Life Sciences to lead LiGHTS Nights science extravaganza

Skeletons, bush-crickets and dogs helping human health, these are just a few of the fascinating interactive sessions running for an extraordinary one-day science showcase hosted by the University of Lincoln.
Lights Nights Lincoln
See the world of Life Sciences with Lights Nights in Lincoln

LiGHTS Nights – a celebration of how science and technology impacts on our daily lives –will take place on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus and in venues across the city on Friday 30th September 2016.

SONY DSC

With a thought-provoking programme of activities asking questions like ‘Am I smarter than my tortoise?’ and ‘Pigs, chickens and criminals’, and Life Sciences are leading the show with over 10 different workshops, tours and lectures throughout the day. Book your place now.
LiGHTS Nights will see academics from the University’s Colleges of Science, Arts and Social Science present their pioneering studies and invite visitors to become scientists for the day by participating in a range of different activities and experiments.

 

PG Forensic Anthropology studentsHighlights include Skeletons in the cupboard – an interactive demonstration by forensic archaeologists showing what can be discovered about people’s past lives from studying their skeletons, using finds from Roman and medieval Lincoln. As part of the demo, the researchers from Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences will offer insights into how conditions such as anaemia, malnutrition, tuberculosis and leprosy are recognised. Book here.

We ask, Are human eyes best? See the world through an animals eyes with our specialised camera in a session given by Tom Pike and Anna Wilkinson 1-5pm in JBL, ground floor. Book here.

DNA workshops will enable visitors to extract DNA from everyday food using ordinary chemicals such as washing-up liquid and alcohol – with the chance to win souvenir ‘take-home’ tubes of DNA. Sessions will run 12pm, 2pm, 4pm in the Science Building by Stefan Milson. Click here to book for 12pm. Click here to book for 2pm. Click here to book for 4pm.

Shedding light on mysteries from the animal world, Lincoln researchers will present their work exploring how dogs are helping human health; which diseases have been passed to the human race from the animal kingdom; and the colourful traits developed by creatures around the world to attract their mates. Click here to book for 12pm, Click here to book for 2pm, and Click here for 7pm session and join in this great workshop with Professor Daniel Mills.

Ears in the legs - How do bush-crickets produce soundHave you ever wondered how bush-crickets produce their sound, and how do they hear their own sound? Researcher Fernando Montealegre-Z and Thorin Jonsson will answer this in ‘Ears in the legs’ between 12pm and 9pm in the Joseph Banks Atrium in our Joseph Banks Laboratories. Book here

LiGHTS Nights is free to attend but bookings for individual sessions should be made in advance. More more information is available and bookings can be made online.

Engineering stem cells

Dr Issam Hussain, Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences, is working with the School of Engineering to conduct research that has far-reaching implications in regenerative medicine.

Stem cells
Scanning Electron Microscope morphology of Mesenchymal stem cells after one day cell culture

 

Alongside Dr David Waugh, Professor Jonathan Lawrence and Chi Wai Chan, a visiting researcher from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Dr Hussain is using laser technology to manipulate the surface finish and chemistry of surfaces and materials on which stem cells are grown.

The research has shown laser surface treatment to be a potential means for modulating stem cell response in order to grow different cell types by simply laser-modifying the material surface. This has the potential to allow clinicians to grow tailored tissue and bone, rather than using an insufficient foreign object implant, increasing transplant effectiveness and efficiency. Endeavours into this field will ultimately allow medical staff to apply the technology to treat regenerative disorders.

Through animals’ eyes

Experts from the School of Life Sciences recently gave an insight into the fascinating world of animal vision at a prestigious national exhibition.

Gharial eye
Gharial eye

Drs Anna Wilkinson and Tom Pike presented research at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London, an event that showcases cutting-edge developments in science and technology. The exhibit featured interactive activities, such as viewing how animals see the world through special glasses, and a chance to participate in a real research project. The study will determine whether humans, who typically have three cone cells to convey colour, can learn to see as a dichromat – a person with only two cone cells that would experience a degree of colour blindness.”

Dr Wilkinson explained the aims of the exhibit: “Animal colouration provides some of the most striking examples of evolution by natural and sexual selection, but animal colours did not evolve for our benefit. The exhibit explained the evolution and diversity of animal colouration by considering how these colours appear to the animals themselves.

“Many animals can see ultraviolet light, some can see polarised light and a good number can see many more colours than we can. On the other hand, some animals see far fewer colours than humans.

“Because animal colours evolved for the benefit of animal eyes, not human eyes, understanding the visual world from an animal’s point of view can explain why some animals are bright while others are dull, some are highly patterned and others plain.”

Multi-million pound science and innovation park announced

Lincoln is to become home to some of the finest scientific minds and most innovative high-tech businesses in the UK, thanks to ambitious plans announced today (Thursday 2nd August 2012).

The University of Lincoln and Lincolnshire Co-operative are joining forces to transform a disused 10-acre site in the heart of the city into a world-class science and innovation park.

The multi-million pound project will see a substantial plot of land and buildings on Green Lane (off Tritton Road) becoming a hub of science and technology expertise and home to a mix of university and commercial enterprises in what is a first for the city.

Part of the development of the park, which is owned by Lincolnshire Co-op, is the University’s plan to locate its School of Life Sciences and the proposed new School of Pharmacy in Becor House.

Significant refurbishment of this landmark building by the University will create state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching spaces for disciplines such as biology, biomedical science and bioveterinary science.

In addition, the University as the anchor tenant would create spin-out businesses and attract onto the site high-tech companies in the fields of pharmaceutical science and biotechnology as well as other areas of scientific and industrial development and engineering.

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University, said: “This is a tremendously exciting step for the University as we strengthen and grow our science provision, and one which will bring massive benefits to the city in terms of employment and inward investment.

“Highly skilled professionals who have previously looked outside Lincolnshire for career opportunities will be attracted to the area or be encouraged to stay, and the potential to bring in new investors and high-tech businesses to boost the local economy is enormous.

“Our shared vision with Lincolnshire Co-operative is to build a vibrant and successful community of knowledge creators and businesses, working together creatively to promote enterprise, employment, investment and education in Lincoln.”

Co-locating academia and commerce will bring benefits for both, and investment in the site by the University and the Co-op could reach £14 million.

There is a range of similar successful projects nationally. Cambridge Science Park was founded in 1970 by Trinity College, Cambridge, and hosts businesses such as Toshiba and Bayer CropScience Ltd.  Biopark, near Welwyn Garden City, features companies working in various fields including the development of oncology drugs, supplying advanced medical equipment and researching new innovations in electronics.

Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Co-op Ursula Lidbetter said: “We think there’s a huge opportunity to turn this underused site into a stimulating place to work and study. It’s an ideal location for a science park as it’s so close to the University campus and Lincoln city centre.

“As a co-operative, we share our profits with our members and their communities and we want to be involved with developments like this which will bring employment opportunities and investment to the city.

“We also run 47 pharmacies across our trading area and are keen to support the proposed new School of Pharmacy. We’ll be able to offer placements to students during their courses, and then potentially job opportunities. Our pharmacists will be able to take advantage of the facilities for their professional development.”

Initial work on the complex will be completed by the end of 2013, with between 1,200 and 1,500 science students based there, along with around 100 academic and research staff.

Professor Andrew Hunter, Pro Vice Chancellor for the University’s College of Science, added: “The University is in the process of recruiting more than 20 new high profile life and pharmaceutical scientists who need access to good laboratories and offices. But alongside the academic spaces will be industrial developments and we will be looking for other organisations to partner with, following a similar model to our highly successful engineering collaboration with Siemens.”

Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

Drs Anna Wilkinson and Tom Pike are gearing up for the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition in July, which is an 8 day celebration of science and technology.

Have you ever wanted to see the world through an animal’s eyes? Our exhibit explains the evolution and diversity of animal colouration, including ‘hidden’ colours that are invisible to humans, by considering how these colours appear to those who matter most, the animals themselves.

You can read more about our exhibit here: http://sse.royalsociety.org/2012/exhibits/animal-vision/

You can also follow Dr Anna Wilkinson’s exhibition blog: http://animal-colours.tumblr.com/