Studying in autumn 2020 during coronavirus

Sustainability

Research that makes a difference to our world

We help to improve flood warning systems through our ambitious work. We make sure local communities have a say in how their environment is managed. And we generate new ways of seeing and understanding our planet itself.

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Using enzymes to clean up the environment

Our research has discovered a new environmentally friendly method to improve the decontamination process and reduce pollution.

Dr Diane Purchase, Professor of Environmental Biotechnology, looks at ways to remove toxic substances and clean up contaminated land. Her research team has isolated a specific organism that could destroy the infectivity of infectious protein particles that are resistant to conventional sterilisation and decontamination procedures.

Potential uses for decontamination across industries

This discovery could reduce our reliance on traditional methods, like incineration, thermal and alkaline breakdown, that are potentially hazardous and polluting to the environment. Our results suggest many other potential uses beyond land, like the decontamination of high-cost surgical instruments so that they can be re-used. This sustainable approach minimises waste and there is extra income from the resulting by-product too.

Professor Diane Purchase and her research

Professor Diane Purchase is a Professor of Environmental Biotechnology. She is the Honorary Secretary of the Committee of the Heads of Environmental Sciences in the UK and a Fellow of the Institution of Environmental Sciences. She has keen interest on the role of biotechnology in pollution control and bioremediation.

Comparing gut microorganisms in human babies and adults

Our Biomedical Sciences Research team has explored factors that affect the level of microorganisms in the gut. There are certain types of bacteria that are linked with beneficial effects on human health, however there are lots of different factors that adversely affect population levels of the bacteria.

Using scientific findings to promote a healthy lifestyle

Our research group measured the level of bifidobacteria in gut microbiota in adults and babies to find out more about what can change the level of this important microorganism in the gut.

The group concluded that a combination of age, dietary fibre intake, BMI, and smoking influenced the levels of bifidobacteria in adults, while in babies the levels were influenced by age and consumption of breast or bottle milk.

Gut microorganisms research team

The research team

Dr Azra Pachenari is a senior lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences.

Dr Beata Burczynska is a senior lecturer in Biomedical Science.

Shadi Khonsari is a senior Graduate Academic Assistant in the Department of Natural Sciences.

Understanding sustainable prosperity

Our researchers in the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research have been exploring how we can tackle climate change and the biodiversity loss by developing alternative forms of enterprise and investment. Led by Professor Fergus Lyon, the Middlesex team has been part of a consortium for the ESRC Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP).

Tackling the big questions in sustainability

The research is tackling the big question of what prosperity can look like if we are living within our limits of our planet. Research is showing that there are ways that business can support society to live well while consuming less resources. Central to this are alternative business forms that put social and environmental goals at their heart.

This is not without challenges, and the research has been looking at how entrepreneurs are finding solutions, how they are developing alternative forms of governing businesses, and how they can be supported. The research is published in top academic journals and the findings shared in other ways such as the free online courses on Upcycling for social change.

Professor Fergus Lyon and his research

Professor Fergus Lyon is a Professor of Enterprise and Organisations in the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research, Middlesex University in London and Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity. Previously, he was the social enterprise lead on the £10m Third Sector Research Centre funded over five years by ESRC and Office for Civil Society. Fergus research interests include social and sustainable enterprises, alternative investment, enterprise support policy, organisational trust and trans-disciplinary research practice.

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