Since its inception in 2004, the Medical School has placed an emphasis on having impact on clinical practice and health. We do this through innovation, technology, and research excellence. We are distinctively interdisciplinary in approach, and this has impacted on global health, wellbeing and wealth, our research impact is considered outstanding in terms of reach and significance (REF2021 and REF2014).
DNA Damage and the Safety of Nanomaterials
How do we assess the safety of nanomaterials? DNA damage in particular is a concern as it can lead to cancer development and so, assessing the DNA damaging capacity of a substance we are exposed to is vital. Professor Shareen Doak and her team have been developing tailored safety testing methods for nanomaterials and new, advanced non-animal tissue models. Our research has been utilized in numerous international regulatory risk assessment policy documents world-wide to adapt the DNA damage testing methodology so that it is appropriate for evaluating nanomaterials.
Control of Fungal Diseases
Every year fungal diseases across the world cost the agricultural industry millions in destroyed and damaged crops. Fungicides being less effective as resistance amongst target fungi grows, and the need to use evermore fungicides being used also result in ecological damage.
It was important to develop a fungicide which would do the job of destroying the target fungicide whilst not inhibiting processes within the host whether plant or animal. This step would result in a more effective fungicide and similarly reduce ecological damage.
Children and Young People’s Mental Health
Half of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14, and three quarters by 24 years of age. With increases seen in anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide over the last decade our programme of multi-disciplinary research aims to transform the understanding, care and outcomes of young people with poor mental health. With over £3M in funding over the last five years, we lead the Adolescent Mental Health Data Platform and the Data Science theme of the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health. Our work is developed in partnership with young people and our research rapidly translated into policy and practice including resources for schools and youth workers and guidance for practice.
Cholesterol in Human Health and Disease
Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by all cells and found in some foods. As one of the most abundant molecules in the human body, it plays a vital role in how our body, and in particular, our brain, nerves and liver work. Excess cholesterol is linked to diseases of the 21st century including Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease and diabetes. A better understanding of how cells manage their cholesterol will lead to better diagnosis and potential treatments for these and other related diseases.
Avoiding Unnecessary Medical Interventions
Many GP Surgeries across the UK have implemented software which identifies patients at high-risk of emergency admission to hospital, by calculating a "risk score" for every individual patient, based on previous admissions, underlying conditions and medications. This intervention – called predictive risk stratification - allows GPs to identify people who may benefit from an early intervention in order to prevent unplanned (emergency) admissions to hospital.
Introduction of the concept of “safe” genotoxin exposure levels and how this benefitted patients and the pharmaceutical industry
We showed that very low level exposures to DNA damaging agents (carcinogens) are not always biologically relevant due to our inherent protective mechanisms. This means minute quantities of carcinogenic contamination are not a major health concern, with important consequences for drug development. These discoveries reflect the fact that we live in an environment where we are surrounded by low level exposure to DNA damaging agents, such as oxygen, sunlight and dietary agents etc.