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Session 9A-9C 14:30-16:00 // day one

9A - Health and Wellbeing University of Warwick and Monash University South Africa

Background: Yaws is an endemic, painful and potentially disabling bacterial infection. The World Health Organisation has targeted Yaws for eradication by 2020. Currently there are many different diagnostic techniques available which all have different advantages and disadvantages.

Aims: How best to sample populations after mass treatment and how best to use the diagnostic tools are questions which are yet to be addressed. The aim of this study was to use infectious disease modelling, including a newly devised catalytic model, and simulations as a way to inform decisions about diagnostics for eradication of yaws.

Methods: A traditional catalytic model was applied to active cases data to try and estimate forces of infection, the rate susceptible individuals acquire positive serology, for the first time since 1959. Next a new catalytic model was designed especially to correspond with known yaws serology. This was applied to recent prevalence data, before and after a mass treatment event, and active and latent cases were modelled together for the first time in yaws. The new model was then used to help simulate what would happen to population prevalence serology after a change in the force of infection at a specific time point.

Results: The traditional catalytic model was able to capture the behaviour of the system and from this values for the average force of infection were estimated. The new model estimated an increase in individuals moving into an 'asymptomatic' serologically defined population after mass treatment. However, compared to the traditional catalytic model the fit to the data was not as close. Simulations clearly showed how a change in the force of infection affects the positive serology prevalence in different age groups, from this effective diagnostic approaches were postulated including sample selection and diagnostic choice.

Conclusion: Catalytic models can be effectively applied to yaws disease giving estimates for forces of infection and other rate constants. It is also possible to use simulations of the catalytic models to help inform decisions about diagnostics

In the field of Philosophy with regards to animal ethics, there is no greater debate than the issue of sentience and whether or not it can be proved through scientific means within the academic realm. While there has been significant progress in regards to this matter through the efforts of Peter Singer and Tom Reagan, whose research has largely shaped the way in which we understand animal rights as well as the idea of sentience within non-humans. In this research paper, I aim to further expand this research through exploring the issues that modern day researchers find when analyzing case studies which could revolutionize the way in which we view animal ethics and their related theories. The research methods that were utilized included studying video footage and additional documented case studies which focused on both animal and human interaction to interaction between animals of different species. In order to prove a sound academic standing this research was not limited to one area and as a result includes verified cases from all around the world. The contribution to both the field of philosophy and the conference itself would be substantial, as this matter is rarely covered within academic conferences. In addition this would give greater authority to the issue of animal ethics and provide it with the academic platform needed to elevate the issue in such a way that it will continue to develop until a sound conclusion may be reached.
Cells move all the time, often along a gradient of some sort. We call such movement a ‘taxis’ and further specify a prefix according to what stimulus the cell is responding, for example: thermotaxis (for movement along a temperature gradient) or chemotaxis (for a chemical gradient). These movements happen all the time in living organisms and as such a greater understanding of these movements could provide valuable insight into many areas of biology such as embryonic development, wound healing and white blood cell movement in immune responses. This kind of movement is mathematically described by equations called Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) which model how the cell’s shape and position of the surface changes over time. We seek to use a particular kind of curve called a spline, to model the perimeter of the cells. Splines are of interest as they are a natural choice for approximation of curves and allow us to specify properties that we want such as how ‘smooth’ the approximation is. We will then apply the PDEs to this approximation. This will yield an estimation of the taxis that is easier to analyse and simulate than previous methods that have been attempted. This method is also of interest because the type of spline we will use, called Non-uniform Rational Basis Splines (NURBS), haven’t been applied in this context before and so will hopefully yield interesting theoretical and numerical results.
Connexin 26 (Cx26) is key sensor for CO2 in the respiratory system of mammals. Cx26 hemichannels are opened by an increase in CO2 and allow the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which enhances breathing. Current research shows that Cx26 interacts directly with CO2 and is a key molecule involved in the CO2-dependent control of breathing. Although the mechanism through which CO2 binds to Cx26 has been elucidated, the structural features that influence the ability of CO2 to bind need to be understood. To aid an increase in understanding, variants of Cx26 which are expected to show altered CO2 sensitivity are being investigated. For this project, the genes for human and the killer whale Cx26 were expressed in cultured HeLa cells (model system) and the sensitivity CO2 for these two Cx26 molecules was measured using dye loading and epifluorescence microscopy. On exploration, it was concluded that there is no significant difference in CO2 sensitivity between Killer Whale Cx26 and Human Cx26. In diseases such as KID syndrome where there is a mutation in the Cx26 gene, the patient experiences hearing loss, eye problems and loss of CO2 sensitivity. By looking up the amino acids which are different in the sequence for Killer Whale Cx26 and Human Cx26 on the deafness database, it was found that a connexion 26 deafness mutation (Leu28Ile) was present in the killer whale sequence. For future experiments, a different organism such as the mole rat could be explored to allow the identification of key amino acids that regulate CO2 sensitivity.

9B - Attitudes and Experiences University of Warwick and Baruch College, CUNY

The term ‘teenager’, originally a damning label for the ‘fallen’ young women of a frenzied, rock’n’roll 1950s American culture, had spread to a divided Cold War Germany by 1957. Elvis Presley had successfully seduced the youth of East Germany, reinvented traditional gender identities and threatened Eastern collectivist politics.

Much contemporary research surrounding the spread of ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ culture in post-war East Germany reduces the rebellious 1950s teenager to a figment of the political imagination that heightened the moral panic used to promote East German collectivism in the aftermath of a destructive fascist regime. This standpoint invalidates their social significance, negates their legacy and reinforces the arguably universal sentiment that women who deviate from traditional gender roles are both anomalous and inconsequential. But it raises the question of how best we can explain the actions of these young women, and what resources can be found to question the standard accounts.

I will use Berlin’s records centres to examine primary media evidence of ‘Presley Admirers’ and their counterpart European and American subcultures, comparing this with several contemporary studies of East German teenage identities. Poiger’s publications, the inspiration for my research, will here be analysed in order to discover how far Presley’s rock’n’roll influence may have been exaggerated by women’s collectivist society and how far it reflected a wider pattern of female nonconformity that is ignored by standard explanations. This approach will offer an alternative, self-conscious study of the politicisation of female bodies and challenge the homogenisation of young women’s identities in contemporary research.

Research in the past 15 years has determined that two proteins named Bax and Bak mediate release of toxic factors from mitochondria, a compartment of the cell whose only known function was energy conversion. Now we know that aside from providing usable energy to normal cells, mitochondria deliver toxic factors to help eliminate dysfunctional cells. The process was coined apoptosis, a greek term that translates to “falling of” leaves from a tree. In a cell, apoptosis involves relocation of cytoplasmic Bax into the mitochondrial outer membrane to form a giant pore, named Mitochondrial Apoptotic Channel (MAC). Another MAC component, Bak, is constitutively present in the outer membrane even in absence of apoptosis. In this study we investigated a possibly alternative role of Bak outside the context of cell death. We examined the effects of Bak elimination on emission of reactive oxygen species - a byproduct of energy conversion from mitochondria. Our results indicate a disturbance of free-radical production both in cultured mouse embryonic fibroblasts and in isolated mitochondria. Future studies will delve into the mechanisms underlying the disturbance in free radical production, which may explain why certain tumors are resistant to apoptosis despite over producing free-radicals.

United Nations acknowledges discriminatory behaviors exist in many forms, however, they all involve some extent of exclusion or rejection. The immigration policies in Britain, especially those in recent two decades, have excluded or rejected the enjoyment of certain rights from immigrants. For example, the Immigration Act 2014 deprives the right of abode from some immigrants. All these suppressions could be due to multi reasons, including the continuous outbreak of terrorist attacks and what Jeroen Doomernik, the lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam, highlighted that the current scale of immigration is unsustainable. Robert W. McChesney, the professor of communication at the University of Illinois, said “... news media, would exercise its advantages in both the economy and politics in ways that can undermine political equality. ”

This research studies “UK newspapers report migration news with discriminatory bias”. The two British newspaper giants, the Guardian and the Daily Mail, are studied and the focus of immigrants is put on refugees and asylum seekers. Using both quantitative (content analysis) and qualitative (case study) research methods, the research aims to see any tendency of discrimination, in both UK newspapers, when describing refugees and asylum seekers as (1) crime offenders, (2) low-educated and (3) low-skilled. Made aware of the fact that sensitive topics are involved, the researcher tries, as bet 2she could, to follow every ethical guideline and minimize the effects on refugees and asylum seekers involved in the research.

If adults confront psychological challenges to regular exercise, such as a lack of motivation, time management problems, and low energy, then their participation in health programs may hinge on their ability to solve everyday problems that interfere with exercising. On the other hand, adults might have more success if they have resiliency, decisional balance (pros outweigh the cons), and a sense of positive effects one gets from exercise, such as social benefits, improved body image, health benefits. I am trying to compare sedentary vs active individuals, to establish whether these blocks from exercising are rooted in a deeper cause and whether introspection about these causes, mindfulness, and general confidence could help change behaviors. We tried to clarify if introspection could help identify among sedentary individuals the underlying issue about the explicitly perceived and reported obstacles. To date, we do not have a complete understanding of barriers to exercise and their psychosocial correlates, including the possibility that such barriers may be rooted in a deeper cause. 521 subjects were recruited from a pool of students in exchange for psychological research credits. Participants completed a large battery of tests to determine exercise habits, self-efficacy for exercise, obstacles to exercise, and level of mindfulness. Additionally, participants who expressed an interest in exercise but could not exercise regularly were invited for a follow-up session. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions: a guided meditation about obstacles to exercise, a guided meditation that did not address obstacles to exercise, or no meditation. The results indicated that people who are successful exercisers tend to report higher confidence in exercising and a higher score on the mindfulness scale, suggesting a correlation between mindfulness and ability to overcome psychological challenges. In the experimental part of our study, we found that people in the experimental group gained awareness into their reasons for not exercising. This research suggests that helping sedentary individuals understand underlying psychological causes for their inability to exercise and having them do mindfulness practices may help them improve their success in overcoming their barriers to exercise.

9C - Changing Societies University of Warwick, University of Leeds, and University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Historically the Jews have been targeted by systematic persecution. Whilst the Christian Church was not the first organisation to do this, they undoubtedly provided at least tacit approval for the practice throughout much of their history. Notably anti-Semitic views are commonplace throughout some of the earliest histories of the Church, and their writers never seem to miss an opportunity to question Jewish moral character. What is surprising about this is that the Church grew from the Jewish faith, and the first Christians were almost entirely Jewish.

The question is therefore at what point the Christian Church fully separated from Jewish culture and began to persecute, rather than embrace, their forbears. Traditionally this has been assumed to have happened as early as the 1st century AD – with the rise of the Gentile Church. More recently this view has begun to be challenged, and if it can be done so successfully then it will impact our understanding of the makeup of the Early and Imperial Christian Church.

My research argues that in the 5th century the Imperial Church was still struggling to create a clear demarcation between Christianity and Judaism and that if we examine the Church Histories of the period we can see outright fabrications designed to persuade later readers that this demarcation had occurred far earlier. This examination of the textual evidence, and comparisons with what archaeological evidence suggests, will be supplemented by sociological models to demonstrate how uncomfortably close the Jewish faith remained to the Imperial Church.

During the Classical Era of Athens, laws were established to control burial practices and to identify deviants within the Athenian society. Written records exist that define the deviants of Athens as murderers, pirates, and even those that committed suicide. Alongside this identification came expectations of how these outcasts were to be buried. For example, those that committed suicide were expected to be buried with their right hand chopped off so that they could be easily identified from other graves. However, despite literary evidence existing for a deviant’s burial process, there is little to no physical evidence that supports the actual occurrence of these practices. In order to understand who the true deviants of the Athenian society were, the expectations for a socially accepted Athenian citizen and how they were buried has been provided as a basis of comparison. If people did not practice these burial rites or refused purification, then they were seen as overcome by miasma, or pollution. However, there were certain groups that became exceptions to the expectations of Athenian normalcy and some that were dismissed from the community entirely. These deviants have been identified as children, warriors, and the physically and mentally disabled. Rather than being buried in areas of Athens designated for the dead, these people either had their remains displayed through more honorable means or in places affiliated with trash and abandonment. It is because of their detachment to aspects of Athenian normality that that the youth, warriors, and the disabled were seen as deviant.
During the 4th century AD the Roman Empire saw major changes when Christianity overcame paganism as the official religion. Most authors, such as Eusebius of Caesarea and Porphyry, were open about their attitude toward Christianity whether they were for or against it (Life of Constantine 36; Against the Christians). The historian Ammianus Marcellinus, on the other hand, used indirect language that slighted the religion without calling attention to himself. / Unlike other authors of the time period, Marcellinus never openly expressed his feelings about Christianity. However, his true feelings about the religion show through the precise language that he used to describe Christianity. Several times throughout the Res Gestae Marcellinus used vague terms, such as cantilena, that could be seen as derogatory toward Christianity (Amm. 22.11.7; 22.4.6). Marcellinus also made connections between the religions of numerous groups in order to imply that Christianity made those people uncivilized while paganism made other groups advanced (Amm. 28.5.14). Marcellinus even made connections between emperors’ religions and how successful they were as rulers, implying that Christianity was the reason for their failures (Amm. 25.10.15). / Scholars such as Barnes and Woods agree that Marcellinus was a pagan, but further examination is useful for understanding his view toward Christianity. The anti-pagan laws of the 4th century AD and Marcellinus’ use of indirect language suggest that it would have been dangerous to openly criticize Christianity. Therefore, Marcellinus made sure to express his opinion discreetly so that he would not have to fear punishment or become unpopular in the empire. /

It has been acknowledged that the population of the world is ageing. An ageing demographic correlates with decreased mobility. Thus, understanding the relationship between older and disabled people and transport has become fundamental in ensuring the demographic is able to travel by both public and private transport systems. Further, in the present day, technology is becoming prominent in human activities. Therefore, exploring new technological opportunities could offer solutions to barriers in transport for older and disabled people, retaining independence and active lifestyles.

The research seeks to apprehend the challenges faced when older and disabled people access transport in the UK, aiming to understand how technological advancements can make society's transport more inclusive. Including finding out how, and if, older and disabled people would utilise new technologies e.g. mobile applications or wearable devices to overcome difficulties currently faced with their personal mobility.

Methodology included two mixed-gendered focus groups with participants sixty-five years and older. Each group had between six and nine participants, voluntarily recruited. Participants self-prescribed themselves into one of two groups: experience some degree of hearing or sight impairment or encounter no particular difficulties when accessing transport. Once prescribed, participants were assigned to the relevant focus group.

Findings from the research would endeavour to make travelling for those concerned more sustainable, raising awareness to accessibility issues of transport systems which have the potential to cause problems such as, social exclusion. Moreover, they would contribute to understanding the importance of co-design when implementing changes, including technological advancements, to UK transport infrastructure.