Skip to main content

Poster Session // days one & two


Gas sensors are quite crucial nowadays in control of industrial manufacturing processes to monitor important species such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), and sulphur dioxide (SO2). In addition, indoor and outdoor air quality concerns are driving the use of gas sensors used in commercial building automation.

These important gases have a strong characteristic absorption in the mid-infrared wavelength region(3-8μm). There has been an incandescent source in the mid-infrared gas sensors. However, the incandescent source presents problems due to several drawbacks such as slow response time, high-power consumption and large size, explosion-proof is also the requirement to prevent the incandescent from igniting other flammable gases. On the other hand, mid-infrared LEDs and photodetectors using indium antimonide (InSb) have low power consumption and long lifetime. Moreover, LEDs are also more sensitive and reliable than the incandescent source.

During the project, Shockley-Read-Hall (SRH), Auger and radiative recombination are investigated through theoretical values to pick suitable emitted current. A 2D AlxIn1-xSb LED with 5% aluminium model built in Silvaco Atlas shows the peak wavelength emits at around 4.3μm. Four-layer AlxIn1-xSb diodes using heterostructures, grown by molecular beam epitaxy have been investigated to establish their suitability for detecting carbon dioxide. With aluminium composition at 5%, experiments revel that absorption by carbon dioxide happen at 4.2μm while the peak wavelength of the LED is 3.9μm. Electrical performance are analysed by measuring the zero-bias resistance area and the results show promising electrical performance. These suggest that the tested LEDs are highly capable of detecting carbon dioxide.

Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging global threat. In Europe alone 25,000 people die each year from multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Medicine relies heavily on the use of antibiotics, but soon doctors may face treating patients as they did in a pre-antibiotic era. There is an increasing need for the surveillance and diagnosis of antibiotic resistant infections. The FAPIC project (Fast Assay for Pathogen Identification and Characterisation) is designed to identify and characterise a limited range of pathogens and the resistance genes they may contain. The aim of this study was to validate the sensitivity and specificity of the primers used to identify antimicrobial resistance genes in bacterial species. End-point polymerase chain reaction (PCR), amplifies specific segments of DNA, and gel electrophoresis were used to amplify and visualise a select range of 31 resistance genes in 73 environmental Escherichia coli (E. coli) isolates. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of these 73 E. coli isolates against nine different antibiotics were established. Of the E. coli isolates studied, 78.1% contained at least one resistance gene. Only three out of nine of the antibiotics had more susceptible isolates than resistant isolates, these were: Imipenem, Chloramphenicol and Ceftriaxone. It was found that 34.2% of the isolate’s genotypes did not correspond with their phenotype; further investigation of these along with genome analysis is needed, the primers may need to be redesigned. The study highlights the vast prevalence of multiple antimicrobial resistance genes in the environment and the key role this may have on dissemination of resistance genes in the community or hospital settings. The procedures in place for the FAPIC project have mostly been optimised, further work widening the primer sets is necessary for future validation of the diagnostic tool along with testing different bacterial strains. Thus, the diagnostic tool will be tested to ensure that it can be used on a range of bacterial isolates to test clinically relevant resistance genes, aiding in the diagnosis of antimicrobial resistant pathogens but also in the surveillance of these genes within the environment.

The preparation and chemistry of an iridium complex of a cavitand-based phosphine ligand will be presented. The container-like topology of cavitand ligands cause their complexes to have interesting applications in C-H bond activations. Furthering the understanding of this fundamental process could, in the future, help to improve any industrial process in which C-H bonds are broken or made. We hope to exploit the chemistry of this compound in order isolate reactive intermediates in transition-metal-mediated C-H led activations.

Alongside this research, the role of sodium tetrakis[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]borate, Na[BAr4F], will be addressed. Na[BAr4F] is a compound composed of a positive sodium ion and a weakly-coordinating anion. Na[BAr4F] is typically used in the preparation of reactive, cationic metal complexes that are of interest in organometallic chemistry, as weakly-coordinating anions are able to stabilise, but not react with, positively charged intermediates.

Such weakly-coordinating anions are also of particular importance in areas including electrochemistry, the production of ionic liquids to replace organic solvents in industrial processes, and for advances in making stable electrolytes for use in lithium-ion batteries.

Are western societies really less mentally healthy than in the past? Higher rates of mental illnesses including depression, ADHD (especially in children), and suicide rates have been recorded in most countries in the past 50 years. This research aims to provide a gap in academia by illuminating that mental health illnesses have risen not because of failed neoliberal policies but because of the psychiatric revolution. The popular misdirection of blame has led to the politicisation of mental health, exemplified by literature including The Spirit Level arguing that neoliberalism is detrimental to mental health (a ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’ fallacy). The UK government is criticised for de-politicising the issue by under-funding mental health research, replaced by campaigns such as ‘Heads Together’.

Contrary to what this might imply without contextual analysis, this conclusion is false. This report intends to discover how the 1980s psychiatric revolution led to a false epidemic in mental health diagnoses, skewing empirical data. The research will employ documentary analysis by focusing on the USA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders throughout time (DSM). It will explore the statistical increase in the number of people diagnosed with mental illnesses. Our research findings suggest that the DSM has brought light to mental health issues, but neoliberal policies are not causing a mental health epidemic. Our findings may prevent future research misallocating blame onto neoliberalism for rising mental health illnesses, Insufficient research has been conducted in this field. This research will attempt to debunk the mental-health statistical epidemic and challenge sociological conclusions through focus on literature, historical events, statistics, and cultural trends.

Obesity is associated with several endocrine (hormonal) disorders pertaining to excess or deficient adrenal functionality. Hyperactivity of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and, consequently, increased cortisol secretion has been implicated in obesity. Human fat is a highly active endocrine tissue as evidenced by signalling molecules (adipokines) isolated from adipocytes (fat cells) that stimulate adrenal synthesis of steroid hormones. Adiponectin, an abundant adipokine within the blood circulatory system, orchestrates its effects by binding to its cognate adrenal receptors: AdipoR1 and AdipoR2. The effects of the adiponectin-receptor complex are suspected to interplay with the manifestation of endocrine disorders like diabetes mellitus type II on top of obesity.

Through investigation in the clinical science research building at University Hospital Coventry, I enquired into the direct functional interaction of adiponectin and its receptors on adrenal cells. Research on the genes regulated by adiponectin was central to interpreting its physiological role. This included understanding the expression and function of the different subtypes of adiponectin receptors. AdipoR1/2 mediate signal transductions involving specific ligands like PPAR-α in addition to the mediation of glucose and fatty acid metabolism. Transductions in the form of the phosphorylation of AMPK and MAPK (intracellular proteins) are found to have involvement in energy homeostasis, cell proliferation and gene expression.

Exploring the role AdipoR1/2 could result in novel insights into how the obesity epidemic can be tackled. Within a therapeutic context, implications may relate to adiponectin’s differential modulation of insulin action and the treatment for type II diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Through examination of the pre-existing literature, this review aims to prove that romantic love has basis in the biological and is not a social construct. It also demonstrates the potential impacts on conditions such as autism, social anxiety and addiction. These conditions are all examples of where parts of the neurological processes of love are altered. Autism is a developmental disability which affects how people interact with others- including romantic prospects. In a similar vein, drug addiction occurs due to a hijacking of a neurobiology which is usually used for a more natural addiction- addiction to a mate. Understanding the basis of love could help to overcome these issues.

These matters were studied through systematic investigation of the current data in the field, giving a comprehensive narrative of the theories surrounding romantic love and its clinical impacts. It explores everything from activities of voles, drug addicts and married couples. Through the study of these relationships it touches on theories of the origins of love. These theories follow the timeline of relationships and include (a) the so-called 'love peptides' oxytocin and vasopressin which may be what is involved in the initial feelings, (b) love as a natural addiction as feelings develop and (c) the theory of how love may alter neuroanatomy long term allowing for long-term monogamy and successful marriages. This review concludes that with further study these ideas could be applied clinically; logic being if we can understand what is right we can help when it goes wrong.

The Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at the University of Warwick provides opportunities for mature students to achieve their personal and professional goals. Mature undergraduates enrolling for BA degrees split into full-time Social Science students and part-time Arts students. Their learning journeys are diverse, complicated and challenging. A better understanding of student learning journeys could lead to improvements in teaching and learning, help develop a curriculum to fit mature students' academic and pastoral needs and possibly increase student enrolment. The focus of the research was to investigate whether it was possible to create a useful classification of student learning journeys followed by a comparison of the journeys of Arts and Social Science students. A pilot classification was developed from discussions with academics at UALL and SCUTREA conferences and with student colleagues. Four Student Learning Journeys emerged - Late Starters [A], Determined Dreamers [B], Career Changers [C] and Stayers [D]. CLL students were interviewed for one hour. Most students spanned two categories. For Social Science students, First Adulthood (Sheehy, 1996), the most common combination was [AB] which identifies someone with a poor educational start and low economic prospects; for them a "degree will change everything." For Arts students [BD] was the most frequent, Second Adulthood (Sheehy, 1996), suggesting a culture of learning for pleasure; for them a "degree is unlikely to change anything." However, from Never Too Late To Learn (2012) they will have the satisfaction of learning new things, expanding personal horizons, realizing true potential, setting a good example to friends and family.

G7 countries continue to provide large quantities of development aid to Africa. This traditional model of international aid has faced increasing competition from large-scale Chinese investment in several African economies over the past decade. These business contracts are based around an ‘infrastructure-for-resources’ premise, not necessarily enabling African countries to realise de facto, as well as de jure, independence and self-reliance. There is much contention over whether Chinese business investment truly promotes mutual development. Many North American and European media outlets describe this investment as ‘rogue aid’ and ‘chopstick mercantilism’, serving to promote neo-colonialism in Africa. My research examines whether China’s investment in Africa can be described as ‘win-win’ for both parties, and the impact this has on current discourse concerning foreign aid in Africa.

A review of relevant literature including observers such as Bräutigam, Van Staden, Carey and Xiaoyun and secondary data on foreign aid and Chinese investment, form the basis of this analysis. The paper questions whether it is fair to describe Chinese development deals as a new form of 21st Century imperialism that exploits the economic opportunity offered by Africa. It also examines the global south’s increasing relevance within the world economic structure due to the rise in bolstered African economies from Chinese investment. The implications of the Sino-African connection as an emerging contender to the dominant US presence in world trade is considered alongside an evaluation of its rhetoric of solidarity and cooperation.

Peer-to-peer lending is a dynamic industry, and is a term used to refer to companies that match lenders to borrowers without relying on a traditional banking system. Recently, it has risen in ranks as a popular alternative to traditional bank loans, largely riding off the success of the Financial Technology Revolution. To undeveloped nations, most notably, Indonesia, the arrival of peer-to-peer lending heralds a remarkable impact on roughly 60% of the country’s 250 million Indonesians who are identified as unbanked, or not having a bank account.

However, economic factors in these countries may hinder peer-to-peer lending platforms. This inevitably causes high interest rates, and leaves the possibility of customers indebted. With such high interest rates, this may mean peer lending platforms will become no different from their illegal counterparts: so-called ‘loan sharks’, or informal institutions that are already prevalent in developing communities. However, this paper is of the opinion that this issue may be resolved by business strategies promoting transparency, and having clear industry standards in place.

This research will examine statistical data comprising governmental reports and national polls on Indonesia’s unbanked population. This research will also analyse data such as Internet access and mobile phone usage in order understand the scope of the market. Moreover, existing Indonesia regulation will be analysed in order to gauge whether the problem of high interest rates can be resolved. The findings of such aims to have implications as to how to amend current regulations to be more business-friendly to peer-lending platforms.

The appalling state of labour standards in developing countries has sparked debate as to whose duty it is to protect these workers. Should international trade be premised on upholding labour standards? Current literature only focuses on the movement to introduce a social clause in international multilateral trade agreements in the early 1950s and 1990s onwards. This paper traces the unexplored Trades Union Congress’ and British government’s views on the labour-trade linkage. It also goes further than current literature as it focuses on the unstudied period between the formation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1948 and the United Kingdom’s entrance in the European Economic Community in 1973. This paper uses the extensive Trades Union Congress archives, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade archives and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in Warwick's Modern Records Centre (minutes, bulletins, reports, correspondence and paper cuttings between 1947 and 1973). I argue that the labour-trade linkage’s discourse in Britain has evolved over time, shifting from a mainly economic self-interested concern to an issue of workers’ solidarity and human rights. Moreover, the issue is framed differently depending on the actor and on the arena. The Trades Union Congress view does not always match that of the government and it is framed differently in international trade agreements and in international trade union organisations even as it shifts through time. Thus, this paper elucidates how the labour-trade linkage is a loaded proposition where motives are far from straight forward.

Background

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality globally and heart failure is a significant contributor to this. Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is now the predominant form of heart failure cases, yet, is not the focus of heart failure research.

Continuing from the pilot study conducted by Banerjee et al, (2016), the objective of this study was to elucidate a clinical state before HFpEF; described as pre-HFpEF.

Method

This was a retrospective single-centre cohort study over two years. Patients were recruited based on primary attendance to a heart failure outpatient clinic in Coventry and pre-defined exclusionary criteria applied. The primary exclusionary criteria was evidence of heart failure or an ejection fraction < 45%. NT-proBNP was used as a biomarker for left ventricular (LV) stretch. Total cardiovascular and all-cause clinical events (admissions, deaths and length of stay) were reviewed at 36 months for comparison with NT-proBNP.

Results

216 patients were included from the 1294 screened. Cardiac admissions, all-cause admissions, all cause admissions plus deaths and the average length of stay for cardiac causes were shown to significantly increase alongside NT-proBNP. In addition, AF, valvular heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and previous TIA/strokes were shown to have statistically significant correlation with NT-proBNP levels.

Conclusion

Pre-HFpEF patients showed a, NT-proBNP-dependant, stepwise increase in poorer outcomes across all measures after three years. Furthermore, a stepwise increase was seen in prevalence of comorbidities as LV stretch increased. Aggressive management of highlighted comorbidities in pre-HFpEF patients could provide an avenue for target therapy.

Recent research suggests that rudeness in a healthcare setting harms staff and patients. To investigate these claims and study the effects of rudeness on health care staff, staff in four different departments at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire were asked to fill out a questionnaire. Data was collected from the 1st of December to the 31st of December 2017 and 87 questionnaires were completed in total. 49 from the emergency department, 6 from cardiology, 16 from pharmacy and 16 from theatres. The quantitative data was then analysed with descriptive statistics and thematic analysis performed for the qualitative data. Results showed that as a result of rudeness, 70% of staff decreased their work effort, 34% said they decreased the time spent at work, 55% decreased the quality of their work, 64% said that their commitment to the trust declined, 13% called in sick because of the uncivil treatment, 77% took their feelings out at home, 61% decreased assistance to their co-workers and 23% reported decreasing assistance to patients. Analysis of the qualitative data showed that rudeness caused staff to avoid other colleagues, be personally upset and not perform to the best of their capabilities. Such results may potentially not only harm staff but also patients. Weaknesses of the study were the differences in response rate between departments and whether it was rudeness between staff that was being measured or between staff and patients. Healthcare organisations and medicine as a whole should work to make rudeness less common in the workplace.

It is currently thought that the only influence on our sex is that of genes received from our parents. Although, to date there has been limited research to investigate this widely accepted belief. Initial experimentation has identified that external environmental factors (temperature, overcrowding and food availability) can alter the sex of the offspring, but the mechanism as to how this works is still to be fully understood. Epigenetics (alterations that turn genes on and off but do not alter the DNA sequence) is another route by which information can be transferred from mother to offspring, and is being increasingly investigated as having a part to play in heritable characteristics. Research in this area has unfortunately been constrained, in part due to the lack of a robust modelling system. However, Auanema freiburgensis, a species of nematode (roundworm), provides a suitable investigational system with precise conditions, including: tightly controlled environments; observance of rapid maternal response; and easily distinguishable progeny. These conditions enable a deeper understanding of sex-determination in relation to epigenetics.

The aim of my project is to determine the molecular mechanisms which produce offspring directly related to different environmental factors in the maternal environment. It will be investigated whether changes in the germline correlate with changes to the mother. This will involve using antibody immunostaining - a laboratory technique used to identify alterations to DNA. This exciting research has the potential to break and rewrite fundamental rules in Biology that state only reproductive cells can transmit information to the offspring.

Gadolinium gallium garnet (GGG) is a magnetic material existing on a specific lattice causing a geometrical frustration. In this type of frustration, the geometry of the lattice of the material does not allow for a unique ground state of the system to occur, which results in interesting properties such as big residual entropy even at lowest experimentally achievable temperatures. The behaviour of such materials at the lowest temperatures is not very well understood and is partially addressed in this project. More specifically, the behaviour of spin waves, which can transfer energy in this material, is studied here. The spin waves do not permeate throughout the lattice of GGG unimpeded - in fact, they are localized to small closed rings in the lattice structure, composed of ten atoms. In this research, we try to develop quantum field approach to the description of the spin waves - we view the waves as quasi-particles and try to develop rules which govern their motion and interactions.

The Trussell Trust is a foodbank charity that gives emergency food provision to people who are in crisis, with around 1.3 million food parcels given out last year. Clients are referred to a foodbank by a range of agencies including Citizens Advice, General Practitioners and the Police for reasons including debt, domestic abuse or simply having a low income. The charity relies on around 40,000 volunteers across the UK to help run the foodbanks. There has been a rise in foodbank use year on year since 2008 which highlights an increasingly important context for human interaction between volunteers and clients of foodbanks.

Many of those who come to a foodbank feel ashamed and embarrassed about needing support (Garthwaite, 2016a; Williams et al., 2016). Therefore, as a volunteer ethnographer, this research sought to add insights into the types of communication strategies used by volunteers and clients to help reduce such feelings of shame and stigma. Across two foodbanks, thirty one hours were spent as a participant observer, using detailed and descriptive diary entries to assess communication strategies between volunteers and clients.

The research found that humour, storytelling and forming relational bonds were useful tools which volunteers adopted to help reduce feelings of shame and stigma among clients. It showed that the majority of volunteers were keen to make clients feel as comfortable as possible, although there were some volunteers who harboured negative attitudes towards people they saw as ‘undeserving’ of help, which did little to reduce clients’ feelings of shame. This research adds to the growing body of work on British foodbanks by giving an understanding of foodbanks from a communication perspective. It aims to help shape public policy through ethnography by ‘examining the structures of meaning that inform the lives of those in poverty and those who “serve” them’ (Curtis, 1997: 224). It results in a training document for volunteers to help improve their communication processes, so clients are able to feel as dignified as possible.

It has been supposed that a “post-civic” generation has emerged, with the lower turnout of those aged 18-25 demonstrating as such (Putnam, 2010), however, this study shows that any such analysis fails to recognise the structural barriers to participation. That political science has neglected the role of young people (Ages up to 25) in the study of party politics is proven through reviewing the limited available literature (Rainsford, 2017; Pontes 2018). Thus, current models cannot explain youth turnout and are wholly ignorant to the rich data of party youth wings (Gardiner 2016). Such groups largely mirror their wider political party and provide a platform to drive turnout and engagement with non-party members, but are subject to little research. This study will reverse this trend and renew a focus on Youth politics.

Consequently, the issues of youth turnout are concentrated into an updated agenda for the British Election Studies process, to reveal the influence of these groups. Through a series of one-to-one interviews with those leading such groups an in-depth perspective is achieved, such contacts are also leveraged for a distributed quantitative study to ascertain wider drivers of engagement and measures of efficacy. An analysis of key texts demonstrates that prominent models such as Downs are no longer suited for a truly unique generation and a different approach is required. Thus a valuable starting point for future research into both youth turnout enablers and youth wings effects is promoted.

Animal tokens are little studied, coin-like objects from across the imperial period of the Roman em-pire (27BC to AD284), which depict diverse images from livestock, to wild animals such as ele-phants. This research focused specifically on the use of animal tokens pertaining to entertainment, including the games and chariot racing, central activities within Roman society. Since animal to-kens were common items, and used over such a large expanse of time, the research is important to reveal information about everyday life in the Roman empire.

The animal tokens within the British Museum’s collection were examined, and then compared to other depictions of animals across the Roman world, in both art and literature, in order to discern patterns indicating their usage, and provide wider context to the importance of animals in Roman society. A number of similar images to those on the animal tokens were discovered, for example a horse with a palm branch is seen on both a wax seal and on an animal token, indicating victory in a chariot race, while elephants are common on animal tokens and coins celebrating the games. This suggests animal tokens were commemorative items for special games, for example those to cele-brate the emperor’s birthday, as well as for betting at chariot races, where the audience supported different teams like modern day football. Additionally, literature revealed that animal tokens could have been used to allot the meat from the animals slaughtered in the games to the spectators, thus showing a wide range of uses.

Cellular automata are discrete models with the ability to not only give rise to beautiful, intricate patterns, but also to be used as powerful tools of computation, with applications in cryptography, error-correction coding, and simulation of computer processors, to name a few. They also raise profound questions about the nature of our reality, asking whether our universe could be one such automaton. This paper provides a discussion into these automata, exploring the various power and limitations of a number of specific rule sets, covering John Conway's well-known ``Game of Life'' to the more obscure ``Langton's ant'' and ``Wireworld''. In particular, it explores the notion of computational universality, or Turing completeness, an automaton's ability to simulate any conceivable computation, and considers their potential in the context of solving two specific problems, the Firing Squad Synchronization Problem and the Majority Problem. Existing solutions to these problems are explored, and their existing avenues for optimization are discussed. In order to fully appreciate the complex structures that can arise from such simple beginnings, this project also presents software to visualize and probe further into the nature of the the automata highlighted.

Student mental health has become a talking point in recent years in the United Kingdom, in the light of growing public awareness surrounding mental health and the increasing marketisation of the higher education sector. Existing research suggests that autistic students have a higher incidence of mental health difficulties than their neurotypical counterparts (Van Hees et al, 2015). However, until now, no in-depth studies focusing upon the mental health of autistic students have been conducted.

Taking a critical autism studies approach, my poster presents data collected through in-depth interviews with 6 autistic university students to address this gap in the literature. I explore two primary concerns: firstly, the impact that university has on the mental health of autistic students, and secondly, the coping strategies they utilise whilst at university.

The results of my research suggest that university life poses a variety of challenges to students with autism, which may exacerbate pre-existing mental health difficulties or trigger their onset. Furthermore, autistic university students report feeling under-supported at university, indicating that policy changes need to be considered in order to better support this population.

Finally, experiences of disability-related discrimination were a prevalent theme in the interviews, demonstrating the importance of taking into consideration the wider societal context within which autistic students’ experiences of mental health are situated. By underlining the significance of structural ableism, I challenge the prevailing medical paradigm of autistic mental health, and in doing so make an original contribution to the emerging field of critical autism studies.