Campus round-up

August 25, 2011

University of Liverpool

Anger management

Getting angry at work may not usually be the route to a promotion, but research suggests that in one industry it is a vital part of getting the job done. The findings, by academics at the University of Liverpool, relate to the construction industry, and also indicate that project managers in the sector are more likely to use anger as a professional tool when liaising with contractors than with architects. Dirk Lindebaum of the university's School of Management said: "The construction industry is one of the most male-dominated and aggressive industries in the UK, which has implications in the nature of behaviour displayed and the nature of power structures."

University of Dundee

The face of things to come

A member of the Turkish police has been trained in facial reconstruction in a bid to help find some of the 1,700 children currently missing in the country. Ozgur Bulut, a member of the Turkish Forensic Police Laboratory, completed a thesis on forensic age progression and regression as part of an MSc in forensic arts at the University of Dundee. Mr Bulut has now established the Forensic Art and Anthropological Examination Unit in Ankara, which will attempt to identify children from remains or reconstruct what they might look like years after abduction.

University of Ulster

Accounting for fraud

A new forensic accounting module will teach students how to uncover economic crime. The University of Ulster's Business School, along with accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, will offer the course to students studying accountancy and accountancy with law from September 2011. Judith Wylie, lecturer in forensic accounting at Ulster, said: "The involvement of PwC's forensic services team will provide practical experience in this emerging area of accounting practice and provide an insight into specialist areas such as bribery and corruption, cybercrime and computer forensics."

Strathclyde/Edinburgh/Liverpool John Moores

One at a time

Young people with autism may find it difficult to multitask because they complete tasks in the order they are given them, research suggests. Pupils on the autistic spectrum were given tasks in a virtual environment, such as making a hot drink, to complete within a time limit. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde, the University of Edinburgh and Liverpool John Moores University found that the study participants completed the tasks in the order they were given, even though multitasking could have saved them time.

Queen Mary, University of London

The heart of the matter

Oestrogen could help protect women from heart disease by keeping the body's immune system in check. Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have shown that the female sex hormone works on white blood cells to stop them from sticking to the insides of blood vessels, a process that can lead to dangerous blockages. The results could explain why cardiovascular disease rates tend to be higher in men and why they soar in women after the menopause.

Bournemouth University

Not all child's play

The popular holiday destination of Dorset is not merely a family affair, a study has suggested. A team from Bournemouth University found that most visitors to the area are adult couples, despite the traditional image of beaches full of children, and that attractions were not catering for the adult market. Liam Toms, manager of the university's Creative Enterprise Bureau, said: "While the statistics remind us that there is still a large amount of families choosing to holiday in Dorset, they're not the only visitors to the county."

University of Bristol

Prevention strategy

A team of neuroscientists has made a discovery that could be used to develop treatments to protect speech and movement in stroke victims. Researchers at the University of Bristol identified a protection mechanism in some of the brain's nerve cells during a stroke. Jack Mellor, senior lecturer in the School of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: "We hope that if we can understand why some nerve cells are resistant to stroke damage we may be able to develop strategies to protect those cells that are sensitive."

Lancaster University

Back to the seaweed?

Current models used to forecast climate change have been described as flawed and inaccurate, damaging public confidence in climate change science. Researchers at Lancaster University claim that projections based on current forecasting methods involving complex models are no better than forecasts produced by simpler statistical methods. The study, by Robert Fildes and Nikolaos Kourentzes of the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting, was aimed at improving the accuracy of climate predictions for 10 and 20 years ahead.

University College London

Cells get a wake-up call

Older people could be offered an immune system boost to fight off disease, thanks to pioneering research. Scientists at University College London have discovered a mechanism that controls ageing in white blood cells, which could be deactivated when someone falls sick. Arne Akbar, who led the work, said: "Our immune systems get progressively weaker as we age because each time we recover from an infection a proportion of our white blood cells become deactivated. While we wouldn't want to reactivate these cells permanently, we have an idea now of how to wake them from their slumber temporarily, just to give the immune system a little boost."

University of East London

Sporting chances

A second Olympic team has signed a deal with a London institution to use its facilities during the 2012 Games. Team Singapore will use the University of East London for its medical centre and athletes lounge, while support staff will also be housed at the Stratford campus. Last year Team USA signed an agreement to use the university's new SportsDock facility in Docklands during the games as its sport performance and operational base. Team USA will also set up sports science, medicine and media centres at the £21 million facility, which is due to open in spring 2012.

University of Birmingham

Class A drug's anti-cancer role

A modified form of the drug ecstasy may have a role in fighting cancer. Academics at the University of Birmingham have published research in the journal Investigational New Drugs outlining how a form of MDMA can boost the ability to attack and destroy cancerous cells by a factor of 100. John Gordon, lead author, said the key was to find compounds that are attracted to the lipids that make up cell walls. "This would make them more 'soapy' so they would end up getting into the cancer cells more easily and possibly even start dissolving them."

University of Manchester

Eye contact trumps Twitter

Online campaigning remains relatively insignificant in UK election campaigns. A survey of almost 2,000 people by University of Manchester researchers found that less than one-fifth had visited official campaign websites during the 2010 general election, while face-to-face meetings remained the preferred form of contact with politicians. Rachel Gibson, who led the research, said: "For over a decade, commentators have heralded the arrival of the internet election, but we can't say that has yet happened beyond attention to news online."

University of Sheffield

Harnessing hot air

Strategies to combat the greenhouse effect should treat carbon dioxide as a resource as well as a waste product, scientists have suggested. A study led by researchers from the University of Sheffield concludes that so-called carbon dioxide utilisation could see the gas replace fossil fuels as an ingredient in commercially viable products such as bio-oils, chemicals, fertilisers and fuels. However, the report by the Centre for Low Carbon Futures says that more investment is needed to develop the necessary technology.

Netting the evidence

Basketball coaching and performance will be boosted by a new research centre. The University of Worcester is to become the UK partner in the European Centre for Basketball Research, established by the sport's European governing body, FIBA. There will be a bi-annual basketball research conference, a regular online journal and a research resource. Mick Donovan, head of the university's Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, said the centre will "transform the development and delivery of world-class basketball research with a clear aim to enhance all aspects of coaching and performance".

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