Share this page:
Other services (opens in new window)
Sets a cookie

Athlete's Foot, spin-outs and beating pig disease - latest BBSRC research news

15 April 2008

The following stories feature in the latest issue of BBSRC Business, the quarterly research highlights magazine from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Plant scientists working on new cure for Athlete's Foot

A green-fingered approach is being taken by scientists to help the millions of people who suffer the discomfort of itchy, sore feet. With funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and US skin care pharmaceutical company Stiefel Laboratories, plant scientists are looking for molecular targets for new treatments for common fungal conditions such as Athlete’s Foot and Ringworm. The organisms responsible for causing Athlete’s Foot are Dermatophytes, literally meaning ‘skin plants’. Dermatophyte fungi thrive in warm moist conditions and grow on the surface of the skin and then invade the superficial layers of the skin. Scientists from the University of Oxford are looking at what controls their growth and adhesion to the skin.
(Page 6)

Professor Sarah Gurr, University of Oxford, Tel: 01865 275813, e-mail:

Potent mix leads to successful spin-out company

While many dream of having a Eureka moment that may change their lives, most are left searching for that elusive idea. However, for BBSRC-funded researcher, Dr Adam Walker, this was not the case. With the support of his supervisor and University he turned discoveries from a series of experiments into a successful spin-out company - Bioniqs Ltd. The company is a striking example of how curiosity driven research in an entrepreneurial environment can generate unexpected commercial opportunities, including increased availability of anti-malarial drugs and more environmentally friendly solvents.
(Page 8)

Dr Adam Walker, Bioniqs Ltd, Tel: 01904 561538, email:

Scientists, vets and farmers work to beat pig disease

A virus that can cause economic devastation for pig farmers, welfare issues for animals and drive up the price of pork and bacon for consumers is being tackled by scientists, vets and the farming industry working together. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) first emerged around 20 years ago and now costs the US pig industry alone over $600M a year. Now a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded workshop, led by The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, is bringing together scientists and stakeholders to review and promote an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to beating the disease.
(Page 11)

Dr Tahar Ait-Ali, Roslin Institute, Tel: 0131 527 4200, email:


Notes to editors

These stories all appear in the April 2008 issue of BBSRC Business. For hardcopies or further information, please contact the BBRSC Media Office.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382