Imperial College London

Post-monsoon pollution and women of the Future: News from the College

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A haze of pollution over an Indian motorway

Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From calls to control post-monsoon air pollution in Northern India, to awards recognition for Imperial women in science, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

India air pollution

A new study is calling for action to control escalating post-monsoon air pollution in Northern India. The research, led by the University of Leicester and co-authored by Imperial’s Professor Sanjeev Gupta, shows that air pollution related to crop residue burning, which is most prevalent during the post-monsoon season, has significantly worsened over the past decade.

Professor Gupta of the Department of Earth Science and Engineering said: “By using over a decade of satellite monitoring and air pollution measurements, we found that the local weather conditions and the amount of crop burning, rather than the timing, plays a more significant role in the accumulation of pollutants.”

The study makes a strong case to support farmers with affordable and sustainable alternatives so that they can efficiently manage large amounts of rice residue and avoid open field crop-residue burning.

Read more at the Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society.

Modifying mosquitos

IMosquito sperm under a microscopemperial researchers belonging to the Target Malaria consortium have previously been able to bias the sex ratio of one species of mosquitoes by modifying a specific gene so that more males than females are born, eventually collapsing the population. However, they were unsure how exactly this worked.

Now, they have shown that their modified gene, which targets the X chromosome, affects the competitiveness of the sperm, making mature sperm carrying an X less likely to fertilise the egg. This means more Y-carrying sperm fertilise the egg, creating males when combined with the egg’s X chromosome. 

They also looked at what would happen if the target for the gene modification also existed on the Y chromosome. They found that while fewer males are initially born as a result, the male bias rapidly reached similar levels as the exclusive X-based target in subsequent generations. 

Read the full paper: ‘Cellular mechanisms regulating synthetic sex ratio distortion in the Anopheles gambiae germline’ by Dr Roya Elaine Haghighat-Khah et al. 

Leading campus safety 

Terry Branch
Head of Security, Terry Branch

Imperial's Head of Security, Terry Branch, has been appointed International Director of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

The Association, which is based in the US, is the international leading authority for campus public safety. It shares information, best practice and training to members across the world.

Terry, who has been at the helm of Imperial's Security Services for more than a decade, leads a team of more than 150 security staff across the College's 9 campuses who protect the community from harm and make sure Imperial is a safe, welcoming and inclusive space. 

Terry is an active member of the Association of University Chief Security Officers, a closely related organisation, acting as London regional chair and lead on Domestic Extremism and Counter Terrorism. 

Women of the Future

Dr Nuria Oliva-Jorge
Dr Nuria Oliva-Jorge

Dr Nuria Oliva-Jorge of the Department of Bioengineering and Dr Emma Chapman of the Department of Physics have been shortlisted as finalists for the Aviva Women of the Future Awards in the Science category.

The Awards intend to provide a platform for remarkable female talent in the UK. The Science category recognises a group of truly remarkable female scientists who are forging new ground in research and scientific achievement.

Dr Chapman is researching the first stars; how they formed and how they contributed to the Universe we see today.

Dr Oliva-Jorge is currently working on designing smart materials for biomedical applications, like nanoparticles for cancer treatment and biomaterials to treat inflammation and help regenerate tissue.

Dr Oliva-Jorge said: “I am honoured to be a finalist for this award and to become part of this incredible platform to inspire and empower a new generation of female leaders. I have been fortunate to have had strong, yet nurturing female role models both in my professional and personal life that have taught me you can be both kind and a leader, and that is my aspiration.”

Imperial College London itself is also nominated in the ‘Corporate’ category. 

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Pollution, Malaria, Women-at-Imperial, News-in-brief, Staff-development
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