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Research and innovation in the Faculty of Life Sciences

Welcome message from the Dean

The Faculty of Life Sciences is home to a pool of talented researchers whose skills and knowledge contribute to our understanding of the world around us. We host a wide range of research interests that use an equally wide range of technologies from qualitative interviews to highly technical world class laboratory research in the disciplines of archaeology, biology, chemistry, pharmacology and ophthalmology.

We believe strongly that interdisciplinary approaches are the best way to fertilise the imagination of researchers to develop the most exciting projects. For this reason, we have organised our research teams into four major themes that highly encourage interdisciplinary research projects. This multidisciplinary approach is complemented by the research in our three flagship research centres carrying out excellent research focusing on cancer drug development, skin sciences and pharmaceutical engineering.

Bradford’s Faculty of Life Sciences is a setting supportive of innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. We are proud to be highly active and successful throughout the long impact pathway; from discovery science to the delivery of improved patient treatments to improved healthcare pipelines.

Professor Rob James, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences

Nature paper identifies a new pathway to repair non-coding DNA

Professor Sherif El-Khamisy, Fellow of the Lister Institute, published a new paper in Nature. The paper identifies a new mechanism to repair DNA damaged by oxidative stress at regulatory genetic elements, which has important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of age-related diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration.

The full paper is available on the Nature website: A mechanism for oxidative damage repair at gene regulatory elements.

The paper is also featured on the website of the Lister Institute: Lister Fellow’s Nature paper demonstrates the importance of ‘junk’ DNA.

Professor Sherif El-Khamisy, Lister Fellow

Recent Life Sciences news

Northern Bioinformatics User Group (Northern BUG) meeting
This September the Faculty of Life Sciences Computational and Data-Driven theme and Bradford HPC Service hosted the Northern Bioinformatics User Group (Northern BUG) meeting. The community presented 10 short talks on HPC, workflow management systems such as Nextflow and Galaxy, clinical bioinformatics, FAIR data analysis and data stewardship training and community of practice. Further information is available on the website of the Computational and Data-driven Science theme.

Recent Appointees in Materials Science 2022 (RAMS-2022)
Sanjit Nayak, Debbie Crawford, Phil Drake, Nadeem Javid, Colin Seaton, Bev Stewart, Tom Swift and Richard Telford hosted the RAMS-2022 conference during 5-6th September at the University of Bradford. RAMS provides a national platform for early/mid career academics/researchers to share experiences and to create a collaborative network. The conference is partly sponsored and promoted by the RSC Materials Chemistry Division. Check the website for more details:

Northern Cardiovascular Research Group Meeting 2022
The 2022 meeting of the Northern Cardiovascular Research Group was held at Bradford University on 24th May. It was organised by Dr Matthew Hardy with the help of Dr Jacobo Elies, Dr Kirsten Riches-Suman and Dr Munir Hussain and attracted 102 registered delegates from across the UK. The keynote speaker of the meeting was Dr. Samantha Pitt from the University of St. Andrews who discussed how “Cellular zinc shapes calcium dynamics in the heart".

Commercialisation of novel technology
The Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering has successfully commercialised its first cocrystal based innovation 'EfferShield'. The products will be on the market in the nutritional supplement and eco-cleaning sectors and will make an impact across manufacturing, healthcare, and the environment. To celebrate this success, Professor Gautam Desiraju, the world leader in the area of crystal engineering delivered a keynote address in a webinar on Friday, 29thApril at 1 pm.

Recent publications

A mechanism for oxidative damage repair at gene regulatory elements. Ray S, Abugable AA, Parker J, Liversidge K, Palminha NM, Liao C, Acosta-Martin AE, Souza CDS, Jurga M, Sudbery I, El-Khamisy SF.
Nature. 2022 Sep;609(7929):1038-1047
doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-05217-8.

The MK2 cascade mediates transient alteration in mGluR-LTD and spatial learning in a murine model of Alzheimer's disease. Privitera L, Hogg EL, Lopes M, Domingos LB, Gaestel M, Müller J, Wall MJ, Corrêa SAL.
Aging Cell. 2022 Sep 22:e13717.
doi: 10.1111/acel.13717

ER Clark, RJ Helliwell, MA Bailey, KE Hemmings, KI Bridge, KJ Griffin, DJA Scott, LM Jennings, K Riches-Suman, KE Porter. (2022)
"Preservation of smooth muscle cell integrity and function: A target for limiting abdominal aortic aneurysm expansion?"
Cells;11:1043, doi: 10.3390/cells11061043

RL Ross, G Mavria, F Del Galdo, J Elies. (2022)
"Downregulation of Vascular Hemeoxygenase-1 Leads to Vasculopathy in Systemic Sclerosis"
Frontiers in Physiology 13:900631. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2022.900631

G Lyall, G Birk, E Harris, C Ferguson, K Riches-Suman, M Kearney, K Porter, K Birch. (2022)
"Efficacy of interval exercise training to improve vascular health in sedentary postmenopausal females."
Physiological Reports. doi: 10.14814/phy2.15441

HA Bham, J Denniss (2022)
“Effects of glaucoma on detection and discrimination of image blur”
Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics

G Reina, A Ruiz, B Richichi, G Biagiotti, GE Giacomazzo, L Jacquemin, Y Nishina, C Ménard-Moyon, WT Al-Jamal, A Bianco (2022)
“Design of a graphene oxide-BODIPY conjugate for glutathione depletion and photodynamic therapy”
2D Materials, 9 015038, doi:10.1088/2053-1583/ac4572

Research themes

The research in the Faculty of Life Sciences is organised into four themes. They provide our academics with a framework to explore their interests and share their expertise. The themes are interdisciplinary in nature, which enables innovative collaborative research across the Faculty and the University, as well as opportunities for collaboration with other academic institutions and research groups. The research themes and their scientific specialities are listed below.

The Life Course - Cells to Systems in Health and Disease

Our research aims to understand fundamental molecular and cellular biological mechanisms and investigate them in relation to human health and disease across all stages of the life cycle.

The Interface of Chemistry, Biology and Materials

Our research combines cell biology, genetics, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology to take medicines and diagnostics from concept to clinic. It also focuses on process development for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

Computational and Data-Driven Science

Our research applies innovative computational approaches for the integration, analysis, and interpretation of new and repurposed data to gain value and scientific leads from the enormous quantities and diversity of data available.

Health, Society, People and Place

Our multidisciplinary research focuses on translational and applied health research within the community, educational, archaeological and forensic settings. It aims to address individual and societal challenges for the benefit of patients and the public.

Research centres

Highly innovative research focusing on specific areas of strength is carried out in our three flagship research centres. The research conducted in the centres is renowned nationally and internationally and it is part of the overarching University of Bradford research theme of Advanced Healthcare.

Institute of Cancer Therapeutics

The focus of our research is to investigate, develop and commercialise new cancer treatments in order to progress anticancer medicines and biomarkers from concept to clinic.

Centre for Skin Sciences

Our research goals are to better understand the cellular and molecular processes underlying skin and hair biology in health, wound healing and skin disease to develop innovative new products for consumers and patients.

Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science

Our research is focused on investigating product and process optimisation as well as the development of innovative formulation technologies in the area of pharmaceutical and healthcare formulation.

Research services and facilities

Our research is supported by outstanding research support facilities providing excellent advice and services to our academics.

Business and knowledge transfer

The Faculty of Life Sciences has an excellent track-record, spanning over 30 years of performing collaborative research with external organisations including industry, the NHS and charitable groups. Our translational research activities improve the impact of academic research, promote innovation and entrepreneurship within industry, increase research funding and make a valuable contribution to the growth of the UK economy.

The Faculty’s research centres offer the opportunity for external partners to work with academic staff in a wide range of healthcare, bioscience and chemistry themes ranging from pharmaceutical materials analysis to the development of novel cancer therapeutics. We offer an impressive range of contract research services and consultancy and have an enviable record of delivering excellent project outcomes. Our academic staff are highly experienced in leading and delivering successful research projects to our industry partners in a timely manner using state of the art equipment housed in modern facilities. Our blend of unique affordable services can help you develop new products, processes and capabilities to give you a competitive edge.

We also offer our industry and NHS partners assistance in obtaining public grant funding for collaborative research and have many examples of successful joint grant applications to the NIHR, IUK and the MRC. The Faculty supports companies to access and utilize our in-depth knowledge and has an excellent record of working with industry partners through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships sponsored by Innovate UK.

Main research contacts

Research Directors

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Faculty of Life Sciences
University of Bradford
Richmond Road