The early days and weeks following conception are critical to human life. During this period an embryo goes from being a tiny ball of identical cells to a complex array of specialised cells and structures, ready to develop into the organs that will support life.
The formation of the spinal cord and brain occurs during the first 28 days of pregnancy as a flattened sheet of cells curls up to form a cylinder called the neural tube. From this tube the brain begins to develop at one end, and at the other, the spinal cord forms. In one or two of every 1000 pregnancies this formation doesn’t happen properly, and produces a neural tube defect (NTD).
Citizen science describes projects whereby members of the public work with researchers to provide useful and interesting scientific data. In the last five years or so, the approach has seen a big growth in all sorts of areas of science.
On 7th March 2018, we held our second Athena SWAN Biosciences Best Practice Workshop, timed to lead in with International Women’s day on 8th March.
If you weren’t able to attend on the day, footage of parts of the event are able to watch over on the RSB YouTube channel.
The Athena SWAN Charter was established to advance the representation of women in STEM and now offers awards to higher education institutes to recognise their commitment to progress on gender equality more broadly. It is run by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), which works to support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education institutions in the UK.
Thanks to the generous support of the Royal Society of Biology, I was able to attend the 19th International Botanical Congress (IBC) in Shenzhen, China, this July.
Held every six years, the IBC is the largest regular gathering of plant scientists, and this year was no different, with a record 7,000 delegates in attendance.
Ecuador is declared the ‘Land of Orchids’, and for good reason. This small diverse country in South America has over 4,200 species of orchids owing to the vast number of climatic conditions provided by different habitats in the coastal regions, the Andes and the Amazon basin.
Ecuador is therefore the perfect place to host the 22nd World Orchid Conference, which has run triennially since 1954. For this reason, with the kind support of the Royal Society of Biology from their early career travel grant, I found myself in Guayaquil, Ecuador in early November 2017.
For our last Policy Lunchbox, we were joined by Professor Louise Archer, the Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education at the UCL Institute of Education.
Louise’s talk focused on the Aspires2 longitudinal study and the Enterprising Science research and development project. Both projects seek to understand what shapes aspirations, engagement and participation in young people.
Antimicrobial resistance has been identified as one of the greatest threats to public health, with the potential to disrupt routine medical procedures and diminish our ability to treat infectious disease.
Today, non-communicable diseases such as dementia and heart disease are generally the leading cause of death in more economically developed countries.
Genome editing is at the forefront of modern medicine, and has the potential to improve the health of millions of people worldwide; genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s could in theory become a thing of the past.
The genome is the complete set of an organism’s DNA, containing all of the information that cells need to be able to build and maintain the living organism. The genome is the blueprint for our characteristics – genes that code for eye and hair colour and our other features are located in the genome.
Dr. Ian Turner, our 2017 HE Bioscience Teacher of the Year, is a National Teaching Fellow based at the University of Derby. He is currently Head of Forensic Science but his main teaching areas are genetics and science communication.
Nominations for the 2018 HE Bioscience Teacher of the Year award are now open.
Pantomime as an entertainment and art form originates in Greece and came to fashion in the ancient theatres of Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Pantomime has been part of English entertainment since the 18th century Harliquinade and the traditional fairy tale pantomimes of the 19th Century.