Biological Sciences

News 2023

All the news from 2023

Butterfly and moth genomes mostly unchanged despite 250 million years of evolution

Comparison of over 200 high-quality butterfly and moth genomes reveals key insights into their biology, evolution and diversification over the last 250 million years, as well as clues for conservation.

Male fertility gene discovery reveals path to success for sperm

Jumping genes (brown stain) attacking germ cell DNA (blue stain) in a human testis biopsy
Discovery of a pair of genes that work in perfect harmony to protect male fertility, could provide new insights into some unexplained cases of the most severe form of infertility, research suggests.

Game-changing gene therapies are focus of £14m research hub

Professor Susan Rosser
The University is to establish a new research and innovation hub focused on developing gene therapies to help treat or cure disease.

Strategy set to strengthen research and innovation excellence

The University has launched a new strategy on how it will use its world-class research and innovation to tackle some of the society’s biggest challenges.

World-class medical science facility opened by The Princess Royal

Chancellor of the University, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, opens the Institute for Regeneration and Repair
Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, has opened the Institute for Regeneration and Repair South building (IRR South).

New Discovery Research Platform to reveal the hidden world of cells

Cells
A new Discovery Research Platform launched today and funded by £9 million grant from Wellcome, will reveal deep insights into the inner world of cells, shedding new light on diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance.

Purple Bar moth is 1,000th species sequenced in landmark project

Some of the first 1000 species the Darwin project has analysed. Graphic by Luke Lythgoe, Wellcome Sanger Institute. CCBY-4.0
An ambitious project to sequence the genomes of all eukaryotic species found in Britain and Ireland has passed a major milestone.

Sandy Hetherington wins prestigious Leverhulme Prize

Dr Sandy Hetherington
Dr Sandy Hetherington, a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, has been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in biological sciences, in recognition of the exceptional impact and promise of his research.

Dr Amy Buck is honoured with the Max Planck-Humboldt Medal

The Max Planck-Humboldt medal 2023 has been awarded to Dr Amy Buck, Professor of RNA and Infection Biology, for her research into inter-species communication via RNA. The medal will be presented this November in Berlin. 

Sandy Hetherington wins the European Research Council Starting Grant 2023

Dr Sandy Hetherington, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant to investigate the evolution of Fibonacci spirals.

Researcher wins UKRI - Artificial Intelligence for Health award

Dr Giovanni Stracquadanio, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Synthetic Biology, and Co-director of the Edinburgh Genome Foundry, along with Prof Susan Rosser and Dr Eve Miller-Hodges, is the recipient of a UKRI - Artificial Intelligence Innovation to Accelerate Health Research Award.

Project aims to prove plastic can be fantastic for pharmaceuticals

A team of Scottish researchers is exploring a new process that could see plastic waste from industrial processes used to manufacture pharmaceuticals for neurological conditions, in what is believed to be a world first.

Frank Qasim Machin wins SULSA Early Career Researcher Prize

Dr Frank Machin, a Postdoctoral Research Associate has won the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) Early Career Researcher (ECR) prize. Dr Machin is the SULSA ECR Prize Winner 2023 in the Plant category.

Professor Eleanor Riley recognised in King’s Birthday Honours

Professor Eleanor Riley has been awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to immunology in the King’s Birthday Honours 2023.

Fossil study sheds light on famous spirals found in nature

A 3D model of a 407-million-year-old plant fossil has overturned thinking on the evolution of leaves. The research has also led to fresh insights about spectacular patterns found in plants.

Funding boost for scientists using AI to identify treatments for rare diseases

A research team developing enzyme replacement therapies for people with rare diseases has been awarded £74,600 in funding from Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise.

Stephen Wallace wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Prize

Dr Stephen Wallace, a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Biotechnology, has been named winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Norman Heatley Award.

Richard Milne wins Teacher of the Year

Dr Richard Milne has been awarded Teacher of the Year in the College of Science & Engineering at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) 2023 Teaching Awards.

Professor Sally Lowell elected to Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship

Professor Sally Lowell, Personal Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Early Development in the Institute for Stem Cell Research, has joined 58 other outstanding biomedical and health researchers elected to Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship.

Professor Loeske Kruuk elected a Fellow of the Royal Society

Professor Loeske Kruuk has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, in recognition of her exceptional contribution to science.

£9m funding boost for cell biology research

Cells
A £9 million grant from Wellcome will fund a new Discovery Research Platform that will reveal deep insights into the inner world of cells, shedding new light on diseases and antimicrobial drug resistance.

World’s largest cellular proteomic study set to unlock disease insights

A new study, conducted by an international team of researchers, has constructed the largest cellular proteomic map to date, which could pave the way to new disease insights and treatments.

School researchers awarded Chancellor’s Fellowships

Dr Aida Rodrigo Albors and Dr Richard Wheeler have been awarded one of the University of Edinburgh’s most prestigious fellowships to develop their innovative work.

British flower study reveals surprise about plants’ sex life

A study of Britain’s native flowering plants has led to new insights into the mysterious process that allows wild plants to breed across species - one of plants’ most powerful evolutionary forces.

Global health research needs gravity shift to deliver impact

A successful Africa-led global health research programme, contributing to World Health Organisation (WHO) policy development, has shared the key to its success and is calling for a shift in the centre of gravity of health research, designed to benefit developing countries.

Karen Halliday and Steven Spoel become Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Professors Karen Halliday and Steven Spoel have been named as Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh within the 2023 cohort.

Scottish communities to use Minecraft to learn about disease spread

Graphic illustration of coronavirus
A video-game based model of infectious disease spread will form the basis of a pilot public engagement project that aims to engage Scottish communities with public health research data.

School welcomes researchers from Engage Nepal with Science

Suvechhya Bastola
In February we welcomed two researchers from Engage Nepal with Science - a project initiated in the School to engage Nepalese communities with STEM - to explore new research collaborations and conduct public engagement with Scottish schools.

Common cold may have helped curb Africa’s Covid-19 death toll

coronavirus
The higher prevalence of common cold viruses in Africa may have helped the continent experience relatively lower death rates from Covid-19, a study of people in Zimbabwe suggests.