Improving rainfall and flooding predictions

The University of Leeds is a partner in a new research project to improve our understanding of rainfall and flood predictions in Scotland. Scientists from the University will work alongside the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), Scottish Water and the Met Office. The Radar Applications in Northern Scotland (RAINS) project will involve the deployment of NCAS’ Mobile X-band Radar to Kinloss, Scotland, from January to July 2016, to observe clouds and measure rainfall. The observations from the NCAS radar will be used alongside the existing Met Office radar network to study precipitation and flooding. This will be the first in-depth study of clouds, precipitation and how they link to flooding in Scotland. The NCAS radar is capable of measuring clouds and precipitation in remote locations and is the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom.

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Researchers to use supercomputer to 'hack' Ebola

Scientists at the University of Leeds will run the equivalent of password cracking software to find the chemical keys to defeating the Ebola virus. A team from the University’s schools of Chemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology have secured a £200,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust to find drugs to cure the disease. Although several Ebola vaccines are being developed, there are currently no effective anti-viral drugs to treat people once they get infected. This is a particularly serious issues because of barriers to implementing vaccine programmes in the most at-risk communities and the difficulty of predicting where the disease will strike next. The University of Leeds researchers will focus on finding anti-viral drugs. 

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Breast cancer survivors could be vulnerable to common illnesses

Breast cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy could be vulnerable to common illnesses because of the long-term impact on the body’s immune response, according to new research findings. Chemotherapy is used to treat 30% of breast cancer patients and whilst previous studies have investigated its effects on immune systems during the therapy itself - and up to a short period after the last treatment - little is known about the long-term impact on immunity. Researchers from University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust measured the levels of lymphocytes, a group of white blood cells involved in the body’s immune response, together with antibodies. They found that chemotherapy reduced levels of some immune system components for at least nine months after treatment.

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Digital design to boost pharmaceutical industry

University of Leeds researchers are part of a project to transform the UK’s pharmaceutical industry by introducing new digital design processes. The £20.4 million ADDoPT (Advanced Digital Design of Pharmaceutical Therapeutics) project is a major four-year collaboration between the Government, industry and universities. It is expected to reduce the development time and cost of innovative medicines and improve the competitiveness of the UK’s pharmaceuticals sector.

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‘Big Data’ generates need for ‘Data Diplomacy’

“Data Diplomacy” seeks to better understand the role that data sharing plays as an agent in social and political relationships around the world. Examples of data diplomacy can include: negotiations between two competing health systems to enable access to electronic medical records of shared patients; cross-national sharing of outbreak data, such as ownership of and access to information about people impacted by Ebola virus; or the impact on diplomatic relationships among nations due to systematic “leakages” of data, evidenced by the Edward Snowden case.

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Leeds researchers conduct new training programme in Africa

A team of researchers led by the University of Leeds is conducting a new and innovative training programme in Africa. The Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) project, led by Professor Melvin Hoare, seeks to provide people in the targeted countries with training to use radio telescopes. It also has an outreach programme to encourage young people to study the technological aspects of radio astronomy and pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. The project is funded by the Newton Fund – a novel initiative that aims to promote the economic development and social welfare of developing countries through scientific collaboration.

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A kink in the fault line explains why the Himalayas keep growing

An international team of scientists has shed new light on the earthquake that devastated Nepal in April 2015, killing more than 8,000 people. In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the scientists show that a kink in the regional fault line below Nepal explains why the highest mountains in the Himalayas are seen to grow between earthquakes. The researchers, from the UK’s Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET), as well as academics from the USA and France, also demonstrate that the rupture on the fault stopped 11km below Kathmandu.

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CUHK Launches Global China Research Program

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) recently launched the Global China Research Program with the goal of understanding China’s global presence and international relations, as well as the global reception of China’s outward engagements. 

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A fighting chance of survival: life-saving stents for heart attacks

A study of 300,000 heart attack patients, led by the University of Leeds, has found rapid rates in the uptake of a treatment which improves a patient's chances of survival after a major heart attack. The research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research, showed the uptake of heart attack treatment gives nine in ten patients fighting chance of survival. The use of emergency stenting treatment (PPCI) increased from 0.1% in 2003 to 86% in 2013 for patients with STEMI - a heart attack caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery which accounts for 25-40% of all heart attack cases in Europe.

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