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We invest in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public.
We invest in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public.

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Check out the new blog from BBSRC CE Professor Melanie Welham, as she tackles seasonal food shortages, and how the new structure of UK science is shaping up. 

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Prof David Salt of Uni of Nottingham talking about arsenic in plants at #AAASmtg Friday February 17 8am, Room 206

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Turning off the protein tap – a new clue to neurodegenerative disease

Disabling a part of brain cells that acts as a tap to regulate the flow of proteins has been shown to cause neurodegeneration, a new study from The University of Manchester has found.

The research, which was carried out in mice, focused on the Golgi apparatus – a compartment inside all cells in the body that controls the processing and transport of proteins. Working with Chinese colleagues, the Manchester researchers examined the role of the Golgi apparatus in neurons and found that mice in which the apparatus was disabled suffered from developmental delay, severe ataxia, and postnatal death.

Read more here:

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Did you know that the common painkiller paracetamol can cause liver damage?

BBSRC-funded scientists at the University of Edinburgh studied the impact of paracetamol on liver cells in human and mouse tissue. They found that even relatively low doses of paracetamol can damage the liver by harming vital structural connections -- called tight junctions -- between adjacent cells in the organ.

The discovery could inform research into therapies to counteract harm caused by the drug, which is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the Western world.

See the full release here:

And the paper in Nature Scientific Reports:

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In the search for new drugs to combat cancer, it might be worth calling on the neighbours

Computational biologists have looked at the complex networks of interacting proteins that drive cancer formation, and found that targeting the neighbours of cancer-causing proteins may be just as effective as focusing on the cancer proteins themselves.

The new approach, led by BBSRC-funded scientists at the University of Cambridge, the Institute of Food Research and The Earlham Institute, used databases of genes known to be involved in cancer and cell protein interactions to create computational models of the protein networks in different cancer cells.

Read more in the full release:

And paper in Systems Biology and Applications:

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Researchers reveal molecules responsible for ageing in immunity cells

As we age our immune system declines – but is it possible to reverse the weakening immune cells while growing old?

Funded by BBSRC and the Wellcome Trust, researchers from University College London (UCL) and Oxford University have discovered a key to boost immune cells during the ageing process in both humans and mice by blocking a group of proteins called sestrins.

Read the full release here:

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UK plant science goes from strength to strength

UK’s leading global position in bioscience innovation further strengthened as Science Minister Jo Johnson officially launches biotech spin out Leaf Systems International Ltd.

The science behind Leaf Systems was developed, with BBSRC investment, at the John Innes Centre and its creators, Professor George Lomonossoff and Dr Frank Sainsbury, won the BBSRC Innovator of the Year award in 2012.

Read more here:

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As armyworms return to devastate crops in Africa, Lancaster University’s Professor Ken Wilson reports on renewed efforts to utilise biopesticides to help bring about an ecological and more sustainable solution.

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How the brain keeps related memories distinct from each other

Neuroscientists at the University of Bristol are a step closer to understanding how the connections in our brain which control our episodic memory work in sync to make some memories stronger than others. The findings, funded by BBSRC, reveal a previously unsuspected division of memory function in the pathways between two areas of the brain, and suggest that certain subnetworks within the brain work separately, to enhance the distinctiveness of memories.

See the full press release here:

Paper in Nature Neuroscience:
Separate elements of episodic memory subserved by distinct hippocampal–prefrontal connections

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Scientists have shown that chewing your food properly can boost your mouth’s immune system to protect you against illness

The study led by teams at The University of Manchester and National Institutes of Health in the USA, revealed that a specific type of immune cell, the Th17 cell, can be stimulated when you chew.

The immune cell is important in protecting against bacterial and fungal infections that are commonly found in the mouth. Although it has long been known that the nutrients from food can support a healthy immune system the findings establish that the action of eating itself is important too.

Read the full release and more details here:
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