This is Lancaster Podcast. Global research tales from the North of England.

Researchers share the stories, setbacks and discoveries behind the headlines.

Research in a lab holding and point towards a Petri dish containing samples.

Professor Muhammad Munir

Here at Lancaster University, we bring people together to deliver solutions to complex problems, both in our region and around the world.

At the heart of Lancaster's research endeavour, our experts are working in partnership with others to make a difference. In this series of interviews, Lancaster University researchers share the stories, setbacks and discoveries behind the headlines and provide an in-depth look at some of the truly life-changing work taking place in our University.

Portrait of Professor Karen Broadhurst
Professor Karen Broadhurst

Families at the sharp edge of justice

Social Scientist and former social worker, Professor Karen Broadhurst, shares why she stepped into academia to 'change the world'.

Families at the sharp edge - in this episode social scientist and former social worker Professor Karen Broadhurst of Lancaster University describes how she stepped into academia to 'change the world' for women and children in the justice system. 'When we take a child out of a family and a community what kind of a scar does that leave?' Professor Broadhurst and her colleagues are making the case for better help and justice for struggling families, so that fewer children need to come into care.

Listen on Spotify: Families at the Sharp Edge of Justice

Your brain on sugar

Find out how sugar affects the brain and can even affect how well children learn at school, based on the research of psychology professor Sandra Sunram-Lea.

Professor Sandra-Ilona Sunram-Lea explains why a “sugar rush” is bad for mental alertness and may lead to diabetes type 2. She has identified the “sweet spot” of optimal blood glucose for health without peaks and troughs. Her work sheds light on the impact of sugar in our diet, whether breakfast cereals or sugary drinks – and her research has even influenced the drinks industry to reduce the amount of sugar in some of its products.

Listen on Spotify: Sugar Highs and the Human Brain
Portait of Sandra-Ilona Sunram-Lea
Professor Sandra-Ilona Sunram-Lea
Portrait of Nancy Preston and Sheila Payne
Professor Sheila Payne and Professor Nancy Preston

Dying Well

Meet the researchers pioneering improvements to end of life.

Seeing patients die without the best in palliative care inspired former nurse Professor Nancy Preston to seek ways of improving end-of-life care for the terminally ill and their families. Talking to her colleague – also a former nurse - Professor Sheila Payne, the pair discuss their pioneering work which sets out to make “a good death” available to every patient by offering proper pain management and support for both the dying and their families.

Listen on Spotify: A Good Death

Discovering Wordsworth

‘He’s not what you expect him to be’. Life-lessons gleaned from one of England's best-known poets.

From the benefits of getting out of the house and into nature, to his thoughts on the place of poetry in response to tyranny, Professors Sally Bushell and Simon Bainbridge of Lancaster University’s Wordsworth Centre share the lessons they have learned from William Wordsworth - a poet they both came to appreciate ...despite some early hesitation.

Listen on Spotify: Discovering Wordsworth
Portrait of Sally Bushell and Simon Bainbridge outside the chaplaincy centre.
Professor Sally Bushell and Professor Simon Bainbridge
Portrait of Sue Black
Professor Dame Sue Black

Caught Red Handed

From identifying the dead to catching the perpetrators of abuse, Professor Dame Sue Black has pioneered research techniques that could change the way we investigate and prosecute serious crime.

Professor Dame Sue Black explains how the astonishing bravery of a child sexual abuse survivor led her on a path to developing pioneering research into forensic hand analysis that would stand up in court. Thanks to Professor Black and her team, Lancaster University is now home to the world’s largest searchable database of the anatomy and variations of the human hand and their work is set to make a difference to those attempting to bring abusers to justice. Here she offers a fascinating glimpse of her research career and talks about her plans for the future.

Listen on Spotify: Caught Red Handed