11A University of Warwick and University of Washington
"Healthy labour depends on quick simultaneous contraction of the myometrium in the womb. To achieve this, the body builds up electrical connections between muscle cells. If these connections are built too early, or if rogue 'pacemaker' cells are prevalent, this can disrupt the stability of the system leading to early contraction. The aim of the project is to investigate stability of a 2D lattice of muscle cells laced with pacemaker cells using dynamical systems analysis, with a view to discover how the stability of the system depends on coupling strength and prevalence of these 'rogue' cells in the muscle tissue. Hopefully the project will shed some light on the contended view that pacemaker cells exist. If the model can make accurate predictions about the behaviour of the myometrium it may provide evidence for the existence of these cells and eventually be used to investigate and prevent premature births.
The onset of disease can be brought about as a result of both environmental as well as genetic factors. Recently, other factors have also been given increased attention such as the classification of racial groups, with respect to gender and class, and their influence on human physiology and wellness. This project seeks to examine the relationship between socioeconomic and racial factors with respect to rates of lung cancer as a result of smoking. We argue that social and political constructions of group identities affect survival at the level of the individual by influencing their propensities for contracting stress-related diseases and illnesses, in this case lung cancer. By using a biological and critical theoretical framework as the foundation of our analysis, we have challenged the current ideas of illness by suggesting that social and cultural influences at the time of and after birth play a great role in determining a person’s disposition for health or sickness.
Our paper utilizes arguments presented by Michel Foucault's ""Society Must be Defended"" and George Lipsitz's ""The Possessive Investment in Whiteness"" to support our claims. Additionally, using a keyword search on various journal databases, we reviewed a number of other literature that provided evidence of structural inequalities which highlight the relationship between social identities and quality of health. This paper raises awareness of the need for scholarship on the impacts of societal effects during the early years and how interventions at this time might decrease the disproportionate rates of disease in marginalized and underrepresented groups.
Cardiac arrest strikes approximately one thousand people per day, but only a fraction survive during resuscitative measures. Procedures such as CPR provide short-term support for blood circulation, but include no effective way to monitor blood flow entering the brain during resuscitation. The consensus based on animal models is that resuscitation guided by hemodynamic measures provides optimum patient outcomes. To overcome this lack of monitoring capability, we have created an ultrasound-controlled system that can non-invasively measure blood flow patterns within the ascending carotid artery during resuscitation efforts. This will give doctors vital information necessary to guide their resuscitation efforts. We built and tested three custom ultrasound transducers on a water-submerged string phantom with similar flow properties to blood. The string moves along pulleys at speeds that mimic blood flow within certain systems like the carotid artery. The transducer sends out pulses of propagating waves, and receives reflected signals from the moving blood at the Doppler frequency, proportional to the blood velocity. I am currently working on developing the Doppler processing code in MATLAB. When executed, the manipulated and filtered data displays via a graphical user interface (GUI), where a spectrogram representation of power against speed of blood flow in real time is plotted. Once we verify this system, we will test it in vivo using pigs under a variety of hemodynamic challenges. Successful completion of those pig studies will motivate retrospective human trials that, in turn, should provide sufficient results to motivate commercialization of this technology.
Understanding of cardio-respiratory interaction can allow us to characterise the state of human organism, classify diseases and develop treatment regimen. Although respiration is known to affect heart rate, the mechanism of interaction between these two systems is not fully understood and its implications require further investigation.
By conducting experiments on eleven healthy volunteers, their heart rate variation was recorded for pre-selected frequencies of respiration. Effects of synchronisation and modulation between the heart rate and respiration have been considered. It has been demonstrated that the phenomena of phase-locking is observed when respiration has a slightly higher rate than the resting heart rate value, thus confirming a direct inter-coupling between neural centres in the brain controlling respiration and heart dynamics.
11B University of Warwick and Baruch College, City University of New York
This research aims to investigate the transition to liberal democracy in Romania by focusing on the role of education in shaping political outcomes. The two target groups are the young generation of 1989, educated under communist rule, and its 2014 counterpart, benefiting from a liberal education. A mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods are employed, including semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis of textbooks. The project seeks to understand the extent to which the changes in the education provided by state schools contributed to the creation and internalization of new democratic norms in the context of the democratic transition. The research aims to understand the extent to which state school education contributed to delegitimizing communism and legitimizing the new liberal regime in the still weak democracy of Romania. The discussion is also relevant in understanding the power of norms in European context and the extent to which social institutions like schools represent a form of disciplinary power as advocated by Foucault.
"As a former Berklee College of Music student, now attending Baruch College as a School of Public Affairs student, I feel there is a gap between art institutions and education institutions. Sound and Color, coordinates between cultural and educational institutions to encourage students to expand their experiences and perspective, sparking the creativity that brings social change. I've built a website (www.soundandcolor.org) which includes the direction, academics, and future goals. Direction * To advocate the implementation of creativity and social change * To educate the public about creative impact * To build networks and partnerships between education, technology and art institutions * To reduce the stigma associated with art professions Academics Every class is an opportunity to create content for Sound and Color. For example, through Omeka.net I built an information resource collection. This collection of research combing arts and science as the grounds to how, ultimately, creativity yields social change. Combining community, culture, education and policy is a perfect harmony for enhancing that growth. Future Goals Sound and Color is about innovative thinking and action. In Fall 2015 I will lead the beginning stages of creating a multi-platform passport-like app meant exclusively for Baruch students - all under the guidance of Dr. Stan Altman and The Baruch-Rubin Museum Project. The goal is to strengthen Baruch students' introduction to the cultural diversity New York City. Sound and Color doesn't fit into a neat academic box, but it doesn't have to. My passion and critical thinking drive what needs to be done in order for positive social change to happen. In my presentation I will be exhibiting how I started with building an academic resource distributing Sound & Color information. How this brought my involcment with the Baruch-Rubin Museum Art Project which focused on intregrating the Cultural Arts within CUNY curricula as well as student exposure to NYC Cultural Arts Institutions. Then I will be completing with the plans for the rest of 2015-2016 through the evolution of student engagements planned.
"Humming quietly in the background, technologies cater to their expected purpose, invisibly extending our reach (Carr 2011) into the information age. We are content to perceive them as tangible Black Boxes (Latour 1994) caring little about what is under the lid. It is this ubiquitously invisible (Weiser 1991) porous nature of the digital, progressively defining our use of technologies and the way we learn. In our shrinking world, time is of the essence and communication is of extreme importance. The future is interdisciplinary and this reflects in language learning. The potent affordances of technologies, including supporting reading and writing skills (Levy & Hubbard 2004), interaction and acquisition of intercultural competences, are increasingly more crucial to our digital future. CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) and CMC (Computer-Mediated Communication) have never been more significant. Sociology has extensively researched education but remains silent on hybrid language learning. Situated at the crossroads of traditional face-to-face (f2f) and online instruction, this methodology combines the well-documented value of f2f instruction and the flexibility associated with online learning. This paper investigates sociologically the experiences of seven self-selected interviewees from different international backgrounds who studied various languages through Languages at Warwick (L@W), an online environment for hybrid language courses. They experienced f2f and computer-mediated communication using Moodle. The semi-structured, open ended interviews were investigated employing Social Constructivism and Actor Network Theory. The aim was to analyse qualitatively the importance of the mutuality of user experience, the learning design and awareness of affordances for personalisation of learning, offered by L@W.
11C University of Warwick and University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Turnip yellows virus (TuYV) is an important pathogen of arable and vegetable brassica crops in the UK, and appears to be particularly well adapted to such brassica plants. It belongs to the Polerovirus genus in the plant virus family Luteoviridae and has a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA genome. Recent research unexpectedly showed that it can infect other crops posing questions for the epidemiology of the virus and its control. Field crops of potato, beans and carrots have been sampled and leaf extracts tested for TuYV using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in order to determine the presence and incidence of the virus in these crops in the UK. These crops could be important reservoirs of TuYV. The P0 and P3 genes of TuYV were amplified from infected samples by RT-PCR and sequenced. Phylogenetic analyses have been performed to compare the new sequences with >300 sequences generated previously from brassicas. Transmission tests were performed to determine whether the new sequences of virus could infect brassica plants and hence pose a threat to these crops within the UK.
A precise measurement of the neutron lifetime is important for calculating the rate at which nucleosynthesis occurred after the Big Bang. Two most precise recent measurements of the neutron lifetime performed by different techniques differ by about 3 standard deviations. This difference of 9.2 seconds can possibly be resolved by future experiments, but it may also be evidence of a new effect. This research investigates the possibility of explaining this difference by a mirror matter effect present in these experiments. Both mirror matter, a candidate for dark matter, and ordinary matter can have similar properties and self-interactions but will interact only gravitationally with each other, in accordance with observational evidence of dark matter. Although mirror matter does not couple to ordinary matter by Standard Model interactions, some additional interactions might exist, providing small mixing of ordinary matter neutral states, like the neutron, with mirror components. This work estimates the density of mirror dark matter particles needed to explain the difference between these two measurements of the neutron lifetime. Working under an assumed accumulation of mirror dark matter particles within the Earth and using the 9.2 s difference in the neutron lifetime observed by the two mentioned experiments, we can estimate the possible density of dark matter on the surface of Earth. The measured neutron lifetime difference thus might be an indication of the presence of dark matter on Earth. This work is in collaboration with Prof. Z. Berezhiani (University of L’Aquila, Italy) and Prof. Y. Kamyshkov (University of Tennessee).
The theory of quantum chromodynamics predicts the existence of the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). At very high energies, the strong force binding quarks and gluons into nucleons breaks down and nucleon bounds become irrelevant. The QGP is produced and studied by colliding heavy nuclei in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. To explore the medium’s properties, scientists must measure how the medium alters jets traveling through it. This alteration, or suppression, can be seen through the loss of momentum and spreading of particles produced by a jet due to interactions with the nuclear matter. The problem with measuring jet suppression is the existence of a huge background of low momentum particles that are not part of the jet. This poses a problem with analysis, so I have been developing and testing a previously untested model for background subtraction and applying it to simulated data. Since the geometry of these collisions is not spherically symmetric, there is a pressure gradient that gives particles a momentum boost in certain directions. This effect can give false jets and creates more high-momentum particles in certain planes. The background due to this phenomenon is dependent on the geometry of the collision and can be expressed as a function of the Fourier decomposition of the collision geometry. The method takes into account this description of the background by using the data analysis program ROOT to fit a background correlated with the collisional geometry to simulated data like that which we would see being produced by the LHC.
Micromonas pusilla is an important and prominent member of the global marine ecosystem-indeed, it is one of the few globally distributed marine microorganisms. How¬ever, the motion of this microorganism is poorly understood, especially if and how directed motion is achieved in the presence of an external light source, known as pho-totaxis. M. pusilla has been stated to be phototactic but there is a lack of verified experimental evidence to support this claim, which this study aims to verify and com-plete a gap in the current understanding of the behaviour of M. pusilla. This study finds run-and-tumble motion near a solid boundary, which was characterised in two-dimensions and then compared with similarly sized Escherichia coli and the larger Rhodobacter sphaeroides. A mean tumble time of 11.24 ± 0.38s and mean peak run ve-locity of 46.3 ± 0.34µms−1 was measured for M. pusilla. Directed motion is hypothesised from an observed drift velocity of 0.11 ± 0.01µms−1 towards an external light source, which is then directly compared with the drift observed with E. coli in the presence of a chemical gradient. This suggests the interesting conclusion that the methods used for directed motion in response to an external stimulus for microorganisms such as M. pusilla and E. coli has a depends more on the size of the microorganism than its classi¬fication.