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Session 5D-5F 08:00-09:30 // day one

5D - Smart Tech University of Warwick and Monash University Malaysia


The accuracy of a clinical diagnosis for acute appendicitis is currently poor. CT scanning improves this, but CT has disadvantages. Surgeons would prefer clinical instruments over CT, but these are too inaccurate because they ignore subjects who were not operated on. We plan a systematic review to determine whether the CT can be used as a gold standard. We also need to determine if the accuracy of CT-based diagnosis has improved with time.


We included studies designed to provide data on sensitivity and specificity. Studies planned with other objectives were excluded. Data was extracted from the Pubmed and Ovid databases, which yielded 607 titles. The RevMan software is being used for recording data. A QUADAS-2 worksheet evaluates the quality of the studies.


The protocol was registered (PROSPERO). Of approximately 70 papers that meet the inclusion criteria, 39 have been analysed. Preliminary results yield an overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values and negative predictive values of 0.93, 0.92, 0.94, and 0.91. Specificity is higher if contrast is administered (0.95) compared to CT without contrast (0.87). Surprisingly, results did not improve over the years. Randomised studies have not been published, and all studies seen so far have inherent biases. Few studies have attempted to conduct proper follow-up for non-operated cases.


The CT scan has a sensitivity and specificity slightly over 90%. The accuracy does not seem to have improved over time despite the emergence of improved scanners. Initial results suggest that the CT may not be the perfect gold standard.

Within sports of any type, cohesiveness and effective communication is instrumental in a team’s success. The professional video industry (eSports) has seldom been researched, even though the area itself can be likened to traditional sport on all levels, except the players are playing video games not physical sport. This study opens academic eSport investigation with a focus on communicative structures in established eSport organisations, with the aim of developing a new and refined theoretical framework that maps the sociolinguistic environment within League of Legends teams. The framework will be shaped by the findings and adapted from traditional sport communication models. The eSport industry is a rich linguistic environment that could provide insight that could affect the wider understanding of teamwork. In eSport, particularly the game ‘League of Legends’, communication is more fundamental to success than in traditional sport as the game itself is more complex which warrants immaculate teamwork.

This investigation will answer the research question of ‘What is a successful communicative framework in eSports?’ with the secondary objective of investigating the roles of each player, such as the ‘shotcaller’, a pivotal role found in my preliminary research projects. It will be a mixed-methods enquiry utilising field notes, interviews and conversational analysis from full game observations. The project will open further investigations into the complexity of in-game and out-of-game social roles and the fundamentals of an effective eSport team environment. The resulting framework will promote further research into the entire industry, specifically enabling this eSport teamwork paradigm to be further investigated and developed.

Nickel-based superalloys are the best materials for turbine blades yet identified – and most well-known. Such alloys are widely used in load-bearing structures – such as jet engines or gas turbines that have extreme homologous temperatures nearing 90% of the alloys’ melting point – due to its outstanding ability to maintain strength and toughness under high temperature. Each development in Nickel-based superalloys enhances performance of turbine blades. This project intends to further study the atomic-scale mechanism in superalloys, which can lead to a better understanding of the Ni-based superalloys and may even bring new ideas to this field. Such development will eventually help improve the design of turbine blades. Turbine blades after development can be stronger and lighter, thus enabling better design, less fuel consumption and better working conditions. This will mean higher efficiency, lower cost and less pollution in its applications.

Superalloy turbine blades in jet engines are giant, single crystals of perfectly aligned atoms. The single-crystal Nickel-based superalloys usually contain a lower concentration of impurities such as Rhenium (Re) and Tungsten (W). Impurities are added to provide the balance of strength and ductility in the Ni-based superalloys. However, the atomic-scale mechanisms of impurities, especially Re, is still in dispute. This project aims to use quantum mechanical (QM) computer simulation based on Density Functional Theory (DFT) to analyse the Ni-based superalloys and compare the results with existing experiments to suggest improvements for new alloy design.

One attractive part of this project is that it requires a combination of many fascinating subjects, such as material science, mechanical engineering, theoretical physics and computer modelling. Also, the study of Nickel-based superalloys is a very advanced topic; the long lasting mystery of its impurities’ mechanisms makes it most intriguing.

A future technology in the therapeutics industry will be the use of smart drugs to control cells as individual systems, manipulating their behaviour. One example of a potential application is to trigger cell death in cancerous or otherwise faulty cells. In order to do this, the theory of systems engineering must be applied to that of cell biology.

Systems engineering requires feedback components in order to control the output variables. In this project, a logarithmic feedback component will be constructed using a theoretical DNA circuit. The component circuit is created using the DNA simulation software, Visual DSD (produced by the Biological Computation Group at Microsoft Research). In Visual DSD, the mechanism of DNA Strand Displacement is exploited to allow for tailored input – output DNA reactions.

The ACS – Synthetic Biology Paper, ‘Analog Computation by DNA Strand Displacement Circuits’, outlines a method for creating polynomial functions, which are used in a Maclaurin series approximation of the function

f(x) = ln(1+x)        
. Currently, this circuit can perform static calculations within a limited range. Leading up to the ICUR conference this circuit will be adapted for dynamic inputs over a greater range; achieved by adding species annihilation reactions, and extending the range of the multiplication gates used (currently the limiting factor). The findings will be reported to Microsoft Research with a view to being a useful resource for further development of DNA circuit technology.

5E - Where do I Belong? University of Warwick and Nanyang Technological University

We detected genes under recent positive selection in the three main populations of Singapore, namely the Chinese, Malays, and Indians, by searching for 200,000 kb windows with high absolute integrated haplotype scores (iHS) ≥ 2 in their respective genomes. Of the genes under selection, 50–70% were unique in each population, with the highest positively selected genes in the Chinese genome potentially protecting against cancer, coding for proper body development in the Malay genome and protecting against myelodysplastic syndrome in Indians. Common genes found in the three populations were mainly pseudogenes potentially involved in gene regulation. Some of those genes were found to be under selection in the ancestral populations as well, such as selection for systemic lupus erythematosus in the Chinese. Among the top 1% of genomic regions with the strongest evidence of recent positive selection, individual gene coding for specific functions was significantly more prevalent than clusters of enriched genes with the same function. Comparison with datasets from other populations from North India, South India, North Asia and East Asia showed evidence of similar selection in these other regions of the ancestral countries. All these suggest that the three Singaporean populations bring with them a large portion of their adaptations from ancestral environments, which may lead them to respond differently to Singapore’s environment.

Despite the strong explanatory power of socioeconomic factors in explaining relative subjective well-being amongst individuals, significant cross-country differences remain and appear to be persistent. This presentation presents further evidence that culture factors are the key in explaining the observed differences following the ideas of Rice and Steele (2004), Hajdu and Hajdu (2016) and Senik (2014). Fernandez’ epidemiological approach is employed to isolate the effect of culture, as the study is focused on immigrants who share the same cultural values with their country of origin and the same external environment as other immigrants. Individual level data is obtained from the General Social Survey (GSS) USA and country level data from the World Values Survey and Hofstede’s 6D culture dimensions. The data is then analysed using econometric techniques to predict the influence of culture on individual subjective well-being. This presentation presents econometric evidence of culture being the cause of the East Asian Happiness Gap in the United States, supporting the ideas of psychologists such as Lai et al. (2013) and Uchida et al. (2004). It also goes further than Rice and Steele (2004) by employing richer family ancestral data and find a significant impact of culture in the subjective well-being of immigrants. Moreover, the fading of culture is also evident, supporting the findings of Hajdu and Hajdu (2016). Finally, the results show that culture is strongly invariant with individual choices indicating that the relative power of culture is shaped through long term values not short-term experiences, thus having policy implications.

Singapore is a natural setting for the study of multilingualism given the multilingual composition of its residents and the State’s language-in-education policy that places a premium on bilingualism (English and a mother tongue). The English language holds more importance than the mother tongue language in school as English is the medium of instructions for other subjects. There is a huge disproportion with regards to the time assigned to the teaching of the English and mother tongue languages in schools. There have been attitudinal studies to investigate students’ perception of their bilingual identity but the focus has been on English–Chinese bilinguals. Little is known about the attitude towards English–Malay bilingualism. This paper reports on a study that surveys the attitudes of 120 young Malays in Singapore towards their English–Malay bilingualism and their identity as English–Malay bilinguals. The survey is stratified along educational status, self-rated language proficiency, spoken language, dominant home language, gender and socio-economic status towards the perceived benefits and advantages associated with English–Malay bilingualism. The findings suggest that young Malays’ generally have a positive attitude towards English–Malay bilingualism and their English–Malay bilingual identity – regardless of occupational, gender, socio-economic status, dominant home language, dominant personal language and self-rated language proficiency. Yet they consider being English–Malay bilingual as less useful than being English–Chinese bilingual. This paper contributes to our understanding of the impact that the language-in-education policy has on English–Malay bilinguals and how their perception of English vis-à-vis Malay and the other mother tongue languages shapes their identity and attitude.

Third-culture and mixed-heritage individuals are an increasing commonality in an increasingly globalised society. Cultural identity issues surrounding black–white mixes have been discussed, but the fairly recent nature of mixed-heritage groups mean experiences are narrowly explored regarding other mixes. Research is pivotal to gauge cultural identity issues surrounding this increasing trend. I, therefore, ask the question of how mixed-heritage individuals make sense of ethnic and cultural identity in everyday life from personal and social perspectives.

Literature has documented the evolution of mixed cultural identity, as individuals follow Phinney’s model of ethnic identity development. It is expected that varying factors are at play, but several commonalities between individual ethnic identity development may occur based on identity theory, social categorisation theory and the contact hypothesis. Three mixed-heritage interviewees from Warwick University of a similar demography but varying heritages have been studied, finding similar commonalities in forming mixed-heritage identities such as language, social environment and stereotypes. Defining where they are from was also analysed, finding conflict and collaboration in what ultimately determines each person’s ethnic identity. The data is consistent with Phinney’s ethnic identity development model, demonstrating the three stages of unexamined ethnic identity, ethnic identity search and ethnic identity achievement.

Differences among interviewees are vast and each stage is exhibited in varying ways, supporting the consensus in literature that mixed-heritage identity is subjective, shifting and complex. The dynamic nature of some of the participant’s ethnic identity also concords with findings from broader mixed-heritage literature.

5F - Reproductive Rights University of Warwick and Monash University Australia

To this day, governments and businesses have taken multiple actions to improve women’s job market prospects. Whether under one form or the other (positive discrimination, financial incentives or sanctions, among others), efforts towards gender equality have been undertaken. Being the fifth objective on the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ list, the adoption of gender equality measures has even been put forward as a condition for financing by international institutions.

Nowadays, women entering the labour market in OECD countries tend to be comparably – and often more – qualified than their male counterparts. Nevertheless, they are less likely to pursue a life-long career, and more likely to be employed in lower-paid sectors with temporary contracts.

Recently, stress was put on expanding the exclusive use of father’s parental leave entitlements as a policy implementation to promote gender equality in employment. This research project explores the nature of paternity leave policies across different countries to assess its impact on female employment patterns.

This project will rely on empirical data made available by international institutions (Eurostat, OECD) such as the ‘unadjusted gender pay gap’ variable. The latter has revealed very useful for its frequency, comparability, accessibility and wide usage. We are also to draw some links with existing literature and studies published recently, which have validated the existence of a correlation between paternity leave and female employment perspectives.

The result of the research shows a greater correlation between paternity leave and women’s employment in developing countries. Indeed, an increase in the proportion of women in a standard firm, by 6.8%, has been witnessed when moving from a country that does not mandate paternity leave to a country that does. This positive relation, if successfully promoted by institutional decision, has the potential to restructure the labour market, curtailing the systematic discrimination women experience.

The birth control pill is widely regarded today as an emancipator of women, a key factor that contributed to the sexual revolution and a step forward in the long path towards gender equality. Yet an analysis of its introduction in the setting of East and West Germany offers a glimpse into another interpretation of the pill – one in which its history cannot easily be severed from political imperatives, ideological impositions and gendered understandings of society. Reams of literature have been written regarding post-war Germany and the Cold War period. My research instead utilises the discourses surrounding the pill in print media to present an alternate interpretation of the Cold War history, while offering a critical view of the pill’s history in order to challenge narratives that portray the drug purely as a force for good. Primary newspaper articles allow for an analysis of the ways in which the pill was presented to the public, both in East and West Germany. My research questions why the pill was introduced in each of the German states given the religious, ideological and social resistance towards contraception that existed throughout the period. Focusing on three key areas – the pill’s introduction to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1961, its introduction to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1964, and the FRG student protests of 1968 – facilitates a comparative analysis that provides a novel way of exploring political tensions, and social conventions, that existed between East and West Germany in the Cold War era.

Childbirth, exclusively the function of the female body, places discourses surrounding childbirth and motherhood as natural for women and positions the role of ‘mother’ as biological and immutable.

Social expectations have an impact on the experiences of pregnant women and impact the way in which they view their pregnancies, bodies and selves. Centred in a personal journey, this paper is a deeply introspective reflection of a desire to understand my own personal struggle to adjust to the social discourse that implied adaptation to the socially constructed role of motherhood without protest, with exhibition of positive emotional reactions and little disturbance to daily life.

This study aims to explore the ways in which medical, scientific, social and popular discourses about behaviour modification during pregnancy create a subjective interpretation that frames an expectant mother’s understanding and experience of pregnancy as a potential risk factor for predicting postnatal depression.

Foucault’s notion of self-regulation and an understanding of his writings on discourse, power and discipline, incorporate the theoretical framework to analyse how truth-claims attach to these discourses to examine how social interactions are subjectively interpreted and categorised.

The aim of this study is to develop a greater understanding into the variety of complex subjective meanings attached to pregnancy and to analyse how subjective meaning contributes to an expectant mother’s pregnancy experience.

The World Health Organisation defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as ‘all procedures that involve partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-therapeutic reasons’. My research focuses on FGM in the UK and considers the following: the prevalence of FGM within diaspora communities; what steps need to be taken to counter its persistence; and the astronomically low conviction rates of the practice. The study focuses on religious leaders, community advocates, national and local organisations, youth-led initiatives and the cross-departmental efforts from the government. It analyses their methodological approaches to preventing the practice and providing support for victims, considering the positive and negative effects of these efforts as well as potential areas of improvement. This research also compiles the findings and recommendations of a number of leading organisations working to end FGM in order to ascertain the likelihood of ending FGM in the UK within a generation. Research into FGM in the UK is needed now, because only recently have statistics into its prevalence and the reasons for its persistence here been collected, meaning that, those trying to combat the issue within these diaspora communities are largely based on the responses from organisations working in the countries of origin. This research looks specifically at whether this reaction is appropriate in light of the hybridity of culture experienced by those continuing the practice in the UK and the most effective options in pursuit of ending FGM in the country within a generation.