News in 2018

  • Uncovering mechanisms behind long-term heart problems 27 November 2018 Heart attacks kill over 7 million people every year, and those who survive often go on to suffer from long term heart problems caused by the initial damage, and the heart muscle’s responses to it. Similar issues are also found in patients with high blood pressure. Dr Georgia Connolly has uncovered some of the molecular pathways that might be behind these long-term problems; it’s hoped that her findings might be extended to lead to new treatments.
  • How GPs can use safety nets to navigate the tightrope walk of patient advice 15 November 2018 ‘Safety-netting advice’ is information given by a healthcare professional to a patient or their carer designed to help them know when they need to seek further medical help. This might be because their symptoms are not getting better, they are getting worse or they have further concerns or worries about their health. It can occur in a variety of contexts and in a variety of ways, but oversight into how and when this type of advice is given to patients in routine practice is limited.
  • New chain in the membrane: combating antibiotic resistance 15 November 2018 Increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics is an issue which has alarming consequences, and there is a real need for a solution. Dr Sara Alvira-de-Celis’ work towards understanding how proteins are expressed at the membrane surface of bacteria may be critical in research to make new antibiotics which work in novel ways.
  • Postnatal depression and fatherhood – what is the fathers’ role? 11 October 2018 Fathers may play a key role in supporting mothers and children in families affected by post-natal depression, preliminary data suggests. But what is the nature of father involvement and is it important for children in families where mothers suffer from postnatal depression?
  • Potential new treatment options for infant brain injury 27 September 2018 Dr Robert Spuall investigates whether the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from premature babies might yield clues for brain injury treatment, by looking at how the CSF might change the way that cells in the infant brain develop.
  • Action plan for childhood eczema puts children first 26 September 2018 Parents of children with eczema know that it can be extremely challenging keeping on top of medications. Effective management often requires a combination of topical medications, and it can be frustrating for parents trying to liaise with GPs to manage their child's’ symptoms. Dr Emma Le Roux worked with Action Plans for Children with Eczema (APACHE) to develop a written plan for childhood eczema that puts children first.
  • What mothers eat might change their children’s metabolic regulation 21 September 2018 The effect of diet is of obvious importance throughout life; a well-balanced diet can help mitigate against a wide range of potential issues. What’s less well understood, however, is how changes in the diet of mothers during pregnancy can change how their offspring metabolise nutrients and whether it renders them more prone to obesity. Dr Sophie Walker used an award from Elizabeth Blackwell Institute to study epigenetic changes in mice.
  • Biomarker tool aims to enhance cancer immunotherapy targeting 12 September 2018 New immunotherapies which help the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells are promising, but some patients don’t respond to the new treatments. With the help of an Elizabeth Blackwell Institute Clinical Primer Scheme award, Emily Milodowski has been developing a new tool as a step towards being able to identify people who can be helped by these new therapies.
  • Why do some wounds fail to heal? 10 July 2018 Non-healing wounds such as pressure sores and diabetic ulcers are a growing health problem, and we still don’t know enough about how and why wound repair can fail. Thanks to an EBI Early Career Fellowship award, pharmacologist Dr Jenna Cash has set up her own lab to examine wound repair more closely and inform novel therapies for chronic wounds.
  • Prehabilitation: boosting patients’ powers of recovery before surgery 10 April 2018 Improving patients’ health and fitness before a major operation can reduce the risk of complications and help recovery. Yet its potential has not been sufficiently explored. Researchers at Bristol aim to improve surgical outcomes in cancer patients by boosting health in the vital weeks before surgery.
  • Observing the battle of the stem cells 22 January 2018 Stem cells must compete with one another to remain among a smaller number of pluripotent, self-renewing cells rather than transform into a specialised cell. But how does this process play out, and with what effects? Dr Marc Amoyel, a developmental biologist, received an EBI Early Career Fellowship award to examine stem cell competition in the fruit fly, Drosophila.
  • Improving outcomes following surgery for breast cancer 17 January 2018 Clinical scientist Dr Shelley Potter is passionate about improving the lives of women with breast cancer. A key focus of her research is women undergoing breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, since there is a lack of reliable evidence to inform women’s choice of reconstruction surgery. An award from the EBI Bridging Fund provided her with the opportunity to pursue this work while completing her specialist surgical training.
  • Shooting from the hip: tracing the genetics of osteoarthritis 17 January 2018 You’re more likely to get osteoarthritis of the hip if your parents have had it, and certain hip shapes can increase the risk. So could changes in hip shape associated with hip osteoarthritis be inherited?
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