The Week in University News: 5 – 11 May 2012
Dr James Treadwell presented research on 9 May on why ex-armed forces personnel end up in prison. The seminar for the Department of Criminology charted how recent explanations for offending by ex-military personnel have focused on the seeming connection between experiences of traumatic and violent conflict in active combat service and the onset of subsequent criminality, particularly linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr Treadwell drew on 29 interviews with serving male prisoners, who were previously employed in HM armed forces undertaken in three prisons in England in late 2010
Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit discovered a means of ‘switching off’ neurodegeneration after they identified a major pathway leading to brain cell death. They found that the build up of mis-folded proteins activates a natural defence mechanism in cells, which switches off the production of new proteins. This would normally switch back ‘on’ again, but in the experiments the continued build-up of mis-shapen protein keeps the switch turned ‘off’.
The GENIE CETL in the Department of Genetics is using virtual genetics labs to allow students to complete complex and time-consuming experiments in a matter of minutes, using virtual reality avatars and a simulated laboratory. The SWIFT (Second World Immersive Future Teaching) project in collaboration with the Beyond Distance Research Alliance uses Second Life to create tailor-made learning environments, helping teachers solve a variety of practical teaching challenges.
The School of Historical Studies' Professor Peter King’s professorial inaugural lecture took place on 8 May, in which he examined the whether the study of murder rates in societies through history could explain the emergence of violent, no-go areas in cities today. It charted the prevalence of murder in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, in England and Scotland in the 19th century and in 20th century America as well as world homicide rates in the 21st century.