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Biological Sciences


Biological Science's researchers apply science to life, making an impact beyond the lab by tackling global challenges such as food security, environmental change and human wellbeing..

Advancing Drug Discovery through the Development of 3D Mini-Organs

Research by biological scientists at the University of Southampton has led to the development of an innovative method of testing new drugs without using animals. Tissue from human volunteers is used in the laboratory to develop a variant of versatile stem cells. These can be induced to group together to form human ‘mini-organs’ such as the pancreas, liver or heart, a few millimetres in size. Researchers can use these human ‘mini-organs’ to test and analyse the results of targeting diseases with new drugs accurately, quickly and safely.

Exosect: an innovative electrostatic technology providing environmentally friendly pest control

In the 1990s, University of Southampton biological scientist Professor Philip Howse invented an eco-friendly and effective way to control pests using innovative electrostatic wax particle technology. Since 2001, spin-out company Exosect® has been developing his work pioneering more sustainable pest and disease control solutions to tackle a wide range of problems throughout the food supply chain.

As the world needs to produce more food, amid political, regulatory and macro-economic pressures, Exosect provides a range of sustainable tools to control damaging pests which will help ensure greater agricultural efficiency without recourse to potentially harmful agro-chemicals.

Preserving the integrity of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in Belize

Research by biological scientists at the University of Southampton has helped secure Belize’s first wildlife corridor for jaguars and other endangered cats. The corridor protects a unique link at this latitude of continuous natural habitats connecting south and north Belize, within the Mesoamerican corridor stretching between South and North America.

Fieldwork led by Patrick Doncaster and two of his previous PhD students helped to make the case for the land to be included in the country’s National Protected Areas Plan. The work was funded by a Darwin Initiative grant from the UK Government to Patrick at the University, and by funding from the charity Panthera. The project led to the establishment of a conservation training framework at Belize University.

The fight against parasitic worms: understanding a new resistance-breaking anthelmintic drug

A 15 year collaboration between biological scientists at the University of Southampton and Bayer AnimalHealth has broken new ground in the battle against parasitic worms (nematodes). Researchers have demonstrated that a new class of compounds, the cyclooctadepsipeptides, paralyses them through a completely new mechanism.

This knowledge has underpinned the registration and marketing of three new veterinary medicines starting with the award winning Profender Spot-on for cats in 2005. They have improved veterinary care for dogs and cats around the world, and enabled a world-leading animal health company to develop a new range of valuable drugs. It may also help the development of drugs to tackle human diseases caused by parasitic worms.

Photo of Chris Packham
I’m a firm believer that the future of conservation lies in youth… empowering themselves to make change happen.
Chris PackhamBSc Zoology
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