King's in the news - April 2018 

King’s research makes headlines around the world. From the launch of a new Global Institute for Women’s Leadership to what an ancient finger bone can tell us about humanity’s journey out of Africa, we’ve selected a few recent stories to share with you in case you missed them.

 

Finger bones
Finger bone discovery puts humans outside Africa nearly 90,000 years ago

Professor Nick Drake and Dr Paul Breeze of the Geography Department at King’s College London were part of a small team who discovered an 88,000 year old finger bone belonging to an early modern human in Saudi Arabia. Professor Drake explains the somewhat fortuitous discovery of the bone:

‘While we stopped for lunch our driver wandered off, returning with an arm full of fossils. We immediately went to look where he had found them and discovered hundreds of fossils lying on the surface. We picked up a few and, very quickly, the person next to me said “I think I have found a human finger bone.” We all got very excited at that point!’

The bone places Homo sapiens in the region nearly 30,000 years earlier than expected.

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King’s launches new Global Institute for Women’s Leadership

Julia Gillard AC, Chair of the new Global Institute of Women’s Leadership at King’s, was interviewed by both BBC and ITV about her plans for the new institute. Julia said:
‘Progress on gender equality is not just slow – in some places it’s reversing. This lack of movement, combined with the current public debate about how women are treated in workplaces and wider society, means there has never been a better time to tackle these issues head-on.’

Read our interview with Julia Gillard for InTouch.

 

Chemical weapons attack in Syria

A number of King’s experts were asked to comment on the recent chemical weapons attack in Syria. Professor John Bew and Shiraz Maher, both academics in the War Studies department, wrote about ‘how Britain and the US are being dragged into the defining conflict of our time’ for The New Statesman. They concluded that:
‘For many years, the West has pursued diplomacy neutered by the absence of any willingness to deploy force; today, the danger is of a reflexive use of arms without any considered diplomatic strategy. These whimsical and fleeting fits of moral panic directed towards the defining crisis of our generation do little to defuse a febrile international climate.’

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Are Universities being underused as a resource for the NHS?

Assistant Principal Deborah Bull commented on the UK’s fragmented research ecosystem for the Guardian. She called for more collaboration to pool expertise and improve public health.

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New genes for hair colour discovered

The Guardian, Elle Magazine, and Financial Times, were all among those reporting on the 124 new genes discovered to have an effect on hair colour by researchers at King’s. The discovery sheds new light on our understanding of the genetic complexity underpinning variations in human pigmentation, and could advance our knowledge of conditions linked to pigmentation, such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian cancers.

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