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Research impact

How your gifts make gold-standard research possible.

A healthy balance

Combining PhD research with work to support the NHS.

Someone working out with a weight plate, with a silhouette of another person in the foreground.

Coronavirus lockdowns put pause to Russell Davies’ Doctoral Recognition Award-winning PhD research into the gut microbiome and the interactions between nutrition, physical activity and metabolism.

A further gift of £10,000 from donor and alumnus Ian Tarr has enabled Russell to extend his studies alongside his work as a healthcare assistant.

Russell says:

“It has been a very valuable experience. I’m happy to be able to do something to support the NHS after the rough time we’ve all been through.”

Conservation of species

Separating breeds of penguin.

A gentoo penguin stood on some rocks in front of a wave.

Gentoo penguins were originally thought to be one species, but research by PhD scholar Josh Tyler from our Milner Centre for Evolution has revealed that they are in fact four separate species, which will help in conservation.

Josh says:

“The continued support from the Evolution Education Trust has given me peace of mind during the last 12 months that I will be able to complete my PhD to a high standard, despite the setbacks experienced through Covid-19.”

More sustainable meat

Bringing cultured meat into the mainstream.

Professor Marianne Ellis examining some lab equipment.

Meat consumption has a huge impact on our environment – and supply is also a concern as our planet’s population grows. Professor Marianne Ellis is working to address this by developing methods of scaling up production of cultured meat in large bioreactors, to make it cheaper and more widely accessible.

Her team includes three PhD students – Scott Allan, Allison Esperanza and Lily Westerhoff – supported by non-profit research institute New Harvest.

Studying the stars

How donor support is creating new roles.

Detecting breast cancer

Developing new imaging techniques.

Dr Gege Ma’s research, supported by an RCH PhD Scholarship, has uncovered potential applications of contactless electrical impedance tomography (CEIT) in both industry and medicine – particularly in detecting breast cancer. CEIT is cheaper and more portable than current methods, and avoids the use of radiation.

She says:

“Support from donors provides reassurance that what we do is valuable. They’ve shown great trust in this project. Thank you!”

Supporting spinal injuries

Keeping people healthy at home.

Dr Jennifer Maher, Medlock Fellow in Clinical Exercise Rehabilitation, explores how high-intensity interval training can help patients with acute spinal injuries to maintain cardiometabolic health upon returning home from hospital.

Her work is supported by a gift of £100,000 from the Medlock Charitable Trust, as well as a grant from the National Institute for Health Research, and is being carried out in partnership with the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre in Salisbury.

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