Reporter 415, 23 February 1998

In the news

Introducing a new column covering some of the stories about Leeds in local and national media.

Dolly the cloned sheep has hit the headlines again, prompted by coverage in the Reporter. The Daily Telegraph and Yorkshire Post were among those covering the preparation and dyeing of Dolly’s fleece by the School of Textile Industries. The fleece will be knitted into a woolly jumper and put on show at the Science Museum. Research fellow Barry Greenwood told the press: “There have been one or two sleepless nights, but now we know we are on the right route.”

Research on chemical weapons by Dr Alastair Hay of the University’s Division of Clinical Sciences was featured in both The Times and The Independent and on Channel 4 News. Dr Hay was quoted as saying that, in US experiments on the type of nerve gas stockpiled in Iraq, soldiers became so confused that they talked to trees and mistook friends for enemies.

The BBC followed up research by biologist Dr Andrew Davis, published in Nature and previously featured in the Reporter. His findings suggest that global warming will have a far more complicated effect on the distribution of plants and animals than was previously assumed. Dr Davis pointed out that species will not simply move north en bloc as the world warms, because different species will interact with each other to produce unpredictable results.

Under the headline ‘Fat is back on the menu’, the Daily Express reported the results of a study which found that high-fat diets did not increase the risk of breast cancer. Around 1,600 women were questioned for the report, written by Dr Janet Cade, a lecturer at the Nuffield Institute for Health.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times noted that researchers at the University had developed a technique for stabilising enzymes and other proteins that had been licensed to the Swedish biotechnology company Amersham Pharmacia Biotech.

It is not just on the news pages that the University’s work has been featured. Research by Dr Bill Gerrard of the Business School found its way onto the Sunday People sports pages, under the headline ‘Shearer’s really worth £19m’. Dr Gerrard studied over 2,000 football transfers, and compared players’ fees with certain performance indicators to work out their true value. Aimed at City investors, the research is also likely to be valued by the managers of Fantasy Football teams everywhere.

Channel 5 News featured Prince of Wales award winner Dr Deborah Withington, whose two-tone siren is being developed as a personal alarm for fire-fighters. The Sound Alert team has secured a government grant of £45,000 to fund the project.

Finally, one of the many University students to grace the media recently was second-year Nick Levy. The computer systems student told the Mail On Sunday why he liked using the cashless Visa card currently being pioneered in Leeds: “Small change just sat around at home. Now I know that I am not wasting a penny, which is important when you are a student.”

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