UWE Bristol exhibit at national celebration of Bioscience research

Issue date: 10 November 2014

Great British Bioscience festival, Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, London

14 to 16 November 2014

University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) scientists have been invited to celebrate the 20 year anniversary for the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC) at the Great British Bioscience Festival from 14 to 16 November.

This free festival is accessible for all and will be the culmination of a year-long programme of activities marking BBSRC's 20th anniversary – bringing together 20 exciting exhibits from world-leading bioscience research groups based in the UK.

For the past year the BBSRC has encouraged universities to develop exciting exhibitions about their bioscience projects to engage and inspire the British public and showcase the world class bioscience that BBSRC invests in.

Professor Steve West, UWE Vice-Chancellor, says, “UWE Bristol is in great company as the BBSRC has selected some of the most exciting projects to exemplify the work that has been funded over the past twenty years. This is a real endorsement of the quality and relevance of the world leading biosciences research here.”

The UWE Bristol exhibit 'Many bugs make light work; glowing bacteria as brilliant bioscience tools' was launched at the Festival of Nature in Bristol on 14 June 2014. Featuring a blackout tent called the 'Bug Booth', visitors view agar plates of glowing bacteria that stop glowing when antibacterial products are added.

Professor Vyv Salisbury explains, “We invite people into the Bug Booth to add a range of antibacterial products including toothpaste, anti-bacterial hand-gel and disinfectant and watch as these agents reduce the glowing as the bacteria are killed.

“The exhibit shows how bioluminescence or glowing bacteria can help scientists devise tests. As scientists we need to establish markers for experiments that show whether a test has worked. Our BBSRC funded research told us that bioluminescent bacteria are a really good marker, because if the bacteria are killed by disinfectant for example, we can see it disappear before our eyes as the glowing fades.

“We used this technique (now funded by the Medical Research Council and Randox laboratories Ltd), to create a kit for leukaemia patient's blood testing to check if chemotherapy will be effective.”

For more details on the project please visit the team's page on the BBSRC website.

Other BBSRC funded projects currently underway at UWE Bristol include:

Professor Dawn Arnold from UWE Bristol is working with the Universities of Oxford (Dr Gail Preston) and Reading (Dr Robert Jackson) to study ways of increasing crop yields by reducing disease. The award of £500,000 from the BBSRC enables the researchers to build on recent discoveries about how disease spreads in bean plants. The 3-year project could result in developing new ways to prevent diseases in this valuable food crop. For more information on the project please visit the webpage.

Professor Olena Doran, Professor John Hart and Dr Adrian Crew (Centre for Research in Biosciences, UWE) won 2 BBSRC grants during 2011-2014 to lead the development of novel technologies for food quality.

This work has been undertaken in collaboration with UK Pig Industry, Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network and complemented through links with international industry via BBSRC-funded UK/China Partnership led by Professor Olena Doran.

The Research Council UK Report 2011 named the technologies for food qualities which have been developed by the UWE Team among 100 bright ideas which will have a profound effect on our future.

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