Today's news

December 20, 2005

Come to Dundee, as seen on TV
The University of Dundee has become the darling of the advertising industry - the first time any higher education institution in the UK has found itself with such unlikely admirers. The reason for this is Dundee's success in harnessing the media to attract students, thus helping to reverse years of decline. Applications to the university have shot up by 83 per cent since 2000. Dundee's campaign consisted of quirky adverts and marketing targeted at students rather than careers advisers, promising them "serious fun" on everything from beer mats and bus shelters to youth television channels MTV and E4. The question now is whether other establishments will copy what is viewed within the media as a unique example; or if Dundee's trendy initiative will remain a leap too far for most.
The Guardian

Fresh doubt cast on Korean scientist's stem cell breakthrough
South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-Suk's groundbreaking stem cell research was cast into fresh doubt today as a former collaborator said he provided hundreds more human eggs than the professor claimed to have used, a report said. Roh Sung-il, the chairman of the board at Seoul's Mizmedi hospital, said the hospital provided more than 900 eggs from 65 people for a paper Professor Hwang published in the journal Science this year. The professor, however, claimed in the article that he used just 185 human eggs to create custom-made embryonic stem cells for 11 patients, winning international acclaim for his cloning efficiency.
The Guardian

Scientists 'find' Beagle on Mars
The remains of Britain's ill-fated Beagle 2 probe that crash-landed on Mars two years ago may have been located, mission scientists said yesterday. Analysis of images of the spacecraft's landing zone show a crater with what appears to be signs of an impact, along with objects that could correspond to the lander and its equipment. The planetary scientists who built and ran Beagle 2 believe the evidence suggests it operated more or less as planned but that it was terminally damaged by a stroke of misfortune when it hit the inside wall of a small crater. Beagle 2 was supposed to look for signs of life on the Red Planet but nothing was heard from it after it was ejected from its mothership the Mars Express orbiter, two years ago.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian

Genes breakthrough in Parkinson's research
Hundreds of malfunctioning genes have been discovered in the brains of Parkinson's patients, in a significant breakthrough that could enable doctors to stop the disease in its tracks. A team at Imperial College London and Liege University in Belgium discovered that 570 out of the 25,000 human genes were acting abnormally. Further research will now be carried out in the hope of finding new treatments. Scientists believe that by manipulating the way the genes act "we may be able to control or even stop" Parkinson's from developing further after diagnosis. The Parkinson's Disease Society, which funded the research, said the cause of the condition was unknown and it would continue to pay for such work in the hope of finding the answer.
The Scotsman

US research 'endangered Amazon villagers'
Health officials in Brazil have launched an investigation after claims that at least 10 impoverished Brazilians from an Amazon village may have contracted malaria while being used as human "guinea pigs" during a study by an American university. The $1 million (£570,000) research project, funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by the University of Florida, was being carried out in three villages on the Matapi river in the northern state of Amapa. It intended to study feeding patterns among mosquitoes over a four-year period in order to help control malaria outbreaks.
The Guardian

Diesel link to blood-clot risk
Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes may lead to an increased chance of blood clots, according to researchers at Edinburgh University. An investigation into the link between air pollution and heart disease has found exposure to diesel exhaust fumes may disrupt normal blood vessel and clotting activity. Researchers found that exposure to diesel exhaust for just one hour during exercise caused a significant reduction in the natural ability of blood vessels to expand.
The Scotsman

Mammoth plan for giant comeback
The first serious possibility that the woolly mammoth, or something like it, could walk on Earth again was raised yesterday by an international team of scientists. A portion of the genetic code of the mammoth has been reconstructed and, to the surprise of scientists, the team that carried out the feat believes that it will be possible to decode the entire genetic make-up. The tusked beast stood 12-feet tall, weighed up to seven tons and had a shaggy dark brown coat that hung from its belly. DNA was extracted from a well-preserved ,000-year-old specimen found in the Siberian permafrost. So far, about 30 million "letters" of the genetic code have been read, albeit in small pieces, representing around one percent of the entire code.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times

Letter
Bill Rammell says that foreign student numbers are not declining.
The Guardian

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments