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Introduction from Professor Anna Dominiczak Vice Principal and Head of College

Professor Anna DominiczakI am happy to report that the College has performed extremely well in the recently published 2016 Complete University Guide, with seven subjects ranking in the top 10: Dentistry (1st), Nursing (1st), Veterinary Medicine (2nd), Psychology (5th), Medicine (8th), Anatomy and Physiology (8th) and Sports Science (9th).  Not only that, Veterinary Science has been ranked 7th in the world top ten by QS success rankings.  This is an excellent result and is due to the dedication and hard work of staff from across the College.

The summer will be a very exciting time for the College, as well as our NHS colleagues.  With the official opening of the new Teaching and Learning Centre at the new South Glasgow University Hospital campus, we will be able to provide a world-class training environment for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.  The facility will also house the Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre, a 500-seat auditorium as well as several industry units. Building work at the Garscube Learning and Social Space (GLaSS) is also progressing well, with a 350 seater flexible study/café space, a 34 seater seminar room and 10 new tutorial rooms (see below for more information).

Staff and students from the College have been actively involved again, both at the Glasgow Science Centre and Glasgow Science Festival, and you can read about some exciting experiments which thrilled and engaged a new generation of scientists.  There will be more articles on the Festival in the next Newsletter and I would urge you to send in good photos of the event.

Early-career researchers within the College are warmly encouraged to enter the recently launched Impact in Sixty Seconds competition, in which they have to explain their research, by video, to a lay person in one minute.  The winner will receive £500, the runner up £200 and £200 will be awarded for the best video relating to bioinformatics/analysis of large datasets.  See the ‘Impact’ section for more details.

Finally, it is with great sadness that I report the untimely death of Professor Richard Elliot earlier this month.  Professor Elliott, the Bill Jarrett Chair of Infectious Diseases, had a long career with the University, recently in the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research and previously in the MRC Virology Unit. Professor Elliott was held in exceptionally high regard by the staff at the Centre and across the University.  Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time. Richard’s obituary follows.

Professor Richard M Elliot, 1954-2015

Richard M Elliott, who has died aged 61, was one of the most eminent Virologists in the UK and a world expert in emerging viruses.  Richard dedicated most of his career to the study of Bunyaviruses, a large virus family, that is found across the globe and which infects plants, arthropods and a variety of animal species including humans.  Richard was among the first to recognise Bunyaviruses as an emerging threat for both human and animal health, and highlight their importance to the scientific community. He pioneered molecular studies into the characterization of the viruses undertaking highly challenging work using the tools and technology available. Over the last three decades he has unveiled many of the properties of Bunyaviruses, from the intricacies of their replication cycle to how they counteract immune responses to infection.

Along with Ann Bridgen, Richard published a seminal study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1996 which demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to produce infectious virus from cloned complementary Bunyavirus DNA. This had proven to be a barrier for the study of viruses with negative strand RNA genomes which were segmented. This breakthrough paved the way for similar approaches with Influenza virus, another clinically important virus possessing a segmented RNA virus genome. In the subsequent years, Richard has continued to contribute major findings on many of the key aspects of Bunyavirus infection, in the process designing strategies to attenuate the virus for the development of safe and efficient vaccine candidates.

Richard Michael Elliott was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 2 February 1954. Richard’s parents, Peter and Gwendoline, were living in Sierra Leone where his father was a bank accountant.  He studied Microbiology at the University of Surrey and then joined the University of Oxford to undertake a PhD on the replication of viruses of invertebrates under the supervision of Dr David Kelly. In 1979, he moved to New York, to work with Dr Peter Palese on the molecular biology of influenza viruses at the Mount Sinai Medical Centre. He returned to the UK, initially joining the MRC Virology Unit at the University of Glasgow. He continued his career in the Department of Virology at the University as a Senior MRC Fellow from 1986 before becoming Professor of Molecular Virology in 1995 and joint Head of Division of Virology in 1998. He pursued his studies at the University of Glasgow until 2005 when he moved to the University of St. Andrews and became Professor of Virology there. In 2013, he returned to Glasgow to join the newly established MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research where he held the Bill Jarrett Chair of Infectious Diseases.

Richard received numerous recognitions for his work. He was a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.

Richard was an inspiration and mentor to many people who benefited from his scientific knowledge and experience. His drive and commitment did not waver to those around him in the last months of his life after diagnosis of a terminal illness. He continued to support his students, the members of his laboratory and colleagues at the Centre for Virus Research until days before his sad passing.  He always said to members of his laboratory, and continued to emphasise during his illness, that the best they could do for him was “to work hard and get results!”

Richard loved his family, his science and, as a keen angler and hillwalker, the outdoors of Scotland. He enjoyed completing his 50th Munro shortly before his diagnosis last year. As a now senior member of Dunoon and District Angling Club, membership spanning over 25 years, and President of the Club from 1996-1999, Richard was the proud recipient of five fishing cups. He won the D.Pittman Trophy in 2001, 2002 and 2003, a great achievement for any angler to win the same cup three years in succession.  Richard is survived by his wife Angela, his daughters Katrina and Emma and his parents.

Dr Richard H Wilson

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Dr Richard H. Wilson, former Senior Lecturer in Genetics, who died after a relatively short illness in April.  Richard was a member of academic staff for 40 years and exercised his considerable intellect across a wide variety of topics; he communicated his enthusiasm for Genetics and Evolutionary Biology (and cricket) to colleagues and students alike, who remember their interactions with him fondly.

Mr Robert McNabRobert McNab retired in April after 42 years' service.  Originally employed in 1973 as a technician in the Institute of Genetics, Robert eventually became Chief Technician in Molecular Genetics within the Faculty of Biological and Life Sciences (FBLS) until the move to refurbished laboratories within the Davidson Building in 2009.  Robert then became Chief Technician for Laboratory Services for FBLS, managing the support to several laboratories in buildings on the south side of Gilmorehill, a role he continued after the formation of the College.   Robert enjoyed golf and football and at one time played part-time for Alloa Athletic.  We wish Robert well for a happy retirement and know he will be missed by colleagues who found him to be extremely helpful.
Dr Vickie CurtisDr Vickie Curtis has recently joined the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology as Public Engagement Manager.  Vickie has a background in corporate communications and science communication and she recently completed a PhD at the Open University.  The area of her research was how digital technologies are changing the way scientists engage with the wider community, with a focus on citizen science and science-based computer games.  Vickie will be helping to co-ordinate the engagement activities of the Centre and will look for new opportunities and vehicles for communicating with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders.  Welcome Vicki!

Professor Waters’ grant to be renewed in full

Professor Andy WaltersDirector of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, Professor Andy Waters, will continue to receive funding from the Wellcome Trust for his work on malaria – more than £4m for five years.  Professor Waters was initially awarded the Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship for seven years and after recently completing a review, it has been confirmed that he will receive the funding again in full.  Professor Waters has more than 30 years experience in malaria research.  A Principal Research Fellowship is the most prestigious of the Trust’s personal awards and “provides long-term support for researchers of international standing.”
Dr Stephan SiebertDr Stefan Siebert from the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, was the invited keynote speaker at the 8th Xian Janssen Immunology Forum in Shanghai, China in March giving talks on Patient Centred Chronic Disease Management and An Update on Spondyloarthritis to an audience of around 300 Chinese rheumatologists, dermatologists and gastroenterologists.
The Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology is pleased to welcome distinguished Professor Graham Farquhar as the 2015 Carnegie Centenary Professorial Fellow to the University of Glasgow. Graham has undertaken and led research across a broad range of fields and scales, from the molecular and isotopic composition of plants to global environmental change.  Graham is one of a relatively small number of biologists who brings to his research a background in both physics and biology. His interests include photosynthesis, its interactions with nitrogen and water use of plants, stomatal physiology and their impact on global environmental change. Graham’s efforts in the 1980's led to some of the first quantitative models of CO2 and transpirative gas exchange from plants in the field, still widely cited in the literature and used as a benchmark in the field. More recently his research has included development of Drysdale, a water-efficient strain of wheat.  Graham joined his host, Professor Mike Blatt, who previously developed the first quantitative systems platform for modelling the cellular functions that regulate gas exchange in plants (Hills, et al. 2012 Plant Physiol 159,1026). Mike intends now to expand this platform to the crop canopy, and welcomes Graham's input in this work. Their joint efforts will include inputs from computer scientists as well as that of other colleagues both within and outwith Scotland. 

Dr Kenneth A HalbergVisiting Danish research fellow, Dr Kenneth A Halberg, who was funded by the Danish Council of Independent Research (2013-15) to work with Professor Julian Dow, has been awarded a further 2-year fellowship from the prestigious Carlsberg Foundation. The Carlsberg Foundation is a privately run organisation dedicated to supporting basic research in social and natural sciences, as well as humanities - and each year, awards up to 30 fellowships to outstanding young researchers.   Dr Halberg’s recent work in the Dow/Davies labs has been to develop a novel method for neuropeptide receptor mapping in insects, which has been recently published in Nature Communications (Nature Communications 6, 6800 doi:10.1038/ncomms7800). During his Carlsberg fellowship, Dr Halberg will be characterising beetle renal function using a functional genomics approach.


Congratulations to......
  • Professors John McMurray and Andrew Baker from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences and Professor Massimo Palmarini from the Centre for Virus Research in the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, who have been elected fellows to the Academy of Medical Sciences.  The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent body in the UK that represents the diverse spectrum of medical science – from basic research through clinical application to healthcare delivery.  There are around 1,121 ordinary fellows – all elected for excellence in medical research, for innovative application of scientific knowledge or for their conspicuous service to healthcare.   Professor Anna Dominiczak said: “It is a huge honour for my colleagues to be elected to the AMS and recognises the immense contribution each of them has made to medicine.  For the University to have three fellows elected in one year is a record and we are very proud and happy for them.” 
  • Prof John McMurray: researcher profile
  • Prof Massimo Palmarini: researcher profile
  • Prof Andrew Baker: researcher profile
  • Professor Iain McInnes, Director of Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Dr Tiziana Lembo, Research Fellow at Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine  and Dr Mhairi Stewart, of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology, who were amongst the 2015 Royal Society of Edinburgh prize winners.  Prof McInnes received the RSE/Sir James Black Medal for his outstanding contribution to the field of immunology through his work in establishing the GLAZgo Discovery Centre, which aims to create better medicines for patients. Dr Lembo was awarded the RSE/Patrick Neill Medal, an early career prize, for her breadth of expertise in veterinary medicine including data analysis, zoonotic disease, and public and animal health in the developing world. Dr Stewart was awarded the RSE Innovator’s Public Engagement Prize for her approach to using creativity as a tool for community engagement, particularly in creating collaborative activities between art and science.
  • Dr Emilie Combet from the School of Medicine and Dr Val Fallon from the School of Life Sciences, who have been awarded College level Teaching Excellence Awards for the 2014-15 academic session. Val’s award was in the Early Career category. These awards include £1000 for the recipient to use towards teaching or personal development related activities e.g. conference attendance. More information is available at: andfunds/teachingexcellenceawards/
  • Dr Ann Marie Rice from the School of Medicine and Dr Mary Tatner from the School of Life Sciences who have been awarded the Focus on International Opportunities award and Best College Teacher award respectively at the Annual Student Teaching Awards in March.
  • Professor Ian RamseyProfessor Ian Ramsey, from the School of Veterinary Medicine, on receiving the Woodrow Award for outstanding contributions in the field of small animal veterinary medicine by a BSAVA member.  Since arriving at Glasgow in 1998, Ian’s research has primarily focused on canine Cushings disease and its treatment with trilostane.  In addition, he has spearheaded the development of the national PROTECT campaign to encourage vets to promote best practice in antibacterial prescribing and is editor of the most widely used veterinary textbook in the UK – the BSAVA Small Animal Formulary.
  • Professor Neil Evans, from the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, for being awarded the Postdoc Mentor of the Year award at the University Research Staff Conference. More details on this can be found here:
  • Professor John McMurray from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, on winning the 2015 Arrigo Recordati International Prize for Scientific Research.  This prize aims to promote scientific research in the field of cardiovascular disease and the award is presented every two years to a scientist who has demonstrated dedication to the advancement of scientific knowledge in cardiology and achieved distinction in the study of secondary prevention and risk reduction strategies for patients with cardiovascular diseases.   Through epidemiological research, the study of pathophysiological mechanisms and drug action, service innovation and clinical trials, Professor McMurray has raised the awareness of the public health importance of cardiovascular disease in general, and heart failure in particular, and helped increase investment in these conditions, to improve the provision of diagnostic services, to develop new treatments, evaluate drug safety and, ultimately, to increase the quality and quantity of life for patients. He has coupled these efforts with a second strand of work to improve patient care through the development of clinical guidelines.  Professor McMurray was recently identified as one of the 400 most influential biomedical researchers in the world.
  • Dr Pawel BeczkowskiDr Paweł Bęczkowski from the School of Veterinary Medicine, who is to be awarded the ABCD-Merial Young Scientist Award in Basic Science by the European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD) at the congress of the International Society of Feline Medicine in Portugal in July.  A recipient of a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship, Paul is currently completing his Residency in small animal medicine at the Small Animal Hospital.  This award rewards the outstanding work he conducted during his PhD studies in the Centre for Virus Research. 
  • Dr Margus VarjakDr Margus Varjak who works in Dr Esther Schnettler’s lab team at the Centre for Virus Research.  He has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. The Fellowship will allow Margus to progress his research project where he is researching the RNA interference mechanism (piRNA pathway) and its role in regulating virus infection in mosquitoes.   The aim of the project is to understand which proteins are involved in the piRNA pathway and how they contribute to the antiviral mechanism of mosquitoes.
  • Dr Robbie Robertson, Mrs Catriona McPhail and Dr Margaret D’SilvaDr Robbie Robertson, Mrs Catriona McPhail and Dr Margaret D’Silva from General Practice and Primary Care in the School of Medicine, winners of NES Directorate Awards, which acknowledge the breadth of skills and attributes which contribute to a successful teaching and training experience.  Dr Robertson was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Medical Education for his role in designing and delivering a Communication Skills course to undergraduate medical students; Mrs McPhail received the Award for Excellence in Staff Support for her contribution to the undergraduate curriculum delivered by GPPC and Dr D’Silva received a commendation for Outstanding Role Model for her work as a tutor in Vocational Studies.
  • Dr Christine Wells from the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation and the University of Queensland, on her award of the Metcalf Prize in Stem Cell Sciences for her contributions to Australian stem cell bioinformatics.
  • Veterinary Medicine student, Ruby Shorrocks and PhD student, Carla Brown, from the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.  They are amongst the five MVLS shortlisted candidates in the inaugural Herald Higher Education Awards, both in the Outstanding Contribution from a Student category.  The other shortlisted candidates are Dr Carol Clugston in the Outstanding Employer Engagement category, the Dental School in the Academic Support Team of the Year category and Dr Neil Millar’s Tendon Therapy in the Research Project of the Year category.    Four entries from universities across Scotland have been nominated for each of the ten award categories so it is a great achievement to get to this stage.  Awards to the successful finalists will be presented at a gala awards evening on 16 July.  Good luck to all!
  • Professor Ian FordProfessor Ian Ford, from the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics, was inducted as a Fellow of the Society of Clinical Trials at the Society’s annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia in May.  Only seven out of 93 previous Fellows were UK-based.  The citation for the award included:  “For major contributions to the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of clinical trials, particularly in cardiovascular disease.  For leadership in developing the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics and the Glasgow Clinical Trials Unit and for promoting the use of routinely collected health data in clinical trials. For service on numerous steering and data monitoring committees of major trials, contributions to committees of charitable and government funding agencies and for service to the Society”.
  • Dr Elmarie Myburgh from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology, Dr Tony Dornan and Suzanne Thomson from the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology and Dr Emilie Combet, from the School of Medicine.  They were amongst the winners of the 2015 ISSF public engagement bursaries, which support the initiation, development and delivery of an activity to engage the public about their research, during the Glasgow Science Festival.  Elmarie’s Creating creatures that sparkle and glow using bioluminescence and Tony’s genetically engineered fluorescent flies event, Shining a light on kidney diseases, were part of the Glasgow Science Festival’s Science Sunday on 14 June.  Suzanne’s Nerve Surgery – Past, Present and Future and Emilie’s Tasty Notes (along with Jane Stanley from the School of Culture and Creative Arts), focusing on the interactions between senses, also featured at the event. 
  • Drs Tiziano Lembo and Elmarie Myburgh and on their awards of £34,395 and £26,284 respectively, from the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA).  These funds aim to “enhance the employability, entrepreneurial skills and leadership abilities of early career researchers”.  The awards were granted through SULSA’s Leadership and Development Exchanges for Researchers (LEADERS).
  •  Professor Jill Pell, Zia Ul Haq and Dr Danny MackayFormer PhD student, Zia Ul Haq, who has been appointed Associate Professor (Reader) at the Institute of Public Health & Social Sciences, Khyber Medical University, Pakistan – the youngest in the history of the University.  WHO Pakistan has awarded him four grants for local research.  Zia graduated from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing in December 2014.  His supervisors were Professor Jill Pell and Dr Danny Mackay
  • Mr Andrew Charters, Head of MVLS Finance, on being awarded a University Excellent Service Award in recognition of excellent service to the University, which he received at Commemoration Day on 17 June.
  • Eleonora MelziEleonora Melzi for being selected by the Society for General Microbiology's (SGM) Virology Division to represent them at the Young Microbiologist of the Year Award 2015, following her presentation on the 'Early events of bluetongue virus infection in experimentally infected sheep'. Eleonora is a PhD student with Professor Massimo Palmarini.
  • Dr Mani Mudaliar on his recent article in 'Brain: A Journal of Neurology' using microarray data and pathway analysis.  Congratulations also go to Professor Mike Barrett, Director of Glasgow Polyomics, and collaborators in Switzerland, whose untargeted metabolomics, carried out in Glasgow Polyomics, was published in this recent 'PLOS pathogens' paper.

    Read the latest Polyomics blog "The Way of All Flesh" by Dr Richard Burchmore.

Viral Bioformatics and Genomics

The Centre for Virus Research will be delivering a 5-day training course on Viral Bioinformatics and Genomics from 10-14 August.  The course will consist of a series of lectures and practical exercises that directly address bioinformatic challenges posed by the current deluge of sequence data. Through hands-on training, participants will develop the skills to understand and deal with high-throughput sequence datasets and encourage the exchange of ideas among diagnosticians, virologists, bioinformaticians and evolutionary biologists.  For more details and information on how to register visit:

Impact in Sixty Seconds Competition
Impact in Sixty Seconds, a competition open to early-career researchers in MVLS, has recently been launched by the College and is sponsored by a company called Aridhia and supported by Glasgow City of Science.  Entrants have to explain their research, by video, to a lay person in sixty seconds.    The judges will be looking for an engaging, dynamic and compelling science video, which makes the audience interested in the topic and which illuminates some aspect of the entrant’s research.   Sophisticated recording equipment is not required; entrants are encouraged to use their mobile phones.  The winner will receive £500, the runner up £200 and £200 will be awarded for the best video relating to bioinformatics/analysis of large datasets.   PGR students who participate in the competition will be able to claim one transferable skills credit in recognition of their efforts.  The closing date for entries is 31 August 2015.  Further details can be found on the UoG website.

BBSRC Impact Accelerator Account (IAA)
The College has been awarded £100k from BBSRC's Impact Accelerator Account Award.  The aim of this award is to build upon our early achievements in the BBSRC Excellence with Impact competition, our vision being:  to achieve a culture change across the breadth of the College by embedding the necessary knowledge and skills within our academic and non-academic community through activities aligned to the four key themes of Understanding, Enabling, Identifying and Publicising impact.  Details on how to apply for funding can be found by clicking on the following link:  The closing date for applications is 17 July. 
Research news

Funding success for H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network

Professors Julian Dow and Shireen Davies are consortium partners in a funded EU H2020  Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN.  RenalTract is an interdisciplinary research and training network for eleven Early Stage Researcher (PhD) positions starting from 1 September 2015, with two PhD positions based at the Institute of Molecular Cell and System Biology. RenalTract aims to: advance understanding of the normal development and physiology of the renal tract; understand disease-causing mechanisms of this organ system; establish novel therapeutic options. This shall be achieved by employing a range of non-human model systems (Drosophila, Xenopus, zebrafish and mouse) in a multidisciplinary team approach with laboratories working in disciplines as diverse as developmental biology, renal physiology, proteomics and clinical medicine.  The RENALTRACT network is coordinated by CNRS/Aix-Marseille University, France and involves seven other leading academic centres in Life Sciences and Medicine, including the University of Glasgow and five European private-sector companies.   For more information, click on the link.

£4.2m grant to fight hospital superbugs

A grant of £4.2m has been awarded to a consortium of researchers from Scottish universities, led by Glasgow, to establish a new Scottish Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Institute (SHAIPI).   SHAIPI will be tasked with developing new interventions to prevent the spread of infection; researching new ways of using existing antibiotics more effectively and efficiently; developing new genome-based diagnostic tools to identify current and new emerging healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and using data to identify patients who might be prone to HAIs or who might have increased mortality as a result of HAIs.  Over the next five years, the SHAIPI will establish a virtual hub in which 19 co-investigators from the universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow Caledonian, St Andrews and Strathclyde will work together with health boards and strategic partners to look at new ways of dealing with the challenge of antimicrobial resistance and emerging HAIs.  The consortium will be lead by Professor Alistair Leanord, Director of the University’s Scottish Infection Research Network.
Transcriptional regulation of plant growth in nuclear micro domains

Dr Eirini Kaiserli research image 1Dr Eirini Kaiserli research images 2 & 3The focus of Dr Eirini Kaiserli’s (Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology), 3-year BBSRC funded project is to investigate the role of novel regulators of plant growth and development in response to environmental stimuli.  Genetics, next generation sequencing and super-resolution microscopy will be used to elucidate the mechanism of action of a novel transcriptional regulator that integrates light, hormone and clock networks to control major plant developmental transitions. In particular, the existence of “transcription factories” and the translocation of active gene regions towards areas enriched in transcription factors, chromatin remodeling enzymes, photoreceptors and signaling components will be investigated using the model plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana. Collectively, this study aims to correlate changes in nuclear organisation with light-induced patterns of gene expression using as a model a highly conserved protein target that could potentially improve growth rates in economically valuable crop species.

GLAZgo Discovery Centre – A Collaboration Case Study

GlaZgo Discovery CentreWith the GLAZgo Discovery Centre (a collaboration between AstraZeneca - Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity - and the Institute) reaching its first anniversary, AstraZeneca have produced a case study video and article.  The case study highlights the uniqueness of the collaboration that, within such a short period of time, is proving to be successful for both parties.  The case study can be viewed as video here;  and the article is on the AstraZeneca web site:   For more information contact Dr Carl Goodyear, or Amanda Martin,  For more details on GLAZgo Discovery Centre visit:

Scientific breakthrough unlocks potential novel tendon therapy

Following the award of a High Growth Spinout grant from Scottish Enterprise, scientists at the University are trialling a new therapy (TenoMiR™) for treating tendinopathy using injections of microRNA – small molecules that help regulate gene expression – into the tendon to ‘dial-down’ the production of type 3 collagen and switch to type-1.  Tendon injuries are common, accounting for 30-50% of all sporting injuries, and are usually caused by repetitive strain or major trauma.  Following this trial, the team intends to commercialise the treatments through a spin-out company called Causeway Therapeutics focussing on bringing safe and effective medicines to human and veterinary markets.  Mr Neal Millar, orthopaedic surgeon and clinical senior research fellow, said: “Tendinopathy is essentially the result of an imbalance between collagen type-1 and type-3 and we have discovered the molecular cause. This breakthrough has allowed us to find a way to alter the levels of collagen type-3 in tendons, with the ultimate aim to get patients with tendon injuries better quicker."  This project is also one of the finalists in the Research Project of the Year category of the Herald Higher Education Awards.

New optogenetic tool collaboration in Science

Science artical illustrationProfessor John Christie and Dr Jan Petersen  from the Institute of  Molecular Cell and System Biology, contributed to an article that was published in the May issue of Science in collaboration with Anna Moroni (University of Milan), Gerhard Thiel (University of Darmstadt) and James Van Etten (University of Nebraska-Lincoln). The research team, coordinated by Anna Moroni, was successful in using a light-sensitive module from a plant photoreceptor protein to artificially control the activity of a well-studied viral potassium channel. Extensive protein engineering produced the hybrid protein blue-light-induced K+ channel 1 (BLINK1), which could alter the membrane potential within cells by blue light irradiation. The authors went onto demonstrate that BLINK1 could be used to modulate behavioural responses when expressed in Zebrafish. This study illustrates the potential of this new optogenetic tool and paves the way for further applications in neural silencing and the control of other cellular processes.

Molecular control of inflammation and heart disease

Dr Stephen Yarwood from the Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology, has won a three year project grant from the British Heart Foundation to study the molecular control of inflammation associated with heart disease, by the enzyme Epac1. This new project will complement ongoing research in the Yarwood lab, funded by the European Lead Factory, to identify small molecule regulators of Epac1 to combat cardiovascular disease. A central part of the project will be done in collaboration with the University’s Polyomics facility and will use next-generation DNA sequencing approaches to determine the full range of genes regulated by Epac1 to suppress inflammation. The objective of this is to identify new gene regulatory pathways that suppress the inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease. Another exciting part of the project will be to determine how Epac1 is tethered to the nuclear pore complex in vascular endothelial cells, which is the cell-type normally associated with cardiovascular inflammation. This will involve determining how Epac1 controls the entry of key gene regulatory proteins into the nucleus. By interfering with these processes it may be possible to design new anti-inflammatory drugs.

CRUK Career Development Fellowship - Dr Oliver D K Maddocks

Dr Oliver MaddocksDr Maddocks’ research is focussed on cancer metabolism. Cancer cells adjust their metabolism to fuel enhanced growth and to survive the stresses of tumour development and Dr Maddocks aims to improve our understanding of how this is achieved. Through a better understanding of how nutrients are consumed and metabolised by tumours, his research aims to identify new ways to treat and diagnose cancer.  The CRUK Career Development Fellowship will enable Dr Maddocks to build on his work as a post-doc at the CRUK Beatson Institute where he discovered the importance of serine uptake for cancer cell proliferation.  Limiting nutrient availability has the potential to slow tumour development and enhance the effects of anti-cancer drugs.  Dr Maddocks says:  “Starting my own laboratory at the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre is a fantastic opportunity and will facilitate the clinical translation of my work, particularly in the field of pancreatic cancer, for which Glasgow is a world-leading research centre”.

Engaging with patients: stepping outside the research bubble

Dr Alex BinksMRC-funded PhD student, Alex Binks, has been reflecting on the MRC Insight website, about how an encounter with patients and some coloured balloons helped him step away from the lab bench and think about his research in a new way:  “My research focuses on using viruses as potential anti-cancer drugs, and the ways in which they lead to cancer cell death.  I managed to piece together an awkward routine involving balloons, which represented cancer cells, and used them to explain things like growth, metastasis and death.  We got to talk to some of the patients and had some great discussions about where we saw our research going, and what it could mean for the future treatment of patients like them.  As a PhD student, it’s easy to find yourself stuck in your own little research bubble. The event really helped me think about my research in a new way, and has made me think seriously about pursuing more public engagement events in the future." Click for full article
BBSRC Tools and Resources Development Fund Success

BBSRC tools and resources development fund Congratulations to Professors Brian Willett and Margaret Hosie from the Centre of Virus Research, on their recent success with the BBSRC Tools and Resources Development Fund for a project entitled ‘A viral pseudotype based approach to measuring morbillivirus neutralising antibodies’. The aim of this project is to develop improved assays to measure neutralising antibodies against morbilliviruses, with an initial focus on peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV). This project aims to generate serological assays that are rapid, sensitive and specific and which do not require high-level biocontainment, in order that they may be utilized by diagnostic laboratories worldwide.

Glasgow City of Science partnership

NHSGGC and The University of Glasgow are two of the 70 partners in the Glasgow City of Science partnership, working to raise the profile of Glasgow and the West as a world-class region for science and innovation.   A key sector is Health and Life Sciences and colleagues working within NHSGGC and the University are ideally placed to demonstrate the significant research and development focus established locally within this field.   Colleagues are asked to 'connect and engage' with the partnership and the various initiatives in order to promote their research and expertise.   Glasgow City of Science facilitates a range of demonstrator partnership projects – from skills and innovation related projects to novel arts-science cross-over projects. Venturefest Scotland, Scotland’s first multi-sector Innovation Summit which will be held in Glasgow in September, aims leverage innovation and economic growth from the local SME community. 

The City of Science website acts as a common hub for science in Glasgow and the West and you are invited to: Share news and innovation case studies; blog on your research area; promote any events on Events Feed. If you would like to discuss getting involved, please contact: or or  visit their website.


Head of College Scholars List Scheme Summer Studentships

For the third year in a row, there has been a very good response to the call for projects for summer studentships. Over 30 high quality applications were received and it was very difficult to narrow it down. We were able to fund 11 studentships this year. Many thanks to the staff who prepared applications with the students and also the staff who have been generous with their time in supporting the Scheme this year. Successful students and tutors awarded summer studentships are Viktoria Balogh  (Andrew Todd), Valentina Bart   (Margaret Harnett), Victoria Bolton (Arvind Patel), Rasa Elementaite (Julia Cordero), Alan McDonald (Mhairi Copeland), Francis Osis (Adam Sylvester), Sophie Rodgers (Carol Goodyear), Lorna Simpson  (Neil Bulleid), Benjamin Tuck (Adam West), Ricardo Velasquez (Sam Wilson), Shu Ning Yew   (Colin Berry).  Further information is available at:

3D Animation and Digital Illustration for Teaching and Research

3D studio illustrationDr Craig Daly from the School of Life Sciences and Paul McLeod from MVLS Design & Communication Support Team are currently developing a 3D animation and illustration service.  They have identified a growing interest in digital 3D technologies for both teaching and research and can support college staff in the creation of content for live and online presentation.  Services offered include: repair and processing of 3D data sets; creation of 3D Illustrations for journals, teaching, eLearning or conference presentations; preparation of data for 3D printing; creation of 3D interactive content and creation of 3D Animations.   Dr David I. Hughes from IN&P on receipt of commissioned animation: ‘Paul's constructive suggestions and role in developing this project resulted in a beautiful animation that will be a feature of many presentations.  I am delighted with the results of his work’.  Further information can be found at:

Online learning developments
MVLS has obtained funding from the University for online learning developments allowing us to build on the success and experience of delivering on-campus programmes to create a new Digital Education Unit (DEU) led by Associate Dean, Dr Jo-Anne Murray. In addition to Jo-Anne joining MVLS, the DEU now comprises three learning technology specialists: Neeraj Bhardwaj, Jenny Crow and Lynne Kelly plus a senior administrator, Angela Irvine.  Read more about the DEU team here.

The team are busy developing the following six new postgraduate online distance education programmes and innovative technologies to facilitate the effective delivery of these: Sports and Exercise Science and Medicine; Health Professions Education; Wildlife and Livestock Management; Health Technology Assessment; Leading, Improving and Transforming Care and Spiritual and Religious Care in Health and Social Care.  The DEU are also developing fully online and blended learning courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in MVLS to ensure that we are at the forefront of online teaching, learning and assessment by delivering world-class education that makes effective use of educational technologies.  Preview our Virtual Campus on Second Life here.  Anyone interested in digital education should contact the team to discuss their ideas and what support is available to them.

Research news bytes....

Mountaineering professor puts Sherpas under occupational health spotlight

Nepalese sherpasThe health effects of the dangerous jobs carried out by the Nepalese Sherpas have now been thrown into sharp relief thanks to Professor Ewan Macdonald, occupational physician and Head of the Healthy Working Lives Group at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing.  Professor Macdonald, a keen climber, found that there were no previous studies concerning the occupational health of Sherpas and so decided to conduct his own, while on a climbing trip to Island Peak and Ama Dablam in Eastern Nepal.  Click here for the full story.

National Geographic Emerging Explorers

Dr Daniel StreickerResearch Fellow, Dr Daniel Streicker from the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, has been selected as one of fourteen National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers.  The programme recognises and supports gifted and inspiring adventurers, scientists and innovators—all early in their careers—whose achievements are making a difference in the world.  Dr Streicker studies the transfer of disease between bat species and from bats to humans and domestic animals.  Last year, he was awarded the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists for his work on the transmission of the vampire bat rabies virus in Peru.  Click here for the full story.
Dates for your diary
Public lecture: Truth-telling as a Revolutionary Act, by Dr David Drew, Wednesday 1 July

Time:  6.30pm  Venue:  Sir Charles Wilson Building

Dr David Drew public lectureThe Francis Report (2013) proclaimed the importance of openness, transparency and candour in the NHS.  Dr David Drew was a NHS Consultant in Paediatrics at Walsall Manor Hospital for over 19 years.  Concerns over poor care standards led him to become a whistleblower, which put him on a collision course with senior hospital managers, resulting in his dismissal.  David’s book Little Stories of Life and Death (2014) raises serious questions about the mis-treatment of NHS whistleblowers and exposes their personal and professional sacrifices.  Admission is free and there is no requirement to register.


2015 Trades House Lecture: Patient-empowered precision medicine: Glasgow’s USP, Thursday 9 July

Time: 6pm, doors will open at 5.30pm.  Venue:  Kelvin Gallery in the Main Building

The Trades House of Glasgow emblemThe University is delighted to host this year's Trades House Lecture on Thursday 9 July. This year's speaker is Professor Anna Dominiczak, Regius Chair of Medicine and Vice-Principal and Head of College.  The Trades House Lecture is an annual lecture that explores issues surrounding the welfare of Glasgow and its citizens. Previously hosted by The University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University, this year’s lecture focuses on Glasgow’s unique position in the field of stratified medicine.  Stratified or precision medicine involves examining the genetic makeup of patients in their differing responses to drugs designed to treat diseases such as cancer, heart disease or arthritis.   The event is free but pre-registration is required. To book your tickets online please visit:


SGM Focus meeting, 7-8 September  – Call for submissions
SGM Focus meetingRegistration and abstract submission are now open for the SGM Focus Meeting "International Meeting on Arboviruses and their Vectors” (IMAV 2015), to be held in Glasgow from 7-8 September.  Online registration, abstract submission and further details can be accessed at:

Congress on Obesity, 9-11 September

The Association for the Study of Obesity has announced the second UK Congress on Obesity which takes place at the University of Glasgow from 9-11 September.  Key topics and speakers include:-Controlling cortisol in obesity – Professor Brian Walker, University of Edinburgh; Physical activity and the impact on obesity – Professor Michael Fogelholm, University of Helsinki; Adipocyte function in human obesity – Professor Peter Arner, Karolinska Institutet and New approaches in obesity research – Professor Naveed Sattar, University of Glasgow.  For further details, please visit:
Future of Biomedicine Industry Day, 24 September

University of Glasgow College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences in association with Scottish Life Sciences Association.  This is their first conference at the new South Glasgow University Hospital.  Registration to follow.  See website for details.

The Federation of Infection Societies (FIS) - Action on Infection 2015, 21-23 November

Venue:  Glasgow SECC.  Topics include:-Anaerobic infections; Antimicrobial therapy in an age of resistance; Lessons in microbiology and infection; Microbes: an (un)suspected cause of disease from autoimmunity and obesity to cancer and back pain; Paediatric infections; Scottish medical mycology workshop; the future of out of hospital care and Vaccines and diagnostics.  FIS 2015 are offering Group Registration opportunities - three day registration for only £200 per individual. This is a 60% reduction from previous individual tickets.  Register now at:

MVLS Inaugural Lectures

New professors are invited to give an inaugural lecture to mark the occasion of their appointment/promotion.  Emails with registration details will be circulated nearer the time.  Lunch is provided.  There are two lectures at each event and attendees are strongly encouraged to attend both.  Please come and listen to some of the brightest minds in the College – it would be great to see you there!
  • Monday 17 August
    Paul Shiels, Professor of Epigenetics, Institute of Cancer Services
    The molecular determinants of good and bad ageing in Glasgow
    Chair: Professor Jeff Evans

    Maureen Bain, Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Histology, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
    Eggs, knowledge exchange and impact
    Chair: tbc

  • Wednesday 19 August
    Kevin O’Dell, Professor of Behaviour Genetics, School of Life Sciences
    Sex, Flies and Zombies
    Chair:  Professor Rob Aitken

    Mhairi Copland, Professor of Translational Haematology, Institute of Cancer Sciences
    Identifying and targeting leukaemia stem cells
    Chair: Professor Jeff Evans

  • Wednesday 30 September
    Matthew Dalby, Professor of Cell Engineering, Institute of Molecular Cell and System Biology
    Understanding and exploiting cell response to the nanoscale
    Chair: Professor Neil Bulleid

    George Baillie, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences
    Targeting protein-protein interactions in the cAMP signalling system: a novel solution to an old problem
    Chair: Professor Rhian Touyz

6th International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia, April 2015

Professor Julian Dow, International Dean for the Middle East, accompanied by Dr Willie Miller (MVLS), Ms Katy Scott (RIO) and Dr Margaret Sutherland (CoSS), attended the 6th International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education (IECHE) in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The exhibition took place in April and was attended by 189,690 students who had an opportunity to visit 438 exhibiting universities from 32 different countries.

6th International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education
Friendly Fire: Glasgow Science Centre, May 2015

Glasgow Science Centre May 2015The Glasgow Science Centre was showered in glitter over the May holiday weekend as scientists from the University’s Centre for Immunobiology and Rheumatoid Arthritis Centre of Excellence (RACE) took part in a public engagement activity. With the help of germ stickers, a picture of a boy, and a whole lot of glitter, the scientists talked to children of all ages about the role of the immune system in protecting us from infectious diseases. The glitter represented the immune system and – most of the time – just stuck to the “invading” bugs. However, sometimes the glitter got everywhere – ‘attacking’ the body’s own tissues which in real life can lead to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.   Over 160 children took part – many of them leaving with a greater understanding of what their immune system is for and with parents who appreciated the extra encouragement for hand washing.

Pint of Science!  A festival of science …. in pubs, May 2015

Pint of SciencePint of ScienceOn 18-20 May, Glasgow hosted the Pint of Science festival for the second time.  This year several scientists from the Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation entertained the crowds.  Prof. Sue Barnett was an invited NC3R guest speaker at the Beautiful Minds event and presented work on how cells from the nose can be used to treat Spinal Cord Injury as well as discussing other therapeutic approaches currently being researched.  Louis Nerurkar presented a talk on the history of Neuroscience. Dr Tansy Hammarton and Anna McNaughton spoke on their work studying parasites and hepatitis superinfections respectively at the Our Body events. With evenings consisting of quizzes, interactive events and informative talks, the festival was a great success. Many events were completely sold out. The event will be running at the same time next year so if you have an interest in public engagement or just want to tell the public about the work you are doing make sure to get involved!   See Pint of Science website for details.

Research Fellow Network “Speed Dating”, April 2015

Research Fellows NetworkThe University’s recently established Research Fellows Network (RFN) aims to foster collaborations between researchers at the University and provide a platform to exchange advice and support for fellowship and grant applications.  In April, the RFN organised a speed networking event for fellows and lecturers from MVLS and the College of Science and Engineering. Based on the speed dating format, participants were given five minutes to exchange information about their research with an aim to find common ground and to get to know each other better. An enjoyable afternoon, with plenty of wine, beer and pizza provided by the Research Strategy and Innovation Office, the networking event has built bridges across the two Colleges.  Future events, including grant pitching sessions and presentations from senior academics, are planned over the next six months – watch this space and the new webpage for information.  Contact Angela Bradshaw ( for more information.

A Very Early Rehabilitation Trial (AVERT), April 2015

Avert conference group

The UK office of the AVERT trial had the great pleasure of hosting colleagues from five countries at the AVERT trial investigators meeting held in Glasgow. This was followed by an informal investigators dinner in the Millennium Hotel. AVERT  is an international rehabilitation trial led by Professor Julie Bernhardt in Australia, but also including centres in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and the UK. The Investigators meeting was held in the excellent University facilities in the New Lister Building, Glasgow Royal Infirmary in April prior to the presentation of initial trial results at the European Stroke Organisation conference later that month (with simultaneous publication in the Lancet). All in all a very eventful weekend!


Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery & Tissue Engineering in the Core Medical Curriculum, March 2015

Plastic and renconstructive diagramThe first Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Academic Day, organized by IMCSB PhD student, Suzanne Thomson, took place in the Sir Charles Wilson Building in March.  Students were introduced to key concepts of plastic surgery and tissue engineering, including some of the latest research taking place at the University’s Centre for Cell Engineering.  Plastic and reconstructive surgery is an exciting and varied surgical specialty that encompasses several disciplines; including burns resuscitation and management, hand and upper limb trauma and oncological resection and reconstruction following skin, breast or other cancer.  Plastic surgeons work closely with many different hospital specialists and receive referrals from GPs and A&E doctors. A basic knowledge and understanding of the diverse types of surgical challenges that plastic surgeons manage is important for all medical students.  Great feedback was received and there are plans to build on this for future years.  Thanks to the team from Canniesburn and Centre for Cell Engineering who delivered the session.

Glasgow Polyomics Ginomics

Glasgow Polyomics ginomicsGlasgow Polyomics’ Ginomics events have been a fantastic success. Our Edinburgh International Science Festival event was the first of the festivals to sell out. At the Pickerings Gin distillery in Edinburgh, 100 guests were treated to cocktail-and-canapé pairings made with some of the finest Scottish craft gins.  Participants learned about the science behind gin through a mix of presentations and fun science experiments. Ewan Henderson from Scotch Broth led the event, along with the University’s Dr Richard Burchmore, Dr Isabel Vincent, Dr Stefan Weidt and Mike Barrett (Glasgow Polyomics). Guest speakers included Marcus Pickering and expert gin blogger, Geraldine Coates (  Another sold-out Ginomics was also run very recently for the Glasgow Science Festival, held at the Griffin Bar on Bath Street, and a pop-up version at the UoG Staff Researcher Conference. This event has also been requested for the Dundee Science Festival in November.
Funding Opportunities

Newton Fund - Reminder

Funding opportunities are available for international partnership through the Newton Fund. There are many different links to the various funding pathways but this is probably the most helpful and allows you to sign up for alerts when new calls are announced:
From Institutes

Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences:

Centre of Excellence in Vascular Science and Medicine Anniversary
A feature on the British Heart Foundation website has celebrated the anniversary of the Centre of Excellence in Vascular Science and Medicine.  The Centre is putting together leading scientists who conduct ground-breaking research projects with the aim of conquering heart disease.  Professor Rhian Touyz, Centre Director, says: "Many chronic diseases challenging our society today such as heart failure, stroke, vascular dementia and coronary heart disease are linked to one common factor – vascular dysfunction or blood vessels that don’t operate properly.  The impact of diseases associated with poor blood vessel function is enormous. This will grow as our population ages and as the prevalence of conditions causing circulatory problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, increases.  This has been a very exciting and productive year for our Centre of Excellence. Highlights include research advances, initiation of new training programmes, creation of new core facilities and partnering with international vascular networks”.   View the article .

Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation:

University of Oxford Research Fellow joins the CVR
Ed HutchinsonEd Hutchinson, from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford, will join the Centre for Virus Research as Research Fellow at the beginning of 2016.  Ed's research programme will focus initially on understanding the proteome of influenza viruses. Despite decades of intensive research, the basic molecular biology of influenza viruses is relatively poorly understood.  Ed will investigate the abundance, regulation and interactions of viral and cellular proteins in cells infected by influenza virus. His studies will provide insight into novel antiviral therapies.  Here are links for some of Ed's papers:…/140…/ncomms5816/full/ncomms5816.html…

CVR Sir Michael Stoker Award
Dr Jonathan YewdellThe 2015 CVR Sir Michael Stoker Prize winner is Dr Jonathan Yewdell, Chief of the Cellular Biology Section of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Maryland. His research interests include Influenza A virus evolution, immunodominance in antiviral antibody responses, intravital imaging of antiviral immunity and generation of MHC class I peptides. Dr Yewdell is keen to support young scientists and has published a guide in Nature called “How to succeed in science: a concise guide for young biomedical scientists.”He will visit Glasgow in September to accept the award and deliver the prize lecture. Details will be publicised in due course.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Naples Federico II

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Naples Federico II

The Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation has developed a MoU with the University of Naples Federico II, Italy. Priority areas include cooperative research programmes, exchange of staff and students, guest lectures and symposia.  Founded in 1224, the University is organised into 12 departments and is the world's oldest state university and one of the oldest academic institutions in continuous operation.   Three divisions operate as semi independent bodies for the teaching and research management of 12 Departments: Division of Science and Technology; Division of Life Sciences and Division of Social and Human Sciences. In addition, the University includes a cluster of 14 highly specialized museums and two botanical gardens. The School of Medicine includes a large University Hospital, the multi-speciality ‘Cardarelli’ Hospital, the Cancer Institute and the Hospital for Infectious diseases.  Dr Pasquale Maffia ( will coordinate the development and conduct of joint activities under this MoU. 

Poster Sessions
3rd year student poster sessionsThe Annual Poster Session took place at the end of May.   The posters were of exceptional high standard.  This year there were prizes for the best 3rd year student poster. The Judges were very impressed by the posters and found it extremely difficult to find an outright winner as they were all excellent.  However, after much debate, the winners were:- Caitlin Jukes (Bacteriology), James Brown (Virology), Louise Bennett (Immunology) and James Whitelaw (Parasitology).
Guest Professorship in Molecular Biosciences
Dr Lisa Ranford-Cartwright (Parasitology Research theme) has been selected as Guest Professor in Molecular Biosciences at the Wenner-Gren Institute, Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Stockholm for the academic year 2015-16. The Wenner-Gren Institute is a large, semi-autonomous Institute within the University of Stockholm.

PGT matters
With an increasing emphasis on PGT, courses and programmes within the College have been substantially reorganised to promote course sharing and efficient use of staff time.  PGT student numbers have been considerably increased (and are continuing to increase).  Within the Institute, one of the top-performing MSc Programmes in MVLS (in Infection Biology) is currently run.  Institute staff also run or contribute to around seven PGT courses (which make up an MSc Programme), several of which are shared with other MSc programmes in other Research Institutes and Schools.

MSc in Infection Biology
This academic year the new MSc in Infection Biology was launched and 25 students were welcomed to the programme. The students originate from a wide variety of countries, including USA, Oman, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, as well as European states. The students are now just beginning their research projects, mainly based in various laboratories in Institute. The projects run full time for 14 weeks, so look out for the students and make them feel at home!   

New MSc programme for the next academic year
In September, the first intake of students to a new MSc in Immunology and Inflammatory Disease will be welcomed. The new Programme Director is Prof. Jim Brewer.  More information on the new course will be circulated soon.

Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology:

2M for ERC Consolidator Grant
ERC consolidator grantProfessor Christoph Kayser and Dr Lisa Debruine have both been awarded prestigious ERC Consolidator Grants of €2M each as part of Horizon 2020.  Professor Kayser’s award will fund a five year project towards ‘Understanding the neural mechanisms of multisensory perception based on computational principles’.  This project will exploit advanced neuroimaging techniques at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi) to understand how the brain combines the information from our different senses to guide behaviour.

ERC consolidator grantDr DeBruine’s award will fund her team at the Centre for Social Interactions for five years to research the question ‘How do humans recognise kin?’  Dr DeBruine’s previous research has established how facial family resemblance affects human social and sexual behaviour.  This new project will focus on how humans combine different potential kinship cues, such as odour resemblance and maternal association, to tell who their kin are and how people respond to cues of kinship in different circumstances.

Multicentre MURI grant
Professor Philippe Schyns has been awarded a multicentre grant of £724k within the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) by the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Defense (USA).  The grant entitled “Understanding Scenes and Events through Joint Parsing, Cognitive Reasoning and Lifelong Learning” is collaborative with international partners from UCLA, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Illinois, MIT, Yale (for the US) and Oxford, Glasgow, Birmingham and Reading for the UK.  The goal of the MURI team is to develop machines that achieve deep understanding of scenes and events through joint parsing and cognitive reasoning, and are able to represent visual knowledge in probabilistic compositional models across the spatial, temporal, and causal hierarchies.  In addition, the machines will have the capability to acquire massive visual commonsense through web scale continuous lifelong learning, and will attempt to understand human needs and values to interact with humans effectively.

Institute of Health and Wellbeing:

MRC/CSO SPHSU annual report
MRC CSO SPHSU annual reportThe Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit has published its 2014 Annual Report, which reports on the first full year of activity since the Unit transferred to the University, to become an integral part of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing.  The report is available at:

£2m confirmed to set up the first NIHR Research Support Unit
A consortium of researchers has been awarded £2 million to support areas of research that require complex methodological approaches.   Professor ‌Olivia Wu, Head of the CRSU, said: “There is an indisputable need for evidence-based clinical practice and healthcare policies. To achieve this, there is often a need for complex evaluation and synthesis of existing evidence. The CRSU will provide advice and support to unexpected challenges arising in complex reviews. Through its activities, the Unit will support the delivery of timely and accessible evaluation of evidence.  This is an exciting new collaboration between the three academic institutions and the NIHR.”  The National Institute of Health Research funded the University in collaboration with the University of Leicester and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to establish the NIHR Complex Review Research Support Unit (CRRSU), which will support the successful delivery of complex reviews of importance to the NHS.  Click here to read the full story
Life after Suicide
Professor Rory O'ConnorProfessor Rory O’Connor worked with the BBC on the BBC1 documentary Life after Suicide which aired on 17 March 2015.   In addition to tracking the experience of people bereaved by suicide, the documentary featured some of the research being conducted by Rory and his team at the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory (   The documentary received widespread coverage and Rory appeared on BBC Breakfast, Radio 5 Live, Radio Scotland and Downtown Radio to discuss the programme. Rory also wrote a piece for The Psychologist  on his involvement with the programme.   Rory’s work also featured in the BBC 1 Panorama programme, A Suicide in the Family, (initially broadcast on the 13 April) and featured on BBC Breakfast, the 6 o'clock and 10 o'clock news on the day of broadcast.  An article on the BBC News website about the programme was the most viewed story throughout the day of broadcastFatal Silence, and the programme is available to view on the BBC iPlayer.
Safe Spot LtdNew mental health resource puts the power in your pocket - Twitter: @safespotappuk
A new app and educational programme designed to help young people manage mental health problems was launched in March at St Stephens High School in Port Glasgow.  SafeSpot uses digital technology to put vital coping strategies and support in the pockets of those most at risk and utilises social media to increase Mental Health Awareness in young people.  Developed with NHS clinical staff, in collaboration with the University, SafeSpot is available on mobile devices and provides greater access to advice and resources that allow young people to manage stress in a positive and healthy way.   The project is being developed by Dr Mallika Punukollu and Dr Fiona Mitchell, Specialist Registrars in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Honorary Clinical Lecturers at the University. SafeSpot won funding to develop the app through the Converge Challenge, pan-Scotland company creation competition and entrepreneurship development programme and was a winner in the first Converge Challenge Social Enterprise Award in the KickStart category in 2014. The project has been supported by Yorkhill Children’s Charity and the app is aimed to be used within the children’s hospital.

Students’ Representative Council Student Teaching Awards 2015
Congratulations to IHW staff nominated in the SRC Student Teaching Awards:  Professor Jonathan Evans, Dr Jo Ferrie, Dr Daniel MacKay, Dr Emma McIntosh, Professor Rich Mitchell, Dr David Morrison, Dr Lucy Pickering and Ms Jacqueline ReillySee more here.

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Glasgow to help train Africa’s next generation of scientists
The University has secured £334,000 to help train the next generation of African scientists.  The University is part of the ‘Programme for Enhancing the Health and Productivity of Livestock’ (PEHPL) collaboration being led by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science & Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania.   The PEHPL is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and will help train 16 PhD students for four years, two of whom will be registered at Glasgow. The programme is aiming for a 50% target for female recruits.  As an established partner of Glasgow, NM-AIST is an emerging centre of excellence geared towards developing new and relevant innovations for development in Africa.  Research priorities include the improvement of health and productivity of livestock which is critical for the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.  Professors Dan Haydon and Sarah Cleaveland are leading Glasgow’s involvement and scientists and students will work with livestock farmers in east Africa to enhance the nutrition and health of people through improving the health and productivity of their livestock.  Professor Dan Haydon: researcher profile  Professor Sarah Cleaveland: research profile

Triple Marie Curie success
Marie Curie actions logoThree Marie Curie fellows will join the Institute later this year, making this the Institute’s most successful year in this fellowship scheme to date.  Taya Forde (from the University of Calgary, Canada)  will be working with Tiziana Lembo, Roman Biek and Ruth Zadoks on a project called ‘Molecular epidemiology of Bacillus anthracis: novel data and techniques for local surveillance in Tanzania’. Antoine Stier (from the University of Angers, France) will work on ‘An avian model for understanding and preventing the negative effects of poor developmental conditions on subsequent health state, fertility and ageing rate’ with Neil Metcalfe and Pat Monaghan. Pat will also host another fellow, Shirley Raveh (from the University of Basel, Switzerland), who will take up a fellowship entitled ‘Differential costs of social living in nature,  a study of oxidative stress and cellular senescence in relation to social status in Cape ground squirrels’.

Agreement with Peruvian Institute of Health
Dr Daniel Streicker_Dr Ernesto Gozzer InfanteThe University signed a Framework Agreement with the Peruvian National Institute of Health (INS) on 14 May.  The agreement aims to encourage collaboration in the areas of research, technology transfer and training in fields related to ecology, epidemiology and evolution of pathogens of importance to public and/or animal health.  BAHCM is currently carrying out research in Peru in a number of areas, including a major Wellcome Trust-funded fellowship on vampire bat-transmitted rabies.  The agreement lays the foundations for accessing the facilities and experience of the INS. It will also make available the data gathered from an epidemiological study in the Peruvian countryside and will ultimately enable the better design of methods of Rabies control.  While the agreement will help the University strengthen its research cooperation in Rabies, it is also open to other University departments wishing to build on the experience and facilities of the INS.
From Schools:

School of Life Sciences

Funding awarded for development of new Undergraduate Online Course
Dr Mary McVey and Dr Chris Finlay from the School of Life Sciences with support from Dr Jo-Anne Murray, Associate Dean for Digital Education, have secured funding to develop a new undergraduate course to support first year students by giving them more opportunities to develop their Graduate Attributes. The funding was awarded as part of the Blended and Online Development project, now in its second year. The 20 credit course will be developed and run with a capacity of 100 students initially, in 2016-17. The course content will be supportive and beneficial for any students on a scientific degree or those with a general interest in biological science. Completion of this online course will give first year students a true blended learning experience.   Drs McVey and Finlay will build on their experience of delivering online learning in the Biology Summer School and the pre-entry OPENSs course for Nurses and look forward to the challenge.

MSci Genetics student is winner at Cogent Science Industry Skills Awards 2015

Laura FitzpatrickCongratulations to Laura Fitzpatrick, a final year student on the MSci Genetics programme, on being awarded "Placement of the Year" at the third annual Science Industry Skills Awards ceremony in London in May.   Laura's one year work placement at Medimmune was a proof-of-principle project aimed at investigating the potential use of exosomes as a novel intracellular drug delivery platform. During her placement she established that exosomes could be targeted to specific markers overexpressed on the surface of tumour cells, and that they could be loaded with chemotherapeutic drugs.  Laura was nominated by her line manager at MedImmune.  On winning her award, Laura commented to Dr Iain Johnstone, Deputy Head of School and convener of the MSci Work Placement degree programmes in Life Sciences, " My work placement year really was the best thing I could have done for my future career, and I really can't thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to be accepted onto the work placement scheme"

School of Veterinary Medicine:

Food for Thought
Small animal nutrition seminarAs part of the School of Veterinary Medicine new curriculum, a blue sky seminar on small animal nutrition was organised for the Second Year Veterinary Undergraduate students. The afternoon allowed for presentations from a variety of speakers all of whom had a great deal to say about the Pet food industry with representatives from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), a veterinary nutritionist working for a pet food factory,  and commercial companies retailing cooked and raw pet food diets. Pet nutrition is a hot topic in veterinary medicine and the afternoon provided a forum for knowledgeable debate, lively exchange and some probing questions from the students. Organiser, Philippa Yam, said: ‘This was a great success. We were fortunate that our speakers were willing to travel from regions across the UK to enlighten our students about nutrition. We are very grateful to them for making the afternoon so much fun’.

Progress at the GLaSS
The Garscube Learning and Social Space (GLaSS)The Garscube Learning and Social Space (GLaSS) project will deliver a dynamic new space for the campus with a 350 seater flexible study/café space and a 34 seater seminar room.  Refurbishment of existing adjoining space will also provide 10 new tutorial rooms, upgraded toilet facilities, and a new kitchen/servery area with back-up ancillary accommodation for Hospitality Services. The main steel frame of the building has now been completed on site and the roof works and roof lights have also commenced.  The external cladding, windows and curtain walling will commence this month.  Internally, the new kitchen/servery is progressing at pace. The tutorial rooms are all formed and specialist wiring for high quality audio visual equipment has also commenced.  The new building will link directly to the McCall Building and the James Herriot Library.  There will also be easy access from the Research Facilities to the east end of the Garscube Campus with a secondary entrance.  A new lift will also be installed providing direct access for disabled use to all levels of the James Herriot Library building.  It is planned to complete the works and open the building in January 2016.

Dental School:

Dental Dazzlers
Dental dazzlersThe Dental Dazzlers, a group of almost 50 staff and students from the Dental School, spent a day at Glasgow Science Centre engaging the public in Experi-Dental – a custom-made set of hands-on experiments.  Children had the opportunity to build miniature communities of bacteria with Play-Doh, learning how bacteria live, what they do, and how the immune system fights to keep them under control.  They also learned how to brush their teeth properly by practicing on hard-boiled eggs soaked in cola and how fluoride plays a role in preventing decay.  The public engagement event was twinned with a research study which brought a cohort of children from Glasgow City (The Tooth care Study)  into the Science Centre for the day with their families to be measured, have their teeth checked, a saliva sample taken to measure bacteria, and a blood sample taken to measure biological markers of ageing. This cohort of children have been measured at 4, 5 and now 8 years of age to help us understand why some children from  more deprived backgrounds experience more tooth decay than those from less deprived backgrounds, and how these inequalities can be addressed.
Other news

Café Scientifique and Royal Geographical Society – Hong Kong
Part-time PG student Vanessa Collingridge, has recently returned to Scotland after spending the past year in Hong Kong.   While there, she and a couple of friends set up a Hong Kong Café Scientifique and she is keen to encourage any UoG researchers/academics who are visiting Hong Kong to speak at one of the HK Café Scientifique meetings, run by Sarah Lazarus   Vanessa is also keen to raise awareness of the Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong branch and asks anyone involved in that field who is visiting Hong Kong to contact Rupert McCowan, who runs the RGS Hong Kong branch. 

Charity Zip Slide, Saturday 12 September
Charity zip slideWould you like to zoom across the River Clyde and raise funds for leukaemia research at the University of Glasgow?  Then you can take part in the seventh University of Glasgow Charity Zip Slide.  All funds raised will go to the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre.  No experience is necessary for the zip slide as full instruction will be given on the day by ALPS Outdoor.  Entry fee is £40.00.  Anyone can take part who is over 16 years of age.  For an entry pack or to find out how to register online please contact Susanne Hill: or 330 2132.  Spaces are limited, so you will need to register quickly!

Health promoting from Land’s End to John O’Groats
Professor Jill Pell from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing believes in leading by example and will be spending 9 days this September doing a wee “health promoting” cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, with all donations going to fund raising towards the new campus  -  a mere 960 miles over 9 days (ouch) and the ascents add to two rides up Everest!  If you would like to support the cause – the link below will take you to the donations page:  Good luck Jill!

MVLS Team take part in Munro Challenge!
MVLS munro challengeStaff from the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre took part in the Munro Challenge event, climbing 5 Munros in a weekend and raising vital funds for the leukaemia research centre. Team leader, Caitriona O’Connor, reported: “It was a great weekend, six of us set off for Team POG on the Glen Lyon horseshoe from Inverar on Saturday morning. It was a beautiful sunny morning hiking up Carn Gorm, reaching our first summit in 2.5 hrs. The 4.5km route back down was rough going on the knees and we were all relieved when we eventually reached the car 8.5hrs after leaving it that morning! We tackled Schiehallion the following day, a little sore and worn out…. after grumbling, grunting and groaning through the first hour, the rest of the day was absolutely great!”  So far the team have raised nearly £600 - well done to all who took part and to those who sponsored Team POG!

The Pedalling Profs
Pedalling ProfsThe Pedalling Profs completed their Blinking Eye to Squinty Bridge Challenge, a 218 mile cycle over the May Bank Holiday from Newcastle to Glasgow to raise money for the Dental School.  Professor Jeremy Bagg:  “Despite a head-wind, the weather was dry and bright for the first two days and we saw some glorious scenery - Northumbria and the Borders at their best. The final leg, however, from Musselburgh to Glasgow along the Union and Forth Clyde Canal paths was extremely wet and both bikes and riders were mud-encrusted by the time we reached the Squinty Bridge on Sunday evening.   Despite a number of challenges along the way, managed ably by our fantastic support crew, it was a great team event and we're all looking forward to next year's outing”.

Thanks again from all the team to those who have supported them. The JustGiving page remains open at

Bringing flowers back into hospital
Dr Tim DrysdaleAs part of the launch of the new South Glasgow University Hospitals and Royal Hospital for Sick Children, a special art exhibition has been held to celebrate the art work which will be on display throughout the hospital.   Responding to the ban on real flowers in hospitals, this collection comprises 100 artworks celebrating the beauty, meaning and histories of flowers and in hospital, and the links between environment, health and wellbeing.   One of the photographs selected: ‘Dandelions at the Science Docks’, was taken by Dr Tim Drysdale from the School of Engineering
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