Category / Research themes

BU’s PGR Paul Fairbairn at the Lipids and Brain IV conference in Nancy

The Société Française pour l’Etude des Lipides (SFEL) recently held the fourth iteration of their Lipids and Brain conference in Nancy France.

I was given the opportunity to present some preliminary results from an ongoing study I am conducting as part of my PhD, looking into the effects of a multi-nutrient omega-3 fatty acid supplement and exercise on mobility and cognitive function in ladies aged 60+.  Analysis of the baseline data revealed relationships between levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood with cognitive and gait outcomes, however this effect differed between non-frail and pre-frail participants.

The conference brought together scientists, physicians and nutritionists to provide a unique prospective on the role of lipid nutrition in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases with a large focus on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  The conference was a mix of lectures, invited reviews, and poster sessions.  There was a tremendous variety of topics presented, including lectures on the pathophysiology and epidemiology of AD, how AD can impact lipid metabolism and the effects of lipid intake on prevention and treatment of AD.

During the conference Professor Stephen Cunnane from the Research Center on Aging, Sherbrooke (Canada) was presented with the prestigious Chevreul Medal.

On a personal note this was an exciting opportunity for me to present my work and represent Bournemouth University and my supervisory team of Dr. Simon Dyall and Dr. Fotini Tsofliou at a respected conference.  It was very satisfying to see some interest in my work from researchers whose work I myself look up to.

I would like to extend my gratitude towards Bournemouth University, for providing the funding that allowed me to attend the conference and to the scientific committee at the SFEL for organising such an impeccable event.

If you would like to learn more about our research, please feel free to contact me at


AHRC report about arts and humanities research on mental health

A new report, Exploring Mental Health and Wellbeing, published by the Arts and Humanities Research Council highlights the important role that arts and humanities based research can play in helping to address complex issues around mental health.

The report brings to life a wealth of case studies that are contributing to the mental health debate. These include examining the work of academics at the University of Cambridge who are pioneering an innovative design of a personalised fragrance dispenser to help manage anxiety to a project being managed by the University of Essex to educate policy-makers on the issues surrounding impaired decision-making capacity.

Research around mental health is focused around developing a cross-disciplinary approach – and arts and humanities scholars have a key role to play. The AHRC has funded research in many different aspects of mental health research in recent years, with an investment of over £10m in seventy-six projects since 2010.

The new cross-disciplinary mental health research agenda sees the UK’s seven research councils joining forces to collaborate on mental health research. Published in August this year, the agenda paves the way for cross-council collaboration on mental health, highlighting the importance of including the arts and humanities in this area of research.

Molecular basis for a healthier heart…new work published by BU

Research funded by the British Heart Foundation looking at tissue fibrosis (scarring), will soon be published in Experimental Gerontology, one the world’s leading journal on ageing. Fibrosis occurs naturally as part of our injury response process but also develops in ageing and chronic disease. Treatments are scant despite fibrosis leading to organ failure and increased risk of death.

The image shows valves (v) in the hearts of young and ‘late middle aged’ fruit flies that have been genetically engineered to express fluorescent collagen, an key ‘scar protein’. Although the fly heart is just two cells wide it represents a lot of the genetic machinery for a human heart. Amazingly, the function of human and fly hearts declines as they age – and they both accumulate collagen.

Our previous work linked heart function with SPARC – a protein associated with fibrosis in humans.  We’ve now demonstrated that the heart’s ‘health-span’ during ageing can be significantly lengthened if the expression SPARC is reduced. We also show that if SPARC levels increase – fibrosis is increased too. Hence, we’ve nailed a cause-and-effect relationship between SPARC and heart function which supports the idea of targeting SPARC clinically to control cardiac health and fibrosis.

Paul S. Hartley (Department of Life and Environmental Science).

SAIL Project Team Meeting

Last week, Prof Ann Hemingway,  Prof Adele Ladkin  and Dr Holly Crossen-White joined European research colleagues in Ostend, Belgium for a SAIL Project bi-annual team meeting. Over two days  all research partners from four different European countries had the opportunity to share their initial research data from pilot projects being developed within each country for older people. The BU team will be undertaking the feasibility study for the SAIL project and will be drawing together all the learning from the various interventions created by the other partners.



New CMMPH midwifery publication

Congratulations to Dr. Sue Way and Prof. Vanora Hundley in BU’s Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on their latest publication on the latent phase of labour.  Their paper ‘Defining the latent phase of labour: is it important?’ appeared in Evidence Based Midwifery and was written with midwifery colleagues across the UK, Germany and Canada [1].



Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen




  1. Hundley V, Way S, Cheyne H, Janssen P, Gross M, Spiby H (2017) Defining the latent phase of labour: is it important? Evidence Based Midwifery 15 (3): 89-94. 


New research shows that active gaming technology could help people with Multiple Sclerosis

A new study published by Bournemouth University has shown that using the Nintendo Wii™ could help people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) become more active.  Being more physically activity has a range of potential benefits, including better balance and posture, improved confidence and improved mood.

The study saw 30 participants trial the use of Wii Fit Plus™, Wii Sports™ and Wii Sports Resort™ games at home, following initial orientation and guidance from physiotherapists in a hospital setting.  People recorded how often they used the Wii™, as well as responding to a number of questionnaires exploring its effects.  Dr Sarah Thomas, lead researcher, explains the rationale behind the project:

“Physical activity is known to make a difference to the health and wellbeing of people with MS, but they often face greater barriers to participation.  I’d noticed from my own family that playing the Wii appealed across the generations and was interested to see whether its ease of use and accessibility would make a difference to people with MS,” says Dr Thomas.

“Conversations with the Dorset MS team showed that they’d been thinking along the same lines, as they’d noticed that the Wii was increasingly being used by their patients.  That’s what led us to develop a successful grant application to the MS Society.”

As part of the Mii-vitaliSe study, people with MS were allocated  at random to one of two groups – one which trialled the Wii intervention immediately alongside their usual care for 12 months, and one which started the Wii intervention after a 6 month delay.

“The people we worked with were relatively physically inactive at the beginning of the study,” explains Dr Thomas, “Through regular 1-2-1 sessions with a physiotherapist, they were able to develop individual goals, which they then worked towards achieving using the Wii™ in their own homes.”

“We found that people were using the Wii™ on average about twice a week, most often for balance exercises, yoga or aerobics,” continues Dr Thomas, “Our participants found it a fun and convenient way to increase their physical activity levels, with people reporting benefits such as reduced stress, increased confidence and better balance, among others.”

“In day-to-day life, people noticed improvements such as dropping fewer pegs when hanging out washing, finding it easier to get in and out of the shower and walking further.”

We hope to build on these promising initial findings by carrying out a large multi-centre trial to test whether this intervention is effective.”

The full study can be read here.

A briefing paper about the research can be found here.

CMMPH student wins prestigious Iolanthe Midwifery Trust award

Congratulations to Dominique Mylod, clinical doctoral student in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health , Faculty of Health and Social Sciences.

Dominique was awarded a Midwives Award from the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust for her research into early labour, which explores whether using a birth ball at home in early labour improves birth outcomes. She is supervised by Professor Vanora Hundley, Dr Sue Way, and Dr Carol Clark.

The picture shows Dominique receiving her award from Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE, Patron of the Trust.


Perceptually-Motivated Rendering – Frame Rate Vs. Resolution

We would like to invite you to the first of a new series of research seminars of the Creative Technology Research Centre featuring external speakers.


Speaker: Dr Kurt Debattista

Dr Debattista is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick specialising in Visualisation Research. His research interests include Interacting rendering, High-fidelity graphics, Perceptually-based rendering, High Dynamic Range Imaging, Parallel Computing, and Serious Games.


Title: Perceptually-Motivated Rendering – Frame Rate Vs. Resolution

Time: 2:00PM-3:00PM


Date: Wednesday 18th October 2017


Room: Lawrence LT, Poole House, Talbot Campus


Abstract: High-fidelity graphics permit the visualisation of complex scenarios for applications such as simulation, engineering, archaeology, entertainment etc. Unfortunately, high-fidelity graphics can be computationally expensive and therefore scenarios cannot always be rendered to their highest fidelity. However, the human visual system (HVS) is not infallible and if well understood could be used to develop and implement rendering systems that best exploit its characteristics resulting in perceptually better graphics. Maximising performance for rendered content requires making compromises on quality parameters depending on the computational resources available. Yet, it is currently unclear which parameters best maximise perceived quality. In this talk this is illustrated by recent work attempting to harness the relationship between frame rate and resolution on perceived quality to obtain more cost-effective virtual experiences.


We hope to see you there.

Innovation in health and life sciences round 3- DEADLINE 6/12/17

InnovateUK have announced the opening of the Innovation in health and life sciences, round 3.  All projects must be led by a business and have the involvement of at least one SME on the project.  Research organisations may participate in applications as collaborators. All submissions must demonstrate plans for significant innovation in at least one of the priority areas:

  • increasing agricultural productivity
  • improving food quality and sustainability
  • advanced therapies (cell and gene therapies)
  • precision medicine
  • medicines discovery
  • preclinical technologies
  • advanced biosciences

Applications will also need to address at least one of the competition themes.  Applications for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are also welcome.  Total project costs should be between £50k and £2m and last from six months to three years.

For information on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, please contact Rachel Clarke (  For discussing how to developing a research collaboration with industry, please contact Ehren Milner (





BU Sociology article in The Conversation

Congratulations to Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim Senior Lecturer in Sociology at BU who has just written an interesting piece on human rights issues faced by North Korean female defectors in China in The Conversation. You can access this article by clicking here!


Well done!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen



Centre for Qualitative Research ‘In Conversation” this Wed 1 pm Fenge & Jones

Not to be missed!

This Wednesday at 1 pm in RLH 201

Lee-Ann Fenge and Kip Jones converse about a focus group that became an innovative journal article, and now about to become a short ‘script in hand’ performance by YOU the audience!

“I’m her partner. Let me in!”

All BU staff and students welcome! 

See you there!

See all of the ‘In Conversation’ CQR Seminars listed here.











ADRC attend the Fifth Annual Wessex Clinical Research Network Ageing Research Meeting

Jane Murphy from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC)  was invited to join the ‘Fifth Annual Wessex Clinical Research Network Ageing Research Meeting’ on 13th September 2017  at Royal Bournemouth Hospital.  There were a wide range of interesting and insightful presentations  by clinicians of mostly NIHR funded research in ageing including frailty, dementia and neurodegenerative disorders and stroke. The Specialty National Lead for Ageing, and Lead for Ageing and Dementia Theme NIHR CLAHRC Professor Helen Roberts chaired the morning session  followed by Dr Divya Tiwari,  Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex Ageing Specialty Lead who chaired the afternoon session.

Martine Cross, The Research Delivery Manager for  Ageing at the  Wessex CRN presented a key update on projects and plans.  Please note that Martine will be coming to BU and for academics with an interest in ageing research and considering applying to NIHR, it would present an ideal opportunity to meet Martine and know more about  the Wessex CRN and discuss your plans.

For expressions of interest to join the meeting, please email  Michelle O’Brien, ADRC  administrator ( and  we will send further details.



Conference on the impact of complications and errors in surgery held at BU

Things can go wrong in surgery, and dealing with the consequences of complications and errors is part and parcel of a surgeon’s life. Last week a conference was held at BU’s Executive Business Centre which explored the impact that adverse events have on surgeons and examined how these effects can be ameliorated. Eminent presenters from across the UK shared insights from their surgical careers and personal experiences, presented the latest research in the area, and considered how better support and training could be provided for surgeons.

The conference was organised by the Bournemouth Adverse Events Research Team, a joint research venture between psychologists at BU and surgeons at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, who are currently researching the impact of complications and errors which inevitably arise during surgery on surgeons.  Professor Siné McDougall, one of the research team, said: “Today is about trying to think about what we can do to support surgeons. When things do go wrong, the focus is rightly on patients and their family. However, surgeons are also dealing with their own feelings, particularly if they have made a mistake which they deeply regret.”

It was clear that the conference had touched on a key issue for surgeons.  This was summed up by the keynote speaker, Professor Sir Miles Irving, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at Manchester University, who said “The proceedings were excellent and clearly demonstrated that you have latched on to a problem which has the potential to become even more significant if not addressed.”  The Bournemouth Adverse Events Team is looking forward to continuing research in this area which will address this issue.