Reporter 458, 6 November 2000

In the news

The important role played by Emeritus Professor Richard Lacey in the BSE crisis was highlighted in much of the coverage of the Phillips report. The Yorkshire Post recalled that when the crisis broke in the late 80s, he was one of the first experts to suggest that a new human variant could be caused by eating contaminated beef, and in 1990 he made the first call for the slaughter of all infected herds. The Guardian cited him as one of the few academics who refused to be suppressed or misinterpreted by the government. Professor Lacey is supporting compensation plans for CJD victims, although he told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "The amounts paid out would never be enough for those struck down by the disease and the devastation their families suffered."

The University has some new and rather strange television stars, thanks to the School of Biology. Mosquitoes provided by the malaria research group featured prominently in a recent ITV documentary, The Vampire Hunter. "This was an unusual but very public source of recognition of the malaria research in Leeds which started only five years ago," said Dr Andrew Taylor-Robinson, who acted as consultant to the production.

The revamping of the student union has received local press attention. Both the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post featured news of the unionís £5million expansion. The investment will transform the University union into one of the biggest entertainment venues in the city by next summer, increasing the capacity by 40 percent.

Dr James Nobbs of the Colour Chemistry department continues to attract national press interest with his research into colour measurement. The Times Higher reported that Dr Nobbs will be addressing colleagues next month at the worldís first conference on colour emotion, which aims to determine whether the aesthetic properties of colours are measurable (Reporter 455). Dr Nobbs is one of just 300 colour chemists in the world, the paper noted.

Dr Alastair Hay, a reader in molecular epidemiology, has called for the medical profession to raise its own awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. Dr Hay was quoted in the Daily Telegraph after a woman claimed her baby suffered brain damage because a faulty gas fire poisoned her while pregnant. Dr Hay said: "It is absolutely the case that doctors donít recognise the symptoms. Our research shows that most cases only come to light because the patientís gas fire gets condemned independently."

After recent negative attention directed at Headingley, The Guardian highlighted measures the University is taking to maintain good relations with the community. The appointment of the first community liaison officer to mediate between students in private accommodation and the residents of the neighbourhood was highlighted.

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