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June 2002

Centre for English Local History
Funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board
£317,676
Duration: 3 years
Medieval Settlements and Landscapes in the Whittlewood Area
Professor Christopher Dyer

This is to work for three years (2002-5) on the medieval landscapes and settlements of Whittlewood, a district straddling the border between Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, between the towns of Towcester and Buckingham.

The award follows a two-year pilot project on the same area, also funded by the AHRB, and the researchers on the pilot will also work on the new project : Dr Richard Jones, an archaeologist, and Dr Mark Page, an historian. 

The purpose of the research is to investigate an area with a very varied rural landscape, with large villages, hamlets and isolated farms, which originated in the period between about 900 and 1300. Using documents, air photographs, survey, field walking (looking for pottery and objects exposed in the plough soil) and small scale excavation the origin and early development of the hamlets and villages can be investigated. In the long term the aim of the project is to understand the forces - ecological, economic, social - which led to the emergence of the English village. This project shows how the Centre for English Local History, for which Leicester University is famous, continues to pursue the research objectives of its founder W G Hoskins, using modern methods. He was concerned with the history of villages, fields and woods, but would not have expected that global positioning systems using signals bounced off satellites, or remote sensing of sites for evidence of buried buildings, would be employed to answer these historical questions. The work is not all high tech, and there is a local team of volunteers who contribute to the work. The project is well known in the villages of Whittlewood, such as Akeley and Whittlebury, and the researchers have taken pains to keep local people informed of the project and its results.


Management Centre
Funding from ESRC
£113,000
Experts on the Line: The Case of the NHS Direct
Professor Frank Mueller
Dr M A Elston, Professor C Smith, J Gabe (All at the Royal Holloway University of London)


Centre for English Local History
Funding from The British Academy
£4,915
The New Ecclesiastical Parishes in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales
Dr Keith Snell


Department of Clinical Biochemistry: Oxidative Stress Group
Funding from HEROBC Innovation & Regional Fellowships (HIRF)
£15,000
Urinary immunoassessment of DNA damage - repair proficiency and cancer risk
Professor  Joseph Lunec, Dr Marcus Cooke and Dr Ruth Bevan 
Genetic material (DNA) is being continually damaged, not only by exposure to external agents, such as sunlight, but through the cellular processing of drugs, foods and even normal metabolites. Such damage can eventually lead to mutation and ultimately, cancer. Combating this attack are processes of repair, which remove these adducts and maintain the integrity of the DNA. Levels of damage and hence cancer risk, is said to be a balance between the formation and removal of adducts. It appears that an individualís ability to repair damage is a significant factor in determining risk of cancer development. Furthermore, the identification of genetic differences in repair enzymes has suggested a great variability in repair capacity within the general population.

Antibody-based assays represent a simple means by which large-scale, high-throughput assessments might be made and are most suitable for analysing complex biological matrices, such as urine. The Fellowship will allow the development of a non-invasive antibody assay, which specifies the repair pathway studied, and utilises lesion-specific antibodies. We will then be able to assess an individualís repair capacity, establishing a normal range, identifying repair defects and facilitating the investigation of intervention studies. We anticipate that Fellowship funding will take this assay to the stage at which it can be licensed. This work will also result in an assay which can be patented and exploited commercially, following the period of Fellowship funding.

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Last updated: June 2002 
Created by: Rachel Tunstall
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