- Structure of the foot-and-mouth virus, solved at Diamond
- © University of Oxford
The 3000 papers published using data collected at Diamond have contained a variety of discoveries, breakthroughs and advances, many of which have made headlines. In the last year alone, research into areas including consumer technology and drug design have highlighted the impact and importance of Diamond’s research in the UK and globally.
Designing a vaccine for a global viral threat – In 2013, Scientists at Oxford and Reading Universities, the Pirbright Institute and Diamond created a prototype vaccine for the animal disease foot-and-mouth. Anyone who remembers the culls across Britain in 2001 in response to this disease will understand the importance of being able to control it. The new synthetic vaccine developed at the synchrotron contains no live virus, making it safer, and it is engineered to stay stable outside a refrigerated environment – making prevention more possible the world over.
Preserving Britain’s heritage – Working with the Mary Rose Trust and close neighbour the ISIS neutron and muon source, which can analyse materials at the nanoscale using neutron scattering, Diamond research has been vital in preserving Henry VIII’s naval flagship, the Mary Rose, from decay and deterioration. Samples from the warship, which sank in 1545 and was famously raised from the bed of the Solent in 1982, are regularly brought to the synchrotron to determine the ongoing effects of the intense preservation efforts carried out over the last thirty years.
Feeding the world – Researchers from Rothamsted, one of the world’s oldest agricultural research institutions, have been bringing wheat to Diamond to map the structure of grains. This research is part of the effort to breed more nutritious grains: important to addressing nutritional deficiencies in the third world. By using this technique, they are able to grow foods that will provide greater nutrition to people and animals and could have a major impact globally.
Understanding life-changing disease – Researchers from University of Keele have been using synchrotron technology at Diamond in the UK as well as others in Switzerland and the US to shed light on the processes and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. They discovered that brain lesions caused by the disease could be the source of a neurotoxic form of iron. This research could open up new avenues of research into diagnosing and treating this devastating disease.
Developing the future of transportation – Research undertaken at Diamond into the safe storage and transportation of hydrogen for fuel has led to the formation of a spin out company, Cella Energy. Cella has developed a novel hydrogen storage material which is stable, pourable and capable of releasing large quantities of hydrogen when heated. This work brings us closer to safe hydrogen powered cars that can be filled up at the pump.