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Queen's University Belfast is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The university's official title, per its charter, is The Queen's University of Belfast Wikipedia.

Staurenghi G.,University of Milan | Sadda S.,University of Southern California | Chakravarthy U.,Queens University of Belfast | Spaide R.F.,Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York
Ophthalmology | Year: 2014

Purpose To develop a consensus nomenclature for the classification of retinal and choroidal layers and bands visible on spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) images of a normal eye. Design An international panel with expertise in retinal imaging (International Nomenclature for Optical Coherence Tomography [IN•OCT] Panel) was assembled to define a consensus for OCT imaging terminology. Participants A panel of retina specialists. Methods A set of 3 B-scan images from a normal eye was circulated to the panel before the meeting for independent assignment of nomenclature to anatomic landmarks in the vitreous, retina, and choroid. The outputs were scrutinized, tabulated, and used as the starting point for discussions at a roundtable panel meeting. The history of anatomic landmark designations over time was reviewed for the various cellular layers of the ocular structures that are visible by SD-OCT. A process of open discussion and negotiation was undertaken until a unanimous consensus name was adopted for each feature. Main Outcome Measures Definitions of normal eye features showed by SD-OCT. Results Definitions for various layers changed frequently in the literature and were often inconsistent with retinal anatomy and histology. The panel introduced the term "zone" for OCT features that seem to localize to a particular anatomic region that lacks definitely proven evidence for a specific reflective structure. Such zones include the myoid, ellipsoid, and the interdigitation zones. Conclusions A nomenclature system for normal anatomic landmarks seen on SD-OCT outputs has been proposed and adopted by the IN•OCT Panel. The panel recommends this standardized nomenclature for use in future publications. The proposed harmonizing of terminology serves as a basis for future OCT research studies. © 2014 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Ballone P.,Queens University of Belfast | Cortes-Huerto R.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Faraday Discussions | Year: 2012

Selected aspects of the ab initio modelling of room temperature ionic liquids are discussed in our contribution, focusing on thermal decomposition reactions, and on the determination of the electrochemical stability window of these compounds. In both cases, we emphasise the role of ab initio simulation methods, able to deal simultaneously with the ionic and electronic side of the systems and phenomena under investigation. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Blease C.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Medical Ethics | Year: 2012

The use of 'placebos' in clinical practice is a source of continued controversy for physicians and medical ethicists. There is rarely any extensive discussion on what 'placebos' are and how they work. In this paper, drawing on Louhiala and Puustinen's work, the author proposes that the term 'placebo effect' be replaced in clinical contexts with the term 'positive care effect'. Medical treatment always takes place in a 'context of care' that encompasses all the phenomena associated with medical intervention: it includes the particular method of treatment, the interpersonal relationships between medical staff and the patient and other factors, including physicians' and patients' beliefs in the power of the treatment. Together, these phenomena can result in a full spectrum of therapeutic effects to the patientdfrom no effects, to small effects, to large effects. In cases where there are significant therapeutic benefits to the patient, 'positive care effects' may be spoken of. Since the ethical codes of the General Medical Council and the American Medical Association demand transparency with respect to patient treatment and insist on complete openness in 'placebo' usage, the author argues that, as a matter of conceptual rigour and consistency, if the term 'placebo effect' is replaced by 'positive care effect', these ethical codes appear to insist on transparency about all such beneficial components of treatment. Given that this appears to be a counterintuitive obligation, the author concludes the paper with some comments on the clinical consequences of this conceptual revision, including a brief discussion of how this important debate might develop.

Appleton K.M.,Queens University of Belfast
British Journal of Nutrition | Year: 2013

The present study investigated the value of two repeated exposure interventions for increasing intakes of fruit in older people. A total of ninety-five participants (aged 65 years and over) were randomised to receive either one (E1), five (E5) or five plus (E5+) exposures to fruit over a 5-week period. Fruit exposures occurred in community-based church and social groups, through fruit-tasting sessions involving familiar fruits and novel fruit products and dishes (E1, E5, E5+), and through fruit provision (E5+). Daily intakes of fruit and vegetables were assessed before and after all interventions. Liking for all fruits was also measured during repeated exposure (E5, E5+). In low consumers of fruit (one portion/d or less), fruit intakes increased significantly in the repeated exposure groups (E5, E5+) (t(30) = 5·79, P< 0.01), but did not change in the E1 group (t(16) = 0.29, P= 0.78). No differences were found between E5 and E5+ groups (F(3,87) = 1·22, P= 0.31). Similar effects were also found in fruit and vegetable intakes. No effects were found in other participants. Also, no changes in liking were found. These findings suggest that compared to single exposure, repeated exposure to fruit via fruit-tasting sessions once per week for 5 weeks in a community setting significantly improved fruit intakes, and fruit and vegetable intakes in older low consumers of fruit, although no benefits of additional fruit provision were found. Repeated exposure was also easy to implement, of low cost and enjoyable. Copyright © The Author 2012.

Kar J.R.,Institute of Chemical Technology | Hallsworth J.E.,Queens University of Belfast | Singhal R.S.,Institute of Chemical Technology
Environmental Technology and Innovation | Year: 2015

Acid whey has become a major concern especially in dairy industry manufacturing Greek yoghurt. Proper disposal of acid whey is essential as it not only increases the BOD of water but also increases the acidity when disposed of in landfill, rendering soil barren and unsuitable for cultivation. Effluent (acid-whey) treatment increases the cost of production. The vast quantities of acid whey that are produced by the dairy industry make the treatment and safe disposal of effluent very difficult. Hence an economical way to handle this problem is very important. Biogenic glycine betaine and trehalose have many applications in food and confectionery industry, medicine, bioprocess industry, agriculture, genetic engineering, and animal feeds (etc.), hence their production is of industrial importance. Here we used the extreme, obligate halophile Actinopolyspora halophila (MTCC 263) for fermentative production of glycine betaine and trehalose from acid whey. Maximum yields were obtained by implementation of a sequential media optimization process, identification and addition of rate-limiting enzyme cofactors via a bioinformatics approach, and manipulation of nitrogen substrate supply. The implications of using glycine as a precursor were also investigated. The core factors that affected production were identified and then optimized using orthogonal array design followed by response surface methodology. The maximum production achieved after complete optimization was 9.07 ± 0.25 g/L and 2.49 ± 0.14 g/L for glycine betaine and trehalose, respectively. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Schuppert F.,Queens University of Belfast | Seidel C.,Friedrich - Alexander - University, Erlangen - Nuremberg
Climatic Change | Year: 2015

According to the Budget Approach proposed by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), allocating CO2 emission rights to countries on an equal per-capita basis would provide an ethically justified response to global climate change. In this paper, we will highlight four normative issues which beset the WBGU’s Budget Approach: (1) the approach’s core principle of distributive justice, the principle of equality, and its associated policy of emissions egalitarianism are much more complex than it initially appears; (2) the “official” rationale for determining the size of the budget should be modified in order to avoid implausible normative assumptions about the imposition of permissible intergenerational risks; (3) the approach heavily relies on trade-offs between justice and feasibility which should be stated more explicitly; and (4) part of the approach’s ethical appeal depends on policy instruments which are “detachable” from the approach’s core principle of distributive justice. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Sonebi M.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering | Year: 2010

There is an increasing need to identify the effect of mix composition on the rheological properties of cementitious grouts using minislump, Marsh cone, cohesion plate, washout test, and cubes to determine the fluidity, the cohesion, and other mechanical properties of grouting applications. Mixture proportioning involves the tailoring of several parameters to achieve adequate fluidity, cohesion, washout resistance and compressive strength. This paper proposes a statistical design approach using a composite fractional factorial design which was carried out to model the influence of key parameters on the performance of cement grouts. The responses relate to performance included minislump, flow time using Marsh cone, cohesion measured by Lombardi plate meter, washout mass loss and compressive strength at 3, 7, and 28 days. The statistical models are valid for mixtures with water-to-binder ratio of 0.37-0.53, 0.4-1.8% addition of high-range water reducer (HRWR) by mass of binder, 4-12% additive of silica fume as replacement of cement by mass, and 0.02-0.8% addition of viscosity modifying admixture (VMA) by mass of binder. The models enable the identification of underlying factors and interactions that influence the modeled responses of cement grout. The comparison between the predicted and measured responses indicated good accuracy of the established models to describe the effect of the independent variables on the fluidity, cohesion, washout resistance and the compressive strength. This paper demonstrates the usefulness of the models to better understand trade-offs between parameters. The multiparametric optimization is used to establish isoresponses for a desirability function for cement grout. An increase of HRWR led to an increase of fluidity and washout, a reduction in plate cohesion value, and a reduction in the Marsh cone time. An increase of VMA demonstrated a reduction of fluidity and the washout mass loss, and an increase of Marsh cone time and plate cohesion. Results indicate that the use of silica fume increased the cohesion plate and Marsh cone, and reduced the minislump. Additionally, the silica fume improved the compressive strength and the washout resistance. © 2010 ASCE.

Dyke G.J.,Queens University of Belfast
Current Biology | Year: 2010

Do dinosaurs from the Moroccan Kem Kem formation provide evidence for an ecosystem dramatically different from anything seen today? More likely the common palaeontological problem of time-averaging has had a part to play. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Rogers K.M.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of perioperative practice | Year: 2013

This article examines acid-base balance and the interpretation of arterial blood gases (ABG). The article begins with a brief revision of related physiology followed by a description of the primary disorders of acid-base balance. The normal ranges and the significance of abnormal ABG results are explored. The article concludes by providing an easy to follow four-step guide to ABG interpretation with practice examples presented in the continuing professional development (CPD) task section.

Carson R.G.,Trinity College Dublin | Carson R.G.,Queens University of Belfast | Kennedy N.C.,Trinity College Dublin | Kennedy N.C.,University of East Anglia
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Paired Associative Stimulation (PAS) has come to prominence as a potential therapeutic intervention for the treatment of brain injury/disease, and as an experimental method with which to investigate Hebbian principles of neural plasticity in humans. Prototypically, a single electrical stimulus is directed to a peripheral nerve in advance of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) delivered to the contralateral primary motor cortex (M1). Repeated pairing of the stimuli (i.e., association) over an extended period may increase or decrease the excitability of corticospinal projections from M1, in manner that depends on the interstimulus interval (ISI). It has been suggested that these effects represent a form of associative long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD) that bears resemblance to spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) as it has been elaborated in animal models. With a large body of empirical evidence having emerged since the cardinal features of PAS were first described, and in light of the variations from the original protocols that have been implemented, it is opportune to consider whether the phenomenology of PAS remains consistent with the characteristic features that were initially disclosed. This assessment necessarily has bearing upon interpretation of the effects of PAS in relation to the specific cellular pathways that are putatively engaged, including those that adhere to the rules of STDP. The balance of evidence suggests that the mechanisms that contribute to the LTP- and LTD-type responses to PAS differ depending on the precise nature of the induction protocol that is used. In addition to emphasizing the requirement for additional explanatory models, in the present analysis we highlight the key features of the PAS phenomenology that require interpretation. © 2013 Carson and Kennedy.

McGuinness B.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: The use of statin therapy in established Alzheimer's disease (AD) or vascular dementia (VaD) is a relatively unexplored area. In AD ss-amyloid protein (Ass) is deposited in the form of extracellular plaques and previous studies have determined Ass generation is cholesterol dependent. Hypercholesterolaemia has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of VaD. Due to the role of statins in cholesterol reduction it is biologically plausible they may be efficacious in the treatment of AD and dementia. OBJECTIVES: To assess the clinical efficacy and tolerability of statins in the treatment of dementia. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Specialized Register of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group, The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and LILACS, as well as many trials registries and grey literature sources (27 October 2008). SELECTION CRITERIA: Double-blind, randomized controlled trials of statins given for at least six months in people with a diagnosis of dementia. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two independent authors extracted and assessed data independently against the inclusion criteria. Data were pooled where appropriate and entered into a meta-analysis. MAIN RESULTS: Three studies were identified (748 participants, age range 50-90 years). All patients had a diagnosis of probable or possible AD according to standard criteria and most patients were established on a cholinesterase inhibitor. Treatment in ADCLT 2005 consisted of 80mg atorvastatin compared to placebo for 52 weeks, serum low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was reduced by 54% in the atorvastatin group. Treatment in Simons 2002 consisted of 40mg simvastatin compared to placebo for 26 weeks, serum LDL cholesterol was reduced by 52% in the simvastatin group. Treatment in LEADe 2010 consisted of 80mg atorvastatin compared to placebo for 72 weeks, LDL cholesterol was reduced by 50.2% by month 3 and remained constant through month 18. Change in Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale- cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog) from baseline was a primary outcome in 3 studies; when data were pooled there was considerable heterogeneity so the random effects model was used, statins did not provide any beneficial effect in this cognitive measure [mean difference -1.12, 95% CI -3.99, 1.75, p = 0.44]. All studies provided change in Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) from baseline; again random effects model was used due to considerable heterogeneity: there was no significant benefit from statins in this cognitive measure when the data were pooled [mean difference -1.53, 95% CI -3.28, 0.21, p = 0.08]. There was some evidence that patients on statins in ADCLT 2005 maintained better cognitive function if serum cholesterol was high at baseline, MMSE was higher at baseline or if they had an apolipoprotein E4 allele present. This would need to be confirmed in larger studies however. Treatment related adverse effects were available from two studies, LEADe 2010 and Simons 2002; when data were pooled there was no significant difference between statins and placebo [odds ratio 2.45, 95% CI 0.69, 8.62, p = 0.16]. There was no significant difference in global function, behaviour or activities of daily living in the statin and placebo groups. One large randomised controlled trial (RCT) ( CLASP 2008) has not yet published its results. There were no studies identified assessing role of statins in treatment of VaD. There was no evidence that statins were detrimental to cognition. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to recommend statins for the treatment of dementia. Analysis from the studies available, including one large RCT, indicate statins have no benefit on the outcome measures ADAS-Cog or MMSE. We need to await full results from CLASP 2008 before we can be certain. This Cochrane review will be updated as these results become available.

Zhang J.,Queens University of Belfast | Gong S.,Queen Mary, University of London
Computer Vision and Image Understanding | Year: 2010

Temporal dependency is a very important cue for modeling human actions. However, approaches using latent topics models, e.g., probabilistic latent semantic analysis (pLSA), employ the bag of words assumption therefore word dependencies are usually ignored. In this work, we propose a new approach structural pLSA (SpLSA) to model explicitly word orders by introducing latent variables. More specifically, we develop an action categorization approach that learns action representations as the distribution of latent topics in an unsupervised way, where each action frame is characterized by a codebook representation of local shape context. The effectiveness of this approach is evaluated using both the WEIZMANN dataset and the MIT dataset. Results show that the proposed approach outperforms the standard pLSA. Additionally, our approach is compared favorably with six existing models including GMM, logistic regression, HMM, SVM, CRF, and HCRF given the same feature representation. These comparative results show that our approach achieves higher categorization accuracy than the five existing models and is comparable to the state-of-the-art hidden conditional random field based model using the same feature set. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Zhang J.,Queens University of Belfast | Gong S.,Queen Mary, University of London
Pattern Recognition | Year: 2010

In this paper, we present a method for action categorization with a modified hidden conditional random field (HCRF). Specifically, effective silhouette-based action features are extracted using motion moments and spectrum of chain code. We formulate a modified HCRF (mHCRF) to have a guaranteed global optimum in the modelling of the temporal action dependencies after the HMM pathing stage. Experimental results on action categorization using this model are compared favorably against several existing model-based methods including GMM, SVM, Logistic Regression, HMM, CRF and HCRF. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Warner J.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology | Year: 2010

The United States Supreme Court case of 1991, Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Service Co., continues to be highly significant for property in data and databases, but remains poorly understood. The approach taken in this article contrasts with previous studies. It focuses upon the "not original" rather than the original. The delineation of the absence of a modicum of creativity in selection, coordination, and arrangement of data as a component of the not original forms a pivotal point in the Supreme Court decision.The author also aims at elucidation rather than critique, using close textual exegesis of the Supreme Court decision. The results of the exegesis are translated into a more formal logical form to enhance clarity and rigor. The insufficiently creative is initially characterized as "so mechanical or routine." Mechanical and routine are understood in their ordinary discourse senses, as a conjunction or as connected by AND, and as the central clause. Subsequent clauses amplify the senses of mechanical and routine without disturbing their conjunction. The delineation of the absence of a modicum of creativity can be correlated with classic conceptions of computability. The insufficiently creative can then be understood as a routine selection, coordination, or arrangement produced by an automatic mechanical procedure or algorithm. An understanding of a modicum of creativity and of copyright law is also indicated. The value of the exegesis and interpretation is identified as its final simplicity, clarity, comprehensiveness, and potential practical utility. © 2010 ASIS&T.

James S.L.,Queens University of Belfast
Advanced Materials | Year: 2016

In 2007 the idea was put forward that, through careful molecular design, it should be possible to synthesize liquids which contain permanent, well-defined molecule-sized cavities (pores). Such “porous liquids” could be a kind of liquid zeolite, or liquid MOF (metal–organic framework), exhibiting the size and shape-selective sorption (or dissolution) associated with microporous solids as well as the fluidity of liquids – a new and potentially useful combination of properties. However, these materials remained essentially hypothetical until recently. In 2014 and 2015 three papers were published which describe convincing examples of porous liquids, and studies have shown that they do exhibit some remarkable properties, such as very fast gas diffusion and high gas solubilities. The examples reported so far are almost certainly only the tip of the iceberg. Now that porous liquids are ‘real’, a new area of materials science may open up, with clear potential for long-term applications in chemical processes. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

Crawford D.E.,Queens University of Belfast | Casaban J.,MOF Technologies
Advanced Materials | Year: 2016

Mechanochemical synthesis, i.e., reactions conducted by grinding solid reactants together with no or minimal solvent, has been demonstrated as an excellent technique for the formation of both organic and inorganic compounds. Mechanochemistry is viewed as an alternative approach to chemical synthesis and is not always considered when developing manufacturing processes of fine chemicals. Here, recent advances are highlighted regarding mechanochemical synthesis, by utilizing a well-developed continuous technique – extrusion, and the advantages it offers to further support its use in the manufacturing of these chemicals. To put this work into context, it is shown how extrusion plays a vital role for manufacturing in the food, polymer, and pharmaceutical industries, and how the research carried out by these respective industrialists provides great insight and understanding of the technique, with the results being applicable in the chemical industry. The synthesis of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) is highlighted herein as an excellent example showcasing the advantages that extrusion provides to the manufacture of these materials, one advantage being the exceptional space time yields (STYs) reported for these processes, at three orders of magnitude greater than conventional (solvothermal) synthesis. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

Jin S.,Nanjing Southeast University | McKay M.R.,Hong Kong University of Science and Technology | Zhong C.,Queens University of Belfast | Wong K.-K.,University College London
IEEE Transactions on Information Theory | Year: 2010

This paper presents an analytical characterization of the ergodic capacity of amplify-and-forward (AF) MIMO dual-hop relay channels, assuming that the channel state information is available at the destination terminal only. In contrast to prior results, our expressions apply for arbitrary numbers of antennas and arbitrary relay configurations. We derive an expression for the exact ergodic capacity, simplified closed-form expressions for the high SNR regime, and tight closed-form upper and lower bounds. These results are made possible by employing recent tools from finite-dimensional random matrix theory, which are used to derive new closed-form expressions for various statistical properties of the equivalent AF MIMO dual-hop relay channel, such as the distribution of an unordered eigenvalue and certain random determinant properties. Based on the analytical capacity expressions, we investigate the impact of the system and channel characteristics, such as the antenna configuration and the relay power gain. We also demonstrate a number of interesting relationships between the dual-hop AF MIMO relay channel and conventional point-to-point MIMO channels in various asymptotic regimes. © 2010 IEEE.

Information on how populations are spatially concentrated by different characteristics is a key means of guiding government policies in a variety of contexts, in addition to being of substantial academic interest. In particular, to reduce inequalities between groups, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of these groups in terms of their composition and their geographical structure. This article explores the degree to which the population of Northern Ireland is spatially concentrated by a range of characteristics. There is a long history of interest in residential segregation by religion in Northern Ireland; this article assesses population concentration not only by community background ('religion or religion brought up in') but also by housing tenure, employment and other socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The spatial structure of geographical variables can be captured by a range of spatial statistics including Moran's I. Such approaches utilise information on connections between observations or the distances between them. While such approaches are conceptually an improvement on standard aspatial statistics, a logical further step is to compute statistics on a local basis on the grounds that most real-world properties are not spatially homogenous and, therefore, global measures may mask much variation. In population geography, which provides the substantive focus for this article, there are still relatively few studies that assess in depth the application of geographically weighted statistics for exploring population characteristics individually and for exploring relations between variables. This article demonstrates the value of such approaches by using a variety of geographically weighted statistical measures to explore outputs from the 2001 Census of Population of Northern Ireland. A key objective is to assess the degree to which the population is spatially divided, as judged by the selected variables. In other words, do people cluster more strongly with others who share their community background or others who have a similar socioeconomic status in some respect? The analysis demonstrates how geographically weighted statistics can be used to explore the degree to which single socioeconomic and demographic variables and relations between such variables differ at different spatial scales and at different geographical locations. For example, the results show that there are regions comprising neighbouring areas with large proportions of people from the same community background, but with variable unemployment levels, while in other areas the first case holds true but unemployment levels are consistently low. The analysis supports the contention that geographical variations in population characteristics are the norm, and these cannot be captured without using local methods. An additional methodological contribution relates to the treatment of counts expressed as percentages. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.

Kendall G.S.,Queens University of Belfast
Organised Sound | Year: 2010

Listeners experience electroacoustic music as full of significance and meaning, and they experience spatiality as one of the factors contributing to its meaningfulness. If we want to understand spatiality in electroacoustic music, we must understand how the listeners mental processes give rise to the experience of meaning. In electroacoustic music as in everyday life, these mental processes unite the peripheral auditory system with human spatial cognition. In the discussion that follows we consider a range of the listeners mental processes relating space and meaning from the perceptual attributes of spatial imagery to the spatial reference frames for places and navigation. When considering multichannel loudspeaker systems in particular, an important part of the discussion is focused on the distinctive and idiomatic ways in which this particular mode of sound production contributes to and situates meaning. These include the phenomenon of image dispersion, the important consequences of the precedence effect and the influence of source characteristics on spatial imagery. These are discussed in close relation to the practicalities of artistic practice and to the potential for artistic meaning experienced by the listener. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.

Clark F.,Queens University of Belfast
Social History of Medicine | Year: 2014

This study analyses the narrative elements of a little-known report into anti-venereal trials written by an Irish military physician-surgeon, Daniel O'Sullivan (1760-c.1797). It explores the way in which O'Sullivan as the narrator of the Historico-critical report creates medical heroes and anti-heroes as a means to criticise procedures initiated by staff in the Hospital General de San Andrés, Mexico City. The resulting work depicts a much less positive picture of medical trials and hospital authorities in this period than has been recorded to date, and provides a critical and complicated assessment of one of Spain's leading physicians of the nineteenth century, Francisco Javier Balmis (1753-1819). © 2013 The Author.

Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast | De Chiara G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Palma G.M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2010

We consider a cavity with a vibrating end mirror and coupled to a Bose-Einstein condensate. The cavity field mediates the interplay between mirror and collective oscillations of the atomic density. We study the implications of this dynamics and the possibility of an indirect diagnostic. Our predictions can be observed in a realistic setup that is central to the current quest for mesoscopic quantumness. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Haworth C.S.,Cambridge Center for Lung Infection | Bilton D.,Royal Brompton Hospital | Elborn J.S.,Queens University of Belfast
Respiratory Medicine | Year: 2014

Macrolide antibiotics have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties in addition to antibacterial activity. Until recently, only a small number of studies evaluating macrolides in patients with non-cystic fibrosis (CF) bronchiectasis had been published. These were open-label, uncontrolled, short-duration studies that included small numbers of patients. However, these studies suggested that macrolides can reduce exacerbation frequency, reduce sputum volume, and improve lung function in patients with non-CF bronchiectasis. Three recently published randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies showed that macrolides (azithromycin or erythromycin) taken for between 6 and 12 months led to significant reductions in exacerbation rate and reduced the decline in lung function. In all studies, macrolides were generally well tolerated. The advantages of macrolide maintenance therapy need to be balanced against the risks, which include emergence of bacterial resistance, cardiotoxicity and ototoxicity. In addition, a key need is the consistent definition of endpoints for studies in non-CF bronchiectasis, particularly the definition of exacerbation, to allow systematic data analysis. Existing studies on the use of low-dose macrolides in non-CF bronchiectasis are encouraging, but further studies are needed to define the optimal agent, dose, duration for treatment, and the patients likely to benefit and long-term safety. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ishii H.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Tempo R.,CNR Institute of Electronics, Computer and Telecommunication Engineering | Bai E.-W.,University of Iowa | Bai E.-W.,Queens University of Belfast
IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control | Year: 2012

The PageRank algorithm employed at Google assigns a measure of importance to each web page for rankings in search results. In our recent papers, we have proposed a distributed randomized approach for this algorithm, where web pages are treated as agents computing their own PageRank by communicating with linked pages. This paper builds upon this approach to reduce the computation and communication loads for the algorithms. In particular, we develop a method to systematically aggregate the web pages into groups by exploiting the sparsity inherent in the web. For each group, an aggregated PageRank value is computed,which can then be distributed among the group members. We provide a distributed update scheme for the aggregated PageRank along with an analysis on its convergence properties. The method is especially motivated by results on singular perturbation techniques for large-scale Markov chains and multi-agent consensus. A numerical example is provided to illustrate the level of reduction in computation while keeping the error in rankings small. © 1963-2012 IEEE.

Archard D.,Queens University of Belfast
Medical Law International | Year: 2013

This article seeks, first, to disarm some of the principal criticisms of the best interests principle as having an indeterminate content. It then considers how a best interests principle stands in relation to other principles, in particular according to the child a 'voice' on matters affecting its interests. It seeks to show that there is an important distinction between a 'threshold' and 'weighting' view of a child's capacities, which has significant implications for how we think from a rights perspective both about the child and about the adult. The article contrasts its own approach from that of John Eekelaar's 'dynamic self-determinism', and concludes by suggesting ways in which the case of children can illuminate the broader understanding of adult rights to autonomy and of liberal anti-paternalism. © The Author(s) 2013.

This paper examines relationships between religion and two forms of homonegativity across 43 European countries using a bivariate response binary logistic multilevel model. The model analyzes effects of religious believing, belonging and practice on two response variables: a) a moral rejection of homosexuality as a practice and b) intolerance toward homosexuals as a group. The findings indicate that both forms of homonegativity are prevalent in Europe. Traditional doctrinal religious believing (belief in a personal God) is positively related to a moral rejection of homosexuality but to a much lesser extent associated with intolerance toward homosexuals as a group. Members of religious denominations are more likely than non-members to reject homosexuality as morally wrong and to reject homosexuals as neighbors. The analysis found significant differences between denominations that are likely context-dependent. Attendance at religious services is positively related to homonegativity in a majority of countries. The findings vary considerably across countries: Religion is more strongly related to homonegativity in Western than in Eastern Europe. In the post-Soviet countries homonegativity appears to be largely a secular phenomenon. National contexts of high religiosity, high perceived government corruption, high income inequality and shortcomings in the implementation of gay rights in the countries' legislations are statistically related to higher levels of both moralistic homonegativity and intolerance toward homosexuals as a group. Copyright: © 2015 Stefanie Doebler. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Delaney P.,Queens University of Belfast | Greer J.C.,Tyndall National Institute | Larsson J.A.,Tyndall National Institute
Nano Letters | Year: 2010

The nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond has shown great promise for quantum information due to the ease of initializing the qubit and of reading out its state. Here we show the leading mechanism for these effects gives results opposite from experiment; instead both must rely on new physics. Furthermore, NV centers fabricated in nanometer-sized diamond clusters are stable, motivating a bottom-up qubit approach, with the possibility of quite different optical properties to bulk. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Magri D.C.,Acadia University | De Silva A.P.,Queens University of Belfast
New Journal of Chemistry | Year: 2010

The synthesis and photophysical characterization of a novel molecular logic gate 4, operating in water, is demonstrated based on the competition between .uorescence and photoinduced electron transfer (PET). It is constructed according to a '.uorophore-spacer-receptor1-spacer-receptor 2' format where anthracene is the .uorophore, receptor1 is a tertiary amine and receptor2 is a phenyliminodiacetate ligand. Using only protons and zinc cations as the chemical inputs and .uorescence as the output, 4 is demonstrated to be both a two-input AND and INH logic gate. When 4 is examined in context to the YES logic gates 1 and 2, and the two-input AND logic gate 3 and three-input AND logic gate 5, each with one or more of the following receptors including a tertiary amine, phenyliminodiacetate or benzo-15-crown-5 ether, logic gate 4 is the missing link in the homologous series. Collectively, the molecular logic gates 1-5 corroborate the PET '.uorophore-spacer-receptor' model using chemical inputs and a light-signal output and provide insight into controlling the .uorescence quantum yield of future PET-based molecular logic gates. © The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 2010.

Hughes J.,Queens University of Belfast
European journal of preventive cardiology | Year: 2013

To quantify how much of the coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality decline in Northern Ireland between 1987 and 2007 could be attributed to medical and surgical treatments and how much to changes in population cardiovascular risk factors. The IMPACT mortality model was used to integrate data on uptake and effectiveness of cardiological treatments and risk factor trends in the Northern Ireland population between 1987 and 2007. The main data sources were official population and mortality statistics, hospital administration systems, primary care datasets, published trials and meta-analyses, clinical audits, and national surveys. Between 1987 and 2007, CHD mortality rates in Northern Ireland decreased by 52% in men and 60% in women aged 25-84 years. This resulted in 3180 fewer deaths in 2007 than expected if 1987 mortality rates had persisted. Approximately 35% of this decrease was attributed to increased uptake of treatments in individuals and 60% to population risk factor reductions (principally blood pressure, total cholesterol, and smoking); however, these reductions were partially offset by adverse trends in diabetes, physical inactivity, and obesity. Approximately 60% of the substantial CHD mortality decline in Northern Ireland between 1987 and 2007 was attributable to major cardiovascular risk factor changes and approximately 35% was attributable to treatments. However, adverse trends in diabetes, obesity, and physical inactivity are of major concern.

Masouros C.,Queens University of Belfast
IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing | Year: 2011

A simple linear precoding technique is proposed for multiple input multiple output (MIMO) broadcast systems using phase shift keying (PSK) modulation. The proposed technique is based on the fact that, on an instantaneous basis, the interference between spatial links in a MIMO system can be constructive and can contribute to the power of the useful signal to improve the performance of signal detection. In MIMO downlinks this co-channel interference (CCI) can be predicted and characterised prior to transmission. Contrary to common practice where knowledge of the interference is used to eliminate it, the main idea proposed here is to use this knowledge to influence the interference and benefit from it, thus gaining advantage from energy already existing in the communication system that is left unexploited otherwise. The proposed precoding aims at adaptively rotating, rather than zeroing, the correlation between the MIMO substreams depending on the transmitted data, so that the signal of interfering transmissions is aligned to the signal of interest at each receive antenna. By doing so, the CCI is always kept constructive and the received signal to interference-plus-noise ratio (SINR) delivered to the mobile units (MUs) is enhanced without the need to invest additional signal power per transmitted symbol at the MIMO base station (BS). It is shown by means of theoretical analysis and simulations that the proposed MIMO precoding technique offers significant performance and throughput gains compared to its conventional counterparts. © 1991-2012 IEEE.

Zippilli S.,University of Salerno | Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast | Paternostro M.,University of Ulm | Adesso G.,University of Nottingham | Illuminati F.,University of Salerno
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2013

We study the dissipative dynamics of two independent arrays of many-body systems, locally driven by a common entangled field. We show that in the steady state the entanglement of the driving field is reproduced in an arbitrarily large series of inter-array entangled pairs over all distances. Local nonclassical driving thus realizes a scale-free entanglement replication and long-distance entanglement distribution mechanism that has immediate bearing on the implementation of quantum communication networks. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Macdonald G.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Despite differences in how it is defined, there is a general consensus amongst clinicians and researchers that the sexual abuse of children and adolescents ('child sexual abuse') is a substantial social problem worldwide. The effects of sexual abuse manifest in a wide range of symptoms, including fear, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and various externalising and internalising behaviour problems, such as inappropriate sexual behaviours. Child sexual abuse is associated with increased risk of psychological problems in adulthood. Cognitive-behavioural approaches are used to help children and their non-offending or 'safe' parent to manage the sequelae of childhood sexual abuse. This review updates the first Cochrane review of cognitive-behavioural approaches interventions for children who have been sexually abused, which was first published in 2006. To assess the efficacy of cognitive-behavioural approaches (CBT) in addressing the immediate and longer-term sequelae of sexual abuse on children and young people up to 18 years of age. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (2011 Issue 4); MEDLINE (1950 to November Week 3 2011); EMBASE (1980 to Week 47 2011); CINAHL (1937 to 2 December 2011); PsycINFO (1887 to November Week 5 2011); LILACS (1982 to 2 December 2011) and OpenGrey, previously OpenSIGLE (1980 to 2 December 2011). For this update we also searched ClinicalTrials.gov and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP). We included randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of CBT used with children and adolescents up to age 18 years who had experienced being sexually abused, compared with treatment as usual, with or without placebo control. At least two review authors independently assessed the eligibility of titles and abstracts identified in the search. Two review authors independently extracted data from included studies and entered these into Review Manager 5 software. We synthesised and presented data in both written and graphical form (forest plots). We included 10 trials, involving 847 participants. All studies examined CBT programmes provided to children or children and a non-offending parent. Control groups included wait list controls (n = 1) or treatment as usual (n = 9). Treatment as usual was, for the most part, supportive, unstructured psychotherapy. Generally the reporting of studies was poor. Only four studies were judged 'low risk of bias' with regards to sequence generation and only one study was judged 'low risk of bias' in relation to allocation concealment. All studies were judged 'high risk of bias' in relation to the blinding of outcome assessors or personnel; most studies did not report on these, or other issues of bias. Most studies reported results for study completers rather than for those recruited.Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and child behaviour problems were the primary outcomes. Data suggest that CBT may have a positive impact on the sequelae of child sexual abuse, but most results were not statistically significant. Strongest evidence for positive effects of CBT appears to be in reducing PTSD and anxiety symptoms, but even in these areas effects tend to be 'moderate' at best. Meta-analysis of data from five studies suggested an average decrease of 1.9 points on the Child Depression Inventory immediately after intervention (95% confidence interval (CI) decrease of 4.0 to increase of 0.4; I(2) = 53%; P value for heterogeneity = 0.08), representing a small to moderate effect size. Data from six studies yielded an average decrease of 0.44 standard deviations on a variety of child post-traumatic stress disorder scales (95% CI 0.16 to 0.73; I(2) = 46%; P value for heterogeneity = 0.10). Combined data from five studies yielded an average decrease of 0.23 standard deviations on various child anxiety scales (95% CI 0.3 to 0.4; I(2) = 0%; P value for heterogeneity = 0.84). No study reported adverse effects. The conclusions of this updated review remain the same as those when it was first published. The review confirms the potential of CBT to address the adverse consequences of child sexual abuse, but highlights the limitations of the evidence base and the need for more carefully conducted and better reported trials.

Graham S.,Queens University of Belfast
International Journal of Production Economics | Year: 2015

Two important strands of research within the literature on Environmental Operations Management (EOM) relate to environmental approach and performance. Often in this research the links between environmental approach, environmental performance and EOM are considered separately with little consideration given to the interrelationships between them. This study develops and tests a theoretical framework that combines these two strands to explore how UK food manufacturers approach EOM. The framework considers the relationships between an environmentally pro-active strategic orientation, EOM and environmental and cost performance. A cross-sectional survey was developed to collect data from a sample of 1200 food manufacturing firms located within the UK. Responses were sought from production and operations managers who are knowledgeable about the environmental operations practices within their firms. A total of 149 complete and useable responses were obtained. The reliability and validity of the scales used in the survey were tested using exploratory factor analysis, prior to the testing of the hypotheses underpinning the theoretical framework using hierarchical regression analysis. Our results generate support for a link between environmental proactivity, environmental practices and performance, consistent with the natural resource-based view (NRBV) and a number of studies in the extant literature. In considering environmental proactivity as a standalone concept that influences the implementation of environmental practices outlined in the NRBV, our study generates some novel insights into these links. Further our results provide some interesting insights for managers within the food industry who can identify the potential benefits of certain practices for performance within this unique context. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Warner J.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology | Year: 2010

The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991 in Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Service Co. affirmed originality as a constitutional requirement for copyright. Originality has a specific sense and is constituted by a minimal degree of creativity and independent creation. The not original is the more developed concept within the decision. It includes the absence of a minimal degree of creativity as a major constituent. Different levels of absence of creativity also are distinguished, from the extreme absence of creativity to insufficient creativity. There is a gestalt effect of analogy between the delineation of the not original and the concept of computability. More specific correlations can be found within the extreme absence of creativity. "[S]o mechanical" in the decision can be correlated with an automatic mechanical procedure and clauses with a historical resonance with understandings of computability as what would naturally be regarded as computable. The routine within the extreme absence of creativity can be regarded as the product of a computational process. The concern of this article is with rigorously establishing an understanding of the extreme absence of creativity, primarily through the correlations with aspects of computability. The understanding established is consistent with the other elements of the not original. It also revealed as testable under real-world conditions. The possibilities for understanding insufficient creativity, a minimal degree of creativity, and originality, from the understanding developed of the extreme absence of creativity, are indicated. © 2010 ASIS&T.

Dennis J.A.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Sexual offending is a legal construct that overlaps, but is not entirely congruent with, clinical constructs of disorders of sexual preference. Sexual offending is both a social and a public health issue. Victim surveys illustrate high incidence and prevalence levels, and it is commonly accepted that there is considerable hidden sexual victimisation. There are significant levels of psychiatric morbidity in survivors of sexual offences.Psychological interventions are generally based on behavioural or psychodynamic theories.Behavioural interventions fall into two main groups: those based on traditional classical conditioning and/or operant learning theory and those based on cognitive behavioural approaches. Approaches may overlap. Interventions associated with traditional classical and operant learning theory are referred to as behaviour modification or behaviour therapy, and focus explicitly on changing behaviour by administering a stimulus and measuring its effect on overt behaviour. Within sex offender treatment, examples include aversion therapy, covert sensitisation or olfactory conditioning. Cognitive behavioural therapies are intended to change internal processes - thoughts, beliefs, emotions, physiological arousal - alongside changing overt behaviour, such as social skills or coping behaviours. They may involve establishing links between offenders' thoughts, feelings and actions about offending behaviour; correction of offenders' misperceptions, irrational beliefs and reasoning biases associated with their offending; teaching offenders to monitor their own thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with offending; and promoting alternative ways of coping with deviant sexual thoughts and desires.Psychodynamic interventions share a common root in psychoanalytic theory. This posits that sexual offending arises through an imbalance of the three components of mind: the id, the ego and the superego, with sexual offenders having temperamental imbalance of a powerful id (increased sexual impulses and libido) and a weak superego (a low level of moral probation), which are also impacted by early environment.This updates a previous Cochrane review but is based on a new protocol. To assess the effects of psychological interventions on those who have sexually offended or are at risk of offending. In September 2010 we searched: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Allied and Complementary Medicine (AMED), Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA), Biosis Previews, CINAHL, COPAC, Dissertation Abstracts, EMBASE, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS), ISI Proceedings, Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), National Criminal Justice Reference Service Abstracts Database, PsycINFO, OpenSIGLE, Social Care Online, Sociological Abstracts, UK Clinical Research Network Portfolio Database and ZETOC. We contacted numerous experts in the field. Randomised trials comparing psychological intervention with standard care or another psychological therapy given to adults treated in institutional or community settings for sexual behaviours that have resulted in conviction or caution for sexual offences, or who are seeking treatment voluntarily for behaviours classified as illegal. At least two authors, working independently, selected studies, extracted data and assessed the studies' risk of bias. We contacted study authors for additional information including details of methods and outcome data. We included ten studies involving data from 944 adults, all male.Five trials involved primarily cognitive behavioural interventions (CBT) (n = 664). Of these, four compared CBT with no treatment or wait list control, and one compared CBT with standard care. Only one study collected data on the primary outcome. The largest study (n = 484) involved the most complex intervention versus no treatment. Long-term outcome data are reported for groups in which the mean years 'at risk' in the community are similar (8.3 years for treatment (n = 259) compared to 8.4 in the control group (n = 225)). There was no difference between these groups in terms of the risk of reoffending as measured by reconviction for sexual offences (risk ratio (RR) 1.10; 95% CI 0.78 to 1.56).Four trials (n = 70) compared one behavioural programme with an alternative behavioural programme or with wait list control. No meta-analysis was possible for this comparison. For two studies (both cross-over, n = 29) no disaggregated data were available. The remaining two behavioural studies compared imaginal desensitisation with either covert sensitisation or as part of adjunctive drug therapy (n = 20 and 21, respectively). In these two studies, results for the primary outcome (being 'charged with anomalous behaviour') were encouraging, with only one new charge for the treated groups over one year in the former study, and in the latter study, only one new charge (in the drug-only group) over two years.One study compared psychodynamic intervention with probation. Results for this study (n = 231) indicate a slight trend in favour of the control group (probation) over the intervention (group therapy) in terms of sexual offending as measured by rearrest (RR 1.87; 95% CI 0.78 to 4.47) at 10-year follow-up.Data for adverse events, 'sexually anomalous urges' and for secondary outcomes thought to be 'dynamic' risk factors for reoffending, including anger and cognitive distortions, were limited. The inescapable conclusion of this review is the need for further randomised controlled trials.

O'Modhrain S.,Queens University of Belfast
Computer Music Journal | Year: 2011

The evaluation plays a significant role in the process of designing digital musical instruments (DMI). Models are representations of systems or artifacts that provide a means of reflecting upon the design or behavior of a system. Taxonomies are often used in human-computer interaction (HCI) as a means of categorizing methods of design or evaluation according to characteristics that they have in common. The development of performance practice and a dedicated instrumental repertoire along with the evolution of a DMI allow performers and composers to become participants in shaping the function, form, and sound of the instrument. Performers are the only people who can provide feedback on an instrument's functioning in the context for which it was ultimately intended, that of live music making. It is often necessary to probe interaction designs at the task level, particularly in order to evaluate two possible options for a given design, or to probe the mental model that a user is constructing of a given interaction task.

Bi Z.M.,Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne | Jin Y.,Queens University of Belfast
Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing | Year: 2011

The studies on PKMs have attracted a great attention to robotics community. By deploying a parallel kinematic structure, a parallel kinematic machine (PKM) is expected to possess the advantages of heavier working load, higher speed, and higher precision. Hundreds of new PKMs have been proposed. However, due to the considerable gaps between the desired and actual performances, the majorities of the developed PKMs were the prototypes in research laboratories and only a few of them have been practically applied for various applications; among the successful PKMs, the Exechon machine tool is recently developed. The Exechon adopts unique over-constrained structure, and it has been improved based on the success of the Tricept parallel kinematic machine. Note that the quantifiable theoretical studies have yet been conducted to validate its superior performances, and its kinematic model is not publically available. In this paper, the kinematic characteristics of this new machine tool is investigated, the concise models of forward and inverse kinematics have been developed. These models can be used to evaluate the performances of an existing Exechon machine tool and to optimize new structures of an Exechon machine to accomplish some specific tasks. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

De Chiara G.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast | Palma G.M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2011

We study a device formed by a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) coupled to the field of a cavity with a moving end mirror and find a working point such that the mirror-light entanglement is reproduced by the BEC-light quantum correlations. This provides an experimentally viable tool for inferring mirror-light entanglement with only a limited set of assumptions. We prove the existence of tripartite entanglement in the hybrid device, persisting up to temperatures of a few milli-Kelvin, and discuss a scheme to detect it. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Chung P.-J.,University of Edinburgh | Du H.,Queens University of Belfast | Gondzio J.,University of Edinburgh
IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing | Year: 2011

Transmit beamforming (or precoding) is a powerful technique for enhancing performance of wireless multiantenna communication systems. Standard transmit beamformers require perfect channel state information at the transmitter (CSIT) and are sensitive to errors in channel estimation. In practice, such errors are inevitable due to finite feedback resources, quantization errors and other physical constraints. Hence, robustness has become a crucial issue recently. Among two popular robust designs, the stochastic approach exploits channel statistics and optimizes the average system performance while the maximin approach considers errors as deterministic and optimizes the worst case performance. The latter usually leads to a very conservative design against extreme (but rare) conditions which may occur at a very low probability. In this paper, we propose a more flexible approach that maximizes the average signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and takes the extreme conditions into account using the probability with which they may occur. Simulation results show that the proposed beamformer offers higher robustness against channel estimation errors than several popular transmit beamformers. © 2011 IEEE.

Donohue S.,Queens University of Belfast
European Journal of Engineering Education | Year: 2014

The use of audience response systems (ARSs) or 'clickers' in higher education has increased over the recent years, predominantly owing to their ability to actively engage students, for promoting individual and group learning, and for providing instantaneous feedback to students and teachers. This paper describes how group-based ARS quizzes have been integrated into an undergraduate civil engineering course on foundation design. Overall, the ARS summary quizzes were very well received by the students. Feedback obtained from the students indicates that the majority believed the group-based quizzes were useful activities, which helped to improve their understanding of course materials, encouraged self-assessment, and assisted preparation for their summative examination. Providing students with clickers does not, however, necessarily guarantee the class will be engaged with the activity. If an ARS activity is to be successful, careful planning and design must be carried out and modifications adopted where necessary, which should be informed by the literature and relevant student feedback. © 2013 SEFI.

Lane I.C.,Queens University of Belfast
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics | Year: 2012

Large parts of the periodic table cannot be cooled by current laser-based methods. We investigate whether zero energy fragmentation of laser cooled fluorides is a potential source of ultracold fluorine atoms. We report new ab initio calculations on the lowest electronic states of the BeF diatomic molecule including spin-orbit coupling, the calculated minima for the valence electronic states being within 1 pm of the spectroscopic values. A four colour cooling scheme based on the A 2Π ← X 2Σ + transition is shown to be feasible for this molecule. Multi-Reference Configuration Interaction (MRCI) potentials of the lowest energy Rydberg states are reported for the first time and found to be in good agreement with experimental data. A series of multi-pulse excitation schemes from a single rovibrational level of the cooled molecule are proposed to produce cold fluorine atoms. This journal is © 2012 the Owner Societies.

Tu Q.,Zhejiang University | Xu Z.,Zhejiang University | Xu L.,Queens University of Belfast
IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery | Year: 2011

This paper describes a modified phase-shifted carrier-based pulsewidth-modulation (PSC-PWM) scheme for modular multilevel converters (MMC). In order to reduce the average device switching frequency, a reduced switching-frequency (RSF) voltage balancing algorithm is developed. This paper also proposes a circulating current suppressing controller (CCSC) to minimize the inner circulating current in an MMC. Based on the double line-frequency, negative-sequence rotational frame, the three-phase alternative circulating currents are decomposed into two dc components and are minimized by a pair of proportional integral controllers. Simulation results based on a detailed PSCAD/EMTDC model prove the effectiveness of the modified PSC-PWM method and the RSF voltage-balancing algorithm. The proposed CCSC not only eliminates the inner circulating current but also improves the quality of the converter ac output voltage. A simple loss evaluation demonstrates that the RSF voltage-balancing algorithm and the CCSC reduce the converter power losses. © 2011 IEEE.

Augustyniak D.,Wroclaw University | Nowak J.,Wroclaw University | Lundy F.T.,Queens University of Belfast
Current Protein and Peptide Science | Year: 2012

As global resistance to conventional antibiotics rises we need to develop new strategies to develop future novel therapeutics. In our quest to design novel anti-infectives and antimicrobials it is of interest to investigate host-pathogen interactions and learn from the complexity of host defense strategies that have evolved over millennia. A myriad of host defense molecules are now known to play a role in protection against human infection. However, the interaction between host and pathogen is recognized to be a multifaceted one, involving countless host proteins, including several families of peptides. The regulation of infection and inflammation by multiple peptide families may represent an evolutionary failsafe in terms of functional degeneracy and emphasizes the significance of host defense in survival. One such family is the neuropeptides (NPs), which are conventionally defined as peptide neurotransmitters but have recently been shown to be pleiotropic molecules that are integral components of the nervous and immune systems. In this review we address the antimicrobial and anti-infective effects of NPs both in vitro and in vivo and discuss their potential therapeutic usefulness in overcoming infectious diseases. With improved understanding of the efficacy of NPs, these molecules could become an important part of our arsenal of weapons in the treatment of infection and inflammation. It is envisaged that targeted therapy approaches that selectively exploit the anti-infective, antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties of NPs could become useful adjuncts to our current therapeutic modalities. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.

Anouti M.,University of Tours | Jacquemin J.,Queens University of Belfast | Porion P.,CNRS Center for Research on Divided Matter
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2012

We present a study on the transport properties through conductivity (σ), viscosity (η), and self-diffusion coefficient (D) measurements of two pure protic ionic liquids-pyrrolidinium hydrogen sulfate, [Pyrr][HSO 4], and pyrrolidinium trifluoroacetate, [Pyrr][CF3COO]-and their mixtures with water over the whole composition range at 298.15 K and atmospheric pressure. Based on these experimental results, transport mobilities of ions have been then investigated in each case through the Stokes-Einstein equation. From this, the proton conduction in these PILs follows a combination of Grotthuss and vehicle-type mechanisms, which depends also on the water composition in solution. In each case, the displacement of the NMR peak attributed to the labile proton on the pyrrolidinium cation with the PILs concentration in aqueous solution indicates that this proton is located between the cation and the anion for a water weight fraction lower than 8%. In other words, for such compositions, it appears that this labile proton is not solvated by water molecules. However, for higher water content, the labile protons are in solution as H3O+. This water weight fraction appears to be the solvation limit of the H+ ions by water molecules in these two PILs solutions. However, [Pyrr][HSO4] and [Pyrr][CF 3COO] PILs present opposed comportment in aqueous solution. In the case of [Pyrr][CF3COO], η, σ, D, and the attractive potential, Epot, between ions indicate clearly that the diffusion of each ion is similar. In other words, these ions are tightly bound together as ion pairs, reflecting in fact the importance of the hydrophobicity of the trifluoroacetate anion, whereas, in the case of the [Pyrr][HSO4], the strong H-bond between the HSO4 - anion and water promotes a drastic change in the viscosity of the aqueous solution, as well as on the conductivity which is up to 187 mS•cm-1 for water weight fraction close to 60% at 298 K. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Mills A.,Queens University of Belfast
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental | Year: 2012

The main features are described of the ISO published standard: 10678:2010, namely the 'Determination of photocatalytic activity of surfaces in an aqueous medium by degradation of methylene blue'. The main underlying assumptions of the standard are considered, namely: (i) dye purity, (ii) adsorption and pH, (iii) light source, (iv) stirring and diffusion, (v) reaction mechanism and (vi) kinetics. Possible sources of errors arising form these assumptions are identified and changes to the standard's protocol suggested. The major suggested changes are: (i) a source of MB+ of known and proven on site high purity (>90%) should be used to make up the standard test solution, which should have a referenced absorbance, 0.74, at 665nm; (ii) the conditioning solution should be the same concentration as the standard test solution, (iii) the initial pH of the reaction solution should lie in the range: 5.5-6.0; (iv) a BLB UVA light with a europium-doped strontium fluoroborate or borate phosphor should be used; (v) the reaction solution should be vigorously and continuously stirred if possible; (vi) the solution height should be the minimum recommended value of 2cm, and the photoreactor cylinder i.d., 4.7cm; (vii) after the 3h irradiation the reaction solution should be left stirring overnight to check that no dye photoreductive bleaching has occurred. Application of most of these suggestions should improve considerably the standard's reported current poor percentage errors for repeatability within a lab (9.2%) and reproducibility between labs (30.6%). © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Parkes J.,Queens University of Belfast
Paediatric nursing | Year: 2010

Because cerebral palsy (CP) is a sufficiently common condition of childhood and adolescence, the number and needs of these children and young people with cerebral palsy are monitored by centres across the UK (Surman et al 2006) and Europe (Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe 2000). This article describes the epidemiology of CP in childhood using data derived from the Northern Ireland Cerebral Palsy Register, which is one of the longest running CP registers in Europe. The findings presented here are similar to, and representative of, the epidemiology of CP in the western world (Dolk et al 2006).

Connolly L.,Queens University of Belfast | Ropstad E.,Norwegian School for Veterinary Science | Verhaegen S.,Norwegian School for Veterinary Science
TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry | Year: 2011

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are capable of interfering with normal hormone homeostasis by acting on several targets and through a wide variety of mechanisms. Unwanted exposure to EDCs can lead to a wide spectrum of adverse health effects, especially when exposure is during critical windows of development. Feed and food are considered to be among the main routes of inadvertent exposure to EDCs, so there is an important need for efficient detection of EDCs in these matrices. We describe in vitro bioassays that can complement current analytical chemistry in order to detect unwanted EDCs and describe their action, emphasizing assays that can measure effects on nuclear receptor signaling or hormone production. We outline both validated and unvalidated in vitro assays currently available in the scientific community for detecting and studying the effects of EDCs, and discuss their possible role in the food-safety context. We conclude by identifying gaps in the current battery of in vitro assays available for EDCs and suggest future possibilities for development and validation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Beale C.M.,University of York | Baker N.E.,Tanzania Bird Atlas | Brewer M.J.,Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland | Lennon J.J.,Queens University of Belfast
Ecology Letters | Year: 2013

The extent to which climate change might diminish the efficacy of protected areas is one of the most pressing conservation questions. Many projections suggest that climate-driven species distribution shifts will leave protected areas impoverished and species inadequately protected while other evidence suggests that intact ecosystems within protected areas will be resilient to change. Here, we tackle this problem empirically. We show how recent changes in distribution of 139 Tanzanian savannah bird species are linked to climate change, protected area status and land degradation. We provide the first evidence of climate-driven range shifts for an African bird community. Our results suggest that the continued maintenance of existing protected areas is an appropriate conservation response to the challenge of climate and environmental change. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

Petkovic M.,New University of Lisbon | Seddon K.R.,New University of Lisbon | Seddon K.R.,Queens University of Belfast | Rebelo L.P.N.,New University of Lisbon | And 2 more authors.
Chemical Society Reviews | Year: 2011

Ionic liquids were initially proposed as replacements for conventional organic solvents; however, their chemistry has developed remarkably and offers unexpected opportunities in numerous fields, ranging from electrochemistry to biology. As a consequence of ionic liquids advancing towards potential and actual applications, a comprehensive determination of their environmental, health and safety impact is now required. This critical review aims to present an overview of the current understanding of the toxicity and environmental impact of the principal ionic liquid groups, and highlights some emerging concerns. Each cation type is considered separately, examining the significance of the biological data, and identifying the most critical questions, some yet unresolved. The need for more, and more detailed, studies is highlighted (176 references). © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Shramkova O.V.,Queens University of Belfast
European Physical Journal D | Year: 2014

The combinatorial frequency generation by periodic and quasiperiodic stacks of nonlinear semiconductor layers has been studied in the self-consistent problem formulation, taking into account mobility of carriers. The three-wave mixing technique is applied to study the nonlinear processes. It is shown that the mixing processes in passive semiconductor structures are driven by the competitive effects of the collision of charges and resonance interactions of carriers with pump waves. The effects of the pump wave dissipation, layer parameters and stack arrangements on the efficiency of the combinatorial frequency generation are discussed. © 2014 EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Prasanna De Silva A.,Queens University of Belfast
Chemistry - An Asian Journal | Year: 2011

Chemists are now able to emulate the ideas and instruments of mathematics and computer science with molecules. The integration of molecular logic gates into small arrays has been a growth area during the last few years. The design principles underlying a collection of these cases are examined. Some of these computing molecules are applicable in medical- and biotechnologies. Cases of blood diagnostics, 'lab-on-a-molecule' systems, and molecular computational identification of small objects are included. Abstract in Sinhala: Abstract in Tamil: The pearly gates: Boolean gate arrays of increasing complexity are emerging in laboratories around the world. Some of these can be applied to important problems in sensing, therapy, and object identification. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Borghesi M.,Queens University of Belfast | Borghesi M.,ASCR Institute of Physics Prague
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2014

Ion acceleration driven by high intensity laser pulses is attracting an impressive and steadily increasing research effort. Experiments over the past 10-15 years have demonstrated, over a wide range of laser and target parameters, the generation of multi-MeV proton and ion beams with unique properties, which have stimulated interest in a number of innovative applications. While most of this work has been based on sheath acceleration processes, where space-charge fields are established by relativistic electrons at surfaces of the irradiated target, a number of novel mechanisms has been the focus of recent theoretical and experimental activities. This paper will provide a brief review of the state of the art in the field of laser-driven ion acceleration, with particular attention to recent developments. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Salto-Tellez M.,Queens University of Belfast | Gonzalez De Castro D.,Center for Molecular Pathology
Journal of Pathology | Year: 2014

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is beginning to show its full potential for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. In particular, it is enunciating its capacity to contribute to a molecular taxonomy of cancer, to be used as a standard approach for diagnostic mutation detection, and to open new treatment options that are not exclusively organ-specific. If this is the case, how much validation is necessary and what should be the validation strategy, when bringing NGS into the diagnostic/clinical practice? This validation strategy should address key issues such as: what is the overall extent of the validation? Should essential indicators of test performance such as sensitivity of specificity be calculated for every target or sample type? Should bioinformatic interpretation approaches be validated with the same rigour? What is a competitive clinical turnaround time for a NGS-based test, and when does it become a cost-effective testing proposition? While we address these and other related topics in this commentary, we also suggest that a single set of international guidelines for the validation and use of NGS technology in routine diagnostics may allow us all to make a much more effective use of resources. Copyright © 2014 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2014 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

McGarvey L.,Queens University of Belfast
Lung | Year: 2014

Despite the best efforts of basic and applied science, the identity of the human "cough receptor" remains elusive. The attraction of identifying a single "catch all" cough receptor is obvious, although such an objective is unlikely to be realised given the concept of "cough hypersensitivity," which is now considered the most clinically relevant description of what underlies problem coughing. One means of progressing this area is to join the thinking and experimental effort of basic science and clinical research in an effective manner. Some of the best examples of cooperative and translational research over the years together with an update on the most recent work will be discussed in this article. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media.

Chmiel J.F.,Case Western Reserve University | Konstan M.W.,Case Western Reserve University | Elborn J.S.,Queens University of Belfast
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine | Year: 2013

Cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease is characterized by chronic bacterial infection and an unremitting inflammatory response, which are responsible for most of CF morbidity and mortality. The median expected survival has increased from <6 mo in 1940 to >38 yr now. This dramatic improvement, although not great enough, is due to the development of therapies directed at secondary disease pathologies, especially antibiotics. The importance of developing treatments directed against the vigorous inflammatory response was realized in the 1990s. New therapies directed toward the basic defect are now visible on the horizon. However, the impact of these drugs on downstream pathological consequences is unknown. It is likely that antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs will remain an important part of the maintenance regimen for CF in the foreseeable future. Current and future antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapies for CF are reviewed. © 2013 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.

El-Halfawy O.M.,University of Western Ontario | El-Halfawy O.M.,Alexandria University | Valvano M.A.,University of Western Ontario | Valvano M.A.,Queens University of Belfast
Clinical Microbiology Reviews | Year: 2015

“Heteroresistance” describes a phenomenon where subpopulations of seemingly isogenic bacteria exhibit a range of susceptibilities to a particular antibiotic. Unfortunately, a lack of standard methods to determine heteroresistance has led to inappropriate use of this term. Heteroresistance has been recognized since at least 1947 and occurs in Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Its clinical relevance may be considerable, since more resistant subpopulations may be selected during antimicrobial therapy. However, the use of nonstandard methods to define heteroresistance, which are costly and involve considerable labor and resources, precludes evaluating the clinical magnitude and severity of this phenomenon.Wereview the available literature on antibiotic heteroresistance and propose recommendations for definitions and determination criteria for heteroresistant bacteria. This will help in assessing the global clinical impact of heteroresistance and developing uniform guidelines for improved therapeutic outcomes. © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Doherty M.W.,University of Melbourne | Manson N.B.,Australian National University | Delaney P.,Queens University of Belfast | Hollenberg L.C.L.,University of Melbourne
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2011

The negatively charged nitrogen-vacancy centre is a unique defect in diamond that possesses properties highly suited to many applications, including quantum information processing, quantum metrology and biolabelling. Although the unique properties of the centre have been extensively documented and utilized, a detailed understanding of the physics of the centre has not yet been achieved. Indeed, there persist a number of points of contention regarding the electronic structure of the centre, such as the ordering of the dark intermediate singlet states. Without a detailed model of the centre's electronic structure, the understanding of the system's unique dynamical properties cannot effectively progress. In this work, the molecular model of the defect centre is fully developed to provide a self-consistent model of the complete electronic structure of the centre. The application of the model to describe the effects of electric, magnetic and strain interactions, as well as the variation of the centre's fine structure with temperature, provides an invaluable tool to those studying the centre and a means of designing future empirical and ab initio studies of this important defect. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Zhou H.,Queens University of Belfast | Sadka A.H.,Brunel University
IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part C: Applications and Reviews | Year: 2011

Face recognition and identification is a very active research area nowadays due to its importance in both human computer and social interaction. Psychological studies suggest that face recognition by human beings can be featural, configurational, and holistic. In this paper, by incorporating spatially structured features into a histogram-based face-recognition framework, we intend to pursue consistent performance of face recognition. In our proposed approach, while diffusion distance is computed over a pair of human face images, the shape descriptions of these images are built using Gabor filters that consist of a number of scales and levels. It demonstrates that the use of perceptual features by Gabor filtering in combination with diffusion distance enables the system performance to be significantly improved, compared to several classical algorithms. The oriented Gabor filters lead to discriminative image representations that are then used to classify human faces in the database. © 2010 IEEE.

Milligan R.O.,NASA | Milligan R.O.,Queens University of Belfast
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2011

This paper presents a detailed study of excess line broadening in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) emission lines during the impulsive phase of a C-class solar flare. In this work, which utilizes data from the EUV Imaging Spectrometer on board Hinode, the broadened line profiles were observed to be cospatial with the two hard X-ray footpoints as observed by RHESSI. By plotting the derived nonthermal velocity for each pixel within the FeXV and FeXVI rasters against its corresponding Doppler velocity a strong correlation (|r| > 0.59) was found between the two parameters for one of the footpoints. This suggested that the excess broadening at these temperatures is due to a superposition of flows (turbulence), presumably as a result of chromospheric evaporation due to nonthermal electrons. Also presented are diagnostics of electron densities using five pairs of density-sensitive line ratios. Density maps derived using the MgVII and SiX line pairs showed no appreciable increase in electron density at the footpoints, whereas the FeXII, FeXIII, and FeXIV line pairs revealed densities approaching 1011.5cm-3. Using this information, the nonthermal velocities derived from the widths of the two FeXIV lines were plotted against their corresponding density values derived from their ratio. This showed that pixels with large nonthermal velocities were associated with pixels of moderately higher densities. This suggests that nonthermal broadening at these temperatures may have been due to enhanced densities at the footpoints, although estimates of the amount of opacity broadening and pressure broadening appeared to be negligible. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Lacerda P.,Queens University of Belfast | Jewitt D.,University of California at Los Angeles
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2012

On 2007 October 29, the outbursting comet 17P/Holmes passed within 079 of a background star. We recorded the event using optical, narrowband photometry and detect a 3%-4% dip in stellar brightness bracketing the time of closest approach to the comet nucleus. The detected dimming implies an optical depth τ 0.04 at 15 from the nucleus and an optical depth toward the nucleus center τn < 13.3. At the time of our observations, the coma was optically thick only within ρ ≲ 001 from the nucleus. By combining the measured extinction and the scattered light from the coma, we estimate a dust red albedo pd = 0.006 ± 0.002 at α = 16° phase angle. Our measurements place the most stringent constraints on the extinction optical depth of any cometary coma. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

Macchi A.,National Research Council Italy | Macchi A.,University of Pisa | Borghesi M.,Queens University of Belfast | Borghesi M.,ASCR Institute of Physics Prague | Passoni M.,Polytechnic of Milan
Reviews of Modern Physics | Year: 2013

Ion acceleration driven by superintense laser pulses is attracting an impressive and steadily increasing effort. Motivations can be found in the applicative potential and in the perspective to investigate novel regimes as available laser intensities will be increasing. Experiments have demonstrated, over a wide range of laser and target parameters, the generation of multi-MeV proton and ion beams with unique properties such as ultrashort duration, high brilliance, and low emittance. An overview is given of the state of the art of ion acceleration by laser pulses as well as an outlook on its future development and perspectives. The main features observed in the experiments, the observed scaling with laser and plasma parameters, and the main models used both to interpret experimental data and to suggest new research directions are described. © 2013 American Physical Society.

Shields M.D.,Queens University of Belfast | Doherty G.M.,Paediatric Respiratory Medicine
Paediatric Respiratory Reviews | Year: 2013

Chronic cough has been variably defined as a cough lasting longer than 3, 4 or 8 weeks. Many post viral or pertussis like illnesses are associated with prolonged coughing that resolves over time. Management involves first trying to make a diagnosis and identify the presence of any underlying condition. Targeted treatments can then be employed. Trials of treatments are often used to make a diagnosis. Because natural resolution of cough is so common any trial of treatment to confirm a diagnosis should be time limited and the treatment only restarted if the coughing returns. Only a small proportion of children with an isolated non-specific dry cough have asthma and care is needed not to over diagnose asthma. Children with chronic wet cough may have protracted bacterial bronchitis (PBB) that responds to a full course of antibiotics. Children with PBB failing to respond to treatment or with specific pointers should be investigated for specific causes of suppurative lung disease. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Banerjee M.,Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur | Dubois D.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Dubois D.,Queens University of Belfast
International Journal of Approximate Reasoning | Year: 2014

The semantics of modal logics for reasoning about belief or knowledge is often described in terms of accessibility relations, which is too expressive to account for mere epistemic states of an agent. This paper proposes a simple logic whose atoms express epistemic attitudes about formulae expressed in another basic propositional language, and that allows for conjunctions, disjunctions and negations of belief or knowledge statements. It allows an agent to reason about what is known about the beliefs held by another agent. This simple epistemic logic borrows its syntax and axioms from the modal logic KD. It uses only a fragment of the S5 language, which makes it a two-tiered propositional logic rather than as an extension thereof. Its semantics is given in terms of epistemic states understood as subsets of mutually exclusive propositional interpretations. Our approach offers a logical grounding to uncertainty theories like possibility theory and belief functions. In fact, we define the most basic logic for possibility theory as shown by a completeness proof that does not rely on accessibility relations. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Hu Y.,University of Strathclyde | Song X.,Northumbria University | Cao W.,Queens University of Belfast | Ji B.,Northumbria University
IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics | Year: 2014

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) provide much promise in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and, thus, are a focal point of research and development. Existing on-board charging capacity is effective but requires the use of several power conversion devices and power converters, which reduce reliability and cost efficiency. This paper presents a novel three-phase switched reluctance (SR) motor drive with integrated charging functions (including internal combustion engine and grid charging). The electrical energy flow within the drivetrain is controlled by a power electronic converter with less power switching devices and magnetic devices. It allows the desired energy conversion between the engine generator, the battery, and the SR motor under different operation modes. Battery-charging techniques are developed to operate under both motor-driving mode and standstill-charging mode. During the magnetization mode, the machine's phase windings are energized by the dc-link voltage. The power converter and the machine phase windings are controlled with a three-phase relay to enable the use of the ac-dc rectifier. The power converter can work as a buck-boost-type or a buck-type dc-dc converter for charging the battery. Simulation results in MATLAB/Simulink and experiments on a 3-kW SR motor validate the effectiveness of the proposed technologies, which may have significant economic implications and improve the PHEVs' market acceptance. © 2014 IEEE.

Rahmatallah Y.,University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences | Emmert-Streib F.,Queens University of Belfast | Glazko G.,University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Bioinformatics | Year: 2014

Motivation: To date, gene set analysis approaches primarily focus on identifying differentially expressed gene sets (pathways). Methods for identifying differentially coexpressed pathways also exist but are mostly based on aggregated pairwise correlations or other pairwise measures of coexpression. Instead, we propose Gene Sets Net Correlations Analysis (GSNCA), a multivariate differential coexpression test that accounts for the complete correlation structure between genes.Results: In GSNCA, weight factors are assigned to genes in proportion to the genes' cross-correlations (intergene correlations). The problem of finding the weight vectors is formulated as an eigenvector problem with a unique solution. GSNCA tests the null hypothesis that for a gene set there is no difference in the weight vectors of the genes between two conditions. In simulation studies and the analyses of experimental data, we demonstrate that GSNCA captures changes in the structure of genes' cross-correlations rather than differences in the averaged pairwise correlations. Thus, GSNCA infers differences in coexpression networks, however, bypassing method-dependent steps of network inference. As an additional result from GSNCA, we define hub genes as genes with the largest weights and show that these genes correspond frequently to major and specific pathway regulators, as well as to genes that are most affected by the biological difference between two conditions. In summary, GSNCA is a new approach for the analysis of differentially coexpressed pathways that also evaluates the importance of the genes in the pathways, thus providing unique information that may result in the generation of novel biological hypotheses. © 2013 The Author 2013.

Oyedele L.O.,Queens University of Belfast
Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management | Year: 2010

Purpose - The overall intent of this research is to identify critical factors influencing architects' and design engineers' (AE) motivational level in design firms. Design/methodology/approach - Motivational theories from the literature on organizational behaviour were examined to identify possible attributes influencing motivation. These attributes were put together in a questionnaire survey of architects and engineers in Northern Ireland design practices. Using factor analysis and regression modelling, four critical factors were identified. The model was validated to determine how well the factors can predict the AE motivational level. Findings - The results show that the four factors are favourable project working condition, organisational support, design process efficacy and effort recognition. Practical implications - Design firms and their managers play an important role in ensuring that their designers are motivated in completing their project. Originality/value - Owners and managers of design firms can use the identified factors to improve the motivation of their architects and design engineers, thus developing a quality workforce. © 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

De Voglia R.,University of California at Davis | Kouvonen A.,Queens University of Belfast | Gimeno D.,University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | Year: 2014

Objective To investigate the effect of fast food consumption on mean population body mass index (BMI) and explore the possible influence of market deregulation on fast food consumption and BMI. Methods The within-country association between fast food consumption and BMI in 25 high-income member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development between 1999 and 2008 was explored through multivariate panel regression models, after adjustment for per capita gross domestic product, urbanization, trade openness, lifestyle indicators and other covariates. The possible mediating effect of annual per capita intake of soft drinks, animal fats and total calories on the association between fast food consumption and BMI was also analysed. Two-stage least squares regression models were conducted, using economic freedom as an instrumental variable, to study the causal effect of fast food consumption on BMI. Findings After adjustment for covariates, each 1-unit increase in annual fast food transactions per capita was associated with an increase of 0.033 kg/m2 in age-standardized BMI (95% confidence interval, CI: 0.013-0.052). Only the intake of soft drinks - not animal fat or total calories - mediated the observed association (β: 0.030; 95% CI: 0.010-0.050). Economic freedom was an independent predictor of fast food consumption (β: 0.27; 95% CI: 0.16-0.37). When economic freedom was used as an instrumental variable, the association between fast food and BMI weakened but remained significant (β: 0.023; 95% CI: 0.001-0.045). Conclusion Fast food consumption is an independent predictor of mean BMI in high-income countries. Market deregulation policies may contribute to the obesity epidemic by facilitating the spread of fast food.

Maund J.R.,Queens University of Belfast | Mattila S.,University of Turku | Ramirez-Ruiz E.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Eldridge J.J.,University of Auckland
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2014

The progenitor of the Type IIP supernova (SN) 2008bk was discovered in pre-explosion g'r'i'IYJHKs images, acquired with European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph, High Acuity Wide field K-band Imager and Infrared Spectrometer and Array Camera instruments and the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph-South instrument. The wealth of pre-explosion observations makes the progenitor of this SN one of the best studied, since the detection of the progenitor of SN 1987A. Previous analyses of the properties of the progenitor were hampered by the limited quality of the photometric calibration of the pre-explosion images and the crowded nature of the field containing the SN. We present new late-time observations of the site of SN 2008bk acquired with identical instrument and filter configurations as the pre-explosion observations, and confirm that the previously identified red supergiant (RSG) star was the progenitor of this SN and has now disappeared. Image subtraction techniques were used to conduct precise photometry of the now missing progenitor, independently of blending from any nearby stars. The nature of the surrounding stellar population and their contribution to the flux attributed to the progenitor in the pre-explosion images are probed using Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 Ultraviolet-Visible/Infrared observations. In comparison with MARCS synthetic spectra, we find the progenitor was a highly reddened RSG with luminosity log(L/L⊙) = 4.84+0.10 -0.12, corresponding to an initial mass of Minit = 12.9+1.6 -1.8 M⊙. The temperature of the progenitor was hotter than previously expected for RSGs (T ~ 4330 K), but consistent with new temperatures derived for RSGs using spectral energy distribution fitting techniques. We show that there is evidence for significant extinction of the progenitor, possibly arising in the circumstellar medium, but that this dust yields a similar reddening law to dust found in the interstellar medium (E(B - V) = 0.77 with RV = 3.1). Our improved analysis, which carefully accounts for the systematics, results in a more precise and robust mass estimate, making the progenitor of SN 2008bk the most well understood progenitor of a Type IIP SN from pre-explosion observations. © 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Blackwood B.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2010

BACKGROUND: Reducing weaning time is desirable in minimizing potential complications from mechanical ventilation. Standardized weaning protocols are purported to reduce time spent on mechanical ventilation. However, evidence supporting their use in clinical practice is inconsistent. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of protocolized weaning from mechanical ventilation on the total duration of mechanical ventilation for critically ill adults; ascertain differences between protocolized and non-protocolized weaning in terms of mortality, adverse events, quality of life, weaning duration, intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital length of stay (LOS); and explore variation in outcomes by type of ICU, type of protocol and approach to delivering the protocol. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library Issue 1, 2010), MEDLINE (1950 to 2010), EMBASE (1988 to 2010), CINAHL (1937 to 2010), LILACS (1982 to 2010), ISI Web of Science and ISI Conference Proceedings (1970 to 2010), Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (inception to 2010) and reference lists of articles. We did not apply language restrictions. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials of protocolized weaning versus non-protocolized weaning from mechanical ventilation in critically ill adults. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Three authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. A priori subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed. We contacted study authors for additional information. MAIN RESULTS: Eleven trials that included 1971 patients met the inclusion criteria. The total duration of mechanical ventilation geometric mean in the protocolized weaning group was on average reduced by 25% compared with the usual care group (N = 10 trials, 95% CI 9% to 39%, P = 0.006); weaning duration was reduced by 78% (N = 6 trials, 95% CI 31% to 93%, P = 0.009); and ICU LOS by 10% (N = 8 trials, 95% CI 2% to 19%, P = 0.02). There was significant heterogeneity among studies for total duration of mechanical ventilation (I(2) = 76%, P < 0.01) and weaning duration (I(2) = 97%, P < 0.01), which could not be explained by subgroup analyses based on type of unit or type of approach. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is some evidence of a reduction in the duration of mechanical ventilation, weaning duration and ICU LOS with use of standardized protocols, but there is significant heterogeneity among studies and an insufficient number of studies to investigate the source of this heterogeneity. Although some study authors suggest that organizational context may influence outcomes, these factors were not considered in all included studies and therefore could not be evaluated.

Jack B.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Environmental Law | Year: 2011

The 1993 Treaty on European Union finally closed a legal vacuum in EU law, by giving the Court the power to impose financial penalties to enforce compliance with its judgments. Today, this power is found within Article 260(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Drawing upon case law, this article examines the role that the Court's enforcement powers have played in relation to EU environmental law. It argues that EU law has yet to make full use of their potential. The article commences with the Commission and questions whether it has sufficient resources to carry out its functions under Article 260(2). The article also examines the ongoing problem of Member State delay in complying with Court judgments and the weight given to environmental considerations in the Court's decision making on financial penalties. The article concludes by examining the implications of the Lisbon Treaty. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Holt D.,Queens University of Belfast
Business Strategy and the Environment | Year: 2011

In 1991 Steven Bennett published one of the first major publications on the concept of ecopreneurship, business opportunities resulting from the emerging environmental agenda of the late 1980s and early 1990s (Ecopreneuring: the Complete Guide to Small Business Opportunities From the Environmental Revolution. Wiley: New York). Since then a body of literature has developed that explores the idea of the intersection of entrepreneurship with environmentally and socially responsible behaviour. Many of the business cases presented by Bennett represent early adopters of green products, services and emerging eco-markets. Given the current emphasis on the transformation of business practices towards a more sustainable paradigm it is timely to review these 94 early ecopreneurial examples and consider their status two decades on from the original publication. This paper explores the definitions of environmental and social enterprise, and considers the longitudinal survival of these companies and the emerging trends in consolidation and failure of the sampled companies. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Murtagh B.,Queens University of Belfast
Urban Studies | Year: 2011

A sustained reduction in unemployment, economic growth and house price increase have reflected Belfast's post-conflict renaissance just as readily as the global recession has exposed the fragility of construction-led growth. Rates of segregation had stabilised and new consumption spaces and élite developments further reflected the city's engagement with globalisation and economic liberalisation. This paper explores the spatial impact of these processes, not least as gentrification has created new layers of residential segregation in a city already preoccupied with high rates of ethno-religious territoriality. A case study of south Belfast connects these shifts to the production of new mixed-religion neighbourhoods. These have the capacity to reduce the relevance of traditional binary identities, but at the same time reproduce new forms of segregation centred on tenure and class. The paper concludes by highlighting the implications for policy and practice, not least as the recession opens new spaces to present alternatives to the market logic. © 2010 Urban Studies Journal Limited.

Muir J.,Queens University of Belfast
Urban Studies | Year: 2011

This paper reports the results of research into social capital levels in the Central Housing Community Network, part of the community consultation structure of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Membership of the forum increased the bonding, bridging and linking social capital of its members and appeared to improve community relations, although that was not its stated purpose. However, the empirical link between social capital and the quality of community relations remains unproven. The research provides an example of the state creating a positive space for interaction with civil society through consultation on service delivery issues. In an international policy environment where 'mixed' communities are the ideal, the potential of service-based forums to contribute to community cohesion may have been underestimated. © 2010 Urban Studies Journal Limited.

Lloyd K.,Queens University of Belfast
Child: Care, Health and Development | Year: 2012

Background Almost without exception, research into the range and quality of childcare provision, and its correlates with children's development, comes from the perspective of adults. Parents, childcare workers, teachers and the general public have all been asked for their views on childcare. In contrast, there is a dearth of information on attitudes to childcare provision and its correlates from the perspective of the children themselves. Methods A total of 3657 Primary 7 children, who are 10 or 11 years of age, completed the KIDSCREEN-27 health-related quality of life (HRQoL) measure along with questions on their childcare provision as part of an online survey carried out in schools. Results Most children receiving childcare from people other than their parents were completely happy with their care. Childcare was related to poorer HRQoL for girls on four of the five KIDSCREEN domains, although the effect sizes were small. For both boys and girls, there were statistically significant, although modest, correlations between happiness with childcare and scores on all five domains of the KIDSCREEN-27. Conclusions Overall, the findings suggest that most children are happy with their care and that any differences between the HRQoL of those who are cared for by their parents and those who are not are small to moderate. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Anderson B.,University College Dublin | Di Maria C.,Queens University of Belfast
Environmental and Resource Economics | Year: 2011

We use historical industrial emissions data to assess the level of abatement and over-allocation that took place across European countries during the pilot phase (2005-2007) of the European Union Emission Trading Scheme. Using a dynamic panel data model, we estimate the counter factual (business-as-usual) emissions scenario for EU member states. Comparing this baseline to allocated and verified emissions, we find that both over-allocation and abatement occurred, along with under-allocation and emissions inflation. Over the three trading years of the pilot phase we find over-allocation of approximately 280 million EUAs and total abatement of 247 Mt CO2. However, we calculate that emissions inflation of approximately 73 Mt CO2 also occurred, possibly due to uncertainty about future policy design features. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Underwood K.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Aging Studies | Year: 2010

This paper challenges some of the traditional views of older adults' speech by considering conversational narrative interaction among three elderly peers from a life-span developmental perspective of aging. A range of pragmatic models developed primarily for younger adults' talk are extended to facilitate an analysis of interaction among elderly peers, showing how the speakers in the data use sophisticated strategies to recall events and establish communicative bridges between conversation participants. The differing social and communicative goals of older adults are examined, contrasting their communicative, and particularly narrative, competency with negative perceptions of elderly discourse, thus demonstrating that to view aging as synonymous with linguistic decline is unfounded. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Kerzendorf W.E.,University of Toronto | Sim S.A.,Queens University of Belfast
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2014

We present TARDIS-an open-source code for rapid spectral modelling of supernovae (SNe). Our goal is to develop a tool that is sufficiently fast to allow exploration of the complex parameter spaces of models for SN ejecta. This can be used to analyse the growing number of highquality SN spectra being obtained by transient surveys. The code uses Monte Carlo methods to obtain a self-consistent description of the plasma state and to compute a synthetic spectrum. It has a modular design to facilitate the implementation of a range of physical approximations that can be compared to assess both accuracy and computational expediency. This will allow users to choose a level of sophistication appropriate for their application. Here, we describe the operation of the code and make comparisons with alternative radiative transfer codes of differing levels of complexity (SYN++, PYTHON and ARTIS). We then explore the consequence of adopting simple prescriptions for the calculation of atomic excitation, focusing on four species of relevance to Type Ia SN spectra-Si II, SII, MgII and Ca II. We also investigate the influence of three methods for treating line interactions on our synthetic spectra and the need for accurate radiative rate estimates in our scheme. © 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Scott D.A.,Queens University of Belfast
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2013

Multidimensional rehabilitation programmes (MDRPs) have developed in response to the growing number of people living with and surviving cancer. MDRPs comprise a physical component and a psychosocial component. Studies of the effectiveness of these programmes have not been reviewed and synthesised. To conduct a systematic review of studies examining the effectiveness of MDRPs in terms of maintaining or improving the physical and psychosocial well-being of adult cancer survivors. We conducted electronic searches in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsychINFO up to February 2012. Selection criteria focused on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of multidimensional interventions for adult cancer survivors. Interventions had to include a physical component and a psychosocial component and to have been carried out on two or more occasions following completion of primary cancer treatment. Outcomes had to be assessed using validated measures of physical health and psychosocial well-being. Non-English language papers were included. Pairs of review authors independently selected trials, rated their methodological quality and extracted relevant data. Although meta-analyses of primary and secondary endpoints were planned there was a high level of study heterogeneity and only one common outcome measure (SF-36) could be statistically synthesised. In addition, we conducted a narrative analysis of interventions, particularly in terms of inspecting and identifying intervention components, grouping or categorising interventions and examining potential common links and outcomes. Twelve RCTs (comprising 1669 participants) met the eligibility criteria. We judged five studies to have a moderate risk of bias and assessed the remaining seven as having a high risk of bias. It was possible to include SF-36 physical health component scores from five studies in a meta-analysis. Participating in a MDRP was associated with an increase in SF-36 physical health component scores (mean difference (MD) 2.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.12 to 4.31, P = 0.04). The findings from the narrative analysis suggested that MDRPs with a single domain or outcome focus appeared to be more successful than programmes with multiple aims. In addition, programmes that comprised participants with different types of cancer compared to cancer site-specific programmes were more likely to show positive improvements in physical outcomes. The most effective mode of service delivery appeared to be face-to-face contact supplemented with at least one follow-up telephone call. There was no evidence to indicate that MDRPs which lasted longer than six months improved outcomes beyond the level attained at six months. In addition, there was no evidence to suggest that services were more effective if they were delivered by a particular type of health professional. There is some evidence to support the effectiveness of brief, focused MDRPs for cancer survivors. Rigorous and methodologically sound clinical trials that include an economic analysis are required.

McCloskey K.D.,Queens University of Belfast
Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology | Year: 2011

The study of novel interstitial cells in the tissues of the urinary tract has defined advances in the field in the last decade. These intriguing cells belong to the same family as the better known interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) of the gastrointestinal tract, and their discovery has been interpreted to suggest that pacemaker cells may be present in the urinary tract, driving the spontaneous or myogenic activity of the neighboring smooth muscle. This scenario may be true for the urethra where ICC have been described as "loose pacemakers" providing multiple, random inputs to modulate urethral smooth muscle activity. However, there is a paucity of direct evidence available to support this hypothesis in the bladder (where the smooth muscle cells are spontaneously active) or the renal pelvis (where atypical smooth muscle cells are the pacemakers), and it now seems more likely that urinary tract ICC act as modulators of smooth muscle activity. Interestingly, the literature suggests that the role of urinary tract ICC may be more apparent in pathophysiological conditions such as the overactive bladder. Several reports have indicated that the numbers of ICC present in overactive bladder tissues are greater than those from normal tissues; moreover, the contractility of tissues from overactive bladders in vitro appears to be more sensitive to the Kit antagonist, glivec, than those from normal bladder. Future research on urinary tract ICC in the short to medium term is likely to be dynamic and exciting and will lead to increasing our understanding of the roles of these cells in both normal and dysfunctional bladder. © 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Bai E.-W.,University of Iowa | Li K.,Queens University of Belfast
Automatica | Year: 2010

The convergence of the iterative identification algorithm for a general Hammerstein system has been an open problem for a long time. In this paper, it is shown that the convergence can be achieved by incorporating a regularization procedure on the nonlinearity in addition to a normalization step on the parameters. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Culley L.,De Montfort University | Hudson N.,De Montfort University | Lohan M.,Queens University of Belfast
Reproductive BioMedicine Online | Year: 2013

There is a wealth of research exploring the psychological consequences of infertility and assisted reproduction technology, a substantial body of sociological and anthropological work on 'reproductive disruptions' of many kinds and a small but growing literature on patient perspectives of the quality of care in assisted reproduction. In all these fields, research studies are far more likely to be focused on the understandings and experiences of women than those of men. This paper discusses reasons for the relative exclusion of men in what has been called the 'psycho-social' literature on infertility, comments on research on men from psychological and social perspectives and recent work on the quality of patient care, and makes suggestions for a reframing of the research agenda on men and assisted reproduction. Further research is needed in all areas, including: perceptions of infertility and infertility treatment seeking; experiences of treatment; information and support needs; decisions to end treatment; fatherhood post assisted conception; and the motivation and experiences of sperm donors and men who seek fatherhood through surrogacy or co-parenting. This paper argues for multimethod, interdisciplinary research that includes broader populations of men which can contribute to improved clinical practice and support for users of assisted reproduction treatment. While much has been written about the psychological and social consequences of infertility and infertility treatment, most of this has focused on the experiences of women, with relatively little research with men as users of assisted reproduction technology. This paper discusses some of the reasons why this is the case. It comments on psychological and social research which has been carried out with men and discusses some of the limitations of the methods by which this research has been conducted. An argument is made for research to pay more attention to the ways in which men as well as women experience infertility and assisted reproduction, and the paper suggests using methods from both quantitative and qualitative traditions to more fully explore a range of issues relevant to men and to improving patient care. Further research with men is needed in all areas including: perception of fertility and infertility; treatment seeking; experiences of treatment; information and support needs; decisions to end treatment; fatherhood post assisted conception; and the motivation and experiences of sperm donors and men who seek fatherhood through surrogacy or co-parenting. © 2013, Reproductive Healthcare Ltd.

Delay between disclosure and reporting child sexual abuse is common and has significant implications for the prosecution of such offenses. While we might expect the relationship to be a linear one with longer delay reducing the likelihood of prosecution, the present study confirms a more complex interaction. Utilizing data from 2,079 police records in Northern Ireland, the study investigated the impact of reporting delay on pretrial criminal justice outcomes for child and adult reporters of child sexual abuse. While teenagers were found to be the group most disadvantaged by reporting delay, increased delay actually appeared advantageous for some groups, notably adult females reporting offenses that occurred when they were 0 to 6 years old. Conversely, adult males reporting child sexual abuse did not appear to benefit from increased delay, suggesting both an adult and gender bias within decision-making processes. The implications for future research are discussed. © Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Emmert-Streib F.,Queens University of Belfast
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: The evaluation of the complexity of an observed object is an old but outstanding problem. In this paper we are tying on this problem introducing a measure called statistic complexity. Methodology/Principal Findings: This complexity measure is different to all other measures in the following senses. First, it is a bivariate measure that compares two objects, corresponding to pattern generating processes, on the basis of the normalized compression distance with each other. Second, it provides the quantification of an error that could have been encountered by comparing samples of finite size from the underlying processes. Hence, the statistic complexity provides a statistical quantification of the statement 'X is similarly complex as Y'. Conclusions: The presented approach, ultimately, transforms the classic problem of assessing the complexity of an object into the realm of statistics. This may open a wider applicability of this complexity measure to diverse application areas. © 2010 Frank Emmert-Streib.

Haughney J.,University of Aberdeen | Roberts J.,Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust | Lee A.J.,University of Aberdeen | Hardwell A.,National Services for Health Improvement | McGarvey L.,Queens University of Belfast
European Respiratory Journal | Year: 2014

The new Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2011 document recommends a combined assessment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) based on current symptoms and future risk. A large database of primary-care COPD patients across the UK was used to determine COPD distribution and characteristics according to the new GOLD classification. 80 general practices provided patients with a Read code diagnosis of COPD. Electronic and hand searches of patient medical records were undertaken, optimising data capture. Data for 9219 COPD patients were collected. For the 6283 patients with both forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and modified Medical Research Council scores (mean±SD age 69.2±10.6 years, body mass index 27.3±6.2 kg·m-2), GOLD 2011 group distributions were: A (low risk and fewer symptoms) 36.1%, B (low risk and more symptoms) 19.1%, C (high risk and fewer symptoms) 19.6% and D (high risk and more symptoms) 25.3%. This is in contrast with GOLD 2007 stage classification: I (mild) 17.1%, II (moderate) 52.2%, III (severe) 25.5% and IV (very severe) 5.2%. 20% of patients with FEV1 ≥50% predicted had more than two exacerbations in the previous 12 months. 70% of patients with FEV1 <50% pred had fewer than two exacerbations in the previous 12 months. This database, representative of UK primary-care COPD patients, identified greater proportions of patients in the mildest and most severe categories upon comparing 2011 versus 2007 GOLD classifications. Discordance between airflow limitation severity and exacerbation risk was observed. Copyright © ERS 2014.

Craig C.,Queens University of Belfast
Sports Technology | Year: 2013

Although technology can facilitate improvements in performance by allowing us to understand, monitor and evaluate performance, improvements must ultimately come from within the athlete. The first part of this article will focus on understanding how perception and action relate to performance from two different theoretical viewpoints. The first will be predominantly a cognitive or indirect approach that suggests that expertise and decision-making processes are mediated by athletes accruing large knowledge bases that are built up through practice and experience. The second, and alternative approach, will advocate a more 'direct' solution, where the athlete learns to 'tune' into the relevant information that is embedded in their relationship with the surrounding environment and unfolding action. The second part of the article will attempt to show how emerging virtual reality technology is revealing new evidence that helps us understand elite performance. Possibilities of how new types of training could be developed from this technology will also be discussed. © 2014 Crown Copyright.

Medina R.J.,Queens University of Belfast
Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.) | Year: 2011

Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) promote angiogenesis, and clinical trials have shown such cell therapy to be feasible for treating ischemic disease. However, clinical outcomes have been contradictory owing to the diverse range of EPC types used. We recently characterized two EPC subtypes, and identified outgrowth endothelial cells as the only EPC type with true progenitor and endothelial characteristics. By contrast, myeloid angiogenic cells (MACs) were shown to be monocytic cells without endothelial characteristics despite being widely described as "EPCs." In the current study we demonstrated that although MACs do not become endothelial cells or directly incorporate into a microvascular network, they can significantly induce endothelial tube formation in vitro and vascular repair in vivo. MAC-derived interleukin-8 (IL-8) was identified as a key paracrine factor, and blockade of IL-8 but not vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) prevented MAC-induced angiogenesis. Extracellular IL-8 transactivates VEGFR2 and induces phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases. Further transcriptomic and immunophenotypic analysis indicates that MACs represent alternative activated M2 macrophages. Our findings demonstrate an unequivocal role for MACs in angiogenesis, which is linked to paracrine release of cytokines such as IL-8. We also show, for the first time, the true identity of these cells as alternative M2 macrophages with proangiogenic, antiinflammatory and pro-tissue-repair properties.

Beattie J.R.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Raman Spectroscopy | Year: 2011

Raman spectroscopy has been revolutionised in recent decades by major technological advances such as lasers, charge-coupled detectors (CCD) and notch/edge filters. In contrast the development of signal processing algorithms has progressed at a slower pace. Spectroscopic applications increasingly focus on 'real-world' applications that are not under highly controlled conditions and with more stringent limitations placed on acquisition conditions (e.g. low power for in vivo and explosives analysis). Often it is necessary to work with signals of a quality traditionally considered poor. In this study an alternative paradigm for signal processing poor quality signals is presented and rigorously assessed. Instead of estimating the background on the individual signals it is estimated on the results of a multivariate analysis. Under this paradigm prediction reproducibility is unaffected by the signal processing, unlike the traditional paradigm of correcting individual signals which induces errors that propagate through to the prediction. The paradigms were tested on a 'real-world' dataset to predict the concentration of a pathologically relevant protein modification, carboxymethyl lysine (CML). Use of the new paradigm allowed signals with a signal to noise ratio (SNR) of 2.4 to give a prediction with variance just 8.7% of the mean, with the traditional paradigm giving a variance of over 140% of the mean. Significant improvement in reproducibility could even be observed with signals as good as SNR 85. The ability to obtain reproducible predictions from low quality signals allows shorter acquisition (e.g. mapping or on-line analysis), use of low powers (in vivo diagnostics, hazardous materials analysis (HAZMAT)) or use of cheaper equipment. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

McVeigh G.E.,Belfast Health and Social Care Trust | Gibson W.,Queens University of Belfast | Hamilton P.K.,Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism | Year: 2013

Diabetes mellitus is associated with excess cardiovascular mortality that is evident in all age groups, but is most pronounced in young people with type 1 diabetes. Cardiovascular risk estimation models generally estimate the probability of future events over a 10-year time horizon. Due to the dependency on age, children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes would be considered at low short-term risk but high life-time risk of developing a cardiovascular event. Guidelines recommend screening particularly for microvascular complications including nephropathy and retinopathy beginning around puberty. Identification of early microvascular abnormalities in children and adolescents not only predict later development of long-term microvascular complications and further end-organ damage but are associated with an increased risk for future macrovascular events. This may be because of the fact that the same glycaemic mechanisms responsible for the occurrence of microvascular disease may also apply to the development of atherosclerosis. Alternatively, interventions that reduce the development of microvascular end-organ damage may also delay the development of associated macrovascular disease. Screening for subclinical atherosclerosis, especially in the coronary and carotid vessels, has been advocated as a means of detecting early atherosclerotic disease in asymptomatic individuals with the aim of potentially reclassifying cardiovascular risk and guiding therapeutic interventions. Currently there is no randomized clinical trial evidence that additional screening using non-invasive imaging techniques alters cardiovascular disease outcomes. We do not know the best approach or combination of approaches to assess risk and reduce cardiovascular disease burden in type 1 diabetes mellitus. All screening interventions carry harms as well as benefits and until further evidence becomes available additional screening using non-invasive imaging tests for the detection of subclinical atherosclerosis cannot be currently recommended for patients with type 1 diabetes. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

O'Connor N.E.,Queens University of Belfast | O'Connor N.E.,University College Dublin
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2013

Coastal systems, such as rocky shores, are among the most heavily anthropogenically-impacted marine ecosystems and are also among the most productive in terms of ecosystem functioning. One of the greatest impacts on coastal ecosystems is nutrient enrichment from human activities such as agricultural run-off and discharge of sewage. The aim of this study was to identify and characterise potential effects of sewage discharges on the biotic diversity of rocky shores and to test current tools for assessing the ecological status of rocky shores in line with the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). A sampling strategy was designed to test for effects of sewage outfalls on rocky shore assemblages on the east coast of Ireland and to identify the scale of the putative impact. In addition, a separate sampling programme based on the Reduced algal Species List (RSL), the current WFD monitoring tool for rocky shores in Ireland and the UK, was also completed by identifying algae and measuring percent cover in replicate samples on rocky shores during Summer. There was no detectable effect of sewage outfalls on benthic taxon diversity or assemblage structure. However, spatial variability of assemblages was greater at sites proximal or adjacent to sewage outfalls compared to shores without sewage outfalls present. Results based on the RSL, show that algal assemblages were not affected by the presence of sewage outfalls, except when classed into functional groups when variability was greater at the sites with sewage outfalls. A key finding of both surveys, was the prevalence of spatial and temporal variation of assemblages. It is recommended that future metrics of ecological status are based on quantified sampling designs, incorporate changes in variability of assemblages (indicative of community stability), consider shifts in assemblage structure and include both benthic fauna and flora to assess the status of rocky shores. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

De Sanctis G.,Queens University of Belfast | Sarti A.,Polytechnic of Milan
IEEE Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing | Year: 2010

We refer to Virtual Analog (VA) as a wide class of digital implementations that are modeled after nonlinear analog circuits for generating or processing musical sounds. The reference analog system is therefore typically represented by a set of blocks that are connected with each other through electrical ports, and usually exhibits a nonlinear behavior. It therefore seems quite natural to consider Nonlinear Wave Digital modeling as a solid approach for the rapid prototyping of such systems. In this paper, we discuss how nonlinear wave digital modeling can be fruitfully used for this purpose, with particular reference to special blocks and connectors that allow us to overcome the implementational difficulties and potential limitations of such solutions. In particular, we address some issues that are typical of VA and physical modeling, concerning how to accommodate special blocks into WD structures, how to enable the interaction between different WD structures, and how to accommodate structural and topological changes on the fly. © 2006 IEEE.

Browne J.V.,Aurora University | Browne J.V.,Queens University of Belfast
Clinics in Perinatology | Year: 2011

Neonatology has optimized medical outcomes for high-risk newborns yet neurodevelopmental outcomes continue to be a concern. Basic science, clinical research, and environmental design perspectives have shown the impact of the caregiving environment on the developing brain and the role of professional caregivers in providing supportive intervention to both infants and their families. This recognition has prompted a focus on early developmentally supportive care (DSC) for high-risk newborns both in the hospital and in community follow up. DSC has emerged as a recognized standard of care in most neonatal intensive care units. Still, many questions remain and much integrative research is needed. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Buckham T.A.,Queens University of Belfast
American Journal of Nephrology | Year: 2010

Background: Genetic variation within interleukin genes has been reported to be associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). These findings have not been consistently replicated. No study has yet reported the comprehensive investigation of IL1A, IL1B, IL1RN,IL6 and IL10 genes. Methods: 664 kidney transplant recipients (cases) and 577 kidney donors (controls) were genotyped to establish if common variants in interleukin genes are associated with ESRD. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotype data for each gene were downloaded for a northern and western European population from the International HapMap Project. Haploview was used to visualize linkage disequilibrium and select tag SNPs. Thirty SNPs were genotyped using MassARRAY® iPLEX Gold technology and data were analyzed using the χ2 test for trend. Independent replication was conducted in 1,269 individuals with similar phenotypic characteristics. Results: Investigating all common variants in IL1A, IL1B, IL1RN,IL6 and IL10 genes revealed a statistically significant association (rs452204 pempirical = 0.02) with one IL1RN variant and ESRD. This IL1RN SNP tags three other variants, none of which have previously been reported to be associated with renal disease. Independent replication in a separate transplant population of comparable size did not confirm the original observation. Conclusions: Common variants in these five candidate interleukin genes are not major risk factors for ESRD in white Europeans. Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Emmert-Streib F.,Queens University of Belfast
Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics | Year: 2010

In this paper we study the classification of spatiotemporal pattern of one-dimensional cellular automata (CA) whereas the classification comprises CA rules including their initial conditions. We propose an exploratory analysis method based on the normalized compression distance (NCD) of spatiotemporal patterns which is used as dissimilarity measure for a hierarchical clustering. Our approach is different with respect to the following points. First, the classification of spatiotemporal pattern is comparative because the NCD evaluates explicitly the difference of compressibility among two objects, e.g., strings corresponding to spatiotemporal patterns. This is in contrast to all other measures applied so far in a similar context because they are essentially univariate. Second, Kolmogorov complexity, which underlies the NCD, was used in the classification of CA with respect to their spatiotemporal pattern. Third, our method is semiautomatic allowing us to investigate hundreds or thousands of CA rules or initial conditions simultaneously to gain insights into their organizational structure. Our numerical results are not only plausible confirming previous classification attempts but also shed light on the intricate influence of random initial conditions on the classification results. © 2010 The American Physical Society.

Dahlquist G.G.,Umea University | Nystrom L.,Umea University | Patterson C.C.,Queens University of Belfast
Diabetes Care | Year: 2011

OBJECTIVE - To clarify whether the increase in childhood type 1 diabetes is mirrored by a decrease in older age-groups, resulting in younger age at diagnosis. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We used data from two prospective research registers, the Swedish Childhood Diabetes Register, which included case subjects aged 0-14.9 years at diagnosis, and the Diabetes in Sweden Study, which included case subjects aged 15-34.9 years at diagnosis, covering birth cohorts between 1948 and 2007. The total database included 20,249 individuals with diabetes diagnosed between 1983 and 2007. Incidence rates over time were analyzed using Poisson regression models. RESULTS - The overall yearly incidence rose to a peak of 42.3 per 100,000 person-years in male subjects aged 10-14 years and to a peak of 37.1 per 100,000 person-years in female subjects aged 5-9 years and decreased thereafter. There was a significant increase by calendar year in both sexes in the three age-groups <15 years; however, there were significant decreases in the older age-groups (25- to 29-years and 30- to 34-years age-groups). Poisson regression analyses showed that a cohort effect seemed to dominate over a time-period effect. CONCLUSIONS - Twenty-five years of prospective nationwide incidence registration demonstrates a clear shift to younger age at onset rather than a uniform increase in incidence rates across all age-groups. The dominance of cohort effects over period effects suggests that exposures affecting young children may be responsible for the increasing incidence in the younger age-groups. © 2011 by the American Diabetes Association.

Emmert-Streib F.,Queens University of Belfast | Dehmer M.,University Institute of Health Sciences
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: In this paper we investigate the definition and formation of financial networks. Specifically, we study the influence of the time scale on their construction. Methodology/Principal Findings: For our analysis we use correlation-based networks obtained from the daily closing prices of stock market data. More precisely, we use the 30 stocks that currently comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and estimate financial networks where nodes correspond to stocks and edges correspond to none vanishing correlation coefficients. That means only if a correlation coefficient is statistically significant different from zero, we include an edge in the network. This construction procedure results in unweighted, undirected networks. By separating the time series of stock prices in non-overlapping intervals, we obtain one network per interval. The length of these intervals corresponds to the time scale of the data, whose influence on the construction of the networks will be studied in this paper.Conclusions/Significance: Numerical analysis of four different measures in dependence on the time scale for the construction of networks allows us to gain insights about the intrinsic time scale of the stock market with respect to a meaningful graph-theoretical analysis. © 2010 Emmert-Streib, Dehmer.

Marquardt S.,John Innes Center | Marquardt S.,Harvard University | Raitskin O.,John Innes Center | Wu Z.,John Innes Center | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2014

Antisense transcription is widespread in many genomes; however, how much is functional is hotly debated. We are investigating functionality of a setof long noncoding antisense transcripts, collectively called COOLAIR, produced at Arabidopsis FLOWERING LOCUS C ( FLC). COOLAIR initiates just downstream of the major sense transcript poly(A) site and terminates either early or extends into the FLC promoter region. We now show that splicing of COOLAIR is functionally important. This was revealed through analysis of a hypomorphic mutation in the core spliceosome component PRP8. The prp8 mutation perturbs a cotranscriptional feedback mechanism linking COOLAIR processing to FLC gene body histone demethylation and reduced FLC transcription. The importance of COOLAIR splicing in this repression mechanism was confirmed by disrupting COOLAIR production and mutating the COOLAIR proximal splice acceptor site. Our findings suggest that altered splicing of a long noncoding transcript can quantitatively modulate gene expression through cotranscriptional coupling mechanisms. © 2014 The Authors.

Wells D.L.,Queens University of Belfast
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine | Year: 2012

Researchers have long reported that dogs and cats improve the physical and psychological health of their human caregivers, and while it is still inconclusive, a substantial amount of research now lends support for the commonly held view that "pets are good for us." Recently, studies have directed attention toward exploring the use of animals, most notably dogs, in the detection of disease and other types of health problems in people. This article reviews the evidence for dogs' ability to detect ill health in humans, focusing specifically on the detection of cancer, epileptic seizures, and hypoglycemia. The author describes the research carried out in this area and evaluates it in an effort to determine whether dogs have a role to play in modern health care as an "alert" tool or screening system for ill health. Where necessary, the author has highlighted weaknesses in the work and proposed directions for future studies.

Goharshadi E.K.,Ferdowsi University of Mashhad | Samiee S.,Ferdowsi University of Mashhad | Nancarrow P.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science | Year: 2011

Ceria (CeO2) is a technologically important rare earth material because of its unique properties and various engineering and biological applications. A facile and rapid method has been developed to prepare ceria nanoparticles using microwave with the average size 7nm in the presence of a set of ionic liquids based on the bis (trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide anion and different cations of 1-alkyl-3-methyl-imidazolium. The structural features and optical properties of the nanoparticles were determined in depth with X-ray powder diffraction, transmission electron microscope, N2 adsorption-desorption technique, dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis, FTIR spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, UV-vis absorption spectroscopy, and Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. The energy band gap measurements of nanoparticles of ceria have been carried out by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. The surface charge properties of colloidal ceria dispersions in ethylene glycol have been also studied. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on using this type of ionic liquids in ceria nanoparticle synthesis. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Stockdale A.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Rural Studies | Year: 2010

Gentrification has for too long been investigated as an urban phenomenon. Only relatively recently has it been viewed as an avenue for fruitful rural research. This paper focuses on the repopulation of rural Scotland. Using survey and interview data it examines evidence of gentrification among in-migration flows and seeks to explore both the social transformation of rural areas and the social displacement of rural residents. The findings point towards important geographical variations. Not all in-migration represents gentrification, and where it does gives rise to very differing impacts. Clear spatial divisions in the local housing market are identified, and evidence is obtained to support a number of differing theoretical debates. Issues of social displacement and population replacement are explored, with the paper tentatively suggesting an important link between urban and rural gentrification processes. Finally, temporal and geographical phases of gentrification are identified. Collectively these findings have direct relevance to how we define gentrification. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Millership J.S.,Queens University of Belfast
Paediatric Anaesthesia | Year: 2011

Details of the development of conventional analytical methods for the determination of drugs in pediatric plasma/serum samples via microassays are presented. Examples of the development of small-volume sampling and the use of the newer detection systems such as LC/MS/MS for enhanced detection are presented. Dried blood spot sampling has conventionally been used for the study of inborn errors of metabolism using Guthrie cards. Limited applications in the area of drug-level determination, for example, in therapeutic drug monitoring had been reported but the methodology had not been widely used up until relatively recently. In the last few years, there has been a resurgence of interest in this methodology for drug-level determinations, and examples of drug analysis in pediatric and neonatal patients where the small-volume samples are particularly useful are presented. The application of the methodology in pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic studies is discussed. The utilization of solid-phase microextraction and stir bar sorptive extraction in drug analysis is presented. Clinical applications of these methodologies are reported including the development of in vivo solid-phase microextraction. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Barr I.D.,Queens University of Belfast | Lovell H.,Queen Mary, University of London | Lovell H.,University Center in Svalbard
Geomorphology | Year: 2014

Ice-marginal moraines are often used to reconstruct the dimensions of former ice masses, which are then used as proxies for palaeoclimate. This approach relies on the assumption that the distribution of moraines in the modern landscape is an accurate reflection of former ice margin positions during climatically controlled periods of ice margin stability. However, the validity of this assumption is open to question, as a number of additional, nonclimatic factors are known to influence moraine distribution. This review considers the role played by topography in this process, with specific focus on moraine formation, preservation, and ease of identification (topoclimatic controls are not considered). Published literature indicates that the importance of topography in regulating moraine distribution varies spatially, temporally, and as a function of the ice mass type responsible for moraine deposition. In particular, in the case of ice sheets and ice caps (>1000km2), one potentially important topographic control on where in a landscape moraines are deposited is erosional feedback, whereby subglacial erosion causes ice masses to become less extensive over successive glacial cycles. For the marine-terminating outlets of such ice masses, fjord geometry also exerts a strong control on where moraines are deposited, promoting their deposition in proximity to valley narrowings, bends, bifurcations, where basins are shallow, and/or in the vicinity of topographic bumps. Moraines formed at the margins of ice sheets and ice caps are likely to be large and readily identifiable in the modern landscape. In the case of icefields and valley glaciers (10-1000km2), erosional feedback may well play some role in regulating where moraines are deposited, but other factors, including variations in accumulation area topography and the propensity for moraines to form at topographic pinning points, are also likely to be important. This is particularly relevant where land-terminating glaciers extend into piedmont zones (unconfined plains, adjacent to mountain ranges) where large and readily identifiable moraines can be deposited. In the case of cirque glaciers (<10km2), erosional feedback is less important, but factors such as topographic controls on the accumulation of redistributed snow and ice and the availability of surface debris, regulate glacier dimensions and thereby determine where moraines are deposited. In such cases, moraines are likely to be small and particularly susceptible to post-depositional modification, sometimes making them difficult to identify in the modern landscape. Based on this review, we suggest that, despite often being difficult to identify, quantify, and mitigate, topographic controls on moraine distribution should be explicitly considered when reconstructing the dimensions of palaeoglaciers and that moraines should be judiciously chosen before being used as indirect proxies for palaeoclimate (i.e., palaeoclimatic inferences should only be drawn from moraines when topographic controls on moraine distribution are considered insignificant). © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Bevacizumab has been suggested to have similar effectiveness to ranibizumab for treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration. The Inhibition of VEGF in Age-related choroidal Neovascularisation (IVAN) trial was designed to compare these drugs and different regimens. Here, we report the findings at the prespecified 2-year timepoint. In a multicentre, 2×2 factorial, non-inferiority randomised trial, we enrolled adults aged at least 50 years with active, previously untreated neovascular age-related macular degeneration and a best corrected distance visual acuity (BCVA) of at least 25 letters from 23 hospitals in the UK. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) to intravitreal injections of ranibizumab (0·5 mg) or bevacizumab (1·25 mg) in continuous (every month) or discontinuous (as needed) regimens, with monthly review. Study participants and clinical assessors were masked to drug allocation. Allocation to continuous or discontinuous treatment was masked up to 3 months, at which point investigators and participants were unmasked. The primary outcome was BCVA at 2 years, with a prespecified non-inferiority limit of 3·5 letters. The primary safety outcome was arterial thrombotic event or hospital admission for heart failure. Analyses were by modified intention to treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN92166560. Between March 27, 2008, and Oct 15, 2010, 628 patients underwent randomisation. 18 were withdrawn; 610 received study drugs (314 ranibizumab; 296 bevacizumab) and were included in analyses. 525 participants reached the visit at 2 years: 134 ranibizumab in continuous regimen, 137 ranibizumab in discontinuous regimen, 127 bevacizumab in continuous regimen, and 127 bevacizumab in discontinuous regimen. For BCVA, bevacizumab was neither non-inferior nor inferior to ranibizumab (mean difference -1·37 letters, 95% CI -3·75 to 1·01; p=0·26). Discontinuous treatment was neither non-inferior nor inferior to continuous treatment (-1·63 letters, -4·01 to 0·75; p=0·18). Frequency of arterial thrombotic events or hospital admission for heart failure did not differ between groups given ranibizumab (20 [6%] of 314 participants) and bevacizumab (12 [4%] of 296; odds ratio [OR] 1·69, 95% CI 0·80-3·57; p=0·16), or those given continuous (12 [4%] of 308) and discontinuous treatment (20 [7%] of 302; 0·56, 0·27-1·19; p=0·13). Mortality was lower with continuous than discontinuous treatment (OR 0·47, 95% CI 0·22-1·03; p=0·05), but did not differ by drug group (0·96, 0·46-2·02; p=0·91). Ranibizumab and bevacizumab have similar efficacy. Reduction in the frequency of retreatment resulted in a small loss of efficacy irrespective of drug. Safety was worse when treatment was administered discontinuously. These findings highlight that the choice of anti-VEGF treatment strategy is less straightforward than previously thought. UK National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme. Copyright © 2013 Chakravarthy et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY-NC-SA. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Tribello G.A.,Queens University of Belfast | Bonomi M.,University of California at San Francisco | Branduardi D.,Max Planck Institute of Biophysics | Camilloni C.,University of Cambridge | Bussi G.,International School for Advanced Studies
Computer Physics Communications | Year: 2014

Enhancing sampling and analyzing simulations are central issues in molecular simulation. Recently, we introduced PLUMED, an open-source plug-in that provides some of the most popular molecular dynamics (MD) codes with implementations of a variety of different enhanced sampling algorithms and collective variables (CVs). The rapid changes in this field, in particular new directions in enhanced sampling and dimensionality reduction together with new hardware, require a code that is more flexible and more efficient. We therefore present PLUMED 2 here - a complete rewrite of the code in an object-oriented programming language (C++). This new version introduces greater flexibility and greater modularity, which both extends its core capabilities and makes it far easier to add new methods and CVs. It also has a simpler interface with the MD engines and provides a single software library containing both tools and core facilities. Ultimately, the new code better serves the ever-growing community of users and contributors in coping with the new challenges arising in the field. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Winter K.,Queens University of Belfast
Child Abuse Review | Year: 2011

In the UK, The Munro Review of Child Protection (2010, 2011a, 2011b) has recently highlighted that among the failings in safeguarding children known to social services is the lack of meaningful relationships between social workers and children. In her final report, Munro (2011b) has made recommendations for a more child-centred system anchored on two themes - the child's journey and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This article illustrates by way of practical examples how the UNCRC, together with the detailed advice and guidance contained in the UNCRC general comments numbers 5, 7 and 12, provides the best framework for developing effective social work relationships with, and safeguarding, young children. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Houston S.,Queens University of Belfast
Child Care in Practice | Year: 2011

This paper describes an action research project aimed at enhancing resilience in young people in a residential children's home. Two core areas were explored, namely: the needs of the young people as captured through a resilience framework; and the experiential and role-related issues arising from the attempts to enhance the young people's resilience. The findings showed that the young people faced a number of intrapersonal and interpersonal challenges. Yet, despite a number of organisational and role limitations, the residential social workers were able to respond resourcefully to these challenges by engaging in practices that simultaneously met agency imperatives, therapeutic goals and instrumental needs. © 2011 The Child Care in Practice Group.

Cardwell C.R.,Queens University of Belfast
Epidemiology | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND:: Preclinical studies have shown that statins, particularly simvastatin, can prevent growth in breast cancer cell lines and animal models. We investigated whether statins used after breast cancer diagnosis reduced the risk of breast cancer-specific, or all-cause, mortality in a large cohort of breast cancer patients.METHODS:: A cohort of 17,880 breast cancer patients, newly diagnosed between 1998 and 2009, was identified from English cancer registries (from the National Cancer Data Repository). This cohort was linked to the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, providing prescription records, and to the Office of National Statistics mortality data (up to 2013), identifying 3694 deaths, including 1469 deaths attributable to breast cancer. Unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for breast cancer-specific, and all-cause, mortality in statin users after breast cancer diagnosis were calculated using time-dependent Cox regression models. Sensitivity analyses were conducted using multiple imputation methods, propensity score methods and a case-control approach.RESULTS:: There was some evidence that statin use after a diagnosis of breast cancer had reduced mortality due to breast cancer and all causes (fully adjusted HR = 0.84 [95% confidence interval = 0.68–1.04] and 0.84 [0.72–0.97], respectively). These associations were more marked for simvastatin 0.79 (0.63–1.00) and 0.81 (0.70–0.95), respectively.CONCLUSIONS:: In this large population-based breast cancer cohort, there was some evidence of reduced mortality in statin users after breast cancer diagnosis. However, these associations were weak in magnitude and were attenuated in some sensitivity analyses. © 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc

Barr I.D.,Queens University of Belfast | Spagnolo M.,University of Aberdeen
Geomorphology | Year: 2014

Peak altitudes, hypsometry, geology, and former equilibrium-line altitudes (ELAs) are analysed across the Sredinny Mountains (Kamchatka). Overall, evidence is found to suggest that the glacial buzzsaw has operated to shape the topography of this mountain range, but the strength of this signature is not spatially uniform. In the southern sector of the mountains, we see evidence that an efficient glacial buzzsaw has acted to impose constraints upon topography, limiting peak altitudes, and concentrating land-surface area (hypsometric maxima) close to palaeo-ELAs. By contrast, in the northern sector of the mountains, a number of peaks rise high above the surrounding topography, and land-surface area is concentrated well below palaeo-ELAs. This deviation from a classic 'buzzsaw signature', in the northern sector of the mountains, is considered to reflect volcanic construction during the Quaternary, resulting in a series of high altitude peaks, combined with the action of dynamic glaciers, acting to skew basin topography toward low altitudes, well below palaeo-ELAs. These glaciers are considered to have been particularly dynamic because of their off-shore termination, their proximity to moisture-bearing air masses from the North Pacific, and because accumulation was supplemented by snow and ice avalanching from local high altitude peaks. Overall, the data suggest that the buzzsaw remains a valid mechanism to generally explain landscape evolution in mountain regions, but its signature is significantly weakened in mountain basins that experience both volcanic construction and climatic conditions favouring dynamic glaciation. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Goold J.,Abdus Salam International Center For Theoretical Physics | Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast | Modi K.,Monash University
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2015

Using the operational framework of completely positive, trace preserving operations and thermodynamic fluctuation relations, we derive a lower bound for the heat exchange in a Landauer erasure process on a quantum system. Our bound comes from a nonphenomenological derivation of the Landauer principle which holds for generic nonequilibrium dynamics. Furthermore, the bound depends on the nonunitality of dynamics, giving it a physical significance that differs from other derivations. We apply our framework to the model of a spin-1/2 system coupled to an interacting spin chain at finite temperature. © 2015 American Physical Society.

McCormick F.,Queens University of Belfast
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

During the early medieval period, Ireland was politically organised into a large number of very small kingdoms. Unlike much of Western Europe, it had not been incorporated into the Roman Empire, and as a consequence, settlement remained exclusively rural in character until the Viking period. Extensive documentary, archaeological, zooarchaeological and macro-plant evidence provides a detailed reconstruction of the livestock and arable economy of the period. Cattle ownership formed the basis of wealth as well as being an indicator of status in society, and this is reflected in its clear dominance of the livestock economy during this period. From the eighth century onwards, however, cereal production appears to grow in importance as subsistence farming gave way to the production of agricultural surplus. This is reflected in cereal diversification and in the construction of watermills and more efficient grain-drying kilns. At the same time, settlement underwent significant changes and the relative importance of cattle in some areas began to decline. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Clarke M.,Queens University of Belfast | Williamson P.,University of Liverpool
Trials | Year: 2015

Some reasons for registering trials might be considered as self-serving, such as satisfying the requirements of a journal in which the researchers wish to publish their eventual findings or publicising the trial to boost recruitment. Registry entries also help others, including systematic reviewers, to know about ongoing or unpublished studies and contribute to reducing research waste by making it clear what studies are ongoing. Other sources of research waste include inconsistency in outcome measurement across trials in the same area, missing data on important outcomes from some trials, and selective reporting of outcomes. One way to reduce this waste is through the use of core outcome sets: standardised sets of outcomes for research in specific areas of health and social care. These do not restrict the outcomes that will be measured, but provide the minimum to include if a trial is to be of the most use to potential users. We propose that trial registries, such as ISRCTN, encourage researchers to note their use of a core outcome set in their entry. This will help people searching for trials and those worried about selective reporting in closed trials. Trial registries can facilitate these efforts to make new trials as useful as possible and reduce waste. The outcomes section in the entry could prompt the researcher to consider using a core outcome set and facilitate the specification of that core outcome set and its component outcomes through linking to the original core outcome set. In doing this, registries will contribute to the global effort to ensure that trials answer important uncertainties, can be brought together in systematic reviews, and better serve their ultimate aim of improving health and well-being through improving health and social care. © 2015 Clarke and Williamson; licensee BioMed Central.

Goel S.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics | Year: 2014

The Glenn Research Centre of NASA, USA (www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/SiC/, silicon carbide electronics) is in pursuit of realizing bulk manufacturing of silicon carbide (SiC), specifically by mechanical means. Single point diamond turning (SPDT) technology which employs diamond (the hardest naturally-occurring material realized to date) as a cutting tool to cut a workpiece is a highly productive manufacturing process. However, machining SiC using SPDT is a complex process and, while several experimental and analytical studies presented to date aid in the understanding of several critical processes of machining SiC, the current knowledge on the ductile behaviour of SiC is still sparse. This is due to a number of simultaneously occurring physical phenomena that may take place on multiple length and time scales. For example, nucleation of dislocation can take place at small inclusions that are of a few atoms in size and once nucleated, the interaction of these nucleations can manifest stresses on the micrometre length scales. The understanding of how these stresses manifest during fracture in the brittle range, or dislocations/phase transformations in the ductile range, is crucial to understanding the brittle-ductile transition in SiC. Furthermore, there is a need to incorporate an appropriate simulation-based approach in the manufacturing research on SiC, owing primarily to the number of uncertainties in the current experimental research that includes wear of the cutting tool, poor controllability of the nano-regime machining scale (effective thickness of cut), and coolant effects (interfacial phenomena between the tool, workpiece/chip and coolant), etc. In this review, these two problems are combined together to posit an improved understanding on the current theoretical knowledge on the SPDT of SiC obtained from molecular dynamics simulation. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Tao Y.,Xian University of Architecture and Technology | Chen J.F.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Composites for Construction | Year: 2015

The technique of externally bonding fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites has become very popular worldwide for retrofitting existing reinforced concrete (RC) structures. Debonding of FRP from the concrete substrate is a typical failure mode in such strengthened structures. The bond behavior between FRP and concrete thus plays a crucial role in these structures. The FRP-to-concrete bond behavior has been extensively investigated experimentally, commonly using a single or double shear test of the FRP-to-concrete bonded joint. Comparatively, much less research has been concerned with numerical simulation, chiefly due to difficulties in the accurate modeling of the complex behavior of concrete. This paper presents a simple but robust finite-element (FE) model for simulating the bond behavior in the entire debonding process for the single shear test. A concrete damage plasticity model is proposed to capture the concrete-to-FRP bond behavior. Numerical results are in close agreement with test data, validating the model. In addition to accuracy, the model has two further advantages: it only requires the basic material parameters (i.e., no arbitrary user-defined parameter such as the shear retention factor is required) and it can be directly implemented in the FE software ABAQUS. © 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.

McCloskey K.D.,Queens University of Belfast
Acta Physiologica | Year: 2013

The field of bladder research has been energized by the study of novel interstitial cells (IC) over the last decade. Several subgroups of IC are located within the bladder wall and make structural interactions with nerves and smooth muscle, indicating integration with intercellular communication and key physiological functions. Significant progress has been made in the study of bladder ICs' cellular markers, ion channels and receptor expression, electrical and calcium signalling, yet their specific functions in normal bladder filling and emptying remain elusive. There is increasing evidence that the distribution of IC is altered in bladder pathophysiologies suggesting that changes in IC may be linked with the development of bladder dysfunction. This article summarizes the current state of the art of our knowledge of IC in normal bladder and reviews the literature on IC in dysfunctional bladder. © 2012 The Author Acta Physiologica © 2012 Scandinavian Physiological Society.

Zhi D.,University of Strathclyde | Xu L.,Queens University of Belfast | Williams B.W.,University of Strathclyde
IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics | Year: 2010

This paper presents a predictive direct power control strategy for doubly fed induction generators (DFIGs). The method predicts the DFIG's stator active and reactive power variations within a fixed sampling period, which is used to directly calculate the required rotor voltage to eliminate the power errors at the end of the following sampling period. Space vector modulation is then used to generate the required switching pulses within the fixed sampling period that results in a constant switching frequency. The impact of sampling delay on the accuracy of the sampled active and reactive powers is analyzed, and detailed compensation methods are proposed to improve the power control accuracy and system stability. Experimental results for a 1.5-kW DFIG system demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed control strategy during power steps, and variations of rotating speed and machine parameters. System performance for tracking varying stator power references further illustrates the dynamic performance of the proposed method. © 2010 IEEE.

Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

Nonclassical states of a mechanical mode at nonzero temperature are achieved in a scheme that combines radiation-pressure coupling to a light field and photon subtraction. The scheme embodies an original and experimentally realistic way to obtain mesoscopic quantumness by putting together two mature technologies for quantum control. The protocol is quasi-insensitive to mechanical damping. © 2011 American Physical Society.

Flear M.L.,Queens University of Belfast | Pickersgill M.D.,University of Edinburgh
Medical Law Review | Year: 2013

"Citizen participation" includes various participatory techniques and is frequently viewed as an unproblematic and important social good when used as part of the regulation of the innovation and implementation of science and technology. This is perhaps especially evident in debates around "anticipatory governance" or "upstream engagement". Here, we interrogate this thesis using the example of the European Union's regulation of emerging health technologies (such as nanotechnology). In this case, citizen participation in regulatory debate is concerned with innovative objects for medical application that are considered to be emergent or not yet concrete. Through synthesising insights from law, regulatory studies, critical theory, and science and technology studies, we seek to cast new light on the promises, paradoxes, and pitfalls of citizen participation as a tool or technology of regulation in itself. As such we aim to generate a new vantage point from which to view the values and sociotechnical imaginaries that are both 'designed-in' and 'designed-out' of citizen participation. In so doing, we show not only how publics (do not) regulate technologies, but also how citizens themselves are regulated through the techniques of participation. © The Author [2012]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Blease C.R.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Medical Ethics | Year: 2013

Major depressive disorder is not only the most widespread mental disorder in the world, it is a disorder on the rise. In cases of particularly severe forms of depression, when all other treatment options have failed, the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a recommended treatment option for patients. ECT has been in use in psychiatric practice for over 70 years and is now undergoing something of a restricted renaissance following a sharp decline in its use in the 1970s. Despite its success in treating severe depression there is continued debate as to the effectiveness of ECT: in some studies, it is argued that ECT is marginally more effective than sham ECT. In addition, there is still no clear explanation of how ECT works; among the range of hypotheses proposed it is claimed that ECT may work by harnessing placebo effects. In light of the uncertainties over the mechanism of action of ECT and given the risk of serious side effects that ECT may produce, I contend that the process of informed consent must include comprehensive accounts of these uncertainties. I examine the possible consequences of providing adequate information to potential ECT patients, including the consideration that ECT may still prove to be effective even if physicians are open about the possibility of it working as a placebo. I conclude that if we value patient autonomy as well as the professional reputation of medical practitioners, a fuller description of ECT must be provided to patients and their carers.

de Matos Simoes R.,Queens University of Belfast
BMC systems biology | Year: 2012

The physical periphery of a biological cell is mainly described by signaling pathways which are triggered by transmembrane proteins and receptors that are sentinels to control the whole gene regulatory network of a cell. However, our current knowledge about the gene regulatory mechanisms that are governed by extracellular signals is severely limited. The purpose of this paper is three fold. First, we infer a gene regulatory network from a large-scale B-cell lymphoma expression data set using the C3NET algorithm. Second, we provide a functional and structural analysis of the largest connected component of this network, revealing that this network component corresponds to the peripheral region of a cell. Third, we analyze the hierarchical organization of network components of the whole inferred B-cell gene regulatory network by introducing a new approach which exploits the variability within the data as well as the inferential characteristics of C3NET. As a result, we find a functional bisection of the network corresponding to different cellular components. Overall, our study allows to highlight the peripheral gene regulatory network of B-cells and shows that it is centered around hub transmembrane proteins located at the physical periphery of the cell. In addition, we identify a variety of novel pathological transmembrane proteins such as ion channel complexes and signaling receptors in B-cell lymphoma.

Rea I.M.,Queens University of Belfast
Immunity and Ageing | Year: 2010

Nonagenarians are the fastest growing sector of populations across Western European and the developed world. They are some of the oldest members of our societies and survivors of their generation and may help us understand how to age not only longer, but better.The Belfast Longevity Group enlisted the help of 500 community-living, mobile, mentally competent, 'elite' nonagenarians, as part of an ongoing study of ageing. We assessed some immunological, cardiovascular, nutritional and genetic factors and some aspects of their interaction in this group of 'oldest old'.Here we present some of the evidence related to genetic and nutritional factors which seem to be important for good quality ageing in nonagenarians from the Belfast Elderly Longitudinal Free-living Ageing STudy BELFAST © 2010 Rea; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Watson C.A.,Queens University of Belfast | Marsh T.R.,University of Warwick
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2010

Several authors have shown that precise measurements of transit time variations of exoplanets can be sensitive to other planetary bodies, such as exo-moons. In addition, the transit timing variations of the exoplanets closest to their host stars can provide tests of tidal dissipation theory. These studies, however, have not considered the effect of the host star. There is a large body of observational evidence that eclipse times of binary stars can vary dramatically due to variations in the quadrupole moment of the stars driven by stellar activity. In this paper, we investigate and estimate the likely impact such variations have on the transit times of exoplanets. We find in several cases that such variations should be detectable. In particular, the estimated period changes for WASP-18b are of the same order as those expected for tidal dissipation, even for relatively low values of the tidal dissipation parameter. The transit time variations caused by the Applegate mechanism are also of the correct magnitude and occur on time-scales such that they may be confused with variations caused by light-travel time effects due to the presence of a Jupiter-like second planet. Finally, we suggest that transiting exoplanet systems may provide a clean route (compared to binaries) to constraining the type of dynamo operating in the host star. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.

Elborn J.S.,Queens University of Belfast
The Lancet | Year: 2016

Cystic fibrosis is a common life-limiting autosomal recessive genetic disorder, with highest prevalence in Europe, North America, and Australia. The disease is caused by mutation of a gene that encodes a chloride-conducting transmembrane channel called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), which regulates anion transport and mucociliary clearance in the airways. Functional failure of CFTR results in mucus retention and chronic infection and subsequently in local airway inflammation that is harmful to the lungs. CFTR dysfunction mainly affects epithelial cells, although there is evidence of a role in immune cells. Cystic fibrosis affects several body systems, and morbidity and mortality is mostly caused by bronchiectasis, small airways obstruction, and progressive respiratory impairment. Important comorbidities caused by epithelial cell dysfunction occur in the pancreas (malabsorption), liver (biliary cirrhosis), sweat glands (heat shock), and vas deferens (infertility). The development and delivery of drugs that improve the clearance of mucus from the lungs and treat the consequent infection, in combination with correction of pancreatic insufficiency and undernutrition by multidisciplinary teams, have resulted in remarkable improvements in quality of life and clinical outcomes in patients with cystic fibrosis, with median life expectancy now older than 40 years. Innovative and transformational therapies that target the basic defect in cystic fibrosis have recently been developed and are effective in improving lung function and reducing pulmonary exacerbations. Further small molecule and gene-based therapies are being developed to restore CFTR function; these therapies promise to be disease modifying and to improve the lives of people with cystic fibrosis. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Pour S.O.,University of Manchester | Bell S.E.J.,Queens University of Belfast | Blanch E.W.,University of Manchester
Chemical Communications | Year: 2011

We present surface enhanced Raman optical activity (SEROA), as well as Raman, SERS and ROA, spectra of d- and l-ribose. By employing a gel forming polyacrylic acid to control colloid aggregation and associated birefringent artefacts we observe the first definitive proof of SEROA through measurement of mirror image bands for the two enantiomers. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2011.

BACKGROUND: Feasible, cost-effective instruments are required for the surveillance of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behaviour (SB) and to assess the effects of interventions. However, the evidence base for the validity and reliability of the World Health Organisation-endorsed Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) is limited. We aimed to assess the validity of the GPAQ, compared to accelerometer data in measuring and assessing change in MVPA and SB.METHODS: Participants (n = 101) were selected randomly from an on-going research study, stratified by level of physical activity (low, moderate or highly active, based on the GPAQ) and sex. Participants wore an accelerometer (Actigraph GT3X) for seven days and completed a GPAQ on Day 7. This protocol was repeated for a random sub-sample at a second time point, 3-6 months later. Analysis involved Wilcoxon-signed rank tests for differences in measures, Bland-Altman analysis for the agreement between measures for median MVPA and SB mins/day, and Spearman's rho coefficient for criterion validity and extent of change.RESULTS: 95 participants completed baseline measurements (44 females, 51 males; mean age 44 years, (SD 14); measurements of change were calculated for 41 (21 females, 20 males; mean age 46 years, (SD 14). There was moderate agreement between GPAQ and accelerometer for MVPA mins/day (r = 0.48) and poor agreement for SB (r = 0.19). The absolute mean difference (self-report minus accelerometer) for MVPA was -0.8 mins/day and 348.7 mins/day for SB; and negative bias was found to exist, with those people who were more physically active over-reporting their level of MVPA: those who were more sedentary were less likely to under-report their level of SB. Results for agreement in change over time showed moderate correlation (r = 0.52, p = 0.12) for MVPA and poor correlation for SB (r = -0.024, p = 0.916).CONCLUSIONS: Levels of agreement with objective measurements indicate the GPAQ is a valid measure of MVPA and change in MVPA but is a less valid measure of current levels and change in SB. Thus, GPAQ appears to be an appropriate measure for assessing the effectiveness of interventions to promote MVPA.

Hughes C.M.,Queens University of Belfast
BMC health services research | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND: Whilst multimorbidity is more prevalent with increasing age, approximately 30% of middle-aged adults (45-64 years) are also affected. Several prescribing criteria have been developed to optimise medication use in older people (≥65 years) with little focus on potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) in middle-aged adults. We have developed a set of explicit prescribing criteria called PROMPT (PRescribing Optimally in Middle-aged People's Treatments) which may be applied to prescribing datasets to determine the prevalence of PIP in this age-group.METHODS: A literature search was conducted to identify published prescribing criteria for all age groups, with the Project Steering Group (convened for this study) adding further criteria for consideration, all of which were reviewed for relevance to middle-aged adults. These criteria underwent a two-round Delphi process, using an expert panel consisting of general practitioners, pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Using web-based questionnaires, 17 panellists were asked to indicate their level of agreement with each criterion via a 5-point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree) to assess the applicability to middle-aged adults in the absence of clinical information. Criteria were accepted/rejected/revised dependent on the panel's level of agreement using the median response/interquartile range and additional comments.RESULTS: Thirty-four criteria were rated in the first round of this exercise and consensus was achieved on 17 criteria which were accepted into the PROMPT criteria. Consensus was not reached on the remaining 17, and six criteria were removed following a review of the additional comments. The second round of this exercise focused on the remaining 11 criteria, some of which were revised following the first exercise. Five criteria were accepted from the second round, providing a final list of 22 criteria [gastro-intestinal system (n = 3), cardiovascular system (n = 4), respiratory system (n = 4), central nervous system (n = 6), infections (n = 1), endocrine system (n = 1), musculoskeletal system (n = 2), duplicates (n = 1)].CONCLUSIONS: PROMPT is the first set of prescribing criteria developed for use in middle-aged adults. The utility of these criteria will be tested in future studies using prescribing datasets.

Bahrami M.,University of Trieste | Paternostro M.,Queens University of Belfast | Bassi A.,University of Trieste | Bassi A.,National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Italy | Ulbricht H.,University of Southampton
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2014

The test of modifications to quantum mechanics aimed at identifying the fundamental reasons behind the unobservability of quantum mechanical superpositions at the macroscale is a crucial goal of modern quantum mechanics. Within the context of collapse models, current proposals based on interferometric techniques for their falsification are far from the experimental state of the art. Here we discuss an alternative approach to the testing of quantum collapse models that, by bypassing the need for the preparation of quantum superposition states might help us addressing nonlinear stochastic mechanisms such as the one at the basis of the continuous spontaneous localization model. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Bustard J.,Queens University of Belfast
IEEE Signal Processing Magazine | Year: 2015

Biometric systems provide a valuable service in helping to identify individuals from their stored personal details. Unfortunately, with the rapidly increasing use of such systems [1], there is a growing concern about the possible misuse of that information. To counteract the threat, the European Union (EU) has introduced comprehensive legislation [2] that seeks to regulate data collection and help strengthen an individual?s right to privacy. This article looks at the implications of the legislation for biometric system deployment. After an initial consideration of current privacy concerns, the definition of ?personal data? and its protection is examined in legislative terms. Also covered are the issues surrounding the storage of biometric data, including its accuracy, its security, and justification for what is collected. Finally, the privacy issues are illustrated through three biometric use cases: border security, online bank access control, and customer profiling in stores. © 1991-2012 IEEE.

Hughes C.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2011

Nursing homes for older people provide an environment likely to promote the acquisition and spread of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), putting residents at increased risk of colonisation and infection. It is recognised that infection prevention and control strategies are important in preventing and controlling MRSA transmission. To determine the effects of infection prevention and control strategies for preventing the transmission of MRSA in nursing homes for older people. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 2), the Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Register (searched May 27th, 2011). We also searched Ovid MEDLINE (from 1950 to April Week 2 2011), OVID MEDLINE (In-process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, April 26th 2011) Ovid EMBASE (1980 to 2011 Week 16), EBSCO CINAHL (1982 to April 21st 2011), DARE (1992 to 2011, week 16), Web of Science (1981 to May 2011), and the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) website (1988 to May 2011). Research in progress was sought through Current Clinical Trials (www.controlled-trials.com), Medical Research Council Research portfolio, and HSRPRoj (current USA projects). All randomised and controlled clinical trials, controlled before and after studies and interrupted time series studies of infection prevention and control interventions in nursing homes for older people were eligible for inclusion. Two review authors independently reviewed the results of the searches. Another review author appraised identified papers and undertook data extraction which was checked by a second review author. For this second update only one study was identified, therefore it was not possible to undertake a meta-analysis. A cluster randomised controlled trial in 32 nursing homes evaluated the effect of an infection control education and training programme on MRSA prevalence. The primary outcome was MRSA prevalence in residents and staff, and a change in infection control audit scores which measured adherence to infection control standards. At the end of the 12 month study, there was no change in MRSA prevalence between intervention and control sites, while mean infection control audit scores were significantly higher in the intervention homes compared with control homes. There is a lack of research evaluating the effects on MRSA transmission of infection prevention and control strategies in nursing homes. Rigorous studies should be conducted in nursing homes, to test interventions that have been specifically designed for this unique environment.

Zhang S.-D.,Queens University of Belfast
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Background: Biomedical researchers are now often faced with situations where it is necessary to test a large number of hypotheses simultaneously, eg, in comparative gene expression studies using high-throughput microarray technology. To properly control false positive errors the FDR (false discovery rate) approach has become widely used in multiple testing. The accurate estimation of FDR requires the proportion of true null hypotheses being accurately estimated. To date many methods for estimating this quantity have been proposed. Typically when a new method is introduced, some simulations are carried out to show the improved accuracy of the new method. However, the simulations are often very limited to covering only a few points in the parameter space. Results: Here I have carried out extensive in silico experiments to compare some commonly used methods for estimating the proportion of true null hypotheses. The coverage of these simulations is unprecedented thorough over the parameter space compared to typical simulation studies in the literature. Thus this work enables us to draw conclusions globally as to the performance of these different methods. It was found that a very simple method gives the most accurate estimation in a dominantly large area of the parameter space. Given its simplicity and its overall superior accuracy I recommend its use as the first choice for estimating the proportion of true null hypotheses in multiple testing. © 2011 Shu-Dong Zhang.

De Silva A.P.,Queens University of Belfast
Israel Journal of Chemistry | Year: 2011

The road to molecular logic and computation in Belfast, Northern Ireland started with chemical sensors in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This journey is mapped out with reference to design principles, such as those for luminescent PET (photoinduced electron transfer) sensing. Applications such as those for blood electrolyte diagnostics, "lab-on-a-molecule" systems, and molecular computational identification (MCID) are also met along the way. Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Rima B.K.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of General Virology | Year: 2015

The stability and conservation of the sequences of RNA viruses in the field and the high error rates measured in vitro are paradoxical. The field stability indicates that there are very strong selective constraints on sequence diversity. The nature of these constraints is discussed. Apart from constraints on variation in cis-acting RNA and the amino acid sequences of viral proteins, there are other ones relating to the presence of specific dinucleotides such CpG and UpA as well as the importance of RNA secondary structures and RNA degradation rates. Recent other constraints identified in other RNA viruses, such as effects of secondary RNA structure on protein folding or modification of cellular tRNA complements, are also discussed. Using the family Paramyxoviridae, I show that the codon usage pattern (CUP) is (i) specific for each virus species and (ii) that it is markedly different from the host – it does not vary even in vaccine viruses that have been derived by passage in a number of inappropriate host cells. The CUP might thus be an additional constraint on variation, and I propose the concept of codon constellation to indicate the informational content of the sequences of RNA molecules relating not only to stability and structure but also to the efficiency of translation of a viral mRNA resulting from the CUP and the numbers and position of rare codons. © 2015 The Authors.

Emmerich N.,Queens University of Belfast
Bioethics | Year: 2011

This paper considers the disciplines of literature and history and the contributions each makes to the discourse of bioethics. In each case I note the pedagogic ends that can be enacted though the appropriate use of the each of these disciplines in the sphere of medical education, particularly in the medical ethics classroom. I then explore the contribution that both these disciplines and their respective methodologies can and do bring to the academic field of bioethics. I conclude with a brief consideration of the relations between literature and history with particular attention to the possibilities for a future bioethics informed by history and literature after the empirical turn. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Van Der Hart H.W.,Queens University of Belfast
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

We introduce a time-dependent R-matrix theory generalized to describe double-ionization processes. The method is used to investigate two-photon double ionization of He by intense XUV laser radiation. We combine a detailed B-spline-based wave-function description in an extended inner region with a single-electron outer region containing channels representing both single ionization and double ionization. A comparison of wave-function densities for different box sizes demonstrates that the flow between the two regions is described with excellent accuracy. The obtained two-photon double-ionization cross sections are in excellent agreement with other cross sections available. Compared to calculations fully contained within a finite inner region, the present calculations can be propagated over the time it takes the slowest electron to reach the boundary. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Sheaffer J.,University of Salford | Van Walstijn M.,Queens University of Belfast | Fazenda B.,University of Salford
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2014

In finite difference time domain simulation of room acoustics, source functions are subject to various constraints. These depend on the way sources are injected into the grid and on the chosen parameters of the numerical scheme being used. This paper addresses the issue of selecting and designing sources for finite difference simulation, by first reviewing associated aims and constraints, and evaluating existing source models against these criteria. The process of exciting a model is generalized by introducing a system of three cascaded filters, respectively, characterizing the driving pulse, the source mechanics, and the injection of the resulting source function into the grid. It is shown that hard, soft, and transparent sources can be seen as special cases within this unified approach. Starting from the mechanics of a small pulsating sphere, a parametric source model is formulated by specifying suitable filters. This physically constrained source model is numerically consistent, does not scatter incoming waves, and is free from zero- and low-frequency artifacts. Simulation results are employed for comparison with existing source formulations in terms of meeting the spectral and temporal requirements on the outward propagating wave. © 2014 Acoustical Society of America.

Walters H.R.J.,Queens University of Belfast | Whelan C.T.,Old Dominion University
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

The coupled pseudostate approximation (CP) introduced by McGovern et al. [Phys. Rev. A 79, 042707 (2009)PLRAAN1050-294710.1103/PhysRevA.79.042707] to study differential ionization in heavy particle collisions is extended to the case of a Li target. Symmetry properties dependent upon the initial state of the target, and the role of the interaction between the projectile and target nuclei, are discussed. Comparison is made with the recent double differential cross-section measurements (d2σ/dEdqt) of LaForge et al. [J. Phys. B 46, 031001 (2013)JPAPEH0953-407510.1088/0953-4075/46/3/031001] for proton impact at 6 MeV and O8+ impact at 1.5 MeV/amu on Li(2s) and Li(2p). It is shown that the proton measurements lie very much in the first Born regime and that the comparison is therefore more of a test of the experiment than of the theory which, at the first Born level, is considered to be quite accurate. By contrast, the O8+ measurements present a nonperturbative scenario which provides a substantive challenge to the full CP theory. Although there are exceptions, the CP approximation generally agrees well with the shape of the O8+ data but there is a drift in normalization between the calculated and measured cross sections with increasing electron ejection energy. This same drift is seen in comparison between CP and measurements of dσ/dE from Fischer et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 113202 (2012)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.109.113202]. The convergence of the CP approximation with respect to the angular momenta of the pseudostates and their number is investigated. It is concluded that the 164-state set employed here should be satisfactory. Comparison is also made with the even more recent fully differential (triple differential) measurements of Hubele et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 133201 (2013)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/ PhysRevLett.110.133201] for O8+ impact on Li(2s) and Li(2p) at 1.5 MeV/amu. The CP approximation reproduces the "wings" seen in the Li(2s) measurements, which are due to the interaction between the projectile and target nuclei and the node in the 2s wave function, and the asymmetric shape of the 2p data. The orientational dichroism between the 2p+1 and 2p-1 states is illustrated. Overall, and while not perfect, the agreement between the pseudstate theory and the experiments is very encouraging. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Cotton S.L.,Queens University of Belfast
IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications | Year: 2015

Using device-to-device communications as an underlay for cellular communications will provide an exciting opportunity to increase network capacity as well as improving spectral efficiency. The unique geometry of device-to-device links, where user equipment is often held or carried at low elevation and in close proximity to the human body, will mean that they are particularly susceptible to shadowing events caused not only by the local environment but also by the user's body. In this paper, the shadowed κ-μ fading model is proposed, which is capable of characterizing shadowed fading in wireless communication channels. In this model, the statistics of the received signal are manifested by the clustering of multipath components. Within each of these clusters, a dominant signal component with arbitrary power may exist. The resultant dominant signal component, which is formed by the phasor addition of these leading contributions, is assumed to follow a Nakagami-m distribution. The probability density function, moments, and the moment-generating function are also derived. The new model is then applied to device-to-device links operating at 868 MHz in an outdoor urban environment. It was found that shadowing of the resultant dominant component can vary significantly depending upon the position of the user equipment relative to the body and the link geometry. Overall, the shadowed κ-μ fading model is shown to provide a good fit to the field data as well as providing a useful insight into the characteristics of the received signal. © 2014 IEEE.

Barr I.D.,Queens University of Belfast | Solomina O.,Russian Academy of Sciences
Global and Planetary Change | Year: 2014

This review summarises landform records and published age-estimates (largely based upon tephrochronology) to provide an overview of glacier fluctuations upon the Kamchatka Peninsula during the Holocene and, to a lesser degree, earlier phases of glaciation. The evidence suggests that following deglaciation from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the peninsula experienced numerous phases of small-scale glacial advance. During the Late Glacial, moraine sequences appear to reflect the former presence of extensive glaciers in some parts of the peninsula, though little chronological control is available for deposits of this period. During the Holocene, the earliest and most extensive phase of advance likely occurred sometime prior to c. 6.8. ka, when glaciers extended up to 8. km beyond their current margins. However, these deposits lack maximum age constrains, and pre-Holocene ages cannot be discounted. Between c. 6.8. ka and the onset of 'Neoglaciation' c. 4.5. ka, there is little evidence of glacial advance upon the peninsula, and this period likely coincides with the Holocene climatic optimum (or 'hypsithermal'). Since c. 4.5. ka, numerous moraines have been deposited, likely reflecting a series of progressively less extensive phases of ice advance during the Late Holocene. The final stage of notable ice advance occurred during the Little Ice Age (LIA), between c. 1350 and 1850 C.E., when reduced summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere likely coincided with solar activity minima and several strong tropical volcanic eruptions to induce widespread cooling. Following the LIA, glaciers upon the peninsula have generally shown a pattern of retreat, with accelerated mass loss in recent decades. However, a number of prominent climatically and non-climatically controlled glacial advances have also occurred during this period. In general, there is evidence to suggest that millennial scale patterns in the extent and timing of glaciation upon the peninsula (encompassing much of the last glacial period) are governed by the extent of ice sheets in North America. Millennial-to-centennial scale fluctuations of Kamchatkan glaciers (encompassing much of the Holocene) are governed by the location and relative intensity of the Aleutian Low and Siberian High pressure systems. Decadal scale variations in glacier extent and mass balance (particularly since the LIA) are governed by inter-decadal climatic variability over the North Pacific (as reflected by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation), alongside a broader trend of hemispheric warming. © 2013.

Smith V.,Trinity College Dublin | Clarke M.,Queens University of Belfast | Williamson P.,University of Liverpool | Gargon E.,University of Liverpool
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Objectives To survey the outcomes used in Cochrane Reviews, as part of our work within the Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials Initiative. Study Design and Setting A descriptive survey of Cochrane Reviews, divided by Cochrane Review Group (CRG), published in full for the first time in 2007 and 2011. Outcomes specified in the methods section of each review and outcomes reported in the results section of each review were of interest, in this exploration of the common use of outcomes and core outcome sets (COS). Results Seven hundred eighty-eight reviews, specifying 6,127 outcomes, were included. When we excluded specified outcomes from the 86 reviews that did not include any studies, we found that 1,996 (37%) specified outcomes were not reported. Of the 361 new reviews with studies from 2011, 113 (31%) had a "summary of findings" table (SoF). Fifteen broad outcome categories were identified and used to manage the outcome data. We found consistency in the use of these categories across CRGs but inconsistency in outcomes within these categories. Conclusion COS have been used rarely in Cochrane Reviews, but the introduction of SoF makes the development and application of COS timelier than ever. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Fabrikant I.I.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln | Gribakin G.F.,Queens University of Belfast
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2014

A pseudopotential for positronium-atom interaction, based on electron-atom and positron-atom phase shifts, is constructed, and the phase shifts for Ps-Kr and Ps-Ar scattering are calculated. This approach allows us to extend the Ps-atom cross sections, obtained previously in the impulse approximation [I. I. Fabrikant and G. F. Gribakin, Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 243201 (2014)PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.112.243201], to energies below the Ps ionization threshold. Although experimental data are not available in this low-energy region, our results describe well the tendency of the measured cross sections to drop with decreasing velocity at v<1 a.u. Our results show that the effect of the Ps-atom van der Waals interaction is weak compared to the polarization interaction in electron-atom and positron-atom scattering. As a result, the Ps scattering length for both Ar and Kr is positive, and the Ramsauer-Townsend minimum is not observed for Ps scattering from these targets. This makes Ps scattering quite different from electron scattering in the low-energy region, in contrast to the intermediate energy range from the Ps ionization threshold up to v∼2 a.u., where the two are similar. © 2014 American Physical Society.

Stockdale A.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Rural Studies | Year: 2014

There are established migrant reasons to explain rural in-migration. These include quality of life, rural idyll and lifestyle motivations. However, such one-dimensional sound bites portray rural in-migration in overly simplistic and stereotypical terms. In contrast, this paper distinguishes the decision to move from the reason for moving and in doing so sheds new light on the interconnections between different domains (family, work, finance, health) of the migrant's life which contribute to migration behaviour. Focussing on early retirees to mid-Wales and adopting a life course perspective the overall decision to move is disaggregated into a series of decisions. Giving voices to the migrants themselves demonstrates the combination of life events necessary to lead to migration behaviour, the variable factors (and often economic dominance) considered in the choice of destination (including that many are reluctant migrants to Wales), and the perceived 'accidental' choice of location and/or property. It is argued that quality of life, rural idyll and lifestyle sound bites offer an inadequate understanding of rural in-migration and associated decision-making processes. Moreover, they disguise the true nature of migrant decision making. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Morris R.E.,University of St. Andrews | James S.L.,Queens University of Belfast
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2013

No added solvent means no waste solvent or recycling costs. Understandably the chemical industry is interested in developing approaches to increase the product to solvent ratio in synthesis. In recent work various zeolites were prepared by grinding the dry materials and then heating to 180 °C, and this method could lead to significant savings in zeolite synthesis. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Hamilton C.,Queens University of Belfast
British Journal of Criminology | Year: 2014

Despite the proliferation of work on the 'punitive turn', issues concerning its definition and measurement remain largely under-examined in the mainstream literature. This article seeks to refocus attention on the best ways in which to measure punitiveness and to argue that a more accurate characterization of what we mean by the concept forms an important part of advancing our understanding in this area. To illustrate this point, punitiveness in three countries is measured according to a unidimensional measure, a broader test proposed by Tonry and a fully multidimensional test. It is contended that the very different results produced by these tests suggest the need for greater social-scientific attention to the measurement of the punitiveness concept itself. © 2014 © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (ISTD). All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

Emmert-Streib F.,Queens University of Belfast
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Recently, the construction of networks from time series data has gained widespread interest. In this paper, we develop this area further by introducing a network construction procedure for pseudoperiodic time series. We call such networks episode networks, in which an episode corresponds to a temporal interval of a time series, and which defines a node in the network. Our model includes a number of features which distinguish it from current methods. First, the proposed construction procedure is a parametric model which allows it to adapt to the characteristics of the data; the length of an episode being the parameter. As a direct consequence, networks of minimal size containing the maximal information about the time series can be obtained. In this paper, we provide an algorithm to determine the optimal value of this parameter. Second, we employ estimates of mutual information values to define the connectivity structure among the nodes in the network to exploit efficiently the nonlinearities in the time series. Finally, we apply our method to data from electroencephalogram (EEG) experiments and demonstrate that the constructed episode networks capture discriminative information from the underlying time series that may be useful for diagnostic purposes. © 2011 Frank Emmert-Streib.

Irvine A.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling | Year: 2015

Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia has been a valuable model system for experimental haematologists for many years. Virtually all patients (>95 %) have the same genetic change which has driven the development of the first targeted therapies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Since the introduction of TKIs in 2000 it has become clear that this approach has significantly improved the outcome for these patients. Nevertheless drug resistance inevitably develops and it is clear that the disease is controlled rather than eradicated. The recent publication by Herrmann et al. has defined a sub-population of leukaemic stem cells which are responsible for propagating the disease. CD26 now provides a new specific target for the malignant stem cells and offers the possibility of true curative therapy. © 2015, The International CCN Society.

Shearer S.F.C.,Queens University of Belfast | Addis C.R.J.,Heriot - Watt University
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2012

The recent adiabatic saddle-point method of Shearer is applied to study strong-field photodetachment of H - by few-cycle linearly polarized laser pulses of frequencies near the two-photon detachment threshold. The behavior of the saddle points in the complex-time plane for a range of laser parameters is explored. A detailed analysis of the influence of laser intensities [(2×1011)-(6.5 × 1011) W/cm2], midinfrared laser wavelengths (1800-2700 nm), and various values of the carrier envelope phase (CEP) on (i) three-dimensional probability detachment distributions, (ii) photoangular distributions (PADs), (iii) energy spectra, and (iv) momentum distributions are presented. Examination of the probability distributions and PADs reveal main lobes and jetlike structures. Bifurcation phenomena in the probability distributions and PADs are also observed as the wavelength and intensity increase. Our simulations show that the (i) probability distributions, (ii) PADs, and (iii) energy spectra are extremely sensitive to the CEP and thus measuring such distributions provides a useful tool for determining this phase. The symmetrical properties of the electron momentum distributions are also found to be strongly correlated with the CEP and this provides an additional robust method for measuring the CEP of a laser pulse. Our calculations further show that for a three-cycle pulse inclusion of all eight saddle points is required in the evaluation of the transition amplitude to yield an accurate description of the photodetachment process. This is in contrast to recent results for a five-cycle pulse. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Mccormack T.,Queens University of Belfast
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Year: 2014

This paper provides an outline of the development of temporal thinking that is underpinned by the idea that temporal cognition shifts from being event dependent to event independent over the preschool period. I distinguish between three different ways in which it may be possible to have a perspective on time: (1) a perspective that is grounded in script-like representations of repeated events; (2) a more sophisticated perspective that brings in an fundamental categorical distinction between events that have already happened and events that are yet to come; and (3) a mature temporal perspective that involves orienting oneself in time using a linear temporal framework, with a grasp of the distinctions between past, present, and future. I propose that, with development, children possess each of these types of perspective in turn, and that only the last of these involves being able to represent time in an event-independent way. © 2014 The New York Academy of Sciences.

Walters H.R.J.,Queens University of Belfast | Whelan C.T.,Old Dominion University
Physical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics | Year: 2012

A recent theoretical paper has reopened the problem of C6 + ionization of He at 100 MeV/amu. The issue concerns ionization in the plane perpendicular to the momentum transfer q for the case where the ejected electron has an energy of 6.5 eV and q=0.75 a.u. Here, even after deconvolution, experiment finds two peaks near 90 and 270, contrary to earlier theoretical works that had predicted dips. Now, Colgan also find peaks. We have reinvestigated the problem using the second Born approximation whose results are supported by a nonperturbative impact-parameter coupled-pseudostate approximation. Dips are again predicted. By comparing C6 + impact with that of its antiparticle C ̄6 - a "mirror- image" situation is observed in which the dips are converted into peaks, i.e., positively (negatively) charged projectiles give dips (peaks) near 90 and 270. A physical interpretation of this result is suggested. Applying exactly the same second Born approximation to e ± impact ionization of He at 1 keV under similar dynamical conditions to C6 +, we see exactly the same patterns, but now the results for e -, showing peaks near 90 and 270 in the plane perpendicular to q, are in quite good agreement with experiment in this and other geometries. This is strong support for the predictions of the second Born approximation for C6 +. A paper by Egodapitiya warns of coherence problems with heavy-particle beams. It is suggested that this, together with experimental resolutions, may explain the experimental data for C6 +. © 2012 American Physical Society.

Hayles C.S.,Queens University of Belfast
International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment | Year: 2010

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the key challenges facing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) during decision making in post disaster housing reconstruction. Design/methodology/approach: An extensive literature review was undertaken to establish the key challenges facing disaster management practitioners. Following this review, practitioners from leading NGOs were asked to discuss their experiences of post disaster housing reconstruction including the issues of hazard risk and appropriate mitigation including increasing vulnerability due to climate change, end-users and stakeholder consultation in planning and design, technological solutions, and constructing the build; as these were identified in the literature as the principal challenges being faced by practitioners in the pursuit of sustainable construction. Findings: The research results presented in this paper provide clear insights into the decision-making practices of these NGOs and establish where improvements need to be made. The results also establish that knowledge management activities need to be more focused to ensure that lessons learnt previously are implemented elsewhere; critical in hazard mitigation and meeting the challenges of increased vulnerability due to climate change. Research limitations/implications: The paper includes recommendations for improved knowledge transfer and dissemination of "lessons learnt" in order to capture knowledge gained on projects. Future research will build on this through a detailed examination of the project management process applied to recently completed case studies. Key intervention points in the life cycle of projects will be identified and anticipated knowledge requirements for each stage mapped. Originality/value: Interviews with practitioners reporting first hand on the challenges they face in the field. Useful for those supporting practitioners through research and development as well as donor organisations as it has been revealed that a lot of issues arise as a result of the way projects are funded. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Johnston P.G.,Queens University of Belfast
Oncologist | Year: 2014

In recent years, a number of protein and genomic-based biomarkers have begun to refine the prognostic information available for colorectal cancer (CRC) and predict defined patient groups that are likely to benefit from systemic treatment or targeted therapies. Of these, KRAS represents the first biomarker integrated into clinical practice for CRC. Microarray-based gene expression profiling has been used to identify prognostic signatures and, to a lesser extent, predictive signatures in CRC. Despite these advances, a number of major challenges remain. This article, which is based on a lecture delivered as part of the 2013 Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Prize, reviews the impact of molecular biomarkers on the management of CRC, emphasizing changes that have occurred in recent years, and focuses on potential mechanisms of patient stratification and opportunities for novel therapeutic development based on enhanced biological understanding of colorectal cancer. © AlphaMed Press 2014.

Xuereb A.,Queens University of Belfast | Domokos P.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences
New Journal of Physics | Year: 2012

Recently we calculated the radiation field and the optical forces acting on a moving object inside a general one-dimensional configuration of immobile optical elements (Xuereb et al 2010 Phys. Rev. Lett. 105 013602). In this paper, we analyse the forces acting on a semi-transparent mirror in the 'membrane-in-the-middle' configuration and compare the results obtained from solving the scattering model to those from the coupled cavities model that is often used in cavity optomechanical systems. We highlight the departure of this model from the more exact scattering theory when the intensity reflectivity of the moving element drops below about 50%. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

Gilmore B.F.,Queens University of Belfast
Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy | Year: 2012

The biennial meeting on 'Exploiting Bacteriophages for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Medicine', held in London, UK, on 20 January 2012, and chaired by George Salmond (University of Cambridge, UK) hosted over 50 participants representing 13 countries. The highly multidisciplinary meeting covered a diverse range of topics, reflecting the current expansion of interest in this field, including the use of bacteriophages as the source of biochemical reagents for molecular biology, bacteriophages for the treatment of human and animal diseases, bacteriophage-based diagnostics and therapeutic delivery technologies and necessity for, and regulatory challenges associated with, robust clinical trials of phage-based therapeutics. This report focuses on a number of presentations from the meeting relating to cutting-edge research on bacteriophages as anti-infective agents. © 2012 Expert Reviews Ltd.

Parker C.C.,Academic Urology Unit | Pascoe S.,Derriford Hospital | Chodacki A.,Hospital Chomutov | O'Sullivan J.M.,Queens University of Belfast | And 4 more authors.
European Urology | Year: 2013

Background: Patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and bone metastases have an unmet clinical need for effective treatments that improve quality of life and survival with a favorable safety profile. Objective: To prospectively evaluate the efficacy and safety of three different doses of radium chloride (Ra 223) in patients with CRPC and bone metastases. Design, setting, and participants: In this phase 2 double-blind multicenter study, 122 patients were randomized to receive three injections of Ra 223 at 6-wk intervals, at doses of 25 kBq/kg (n = 41), 50 kBq/kg (n = 39), or 80 kBq/kg (n = 42). The study compared the proportion of patients in each dose group who had a confirmed decrease of ≥50% in baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Efficacy was evaluated using blood samples to measure PSA and other tumor markers, recorded skeletal-related events, and pain assessments. Safety was evaluated using adverse events (AEs), physical examination, and clinical laboratory tests. The Jonckheere-Terpstra test assessed trends between groups. Results and limitations: The study met its primary end point with a statistically significant dose-response relationship in confirmed ≥50% PSA declines for no patients (0%) in the 25-kBq/kg dose group, two patients (6%) in the 50-kBq/kg dose group, and five patients (13%) in the 80-kBq/kg dose group (p = 0.0297). A ≥50% decrease in bone alkaline phosphatase levels was identified in six patients (16%), 24 patients (67%), and 25 patients (66%) in the 25-, 50-, and 80-kBq/kg dose groups, respectively (p < 0.0001). The most common treatment-related AEs (≥10%) occurring up to week 24 across all dose groups were diarrhea (21%), nausea (16%), and anemia (14%). No difference in incidence of hematologic events was seen among dose groups. Potential limitations include small patient numbers and differences among dose groups at baseline. Conclusions: Ra 223 had a dose-dependent effect on serum markers of CRPC activity, suggesting that control of bone disease with Ra 223 may affect cancer-related outcomes. Ra 223 was well tolerated at all doses. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00337155. © 2012 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Johnston P.G.,Queens University of Belfast | Lenz H.-J.,University of Southern California
Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology | Year: 2014

Over the past 60 years, chemotherapeutic agents that target thymidylate biosynthesis and the enzyme thymidylate synthase (TS) have remained among the most-successful drugs used in the treatment of cancer. Fluoropyrimidines, such as 5-fluorouracil and capecitabine, and antifolates, such as methotrexate and pemetrexed, induce a state of thymidylate deficiency and imbalances in the nucleotide pool that impair DNA replication and repair. TS-targeted agents are used to treat numerous solid and haematological malignancies, either alone or as foundational therapeutics in combination treatment regimens. We overview the pivotal discoveries that led to the rational development of thymidylate biosynthesis as a chemotherapeutic target, and highlight the crucial contribution of these advances to driving and accelerating drug development in the earliest era of cancer chemotherapy. The function of TS as well as the mechanisms and consequences of inhibition of this enzyme by structurally diverse classes of drugs with distinct mechanisms of action are also discussed. In addition, breakthroughs relating to TS-targeted therapies that transformed the clinical landscape in some of the most-difficult-to-treat cancers, such as pancreatic, colorectal and non-small-cell lung cancer, are highlighted. Finally, new therapeutic agents and novel mechanism-based strategies that promise to further exploit the vulnerabilities and target resistance mechanisms within the thymidylate biosynthesis pathway are reviewed. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Tallima H.,Cairo University | Dalton J.P.,Queens University of Belfast | El Ridi R.E.,Cairo University
Frontiers in Immunology | Year: 2015

One of the major lessons we learned from the radiation-attenuated cercariae vaccine studies is that protective immunity against schistosomiasis is dependent on the induction of T helper (Th)1-/Th2-related immune responses. Since most schistosome larval and adult-worm-derived molecules used for vaccination uniformly induce a polarized Th1 response, it was essential to include a type 2 immune response-inducing molecule, such as cysteine peptidases, in the vaccine formula. Here, we demonstrate that a single subcutaneous injection of Syrian hamsters with 200 μg active papain, 1 h before percutaneous exposure to 150 cercariae of Schistosoma haematobium, led to highly significant (P < 0.005) reduction of > 50% in worm burden and worm egg counts in intestine. Immunization of hamsters with 20 μg recombinant glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (rSG3PDH) and 20 μg 2-cys peroxiredoxin-derived peptide in a multiple antigen peptide construct (PRX MAP) together with papain (20 μg/hamster), as adjuvant led to considerable (64%) protection against challenge S. haematobium infection, similar to the levels reported with irradiated cercariae. Cysteine peptidases-based vaccination was also effective in protecting outbred mice against a percutaneous challenge infection with S. haematobium cercariae. In two experiments, a mixture of Schistosoma mansoni cathepsin B1 (SmCB1) and Fasciola hepatica cathepsin L1 (FhCL1) led to highly significant (P < 0.005) reduction of 70% in challenge S. haematobium worm burden and 60% reduction in liver egg counts. Mice vaccinated with SmCB1/FhCL1/rSG3PDH mixture and challenged with S. haematobium cercariae 3 weeks after the second immunization displayed highly significant (P < 0.005) reduction of 72% in challenge worm burden and no eggs in liver of 8-10 mice/group, as compared to unimmunized mice, associated with production of a mixture of type 1-and type 2-related cytokines and antibody responses. © 2015 Tallima, Dalton and El Ridi.

Ball P.,18 Hillcourt Road East | Hallsworth J.E.,Queens University of Belfast
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics | Year: 2015

The concept of "water structure" has been invoked to explain all manner of aqueous phenomena. Here we look at the origins of this tendency to understand solute hydration in terms of structural changes in bulk water, and consider the validity of one particular example: the classification of small solutes as chaotropic or kosmotropic, and the putative relation of this terminology to notions of structure-making and structure-breaking in the solvent. We doubt whether complex phenomena such as Hofmeister and osmolyte effects on macromolecules can be understood simply on the basis of a change in solvent structure. Rather, we argue that chaotropicity, if understood in the original sense, arises from the activities that solutes exert on macromolecular systems, as well as from deviations of solvation water from bulk-like behaviour. If applied judiciously, chaotropicity remains a potent, biologically pertinent parameter useful for classifying and understanding solution phenomena in all types of living system. This journal is © the Owner Societies 2015.

Goel S.,Queens University of Belfast | Luo X.,University of Strathclyde | Agrawal A.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Reuben R.L.,Heriot - Watt University
International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture | Year: 2015

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation has enhanced our understanding about ductile-regime machining of brittle materials such as silicon and germanium. In particular, MD simulation has helped understand the occurrence of brittle-ductile transition due to the high-pressure phase transformation (HPPT), which induces Herzfeld-Mott transition. In this paper, relevant MD simulation studies in conjunction with experimental studies are reviewed with a focus on (i) the importance of machining variables: undeformed chip thickness, feed rate, depth of cut, geometry of the cutting tool in influencing the state of the deviatoric stresses to cause HPPT in silicon, (ii) the influence of material properties: role of fracture toughness and hardness, crystal structure and anisotropy of the material, and (iii) phenomenological understanding of the wear of diamond cutting tools, which are all non-trivial for cost-effective manufacturing of silicon. The ongoing developmental work on potential energy functions is reviewed to identify opportunities for overcoming the current limitations of MD simulations. Potential research areas relating to how MD simulation might help improve existing manufacturing technologies are identified which may be of particular interest to early stage researchers. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Halliday H.L.,Queens University of Belfast
Neonatology | Year: 2010

With respect to Professor Bengt Robertson whose research studies were very instrumental in the development of one of the most important and evidence-based therapies in perinatal medicine, namely surfactant therapy, I thought it might be appropriate to review some useless or harmful perinatal therapies. Although the term 'neonatology' has only been in existence for about 50 years, care of the newborn in the 19th century was largely provided by nurses and obstetricians. As an example, Pierre Budin, a Parisian obstetrician, was very aware of the importance of keeping low birth weight babies warm. More recently however, a number of useless or harmful practices were adopted by those caring for pregnant women and their babies. These included uncontrolled oxygen supplementation, inadequate temperature control, withholding feeds, and various drugs such as thalidomide, chloramphenicol, hexachlorophene, sodium bicarbonate, Epsom salts, benzyl alcohol, thyrotrophin-releasing hormone and corticosteroids. Even in the modern age, inappropriate therapies have been introduced on the basis of short-term beneficial outcomes without longer-term evaluation. Sometimes we are slow to learn the lessons of the past. © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Blaauw M.,Queens University of Belfast | Mauquoy D.,University of Aberdeen
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology | Year: 2012

A single raised bog from the eastern Netherlands has been repeatedly analysed and 14C dated over the past few decades. Here we assess the within-site variability of fossil proxy data through comparing the regional pollen, macrofossils and non-pollen palynomorphs of four of these profiles. High-resolution chronologies were obtained using 14C dating and Bayesian age-depth modelling. Where chronologies of profiles overlap, proxy curves are compared between the profiles using greyscale graphs that visualise chronological uncertainties. Even at this small spatial scale, there is considerable variability of the fossil proxy curves. Implications regarding signal (climate) and noise (internal dynamics) of the different types of fossil proxies are discussed. Single cores are of limited value for reconstructing centennial-scale climate change, and only by combining multiple cores and proxies can we obtain a reliable understanding of past environmental change and possible forcing factors (e.g., solar variability). © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Marr A.C.,Queens University of Belfast
Catalysis Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Organometallic hydrogen transfer and dehydrogenation provide straightforward atom efficient routes from alcohols to a variety of chemical products. The potential of these reactions to enable the conversion of biomass to value added chemicals is discussed, with reference to the products that can be prepared from aliphatic alcohols in good isolated yield. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Elborn J.S.,Queens University of Belfast
European Respiratory Review | Year: 2013

Stratified approaches to treating disease are very attractive, as efficacy is maximised by identifying responders using a companion diagnostic or by careful phenotyping. This approach will spare non-responders form potential side-effects. This has been pioneered in oncology where single genes or gene signatures indicate tumours that will respond to specific chemotherapies. Stratified approaches to the treatment of asthma with biological therapies are currently being extensively studied. In cystic fibrosis (CF), therapies have been developed that are targeted at specific functional classes of mutations. Ivacaftor, the first of such therapies, potentiates dysfunctional cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein Class III mutations and is now available in the USA and some European countries. Pivotal studies in patients with a G551D mutation, the most common Class III mutation, have demonstrated significant improvements in clinically important outcomes such as spirometry and exacerbations. Sweat chloride was significantly reduced demonstrating a functional effect on the dysfunctional CFTR protein produced by the G551D mutation. Symptom scores are also greatly improved to a level that indicates that this is a transformational treatment for many patients. This stratified approach to the development of therapies based on the functional class of the mutations in CF is likely to lead to new drugs or combinations that will correct the basic defect in many patients with CF. © ERS 2013.

Booth A.O.,Queens University of Belfast
Primary health care research & development | Year: 2013

Aim To explore the views of individuals recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in relation to self-management of dietary intake and physical activity, and to compare these with the views of health professionals (HPs). Diabetes education has become a priority area in primary and secondary care, and many education programmes are now embedded within a patient's care package. There are few contemporaneous explorations of patients' views about lifestyle self-management. Such research is vital in order to identify areas that require further support, refinement or enhancement in terms of patient education. Focus groups were held with patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (n = 16, 38% female, aged 45-73 years). In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with HPs (n = 7). Discussions focussed on self-management specifically in relation to making dietary and physical activity changes. All discussions were tape recorded, transcribed and analysed by emergent themes analysis using NVivo to manage the coded data. Findings Barriers were divided into six main categories: difficulty changing well-established habits, negative perception of the 'new' or recommended regimen, barriers relating to social circumstances, lack of knowledge and understanding, lack of motivation and barriers relating to the practicalities of making lifestyle changes. HPs generally echoed the views of patients. In conclusion, even against a background of diabetes education, recently diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes discussed a wide range of barriers to self-management of diet and physical activity. The findings could help to provide HPs with a deeper understanding of the needs of recently diagnosed patients and may help refine current diabetes education activities and inform the development of educational resources.

Hatcher M.J.,University of Bristol | Hatcher M.J.,University of Leeds | Dick J.T.A.,Queens University of Belfast | Dunn A.M.,University of Leeds
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2012

Community ecologists generally recognize the importance of species - such as pollinators - that have clear positive effects within ecosystems. However, parasites - usually regarded in terms of their detrimental effects on the individuals they infect - can also have positive impacts on other species in the community. We now recognize that parasites influence species coexistence and extirpation by altering competition, predation, and herbivory, and that these effects can, in turn, influence ecosystem properties. Parasites and pathogens act as ecosystem engineers, alter energy budgets and nutrient cycling, and influence biodiversity. Equally, because ecosystem properties - such as biodiversity - affect parasite populations, there is the potential for feedback between parasitism and ecosystem states. Using examples from animal and plant systems, we examine this potential bidirectional interdependence and challenge the conventional wisdom that parasites have only negative or inconsequential impacts on ecological communities. © The Ecological Society of America.

Collins L.M.,Queens University of Belfast
Animal Welfare | Year: 2012

Risk is defined as a situation involving exposure to danger. Risk assessment by nature characterises the probability of a negative event occurring and quantifies the consequences of such an event. Risk assessment is increasingly being used in the field of animal welfare as a means of drawing comparisons between multiple welfare problems within and between species and identifying those that should be prioritised by policy-makers, either because they affect a large proportion of the population or because they have particularly severe consequences for those affected. The assessment of risk is typically based on three fundamental factors: intensity of consequences, duration affected by consequences and prevalence. However, it has been recognised that these factors alone do not give a complete picture of a hazard and its associated consequences. Rather, to get a complete picture, it is important to also consider information about the hazard itself: probability of exposure to the hazard and duration of exposure to the hazard. The method has been applied to a variety of farmed species (eg poultry, dairy cows, farmed fish), investigating housing, husbandry and slaughter procedures, as well as companion animals, where it has been used to compare inherited defects in pedigree dogs and horses. To what extent can we trust current risk assessment methods to get the priorities straight? How should we interpret the results produced by such assessments? Here, the potential difficulties and pitfalls of the welfare risk assessment method will be discussed: (i) the assumption that welfare hazards are independent; (ii) the problem of quantifying the model parameters; and (iii) assessing and incorporating variability and uncertainty into welfare risk assessments. © 2012 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

Elwood R.W.,Queens University of Belfast
Animal Welfare | Year: 2012

Vast numbers of decapods are used in human food and currently subject to extreme treatments and there is concern that they might experience pain. If pain is indicated then a positive change in the care afforded to this group has the potential to produce a major advance in animal welfare. However, it is difficult to determine pain in animals. The vast majority of animal phyla have a nociceptive ability that enables them to detect potential or actual tissue damage and move away by a reflex response. In these cases there is no need to assume an unpleasant feeling that we call pain. However, various criteria have been proposed that might indicate pain rather than simple nociception. Here, with respect to decapod crustaceans, four such criteria are discussed: avoidance learning, physiological responses, protective motor reactions and motivational trade-offs. The evidence from various experiments indicates that all four criteria are fulfilled and the data are thus consistent with the idea of pain. The responses cannot be explained by nociception alone but, it is still difficult to state categorically that pain is experienced by decapods. However, the evidence is as strong for this group as it is for fish but the idea that fish experience pain has broader acceptance than does the idea of decapod pain. A taxonomic bias is evident in the evaluation of experimental data. © 2012 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

Gregg J.M.,Queens University of Belfast
Ferroelectrics | Year: 2012

Very recent experimental and theoretical work has sought to find out whether or not complex arrangements of dipoles (such as flux-closure, vortex or skyrmion patterns) exist in ferroelectrics. While there is undoubtedly still considerable work to be done, enough insight has now been gained to warrant a brief discussion of progress to date. This review article attempts to undertake such a discussion. © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Foley A.M.,University College Cork | Foley A.M.,Queens University of Belfast | Leahy P.G.,University College Cork | Marvuglia A.,University College Cork | McKeogh E.J.,University College Cork
Renewable Energy | Year: 2012

Wind power generation differs from conventional thermal generation due to the stochastic nature of wind. Thus wind power forecasting plays a key role in dealing with the challenges of balancing supply and demand in any electricity system, given the uncertainty associated with the wind farm power output. Accurate wind power forecasting reduces the need for additional balancing energy and reserve power to integrate wind power. Wind power forecasting tools enable better dispatch, scheduling and unit commitment of thermal generators, hydro plant and energy storage plant and more competitive market trading as wind power ramps up and down on the grid. This paper presents an in-depth review of the current methods and advances in wind power forecasting and prediction. Firstly, numerical wind prediction methods from global to local scales, ensemble forecasting, upscaling and downscaling processes are discussed. Next the statistical and machine learning approach methods are detailed. Then the techniques used for benchmarking and uncertainty analysis of forecasts are overviewed, and the performance of various approaches over different forecast time horizons is examined. Finally, current research activities, challenges and potential future developments are appraised. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

McNair S.,University of Leeds | Feeney A.,Queens University of Belfast
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review | Year: 2014

People often struggle when making Bayesian probabilistic estimates on the basis of competing sources of statistical evidence. Recently, Krynski and Tenenbaum (Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 430–450, 2007) proposed that a causal Bayesian framework accounts for peoples’ errors in Bayesian reasoning and showed that, by clarifying the causal relations among the pieces of evidence, judgments on a classic statistical reasoning problem could be significantly improved. We aimed to understand whose statistical reasoning is facilitated by the causal structure intervention. In Experiment 1, although we observed causal facilitation effects overall, the effect was confined to participants high in numeracy. We did not find an overall facilitation effect in Experiment 2 but did replicate the earlier interaction between numerical ability and the presence or absence of causal content. This effect held when we controlled for general cognitive ability and thinking disposition. Our results suggest that clarifying causal structure facilitates Bayesian judgments, but only for participants with sufficient understanding of basic concepts in probability and statistics. © 2014, Psychonomic Society, Inc.

McGeown J.G.,Queens University of Belfast
Experimental Physiology | Year: 2010

Ever since it was shown that maintenance of muscle contraction required the presence of extracellular Ca2+, evidence has accumulated that Ca2+ plays a crucial role in excitation-contraction coupling. This culminated in the use of the photoprotein aequorin to demonstrate that [Ca2+]i increased after depolarization but before contraction in barnacle muscle. Green fluorescent protein was extracted from the same jellyfish as aequorin, so this work also has important historical links to the use of fluorescent proteins as markers in living cells. The subsequent development of cell-permeant Ca2+ indicators resulted in a dramatic increase in related research, revealing Ca2+ to be a ubiquitous cell signal. High-speed, confocal Ca2+ imaging has now revealed subcellular detail not previously apparent, with the identification of Ca2+ sparks. These act as building blocks for larger transients during excitation-contraction coupling in cardiac muscle, but their function in smooth muscle appears more diverse, with evidence suggesting both 'excitatory' and 'inhibitory' roles. Sparks can activate Ca2+-sensitive Cl- and K+ currents, which exert positive and negative feedback, respectively, on global Ca2+ signalling, through changes in membrane potential and activation of voltage-operated Ca[TD-SUP-OPEN]2+ channels. Calcium imaging has also demonstrated that agonists that appear to evoke relatively tonic increases in average [Ca2+]i at the whole tissue level often stimulate much higher frequency phasic Ca2+ oscillations at the cellular level. These findings may require re-evaluation of some of our models of Ca2+ signalling to account for newly revealed cellular and subcellular detail. Future research in the field is likely to make increasing use of genetically coded Ca2+ indicators expressed in an organelle- or tissue-specific manner. © 2010 The Author. Journal compilation © 2010 The Physiological Society.

Hogg R.E.,Queens University of Belfast
Optometry and Vision Science | Year: 2014

Historically, drusen, which are recognized as the hallmark of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), have been described in terms of size, margins, and texture, and several studies have emphasized the importance of large soft drusen particularly when combined with focal pigmentary irregularities in determining the risk of progression to neovascular AMD. However, recent developments in imaging over the past decade have revealed a further distinct phenotype strongly associated with the development of late AMD, namely, reticular pseudodrusen (RPD) or reticular drusen. Reticular pseudodrusen appear as yellowish interlacing networks in the fundus and, although visible on color photography, are better visualized using infrared imaging or spectral domain optical coherence tomography. Studies correlating spectral domain optical coherence tomography and confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscopy have shown that RPD are subretinal deposits located internal to the retinal pigment epithelium in contrast to traditional drusen, which are located external to the retinal pigment epithelium. As multiple longitudinal studies have revealed RPD are strong predictors for progression to both neovascular AMD and geographic atrophy, the interest in understanding the role that RPD play in the pathogenesis of AMD has grown. This review focuses on the current literature concerning RPD and considers what is currently known regarding their epidemiology, risk factors, appearance in both retinal imaging and histology, impact on visual function, relationship to other AMD lesions, and association with the development of late AMD. Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Optometry.

Martinez-Ros A.J.,Technical University of Cartagena | Gomez-Tornero J.L.,Technical University of Cartagena | Goussetis G.,Queens University of Belfast
IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation | Year: 2012

This communication demonstrates for the first time the capability to independently control the real and imaginary parts of the complex propagation constant in planar, printed circuit board compatible leaky-wave antennas. The structure is based on a half-mode microstrip line which is loaded with an additional row of periodic metallic posts, resulting in a substrate integrated waveguide SIW with one of its lateral electric walls replaced by a partially reflective wall. The radiation mechanism is similar to the conventional microstrip leaky-wave antenna operating in its first higher-order mode, with the novelty that the leaky-mode leakage rate can be controlled by virtue of a sparse row of metallic vias. For this topology it is demonstrated that it is possible to independently control the antenna pointing angle and main lobe beamwidth while achieving high radiation efficiencies, thus providing low-cost, low-profile, simply fed, and easily integrable leaky-wave solutions for high-gain frequency beam-scanning applications. Several prototypes operating at 15 GHz have been designed, simulated, manufactured and tested, to show the operation principle and design flexibility of this one dimensional leaky-wave antenna. © 2006 IEEE.

Kendall G.S.,Queens University of Belfast
Organised Sound | Year: 2010

The key question posed here is how listeners experience meaning when listening to electroacoustic music, especially how they experience it as art. This question is addressed by connecting electroacoustic listening with the ways that the mind constructs meaning in everyday life. Initially, the topic of the everyday mind provides a framework for discussing cognitive schemas, mental spaces, the Event schema and auditory gist. Then, specific idioms of electroacoustic music that give rise to artistic meaning are examined. These include the creative binding of circumstances with events and the conceptual blending that creates metaphorical meaning. Finally, the listener's experience of long-term events is discussed is relation to the location event-structure metaphor. © Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Livingstone N.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2013

Restorative justice is "a process whereby parties with a stake in a specific offence resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future" (Marshall 2003). Despite the increasing use of restorative justice programmes as an alternative to court proceedings, no systematic review has been undertaken of the available evidence on the effectiveness of these programmes with young offenders. Recidivism in young offenders is a particularly worrying problem, as recent surveys have indicated the frequency of re-offences for young offenders has ranged from 40.2% in 2000 to 37.8% in 2007 (Ministry of Justice 2009) To evaluate the effects of restorative justice conferencing programmes for reducing recidivism in young offenders. We searched the following databases up to May 2012: CENTRAL, 2012 Issue 5, MEDLINE (1978 to current), Bibliography of Nordic Criminology (1999 to current), Index to Theses (1716 to current), PsycINFO (1887 to current), Social Sciences Citation Index (1970 to current), Sociological Abstracts (1952 to current), Social Care Online (1985 to current), Restorative Justice Online (1975 to current), Scopus (1823 to current), Science Direct (1823 to current), LILACS (1982 to current), ERIC (1966 to current), Restorative Justice Online (4 May 2012), WorldCat (9 May 2012), ClinicalTrials.gov (19 May 2012) and ICTRP (19 May 2012). ASSIA, National Criminal Justice Reference Service and Social Services Abstracts were searched up to May 2011. Relevant bibliographies, conference programmes and journals were also searched. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs of restorative justice conferencing versus management as usual, in young offenders. Two authors independently assessed the risk of bias of included trials and extracted the data. Where necessary, original investigators were contacted to obtain missing information. Four trials including a total of 1447 young offenders were included in the review. Results failed to find a significant effect for restorative justice conferencing over normal court procedures for any of the main analyses, including number re-arrested (odds ratio (OR) 1.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.59 to 1.71; P = 0.99), monthly rate of reoffending (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.06, 95% CI -0.28 to 0.16; P = 0.61), young person's remorse following conference (OR 1.73, 95% CI 0.97 to 3.10; P = 0.06), young person's recognition of wrongdoing following conference (OR 1.97, 95% CI 0.81 to 4.80; P = 0.14), young person's self-perception following conference (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.63; P = 0.85), young person's satisfaction following conference (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.04 to 4.07; P = 0.45) and victim's satisfaction following conference (OR 4.05, 95% CI 0.56 to 29.04; P = 0.16). A small number of sensitivity analyses did indicate significant effects, although all are to be interpreted with caution. There is currently a lack of high quality evidence regarding the effectiveness of restorative justice conferencing for young offenders. Caution is urged in interpreting the results of this review considering the small number of included studies, subsequent low power and high risk of bias. The effects may potentially be more evident for victims than offenders. The need for further research in this area is highlighted.

Fennell D.A.,Queens University of Belfast
Recent Results in Cancer Research | Year: 2011

Mesothelioma remains an incurable cancer due to the ineffectiveness of conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. This is reflected in the preponderance of mostly negative phase II clinical trials over the last 30 years [32]. Resistance to apoptosis is a hallmark of cancer in general [48], accounts for multidrug resistance [58], and is a signature of mesothelioma [31]. During tumorigenesis, it is now understood that as in common with other solid cancers, somatic genetic alteration is a frequent event predisposing to apoptosis resistance. These changes include the activation of oncogenic cell survival pathways, and the inactivation of tumor suppressors. © 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Ritchie H.,University of Ulster | Ellis G.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management | Year: 2010

This paper aims to contribute to the current debate on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) by exploring the issue of stakeholder engagement. MSP is an emergent policy field that is subject to an increasing body of research, yet the role, scope and nature of participatory engagement within the process remains a neglected topic. This paper briefly reviews the nature of the 'marine problem', to which MSP is seen to be the response and describes the emergence of MSP policy in the UK with specific emphasis on participatory aspects. Drawing on the experience of terrestrial planning it discusses the potential benefits of stakeholder engagement in MSP and highlights some of the key issues that need to be taken into account when shaping stakeholder input into the process. It then goes on to describe the findings from a series of interviews with key stakeholders in the Irish Sea Region, which suggest that we need to develop a more critical and deeper understanding of how various interests frame the 'marine problem', and how they see their role in shaping the form of the MSP process. This highlights the importance of encouraging stakeholder involvement in MSP, the need to develop a shared vision of a 'sea interest'. Priorities are then set for research to support this important policy agenda. © 2010 University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Majury N.,Queens University of Belfast
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers | Year: 2014

Mineral prospecting and raising finance for 'junior' mining firms has historically been regarded as a speculative activity. For the regulators of securities markets upon which 'junior' mining companies seek to raise capital, a perennial problem has been handling not only the indeterminacy of scientific claims, but also the social basis of epistemic practices. This paper examines the production of a system of public warrant and associated knowledge practices intended to enable investors to differentiate between 'destructive' and 'productive' varieties of financial speculation. It traces the use of the notion of 'disclosure' in constructing and legitimising the 'juniors' market in Canada. It argues that though the work of 'economics' may be necessary in the construction of markets, it is by no means sufficient. Attention must also be given to the ways in which legal models of 'the free-market' can be translated and constantly re-worked across the sites and spaces of regulatory practice, animating the geographies of markets.

Black J.A.,University of Sheffield | Sivakumar V.,Queens University of Belfast | Bell A.,Keller Ground Engineering
Geotechnique | Year: 2011

Vibrated stone columns are frequently used as a method of reinforcing soft ground as they provide increased bearing capacity and reduce foundation settlements. Their performance in relation to bearing capacity is well documented, but there is also a need for enhanced understanding of their settlement characteristics, particularly in relation to small-group configurations. This paper presents results obtained from physical model tests on triaxial specimens 300 mm in diameter and 400 mm high. Parameters investigated include column length to diameter ratio, area replacement ratio and single/group configuration. The findings of the work are as follows. The design is flexible: settlement can equally be controlled using short columns at relatively high area replacement ratios, or longer columns at smaller area replacement ratios. An optimum area replacement ratio of 30-40% exists for the control of settlement. The settlement performance of a small column group is highly influenced by inter-column and footing interaction effects.

Bright A.K.,Queen Mary, University of London | Feeney A.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology | Year: 2014

We explored the development of sensitivity to causal relations in children's inductive reasoning. Children (5-, 8-, and 12-year-olds) and adults were given trials in which they decided whether a property known to be possessed by members of one category was also possessed by members of (a) a taxonomically related category or (b) a causally related category. The direction of the causal link was either predictive (prey. →. predator) or diagnostic (predator. →. prey), and the property that participants reasoned about established either a taxonomic or causal context. There was a causal asymmetry effect across all age groups, with more causal choices when the causal link was predictive than when it was diagnostic. Furthermore, context-sensitive causal reasoning showed a curvilinear development, with causal choices being most frequent for 8-year-olds regardless of context. Causal inductions decreased thereafter because 12-year-olds and adults made more taxonomic choices when reasoning in the taxonomic context. These findings suggest that simple causal relations may often be the default knowledge structure in young children's inductive reasoning, that sensitivity to causal direction is present early on, and that children over-generalize their causal knowledge when reasoning. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Timson D.J.,Queens University of Belfast
Gene | Year: 2015

Galactosemia, an inborn error of galactose metabolism, was first described in the 1900s by von Ruess. The subsequent 100. years has seen considerable progress in understanding the underlying genetics and biochemistry of this condition. Initial studies concentrated on increasing the understanding of the clinical manifestations of the disease. However, Leloir's discovery of the pathway of galactose catabolism in the 1940s and 1950s enabled other scientists, notably Kalckar, to link the disease to a specific enzymatic step in the pathway. Kalckar's work established that defects in galactose 1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT) were responsible for the majority of cases of galactosemia. However, over the next three decades it became clear that there were two other forms of galactosemia: type II resulting from deficiencies in galactokinase (GALK1) and type III where the affected enzyme is UDP-galactose 4'-epimerase (GALE). From the 1970s, molecular biology approaches were applied to galactosemia. The chromosomal locations and DNA sequences of the three genes were determined. These studies enabled modern biochemical studies. Structures of the proteins have been determined and biochemical studies have shown that enzymatic impairment often results from misfolding and consequent protein instability. Cellular and model organism studies have demonstrated that reduced GALT or GALE activity results in increased oxidative stress. Thus, after a century of progress, it is possible to conceive of improved therapies including drugs to manipulate the pathway to reduce potentially toxic intermediates, antioxidants to reduce the oxidative stress of cells or use of "pharmacological chaperones" to stabilise the affected proteins. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

This letter attempts to comment on an article by dos Reis et al., in the aspects of creep considerationand chemical analysis in maraging steels. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

Paxton R.J.,Queens University of Belfast | Paxton R.J.,Cornell University
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2010

Nosema ceranae is an emergent and potentially virulent pathogen of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) that has spread across the world in the last 10 or so years. Its precise origin and timing of spread are currently unclear because of a lack of appropriate genetic markers and inadequate sampling in putative Asian source populations. Though it has been dismissed as a cause of CCD in the USA based on correlational analyses of snapshot sampling of diseased hives, observations of naturally infected colonies suggest that it leads to colony collapse in Spain. Experiments are sorely needed to investigate its impact on individuals and colonies, and to pin down a causal relationship between N. ceranae and colony collapse. Whether N. ceranae is displacing N. apis is uncertain. For zone apiculturalists, global climate change may mean that N. ceranae presents more of a challenge than has hitherto been considered the case. © 2009 IBRA.

Tyberghein L.,Ghent University | Verbruggen H.,Ghent University | Pauly K.,Ghent University | Troupin C.,University of Liege | And 2 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2012

Aim The oceans harbour a great diversity of organisms whose distribution and ecological preferences are often poorly understood. Species distribution modelling (SDM) could improve our knowledge and inform marine ecosystem management and conservation. Although marine environmental data are available from various sources, there are currently no user-friendly, high-resolution global datasets designed for SDM applications. This study aims to fill this gap by assembling a comprehensive, uniform, high-resolution and readily usable package of global environmental rasters. Location Global, marine. Methods We compiled global coverage data, e.g. satellite-based and in situ measured data, representing various aspects of the marine environment relevant for species distributions. Rasters were assembled at a resolution of 5 arcmin (c. 9.2km) and a uniform landmask was applied. The utility of the dataset was evaluated by maximum entropy SDM of the invasive seaweed Codium fragile ssp. fragile. Results We present Bio-ORACLE (ocean rasters for analysis of climate and environment), a global dataset consisting of 23 geophysical, biotic and climate rasters. This user-friendly data package for marine species distribution modelling is available for download at The high predictive power of the distribution model of C. fragile ssp. fragile clearly illustrates the potential of the data package for SDM of shallow-water marine organisms. Main conclusions The availability of this global environmental data package has the potential to stimulate marine SDM. The high predictive success of the presence-only model of a notorious invasive seaweed shows that the information contained in Bio-ORACLE can be informative about marine distributions and permits building highly accurate species distribution models. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Kehoe P.G.,University of Bristol | Passmore P.A.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease | Year: 2012

There is an urgent need to improve upon Alzheimer's disease (AD) treatments. Limitations of existing drugs are that they target specific downstream neurochemical abnormalities while the upstream underlying pathology continues unchecked. Preferable treatments would be those that can target a number of the broad range of molecular and cellular abnormalities that occur in AD such as amyloid-β (Aβ) and hyperphosphorylated tau-mediated damage, inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction, as well more systemic abnormalities such as brain atrophy, impaired cerebral blood flow (CBF), and cerebrovascular disease. Recent pre-clinical, epidemiological, and a limited number of clinical investigations have shown that prevention of the signaling of the multifunctional and potent vasoconstrictor angiotensin II (Ang II) may offer broad benefits in AD. In addition to helping to ameliorate co-morbid hypertension, these drugs also likely improve diminished CBF which is common in AD and can contribute to focal Aβ pathology. These drugs, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, or angiotensin receptor antagonists (ARAs) may also help deteriorating cognitive function by preventing Ang II-mediated inhibition of acetylcholine release as well as interrupt the upregulation of deleterious inflammatory pathways that are widely recognized in AD. Given the current urgency to find better treatments for AD and the relatively immediate availability of drugs that are already widely prescribed for the treatment of hypertension, one of the largest modifiable risk factors for AD, this article reviews current knowledge as to the eligibility of ACE-inhibitors and ARAs for consideration in future clinical trials in AD. © 2012 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

Bright A.K.,Queen Mary, University of London | Feeney A.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General | Year: 2014

Across a range of domains in psychology different theories assume different mental representations of knowledge. For example, in the literature on category-based inductive reasoning, certain theories (e.g., Rogers & McClelland, 2004; Sloutsky & Fisher, 2008) assume that the knowledge upon which inductive inferences are based is associative, whereas others (e.g., Heit & Rubinstein, 1994; Kemp & Tenenbaum, 2009; Osherson, Smith, Wilkie, López, & Shafir, 1990) assume that knowledge is structured. In this article we investigate whether associative and structured knowledge underlie inductive reasoning to different degrees under different processing conditions. We develop a measure of knowledge about the degree of association between categories and show that it dissociates from measures of structured knowledge. In Experiment 1 participants rated the strength of inductive arguments whose categories were either taxonomically or causally related. A measure of associative strength predicted reasoning when people had to respond fast, whereas causal and taxonomic knowledge explained inference strength when people responded slowly. In Experiment 2, we also manipulated whether the causal link between the categories was predictive or diagnostic. Participants preferred predictive to diagnostic arguments except when they responded under cognitive load. In Experiment 3, using an open-ended induction paradigm, people generated and evaluated their own conclusion categories. Inductive strength was predicted by associative strength under heavy cognitive load, whereas an index of structured knowledge was more predictive of inductive strength under minimal cognitive load. Together these results suggest that associative and structured models of reasoning apply best under different processing conditions and that the application of structured knowledge in reasoning is often effortful. © 2014 American Psychological Association.

Xu G.-L.,Xiamen University | Li J.-T.,Xiamen University | Huang L.,Xiamen University | Lin W.,Queens University of Belfast | Sun S.-G.,Xiamen University
Nano Energy | Year: 2013

Nano-sized (nO-Co3O4, 387nm) and micron-sized (mO-Co3O4, 6.65μm) Co3O4 octahedra enclosed by {111} facets have been both synthesized through a wet chemical method followed by thermal treatment, and served as anode material of lithium ion batteries (LIBs). Electrochemical results demonstrate that the nO-Co3O4 shows excellent long cyclability and rate capability. The nO-Co3O4 can deliver a stable charge capacity as high as 955.5mAhg-1 up to 200 cycles without noticeable capacity fading at a charge/discharge current density of 0.1Ag-1 (ca. 0.11C). The excellent electrochemical performance is ascribed to the nano-size and the {111} facets that enclose the octahedra. While the mO-Co3O4 could only maintain 288.5mAhg-1 after 200 cycles, illustrating very poor cycling performance, which is ascribed to the large particle size that may cause huge volume change during repeated charging/discharging process. The results reveal that the Co3O4 nano-octahedra would be a promising anode material for the next-generation of LIBs. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Mckinley J.M.,Queens University of Belfast
Geology Today | Year: 2011

Natural stone due to its durable properties has been the choice of building materials since the very beginning of civilization. However, once stone is taken from its natural environment it begins to change to reach a state of equilibrium with its new environment. The polluted urban environment is a particularly hostile environment for natural stone and the effect on natural stone buildings, especially of historical or cultural significance, is a major cause for concern. Ongoing research into weathering studies is essential to provide a greater understanding of the processes that trigger stone decay and to ensure the implementation of successful stone conservation and replacement strategies. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, The Geologists' Association & The Geological Society of London.

Boyd J.L.,University of Ulster | Sivakumar V.,Queens University of Belfast
Geotechnique | Year: 2011

Construction processes often involve reformation of the landscape, which will inevitably encompass compaction of artificially placed soils. A common application of fill materials is their use as backfill in many engineering applications, for example behind a retaining wall. The post-construction behaviour of clay fills is complex with respect to stresses and deformation when the fills become saturated over time. Heavily compacted fills swells significantly more than the lightly compacted fills. This will produce enhanced lateral stresses if the fill is laterally restrained. The work presented in this paper examines how the stress regime in unsaturated clay fills changes with wetting under laterally restrained conditions. Specimens of compacted kaolin, with different initial conditions, were wetted to various values of suction under zero lateral strain at constant net overburden pressure which allowed the concept of K0 (the ratio between the net horizontal stress and the net vertical stress) to be examined. Tests were also carried out to examine the traditional concept of the earth pressure coefficient 'at rest' under loading and unloading and its likely effects on the stress-strain properties. The results have shown that the stress regime (i.e. the lateral stress) changes significantly during wetting under laterally restrained conditions. The magnitude of the change is affected by the initial condition of the soil. The results have also indicated that the earth pressure coefficient 'at rest' during loading (under the normally consolidated condition) is unaffected by suction and such loading conditions inevitably lead to the development of anisotropic stress-strain properties.

Neugebauer F.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2012

The two environmental management system (EMS) standards EMAS and ISO 14001 have been available in Europe for the last 15 years. ISO 14001 has been taken up at a much larger scale but many firms in the German automotive and engineering industry have certified their EMSs according to both standards. Two research questions are addressed: (i) What explains why companies adopt both EMAS and ISO 14001? (ii) Are EMAS and ISO 14001 complements or substitutes? Based on 21 interviews with industrial and institutional representatives, this study finds that, first, the two standards are adopted for completely different reasons: while ISO 14001 is often done as a response to external pressure, EMAS tends to be motivated internally. Second, it is argued that EMAS and ISO 14001 are likely in a situation of direct competition at present which may well turn into complementarity in the future. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Multidisciplinary investigations of the infills of steeply-incised buried channels on the coast of Essex, England, provide important insights into late Middle Pleistocene climate and sea-level change and have a direct bearing on the differentiation of MIS 11 and MIS 9 in terrestrial records. New data are presented from Rochford and Burnham-on-Crouch where remnants of two substantial palaeo-channels filled with interglacial sediment can be directly related to the terrace stratigraphy of the Thames. The sediments in both channels accumulated in an estuarine environment early in an interglacial when mixed oak forest was becoming established. Lithological evidence suggests that the interglacial beds post-date the brackish-water infill of an older palaeo-channel ascribed to the Hoxnian and correlated with part of MIS 11, and pre-date terrace gravels (Barling Gravel) ascribed to MIS 8. An MIS 9 attribution is supported by molluscan biostratigraphy, palaeo-salinity and amino-acid racemization data. The relative sea-level record in this area thus includes evidence for two major marine transgressions during MIS 11 and MIS 9, with local maxima of >10 m O.D. Both are associated with sediments that show 'Hoxnian' palynological affinities. The wider significance of these findings, and of an intermediate phase of pronounced fluvial incision during MIS 10, is discussed. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Ahmed A.A.,Queens University of Belfast
Computers and Geotechnics | Year: 2011

This research investigated seepage under hydraulic structures considering flow through the banks of the canal. A computer model, utilizing the finite element method, was used. Different configurations of sheetpile driven under the floor of the structure were studied. Results showed that the transverse extension of sheetpile, driven at the middle of the floor, into the banks of the canal had very little effect on seepage losses, uplift force, and on the exit gradient at the downstream end of the floor. Likewise, confining the downstream floor with sheetpile from three sides was not found effective. When the downstream floor was confined with sheetpile from all sides, this has significantly reduced the exit gradient. Furthermore, all the different configurations of the sheetpile had insignificant effect on seepage losses. The most effective configuration of the sheetpile was the case when two rows of sheetpiles were driven at the middle and at the downstream end of the floor, with the latter sheetpile extended few meters into the banks of the canal. This case has significantly reduced the exit gradient and caused only slight increase in the uplift force when compared to other sheetpile configurations. The present study suggests that two-dimensional analysis of seepage problems underestimates the exit gradient and uplift force on hydraulic structures. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Shramkova O.V.,Queens University of Belfast
IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology | Year: 2013

The properties of the three-wave interaction and wave scattering by periodic stacks of nonlinear semiconductor layers with external magnetic bias have been explored, taking into account the nonlinear charge dynamics. It has been shown that the mixing processes in magnetoactive semiconductor structures are enhanced by the magnetic bias and the combinations of layer physical and geometrical parameters. The effects of magnetic bias on nonreciprocity of combinatorial frequency generation are discussed. © 2011-2012 IEEE.

Gonzalez A.,University College Dublin | Hester D.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Sound and Vibration | Year: 2013

In recent years there have been a growing number of publications on procedures for damage detection in beams from analysing their dynamic response to the passage of a moving force. Most of this research demonstrates their effectiveness by showing that a singularity that did not appear in the healthy structure is present in the response of the damaged structure. This paper elucidates from first principles how the acceleration response can be assumed to consist of 'static' and 'dynamic' components, and where the beam has experienced a localised loss in stiffness, an additional 'damage' component. The combination of these components establishes how the damage singularity will appear in the total response. For a given damage severity, the amplitude of the 'damage' component will depend on how close the damage location is to the sensor, and its frequency content will increase with higher velocities of the moving force. The latter has implications for damage detection because if the frequency content of the 'damage' component includes bridge and/or vehicle frequencies, it becomes more difficult to identify damage. The paper illustrates how a thorough understanding of the relationship between the 'static' and 'damage' components contributes to establish if damage has occurred and to provide an estimation of its location and severity. The findings are corroborated using accelerations from a planar finite element simulation model where the effects of force velocity and bridge span are examined. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Lisle D.,Queens University of Belfast
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space | Year: 2016

This paper critically examines the intersections of global tourism and fitness in the Marathon des Sables, an annual ultramarathon in the Sahara desert in which over a thousand athletes run the equivalent of five marathons in six days. It demonstrates how the globalization of health and fitness resonates with familiar Western productions of exotic cultures for the purposes of tourist consumption. Of particular interest here is how established colonial asymmetries are recast in a neoliberal context as runners test their resilience, endurance and strength against an ‘extreme’ Saharan landscape. While the paper calls attention to these asymmetries, it is more concerned with troubling reductive colonial encounters in order to reveal their instability, heterogeneity and ambivalence. Indeed, the central conceit of the Marathon des Sables – that superior Western fitness regimes and technologies will dominate the race – is inverted by the overwhelming success of Moroccan runners and disaggregated by the biopolitical regulation of elite running bodies. These unexpected intersections of global tourism and fitness demand further attention because they reconfigure our received notions of who (and what) is capable of exerting agency in postcolonial encounters. © 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.

Youngs T.G.A.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Computational Chemistry | Year: 2010

Aten is a tool for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms to ease the creation, editing, and visualization of coordinates for use in, for example, molecular dynamics simulations. The code handles gas-phase molecules in addition to crystals, surfaces, and liquids, providing standard tools to edit "by the atom" along with specific "by the box" methods suited to periodic systems, including full crystallographic spacegroup packing definitions. Visualization of systems encompasses the standard drawing styles and may be mixed with an arbitrary number of other basic objects, such as arrows and geometric objects allowing creation of scenes involving vector fields, coarse-grained particles, etc. Standard molecular mechanics forcefields can be read in, edited, applied to molecules using the built-in chemical typing language, and subsequently used to calculate energies and forces, minimize energies with respect to coordinates, decompose energies into contribution by molecule type, etc. Monte Carlo methods are available with which to generate random configurations of N-component systems, or solvate around molecules or in specific regions within existing configurations. Supported file formats are governed by user-defined "filters," which provide flexibility of input/output as well as the ability to define custom or extended formats of traditional files. Forcefield descriptions for loaded systems can be output and formatted for use as input to common codes. All features can be accessed by a comprehensive GUI and scripting language based on the C syntax. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Mcbride C.,Queens University of Belfast
British Journal of Politics and International Relations | Year: 2013

It is commonly supposed that democracies should encourage greater political participation and civic engagement. This article identifies two distinct perspectives on political participation and civic engagement: a 'freedom-centred' model and an 'ethical' model. The 'freedom-centred' model defended here draws on the republican concept of freedom as non-domination, together with the political liberal notion of fair deliberative proceduralism, while the ethical model draws on Aristotelian, perfectionist, sources. It is argued that the 'ethical' model is overly concerned with the 'moral renewal' of modern social life, and is insensitive to problems of domination posed by its account of civic reciprocity and trust. By contrast, the 'freedom-centred' model developed offers a systematic account of personal and political freedom, which provides qualified support for deliberative modes of participation and engagement. © 2012 Political Studies Association.

Colclough S.,University of Ulster | McGrath T.,Queens University of Belfast
Applied Energy | Year: 2015

EU targets require nearly zero energy buildings (NZEB) by 2020. However few monitored examples exist of how NZEB has been achieved in practise in individual residential buildings. This paper provides an example of how a low-energy building (built in 2006), has achieved nearly zero energy heating through the addition of a solar domestic hot water and space heating system ("combi system") with a Seasonal Thermal Energy Store (STES). The paper also presents a cumulative life cycle energy and cumulative life cycle carbon analysis for the installation based on the recorded DHW and space heating demand in addition to energy payback periods and net energy ratios. In addition, the carbon and energy analysis is carried out for four other heating system scenarios including hybrid solar thermal/PV systems in order to obtain the optimal system from a carbon efficiency perspective. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Van Meerbeeck J.P.,Ghent University | Fennell D.A.,Queens University of Belfast | De Ruysscher D.K.M.,Maastricht University
The Lancet | Year: 2011

The incidence and mortality of small-cell lung cancer worldwide make this disease a notable health-care issue. Diagnosis relies on histology, with the use of immunohistochemical studies to confirm difficult cases. Typical patients are men older than 70 years who are current or past heavy smokers and who have pulmonary and cardiovascular comorbidities. Patients often present with rapid-onset symptoms due to local intrathoracic tumour growth, extrapulmonary distant spread, paraneoplastic syndromes, or a combination of these features. Staging aims ultimately to define disease as metastatic or non-metastatic. Combination chemotherapy, generally platinum-based plus etoposide or irinotecan, is the mainstay first-line treatment for metastatic small-cell lung cancer. For non-metastatic disease, evidence supports early concurrent thoracic radiotherapy. Prophylactic cranial irradiation should be considered for patients with or without metastases whose disease does not progress after induction chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite high initial response rates, most patients eventually relapse. Except for topotecan, few treatment options then remain. Signalling pathways have been identified that might yield new drug targets. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Reid J.,Queens University of Belfast
Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care | Year: 2014

Purpose of review Cancer cachexia has a substantial impact on both patients and their family carers. It has been acknowledged as one of the two most frequent and devastating problems of advanced cancer. The impact of cachexia spans biopsychosocial realms. Symptom management in cachexia is fraught with difficulties and globally, there remains no agreed standard care or treatment for this client group. There is a need to address the psychosocial impact of cachexia for both patients and their family carers. Recent findings Patients living at home and their family carers are often left to manage the distressing psychosocial impacts of cancer cachexia themselves. Successful symptom management requires healthcare professionals to address the holistic impact of cancer cachexia. High quality and rigorous research details the existential impact of cachexia on patients and their family carers. This information needs to inform psychosocial, educational and communicative supportive healthcare interventions to help both patients and their family carers better cope with the effects of cachexia. Summary Supportive interventions need to inform both patients and their family carers of the expected impacts of cachexia, and address how to cope with them to retain a functional, supported family unit who are informed about and equipped to care for a loved one with cachexia. © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

McCormack D.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Year: 2010

Hyperemesis gravidarum severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can lead to serious negative health consequences for both mother and fetus. Appropriate evidence-based treatment for this illness is paramount. Studies describing hypnosis in the treatment of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) were reviewed. A literature search was carried out using Cochrane, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and Web of Knowledge databases. A total of 45 studies were identified by the search. Six studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Studies were reviewed in terms of study design, methodological quality, intervention and outcomes. Methodology between the studies differed but all reported encouraging positive outcomes. However, the quality of current evidence, based on the studies reviewed in this study, is not sufficient to establish if hypnosis is an effective treatment for HG. To be able to accurately assess the efficacy of hypnosis for HG, it is recommended that well-designed studies, e.g. randomised control trials, be carried out. © 2010 Informa UK, Ltd.

Shunmugam M.,University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia | Ang G.S.,Royal Melbourne Hospital | Lois N.,Queens University of Belfast
Survey of Ophthalmology | Year: 2014

A giant retinal tear (GRT) is a full-thickness neurosensory retinal break that extends circumferentially around the retina for three or more clock hours in the presence of a posteriorly detached vitreous. Its incidence in large population-based studies has been estimated as 1.5% of rhegmatogenous retinal detachments, with a significant male preponderance, and bilaterality in 12.8%.Most GRTs are idiopathic, with trauma, hereditary vitreoretinopathies and high myopia each being causative in decreasing frequency. The vast majority of GRTs are currently managed with a pars plana vitrectomy; the use of adjunctive circumferential scleral buckling is debated, but no studies have shown a clear anatomical or visual advantage with its use. Similarly, silicone oil tamponade does not influence long-term outcomes when compared with gas.Primary and final retinal reattachment rates are achieved in 88% and 95% of patients, respectively. Even when the retina remains attached, however, visual recovery may be limited. Furthermore, fellow eyes of patients with a GRT are at higher risk of developing retinal tears and retinal detachment. Prophylactic treatment under these circumstances may be considered but there is no firm evidence of its efficacy at the present time. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

European hare Lepus europaeus populations have undergone recent declines but the species has successfully naturalised in many countries outside its native range. It was introduced to Ireland during the mid-late nineteenth century for field sport and is now well established in Northern Ireland. The native Irish hare Lepus timidus hibernicus is an endemic subspecies of mountain hare L. timidus and has attracted major conservation concern following a long-term population decline during the twentieth century and is one of the highest priority species for conservation action in Ireland. Little is known about the European hare in Ireland or whether it poses a significant threat to the native mountain hare subspecies by compromising its ecological security or genetic integrity. We review the invasion ecology of the European hare and examine evidence for interspecific competition with the mountain hare for habitat space and food resources, interspecific hybridisation, disease and parasite transmission and possible impacts of climate change. We also examine the impact that introduced hares can have on native non-lagomorph species. We conclude that the European hare is an emerging and significant threat to the conservation status of the native Irish hare. Invasive mammal species have been successfully eradicated from Ireland before and immediate action is often the only opportunity for cost-effective eradication. An urgent call is issued for further research whilst the need for a European hare invasive Species Action Plan (iSAP) and Eradication strategy are discussed. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Fung T.,Queens University of Belfast | Seymour R.M.,University College London | Johnson C.R.,University of Tasmania
Ecology | Year: 2011

Ecosystems with alternative stable states (ASS) may shift discontinuously from one stable state to another as environmental parameters cross a threshold. Reversal can then be difficult due to hysteresis effects. This contrasts with continuous state changes in response to changing environmental parameters, which are less difficult to reverse. Worldwide degradation of coral reefs, involving "phase shifts" from coral to algal dominance, highlights the pressing need to determine the likelihood of discontinuous phase shifts in coral reefs, in contrast to continuous shifts with no ASS. However, there is little evidence either for or against the existence of ASS for coral reefs. We use dynamic models to investigate the likelihood of continuous and discontinuous phase shifts in coral reefs subject to sustained environmental perturbation by fishing, nutrification, and sedimentation. Our modeling results suggest that coral reefs with or without anthropogenic stress can exhibit ASS, such that discontinuous phase shifts can occur. We also find evidence to support the view that high macroalgal growth rates and low grazing rates on macroalgae favor ASS in coral reefs. Further, our results suggest that the three stressors studied, either alone or in combination, can increase the likelihood of both continuous and discontinuous phase shifts by altering the competitive balance between corals and algae. However, in contrast to continuous phase shifts, we find that discontinuous shifts occur only in model coral reefs with parameter values near the extremes of their empirically determined ranges. This suggests that continuous shifts are more likely than discontinuous shifts in coral reefs. Our results also suggest that, for ecosystems in general, tackling multiple human stressors simultaneously maximizes resilience to phase shifts, ASS, and hysteresis, leading to improvements in ecosystem health and functioning. © 2011 by the Ecological Society of America.

Johnson N.C.,Queens University of Belfast
Cultural Geographies | Year: 2012

Drawing on the theoretical insights of Paul Ricoeur this paper investigates the geographies of public remembrance in a post-conflict society. In Northern Ireland, where political divisions have found expression through acts of extreme violence over the past 30 years, questions of memory and an amnesty for forgetting have particular resonance both at the individual and societal level, and render Ricoeur's framework particularly prescient. Since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, initiating the Peace Process through consociational structures, discovering a nomenclature and set of practices which would aid in the rapprochement of a deeply divided society has presented a complex array of issues. In this paper I examine the various practices of public remembrance of the 1998 bombing of Omagh as a means of understanding how memory-spaces evolve in a post-conflict context. In Omagh there were a variety of commemorative practices instituted and each, in turn, adopted a different contour towards achieving reconciliation with the violence and grief of the bombing. In particular the Garden of Light project is analysed as a collective monument which, with light as its metaphysical centre, invited the populace to reflect backward on the pain of the bombing while at the same time enabling the society to look forward toward a peaceful future where a politics of hope might eclipse a politics of despair. © The Author(s) 2011.

Pethick J.,Newcastle University | Orford J.D.,Queens University of Belfast
Global and Planetary Change | Year: 2013

Evidence is presented from three estuarine tide gauges located in the Sundarban area of southwest Bangladesh of relative sea level rise substantially in excess of the generally accepted rates from altimetry, as well as previous tide-gauge analyses. It is proposed that the difference arises from the use of Relative Mean Sea Level (RMSL) to characterise the present and future coastal flood hazard, since RMSL can be misleading in estuaries in which tidal range is changing. Three tide gauges, one located in the uninhabited mangrove forested area (Sundarban) of southwest Bangladesh, the others in the densely populated polder zone north of the present Sundarban, show rates of increase in RMSL ranging from 2.8mma-1 to 8.8mma-1. However, these trends in RMSL disguise the fact that high water levels in the polder zone have been increasing at an average rate of 15.9mma-1 and a maximum of 17.2mma-1. In an area experiencing tidal range amplification, RMSL will always underestimate the rise in high water levels; consequently, as an alternative to RMSL, the use of trends in high water maxima or 'Effective Sea Level Rise' (ESLR) is adopted as a more strategic parameter to characterise the flooding hazard potential. The rate of increase in ESLR is shown to be due to a combination of deltaic subsidence, including sediment compaction, and eustatic sea level rise, but principally as a result of increased tidal range in estuary channels recently constricted by embankments. These increases in ESLR have been partially offset by decreases in fresh water discharge in those estuaries connected to the Ganges. The recognition of increases of the effective sea level in the Bangladesh Sundarban, which are substantially greater than increases in mean sea level, is of the utmost importance to flood management in this low-lying and densely populated area. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Reid J.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

Cancer cachexia is a multidimensional syndrome characterised by wasting, loss of weight, loss of appetite, metabolic alterations, fatigue and reduced performance status. A significant number of patients with advanced cancer develop cachexia before death. There is no identified optimum treatment for cancer cachexia. While the exact mechanism of the action of thalidomide is unclear, it is known to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, which are thought to help reduce the weight loss associated with cachexia. Preliminary studies of thalidomide have demonstrated encouraging results. This review aimed to (1) evaluate the effectiveness of thalidomide, and (2) identify and assess adverse effects from thalidomide for cancer cachexia. Electronic searches were undertaken in CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science and CINAHL (from inception to April 2011). Reference lists from reviewed articles, trial registers, relevant conference documents and thalidomide manufacturers identified additional literature. This review included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs. Participants were adults diagnosed with advanced or incurable cancer and weight loss or a clinical diagnosis of cachexia who were administered thalidomide. All titles and abstracts retrieved by electronic searching were downloaded to a reference management database. Duplicates were removed and the remaining citations were read by two review authors and checked for eligibility. Studies that were deemed ineligible for inclusion had clear reasons for exclusion documented. Data were extracted independently by two review authors for all eligible studies. While a meta-analysis was planned for this review, this was not possible due to the small number of studies included and high heterogeneity among them. Thus a narrative synthesis of the findings is presented. The literature search revealed a dearth of large, well conducted trials in this area. This has hindered the review authors' ability to make an informed decision about thalidomide for the management of cancer cachexia. At present, there is insufficient evidence to refute or support the use of thalidomide for the management of cachexia in advanced cancer patients. The review authors cannot confirm or refute previous literature on the use of thalidomide for patients with advanced cancer who have cachexia and there is inadequate evidence to recommend it for clinical practice. Additional, well conducted, large RCTs are needed to test thalidomide both singularly and in combination with other treatment modalities to ascertain its true benefit, if any, for this population. Furthermore, one study (out of the three reviewed) highlighted that thalidomide was poorly tolerated and its use needs to be explored further in light of the frailty of this population.

Foley A.,University College Cork | Foley A.,Queens University of Belfast | Tyther B.,University College Cork | Calnan P.,University College Cork | O Gallachoir B.,University College Cork
Applied Energy | Year: 2013

The Irish government set a target in 2008 that 10% of all vehicles in the transport fleet be powered by electricity by 2020. Similar electric vehicle targets have been introduced in other countries. In this study the effects of 213,561 electric vehicles on the operation of the single wholesale electricity market for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is investigated. A model of Ireland's electricity market in 2020 is developed using the power systems market model called PLEXOS for power systems. The amount of CO2 emissions associated with charging the EVs and the impacts with respect to Ireland's target for renewable energy in transport is also quantified. A single generation portfolio and two different charging scenarios, arising from a peak and off-peak charging profile are considered. Results from the study confirm that off-peak charging is more beneficial than peak charging and that charging EVs will contribute 1.45% energy supply to the 10% renewable energy in transport target. The net CO2 reductions are 147 and 210 kt CO2 respectively. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Galway K.,Queens University of Belfast
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2012

A cancer diagnosis may lead to significant psychological distress in up to 75% of cases. There is a lack of clarity about the most effective ways to address this psychological distress. To assess the effects of psychosocial interventions to improve quality of life (QoL) and general psychological distress in the 12-month phase following an initial cancer diagnosis. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 4), MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO up to January 2011. We also searched registers of clinical trials, abstracts of scientific meetings and reference lists of included studies. Electronic searches were carried out across all primary sources of peer-reviewed publications using detailed criteria. No language restrictions were imposed. Randomised controlled trials of psychosocial interventions involving interpersonal dialogue between a 'trained helper' and individual newly diagnosed cancer patients were selected. Only trials measuring QoL and general psychological distress were included. Trials involving a combination of pharmacological therapy and interpersonal dialogue were excluded, as were trials involving couples, family members or group formats. Trial data were examined and selected by two authors in pairs with mediation from a third author where required. Where possible, outcome data were extracted for combining in a meta-analyses. Continuous outcomes were compared using standardised mean differences and 95% confidence intervals, using a random-effects model. The primary outcome, QoL, was examined in subgroups by outcome measurement, cancer site, theoretical basis for intervention, mode of delivery and discipline of trained helper. The secondary outcome, general psychological distress (including anxiety and depression), was examined according to specified outcome measures. A total of 3309 records were identified, examined and the trials subjected to selection criteria; 30 trials were included in the review. No significant effects were observed for QoL at 6-month follow up (in 9 studies, SMD 0.11; 95% CI -0.00 to 0.22); however, a small improvement in QoL was observed when QoL was measured using cancer-specific measures (in 6 studies, SMD 0.16; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.30). General psychological distress as assessed by 'mood measures' improved also (in 8 studies, SMD - 0.81; 95% CI -1.44 to - 0.18), but no significant effect was observed when measures of depression or anxiety were used to assess distress (in 6 studies, depression SMD 0.12; 95% CI -0.07 to 0.31; in 4 studies, anxiety SMD 0.05; 95% CI -0.13 to 0.22). Psychoeducational and nurse-delivered interventions that were administered face to face and by telephone with breast cancer patients produced small positive significant effects on QoL (in 2 studies, SMD 0.23; 95% CI 0.04 to 0.43). The significant variation that was observed across participants, mode of delivery, discipline of 'trained helper' and intervention content makes it difficult to arrive at a firm conclusion regarding the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for cancer patients. It can be tentatively concluded that nurse-delivered interventions comprising information combined with supportive attention may have a beneficial impact on mood in an undifferentiated population of newly diagnosed cancer patients.

Barr I.D.,Queens University of Belfast | Spagnolo M.,University of Aberdeen
Geomorphology | Year: 2013

The distribution of glacial cirques upon the Kamchatka peninsula, Far Eastern Russia, is systematically mapped from satellite images and digital elevation model data. A total of 3758 cirques are identified, 238 of which are occupied by active glaciers. The morphometry of the remaining 3520 cirques is analysed. These cirques are found to show a very strong N bias in their azimuth (orientation), likely resulting from aspect-related variations in insolation. The strength of this N bias is considered to indicate that former glaciation upon the peninsula was often 'marginal', and mainly of cirque-type, with peaks extending little above regional equilibrium-line altitudes. This is supported by the fact that S and SE-facing cirques are the highest in the dataset, suggesting that glacier-cover was rarely sufficient to allow S and SE-facing glaciers to develop at low altitudes. The strength of these azimuth-related variations in cirque altitude is thought to reflect comparatively cloud-free conditions during former periods of glaciation. It is suggested that these characteristics, of marginal glaciation and comparatively cloud-free conditions, reflect the region's former aridity, which was likely intensified at the global Last Glacial Maximum, and during earlier periods of ice advance, as a result of the development of negative pressure anomalies over the North Pacific (driven by the growth of the Laurentide Ice Sheet), combined with other factors, including an increase in the extent and duration of sea ice, a reduction in global sea levels, cooler sea surface temperatures, and the localised growth of mountain glaciers. There is published evidence to suggest extensive glaciation of the Kamchatka Peninsula at times during the Late Quaternary, yet the data presented here appear to suggest that such phases were comparatively short-lived, and that smaller cirque-type glaciers were generally more characteristic of the period. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

To investigate the effects of weaning protocols on the total duration of mechanical ventilation, mortality, adverse events, quality of life, weaning duration, and length of stay in the intensive care unit and hospital. Systematic review. Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Medline, Embase, CINAHL, LILACS, ISI Web of Science, ISI Conference Proceedings, Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, and reference lists of articles. We did not apply language restrictions. Review methods We included randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials of weaning from mechanical ventilation with and without protocols in critically ill adults. Data selection Three authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. A priori subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed. We contacted study authors for additional information. Eleven trials that included 1971 patients met the inclusion criteria. Compared with usual care, the geometric mean duration of mechanical ventilation in the weaning protocol group was reduced by 25% (95% confidence interval 9% to 39%, P=0.006; 10 trials); the duration of weaning was reduced by 78% (31% to 93%, P=0.009; six trials); and stay in the intensive care unit length by 10% (2% to 19%, P=0.02; eight trials). There was significant heterogeneity among studies for total duration of mechanical ventilation (I(2)=76%, P<0.01) and duration of weaning (I(2)=97%, P<0.01), which could not be explained by subgroup analyses based on type of unit or type of approach. There is evidence of a reduction in the duration of mechanical ventilation, weaning, and stay in the intensive care unit when standardised weaning protocols are used, but there is significant heterogeneity among studies and an insufficient number of studies to investigate the source of this heterogeneity. Some studies suggest that organisational context could influence outcomes, but this could not be evaluated as it was outside the scope of this review.

Mills A.,Queens University of Belfast | Hill C.,Cristal Global | Robertson P.K.J.,Robert Gordon University
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry | Year: 2012

The current eight published ISO standards associated with semiconductor photocatalysis are considered. These standards cover: (1) air purification (specifically, the removal of NO, acetaldehyde and toluene), (2) water purification (the photobleaching of methylene blue and oxidation of DMSO) (3) self-cleaning surfaces (the removal of oleic acid and subsequent change in water droplet contact angle), (4) photosterilisation (specifically probing the antibacterial action of semiconductor photocatalyst films) and (5) UV light sources for semiconductor photocatalytic ISO work. For each standard, the background is first considered, followed by a brief discussion of the standard particulars and concluding in a discussion of the pros and cons of the standard, with often recommendations for their improvement. Other possible standards for the future which would either compliment or enhance the current ones are discussed briefly. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Wilson P.M.,University of Southern California | Danenberg P.V.,University of Southern California | Johnston P.G.,Queens University of Belfast | Lenz H.-J.,University of Southern California | Ladner R.D.,University of Southern California
Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology | Year: 2014

Over the past 60 years, chemotherapeutic agents that target thymidylate biosynthesis and the enzyme thymidylate synthase (TS) have remained among the most-successful drugs used in the treatment of cancer. Fluoropyrimidines, such as 5-fluorouracil and capecitabine, and antifolates, such as methotrexate and pemetrexed, induce a state of thymidylate deficiency and imbalances in the nucleotide pool that impair DNA replication and repair. TS-targeted agents are used to treat numerous solid and haematological malignancies, either alone or as foundational therapeutics in combination treatment regimens. We overview the pivotal discoveries that led to the rational development of thymidylate biosynthesis as a chemotherapeutic target, and highlight the crucial contribution of these advances to driving and accelerating drug development in the earliest era of cancer chemotherapy. The function of TS as well as the mechanisms and consequences of inhibition of this enzyme by structurally diverse classes of drugs with distinct mechanisms of action are also discussed. In addition, breakthroughs relating to TS-targeted therapies that transformed the clinical landscape in some of the most-difficult-to-treat cancers, such as pancreatic, colorectal and non-small-cell lung cancer, are highlighted. Finally, new therapeutic agents and novel mechanism-based strategies that promise to further exploit the vulnerabilities and target resistance mechanisms within the thymidylate biosynthesis pathway are reviewed. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Xuereb A.,Queens University of Belfast | Xuereb A.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Schnabel R.,Leibniz University of Hanover | Hammerer K.,Leibniz University of Hanover
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011

Dissipative optomechanics studies the coupling of the motion of an optical element to the decay rate of a cavity. We propose and theoretically explore a realization of this system in the optical domain, using a combined Michelson-Sagnac interferometer, which enables a strong and tunable dissipative coupling. Quantum interference in such a setup results in the suppression of the lower motional sideband, leading to strongly enhanced cooling in the non-sideband-resolved regime. With state-of-the-art parameters, ground-state cooling and low-power quantum-limited position transduction are both possible. The possibility of a strong, tunable dissipative coupling opens up a new route towards observation of such fundamental optomechanical effects as nonlinear dynamics. Beyond optomechanics, the suggested method can be readily transferred to other setups involving nonlinear media, atomic ensembles, or single atoms. © 2011 American Physical Society.

O'Connor N.E.,Queens University of Belfast | O'Connor N.E.,University College Dublin | Donohue I.,Trinity College Dublin
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Loss of biodiversity and nutrient enrichment are two of the main human impacts on ecosystems globally, yet we understand very little about the interactive effects of multiple stressors on natural communities and how this relates to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Advancing our understanding requires the following: (1) incorporation of processes occurring within and among trophic levels in natural ecosystems and (2) tests of context-dependency of species loss effects. We examined the effects of loss of a key predator and two groups of its prey on algal assemblages at both ambient and enriched nutrient conditions in a marine benthic system and tested for interactions between the loss of functional diversity and nutrient enrichment on ecosystem functioning. We found that enrichment interacted with food web structure to alter the effects of species loss in natural communities. At ambient conditions, the loss of primary consumers led to an increase in biomass of algae, whereas predator loss caused a reduction in algal biomass (i.e. a trophic cascade). However, contrary to expectations, we found that nutrient enrichment negated the cascading effect of predators on algae. Moreover, algal assemblage structure varied in distinct ways in response to mussel loss, grazer loss, predator loss and with nutrient enrichment, with compensatory shifts in algal abundance driven by variation in responses of different algal species to different environmental conditions and the presence of different consumers. We identified and characterized several context-dependent mechanisms driving direct and indirect effects of consumers. Our findings highlight the need to consider environmental context when examining potential species redundancies in particular with regard to changing environmental conditions. Furthermore, non-trophic interactions based on empirical evidence must be incorporated into food web-based ecological models to improve understanding of community responses to global change. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Muir J.,Queens University of Belfast
Housing Studies | Year: 2013

Housing policy formation under the United Kingdom's devolution settlement is currently under-researched and insufficiently understood. This article uses the example of social housing policy-making in Northern Ireland to reflect on its impact. Five factors with the potential to influence post-devolution policy-making are identified: common UK citizenship and ideology, policy networks, the political process, the mechanics of devolution and membership of the European Union. A post-devolution review of social housing policy in Northern Ireland is followed by a discussion of three key issues from the 2007 to 2011 administration: governance, procurement of new social housing, and 'shared space' and a shared future. Interviews with policy-makers indicate that 2007-2011 marked the beginnings of a trend away from the technocratic domination of officials towards greater intervention and policy ownership by politicians, but that the significance of this should not be overstated. The implications for multi-level and multi-jurisdictional policy-making in devolved and federal states are considered. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Oyedele L.O.,Queens University of Belfast
International Journal of Project Management | Year: 2013

The overall aim of this study is to identify factors that influence architects' demotivation in design firms. After a review of extant literatures in design management, project management, and organisational behaviour, a list of 43 demotivating criteria was produced and used in a questionnaire survey. Analyses included reliability analysis, Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests, demotivation severity index (DSI) computation and exploratory factor analysis. Results show an underlying factor structure of seven demotivating factors that include 'organisational injustice', 'project induced stress', 'dysfunctional design team', 'poor interpersonal relationships', 'perceived career decline', 'negative leadership behaviours' and 'poor organisational culture'. Comparing these demotivational factors with motivational factors identified from previous related research, this study confirms that demotivation and motivation are on the same pole. In addition, what causes motivation or demotivation is a function of individual frame of reference. This implies that the presence or absence of a factor might cause motivation or demotivation depending on an individual frame of reference. Positive attention to the identified factors in relation to individual personality differences therefore helps to remove impediments that could affect employees' well-being such as being downcast, dispirited, depressed and despondent. The study would help directors and managers of design firms to develop a healthy workforce through recognition and eradication of the identified demotivating factors using some of the suggested solutions. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and IPMA.

Huschke S.,Queens University of Belfast
Medical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness | Year: 2015

In this article, I draw on my doctoral field work in Berlin (2008–2010), on the illness experiences of undocumented Latin American labor migrants, and on my work as an activist for the Berlin-based nongovernmental organization Medibüro, an anti-racist migrant health organization. I highlight how my attempts to ‘give back,’ and the various forms of engagements and commitments that resulted from it, shaped my relationships with actors in the field, the data I gathered, and the analytical framework I employed. I offer solutions on how to address these (unintended) effects of activism, and highlight the unique potential of activist research in regard to the forms of data available to the researcher and in gaining and retaining field access. By probing into some of its concrete methodological and analytical implications, I explore how to do activist research. © 2014, Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Sengupta U.,Queens University of Belfast
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy | Year: 2013

Urban land development in India is changing under the auspices of economic liberalisation. Kolkata has been in the forefront of this transformation through development of new townships in the urban peripheries based on a distinctive state-led land development model. Within this context New Town, Kolkata (also known as Rajarhat) provides a highly illuminative case to articulate the ways in which the state is implementing its neoliberal agenda in land development. It rides on political and ideological high ground by seeking to create a 'model development' of state-market partnership for dual goals of fostering capitalist interest while fulfilling welfarist principles. Interesting insights have emerged that point to a policy paradox. On one hand, the process follows market principles of efficacy and efficiency; on the other hand, state's keenness to extend control persists, thereby creating a highly uneven terrain for state-market interaction. New Town reflects a typical quasi-market condition shaped by the monopolistic state, the poorly structured role of the private sector, an absence of civic bodies, and minimal land and housing provision for the poor. In India, as internationally, the economic liberalisation market ideology is increasingly construed as good governance. In this context New Town is a step in the right direction, but the progress is patchy, uneven, and still evolving. © 2013 Pion and its Licensors.

Rossberg A.G.,CEFAS - Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science | Rossberg A.G.,Queens University of Belfast
Advances in Ecological Research | Year: 2012

The prediction and management of ecosystem responses to global environmental change would profit from a clearer understanding of the mechanisms determining the structure and dynamics of ecological communities. The analytic theory presented here develops a causally closed picture for the mechanisms controlling community and population size structure, in particular community size spectra, and their dynamic responses to perturbations, with emphasis on marine ecosystems. Important implications are summarised in non-technical form. These include the identification of three different responses of community size spectra to size-specific pressures (of which one is the classical trophic cascade), an explanation for the observed slow recovery of fish communities from exploitation, and clarification of the mechanism controlling predation mortality rates. The theory builds on a community model that describes trophic interactions among size-structured populations and explicitly represents the full life cycles of species. An approximate time-dependent analytic solution of the model is obtained by coarse graining over maturation body sizes to obtain a simple description of the model steady state, linearising near the steady state, and then eliminating intraspecific size structure by means of the quasi-neutral approximation. The result is a convolution equation for trophic interactions among species of different maturation body sizes, which is solved analytically using a novel technique based on a multiscale expansion. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Soundara Pandi S.P.,Queens University of Belfast
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science | Year: 2013

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs of approximately 18 to 22 nucleotides in length that regulate gene expression. They are widely expressed in the retina, being both required for its normal development and perturbed in disease. The aim of this study was to apply new high-throughput sequencing techniques to more fully characterize the miRNAs and other small RNAs expressed in the retina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)/choroid of the mouse. Retina and RPE/choroid were dissected from eyes of 3-month-old C57BL/6J mice. Small RNA libraries were prepared and deep sequencing performed on a genome analyzer. Reads were annotated by alignment to miRBase, other noncoding RNA databases, and the mouse genome. Annotation of 9 million reads to 320 miRNAs in retina and 340 in RPE/choroid provides the most comprehensive profiling of miRNAs to date. Two novel miRNAs were identified in retina. Members of the sensory organ-specific miR-183, -182, -96 cluster were among the most highly expressed, retina-enriched miRNAs. Remarkably, miRNA "isomiRs," which vary slightly in length and are differentially detected by Taqman RT-qPCR assays, existed for all the microRNAs identified in both tissues. More variation occurred at the 3' ends, including nontemplated additions of T and A. Drosha-independent mirtron miRNAs and other small RNAs derived from snoRNAs were also detected. Deep sequencing has revealed the complexity of small RNA expression in the mouse retina and RPE/choroid. This knowledge will improve the design and interpretation of future functional studies of the role of miRNAs and other small RNAs in retinal disease.

Bothwell J.H.F.,Queens University of Belfast | Bothwell J.H.F.,Marine Biological Association of The United Kingdom | Bothwell J.H.F.,CNRS Integrative Biology of Marine Models | Griffin J.L.,The Hopkins Building
Biological Reviews | Year: 2011

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is one of the most powerful analytical techniques available to biology. This review is an introduction to the potential of this method and is aimed at readers who have little or no experience in acquiring or analyzing NMR spectra. We focus on spectroscopic applications of the magnetic resonance effect, rather than imaging ones, and explain how various aspects of the NMR phenomenon make it a versatile tool with which to address a number of biological problems. Using detailed examples, we discuss the use of 1H NMR spectroscopy in mixture analysis and metabolomics, the use of 13C NMR spectroscopy in tracking isotopomers and determining the flux through metabolic pathways ('fluxomics') and the use of 31P NMR spectroscopy in monitoring ATP generation and intracellular pH homeotasis in vivo. Further examples demonstrate how NMR spectroscopy can be used to probe the physical environment of a cell by measuring diffusion and the tumbling rates of individual metabolites and how it can determine macromolecular structures by measuring the bonds and distances which separate individual atoms. We finish by outlining some of the key challenges which remain in NMR spectroscopy and we highlight how recent advances-such as increased magnet field strengths, cryogenic cooling, microprobes and hyperpolarisation-are opening new avenues for today's biological NMR spectroscopists. © 2010 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2010 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

De Silva A.P.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience | Year: 2011

AND logic gate behaviour can be recognized in chemical-responsive luminescence phenomena concerning small molecules. Though initial developments concerned separate and distinguishable chemical species as inputs, consideration of other types of input sets allows substantial expansion of the sub-field. Dissection of these molecular devices into modules, where possible, enables analysis of their logic behaviour according to supramolecular photochemical mechanisms. Copyright © 2011 American Scientific Publishers.

Oyedele L.O.,Queens University of Belfast
Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities | Year: 2013

The overall aim of this paper is to identify critical success factors that would help Private Finance Initiative/facility management (PFI/FM) contractors to avoid performance failure payment deductions in Public Private Partnership/PFI (PPP/PFI) projects (constructed facilities). Using focus groups discussions, 36 possible factors that could influence performance failure payment deductions were identified and put together in a questionnaire survey. Analysis included reliability analysis that enabled identification of 29 reliable factors from the initial 36 factors. Using linear multiple regression, the best seven predictors that could help PFI/FM contractors to avoid performance payment failure deduction were identified from the 29 reliable factors. With the aid of another set of data and Spearman's rank correlation analysis, the seven predictors referred to as critical success factors were validated to confirm their dependability and wider applicability. The seven critical success factors include: (1) good working relationship with client, end-users, subcontractors, and suppliers; (2) minimal use of subjective measures as key performance indicators (KPIs); (3) a functioning help desk in place to receive service requests and complaints;, (4) explicit and realistic performance standards, criteria, and weighting systems; (5) quality of service delivery that meets requirements of output specification; (6) use of the Just-in-Time approach compared with a prescheduled maintenance regime; and (7) PFI/FM contractor active participation in the design process. The research findings would help both PFI/FM contractors and private project consortiums to maximize their profits/returns on investment by improving their performance and avoiding payment deductions in PFI projects. Public sector clients and occupants/users of their facilities would also achieve full value for money by enjoying facilities that adequately meet their needs and requirements. © 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers.