Research spotlight - March 2019


March round-up of some of the latest research and education stories from the University.

Massive twin star snuggles close to its sibling

Astronomers have discovered a binary star system with the closest high-mass young stellar objects ever measured, providing a valuable “laboratory” to test theories on high-mass binary star formation.

Binary formation figure. Credit: B. Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

Artist's impression of how binary stars form. Credit: B. Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

Dr Evgenia Koumpia, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds, said: “This is a very exciting discovery, observing and simulating massive binaries at the early stages of their formation is one of the main struggles of modern astronomy."

Professor Rene Oudmaijer, also from the School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “The discovery of massive young binary stars provides a crucial step forward in being able to answer many of the questions we still have about these stellar objects." Read what this exciting discovery could mean for scientists studying the stars.

Forging new collaborations in Europe

The University has signed a new partnership agreement with one of Europe’s largest research and educational institutions, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany.

The agreement will develop new research collaborations and exchange opportunities for undergraduate students, postgraduates and staff.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by Professor Hai-Sui Yu, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: International.

"We are bringing together two great institutions, with a shared vision of maintaining and building strong relationships between leading UK and European universities."




Future research collaborations will focus initially in the fields of climate change, AI and robotics, advanced materials, and data analytics. See what other opportunities this new partnership will bring.

Tackling unequal pain relief at home for dying patients

Dr Yousuf Elmokhallalati, from the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, led a new study which revealed that people who accessed palliative care at home were 2.7 times more likely to have experienced good pain relief compared to those who did not receive palliative care.

It found pain relief and end of life care is not being provided equally to people with advanced progressive diseases at home during their final three months.

The study is the first to suggest there are significant reductions in pain for those receiving palliative care at home, and calls on policy-makers to improve inequalities

Creating a deeper understanding of the effect of climate change in remote areas 

Dylan Clark, McGill University, Canada

Credit: Dylan Clark, McGill University Canada

Leeds researchers have developed a new perspective on changing travel conditions in Arctic communities.

It found Inuit communities’ travel skills and regional knowledge have helped mitigate the effects of Arctic climate change on travel conditions.

Researchers led by Professor James Ford, from the Priestley International Centre for Climateused interviews with nine Inuit communities in the eastern Canadian Arctic to assess trail viability and compared this to 30 years’ worth of weather records to determine changes in travel conditions.

Until now, understanding whether climate change has affected the ability of Inuit to use these trails has been elusive, making it difficult for communities and regional and local governments to decide how to plan for climate impacts. Read the full story here.