will be held at Lancaster, 25-27th
    March 2003.
  • of organisms that live in the soil, and discusses
    the likely determinants and consequences of this
    diversity. The main conclusion of the paper is
    that soil diversity is not regulated in a
    predicable fashion by competition or disturbance,
    but rather it is attributed to the nature of the
    soil environment, in that soil offers an
    extremely heterogeneous habitat, both spatially
    and temporally, proving unrivalled potential for
    niche partitioning, or resource or habitat
    specialisation. This enables co-existence of
    species. Most evidence that is available also
    suggests that there is no predictable
    relationship between diversity and function in
    soils, and that ecosystem properties are governed
    more by individual traits of dominant species,
    and by the extraordinary complexity of biotic
    interactions that occur between components of
    soil food webs.
  • Bradford, M. A., T. H. Jones, R. D. Bardgett, H.
    I. J. Black, B. Boag, M. Bonkowski, R. Cook, T.
    Eggers, A. C. Gange, S. J. Grayston, E. Kandeler,
    A. E. McCaig, J. E. Newington, J. I. Prosser, H.
    Setälä, P. L. Staddon, G. M. Tordoff, D.
    Tscherko, J. H. Lawton. 2002. Impacts of soil
    faunal community composition on model grassland
    ecosystems. Science 298, 615-618.
  • This paper, published in Science in November,
    resulted from a collaborative project that was
    carried out at Imperial College at Silwood Park.
    The study showed that plant community
    composition, microbial and root biomass,
    decomposition rate, and mycorrhizal colonisation,
    were all markedly affected by variations in the
    complexity of the soil food web. However, two
    key ecosystem processes, aboveground net primary
    productivity and net ecosystem productivity, were
    surprisingly resistant to these changes. We
    hypothesised that positive and negative
    faunal-mediated effects in soil communities
    cancel each other out, causing no net ecosystem
  • King, R., Dromph, K. and Bardgett, R.D. (2002)
    Changes in species evenness of litter have no
    effect on decomposition processes. Soil Biology
    and Biochemistry,34, 1959-1963.
  • This paper, published in December, resulted, in
    part, from an undergraduate research project
    carried out by Rosalind King. Rosalind was a
    particularly enthusiastic student (gained a first
    in 2001), who spent much more time than was
    expected on this project, working at the field
    site in Scotland and writing up the work. The
    paper examined how changes in the diversity of
    plant litter inputs to soil of might alter the
    rate at which they are decomposed. The work was
    done at the Creag Meagaidh National Nature
    Reserve in the Highlands of Scotland. The
    findings of the work is quite controversial since
    they showed no effect of varying the diversity of
    litter inputs on litter decomposition or nutrient
    availability in soil these findings go against
    the widely held view that diversity begets
    superior ecosystem function. Rosalind is now
    studying for a PhD at Liverpool University.
  • Cowgill, S.E., Bardgett, R.D., Kiezebrink, D.T.
    and Atkinson, H. J. (2002) The effect of
    transegnic nematode resistence on non-target
    organisms in the potato rhizosphere. Journal of
    Applied Ecology, 39, 915-923
  • This paper, published in December, resulted from
    a DEFRA funded project with Professor Howard
    Atkinson of Leeds University. This paper explored
    the effects of genetically modified potato crops
    on soil biological properties. Whilst certain
    groups of microbes were negatively affected by
    the crops, these effects did not translate into
    changes in processes rates in soil. Further, the
    effects of crops on microbes in soil were not
    especially large, and were minimal compared to
    normal seasonal variation in these measures.
  • Roberts S.K. (2003) First cloning and functional
    characterisation of an ion channel from a
    filamentous fungus an investigation of K
    transport in Neurospora crassa. Eucaryotic Cell
    2, 181-190.
  • In contrast to animal and plant cells, very
    little is known of ion channel function in fungal
    physiology. Indeed, prior to this report, no ion
    channels had been cloned from filamentous fungi
    and comparatively few preliminary recordings of
    ion channel activity have been made. In an
    attempt to gain an insight into the role of ion
    channels in fungal hyphal physiology, a K
    channel (NcTOKA) was cloned from the filamentous
    fungus, Neurospora crassa. The functional
    biophysical properties of NcTOKA were
    investigated using the patch clamp technique
    after heterologous expression in S. cerevisae.
    This approach, which has led to the only detailed
    analysis of ion function in a filamentous fungus,
    should provide the

The main goal of the symposium is to bring
together ecologists and soil scientists to review
our understanding of how soil biological
diversity is regulated by natural and
anthropogenic changes in the environment, and to
establish how changes in soil biodiversity might
alter soil processes and ecosystem functions,
including decomposition, nutrient flux and plant
growth in natural and managed systems. The
meeting will also consider applications for soil
ecology with respect to land restoration,
pollution, and the maintenance of sustainable
agricultural systems. Invited speakers will
integrate and synthesise their knowledge within
five sessions characterisation of soil
biodiversity functional importance of soil
biodiversity system linkages soil biodiversity
and environmental change and, applications of
soil biodiversity. The meeting consists of a
series of invited talks from leading
international researchers, and there are also
poster sessions for contributed papers. Richard
Bardgett is the local organiser of this meeting
and Professor Paul Wellings will welcome
delegates to the meeting. Paul McKean is giving
an invited talk entitled The cytoskeleton and
trypanosome morphogenesis at the Spring
Symposium of the British Society of Parasitology
to be held at UMIST in Manchester in April. Brian
Forde is giving an invited talk at the SEB Annual
Meeting in Southampton in the session entitled
'Plant Carbon-Nitrogen Interations from
Rhizosphere to Planet'. The meeting is being
held during the week beginning March 30th. If
anyone else is travelling down to the meeting and
is interested in car-sharing they could contact
Brian. David Allsop gave an invited keynote
lecture on Protein aggregation-dependent
oxidative stress in neurodegenerative diseases
to a session on Metals and Neurodegeneration at
The Inorganic Biochemistry Discussion Group
(IBDG), held in January at Queen Marys College,
University of London. Omar El-Agnaf has been
invited to give a talk on A Strategy for
Designing Inhibitors of Alpha-Synuclein
Aggregation Implications for Parkinson's and
Related-Disorders Therapy at the 6th
International Conference Alzheimers
Disease/Parkinsons Disease 2003 which is being
held in Seville, Spain from May 8-12, 2003. Dr
Paul McKean is currently advertising for a
Post-doctoral research assistant in the area of
Microbial Genomics. The position os for a period
of up to 4 years. The aim of the project is to
exploit the protozoan parasites Trypanosoma
brucei and Leishmania major as models for
studying the assembly of the eukaryotic
flagellum. This is a collaborative project
including Prof. Keith Gull (Sir William Dunn
School of Pathology, University of Oxford) and
Prof. Simon Gaskell (UMIST, Manchester). Further
details can be obtained from Paul McKean (email
p.mckean_at_lancaster.ac.uk). Dr Martin McAinsh and
Professor Alistair Hetherington are currently
advertising for a Post-doctoral research
assistant in the area of plant cell signaling.
The position is for 3 years and further details
can be obtained at http//www.personnel.lancs.ac.
uk/furtherinformation.aspx?detailsidA033htm. Pa
tents Lancaster University is now the proud owner
of two patent applications, related to the
diagnosis and treatment of Parkinsons disease.
These patents are the result of investigations by
David Allsop and Omar El-Agnaf and have been
handled by Roderick OBrien, commercial
development manager for LU. The first patent
application is based on the finding that we now
have very good evidence that the a-synuclein
protein, implicated in the pathogenesis of
Parkinsons disease (and some other related
disorders), is actually present in human blood
plasma. This is a surprising finding, because
a-synuclein is generally thought to be a
non-secreted, cytoplasmic protein. We also have
some more preliminary evidence that oligomeric
(partially aggregated) forms of a-synuclein exist
in plasma, and that these levels are
significantly elevated in a group of patients
with Parkinsons disease. This has obvious
diagnostic implications, and we are keen to find
financial backing, or a commercial partner, to
develop this further. A diagnostic blood test
for Parkinsons disease would obviously be a
major development. The second patent application
is focussed around some novel, small peptides
that inhibit the aggregation of a-synuclein, and
so have possible therapeutic applications. We
are currently in discussion with some potential
partners regarding further commercial development
of these peptide inhibitors. Funding from
Lancaster University to support this area has
been approved by The Research Committee, through
the Enterprise Zone scheme, who will provide 27k
towards the cost of a technicians time and
consumables, and 22k towards the cost of a new
peptide synthesis machine. David is grateful to
those who provided short letters of support for
the latter. Clearly, facilities for peptide
synthesis will complement proposed developments
in the proteomics area.   Teaching Innovation,
Development and Enterprise Unit From March 1st,
Mark Bacon will head the newly formed Teaching
Innovation, Development and Enterprise (TIDE)
Unit which aims to assist departments within IENS
in providing information and help regarding
funding opportunities from commercial sponsors.
Although only formally coming into being on March
1, the TIDE Unit is currently assisting Clive
Price, Steve Roberts and Peter Lea in discussions
with MICAP - a regional biotechnology company
wishing to harness expertise within Biological
Sciences to investigate novel methods for drug
delivery using yeast encapsulation. The TIDE
Unit has provided access to the regional Teaching
Company Scheme (TCS) Consultant to assess the
feasibility of a joint project between MICAP and
Biological Sciences. TCS schemes are a
well-established means for funding applied RD
and are likely to be one of the key performance
indicators measuring commercial exploitation in
RAE 2008. For more information regarding the
activities of the TIDE unit, please contact Dr.
Mark Bacon. New Fellowship Award to be based
at Lancaster University? Research into Aging One
For All Appeal. Prof. Allsop was contacted last
year by Research into Aging (now combined with
Help the Aged) who are planning to raise at least
1,000,00 to specifically fund Research
Fellowships in research into aging and
age-related diseases in the North West
(Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and
Manchester). One reason given for this was the
high quality of research being carried out into
age-related diseases in the North West region.
This initiative has the personal support of the
Vice-Chancellor in that he has agreed to become a
Patron of the "One For All Appeal". Fund-raising
activities are to begin later this year.
  Update on the proposed Proteomics Facility A
bid is being made for a proteomics facility
within the department. This is part of a larger
Bioinformatics proposal put together by Trevor
McMillan to attract a share of the 10m of NWDA
funding that has been earmarked for LU and the
University of Central Lancs. The proposal is
research-based and focussed on Environment and
Health. The 1.6m of equipment requested includes
Laser Capture Microdissection equipment,
ProteinChipTM array technology, M_at_LDI-LR and QToF
Ultima mass spectrometers with capillary liquid
chromatography (capLC) interfacing,
two-dimensional gel electrophoresis equipment, a
robotic spot-picker and a MassPrep station (which
automates the process of protein digestion).
This will allow high throughput identification of
proteins by peptide mass fingerprinting as well
as de-novo sequencing of peptides by tandem
MS-MS. The bid includes software, maintenance
for the first 5 years and consumables. In
addition, Trevor has included a request for a
technician's post and a senior lectureship, as
well as refurbishment costs. Further information
about the kind of
Positions vacant
Other News
Commercial Developments
  • proteomics facility that is envisaged can be seen
    by visiting the web pages of the facilities at
    Leeds (http//www.bmb.leeds.ac.uk/bmaf) and UMIST
  • Appointments
  • Congratulations to
  • John Whittaker who has recently been elected to
    the Executive Committee and Council of the newly
    formed UK Biosciences Federation the objectives
    of which are "to promote the advancement of the
    biosciences and to represent, both nationally
    and abroad, the expertise within the United
    Kingdom in the field of biosciences".
  • David Allsop who has been appointed to Theme
    Panel VII - Development and Disease of The
    Biochemical Society.
  • Trevor McMillan who has been appointed as an
    advisor to UK delegation to United Nations
    Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic
    Radiation. Trevor has also been appointed to the
    Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the
    Environment sub-committee on mechanisms of
    radiation-induced genomic damage.
  • And you may be interested to know that
  • In November, John Whittaker led a small
    deputation of the British Ecological Society to
    Romania to liase with the Romanian Ecological
    Society and establish links with them.
  • PWH Flint has provided items from the
    departmental insect collection to be displayed in
    the exhibition of AE Seguy Illustrations and
    Designs from two portfolios "Papillons" and
    "Insectes", 20th Jan to 21st March. This
    exhibition is showing at the Peter Scott Gallery.
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