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Lost world revealed by human, Neanderthal relics washed up on North Sea beaches

Scientists on both sides of the North Sea are applying precise new methods to date the artifacts and sequence any genetic traces, as well as mapping the sea floor and analyzing sediment cores. The effort is bringing to light the landscape and prehistory of a lost homeland of ancient Europeans.

Read the full story 

Map of europe in the doggerland period

World first in complex 3D skin modelling

The Centre for Skin Sciences are partnering with Labskin UK on an ambitious 28-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), funded by Innovate UK to further develop the Labskin Human Skin Equivalent with pigmentation.

This project gives Labskin access to the melanocyte cell expertise in Bradford’s Centre for Skin Sciences (CSS), with the aim of making the world’s first commercially available pigmented full thickness, three cell skin equivalent model. This will allow cosmetic tone matching applications, but also be a pathfinder project to enable future UV protection and drug effect studies.

Someone rubbing cream into their hand

The team are delighted to welcome Omera Bi, the new project Associate and former student at Bradford and has recently completed a PhD at the University of Huddersfield. 

Omera said: “I am excited to be part of the Labskin-KTP project, I look forward to transfer my knowledge and expertise to enhance and meet the needs of this project".

Alex Chapman (Head of Operations - Labskin) said, “This is a really exciting project for us and one we have wanted to do for some time. We look forward to working with our colleagues from the University of Bradford and getting this advancement out to the scientific community”.

The Bradford team includes Dr Julie Thornton, Director of CSS and Dr Jacobo Elies who is the project supervisor. Jacobo said "This is a thrilling project which will enhance our understanding of skin pigmentation using an organotypic in vitro model. Working together with Labskin is a great opportunity to apply our research to address societal challenges and needs."

This partnership is receiving financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy. 

Partners

Labskin, part of the Integumen PLC group, is in a rapid development phase.  Lab space at NAFIC is being doubled, and the company will be recruiting further staff in the coming months.  To stay up to date with recent developments and company news please visit  https://www.labskin.co.uk/stories/ or follow us on @Labskin.


The Centre for Skin Sciences has a faculty of internationally renowned scientists, whose mission is to better understand skin and hair biology, to provide an exciting research environment for our graduate and post graduate students and to develop successful partnerships with companies developing innovative new products for consumers and patients. Please visit https://www.bradford.ac.uk/css for more information and news, or follow us on Twitter: @SkinBradfordUni

Latest medical technology funding success

The University of Bradford have, again, succeeded in winning ‘Proof of Concept’ awards from the Grow MedTech fund.

The teams at Bradford secured one award in the last round and have recently received three more. Bradford applications for both rounds combined took 1st, 2nd and 4th place in the panel assessment, which is a great achievement. Each of the applications featured significant strengths, and the team demonstrated a strong collaboration with a mixed discipline approach, and evidence of clinical pull.

The four POC awards bring funding worth £320,000 into the University and support for the teams to drive their technologies closer to market:

Professor Anant Paradkar, Professor of Pharmaceutical Engineering Sciences, is working with Huddersfield Pharmacy Specials (HPS) to scale his ‘surgical device’ for endoscopy, HPS are an internal NHS manufacturing service and have signed heads of terms with Bradford to be an exclusive manufacturing and distribution partner. Anant has also gained clinical support via the Chair of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Surgical MIC in Leeds and access to a various research groups who are interested in his further applications for his technology. This potential is progressing to DPFS and EPSRC applications. Anant has also been able to identify a new patent for his technology.

Professor Stephen Rimmer, Head of Chemistry and Biosciences, will work with Innovate UK catapult ‘Centre for Process Innovation’ (CPI) to develop a novel processing step for his ‘Smart Materials for Detection of Infection’.  Steve’s smart materials platform has multiple market applications, not just Medtech, and CPI are able to support the technical development as well as the commercial and supply chain strategy. The relationship with CPI itself promises further opportunity, and may result in both parties being co-applicants on larger infrastructure funding.

Professor Hassan Ugail, Head of Centre for Visual Computing, and Dr Brian Thomson, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, have been successful with a highly capable consortium for their POC, and have develop advanced plans for a clinical study with NHS-Blood and Transplant. Hassan and Brian aim to develop and test their artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software as a medical device for Organ quality assessment. The NIHR have encouraged an application for a further clinical research study, and the team are in discussion with NHS Blood and Transfusion about a future co-application to the Solid Organ replacement research fund.

Professor Mohamed El-Tanani’s, 50th Anniversary Chair in Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, RAN programme continues under his guidance and is delivered by Dr Mohammed Isreb and Dr Jason Jones. Mohamed and his team have been invited, and just completed, a second-round application to the NIHR Product Development Awards (PDA) as well a successful Grow MedTech POC, which the panel ranked as number one for quality and impact potential. The team had also been awarded a Proof of Market (POM) for regulatory support.

 

Find out more about Grow MedTech.

Supporting changes in services for young onset dementia

How the Angela Project is improving diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for younger people with dementia and their families in the UK.

Currently, there are more than 42,000 people living with a diagnosis of young onset dementia in the UK. Young onset dementia is any type of dementia diagnosed before the age of 65. People diagnosed at this age range - often called younger people with dementia - have different needs from older people with dementia as they may still be employed, have financial commitments, and/or care for their children or ageing parents, as well as have different generational experiences. Younger people and their families face significant challenges gaining access to support that is appropriate to their needs.     

Previous studies have explored the availability of services for younger people with dementia and have emphasised the gaps in care and the lack of specialised services. The literature is full of research reports which focus on the shortcomings of services in the UK. As a result, the public and families affected by young onset dementia may feel discouraged and believe that there are no good services for younger people. This, however, may not reflect the full picture about the support offered to younger people with dementia and their families in the UK.

image of dementia patient with carer

Our research study, The Angela Project, is named after a lady with young onset dementia who went undiagnosed for three years before her symptoms were recognised. The study aims to develop guidance on best practice in diagnosis and post-diagnostic support in the UK; via work-stream 2 of the study which is led by Prof. Jan Oyebode in the University of Bradford, we have gathered detailed information from younger people with dementia and their families about real-life positive experiences of post-diagnostic services.

More than 260 younger people and supporters reported 856 positive examples of support across the country. Despite the current gaps in services, our preliminary findings show that some professionals and services are actually providing really good person-centred needs-led support. We plan to combine our findings with the findings of work-stream 1 (on diagnosis) to develop guidance on best practice which we hope will enable service providers and commissioners to improve the services offered to those affected by young onset dementia. Our guidance will include practical examples that illustrate the range of needs across the experience of young onset dementia and how services can meet these needs.

The team have presented their preliminary findings to our Patient and Public Involvement group, to local NHS Trusts, and in regional and national conferences. The overall success of the Angela Project will depend on whether it facilitates improvements in services for young onset dementia and brings positive changes to the lives of those affected. Therefore, the team are now working to establish sustainable collaborations with health authorities and consortia of service providers and third-sector organisations, to develop research projects that will promote the implementation of the ANGELA project guidance. The team are optimistic about the future impact of the project both for service improvements and for raising awareness about young onset dementia in the public and health sector. This impact is expected to be enhanced by dissemination plans which will target lay and professional audiences, such as professionals in the health and social care sectors, academics and researchers, clinicians, the wider young onset dementia community, and the general public.

The Angela project is a partnership led by University College London.

Expanding Communications Capability with BNL (UK) Ltd

Professor Ben Whiteside, Head of the Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology in the Faculty of Engineering, undertook a research project with BNL Bearings to develop polymer based bearings for the automotive sector. 

BNL Bearings, who strive to be a world class market leader in polymer bearing solutions, worked with Ben on a KTP to investigate early indications of bearing wear properties with specific material types before committing to lengthy life cycle studies.  Ben and the company recruited an Associate to manage the project. The findings indicate that there has been a substantial uplift in dynamic load rating capabilities of certain materials for bearings. These rolling element bearings perform above 90 degrees centigrade and exhibit low thermal expansion for under bonnet applications. Two working prototypes were developed along with a design calculator tool which is now fully deployed in BNL’s new Product Development Department.

Read the full story.

image of plastic bearings

New digital health seminar series launched

The University of Bradford have launched a new series of public seminars for 2019 on innovations in digital health

Der Samar Betmouni, Director of Clinical Pathology and interim director of Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ) Academic, has introduced a Seminar Series which showcases innovations in digital health and is a forum for academics, healthcare professional and business to network and learn about pubic engagement in healthcare and pathways to implementation of digital health solutions and new models of care.

The series of seminar includes confirmed speakers on a range of digital health subjects ranging from leading innovation approaches, to deploying technology in healthcare.  Find out more about the seminar series.

image of doctor working with transparent digital screens

It’s OK to talk about death

The University of Bradford has received further funding to use archaeology as a platform to encourage people to talk about death and dying.

The Creative Dissemination project is the result of Follow-On Funding for Impact and Engagement awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The first grant funded the ‘Continuing Bonds: Exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice’ until July 2018.

The Continuing Bonds project had already branched into further work, including the Dying to Talk project, which engaged young ambassadors in creating a resource for schools to encourage pupils to talk about death, dying and bereavement. A ‘Death Festival’ was held at the University of Bradford where this video resource was piloted with school-age children and received an overwhelmingly positive response. The Continuing Bonds team have been socially active throughout the project, running public engagement events such as Death Cafes, exhibitions about the project in public spaces (Leicester Cathedral, Gallery II – Bradford) and workshops at various organisations (Bradford Bereavement Support, Cruise Bereavement Care, Marie Curie). 

image of excavated burial site

The Creative Dissemination project runs for 9-months and is led by Principal Investigator Dr Karina Croucher(University of Bradford) and supported by Co-Investigators Dr Jennie Dayes (University of Bradford) and Dr Melanie Giles (University of Manchester). Participants are invited to three creative writing workshops and to contribute to an anthology and celebration event. The anthology and workshop materials will be hosted online to encourage others to hold similar writing events, write about death, dying and grief issues, and to engage an even wider audience on the topic. The creative dissemination project continues with the original drive to normalise talking about death, dying and grief and to use archaeology as a means by which to do this. At its foundation, the Creative Dissemination project is multidisciplinary, drawing on archaeology, psychology, the arts and end of life/palliative care.

At least one paper will be produced during the timeframe of the project, taking this unique collaboration to a practice audience of psychologists. The team intend to apply for further funding. This is likely to include an early-careers researcher grant, where the continuing bonds model of using archaeology to open up conversations about difficult issues, can be applied to other important areas. One idea is to use archaeological and ethnographic case studies to open discussions about present-day symptoms of eating difficulties. The team are also investigating taking the Continuing Bonds model to school groups, working towards a 'death education'. 

Find out more about Archaeology and Forensic Sciences >>

Inspiring young people into manufacturing careers

The University is raising the aspirations of businesses and youngsters by supporting Bradford Manufacturing Week again this year.

BMW, Launched by Bradford Chamber of Commerce and co-ordinated by career specialists Aspire iGen, takes place from 7 to 18 October and brings manufacturers, schools, young people and parents together through tours, work experience, seminars, exhibitions and learning events held at manufacturer premises and key locations across the district.

The inaugural Bradford Manufacturing Week saw students from over half of the district’s secondary schools take part in more than 3,000 first hand manufacturing experiences, over the course of one week. Local manufacturers, business leaders and politicians made a difference by getting involved. The media and social media campaign reached over 22 million people, bringing the initiative to the attention of the Prime Minister, Theresa May who backed the week, approving of the efforts to enable future generations to see the potential of a career in the manufacturing industry.

Bradford manufacturing image with logo overlaid

This year’s BMW has been extended to two weeks from one, with over two thirds of all schools in the Bradford district expected to participate in the event. The team are already significantly ahead of target compared to last years' event and expect to comfortably exceed expectations in October.

BMW is a great initiative for the City and the region. It’s a unique way of showcasing the district’s strength and depth in manufacturing to inspire, encourage and educate young people about the opportunities for a fulfilling and rewarding manufacturing career.  As a University we are pleased to be able to demonstrate our commitment to raising local aspirations for both businesses and youngsters through this worthwhile initiative.