News Archive

6 May 2020

For the past few weeks, first-year EASTBIO student Zoe Gidden (based at the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Professor Lynne Regan and Dr Mathew Horrocks) has been volunteering in the Pathology Department at Northampton General Hospital to help set up COVID-19 testing. Shortly after returning home, Zoe reached out to the Head of Pathology, Augustus Lusack, to offer her help at what is a challenging time for the department.

Since then, Zoe has been working closely with Augustus and two University of Northampton PhD students, David Young and Charlotte Brookes, to set up an in-house molecular laboratory capable of COVID-19 testing. The team is extracting viral RNA from patient swabs and then using RT-PCR to detect if SARS-CoV-2 RNA is present. Zoe has found that laboratory techniques she learnt during the first year of her PhD (PCR and nucleic acid extraction), along with problem solving skills have helped her to make valuable contributions to the team’s efforts.

2 Apr 2020

Jennifer Wardle, a fourth-year EASTBIO student at the University of Aberdeen, has been working with Professor Jo Smith on the project "Resolving conflict between demands on organic waste in rural Ethiopia - Optimum solutions for food, energy and water security". 

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, Jennifer has produced a short animation on "Genet's new biogas digester". This an animation summary about her research topic, involving small-scale biogas production in rural Ethiopia. It shows the need for inter-disciplinary approaches to address the main challenges in her research project, as with many of the world’s problems. It was also a good way to escape her usual PhD routine while still being constructive.

Enjoy the video on the link below:


3 Mar 2020

On the 5th March 2020, EASTBIO first-year PhD student Eddie Martin organised a concert with a difference. The performers? Researchers in the fields of Biological Sciences and/or Music. Their instruments? Computer programming languages. The audience? Enjoying a healthy mix of inspiration, entertainment, and bemusement.

Eddie Martin introducing the event (5 March 2020, Edinburgh, 50, George Square)

This event welcomed all to the diverse and overlapping worlds of sonification, algorithmic music composition, and live-coding/algorave. I will now interrupt this article for some basic definitions:

Sonficiation – Turning data to (non-speech) sound. Think heart-rate monitors or Geiger counters.

Algorithmic Music Composition – Writing music using an algorithm with minimal human input. (Mozart used grids and dice. Nowadays we use computer programming languages.)

29 Oct 2019

To mark the EASTBIO partnership’s successful bid for a third term, funding 50+ PhD studentships for a further 5 year, we call on our students’ creative powers for a new EASTBIO logo header! This will be used on our website as well as all material, digital and textual, relating to the EASTBIO programme (Handbook, presentations slides, fliers, etc.) and our social media.

The EASTBIO Management Group will review all submissions and select the winner.

Winner prize: £100 book voucher

24 Oct 2019

We are delighted to start working together with our new student reps - Daniel, Abi, Dewi, Philip, Tgan and all the many volunteers/reserves - to develop relationships and training events that remain relevant to our PhD students and their research plans.

We encourage all our students to approach their reps and trust them to act as interlocutors to the EASTBIO Management Group. 

More information about them here.

24 Oct 2019

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, a part of UK Research and Innovation) has announced £170m in funding to support 1700 PhD researchers over the next 5 years. BBSRC’s Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) provide vital training to early career scientists working at the cutting edge of biology and biotechnology.

The EASTBIO partnership, one of the three largest UKRI-BBSRC DTPs, has been providing training for PhD students at the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews uninterruptedly since it was initially funded in 2012. The partnership is now expanding to include the University of Stirling, Scotland’s Rural College, the James Hutton Institute, the Moredun Research Institute, the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) and the Cool Farm Alliance.

10 Sep 2019

Jordan Mitchell, third-year EASTBIO student working with Professor Danielle Gunn-Moore at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine, has two published papers in 2019 from his research:

a review article, 'Mycobacterial infections in cats and dogs,' at VNJ

and a research/clinical paper, 'Tuberculosis due to Mycobacterium bovis in pet cats associated with feeding a commercial raw food diet' at the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

Congratulations, Jordan!

29 Jul 2019

The winner of the newly launched UKRI BBSRC Impact Writing Competition 2019 is EASTBIO fourth-year PhD student Luke Woodford with "Using Coordinated Varroa Treatments to Improve Honey Bee Health. Luke is currently completing his PhD on "Healthy honeybees: The biology and affordable control of varroa and deformed wings virus" at the University of St Andrews, supervised by Dr David Evans.

His case study was selected as winner of the Impact Writing Competition 2019.

26 Jun 2019

Another year is concluded for the EASTBIO community with the much anticipated Annual Symposium on bioscience research, held at our partner institution University of Dundee on the 13-14 June 2019.

Welcome by EASTBIO 2019 Symposium host and EASTBIO Co-Director, Dr Edgar Huitema

The key event on the EASTBIO diary has attracted over a hundred and fifty delegates for two days of talks, poster presentations, a keynote address by UKRI BBSRC Strategy & Policy Officer Dr Abigail Harris, a highlight session on Career Paths and Stories, social events and many prizes. We had the honour of having excellent and engaging senior academics who acted as chairs to the five thematic sessions that embraced the entire range of research conducted by EASTBIO students:

18 Apr 2019


Another year of running a successful Student Retreat for our third-year students, aided by the gorgeous Scottish landscape. Our students are telling us that it was a relaxing way of spending some time with fellow hard-working PhD students across the DTP cohort in a laid back environment. The pictures speak for themselves.


13 Feb 2019
New video on the NPIF Skills School ‘Broadening Horizons: Cultivating an Innovative Mind Set (Edinburgh, 4 - 5 June 2018) with advice from industry experts (click on the photo above to watch the video).


28 Jan 2019

The UKRI BBSRC-funded Research Experience Placements call is now open to all second- and third-year students who wish to do a summer placement and get some lab experience.

Deadling for applications: 29 March 2019

For information on how to apply, please go here.

Please note that this scheme is currently on hold; we will update our webpages when it is live. If you have an application in development with a supervisor currently, please feel free to progress and submit that and we will update you as soon as we have more information.

15 Nov 2018

The BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2019 Award competition is now open, and the BBSRC has again a category for Early Career Impact that is particularly relevant to DTP current students and recent leavers. We rely on our community to spread the word, whether that means circulating relevant information or submitting specific recommendations to highlight excellent researchers and encourage them to apply.

Winners of each of the four categories – Commercial Impact, Social Impact, International Impact and Early Career Impact – will receive a £10,000 award, with a further £10,000 for the overall BBSRC Innovator of the Year winner. Awards will be presented at a high-profile event in London in May 2019.

Further information and links to submit either applications or recommendations can be found on our website.

1 Nov 2018

We are delighted to welcome our new student reps from the 2018 student cohort - each representing one of the four EASTBIO partner institutions.

Find their details here and make sure you email them to say hello!


15 Aug 2018

The BBSRC Skills School ‘Broadening Horizons: Cultivating an Innovative Mind Set’ was held with great succes in Edinburgh, from Monday 4 to Tuesday 5 June 2018.

This event was supported by the BBSRC National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

Read more here.


28 May 2018

For another year, the EASTBIO committee has awarded the BBSRC REP 2018 Awards.

We have received applications from across the four partner institutions from excellent undergraduates this year too and the competition has been intense.
You can find the details of the awards here.
23 May 2018

NPIF Skills School ‘Broadening Horizons: Cultivating an Innovative Mind Set’

Edinburgh, 4 - 5 June 2018

This skills school “Broadening Horizons: Cultivating an Innovative Mind Set” has been developed by the BBSRC EASTBIO DTP and the BBSRC IBioIC CTP in partnership and close collaboration with 5 industry facilities: the IBioIC Flexible Downstream Bioprocessing Centre, Edinburgh (FlexBio); the National Phenotypic Screening Centre, Dundee; BioAscent / the European Screening Centre, Biocity, Newhouse; the Edinburgh Genome Foundry; and the Roslin Cell Therapies Ltd GMP facility, Edinburgh.  It draws on expertise and know-how from these complementary partners to address industry-identified needs and skills gaps.

Event programme.

Event website.

17 May 2018

Congratulations to EASTBIO second-year PhD student, Ms Mimi Asogwa for winning the Journal of Medical Microbiology poster prize following her contribution to the April 2018 Microbiology Society’s Annual Conference in Birmingham.

Mimi is working on a Bioscience for Health project on 'Investigating the Role of the Bacterial Mechanosensitive Channel (YnaI) in Salmonella Pathogenesis', with Dr Sam Miller at the University of Aberdeen.

15 Mar 2018

Winning in western blotting at Thermo Fisher Scientific (please click on the title to read more)
by Zandile Nare

Background information

I am a second-year EASTBIO PhD student within the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research at the University of Edinburgh. My research focuses on the identification of specific inhibitors of kinetoplastid RNA editing ligase 1 (REL1), a validated drug target, for use as lead compounds for the treatment of human and animal diseases caused by  kinetoplastid parasites (e.g. sleeping sickness, nagana, Chagas disease & various leishmaniases). A secondary goal of my PhD is to understand structure-activity relationships of REL1 and the other kinetoplastid ligase; REL2.

PIPS project background and motivation for pursuing project

27 Feb 2018

David Walker, fourth-year EASTBIO student at the University of St Andrews (his project is 'Stress on the brain: Implications for cognitive ageing'), along with his MSc supervisor Dr Stephen Land, identified a new role for the protein, Sprouty2, a known regulator of airway branching during embryonic lung development. They found that this protein also acts within the nucleus of lung epithelial cells to regulates vascular growth of the developing lung. They conclude that nuclear Spry2 acts as a molecular link which co-ordinates airway and vascular growth of the cardiopulmonary system.

You can find the link to David's paper here.