Dr Rosemary Waring, Honorary reader at the School of Biosciences, along with her team from Birmingham - Professor Peter Jarratt, Dr David Ramsden and Dr Bob Harris - have won the Lloyds Science of Risk prize for the section on 'technological and biological risk' for their presentation on 'RABE - risk assessment of biological effects'. The presentation was based on a paper published in 2012 in the International Journal of Andrology entitled 'Biomarkers of endocrine disruption' (RH Waring, DB Ramsden PDB Jarratt RM Harris Int J Androl 2012 35 (3) 415-423). There were 70 entries overall from a range of Universities, mostly in the UK but some from across Europe.
Endocrine disrupters are compounds which may be natural or man-made, which alter the steroid balance, leading to reproductive abnormalities and loss of reproductive function. Dr Waring and her team focused on plasticisers which are used in the manufacture of plastics and which leach out to enter the environment. Currently, these can be detected in blood samples from populations all over the world. It is known that they affect animals but it is not certain of their effects in humans. Dr Waring's paper describes a method using human cell lines rather than testing on animals which will identify endocrine disrupters and allow manufacturers to produce safer compounds.
More information about the Lloyds Science of Risk Prize here