Tag: research

  • Health, wellbeing and veganuary

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    Just as I was starting to notice a slight increase in day length, and daring to think ahead to spring, our weather reminded us that it is still very much winter, with possibly the largest snowfall in rural Wiltshire that I can remember.

    It is during these winter months that colds and flu cases are at their peak – I’m sure we all notice the coughs and sneezes as we go about our daily lives. While there is no cure for the common cold and over-the-counter medications can help alleviate some of the symptoms, controlling the cough reflex is one of toughest problems to solve. Noscapine is a known cough suppressant but due to its limited availability had not found widespread utility. A BBSRC-funded collaboration, between the University of York and GlaxoSmithKline, which builds on earlier fundamental research led by Professor Ian Graham, has helped to change this. Their research has led to the breeding of a new poppy variety (PDF) that produces much higher levels of noscapine, so much so that it is now responsible for 80% of the world’s noscapine supply. Because of the higher quantity of noscapine produced by this new poppy, extraction is much simpler and cheaper, opening up the possibility of noscapine being used more widely in cough medicines – and this could bring welcome relief to many of us. Interestingly, noscapine is also undergoing phase II clinical trials as a low toxicity anti-cancer agent. […]

  • Biology week!

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    I was delighted, once again, to join in the Royal Society of Biology’s Biology week celebrations, including the Parliamentary reception and #IAmABiologist Twitter campaign. In whatever way you identify as a biologist, I hope you joined in with the latter and I wonder what your motivation has been for pursuing biology – mine was a fascination with understanding how living organisms ‘worked’.

    Biology Week offers a fantastic opportunity to recognise the breadth of biology and its impacts, and the reception in Parliament was a great way to ensure that our Politicians have an understanding and awareness of this too. […]

  • Extreme weather…and food production

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    Depending on your perspective you may have been relishing the recent spell of unusually hot and dry weather – if, on the other hand, you are one of the many farmers who have been struggling to combat the heat, drought and feed shortages your view is likely to be quite different. Whatever your thoughts on the ‘summer of 2018’, the extreme weather conditions highlight the importance of boosting the resilience of food production systems in the UK to help ensure food supply is maintained. […]

  • What a week that was for showcasing bioscience!

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    The week commencing 14 May 2018 was certainly one to remember for all of the opportunities it brought to showcase UK bioscience across the nation.

    As part of the formal launch of UK Research and Innovation, we were delighted that on Monday the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Sam Gymiah, visited the soon to be completed Quadram Institute on the Norwich Research Park. The Minister was accompanied by UK Research and Innovation CEO Sir Mark Walport and I, along with other partners including Quadram’s Director, Ian Charles, University of East Anglia Vice-Chancellor David Richardson and Mark Davis, CE of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals. Minister Gymiah met early career researchers and heard about their work on understanding antimicrobial resistance, food-bourne pathogens and the importance the gut microbiome plays in shaping our health. Both the Minister and Sir Mark talked about the important place that multidisciplinary institutes have in the UK’s research and innovation ecosystem and recognised the unique aspects of the Quadram Institute, bringing together fundamental bioscience research on food and health with clinical endoscopy services. A personal moment for me during the visit was being interviewed for BBC Look East – a programme I grew up with and one that I had never imagined I would appear on! […]

  • My vision for BBSRC within UK Research and Innovation

    Uncategorized | Melanie Welham

    It is an absolute pleasure to sit down to write this, my first blog since being appointed as Executive Chair of BBSRC within UK Research and Innovation.

    We are now just over one month into UK Research and Innovation and in conversations I have with members of the community I know there is an appetite to understand what this means for them. There are plans to publish UK Research and Innovation’s strategy soon, and this will be important for setting out the organisation’s approach, but here I would like to take the opportunity to set out my vision for BBSRC.

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