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Latest Research News

Bangor University recognised for world-leading research

Bangor University’s research has a major impact around the world according to a national assessment of research quality (REF) published today.

Publication date: 18 December 2014

British gardeners can now grow really tasty, outdoor-grown tomatoes

From next year, British gardeners will be able to buy blight- resistant tomato plants that will grow outside. Developed in conjunction with Bangor University, the tomatoes are far better than any previously available.

Publication date: 16 December 2014

New understanding of venom could open door to more effective antivenoms

New research, which disproves the theory that venom evolved just once in reptiles, could also lead to new medical treatments to counteract snakebite.

Publication date: 15 December 2014

Trawling makes for skinny flatfish

Trawling the seabed doesn’t just remove some of the fishes living there; it also makes some of the survivors thinner and less healthy by forcing them to use more energy finding less nutritious food.

That’s the conclusion of a new paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, based on the work Dr Andrew Frederick Johnson undertook while studying for his PhD at Bangor University. “We already knew that some species of bottom-dwelling fish in trawled areas were skinnier than those elsewhere, based on earlier work by Dr Jan Geert Hiddink (2011, Journal of Applied Ecology), but until now it was assumed this was because they couldn’t find enough food and went hungry”.

Publication date: 11 December 2014

Masculine features support ‘extreme male brain’ theory of autism spectrum disorder

Recent research from Bangor University has revealed a new spin to a long-standing theory of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

The ‘extreme male brain’ theory proposed by Simon Baron-Cohen, speculates that ASD is a consequence of elevated pre-natal testosterone levels. In a study recently published in the journal, Clinical Psychological Science, Naomi Scott and colleagues at Bangor University’s School of Psychology investigated the possible implications this has for a physical appearance associated with ASD.

Publication date: 10 December 2014

Bangor University brings significant European research funding to north Wales

Research funding worth nearing £10 million has been levied by Bangor University researchers from the European Union research funding programme, and the University expects to improve on this results in the new European research and innovation programme.

Forty-two major pan-European research projects led by Bangor University academics were successfully funded, against stiff competition in FP7, the 7th Research Framework Programme of the European Commission, which ran from 2007 to 2013.

Publication date: 10 December 2014

UK on verge of steep lung disease rise in young adults - due to heavy spliff smoking?

The UK needs to be prepared for a steep rise in the number of young  adults affected by a severe form of lung disease due to their regular cannabis and tobacco use - lung specialists will tell the British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting on Wednesday 3rd December.

Publication date: 10 December 2014

Sea urchins from Antarctica show adaptation to ocean acidification

A study of sea urchins from the Antarctic Peninsula has revealed an ability to adapt to changing conditions such as rising sea temperature and acidification. Writing in the Journal of Animal Ecology the authors set out to answer important and fundamental questions on how life in the ocean will respond to projected changes in the coming decades.

Despite evidence of increasing acidification of the world’s oceans, questions remain over whether marine species will be able to adapt to these changing conditions. This latest study, led by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and Bangor University, is one of the longest ever conducted.

Publication date: 9 December 2014

Bilingualism and ageing

Many older people keep mentally active and enjoy using ‘brain training’ puzzles and games for their leisure, however the science on their efficacy is as yet partial and inconclusive.

Another area which is as yet, still not fully understood and has also resulted in conflicting results, is whether being bilingual offers a protective factor in age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.   

A small-scale study of bilingual Welsh/English speakers funded by the Economic & Social Research Council, was led by Prof Linda Clare of Bangor University’s School of Psychology. At the outset of the research, there was no evidence available about the effects of bilingualism for older Welsh speakers. The now completed study has found no evidence for a significant delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in Welsh/English bilinguals. This finding was comparable to that in Montreal, Canada where no bilingual advantage was found in non-immigrant bilinguals.

Publication date: 8 December 2014

Are you exercising enough to make you sick?

Should you go harder or go longer?

Marathon and endurance races are increasingly popular, as is a new thirst for intense exercise, such as in ‘spike’ or ‘buzz’ intensity training methods and classes. But which is better for you? Or, to put it another way, which will do least damage to your immune system?

New research by Bangor University challenges the current thinking that longer, less strenuous workouts are less harmful to the immune system.

Publication date: 4 December 2014

Learning the ‘rhythm’ of a language helps language learners become fluent

As Wales faces a decline in the number of Welsh speakers, it’s even more important that Welsh learners make the transition from second language learners to become fluent Welsh speakers.

One identified obstacle to ‘fluency’ is Welsh learner’s difficulty in replicating the sound of Welsh- not only the ‘ll’ ‘ch’ and other sounds unfamiliar to the English ear, but also the stress and rhythm of the language, which is different to that of English, and other languages.

Publication date: 2 December 2014

How do Welsh universities advance the world around us?

Today marks the launch of a new portal – www.researchwales.ac.uk – that will showcase some of the shining examples of how Welsh universities advance the world around us.   Among the research being showcased are excellent examples of research work by Bangor University’s academics, these include the following examples.

Publication date: 2 December 2014

Mixing waters up in the Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean encircles Antarctica and plays a key role in controlling the global climate. It is here that ocean currents return from the abyss to the surface, closing the global ocean overturning circulation. This circulation drives the poleward transport of heat, which is critical to the relatively mild weather here in the UK.

New research by Bangor University and the National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, has for the first time identified a new process that contributes to this upwelling of abyssal water, a key component of the global overturning circulation.

Publication date: 1 December 2014

Health Services & Implementation Research Professor appointed Director of NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research Programme

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, of Bangor University has been appointed director of the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the largest funding body for applied health research in the UK. Prof Rycroft Malone follows Professor Ray Fitzpatrick when he steps down from his role leading the HS&DR Programme at the end of October 2015.

Publication date: 26 November 2014

Rocky platforms dissipating wave energy – a new option for coastal defence?

Communities across Wales are coming to terms with the very real threat of coastal flooding as the Welsh Government announces that as many as 48 areas have been identified where coastal defences will not be maintained in the long term.

With that stark reality in mind, scientists in Wales are contributing their expertise to obtain a clearer picture of the waves and storm surges hitting our coasts, so that they can gain a greater understand of the energy within waves and how a wave’s power can be dissipated.

Publication date: 25 November 2014

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