Newsletter Issue 4, December 2016

Dear Faculty of Science Staff and other colleagues,


Welcome to the 4th edition of the Faculty Newsletter. Please click on individual stories of interest.  


If you tweet, please follow us @UoPScience and tag us in tweets that should be shared among the faculty. 


If you have any content that you would like to appear in a future edition of the newsletter, please e-mail



We are pleased to say that our new Dean has now been appointed.

Toby Scott-Ward joins the faculty to ensure students receive support and advice throughout their studies.

Our staff are always achieving great things, some of which are documented in this newsletter.

Each issue we like to introduce a new academic member of staff. This issue features Vincenzo Tamma, a Senior Lecturer in Physics.



See what new courses are subject to approval for 2017/18.

Learn more about SHSSW's new Nursing programme.

Read our brief summary from the Recruitment Team on how many visitors attended the open day for our faculty and when our applicant open days are happening.


Student News


We have been made aware of some of the successes of our students since the last newsletter.


Research & Innovation

Dr Carina Venter discusses her research into the natural history of peanut allergy to establish whether the reported increase in peanut allergies are due to increase in prevalence or increased awareness.

Biological Sciences provide us with an update from the department, particularly in regards to research.

Research is an important part of the faculty and we have included some updates. More updates and info can be found on the R&I webpages.

Dr Jerome Swinny and Dr Sassan Hafizi both received significant grants to fund research for new treatments of diseases.

We are very proud of our PhD students and their work. Here are just a few updates and successes regarding PhD.

As a Faculty we regularly produce new publications from our staff in the form of books, chapters, journals and articles. Some of our new publications are mentioned in this issue. For more, please see the Pure Research Portal.




We have been running social events over the past few weeks, currently sports activities which we will be carrying over into the New Year.


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Professor Sherria Hoskins Appointed Dean of Science

Professor Sherria Hoskins has been appointed as the new Dean of Science.


Having been undertaking the role on an interim basis since August she holds an extensive amount of knowledge about the faculty as well as a wealth of experience supported by her time as Head of the Department of Psychology since 2009. Sherria joined the University in 1999 having previously worked at the University of Plymouth and the University of Surrey.


She is an invited Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has numerous teaching awards including a National Teaching Fellowship. She was appointed as Professor of Psychology and Education in September 2016. 


Speaking about her new appointment, Sherria said:


"I didn't dare hope that I would get the role of Dean, but neither could I believe that I  might have to leave the Faculty of Science and the University. I am so happy and so relieved to be able to remain a member of such a great team".


Many congratulations to Sherria!


The future of Nursing is changing – Nurse training comes back to Portsmouth

The new course, Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) degree in Adult Nursing starts on 30th January 2017, at the University of Portsmouth. This is an exciting opportunity and is welcomed by the School of Health Sciences and Social Work. It has the added benefit of working with local partners to address the nursing workforce needs of the population.


Kirsty Harris, a lecturer on the programme from the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, tell us more about the forthcoming course.




Tell us a bit about your professional background.

I started my Diploma in Nursing in 1997 at the University of Portsmouth and Registered as a Nurse in February 2000. I had the opportunity to work as a rotational nurse and advanced my nursing skills by working in medicine, surgery, the emergency department and intensive care at Portsmouth Hospital's NHS Foundation Trust. 


After completion of the rotational post I found myself drawn to intensive care nursing and continued to develop my nursing skills. I completed my intensive care course recognised by English National Board (ENB) and developed an interest in transferring critically ill patients. The outcome of this experience inspired me to teach and in order to improve practice, I obtained a Certificate in Education. My hunger to learn continued and in 2007, I accomplished a Master’s degree in Advanced Professional Practice and worked as an agency nurse in Iraq (Basra) working alongside the military. 


On return from Iraq, I joined the intensive care teaching team as a secondment and this is where I became involved with simulation training. I enjoyed the simulation training so much I managed to secure a part-time contract in simulation and intensive care. In 2011, I was awarded with a 1 year simulation fellowship with Health Education England and became full-time simulation. From completing the fellowship I was given the opportunity to study part-time for professional doctorate.


In September 2016, I moved to the University of Portsmouth to become part of the new nursing team. I continue in my quest for academia and completion of my professional doctorate by developing the nurses of the future. 


Can you tell us about the new upcoming course?  

The new course, Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) degree in Adult Nursing cohort starts on 30th January 2017 with two cohorts a year; January and September. The course has been developed with local partners and specialists to address workforce needs of the population and demographics to include integrated and person-centred care. 


The course programme is 3 years and focuses on developing competent, skilled Adult Nurses and has been designed to meet the requirements of the pre-registration curriculum in partnership with the local National Health Service Trusts. Work-based learning is a key component and students will develop practical skills in safe, simulated teaching environments, before being supervised in using these skills in practice in one of our placement providers. 


The context for nursing and health care is changing, due to the ageing population and the increased incidence of complex conditions and frailty (Shape of caring, 2015). The NHS needs nurses who can promote hospital avoidance and reduce hospital admissions and length of stay. This will enable the acute care settings to focus on more complex patients. In reduce pressure on hospitals, more nurses will need to work in the community, keeping people at home where it is feasible. In addition, further integration of health and care is required to make healthcare more sustainable.


What practical elements can the students expect?

On this course students will learn how to observe, examine, assess and engage with patients and service users in both community and hospital settings. They will develop skills in evidence based decision making to support and deliver best practice, use the latest simulation facilities to develop and refine clinical skills and competence and, more importantly, develop critical thinking, resilience and leadership skills.


What numbers are we expecting for the 2017 intake? 

The nursing course has approval for 120 students starting in February 2017 with a second cohort of a minimum of 75 students in September 2017. Over the recent few weeks we have seen a steady influx of nursing applications and will be holding regular interviews every month. With such a high demand we would expect the programme to develop and grow in the next couple of years.   


What practical placements can the students expect?

Local practices (and potential placement providers) have been aware of this and are keen for students to succeed. With an ageing population the demand for services (and indeed most healthcare services) is only going to increase. 


We are looking to provide students with wide ranging experience in order to encourage confidence in providing further care to that end. In addition to placements within community practices, we are looking at having arrangements with specialist practices offering disease monitoring and treatment. Like all professions, Nursing is changing, health promotion and further disease training is leading to an increase in the scope of nursing practice, looking after patients who until now would be cared for within the hospital setting. We aim to provide our students with the skills and confidence to fit into this changing landscape and to be at the forefront of health practice.


What other staff are coming on board to help launch the course?

In this respect we have been very fortunate, we have an excellent team with a wide range of clinical experience within School of Health Sciences and Social Work (SHSSW). The nursing team also have the advantage of having a mix of clinical backgrounds, allowing us to provide students not only with the theoretical implementation of clinical skills but with extensive experience to support their learning. The other full time member of the team, Isobel Ryder (Programme Lead) has a wealth of experience within nursing, midwifery and academia. Sue Rourke has experience in adult and paediatric nursing in critical care, simulation, technology enhanced learning and fitness to practice, Debbie Atkinson has experience in hospital with adult and paediatric critical care nursing, nurse education and numeracy in nursing. Gilly Mancz has experience in Public Health and Health Visiting and has interests in safeguarding and interprofessional working. Raph Morgan is the lead for supporting learners in practice programme and has extensive experience in orthopaedics, care of the older person, community nursing and academia. Nick Purkis has hospital experience in neurological rehabilitation and has extensive experience in academia.


In addition to our full-time staff, we have three part time academics; Melanie Tanner has experience of primary care and is a community specialist practitioner, with a special interest in caring for the patient with complex long term conditions;, Lisa Farley has experience in mental health and wellbeing (adult, child and adolescent), substance misuse, public health, early intervention, quality of care delivery, service user experience and Yvette Revell-Smith is an advanced nurse practitioner and specialises in ophthalmology, with an interest in diabetes.  


Can you tell us a bit about the new facilities? 

The Centre for Simulation in Health and Care in St. Andrew’s Court consists of two ward areas, featuring two isolation cubicles, a GP surgery, residential care facility and a one-bedroom flat. The facilities have been purpose built to support the changes to nursing and out-of-hospital care, ensuring an holistic approach to learning.  A variety of learning environments have been developed to enable acute and community focused learning.


We held an informal event on the 13 December 2016 and invited our first cohort of students and stakeholders to celebrate the opening of the new facilities. A formal opening event is due to take place in April 2017.


See a fly through video of the facilities in St Andrew's Court.


BBC Coast films UoP Native Oyster Restoration Project

Joanne Preston with BBC Coast's Neil Oliver
Joanne Preston with BBC Coast's Neil Oliver

Joanne Preston, course leader of Marine Biology at the University recently appeared on BBC TV show, Coast, a show that explores the natural and social history of the  coastline around the UK. Joanne spoke about the decline in Native oysters around the Solent and the research being carried out to improve their survival.


Until recently the Solent had one of the largest remaining O. edulis fisheries in Europe. Since 2007 there has been a dramatic population crash, thought to be due to multiple pressures including over-exploitation, decreased water quality, disease and competition from invasive species. It is evident that native oysters within the Solent are struggling to recover. Without conservation efforts to protect adult broodstocks and habitats, it is feared this species could become absent from the area in the near future. Over the last year, staff and researchers at the Institute of Marine Sciences have been using the Langstone Harbour research raft to trial a novel aquaculture method for protecting the threatened native oyster Ostrea edulis.


Our research is part of an ambitious collaboration with Blue Marine Foundation to restore the Solent oyster population, and the associated biodiversity and ecosystem benefits this species brings to our coastal environment. During 2015/16, Luke Helmer, a MSc Applied Aquatic Biology student carried out a pilot study aims to trial off-bottom, suspended oyster cages as a suitable aquaculture method to house mature O. edulis that are protected from predators, fishing and habitat destruction.


The trial was a success, and revealed that this floating aquaculture method can provide a protected environment for the protection, growth and reproduction of the native oyster Ostrea edulis in the Solent region. The ultimate aim of this study is to maximise the potential of this aquaculture method as a source of larvae to contribute to the repopulation of the native seabed populations across the Solent. However, we also found that water quality and algal blooms may have a significant detrimental impact on survivorship.


We are now rolling out the next ambitious phase to deploy this aquaculture method across the whole of the Solent. With the help of Marine Biology undergraduates, we are currently putting 9000 native oysters into specially designed microreef structures in time for Christmas which will be monitored during 2017. Watch this space! #bringbackthenative #UoPMarinebiol


PhD student Luke Helmer installing oyster microreefs in Hamble Point Marina- In December!
PhD student Luke Helmer installing oyster microreefs in Hamble Point Marina- In December!








Light Microscopy photographs of the pallial fluid of Ostrea edulis containing numerous veliger 'D' Larvae. The adult oyster was taken from LRBAR pontoon cages in the Camber dock, Portsmouth Harbour and fixed on the 27th July 2016. Photo © Luke Helmer


Placement Conferences in SEES

Engineering Geology & Geotechnics Industrial Placement Conference


As part of the formal assessment of the sandwich placement year on the degree in Engineering Geology & Geotechnics the returning students organise and present at an Industrial Placement Conference. The conference was held on 1 December 2016 and was attended by a number of placement companies, the students themselves plus the 2nd year students who are preparing for their placement year. To kick off the conference Helen Smith, Director and owner of Leap Environmental, gave a key note on the route to professional qualifications once graduated. Our fantastic final year students then presented their experiences in 15 minute slots which were live streamed on our youtube video channel:


Placements were taken throughout the UK at small, medium and large companies all in the “ground engineering” sector. Our students gained significant transferrable and sector skill sets whilst on placement but the main message from the conference was the increase in confidence it has given them in both the work place and in coming back to University. We had a great day and all our students gave fantastic professional presentations and impressed the companies that were in attendance.

SEPnet Summer Placement Conference


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Meet Our New Faculty Learning Support Tutor

Toby Scott-Ward has joined the Faculty of Science as a Learning Support Tutor to ensure our Undergraduate and Postgraduate students are receiving the right support throughout their learning. Toby told us about his new role and what he hopes to achieve:


What are your responsibilities in this new role?


As a Learning Support Tutor for the Faculty of Science, I help students to develop their academic abilities and learning skills through a combination of one-to- one support sessions, feedback on written assignments, and by delivering specialist and general workshops and small group tutorials. Within this context, I develop and update online resources for the Learning Support service and ensure that students are aware of other support services available to them within the University, including the Academic Skills Unit, English for Academic Purposes, and Purple Door, to name a few.


What things would you like to accomplish in your work?


I am passionate about supporting students’ progress and helping them to develop their academic skills to be the best they can be during their time at the University and beyond. Our focus is to ensure that all science students, undergraduate or postgraduate, are aware of and use our service as part of the network of high quality support they receive whilst at Portsmouth. With this in mind, my aims are to evolve how Science Learning Support operates, and to improve our service for everyone, in particular those who most need advice and support. My professional goals include advancing my teaching abilities and knowledge through continuing professional development, self-directed learning and actively engaging with the University-wide network of academic support personnel. A fantastic perk of this job is that I am learning a lot from the students themselves through the variety of interesting ideas and work they bring in!


Could you please give us a brief overview of your previous experience relating to this role?


Throughout my career, I have engaged in a range of teaching activities, and supervised postgraduate students at leading institutions including the University of Portsmouth, St. George’s University of London, the Royal Veterinary College, and the University of Lisbon in Portugal. I have developed and delivered advanced pharmacology & immunology MSc lectures at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine, neuropharmacology tutorials for the undergraduate Pharmacology course at London Metropolitan University, and Basic Laboratory & Industry Skills modules for the Applied Biosciences Foundation course at the University of Kent.


In terms of my research background, following my PhD in Biochemistry from Imperial College, I investigated the role of ion channels and receptors in human cells and how they can be targeted to treat infection and disease. My research was primarily focused on understanding the molecular basis of the genetic disorder, cystic fibrosis, and how we can alter the function and expression of specific proteins in lungs to overcome the devastating effects of this chronic disease.


What do you like to do in your spare time?


I enjoy exploring, in particular the coasts and beaches at low tide and other nearby attractions, with my two energetic sons. Although they have been at school for a short time, I enjoy providing whatever learning support I can to them as well! I am also interested in various aspects of astronomy and physics (don’t get me started on supernovas) and I have a passion for film scores and for films, especially those from movies with aliens, explosions and time travel in!


Help Save GB Names from Being Lost Forever

A new online project – GB1900 – is calling for volunteers to help make sure local place-names can live on rather than be lost for ever.


GB1900 aims to create a complete list of the estimated three million place-names on early Ordnance Survey maps of Britain. It will be a free, public resource, of particular use to local historians and genealogists.


The project partners include the National Library of Scotland and the National Library of Wales, and the University of Portsmouth.


On their new GB1900 web site,, volunteers will work on digital images of all the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey County Series maps of the whole of Great Britain, at six inch to one mile scale. These maps show not just every town and village but every farm, hill and wood – and include names for most of them. The site’s software enables contributors to mark each name by clicking next to it, and then to type in the name itself. They can also add any personal memories they have of the place. To ensure correctness each name needs to be identically transcribed by two different volunteers.


The final list of place names will be not just the most detailed gazetteer ever created for Britain, it will be the world’s largest ever historical gazetteer. It will be released under a Creative Commons licence, making it usable by everyone without charge.


Professor Humphrey Southall, professor of Historical Geography at the University of Portsmouth, said: “We hope to tap into local knowledge about place names around the UK. The more people who can volunteer information through this project, the more we can make sure these names can live on rather than being lost forever.”  


“Names of places are a vital key to unlocking the social and linguistic history of the land. They recall agricultural practices and local industries, changed landscapes and lost settlements. They preserve a rich heritage of Welsh- and Gaelic-language forms from across Wales and Scotland, chart the arrival of English, and illustrate interactions between the two.”


The project is based on, which includes all the Welsh place names gathered by that project, and existing cymru1900 transcribers will be able to log in using their existing account information, but the new system needs many new volunteers wanting to work on England and Scotland. Humphrey added ‘Since we (re-)launched last week, we have recruited over 100 new volunteers, added nearly 50,000 transcriptions, and "confirmed" 14,000 names, relative to what we inherited from the Welsh project’.


The partners in the GB1900 project are the University of Portsmouth, the National Library of Scotland, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, the National Library of Wales and the People’s Collection Wales.



PHBM Academics Awarded Major Research Grants

Dr Swinny to Help Find New Ways to Treat Anxiety in Parkinson's sufferers


Dr Jerome Swinny from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences has been awarded a project grant of £224,978 over 3 years starting from May 2017 to investigate the role of anxiety in people with Parkinson's and help towards finding a new treatment for this symptom.


Most people associate Parkinson’s with movement symptoms, but people with Parkinson’s also experience symptoms that don’t affect movement – such as pain, depression and anxiety. Around half of people with Parkinson’s have trouble with anxiety but we still don’t understand why it develops or the best way to treat it.


Research suggests that clumps of protein that develop inside the brain cells that are affected in Parkinson’s are also found in cells in the locus coeruleus. These protein clumps – known as Lewy Bodies – could affect the way these brain cells work and explain why people with the condition are more likely to experience anxiety. The researchers want to use a mouse model of Parkinson’s to understand the changes in the brain that could be linked to anxiety. We already know that these mice develop anxiety-like behaviours, which appear before movement symptoms.


As the locus coerulus is important for responding to stress, they want to look specifically at changes to the cells in this part of the brain that may be linked to anxiety. The team will study how these cells work with each other. They will then look for drugs that can reverse these changes in the brain and reduce anxiety-like behaviour in these mice. 


Most research to date has concentrated on treating the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s however in a recent survey of people affected by Parkinson’s and health professionals, ‘stress and anxiety’ was rated the second highest priority area of research for improving quality of life. This project will help us to understand what causes anxiety in people with Parkinson’s and lead us towards a new treatment for this symptom. 

Dr Hafizi  Awarded Major Grant to fund Multiple Sclerosis Research


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SEES Partner Visits Department

The Petroleum Training Development Fund (PTDF) recently visited the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences from Nigeria. The PTDF aims to provide scholarships and bursaries, wholly or partially to Universities, colleges and institutions and their aim is to train Nigerians to qualify as graduates, professionals, technicians and craftsmen in the field of engineering, geology, science and management in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and abroad.


PTDF currently sponsor two of our students in SEES and we are working towards more. One of these students, Ibrahim Bashar is researching the different variations in geotechnical properties of soil and how it can be measured more accurately, more objectively and with greater efficiency. 


Ibrahim and the rest of the team at Portsmouth are aware of the great importance that PTDF places in making sure that PhD research can benefit PTDF activities, Nigerian science and the Nigerian Economy. The techniques that Ibrahim is pioneering will very soon be applied to the rapid, efficient and quantitative investigation of Nigerian soils using land-based, done-based or satellite VNIR instruments. The ability to rapidly and remotely determine how a soil will behave during construction or over the lifetime of infrastructure such as roads or pipelines will reduce construction and operational costs and reduce design uncertainty. We also hope that the partnership between PTDF and the University of Portsmouth will result in the development of new instruments for ground investigation, contaminated land assessment and monitoring programmes. 



Dental Academy Wins Award for Dental Practice of the Year

The University of Portsmouth Dental Academy was delighted to have won the award for ‘Dental Practice of the Year’ in the city’s Best of Health Awards recently.


The winners were announced at the awards evening which took place on November 4 in the Guildhall. The event is run by evening newspaper 'The News' and included 12 categories, including awards for GPs, hospital doctors, pharmacists, and those working in mental health and community health.


Clinical Director of the Dental Academy Latha Davda said: ‘We didn’t expect to be walking away with this lovely award but to be holding it now feels perfect. All the staff and students are just fantastic to work with and create such a great working environment. It means a great deal for us to be collecting this award but it really is down to a team effort. The work we do is the way it is because of the teamwork that we have at the academy and we hope that never changes. The team deserves this award.’


The Dental Academy is a partnership between the University of Portsmouth, King’s College London Dental Institute and the National Health Service. It opened in 2010 and was known as the School of Professionals Complementary to Dentistry before that. It offers team-based undergraduate teaching for dental care professionals and student dentists to train together, working side by side to mimic a high street practice.


Patients of the practice had left the following comments about the academy:


"The Dental Academy just continues to impress, from the tutors, permanent staff, receptionists and trainees, it is always most pleasant to meet so many people with a positive, considerate and caring attitude. Many, many thanks!"


"Very professional and confident, fantastic work, really pleased, thank you"


"Wonderful team today, made me feel really relaxed, put me at ease, great work done"


"Excellent service, attention to detail was superb"


"An excellent service, very professional"


"Excellent! Students are always courteous, enthusiastic and knowledgeable - well done!"


"First class service from very friendly staff"


"Thank you to everyone for being so kind and doing a fantastic job"


"Well done to all students, staff and admin, excellent in every way, thank you so much"


Below, students and staff with the award


Dental Academy hosts 60+ Festival

The Dental Academy threw open its doors and invited everyone over 60 to have a free dental screening and oral cancer check last month. The event was part of Portsmouth City Council’s 60+ Festival, a fortnight of activities for the over 60’s Portsmouth residents.


The sessions were run by our 2nd and 3rd year Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy students together with our final year dental students from King’s College London Dental Institute. 14 Portsmouth over 60 residents booked to attend and, of those not already registered with a dentist, we were able to offer them treatment going forward. Part of the Dental Academy’s philosophy is to take on patients with high treatment needs, provide care to significantly improve their overall oral health so they are ‘dentally fit’ and then help them find a local NHS dentist for ongoing maintenance and preventative care.


We would like to thank our dental hygiene and therapy students, dental students and our staff members. as there has been great feedback from the participants:


‘Loved my freebies!’


‘It’s so clean and colourful!’


‘This was fantastic!’


‘I’ve learnt so much – thank you so much!’


The students found the event, not only enjoyable, but educationally valuable and emphasised the importance of communication and not using too much jargon. The students also enjoyed meeting the participants in a more relaxed, informal environment. The event provided the dental students and hygiene therapy students a great opportunity to work together and chat to the participants on the professional role the dental hygiene and dental therapist have in helping patients maintain good oral health.



PhD News

PhD Student Paper Accepted for Publication 


Self-funded PhD student from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Dishant Sharma has had his PhD project included in a research paper accepted for publication in the influential journal 'Gene Therapy'.


The paper is titled as 'Co-delivery of Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase prevents loss of expression of an antigenic transgene in dystrophic mouse muscles' and other authors included Rasha al-Khalidi, Suzanne Edgar, Qian An, Yao Wang, Christopher Young, Dominika Nowis, and Dariusz Gorecki.


Dishant describes his PhD project below:


"The PhD project is titled 'Development of tolerogenic Vector for gene therapy of Duchenne muscular dystrophy'. It is in the gene therapy of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a genetic disease due to loss of dystrophin. Currently, most studies showed the use of immunosuppressive drugs for the long-term expression of gene therapy product as these are recognised as foreign by the body of the recipient. We injected IDO1 mixed with antigen in dystrophic mice muscle to analyse the effect of IDO1 on the expression profile of antigen. This pilot study showed that IDO1 increases the expression of antigen in 68% muscles compared to control by inducing the tolerance against the antigen.


"We proposed IDO1 could use in place of immune suppressive drugs for sustained expression of antigen. We want this study to be replicated with a larger pool of subjects to make it a suitable candidate for clinical trials in humans.


"I applied to many fully funded PhD programs in India, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Ireland and UK. However, did not get acceptance as my background did not match with program requirements. So a self-funded PhD was my last option to do a quality PhD that directly contributes to patient care. I felt lucky to be in UOP as academic staff helped a great deal, whenever I had problems, I found someone to talk to resolve them. The University has good student support i.e. the Well- being Centre and International office. Colleagues and housemates were very friendly and cooperating. The city is relatively economical and less crowded, compared to other big cities in the UK i.e. London. I am happy with the overall experience of PhD and strongly recommend UoP to future PhD students. I also suggest having collaborative projects with research centres from India, so that more and more Indian students can explore UoP research facilities to do quality research and publish in high-ranking journals to let increase the world university ranking of UoP for research."


PhD Viva a Success for SHSSW Student


Congratulations to SHSSW PhD student, Aditya Singh, who recently successfully underwent his PhD Viva.


Aditya's research programme is entitled:


'Availability and inequality in the distribution of health workers in public health system in rural India'


Aditya's supervisors are Dr Sasee Pallikadavath, Professor Tara Dean and Dr Tamsin Badley.


His examiners were Professor Sabu Padmadas, University of Southampton and Professor Liz Twigg, University of Portsmouth.


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Research News

IBBS launches New Seminar Programme to Support our International Collaborators


A central role of IBBS is the promotion of scientific collaboration both within the University and on the wider international stage. Our members have generated a large network of research expertise throughout the world, and

with recent political pressures, our growing international profile in Europe and beyond is more important than ever.


Our researchers regularly present their work at international

meetings and conferences and we want IBBS to encourage reciprocal visits. November saw the launch of the new format IBBS seminar series which we have now opened up to fund international speakers. With an aim of increasing accessibility, the seminar format was changed and scheduled for fortnightly at the new time of 1pm, to be followed by late lunch refreshments of teas, coffees, sandwiches, cakes and fruit. With the emphasis of hosting high profile speakers and supporting networking opportunities, funding supports speakers visiting IBBS for a couple of days to allow collaborative discussions, and time to be spent viewing the facilities.


Download the file below to learn more about the programme.

IBBS recent news
Recent News from IBBS_23Nov2016_700 word
Adobe Acrobat Document 385.7 KB

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SEES Lecturer Shares Knowledge on Space Technologies

Richard Teeuw presenting at the conference
Richard Teeuw presenting at the conference


Using satellite remote sensing and participatory modelling to mitigate impacts of alluvial gold mining


Colombia has been in the news a lot recently, with the recent peace accord ending 52 years of civil war. Funding militia groups on both sides of that conflict was the production of cocaine and the extraction of gold from rivers (alluvial mining). SEES geoinformatic expert, Richard Teeuw, was asked to summarise how satellite remote sensing can be used to detect, map and monitor areas of illegal alluvial gold mining in the rainforest of NW Colombia, for a recent conference on reducing the impacts of gold mining in riverine communities in Colombia, run by the ABColombia NGO consortium and the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of London. Dr Teeuw commented that he felt like "the poacher turned game-keeper" because he worked for many years as an exploration geologist with alluvial mining companies, prior to his academic career at UoP. However, that understanding of the alluvial gold mining sector, coupled with knowledge of new space technologies, such as satellite radar remote sensing - which is unique in being able to 'see' through the cloud cover that often hides ground features in rainforest areas - is enabling Dr Teeuw and his team to produce detailed maps of alluvial mining areas, facilitating the legal actions taken by communities impacted by illegal mining. 


Space technologies and the insurance industry


SEES expert on geoinformatics and risk reduction, Richard Teeuw, was the co-convener of a Breakfast Briefing on "Satellite Remote Sensing for Disaster Risk Reduction and Insurance", recently held in the Old Library of the Lloyd's Building in the City of London. The event brought together around 90 insurance, risk and remote sensing professionals to discuss how space-based Earth Observation technologies can help traditional and upcoming insurance markets.  It was jointly hosted by the UK Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry Society and the UK  Association for Geographical Information, and sponsored by two major insurance companies, Amlin and Aon Benfield.  


Phil Godwin of Lloyd’s set the scene by providing an overview of how remote sensing technology was improving efficiency for claims handlers by reducing costs required for field surveys. Sean McCarthy of the UK Space Catapult gave an interesting overview of Government involvement in promoting the UK space industry for the benefit of commercial companies and illustrated how insurers can make use of practical applications and products from Remote Sensing and satellite technologies. Grant Day of the South Coast Centre for Excellence in Satellite Applications, based at the University of Portsmouth,  talked about typical start-ups and how remote sensing is helping the marine economy and marine applications. Colm Jordan talked about how the British Geological Survey are using RS data to create geological risk products, and Gavin Lewis, Tina Thomson (Amlin) and Chris Ewing (Aeon Benfield) brought examples of how remote sensing and associated products are being used in the insurance industry for exposure management, catastrophe model development and quick assessment of claims. Richard Teeuw and Naomi Morris, of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) team at the University of Portsmouth, provided examples for the developing world and how free satellite remote sensing data can help in DRR and humanitarian settings.


Overall the event provided some insights into how the London insurance and risk market is using remote sensing. The Q and A session brought a 'call to arms' to initiate the sharing of remote sensing data for both DRR and insurance with the common aim of being better prepared and forewarned for natural disasters. Follow-on sessions on the remote sensing, DRR and Insurance theme are now being prepared, in conjunction with the AGI, RSPSoc and the Royal Geographical Society.


New Publications From the Faculty

Below are some publications that have recently come from the faculty. See the Pure Research Portal for more publications.


Chris Wagstaff, Richard Thelwell and Neil Weston
Chris Wagstaff, Richard Thelwell and Neil Weston

DSES Academics Publish Textbooks

Three more books have been published from academics in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science following the publication of Professor Mike Tipton’s book ‘The Science of Beach Life Guarding’ and Dr Andrew Scott’s book ‘Clinical Exercise Science‘.


Dr Neil Weston’s ‘Sport and Exercise Psychology: Practitioner Case Studies’, uses theory-based case studies for sport performance, exercise and skill acquisition to examine the most current issues in the field.


Dr Chris Wagstaff’s book ‘The Organizational Psychology of Sport: Key Issues and Practical Applications,’ examine how organizational psychology can be used to understand and improve performance in elite sport.


Finally, Dr Richard Thelwell has co-edited ‘The Psychology of Sports Coaching: Research and Practice’ which reviews of current research in the psychology of sports coaching. All are available in all good bookshops!


New Publications from Joanne Brindley in Dental Academy

Joanne Brindley is a Senior DCP Teaching Fellow in the Dental Academy. Joanne's research interests focus on Reflective PracticeAccuracy of student self-perception in clinical and academic attainment, Cognitive acuity, Personal development planning  and Mentorship and self compassion.


Joanne has had the following articles published in the 'British Dental Journal':

  • Brindley, J. (2016) The benefits of mentorship for the dental team. British Dental Journal Team, (3), 25-27.
  • Brindley, J. (2016) Reflection on Fitness to Practise. British Dental Journal, 221(8), 495-498.
  • Brindley, J. (2016) Learning to be kind to yourself. British Dental Journal Team, (3), 25-26.

These articles help readers prepare for their continued professional development, outlining the positives of mentorship and supporting one another in the work place and the role of reflection in continuing education.


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News from Biochemistry & Biology

Update from October/November

Professor John McGeehan
Professor John McGeehan

1. Professor Matt Guille was one of four organisers of the very successful International Xenopus meeting that saw 200 scientists using the clawed frog model to study human diseases and basic biology getting together in Crete.


2. Professor John McGeehan has helped to link together four research groups in the USA with our team at the University of Portsmouth to generate the wide expertise necessary to tackle the complex problem of turning waste biomass into useful products including biofuels, chemicals, plastics, textiles and even carbon-fibre. This effort has been significantly boosted by US Department of Energy funding and a recent award of £1.1M from a joint NSF-BBSRC grant, with over £400k coming to the School of Biological Science at Portsmouth. Our American colleagues will employ novel synthetic biology tools to help evolve designer enzymes, while we are tasked with analysing their biochemical properties and solving their 3D structures using X-ray crystallography at the Diamond Light Source. This ambitious project, which has directly links to industry, has the potential to make biofuel production commercially viable and create a new range of renewable and sustainable plant-based products.


3. Gosia Suszek is visiting the frog centre from the world-famous Nencki institute in Warsaw for three months. Gosia works on human diseases associated with mutations in the myo6 gene and used state of the art gene editing techniques to make the same mutations in Xenopus tropicalis within a week of arriving here, she is now analysing the effect of these mutations.


4. Professor Ben Luisi from Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge was a guest speaker at the Molecular Biophyisics’ research group meeting. He discussed his prestigious work on regulatory assemblies and molecular machines.


5. We welcome our new PhD students, Sian Martin is isolating blood stem cells from the embryo and analysing how the master control genes of the blood system are regulated post-transcriptionally as part of an ongoing collaboration with Professor Roger Patient at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford. Sian will be working the lab of Prof Matt Guille. Daniella Lopes-Cardoso will also be joining us as a new PhD student working on RNA regulation and development of new antibiotics, she will be in the laboratory of Prof Anastasia Callaghan.


6. MRes course has gone from strength to strength with the largest re-corded intake this year. Biology has an impressive 30 of the cohort of doing a variety of exciting projects. We welcome our new students.


TV and Sports stars visit DSES Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL)

Jonathan Brownlee in the EEL
Jonathan Brownlee in the EEL

The Extreme Environments Laboratory in the Department of Sport & Exercise Science gets a lot of very varied visitors each year, but even by their standards the last week (15-22 November) has been busy. First they welcomed Guy Martin, filming for his next adventure; then the Association of Clinical Pathologists for a special autopsy day on extreme environmental pathology; the RNLI visited with a group of Gaelic Athletic Association all-stars including the legendary hurler Jackie Tyrrell to film some footage for their next campaign; Jonny Brownlee, Olympic triathlete, was down for two days; and the Royal Society of Biology held their annual meeting in the department, this included a tour of the lab and a presentation on extreme environmental physiology.


Professor Mike Tipton, Associate Head of Research from DSES said, “The reputation of the lab and the team is good and the facilities unique. This inevitably leads to many requests for help. We do what we can in the knowledge that it is good, high profile publicity for the University. I have no idea how many students come to the University of Portsmouth because of what they see and hear about EEL, but I bet it is more than none!”


Other visitors from earlier in the year include Olympic athletes who competed in this year's Rio Olympics, Jack Burnell and Keri-anne Payne to help prepare them for the water conditions in Rio. The swimmers were immersed in cold water at a temperature of 18C, which was the predicted worse-case scenario for the water temperature in Rio. They also swam in the swimming flume – one of the largest in the country – to aid their training and prepare them for the conditions they’d face swimming along the Copacabana Beach. Read more about their visit on UoP News.


The RNLI also visited in October to learn of the department's latest research in sea survival and provide statistics and facts for their 'Respect the Water' campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of open water. Professor Tipton and his team delivered lectures and demos to RNLI staff and took them on a tour of the EEL . Read more about this visit on UoP News.


Below, Jonathan Brownlee using the facilities and with the DSES team, Guy Martin with the team, top right, followed by photos with Jack Burnell and Keri-anne Payne in the middle row, next to a photo of the RNLI on their sea survival visit, lastly a group shot of the Gaelic Athletic Association all-stars.



Meet a New Academic

Dr Vincenzo Tamma is a new academic to the University and has joined the School of Earth and Environmental Science as a Senior Lecturer in Physics. Vincenzo tells us a bit about himself to give you the opportunity to learn more about one of our new academic staff members:


What is your background?


I obtained my Laurea (Master) in Physics at the University of Bari (Italy) in 2006, earning the BNC Research Award for my thesis research. The International Cooperation Program Award issued by the Italian Ministry of Research then allowed me to complete a joint Ph.D. in Applied Physics in 2010 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, U.S. and in Physics at the University of Bari.

My research was recognized with the “Giampietro Puppi Award” for the best Ph.D. thesis in Physics and Astrophysics in Italy in the academic years 2007-2009. After a one-year postdoctoral fellowship issued by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, I started to work in 2011 as a research scientist (group leader and lecturer) at the Institute of Quantum Physics at Ulm University, Germany. In the summer of 2016, I was pleased to accept the offer from the University of Portsmouth as a senior lecturer in Physics. I am excited at the opportunity to build a research network in quantum technologies based in Portsmouth in collaboration with leading international universities and companies.


What is your research about? 


My research aims at achieving a deeper understanding of the fundamental physics of nature at the interplay between quantum mechanics, atomic physics and general relativity, as well as at boosting the real-world implementation of quantum-enhanced technologies for applications in ultra-fast computation, secure communication, simulation of complex physical systems, high-precision sensing and biomedical imaging.


What areas/courses does your teaching cover?


Over the past ten years, I have been teaching postgraduate classes in Quantum Information, Quantum Optics and Mathematical Methods in Physics, as well as undergraduate laboratories and introductory physics.


What new experiences have you had in Portsmouth?


I was delighted to already experience in our department and university a very friendly and productive environment with motivated faculty members ready to work as a team for the benefit of the overall university and our students.


Where would you like to see yourself in the mid- to long-term? 


I would like to build on my successes and to enhance further my activities in research, academic leadership and citizenship, supporting and leveraging key objectives of the new University Strategy. In particular, I aim in my future career to serve as a professor to establish an international leading role for the University of Portsmouth in the areas of quantum optics and quantum technologies.


What do you like to do in your spare time?


I enjoy spending time with my wife and my little boy, travelling with them, playing football, hiking and reading books on interdisciplinary topics.


Student Successes

Dental Academy Students and Staff Publish Article in Dental Magazine


Undergraduate students from the King's College London Dental Institute on outreach at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy, Philip Walker and Charles Brandon, along with Dental tutor Peter Raftery have published an article in dental magazine, 'The Probe' about getting to grips with the principles and applications of NSK's iPex II apex locator.


An apex locator helps pinpoint the end of the root of a tooth, used in endodontics to help determine the space of the root canal.


Download the article below:

An Unqualified Success
An unqualified success article UPDA Nov
Adobe Acrobat Document 838.6 KB

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Staff Accomplishments

Geologists Win Grants to Access Highly Specialised Lab


Dr Craig Storey
Dr Craig Storey
Dr James Darling
Dr James Darling

Dr Craig Storey and Dr James Darling, geologists from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences have won a grant to use the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded facility in Edinburgh. 


They will use the equipment, including the UK's national ion microprobe, to date and analyse oxygen within minerals of some of the oldest rocks in the world to catch a glimpse of the Earth's true age of its earliest crust. 


More info can be found on UoP News.



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Featured Publication- Natural History of Peanut Allergies in Childhood

The publication in this issue is a contribution from University of Portsmouth researchers within the School of Health Sciences and Social work. We spoke to Dr Carina Venter about the research in this article. 


The publication citation is as follows and is available on Pure:


Venter, C., Maslin, K., Patil, V., Kurukulaaratchy, R., Grundy, J., Glasbey, G., ... Arshad, S. H. (2016). The prevalence, natural history and time trends of peanut allergy over the first 10 years of life in two cohorts born in the same geographical location 12 years apart. Pediatric Allergy And Immunology. DOI: 10.1111/pai.12616

1) What was the background to the study?


In some parts of the world it is reported that food allergies and in particular peanut allergy is increasing. However it is not clear whether this is due to a real increase in prevalence or due to increased awareness, screening and testing for food allergies. In order to establish whether there is a genuine increase in the prevalence and to determine what are the factors associated with outgrowing peanut allergy, accurate data from large epidemiological studies is required. Therefore the aim of this study was to explore the natural history of peanut allergy in childhood in two birth cohorts from in the South of England.  


Researchers from the School of Health Sciences and Social Work have an established partnership with the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre at St. Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight, enabling us to conduct this type of research. Over the years, we have worked jointly on setting up birth cohort studies, with staff members holding joint clinical/academic positions at both centres.


2) How did the various team members contribute to the study?


The study involved two birth cohort studies, one of which, the FAIR (Food Allergy and Intolerance Research) study, was set up in 2001/2002 by a team including Prof. Tara Dean and Dr. Carina Venter, from the SHSSW. Over the past 10 years, the children born in this study have been followed up at various time points. Carina Venter conducted the 10 year follow up study as part of a NIHR post-doctoral fellowship, under the mentorship of Tara Dean. Kate Maslin completed her PhD jointly between the David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre and UofP, assisting with the statistical analyses and drafting the manuscript for publication. Gill Glasbey has been the study coordinator of the FAIR study since 2001 and also works for the Research Design Service at SHSSW.


3) How did you conduct the study?


The study compared results from two birth cohort studies born on the Isle of Wight 12 years apart: The FAIR study, which recruited children born in 2001-2002 and the IOW birth cohort study, which recruited children born in 1989. In both studies, children were followed up at the ages of 1, 2, 3-4 and 10. At each time point, detailed health questionnaires, clinical examinations and allergy tests were undertaken. The outcomes of both studies were compared and written up for this paper.


4) What was the outcome?


Overall we found no significant differences between the FAIR and the IOW birth cohort for any of the time points studied, suggesting that peanut allergy appears to be stable over the first ten years of life in our cohorts. 


5) What impact do you expect the paper to have? 


We expect that the paper will help to provide some clarity on the time trends of peanut allergy. However as this study was conducted in one region of the UK, the results may not be generalizable to all parts of the world as several demographic and environmental factors may contribute to the incidence and prevalence of peanut allergy. This study does not necessarily give an indication about the increase or decrease of food allergy across the globe as there may be pockets where it is increasing and others where it is decreasing.


6) Now that the study is complete, what is the team's current research focused on? 


Since this study was completed, Carina Venter has relocated to the USA and is now working at Cincinatti Children’s Hospital conducting research in the area of food allergy, specifically eosinophilic oesophagitis. Tara Dean and Kate Maslin are both now working on a new birth cohort study, assessing the health of mothers and children born in Portsmouth in 2016.



Faculty Social Events

Throughout November, the Faculty of Science Social Committee and the Spinnaker Sports Centre ran five taster sessions for staff and students within the Faculty of Science. All five events were a huge success, and started with 20 staff and students participating in a Racketathon, a mixture of Tennis, Badminton and Table Tennis. The 8th November saw 13 participants split into teams and take each other on in a fast paced Handball and Futsal taster session. The following week was slightly more relaxed, with staff and students enjoying Pilates and Yoga inspired activities. On the 22nd November, staff and students again split into teams to try out Walking Netball and Walking Football, both of which were thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated.


The final session saw staff and students go head to head for a session of UV Badminton which proved very successful and well received as every court, taped with colourful UV was taken. Light up shuttlecocks and glow sticks added to the appeal which made this event stand out from any other sport event. Images of the event can be seen below.


More events, including non-sport events, will be taking place shortly so keep an eye out for updates.


If you are interested in joining the Faculty Social Committee please contact as we are always looking for new ideas and representatives from each department.



New Courses for the Science Faculty

Below is a list of courses with approval events taking place in 2016/17 to commence for the academic year 2017/18. All courses will have a status of 'subject to approval' until full approval has been given.


New Courses for 2017/18




  • MSc Human & Applied Physiology - Start date September 2017
  • MSc/PgDip/PgCert Clinical Exercise Science - Start date September 2017 (*existing course title modified to MSc Physical Activity, Exercise and Health)-  start date September 2017)
  • Prof Doc Sport and Exercise Psychology (distance learning)- start date September 2017
  • Prof Doc Sport, Exercise and Health Science (distance learning)- Reduced approval process May 2017



  • MSc Medical Biotechnology - Start date September 2017
  • MSc Biotechnology - start date September 2017
  • PG Cert Prescribing and 
  • Therapeutics- approval event scheduled for Spring 2017


  • PgDip Forensic Psychology Practice- Start date September 2017
  • Prof Doc Forensic Psychology- Start date September 2017 (deferred from February 2017)
  • MSc Health Psychology- approval event tbc



2016 Open Day Summary

On 19 November 2016 the Faculty of Science took part in the last University Open Day for this calendar year. Our Faculty welcomed over 2500 potential students throughout the 6 Open Days held between July and November 2016. Compared to the other faculties, Science has been most popular choice of interest amongst all visitors who attended each of the 6 Open Days. In terms of volumes, the Open Days in July turned out to be busy along with the one on 8th October 2016. The Open Day in the early October was on top, having recorded the most attendees for our Faculty in the 2016 Open Day campaign.



Looking ahead in the New Year, we are currently preparing for our spring session where we are going to welcome all current applicants who wish to come and taste the experience of being part of University of Portsmouth. The first Applicant Open Day is on 8th February 2017 and there are frequent events which will be running until 22nd April 2017.

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Faculty Sports Social Events

The Faculty of Science Social Committee and the Spinnaker Sports Centre would like to invite staff to take part in the following sports events.  All participants will be required to register for a free Get Active membership and agree to the Sports Centre’s terms and conditions.  All events will be held in the Spinnaker Sports Hall.


Tuesday  1st November – 17:00 – 18:00 –  Racketathon –  Come and try out Tennis, Badminton and Table Tennis. Click here to book a place for this session.


Tuesday 8th November – 17:00 – 18:00 – Handball and Futsal taster session. Click here to book a place for this session.


Tuesday 15th November – 17:00 – 18:00 – Come and try Pilates and Yoga inspired activities. Click here to book a place for this session.


Tuesday 22nd November 17:00 – 18:00 – Walking Netball and Walking Football taster session. Click here to book a place for this session.


Tuesday 29th November – 17:00 – 1800 – Come and try UV Badminton! Click here to book a place for this session. We look forward to seeing you there.


If you would like to join the Social Committee please contact


Wear it Pink for Breast Cancer Now

Wear it pink on Wednesday 12 October for Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity,  At their heart they have a clear aim: To stop women dying from breast cancer by  2050.


The money raised will fund world-class research, by the brightest scientific minds, across the UK and Ireland. Breast Cancer Now actively encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing, and help their scientists and clinicians kick-start innovation. This pioneering approach to breast  cancer research trusts scientific experts to help us fund the best projects you’ll be helping the 50,000 women and 350 men diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the  UK.

This event is run by RAG Portsmouth, the student fundraising group at the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union. Last year we raised over £200,000 for a variety of causes.


Each year they hold this Pink Wednesday event for Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity. Last year Pink Wednesday raised over £2000! This year we want to raise even more, but to do this we need your help.

So get out your pink shirts, ties and tutu’s (optional) and wear it pink on Wednesday 12 October.


Donate here:


Or in person in the Science Faculty Office.