Research in the Division of Science is interdisciplinary and focuses around investigative subjects including biomedical and forensic science, and environmental science and technology, which lie within Abertay’s University’s Security, Society and Environment research themes. It is situated within the School of Science Engineering and Technology.
Staff have backgrounds in academia, police and industry, and internationally recognised expertise across biology, chemistry, physics and their applications. Science supports postgraduate research within academic staff areas of expertise, and in cross-over subjects such as computing, food, and sports. Recent postgraduate research includes: bacterial biofilms, redox signalling in fat tissue, screening for ovarian cancer, fingerprint development on complex surfaces, hyperspectral imaging for gunshot residue detection, and identifying human involvement in raptor persecution. The research atmosphere within Science is diverse, multidisciplinary, and orientated to industry, practice, and societal impact.
Our forensic science staff are a strong force in fingerprint and fingermark research. We work with police forces and the Home Office and contribute to government, policing and research best practice. Our recent projects include detecting fingerprints on polymer banknotes and fabrics. Together with Scottish and English police forces we have developed the use of a holistic approach to study overlap of DNA and fingerprint testing techniques. Our recent research to improve the detection of fingerprints on feathers will help to identify wildlife crime. We also work on detecting and tracing illicit products and drugs, and understanding their behaviour in the body.
Our biomedical sciences staff work to better understand processes involved in neuromuscular aging and cancer development, and are investigating novel therapeutic targets for spinal cord injury. We also have a strong focus on bioethics and pharmacology. Working with staff and researchers at Ninewells hospital in Dundee, our researchers are seeking to combat male infertility. Our research on ion channel function in sperm aims to improve outcomes for couples undergoing IVF. Our team have also developed ‘mini-hearts’, which are beating heart cells that can be used to test drug therapies for heart disease and processes such as hypertrophy. This research enables efficient pharmaceutical testing and provides a much-needed alternative to animal models.
Our work on microbes, which seeks to understand their molecular ecology, surfactant production and resistance to antibiotics, spans fields as diverse as soil and water ecology, agriculture, wastewater management, and medical and veterinary medicine. Our work on air and marine pollutants investigates their impact on humans and wildlife, such as seals, and seeks to identify ways to minimise their negative effects. For example, we are researching ways that persistent organic pollutants modify the metabolic properties of fat cells, from the molecular level all the way up to their influence on whole animal energy balance. This research has important implications for population dynamics in wildlife, and human health issues such as obesity and diabetes. Our team is also using seals as sentinels of antimicrobial resistance in the marine environment to monitor effects of strategies that seek to reduce their prevalence, such as improved wastewater systems.
Find out more about the work our researchers do and how you could join us to study for a PhD, MPhil or Masters by Research