Deputy News Editor


A deep dive into research this month at the University of Glasgow.

Recent research projects at the University of Glasgow have continued the theme of academic excellence associated with the institution. Ground-breaking gains in the fields of astrophysics, pain relief, ovarian cancer, and flood prevention all speak to a melodic theme: this university stands for the creation of a better world. 

A recent project at the University has seen a huge breakthrough in the field of astrophysics. A team from the School of Physics and Astronomy has developed a quantum algorithm which can track the activities of sea waves on our global oceans. This hails an important development: science researchers have made further inroads in the ability to predict massive astronomical events like the collision of meteors and the development of black holes. Fergus Hayes, co-lead of the project, said: “The cross-disciplinary work that Dr Gao and I have led has demonstrated the potential of quantum computing in matched filtering. As quantum computers develop in the coming years, it’s possible that processes like these could be used in future gravitational wave detectors. It’s an exciting prospect.” 

“The cross-disciplinary work that Dr Gao and I have led has demonstrated the potential of quantum computing in matched filtering. As quantum computers develop in the coming years, it’s possible that processes like these could be used in future gravitational wave detectors."

Fergus Hayes, project co-leader

Equally, researchers have been making gains in the medical industry via a joint project with colleagues at the University of Southampton – in an unlikely venture. The deadly venom of a poisonous sea snail could hold the key to developing cheap, affordable and less addictive painkiller medicines. Dr Andrew Jamison, from the UofG School of Chemistry, said: "The cone snail might seem like an unlikely prospect for breakthroughs in drug discovery, but the conotoxin it produces has a lot of intriguing properties which have already shown promise in medicine." It seems, then, that snails can outpace the magic sponge as the most important form of contemporary pain relief…

Research breakthroughs this quarter have also involved important developments in the fight to prevent ovarian cancer. A new project, led by the University of Glasgow which has been funded by leading health charity Wellbeing of Women, is investigating why some advanced ovarian cancers become resistant to treatment. Researchers will study samples from patients to understand how, and why, this resistance occurs – and seeks to initiate new solutions which can produce more personalised care for those affected. Professor David Williams, Chair of the Research Advisory Committee at Wellbeing for Women, said: “It is tragic that, in the UK, 11 women die every day from ovarian cancer. This study has exciting implications for clinical practice, paving the way for better management of advanced ovarian cancer".

UofG researchers have also been busy this quarter formulating a novel approach to combating the dangers of disastrous flooding by developing a mobile phone app. A collaborative project between various global universities has been hard-at-work developing the Waterproofing Dataapp, which has recently been trialled in Brazil as a tracking tool to plan against the harsher mitigations of spontaneous flooding in the country. It creates a “citizen scientist” approach to disaster-prevention, enabling communities to input data about rainfall levels while the app visually shows the resulting recent trends. Professor João Porto de Albuquerque of the University of Glasgow said: “The mobile app draws upon research results obtained by a trans-disciplinary international research team in Brazil, Germany and the UK. It will enable schools and communities throughout Brazil to adapt to climate extreme events and prevent the devastating impact of flooding which happens year-after-year."


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