Were Richard's eyes brown or blue?

Scientists at the University of Leicester plan to map Richard III's entire genome to reveal more personal details about him.

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Parkinson's disease: University of Leicester hails 'scientific breakthrough'

Scientists at the University of Leicester are hailing what they are calling "an amazing new advance" in the battle against Parkinson's disease.

By experimenting on fruit flies, they have discovered that folic acid can prevent the disease developing.

A treatment for the incurable condition is still a long way off.

But Dr. Miguel Martins from the Medical Research Council believes it is a big step forward.


Mars Curiosity Rover reveals more signs of life

Lake graphic on Mars Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A robot designed by a team including scientists from Leicester University has found that habitable conditions on Mars lasted longer than previously thought.

It's now thought that the planet had enough fresh water to generate minerals, and possibly support life more recently than previously estimated.

The rover Credit: Nasa/DPA/Press Association Images

Further rock studies should reveal more information. Curiosity is also measuring the radiation levels astronauts would have to deal with on any human missions to Mars.

University of Leicester wins prize for Richard III work

The University of Leicester has won an international award for its work on Richard III Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive

The University of Leicester has won an international prize for its media and communications work around the archaeological work that led to the discovery of Richard III.

Leicester won the Gold Award in the Science and Education category at the European Excellence Awards 2013 in Munich.

The organisers said:

"The impact of education and the discoveries of science have a major impact on how we view, and relate to, the world. This category rewards the cream of communications from the science and education industries."

After it was confirmed that the body found under the council car park was indeed the lost king the news knocked both the Superbowl and Beyoncé off the number one spot on Twitter.

Car-park King dig earns Leicester Uni top prize

The University of Leicester has won a Times Higher Education Award for the seventh successive year.

Their discovery of King Richard III under a Leicester city-centre car park, has earned them the award for 'Research Project of the Year', recognising innovative studies that have significant academic impact and capture public imagination.

Using new technology, a facial reconstruction was created from King Richard's remains... Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The annual awards celebrate the achievements of higher education institutions in the UK and so Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Kevin Sch?rer, at the University of Leicester, said:

"This award is fantastic recognition of the world class research and expertise at the University of Leicester...

...The astonishing inter-disciplinary detective work that led to the discovery and identification of King Richard III demonstrates the quality of expertise developed by the University."

The dig-site where the remains of King Richard III were found... Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Queen's Award for Leicester University's royal discovery

The University of Leicester has received the Queen's Anniversary Prize for its work on the discovery of Richard III. The team from the University was praised for their long record of exceptional research, commercial archaeology and public engagement.

The prestigious biennial awards are part of the UK’s national honours system and are the highest form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution.

This is the third time in two decades that the University of Leicester has won the prize.

The remains of Richard III were discovered by archaeologists from Leicester University Credit: Rui Vieira/PA


Scientist explains C Diff breakthrough developments

Scientists at the University of Leicester say they have made a breakthrough in treating the hospital superbug C Diff.

They have identified bacteria-busting viruses which destroy strains of the superbug. Researchers now hope to produce virus-loaded capsules for patients exposed to C Diff.

Dr Martha Clokie from the university explains that the research is not quite ready yet, but progress is being made.

Leicester University applauded for 'superbug' treatment

The President of an American biosciences company has applauded the University of Leicester for its work into ground-breaking identification of new treatment for infectious hospital bugs.

Phil Young, from AmpliPhi Biosciences Corporation, also commented on his excitement at working with Dr Martha Clokie, the lead scientist at the university.

We are very excited about this partnership with Dr Clokie and the University of Leicester. Phage-based therapy has the potential to revolutionise the way C diff infections are treated in the clinic, in compliance with the regulatory frameworks already in place. We firmly believe that this collaboration may result in a treatment that could benefit patients, clinicians and health-care organisations alike.

– Phil Young, CEO and President of AmpliPhi Biosciences Corporation

Goal is to create pill which kills superbug

The lead scientist in research to identify viruses that can combat an infectious bug in hospitals has said the current goal for the project is to create a pill or capsule, to deliver the antibiotic alternative directly into patients.

Dr Martha Clokie from the University of Leicester has been part of research into the viruses that fight against suberbug, Clostridium difficile.

She believes capsules containing the bacteriophages would be the best way to attack the illness.

C diff bacteria primarily affect our digestive system… C diff infections can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration. Collectively, these symptoms can prove life-threatening, particularly in elderly patients.

(Traditional antibiotics)... are routinely used to treat C diff infections in the UK, but resistance to both is rapidly increasing. What is worse, in addition to killing the C diff bacteria, these antibiotics also destroy the 'good' gut bacteria, in turn increasing the potential for relapse or new infections. Consequently, C diff infections pose a substantial healthcare burden for the NHS and a significant drain on its resources.

The key advantage of using phages over antibiotics lies in their specificity. A phage will infect and kill only a specific strain/species of bacteria.

– Dr Martha Clokie, University of Leicester

Leicester university plays key role in 'superbug' treatment

The University of Leicester has played a key role in the identification of new viruses, which could be used to treat a hospital superbug.

The antibiotic alternative could be used to cleanse hospitals of Clostridium difficile, or ‘C diff’.

The new superbug treatment could be in the form of capsules Credit: Alice Mikyna/DPA/Press Association Images

Scientists at the university have isolated a family of the viruses that target bacteria (bacteriophages), which are specifically geared towards destroying ‘C diff’ strains.

Laboratory tests have shown that these “phages” are effective against 90% of bugs responsible for hospital infections.

The work has been mainly funded by the Medical Research Council, and has been done alongside scientists from the University of Glasgow and US company AmpliPhi Biosciences Corporation.

So far, around 40 viruses targeting ‘C diff‘ strains have been identified, which are the subject of a patent by the University of Leicester.

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