Congratulations to Prof Seth Grant (Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences) and his research group, who have been awarded a grant of £1.3m by the Wellcome Trust to map the human brain. The project is built upon their previous work creating another such map - called a synaptome - for the mouse brain. The researchers hope to map the trillions of connections between brain cells, potentially revealing new insights into the foundations of behaviour and brain disease.
Dr Timothy Bates (School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences) and his research team have shown in a recent study that a motivational approach to learning used widely in schools to encourage academic success does not benefit pupils. The growth mindset theory, which assumes intellectual ability is not fixed but can be greatly changed, has little, or even a negative effect on attainment. Psychologists concluded that improved textbooks and systematic study practices are more effective ways of boosting learning.
The author J. K. Rowling has donated £15.3m to the University of Edinburgh to help improve the lives of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and similar conditions. The investment will help create new facilities and support vital research at the University's Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, as well as support research projects focussing on the invisible disabilities experienced by people living with MS, such as cognitive impairment and pain.
Congratulations to Dr Tilo Kunath, who has won the Tom Isaacs Award 2019 for his outstanding work in Parkinson's research. Dr Kunath was chosen as this year's recipient for his empathy and enthusiastic engagement with the Parkinson's community, as well as for sharing his expert research knowledge.
Professor Michael Eddleston (Centre for Cardiovascular Science) and colleagues have published a literature review looking at the scale of suicides by pesticide poisoning. They analysed data from reports of national or global numbers of suicide by pesticide poisoning and found that approximately 15 million people have died by this method since 1960. The researchers recommend strengthening pesticide regulation across low and middle-income countries to prevent these deaths.
We are thrilled to announce that Wellcome Trust are funding four PhD programmes at the University of Edinburgh: Hosts, pathogens and Global Health; Integrative cell mechanisms; One Health models of disease: science, ethics and society; and Translational Neuroscience. The four programmes, among 23 total funded programmes, contribute scientific excellence while improving the working environment for PhD candidates.
Congratulations to Dr Katie Overy (Edinburgh College of Art), who has been shortlisted for an Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year Award.
Prof Barbara Webb (School of Informatics) and colleagues have published a study which helps gain understanding of how insects navigate using the sun and daylight, which could aid the development of guidance systems for robots. Researchers sought to understand how insects use their eyes and brain to keep track of their direction, and their findings could help develop a low-power alternative to GPS for self-guided devices.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman MSP, visited the Royal Edinburgh Hospital last month to learn about some of the research funded by the MRC in Scotland. She was hosted by Prof Andrew McIntosh, and had the opportunity to meet with MRC researchers working on two projects based at the University of Edinburgh, the MRC Mental Health Data Pathfinder award and the Generation Malawi project.