Smoking, lack of exercise, bad diet and our genes are all well-known risk factors for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But, as researchers are beginning to understand, the environment in the womb as we first begin to grow may also determine our future.
Tony Kouzarides is passionate about ecosystems: well-balanced communities that flourish on mutual and dynamic interactions. But the ecosystems that excite him are not made up of plants, animals and environments. They’re made up of experts.
Trevor Lawley and Gordon Dougan are bug hunters, albeit not the conventional kind. The bugs they collect are invisible to the naked eye. And even though we’re teeming with them, researchers are only beginning to discover how they keep us healthy – and how we could use these bugs as drugs.
The stirrings of a revolution are starting to ripple through hundreds of laboratories. It’s a revolution that aims to result in new medicines – faster and with fewer failures – and it’s being led by three UK universities and three global pharmaceutical companies.
It is almost impossible for an injured heart to fully mend itself. Within minutes of being deprived of oxygen – as happens during a heart attack when arteries to the heart are blocked – the heart’s muscle cells start to die. Sanjay Sinha wants to mend these hearts so that they work again.
Scientists have uncovered why Zika virus may specifically target neural stem cells in the developing brain, potentially leading to microcephaly – a potentially serious birth defect where the brain fails to develop properly, leading to a smaller head.
A complication of pregnancy that causes the mother’s blood pressure to rise – often fatally – is more common in women of African descent than any other. Research in Uganda by African and Cambridge researchers is helping to uncover why.