Published on March 3rd, 2015 | by Vanessa De Mello


30 days: February in Aberdeen

A round-up of February’s news, and science events coming up in March. Compiled by Vanessa De Mello.

Tuberculosis: identifying those susceptible

Tuberculosis bacterium

Image by NIAID (CC BY 2.0) at Flickr.

Research led by Professor Gordon Brown at the University of Aberdeen has uncovered a receptor involved in the control of tuberculosis (TB). TB is a worldwide killer and affects nine million people with 1.5 million dying from the disease in 2013. In the journal, ‘Cell host and Microbe, they identified a novel molecule involved in regulating TB. Moreover, they show that some people with certain genetic changes in this molecule may become more susceptible to the disease. Better understanding of the way the immune system deals with TB can lead to better diagnostic tools. [Source]

Autism: challenging current perceptions

Autism Awareness RibbonA scientist with autism has used his own experience to help conduct a study challenging current conceptions about the condition. This study published in the Journal of Neuroscience followed a group of adolescents with Autism, over a four-year period. The results from this study showed that these adolescents could detect subtle differences in human action, significantly higher than previous research. Furthermore, this showed that certain impairments could be overcome if autistic individuals are directed in interpreting what they see. [Source]

Diabetes: discovery of key brain control centre


Image by Jill Brown (CC BY 2.0) at Flickr.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen and University of Michigan have found that a brain hormone known as cholecystokinin is crucial for sensing when blood sugar levels drop. Previously, cells producing CCK where only thought to affect appetite and anxiety with no link to blood sugar levels. These findings create an opportunity to target drugs at the CCK system helping reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia; a clinical syndrome that, if uncontrolled, can lead to seizures, unconsciousness and sometimes even death. [Source]

Upcoming events in March

All events are free unless otherwise stated.

British Science Week

Friday 13th – Sunday 22nd March

For the full programme of events in Aberdeen, visit

The Domesticated Self: How the social development of the species and individuals change our brains

Monday 16th March, 18:30 – 19:30

King’s Conference Centre, King’s College, Old Aberdeen

Professor Bruce Hood, Professor of Developmental Psychology in Society at the University of Bristol, uncovers the illusion of self. For more details and to book tickets, visit

Cafe Med: Lupus — The Wolf Within

Monday 16th March, 18:00 – 19:30

Suttie Centre, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill

Dr Neil Basu and Dr Nick Fluck discuss the challenging medical condition Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. For more details visit

Cafe Scientifique: Fungi — The Good, the Bad and the Essential

Wednesday 18th March, 19:00 – 21:00

Waterstones Union Bridge, Aberdeen

Dr Andy Taylor from the James Hutton Institute explores the wide range of uses for fungi. For more information visit or

Let’s get quizzical!

Thursday 19th March, 20:00

Cellar 35, Noose and Monkey, 31–35 Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen

Join the Science Journalism Society, producers of Au Science Magazine, for a fun science-themed pub quiz! Check back right here on our website for more details, or visit our Facebook page at

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About the Author

Vanessa is a PhD student in the Musculoskeletal group at the University of Aberdeen, and works on the Hippo pathway in muscle stem cells. When out of the lab she likes to draw and sometimes sing.

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