Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas Party

There are images of the Christmas party circulating...

ancient DNA? now we are cooking...

BioArCh team members have discovered that cooking may not be as bad as thought for old DNA. Claudio Ottoni of the University of Rome, lead a study which investigated early Medieval cattle bones from York discovered that the more cooked the bones were the better was the DNA preservation. See report in New Scientist or the full article in Naturwissenschaften (DOI: 10.1007/s00114-008-0478-5).

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Someone on campus finally shown to have brain

Someone on the new campus has finally been found with a brain... and BioArCh scientists are planning to analyse it. A team from the York Archaeological Trust unearthed the brain in an Iron Age skull. Ancient brain, scientists in white coats, old building, dark winter nights..... For full details see the BBC website.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

YPS Prize Presentations

David Harker and Ben Elliot have both been awarded Charles Wellbeloved prizes by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society for their outstanding undergraduate dissertations of 2008. Both David and Ben gave short presentations in which they outlined their work.

David's work titled Making thermal age accessible using web based applications, introduced a novel approach for predicting the preservation of biomolecules. Algorithms based on thermal models, obtained from published databases, were used to predict the preservation of DNA in particular. The predicted thermal age was found to closely correlate to published values from real samples. This web-based application is helpful in deciding whether specimens are suitable for further research. The DNA Recovery Rate Calculator (DRRC) can be accessed here.

Ben's presentation, Is there evidence for barbed point manufacturing at Star Carr?, revisited the material from this Mesolithic site, and focussed on the manufacture of barbed points made from antlers. He carried out experimental work to mimic the production process using authentic tools. The debitage produced was compared to the remains found at the site to try to determine whether Star Carr was indeed a production site for these barbed points.

Well done and congratulations to both!

Good Luck, Luisa!

Luisa returned home 3rd of December after finishing her six month Palaeo Fellowship at S-Block. She was investigating racemization and protein aging on Aβ-amyloid, which is responsible for Alzheimer's disease.
As we will miss her at the Christmas party, Luisa invited everyone for a drink at the Mason Arms. She will return to us in mid-January after her viva.

Luisa, good luck with the final hurdle and have a happy holiday!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Congratulations to Oliver & Cecile!

Congratulations to Oliver and Cecile on the birth of baby Luce Marie Craig!

Double Fellowship success

A double celebration, Both Enrico Cappellini and Caroline Solazzo have scored highly in the Marie Curie Fellowship competition. Enrico plans to travel to Copenhagen to work with Eske Willerslev and Tom Gilbert integrating proteomic and genomic approaches to study ancient seeds. Caroline will travel to New Zealand to work and study with AgResearch New Zealand's largest Crown Research Institute. The team at the Lincoln Research Centre are arguably the world experts in wool proteomics. Both will maintain links with BioArCh, and the newly formed Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry.

BioArCh endorses Web 2.0 (again)

Another plug for BioArCh's use of Wiki sites appears in an article by Michelle Perry in Information World Review this week on the role that social applications will have on the future of research. Matthew, do you have shares in Google?