Studying in autumn 2020 during coronavirus


Research that makes a difference to our world

We help to improve flood warning systems through our ambitious work. We make sure local communities have a say in how their environment is managed. And we generate new ways of seeing and understanding our planet itself.

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Using enzymes to clean up the environment

Our research has discovered a new environmentally friendly method to improve the decontamination process and reduce pollution.

Dr Diane Purchase, Professor of Environmental Biotechnology, looks at ways to remove toxic substances and clean up contaminated land. Her research team has isolated a specific organism that could destroy the infectivity of infectious protein particles that are resistant to conventional sterilisation and decontamination procedures.

Potential uses for decontamination across industries

This discovery could reduce our reliance on traditional methods, like incineration, thermal and alkaline breakdown, that are potentially hazardous and polluting to the environment. Our results suggest many other potential uses beyond land, like the decontamination of high-cost surgical instruments so that they can be re-used. This sustainable approach minimises waste and there is extra income from the resulting by-product too.

Professor Diane Purchase and her research

Professor Diane Purchase is a Professor of Environmental Biotechnology. She is the Honorary Secretary of the Committee of the Heads of Environmental Sciences in the UK and a Fellow of the Institution of Environmental Sciences. She has keen interest on the role of biotechnology in pollution control and bioremediation.

Comparing gut microorganisms in human babies and adults

Our Biomedical Sciences Research team has explored factors that affect the level of microorganisms in the gut. There are certain types of bacteria that are linked with beneficial effects on human health, however there are lots of different factors that adversely affect population levels of the bacteria.

Using scientific findings to promote a healthy lifestyle

Our research group measured the level of bifidobacteria in gut microbiota in adults and babies to find out more about what can change the level of this important microorganism in the gut.

The group concluded that a combination of age, dietary fibre intake, BMI, and smoking influenced the levels of bifidobacteria in adults, while in babies the levels were influenced by age and consumption of breast or bottle milk.

Gut microorganisms research team

The research team

Dr Azra Pachenari is a senior lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences.

Dr Beata Burczynska is a senior lecturer in Biomedical Science.

Shadi Khonsari is a senior Graduate Academic Assistant in the Department of Natural Sciences.

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