Photosynthesis accounts for 98 per cent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the complex process by which photosynthesis splits water to release oxygen is not well understood.
The new Ultrafast Spectroscopy Laboratory in the Division of Molecular Biosciences at Imperial will help scientists study light-activated processes, like photosynthesis, by helping to reveal how the proteins involved in photosythesis are activated at a molecular level.
The lab’s three state-of-the-art laser systems can analyse the measure the vibrations of the atoms and molecules in proteins by generating intense light pulses that last for femtoseconds (0.000000000000001 seconds).
Two recent pieces of research from the Faculty of Natural Sciences have revealed new ways of tackling the armour and weapons of Clostridium difficile, the ‘superbug’ that causes severe infections in hospital patients and the elderly.
C. difficile is a bacterium that can cause severe gut infections in humans, particularly in those taking antibiotics. Some strains of C. difficile are resistant to treatment with most antibiotics, earning them the name ‘superbugs’.
Read about what the scientists have discovered and watch Dr Ed Tate from the Department of Chemistry, and Professor Neil Fairweather and Dr Kate Brown from the Department of Life Sciences, talk about Clostridium difficile, their new research and how it could help tackle superbug infections in the future here.
The Energy Futures Lab is tackling the energy research challenges of the twenty-first century and is the focus for energy research at Imperial.
It builds on the high-quality research across the College in areas including energy efficiency, nuclear power, renewable energy, transport, electrical networks, economics and policy development.
By developing multi-disciplinary research programmes, the Lab is developing the sustainable future energy supply for society.
Consumer debt has increased dramatically in recent years leading to calls for better controls on how retail risk is measured and managed. The recent introduction of tighter regulations has required financial institutions to adopt sophisticated risk assessment models.
The Mathematics in Banking and Finance programme of Imperial’s Institute for Mathematical Science specialises in research in the consumer financial services sector, and in the development of statistical, data mining, and machine learning techniques applied in this area, in particular.
Professor Sir Brian Hoskins and Imperial scientists in the Grantham Institute for Climate Change are working on
- understanding what greenhouse gas emissions are doing to the climate and to life on this planet
- how we can reduce these emissions
- how we can reduce the impact of the climate changes
- understanding the financial impacts of extreme climate events
See recent news on climate change research at Imperial.
Is there a common cause behind catastrophic changes such as mass extinctions, earthquakes and financial crashes? Imperial scientists are investigating the common features of a range of diverse situations where intermittent abrupt big events occur with dramatic consequences.
The Imperial Blast Biomechanics and Biophysics Research Group is investigating how bones break after high-speed impacts.
- This is especially relevant today as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have become the leading cause of death of UK and coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- The Group is also looking at the development of improved protective measures has become a core research focus in reducing the injury burden of the combat soldier.
Imperial has recently received funding for research into designing and building unique ‘metamaterials’. An announcement was made in November 2009 about a £4.9 million funding boost from the Leverhulme Trust.
Read about the ‘Pendryfest’ held in 2008, to honour Professor Sir John Pendry, who is spearheading the thought processes behind this research.