Health science centres announced for region

The creation of three academic health science centres (AHSC) in the West Midlands has been announced by West Midlands minister Liam Byrne, MP, during a visit to The University of Warwick’s Medical School.

The AHSC at Warwick will be the first in the Midlands and will bring together all the NHS trusts across Coventry and Warwickshire to draw on the university’s world-leading research expertise in systems biology, engineering and medicine.

Another two AHSCs are planned in the region.

For more details see The University of Warwick.  

Fast Forward winners are crowned

A panel of top car experts decides who has designed the best car to win the ideasforlife.tv Fast Forward competition.

Groups of students from three schools have spent the last two months designing their own car from scratch, with the help of advice from experts from across the West Midlands, as part of the challenge.

It’s the last lap of the contest where the students pitch their designs to the panel of judges in their bid to win the title.

  Fast Forward final

Learning taken to virtual world in project

The benefits of using virtual world technology for learning are to be studied in a research project at Birmingham City University.

The Learning in Virtual Environments, LiVE, project will see students undertake film production exercises, using the internet-based virtual world Second Life.

The study is led by Birmingham City University’s Technology Innovation Centre (TIC), together with the University’s Learning Technology Development Unit and technology partner, Daden Ltd, a leading specialist in virtual environments. The project is funded by the regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands, through its interactive digital media initiative, which promotes the use of new digital technology.

For more see Birmingham City University. 

Midlands winner of science medal

Aston University’s Professor Yvonne Perrie has been announced as the 2007 winner of the prestigious British Pharmaceutical Conference science medal, primarily for her work in improving the delivery of drugs using minute particles called liposomes.

The science medal is awarded annually to a scientist working in a pharmaceutical or related discipline who has produced work of outstanding promise and has demonstrated a proven track record of independent research.

Her research has been applied to improve the potency of drugs while reducing their side-effects and in particular to enhancing the effect of vaccines to protect against a range of infectious diseases.

For more details see Aston University

Health academy launched for better NHS workforce

A health academy has been launched to help the NHS get the best workforce in the West Midlands and enable health workers to get jobs in the sector.

The academy, a partnership between universities and the NHS Trusts in the region, will aim to provide the best advice and guidance on employment within the NHS as well as movement into and between each educational institution for thousands of people.

The Midlands’ Health Academy (MHA) was initially developed through a partnership between Aston University, Heart of Birmingham Teaching Primary Care Trust, Birmingham City University and Matthew Boulton College. It now involves a wide range of employers, Midland universities and organisations including the Learning and Skills Council, Staffordshire University and Keele University.

The Academy will target local schools, colleges and universities to inspire young people to become part of the NHS workforce and will also encourage returners to work from this country and refugees who already have health care experience from their own countries and require additional training. Existing NHS workers will also benefit from the academy by having the opportunity to advance their careers through additional training and guidance.

For more details see Aston University

Alzheimer’s patients have high levels of magnetic iron oxides

Higher than normal levels of magnetic iron oxides are present in Alzheimer patients, researchers at Keele University have discovered.

The results of a small scale study of Alzheimer patients indicates that iron accumulation associated with Alzheimer’s appears to involve the formation of strongly magnetic iron compounds.

The findings could lead to a method of diagnosing the disease using an MRI scan.

For more see Keele University.

Penicillin resistance research could save millions of lives

Research to overcome the resistance of bacteria to the anti-biotic penicillin, being led by the University of Warwick, could help to save millions of lives.

The research could mean penicillin being effective in treating hospital superbugs like MRSA and diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia which kill millions of people a year, all of which have developed a resistance to penicillin.

Researchers have identified a protein that is key to bacteria becoming resistant to the anti-biotic, opening the possibility of developing a drug that could inhibit the protein.

For more details see the University of Warwick.