Leeds Alumni Magazine Preloader

Tag Archive: Department News 2018

  1. Biomedical Sciences

    Comments Off on Biomedical Sciences

    Major structures in foetal hearts are formed in just four days, according to a Leeds study that used the latest imaging techniques. With this knowledge, doctors could eventually be able to monitor babies during this critical development phase and intervene if problems occur. It’s thought that one in 10 miscarriages is caused by the failure of the heart to form.

    The most remarkable changes in foetal hearts occur 124 days into pregnancy. Within this time, the muscle tissue rapidly organises and cardiac fibres are laid down to form the helix shape of the heart. The research team, led by Dr Eleftheria Pervolaraki, also identified two proteins critical to the heart’s development. Levels of connexin 40 and 43 increase during its growth period, helping cells to communicate.

  2. Chemical and Process Engineering

    Comments Off on Chemical and Process Engineering

    Leeds scientists are using the principles of light to measure the strength of concrete, giving industry an understanding of when it could fracture.

    In a new approach, a thin layer of ‘birefringent’ coating is applied to concrete beams. When the beam is loaded, its birefringent properties split light waves in different directions according to the stress in each area. The waves reflect back to a photonic camera which takes a picture showing where stress levels are most extreme. While the coating is not new, this is the first time it’s been used to assess the toughness of concrete against fractures. “This methodology could help assess the strength of a wide range of new composite materials in future,” says research lead Dr Joseph Antony.

  3. Medicine

    Comments Off on Medicine

    Behavioural activation can help prevent older people with mild depression from developing a more severe clinical form, Leeds research finds. A treatment was delivered over 10 weeks through face-to-face and telephone contact, and encouraged patients to re-engage with social activities that bring pleasure and improve mood. “During treatment, people are encouraged to think about alternative ways to remain mentally and physically active,” explains trial coordinator Dr Gemma Traviss-Turner.

    A study compared two groups of patients aged 65 and older who had mild depression. Half the participants were given access to behavioural activation, whilst the other half visited their GP. Four months later, behavioural activation had reduced more serious symptoms of depression. Plans are now under way to train NHS therapists in this low-cost intervention.

  4. Media and Communication

    Comments Off on Media and Communication

    “Can you feel the music?” asked Digital media specialist Dr Joanne Armitage at the British Science Festival this year. Joanne was the recipient of the British Science Association’s Daphne Oram Award for Digital Innovation. During her prize lecture, she demonstrated how she uses vibrating (haptic) devices like bespoke belts and cushions to enhance musical experiences.

    “It was exciting to be a part of the British Science Festival and to discuss my work with a new audience. I was particularly honoured to have received the award lecture in the name of sonic innovator Daphne Oram.”

    Joanne is also one half of the ‘Algobabez’, a musical duo producing rave music made from algorithms. The pair use programming language SuperCollider to generate live music in clubs and concert halls.

  5. Sociology

    Comments Off on Sociology

    A June colloquium explored the public’s understanding of rising inequality. Presenting national and comparative research, speakers raised questions about how these perceptions shape support for certain political and policy responses to poverty, welfare and redistribution. The colloquium was organised in collaboration with the Leeds Inequalities Research Network which comprises 20 research centres and is complementing the establishment of a new MSc Inequalities and Social Science.

  6. Leeds University Business School

    Comments Off on Leeds University Business School

    New research into the legal profession shows that progress is being made in creating a more diverse sector but that women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) solicitors still face career progression barriers. The research was commissioned and published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and is the most extensive of its type.

    Led by Professor Jennifer Tomlinson, the research analysed data of more than 194,000 solicitors between 1970 and 2016. It showed that the proportion of women and BAME people entering the profession has risen significantly. However, career advancement remains an issue as partnerships remain male dominated with just one third of partners female. The best opportunities for females of all ethnicities to become a partner were in small firms, as is the case for BAME males.

  7. Design

    Comments Off on Design

    “I don’t get oily when walking,” a team of Textiles researchers were told whilst investigating the use of fluorocarbons in raingear. The comment came from a study which asked outdoor enthusiasts how they use their clothing. Harmful fluorocarbons are used in waterproof jackets to repel rain and oil. Their use in clothing manufacturing has raised concern from legislation bodies and environmentalists alike, with some manufacturers switching to alternative coatings.

    Leeds research found that fluorocarbons outperformed newer fabrics only in their oil repellency. Water resistance, which 82% of participants considered the most important factor, was unaffected. Sustainability is a growing concern within the clothing industry and “can be achieved through better chemistry,” says Dr Richard Blackburn.

  8. English

    Comments Off on English

    Twenty years ago, he taught creative writing at Leeds. Now, world-renowned West Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage has returned as the University’s first Professor of poetry. Dr Fiona Becket, Head of the School of English, said: “Current and future students for many years to come will be extremely excited to have the opportunity to hear and talk to Simon, and to be taught by him.”

  9. Music

    Comments Off on Music

    The School of Music is making room for a whopping 27 new Steinway pianos. Along with a combination of uprights, baby grands and a concert grand shipped from the Steinway & Sons factory the School has been given an All-Steinway School status. Over 400 students will benefit from the £742,000 investment which will make Leeds the first Russell Group university to exclusively use the instruments.

  10. Robotics

    Comments Off on Robotics

    A conference on robot use in infrastructure brought experts from across the UK to Leeds in June. A team of Leeds and Birmingham scientists presented ‘Lucie’, a mobile long-lived robot that learns and adapts within her environment to then monitor real-world infrastructure. Other Leeds projects demonstrated a pipe inspection robot that is powered wirelessly and drones to scan and repair potholes using 3D printing.

  11. East Asian Studies

    Comments Off on East Asian Studies

    Professor of Chinese Don Rimmington was a pioneering member of the School of East Asian Studies for several decades. Now he has a constant presence on the fourth floor of the Michael Sadler building, which has been named ‘The Don Rimmington Foyer’ in his honour. Alumni attended a special ceremony that saw Don unveil the foyer’s new plaque.

  12. French

    Comments Off on French

    In September a conference marked the 55th anniversary of Algerian independence and almost two decades since the ‘memory boom’ publication of various confessional documents written by participants on both sides of the Algerian War. ‘Rupture, Repression, Repetition? The Algerian War of Independence in the Present’ examined the legacies of the Algerian War in philosophical and historical figurations of the present.

  13. Earth and Environment

    Comments Off on Earth and Environment

    Organic matter found in deep mantle rocks from the Pacific has tripled the estimated depth limit for life. Chemical analysis of the matter, which was transported from up to 12km below the surface, resembles molecular signatures of microbial life. “This suggests the water-rich, low-temperature zones in the mantle may represent one of Earth’s largest hidden microbial ecosystems,” says Dr Ivan Savov.

  14. Mathematics

    Comments Off on Mathematics

    Listeners to Radio 4’s Today programme are regularly foxed by Mathematics puzzles from Leeds. The questions originate in the the UKMT Mathematical Challenge, organised by the UK Mathematics Trust which is based at Leeds. The Trust aims to advance the education of young people in mathematics, organising events to stimulate mathematical thinking and develop problem-solving. More than 650,000 secondary school pupils participate in Mathematical Challenge events each year.