Durban, South Africa

University of KwaZulu - Natal

www.ukzn.ac.za
Durban, South Africa

The University of KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN is a university with five campuses all located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It was formed on 1 January 2004 after the merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. Wikipedia.

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This invention relates to a method and system implementing same for identifying and/or measuring an orientation mismatch and/or relative angular velocity between at least two spaced apart stations first and second stations having first and second reference frames, respectively as well as a method and system implementing same for aligning reference frames. The method comprises receiving, at the second station, a reference signal from the first station, the reference signal having a predetermined coding associated with the first reference frame; and splitting the signal into first and second components with respect to the second reference frame by way of an optical device. The method then comprises measuring first and second intensities of the first and second components; and using the measured first and second intensities to determine an approximate angle of deviation, if any, between first and second reference frames. The determined angle may be used to correct the deviation.


This disclosure relates to a method and system implementing same for identifying and/or measuring an orientation mismatch and/or relative angular velocity between at least two spaced apart stations, the first and second stations having first and second reference frames, respectively, as well as a method and system implementing same for aligning reference frames. The method comprises receiving, at the second station, a reference signal from the first station, the reference signal having a predetermined coding associated with the first reference frame, and splitting the signal into first and second components with respect to the second reference frame by way of an optical device. The method then comprises measuring first and second intensities of the first and second components, and using the measured first and second intensities to determine an approximate angle of deviation, if any, between first and second reference frames. The determined angle may be used to correct the deviation.


Karpoormath R.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Current topics in medicinal chemistry | Year: 2014

Marine organisms have been found to be a very rich source of bioactive molecules. Among marine organisms, sponges have been proven to be excellent producers of secondary metabolites. More than 5,300 compounds have been isolated from sponges with around 200 new molecules reported each year. Bromopyrrole alkaloids constitute a family of exclusively marine alkaloids and represent a fascinating example of the large variety of compounds formed by marine sponges which exhibit different biological activities such as antifeedent, anti-biofilm, anticancer, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antiserotonergic, antiangiogenic, antihistaminic, chitinase inhibitor and actimyosin ATPase activator. More than 140 derivatives with different structures and biological activities, have been isolated from more than 20 different sponges. Most of these alkaloids share a key building block, pyrrole-imidazole with oroidin being their underlying structural motif. In this review detailed account of isolation and medicinal application of marine bromopyrrole alkaloids and their synthetic derivatives are discussed.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-32-2014 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2015

NGS analysis pipelines are rapidly becoming part of the routine repertoire of research, clinical and public health laboratories in the public sector and private industry. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is only one example of the many recent virus discoveries made through analysis of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data. Yet, only a small part of the several millions of short-length sequence fragments generated by NGS machineries, many of which are expected to be of viral origin, can be analysed with current methods in bioinformatics. Even for well-known (pathogenic) viruses, proper epidemiological analyses are becoming more and more difficult due to the lack of bioinformatics tools that can handle the large and growing size of datasets. The VIROGENESIS consortium will overcome the most pressing bioinformatics obstacles to making full use of NGS by developing a software platform for end-users with tools underpinned by novel algorithms, models and bioinformatics methods. The speed and flexibility of the tools will make it possible to run analyses on a daily basis for a variety of subjects, including diagnostics, phylogeography, phylodynamics and transmission of drug resistance. The tools will be piloted and incorporated in the many available bioinformatics pipelines and software programmes used in the field. We will make our tools available in a modular, free and open source software platform that offers opportunities to SMEs to further exploit this market. The VIROGENESIS consortium brings together leading European academic and private small and medium enterprises (SME) bioinformatics developers and virology end-users who initiated this project in response to a clear interest from EMBL, NCBI and the Global Microbial Identifier (GMI) platform.


Schiestl F.P.,University of Zürich | Johnson S.D.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Trends in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Because most plants rely on animals for pollination, insights from animal sensory ecology and behavior are essential for understanding the evolution of flowers. In this review, we compare and contrast three main types of pollinator responses to floral signals - receiver bias, 'adaptive' innate preferences, and associative learning - and discuss how they can shape selection on floral signals. We show that pollinator-mediated selection on floral signals can be strong and that the molecular bases of floral signal variation are often surprisingly simple. These new empirical and conceptual insights into pollinator-mediated evolution provide a framework for understanding patterns of both convergent (pollination syndromes) and advergent (floral mimicry) floral signal evolution. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Biccard B.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Anesthesia and Analgesia | Year: 2015

The Revised Cardiac Risk Index (RCRI) was incorporated into the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) recommendations for the preoperative evaluation of the cardiac patient for noncardiac surgery. The purpose of this review was to analyze studies on cardiovascular clinical risk prediction that had used the previous "standard best" model, the RCRI, as a comparator. This review aims to determine whether modification of the current risk factors or adoption of other risk factors or other risk indices would improve upon the discrimination of cardiac risk prediction when compared with the RCRI. This is necessary because recent risk prediction models have shown better discrimination for major adverse cardiac events, and the pre-eminence of the RCRI is now in question. There is now a need for a new "best standard"cardiovascular risk prediction model to supersede the RCRI. This is desirable because it would: (1) allow for a global standard of cardiovascular risk assessment; (2) provide a standard comparator in all risk prediction research; (3) result in comparable data collection; and (4) allow for individual patient data meta-analyses. This should lead to continued progress in cardiovascular clinical risk prediction. A review of the current evidence suggests that to improve the preoperative clinical risk stratification for adverse cardiac events, a new risk stratification model be built that maintains the clinical risk factors identified in the RCRI, with the following modifications: (1) additional glomerular filtration rate cut points (as opposed to a single creatinine cut point); (2) age; (3) a history of peripheral vascular disease; (4) functional capacity; and (5) a specific surgical procedural category. One would expect a substantial improvement in the discrimination of the RCRI with this approach. Although most noncardiac surgeries will benefit from a standard "generic" cardiovascular risk prediction model, there are data to suggest that patients with human immunodeficiency virus disease who are undergoing vascular surgery may benefit from specific cardiovascular risk prediction models. Copyright © 2015 International Anesthesia Research Society.


Johnson S.D.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

The flora of southern Africa has exceptional species richness and endemism, making it an ideal system for studying the patterns and processes of evolutionary diversification. Using a wealth of recent case studies, I examine the evidence for pollinator-driven diversification in this flora. Pollination systems, which represent available niches for ecological diversification, are characterized in southern Africa by a high level of ecological and evolutionary specialization on the part of plants, and, in some cases, by pollinators as well. These systems are asymmetric, with entire plant guilds commonly specialized for a particular pollinator species or functional type, resulting in obvious convergent floral evolution among guild members. Identified modes of plant lineage diversification involving adaptation to pollinators in these guilds include (i) shifts between pollination systems, (ii) divergent use of the same pollinator, (iii) coevolution, (iv) trait tracking, and (v) floral mimicry of different model species. Microevolutionary studies confirm that pollinator shifts can be precipitated when a plant species encounters a novel pollinator fauna on its range margin, and macroevolutionary studies confirm frequent pollinator shifts associated with lineage diversification. As Darwin first noted, evolutionary specialization for particular pollinators, when resulting in ecological dependency, may increase the risk of plant extinction. I thus also consider the evidence that disturbance provokes pollination failure in some southern African plants with specialized pollination systems. © 2010 The Royal Society.


Lovegrove B.G.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Biological Reviews | Year: 2012

The evolution of endothermy in birds and mammals was one of the most important events in the evolution of the vertebrates. Past tests of hypotheses on the evolution of endothermy in mammals have relied largely on analyses of the relationship between basal and maximum metabolic rate, and artificial selection experiments. I argue that components of existing hypotheses, as well as new hypotheses, can be tested using an alternative macrophysiological modeling approach by examining the development of endothermy during the Cenozoic. Recent mammals display a 10°C range in body temperature which is sufficiently large to identify the selective forces that have driven the development of endothermy from a plesiomorphic (ancestral) Cretaceous or Jurassic condition. A model is presented (the Plesiomorphic-Apomorphic Endothermy Model, PAE Model) which proposes that heterothermy, i.e. bouts of normothermy (constant body temperature) interspersed with adaptive heterothermy (e.g. daily torpor and/or hibernation), was the ancestral condition from which apomorphic (derived), rigid homeothermy evolved. All terrestrial mammal lineages are examined for existing data to test the model, as well as for missing data that could be used to test the model. With the exception of Scandentia and Dermoptera, about which little is known, all mammalian orders that include small-sized mammals (<500 g), have species which are heterothermic and display characteristics of endothermy which fall somewhere along a plesiomorphic-apomorphic continuum. Orders which do not have heterothermic representatives (Cetartiodactyla, Perissodactyla, Pholidota, and Lagomorpha) are comprised of medium- to large-sized mammals that have either lost the capacity for heterothermy, or in which heterothermy has yet to be measured. Mammalian heterothermy seems to be plesiomorphic and probably evolved once in the mammalian lineage. Several categories of endothermy are identified (protoendothermy, plesioendothermy, apoendothermy, basoendothermy, mesoendothermy, supraendothermy, and reversed mesoendothermy) to describe the evolution of endothermy during the Cenozoic. The PAE Model should facilitate the testing of hypotheses using a range of macrophysiological methods (e.g. the comparative method and the reconstruction of ancestral states). © 2011 The Author. Biological Reviews © 2011 Cambridge Philosophical Society.


Patel R.,University of KwaZulu - Natal
Journal of Peasant Studies | Year: 2013

To combat climate change and hunger, a number of governments, foundations and aid agencies have called for a 'New Green Revolution'. Such calls obfuscate the dynamics of the Green Revolution. Using Arrighi's analysis of capital accumulation cycles, it is possible to trace a Long Green Revolution that spans the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Such an analysis illuminates commonalities in past and present Green Revolutions, including their bases in class struggles and crises of accumulation, modes of governance - particularly in the links between governments and philanthropic institutions - and the institutions through which truths about agricultural change were produced and became known. Such an analysis also suggests processes of continuity between the original Green Revolution and features of twenty-first-century agricultural change, while providing a historical grounding in international financial capital's structural changes to help explain some of the novel features that accompany the New Green Revolution, such as 'land grabs', patents on life, and nutritionism. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 208.76K | Year: 2015

Central and Southern Africa (C&SA) exemplifies the issues that FCFA aims to address: a complex mix of remote and regional climate drivers that challenge conventional climate model simulations, high levels of poorly simulated multi-year climate variability, an extremely low level of investment in climate science relative even to other parts of Africa but particularly West Africa; high physical and socio-economic exposure to climate that projections indicate may become drier and more variable in the future; and low adaptive capacity resulting in decision-making and medium-term planning that is inhibited by significant political, institutional and economic barriers. Meanwhile economic growth and significant infrastructure planning is taking place within C&SA in the absence of adequate climate information. Deficient understanding of many key climate features in C&SA is one barrier to the integration of climate information into decision-making. UMFULA will provide a step-change in climate science in C&SA. Our objectives include: (i) fundamental research into key climate processes over C&SA and how these are dealt with in models; (ii) a process-based evaluation to determine how models invoke change and whether that change is credible; (iii) production of novel climate products (Work Packages WP1-2) encompassing convection permitting and very high resolution (c4 km) ocean-atmosphere coupled simulations that will reveal processes of high impact events and as yet unexplored complexities of the climate change signal. We will also focus on neglected but critical elements of the circulation such as the links between C&SA and the role of local features including the Angolan Low, Botswana anticyclone, Angola/Benguela Frontal Zone, and the Seychelles-Chagos thermocline ridge. Based on this research and through co-production with stakeholders we will generate improved and streamlined climate information for decision-makers (WP3). We will use a deliberative and participatory methodology to test findings from FCFA pillars 1 and 2 with stakeholders based on deep engagement in two contrasting case studies: the Rufiji river basin in Tanzania, and sub-national decision-making in Malawi. They are carefully selected as exemplars of multi-sector, multi-stakeholder, and multi-scale decision situations which can be compared for transferable lessons on the effective use of climate services. In-depth understanding of decision-making contexts, including political economy, theories of institutional change, and individual motivation from behavioural sciences will inform how to tailor and target climate projections for most effective use (WP4). The case study areas (WP5-6) will test these findings through a co-produced framework of C&SA-appropriate decision-making under climate uncertainty to identify robust climate services-informed intervention pathways (portfolios of policies and investments that could work well over a broad range of climatic and socio-economic futures). Our Capstone Work Package (WP7), and major outcome, will be the synthesis of best decision-making models and appraisal methods that are transferable in the African context and enable effective use of climate information in medium-term decision-making. The seven UMFULA Work Packages cut across the three FCFA pillars to ensure maximum complementarity and integration. We are a consortium with world-leading expertise in climate science, decision science and adaptation research and practice, together with stakeholder networks and strong, long-standing relationships in C&SA. We comprise 5 UK and 13 African institutions.

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