In the news
Dr Raphael Hallett (School of History) was interviewed on Radio 4’s Sunday as part of the BBC’s 100 objects that have changed the world’ series. He was asked to give expert advice on a curious item found buried into the walls of a Northamptonshire cottage; an early 17th century ‘witch pot’, containing fragments of family clothing and cat’s bones. “Drawing on my research into the topic, I was able to identify the symbolic and magical function of the pot and relate it to several witch trials that were happening at the time,” said Dr Hallett.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur was interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme about the Russell Group’s submission to Lord Browne’s independent review of the student funding system. He talked specifically about the potential £1bn deficit faced by higher education and ways in which this could be tackled. He also appeared on the BBC Six O’Clock News and 10 O’Clock News discussing tuition fees.
Research led by Professor David Beech (Faculty of Biological Sciences) into the steroid prognenolone suplhate featured in the Yorkshire Post. The research team discovered that the steroid can trigger a defence mechanism that limits the production of proteins that drive the early stages of heart disease. “The effect that we have seen is really quite exciting and also unexpected,” said Professor Beech.
The Independent featured research produced by the University and the Finnish Meteorological Institute examining the limitations of a scheme to ‘whiten’ the clouds over the world’s oceans so that they reflect some of the sun’s powerful rays may fail to delay global warming. The study, authored by Professor Ken Carslaw (School of Earth and Environment), found that injecting sea spray into the atmosphere to generate brighter clouds may actually hinder natural cloud formation in some areas.
An article by Graham Caddock (Leeds University Business School) about the importance of executive skills featured in the Times of India. He said that qualities such as adaptability and trustworthiness, together with cross-cultural understanding and communication and listening skills, were an important area to focus on in the future: “Though hard skills are important, the ability to understand people – globally and within one’s own organisation – is equally important.”
A profile of Dr Carmel Toomes (Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine) appeared in the free commuter magazine Stylist. The article featured four British women scientists whose work is of international importance. “My specialist field is in inherited human blindness,” says Dr Toomes in the article. “This year my team and I discovered the TSPAN12 gene which is faulty in patients with FEVR (Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy), a condition which affects the development of the eye. While many sufferers are registered blind or visually impaired, other family members may carry the faulty gene without showing symptoms. If you screen patients for this defective gene you can treat patients before they start to lose their sight.”
Analysis by health economists into an NHS ‘risk sharing’ drug pilot scheme was covered by the media, including the Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Daily Mail and Reuters. Professor Christopher McCabe (Academic Unit of Health Economics) was quoted extensively and also appeared on Radio 4’s Today programme.
The high incidence of birth deformities in the Iraqi town of Fallujah was examined by America’s CNN, and included an interview with Professor of Environmental Toxicology Alastair Hay (School of Medicine). He said the World Health Organization needed to continue its current investigation, and the evidence used to determine whether or not there was any link with the use of chemical agents.
Following the election, Professor Kevin Theakston (School of Politics and International Studies) took part in a live interview for Sky News talking about what MPs do when they lose their seats in Parliament. He was joined by ex-MPs Edwina Currie, Jacqui Smith and Lembit Opik. Professor Theakston was also quoted extensively in the world’s media after being interviewed about his book, After Number 10: Former Prime Ministers in British Politics and the future for Gordon Brown, by international news agency Agence France- Presse (AFP).
The Garden, a high-profile horticultural publication, featured news of a study being run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the University into children’s health and gardening. As part of the RHS’s Campaign for School Gardening, the two-year project will assess the diet of pupils in 74 London schools, all of which have a school garden.
“On average, children eat two-and-a-half portions of fruit or vegetables each day,” said Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health Janet Cade, who is leading the study. “This falls well below Government recommendations of five a day and we want to get closer to this.”
Further details of press coverage can be found at http://mediacuttings.leeds.ac.uk/index.aspx