Research by the University of St Andrews could help in disease diagnosis

New research led by the University of St Andrews could hold the key to the diagnosis of the early stages of various diseases and lead to new drug discoveries.

The research, published in Nature Communications, has developed an innovative new way to hold samples using sound whilst they are gently imaged using light. The ability to hold and image objects will have a profound impact across biomedical sciences, especially those focused on disease identification, neuroscience and developmental biology.

 

Professor Kishan Dholakia from the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy said: ” This is a new way to perform drug-based studies for cardiovascular disease and developmental biology.  We anticipate this approach can also be used for high throughput drug discovery, an important topic for future healthcare.”

 

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Project to revitalise River Leven communities secures investment

A project to revitalise the River Leven in Fife has secured more than £300,00 in funding.

 

One of the first initiatives of The Leven Catchment Project has been awarded £25,000 from Sustans Scotland’s Community Links scheme and £65,000 from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) Water Environment Fund.

 

The funding from Sustrans and SEPA will finance feasibility and scoping work, which started last month, for the ‘Connectivity Project’ – one of a series of projects designed to help deliver a wider vision for the region which focuses on a 5km stretch of the River Leven at Levenmouth.

 

Plans include developing a series of paths to connect the isolated communities along the river and unlocking opportunities on vacant and derelict land in the area.

 

“The River Leven catchment in Mid-Fife was historically home to several hundred mills and factories, with a proud population of miners and workers in manufacturing industries,” explained SEPA water specialist Pauline Silverman.

 

“There are now significant challenges in the area and the river has become a barrier between communities, disconnecting people and towns from each other.  The purpose of the Leven Catchment Project is to achieve environmental improvements to spark new ways of working with key partners and communities to create social and economic opportunities.”

 

Key partners in the project with SEPA are Fife Council, the Forth Rivers Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Fife College and Scottish Water.

 

Visit the SEPA website for more information about the project.

Fife packaging firm plans £1.1m investments

Fife-based packing group, Pitreavie, has revealed ambitious plans to invest £1.1 million this year, including on a new office complex and expanded warehouse at the company’s Glenrothes head office.

 

Founded in 2010 by two friends, Pitreavie has rapidly grown from a Fife-based two-man operation into a national supplier with over 100 employees and an annual turnover of more than £13 million.

 

Last month it acquired Aberdeen-based Leiper Associated Packing, taking the number of businesses it owns in the city to three, and in 2018, it acquired a company in Worcester, its first acquisition south of the border, opening up new markets across the Midlands and beyond.

 

Its plans for Fife include the development of a packaging Centre of Excellence where customers can learn about new products and how best to package and transport their goods.  This new development is expected to be open in September.

 

Gordon Delaney, Group Commercial Director said: “Last year, we announced a large investment of £650,000 and spoke of our future plans.  These plans are now coming to fruition and we are thrilled our growth strategy is ahead of schedule allowing us to use expert knowledge in more locations, helping more customers.”

 

Visit the company’s website for the full story.

Fife Fintech Academy to expand after successful pilot

The pilot of a new initiative to address potential skills gaps in Scotland’s fintech community has been hailed a success.

A trial course, run jointly by Dunfermline payment specialist Renovite Technologies and Fife College, took place last month.

 

Around 15 participants with varying levels of experience, from trainees through to seasoned software developers, took part in the course designed to provide a solid foundation in retail card payments which could then be applied diectly to a work environment.

 

The course was the first to be run since Scotland’s first Fintech Academy was launched in Fife last September.  The Academy,  which is supported by a consortium of fintech companies, including Renovite and Dunfermline-base software firm Ingenico, Fife Council, Fife College and FinTech Scotland, aims to provide a steady flow of highly qualified applications for specialist fintech roles in the region to avoid a skills gap developing.

 

Jim Tomaney, Chief Operating Officer at Renovite Technologies said:

 

“It’s fantastic to see the fintech and education community coming together to promote STEM skills development and pre-empt the potential for a skills gap emerging.  I hope organisations and individuals with an interest in working in the sector continue to support and take part in the initiative and help build on its success.”

 

Following the success of the pilot course, a programme of further courses will now be rolled out – contact Fife College for more information.