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Research highlights from BBSRC

22 July 2010

The latest issue of BBSRC Business, the quarterly magazine from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), is available to view at: (PDF 5.40MB)

The magazine offers an insight into what's going on in BBSRC-funded science and is good for keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in bioscience and spotting stories for the future.

Articles in the summer edition include:

Uncovering the mechanism used by bacteria to become resistant to vancomycin

An international team of scientists have uncovered how bacteria sense vancomycin, the antibiotic used as a last resort to treat serious and life threatening conditions. Vancomycin resistance is becoming a more serious problem and strains of vancomycin resistant MRSA emerged in 2002. The team hope that by uncovering this mechanism will pave the way for new antibiotics that bacteria aren't able to detect.

Contact Professor Mark Buttner, Tel: 1603 450759, Email:

Learning the secret of tissue regeneration from worms

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have discovered a new genetic mechanism that controls the planarian worm's ability to re-grow body parts. The team have identified that a gene called Smed-prep is essential for correctly regenerating a worm's head and brain, which it is able to do even when only a tiny section remains. Dr Aziz Aboobaker who led the research hopes that understanding the process of regeneration in planarian worms will open the door to new technologies in human regenerative medicine.

Contact Dr Aziz Aboobaker, Tel: 0115 8230378, Email:

Genotyping technologies help keep UK barley market competitive

By exploiting technology originally used in human genome studies, a public-private partnership programme is changing the way in which commercial barley breeding is being conducted. To maintain and increase competitiveness in these sectors improved barley varieties that continually outperform their predecessors are vital which is why the Association Genetics of UK Elite Barley (AGOUEB) project was developed and funded by BBSRC, Defra and the Scottish Government through the Sustainable Arable LINK programme. The project brought together a consortium of breeders and geneticists, together with representatives from the barley supply chain, to develop and utilise powerful genotyping technologies in a new 'association mapping' approach to genetic analyses.

Contact Professor Robbie Waugh, Tel: 01382 562731, Email:


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.


Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299