Today's news

February 1, 2006

Greenfield to be made Heriot-Watt chancellor
Lady Greenfield, the first woman to become director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, is to be installed as the new chancellor of Heriot-Watt University tomorrow. The professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford said she was "delighted" to have been appointed. The principal of Heriot-Watt, John Archer, said: "We are very pleased that she has agreed to represent the university as chancellor and are looking forward to working with her in the years ahead. He added: "Baroness Greenfield is widely respected for her scientific achievements and her work in promoting education and the public understanding of science."
The Guardian

Students fight back for animal research
Students at Oxford University angered by threats, disruption and demonstrations against the construction of a £20 million animal-testing facility are hitting back with pro- research protests. Assaults by animal rights extremists are soaring and high numbers of targeted organisations continue to capitulate to their demands, according to figures released yesterday by the pharmaceutical industry. Even though the overall number of attacks halved last year from 177 to 85, according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, they have become increasingly violent. Attacks involving incendiary devices rose from one in 2004 to eight last year and assaults that injured people increased from none two years ago to six in 2005.
The Times

Ambitious SCS loosens ties to Edinburgh Stem Institute
Stem Cell Sciences (SCS), the AIM-listed Edinburgh research company, signed a new agreement yesterday with the University of Edinburgh's pioneering Institute of Stem Cell Research which will see a more specific flow of research in future to SCS, and free-up both sides to find other commercial partners. Now an international operation with subsidiaries in Edinburgh, Melbourne and Kobe in Japan, SCS spun out from the university in 1994 to commercialise the work of Dr Peter Mountford and Professor Austin Smith. Mountford returned to Australia, but in 2003 the firm relocated the international headquarters from Melbourne to Edinburgh.
The Scotsman

Flush students to cruise towards degrees
The traditional student study year abroad is set to take a new twist with the launch of the Scholar Ship - the first study-at-sea programme for undergraduates and postgraduates. From January 2007, students from across the world can spend a semester studying on board a specially equipped cruise ship that will depart from Athens and stop off in eight countries on four continents, including Africa and South America. Students from six universities in Australia, China, Morocco, Mexico and Ghana will disembark after their 16-week trip with credits, awarded by Macquarie University in Sydney, towards their degrees .
The Guardian

Why Australia's multicoloured reef coral is now a bleach blond
Visitors to the Great Barrier Reef may soon be confronted with a blanched wasteland as a rapid rise in sea temperatures threatens to bleach thousands of miles of corals, scientists gave warning yesterday. Corals at the southern end of Australia’s barrier reef, the longest in the world, have already been bleached, prompting fears that the full 1,245-mile reef, home to 400 species of coral, may be affected. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a marine biologist at the University of Queensland, said that coral bleaching around the Keppel islands in the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef suggests the entire reef risks damage.
The Times

Low intelligence link to poor health, says study
Low intelligence can contribute to poor health, a Scottish study has found. Experts have already linked deprivation to ill-health, but few studies have confirmed the apparent link between low IQ and health inequalities. Now researchers at Glasgow and Edinburgh University have found IQ may also "contribute" to the health gap between rich and poor. Over 17 years, the Medical Research Centre study looked at the effect of IQ on the health of 1,347 men and women aged 56 in 1987 living in Glasgow.
The Scotsman

DNA damage from eating red meat linked to cancer
Eating large quantities of red meat can increase your risk of bowel cancer by producing substances in the gut that damage DNA, a study reveals today. A comparison of cells from the lining of the colon shows that people who eat a diet high in high red meat have a "significant" increase in levels of DNA damage compared with vegetarians. This damage can increase the risk of developing cancer, say researchers at the Medical Research Council's Dunn human nutrition unit in Cambridge.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

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