An introduction to our 2019 Engineering & Physical Sciences winners & their research
Time to get to know a little bit more about the 2019 Engineering & Physical Science Suffrage Science recipients and an insight into some of their most recent research:
Professor Moira Jardine
Planet Earth has a magnetic field, with magnetic north being at the North Pole. But this polarity can naturally switch and flip often after hundreds of thousands of years, so that the magnetic north is actually at the South Pole. Stars, like the Earth, have a magnetic pole which flips over time as well. Prof Jardine has recently not only observed that a star (tau boo) has flipped its magnetic pole, but that it has done so because a very large planet has come so close that it has synchronised itself to it's new neighbour.
Dr Sarah Harris
From analysing the genes, along with the physical and cognitive traits, of 3511 untreated adults, Dr Harris and colleagues found that variation of intelligence frequently depends, and can be predicted by features, on the genes.
Dr Roisin Owens
Dr Owens and colleagues have generated an electronic tube-like structure through which nutrients can flow, much like blood vessels, that can be used in the body. Not only can cells grow on the surface of the tube, but it can also monitor the growth and adhesion of cells as well.
Professor Tiny De Keuster
Serious dog bites that require medical attention are increasing, and the highest rates of dog bite injuries occur in children. Prof De Keuster and colleagues have developed a successful training method to teach children to read dog distress gestures shown by the dog before it bites.
Professor Karen Holford
Prof Holford and colleagues have developed a highly accurate way to detect when gears are getting worn down in racing cars. many have previously used vibration and sound as indicators of how the gears are functioning, but they have used the magnetic field given off by the gears instead.
Professor Serena Best
A bioscaffold is an artificial structure which is implanted in the body where cells and tissues grow. This is often in the replacement of a missing or damaged organ. The specifics of the 3D structure of a tissue is incredibly important in how new cells grow and behave. Through using a freezing technique Prof Best and colleagues have developed a way to make the inside architecture of the scaffold more realistic to the biological tissue.
Dr Tara Garnett
One can make a sustainable impact through their diet. A sustainable diet is one the benefits and contributes environment sustainability. it involves an increase in foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts, and decreases in foods like red meat, sugar and defined grains. Such diet changes will mean that we are better placed to reach the sustainable development goals by 2030 set by the UN.
Dr Isabel Palacios
Drosophila, also known as fruit flies, are a common research tool and they have been a powerful and cost-effective research model which can be scaled up and improve research outputs. Given that scientific research is influential in developing and shaping societies and African researchers make up around 2% only of the world's academic research community, DrosAfrica was founded to address this. Dr Palacios is a founder of DrosAfrica which aims to develop and increase the community of researchers that use Drosophila to research biomedical problems on the African continent.
Professor Amina Helmi
We can tell how our universe, and more specifically how our galaxy, was formed just by looking at the stars. During formation, a galaxy leaves behind imprints akin to a fossil, which impact the way stars are spaced out, move along with their composition and age; all of which can be accessed. Prof Helmi uses this information to theorise the construction and history of our galaxy.
Professor Sue Kimber
Prof Kimber and colleagues have developed a method to directly differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into early stage cartilage cells known as chondrocytes. This will work towards a new therapy for diseases such as osteoarthritis, but also share insights into how components of the stem cell niche influence stem cell behaviours and properties.
Professor Marzieh Moosavi-Nasab
Prof Moosavi-Nasab and colleagues have found that food and industry grade gelatine can be made from fish waste using enzymes from bacteria.
Professor Melinda Duer
Chemical changes in our blood vessels cause our arteries to harden as we age, which can lead to heart disease or stroke. In collaboration with King's College, Prof Duer discovered a biopolymer involved in the formation of new bone that contributes to those blockages and are now working on developing possible treatments for vascular disease.