Swansea, United Kingdom
Swansea, United Kingdom

Swansea University is a public research university located in Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. It was chartered as University College of Swansea in 1920, as the fourth college of the University of Wales. In 1996, it changed its name to the University of Wales Swansea following structural changes within the University of Wales. The title of Swansea University was formally adopted on 1 September 2007 when the University of Wales became a non-membership confederal institution and the former members became universities in their own right.It is the third largest university in Wales in terms of number of students. The university campus is located next to the coast at the north of Swansea Bay, east of the Gower Peninsula, in the grounds of Singleton Park, just outside Swansea city centre. Swansea was granted its own degree-awarding powers in 2005 in preparation for possible changes within the University of Wales.Swansea and Cardiff University compete in an annual varsity match, known as the Welsh version of the Oxbridge event, which includes the Welsh Varsity rugby and The Welsh Boat Race. Wikipedia.

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The Broad Institute Inc., University of Swansea and Helmholtz Center Munich | Date: 2015-04-27

A computer-implemented method for the label-free classification of cells using image cytometry is provided. In some exemplary embodiments of the computer implemented method, the classification is the classification of the cells, such as individual cells, into a phase of the cell cycle or by cell type. A user computing device receives as an input one or more images of a cell obtained from a image cytometer. The user computing device extracts features form the one or more images, such as brightfield and/or darkfield images. The user computing device classifies the cell in the one or more images based on the extracted features using a cell classifier. The user computing device then outputs the class label of the cell, as defined by the classifier.

Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD) occurs most frequently in older (≥65 years) inpatients exposed to broad-spectrum antibiotics. When caused by Clostridium difficile, AAD can result in life-threatening illness. Although underlying disease mechanisms are not well understood, microbial preparations have been assessed in the prevention of AAD. However, studies have been mostly small single-centre trials with varying quality, providing insufficient data to reliably assess effectiveness. We aimed to do a pragmatic efficacy trial in older inpatients who would be representative of those admitted to National Health Service (NHS) and similar secondary care institutions and to recruit a sufficient number of patients to generate a definitive result. We did a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pragmatic, efficacy trial of inpatients aged 65 years and older and exposed to one or more oral or parenteral antibiotics. A computer-generated randomisation scheme was used to allocate participants (in a 1:1 ratio) to receive either a multistrain preparation of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, with a total of 6 × 10(10) organisms, one per day for 21 days, or an identical placebo. Patients, study staff, and specimen and data analysts were masked to assignment. The primary outcomes were occurrence of AAD within 8 weeks and C difficile diarrhoea (CDD) within 12 weeks of recruitment. Analysis was by modified intention-to-treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN70017204. Of 17,420 patients screened, 1493 were randomly assigned to the microbial preparation group and 1488 to the placebo group. 1470 and 1471, respectively, were included in the analyses of the primary endpoints. AAD (including CDD) occurred in 159 (10·8%) participants in the microbial preparation group and 153 (10·4%) participants in the placebo group (relative risk [RR] 1·04; 95% CI 0·84-1·28; p=0·71). CDD was an uncommon cause of AAD and occurred in 12 (0·8%) participants in the microbial preparation group and 17 (1·2%) participants in the placebo group (RR 0·71; 95% CI 0·34-1·47; p=0·35). 578 (19·7%) participants had one or more serious adverse event; the frequency of serious adverse events was much the same in the two study groups and none was attributed to participation in the trial. We identified no evidence that a multistrain preparation of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria was effective in prevention of AAD or CDD. An improved understanding of the pathophysiology of AAD is needed to guide future studies. Health Technology Assessment programme; National Institute for Health Research, UK. Copyright © 2013 Allen et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Kelly S.L.,University of Swansea
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2013

The first eukaryote genome revealed three yeast cytochromes P450 (CYPs), hence the subsequent realization that some microbial fungal genomes encode these proteins in 1 per cent or more of all genes (greater than 100) has been surprising. They are unique biocatalysts undertaking a wide array of stereo- and regio-specific reactions and so hold promise in many applications. Based on ancestral activities that included 14α-demethylation during sterol biosynthesis, it is now seen that CYPs are part of the genes and metabolism of most eukaryotes. In contrast, Archaea and Eubacteria often do not contain CYPs, while those that do are frequently interesting as producers of natural products undertaking their oxidative tailoring. Apart from roles in primary and secondary metabolism, microbial CYPs are actual/potential targets of drugs/agrochemicals and CYP51 in sterol biosynthesis is exhibiting evolution to resistance in the clinic and the field. Other CYP applications include the first industrial biotransformation for corticosteroid production in the 1950s, the diversion into penicillin synthesis in early mutations in fungal strain improvement and bioremediation using bacteria and fungi. The vast untapped resource of orphan CYPs in numerous genomes is being probed and new methods for discovering function and for discovering desired activities are being investigated.

Shakesby R.A.,University of Swansea
Earth-Science Reviews | Year: 2011

Wildfires increased dramatically in frequency and extent in the European Mediterranean region from the 1960s, aided by a general warming and drying trend, but driven primarily by socio-economic changes, including rural depopulation, land abandonment and afforestation with flammable species. Published research into post-wildfire hydrology and soil erosion, beginning during the 1980s in Spain, has been followed by studies in other European Mediterranean countries together with Israel and has now attained a sufficiently large critical mass to warrant a major review. Although variations in climate, vegetation, soil, topography and fire severity cause differences in Mediterranean post-wildfire erosion, the long history of human landscape impact up to the present day is responsible for some its distinctive characteristics. This paper highlights these characteristics in reviewing wildfire impacts on hydrology, soil properties and soil erosion by water. The 'mosaic' nature of many Mediterranean landscapes (e.g. an intricate land-use pattern, abandoned terraces and tracks interrupting slopes) may explain sometimes conflicting post-fire hydrological and erosional responses at different sites and spatial scales. First-year post-wildfire soil losses at point- (average, 45-56tha-1) and plot-scales (many <1tha-1 and the majority <10tha-1 in the first year) are similar to or even lower than those reported for fire-affected land elsewhere or other disturbed (e.g. cultivated) and natural poorly-vegetated (e.g. badlands, rangeland) land in the Mediterranean. The few published losses at larger-scales (hillslope and catchment) are variable. Thin soil and high stone content can explain supply-limited erosion preceding significant protection by recovering vegetation. Peak erosion can sometimes be delayed for years, largely through slow vegetation recovery and temporal variability of erosive storms. Preferential removal of organic matter and nutrients in the commonly thin, degraded soils is arguably just as if not more important than the total soil loss. Aspect is important, with more erosion reported for south- than north-facing slopes, which is attributed to greater fire frequency, slower vegetation recovery on the former and with soil characteristics more prone to erosion (e.g. lower aggregate stability). Post-fire wind erosion is a potentially important but largely neglected process. Gauging the degradational significance of wildfires has relied on comparison with unburnt land, but the focus for comparison should be switched to other agents of soil disturbance and/or currently poorly understood soil renewal rates. Human impact on land use and vegetation may alter expected effects (increased fire activity and post-wildfire erosion) arising from future climatic change. Different future wildfire mitigation responses and likely erosional consequences are outlined. Research gaps are identified, and more research effort is suggested to: (1) improve assessment of post-wildfire erosion impact on soil fertility, through further quantification of soil nutrient depletion resulting from single and multiple fire cycles, and on soil longevity; (2) investigate prescribed fire impacts on carbon release, air pollution and nutrient losses as well as on soil loss; (3) isolate hillslope- and catchment-scale impacts of soil water repellency under Mediterranean post-wildfire conditions; (4) test and refine application of cosmogenic radionuclides to post-wildfire hillslope-scale soil redistribution at different temporal scales; (5) use better temporal resolution of sedimentary sequences to understand palaeofire-erosion-sedimentation links; (6) quantify post-wildfire wind erosion; (7) improve the integration of wildfire into an overall assessment of the processes and impacts of land degradation in the Mediterranean; and (8) raise public awareness of wildfire impact on soil degradation. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Agency: GTR | Branch: STFC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 969.91K | Year: 2017

Research in particle physics and cosmology connects the largest scales, those of the Universe as a whole, with the smallest, namely those of fundamental particles and strings. By trying to understand how the Universe evolved after the Big Bang, we may gain insight into which particles are yet to be discovered at e.g. the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and vice versa, a fascinating prospect! It is commonly assumed that the early Universe went through a period of rapid expansion, dubbed inflation. The mechanisms underlying inflation can be investigated in a number of ways. In the so-called bottom-up approach, one aims to find predictions that are independent of details of models, but only depend on symmetries and the nature of the source of inflation. It is then possible to extract universal features leading to observational predictions and point towards physics beyond our currently known Standard Models of Particle Physics and Cosmology. In the complementary top-down approach, one starts with the given theory, e.g. one that is motivated by string theory, and derives its consequences, which, again might be testable by observations. These approaches can also be used to study the period of cosmic acceleration our Universe is currently going through, i.e. dark energy. String theory is a theory of gravity (and other forces) operating at very high-energy scales. Besides its possible role as a fundamental theory, it has many intricate aspects which require a level of understanding deeply rooted in symmetries and dualities (a transformation that leads to two dual formulations which are superficially very different but yet equivalent). By studying those, one may not only understand string theory better, but also arrive at dual theories which are relevant for e.g. physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM) probed at the LHC, especially if the BSM model is strongly coupled. In order to make predictions for the LHC, it is necessary to perform very precise calculations, in BSM models and in the Standard Model itself. Some of these calculations can be done by expanding in a small parameter. This does not mean that the computation is easy though, since many scattering processes may contribute. However, it might be that by re-organising these contributions a new, more efficient, formulation can be found. When there is no small parameter, a theory has to be solved as it stands. Often this can be attempted numerically, by formulating it on a space-time lattice. Since this involves very many degrees of freedom, typically one has to employ the largest supercomputers in the world. The theory of the strong interaction, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), is one of those theories in which a small parameter is absent. Although it is formulated in the terms of quarks (as matter particles) and gluons (as force carriers), these are not the particles that appear in the spectrum, which are instead protons, neutrons, pions etc. However, since QCD is so hard to solve, there may be other particles not yet detected and also not yet understood theoretically: examples are so-called glueballs and hybrid mesons. By studying QCD on the lattice, these ideas can be tested quantitatively. A related question concerns what happens with all these particles when the temperature (as in the early Universe) or the matter density (as in neutron stars) is increased. Also this can be studied numerically and a transition to a new phase of matter at high temperature, the quark-gluon plasma, has been observed. Since this phase is currently being explored at the LHC, by colliding heavy ions, quantitative predictions on the spectrum and on transport properties, such as how viscous the plasma is, are needed here as well. Some BSM models also lack a small parameter and hence are studied using similar lattice computing techniques. By scanning models with distinct features, again hints for the LHC may be found, e.g. with regard to unusual spectral features.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-07-2015 | Award Amount: 6.24M | Year: 2016

Rivers rank among some of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, and are the focus of costly restoration programmes that cost billions to taxpayers. Much of Europe depends on water from rivers for drinking, food production, and the generation of hydropower, which is essential for meeting the EU renewable energy target. Yet only half the EU surface waters have met the WFDs 2015 target of good ecological status, due in part to the fragmentation of habitats caused by tens of thousands of dams and weirs which also pose a flood hazard. Some barriers are old and out of use, but may have historical value, while the life span of others will soon come to an end and may need to be removed. But barriers also provide energy, water, fishing and leisure opportunities, and may also help to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Improving stream connectivity has been flagged as one of the priorities for more efficient stream restoration but effective rehabilitation of ecosystem functioning in European rivers needs to take the complexity and trade-offs imposed by barriers into account. AMBER will deliver innovative solutions to river fragmentation in Europe by developing more efficient methods of restoring stream connectivity through adaptive barrier management. The project seeks to address the complex challenge of river fragmentation through a comprehensive barrier adaptive management process, based on the integration of programme design, management, and monitoring to systematically test assumptions about barrier mitigation, adapt and learn.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.47M | Year: 2017

Alzheimers disease (AD) affects more than 7 million people in Europe and this figure is expected to double every 20 years. Despite intensive efforts, no disease-modifying treatments or preventive strategies are available. The lack of specific, sensitive and minimally invasive diagnostics to identify people with early-stage AD to be included in clinical drug intervention trials is among the main reasons for many notable trial failures. The main challenges in developing the required diagnostics are identification of AD biomarkers and development of their detection techniques. The complex and interdisciplinary nature of the research underlines the need for innovative training of a new generation of researchers in the field. BBDiag responds to such a need and establishes a much-needed ETN for blood based early-AD diagnostics to address these challenges. It brings together leading academic and industrial experts from five major consortia in Europe and uses their synergies to build a triple-i research & training platform with the required multidisciplinary expertise and cutting-edge technologies. BBDiag Fellows will be trained under the Vitae Researcher Development Framework innovatively combined with the BBDiag platform for gaining interdisciplinary scientific and transferable skills as well as personal quality, creative thinking and business mind-set. The ETN has a highly innovative research programme for the discovery of AD biomarkers, development of novel biosensing techniques and point of care tools, and for technological exploitation of the diagnostics. These advances will strongly support improved care provision and development of disease-modifying treatments and preventive strategies for AD patients. More importantly, BBDiag will deliver its first generation of 13 highly-skilled, creative and entrepreneurial Fellows, setting them on a path to successful careers in academia or industry to ensure that the medical and societal challenges imposed by AD are met.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 1.46M | Year: 2017

The joint research in this programme will study important aspectsboth theoretical as well as appliedof computing with infinite objects. A central aim is laying the grounds for the generation of efficient and verified software in engineering applications. A prime example for infinite data is provided by the real numbers, most commonly conceived as infinite sequences of digits. While most applications in science and engineering substitute the reals with floating point numbers of fixed finite precision and thus have to deal with truncation and rounding errors, the approach in this project is different: exact real numbers are taken as first-class citizens and while any computation can only exploit a finite portion of its input in finite time, increased precision is always available by continuing the computation process. This project aims to bring together the expertise of specialists in mathematics, logic, and computer science to push the frontiers of our theoretical and practical understanding of computing with infinite objects. Three overarching motivations drive the proposed collaboration: Representability. Cardinality considerations tell us that it is not possible to represent arbitrary mathematical objects in a way that is accessible to computation. We will enlist expertise in topology, logic, and set theory, to address the question of which objects are representable and how they can be represented most efficiently. Constructivity. Working in a constructive mathematical universe can greatly enhance our understanding of the link between computation and mathematical structure. Not only informs us which are the objects of relevance, it also allows us to devise always correct algorithms from proofs. Efficient implementation. We also aim to make progress on concrete implementations. Theoretical insights from elsewhere will be tested in actual computer systems; obstacles encountered in the latter will inform the direction of mathematical investigation.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-04-2016 | Award Amount: 7.35M | Year: 2017

Over 130,000 children born in Europe every year will have a congenital anomaly (CA; birth defect). These CAs, which are often rare diseases, are a major cause of infant mortality, childhood morbidity and long-term disability. EUROCAT is an established European network of population-based registries for the epidemiologic surveillance of CAs. EUROlinkCAT will use the EUROCAT infrastructure to support 21 EUROCAT registries in 13 European countries to link their CA data to mortality, hospital discharge, prescription and educational databases. Each registry will send standard aggregate tables and analysis results to a Central Results Repository (CRR) thus respecting data security issues surrounding sensitive data. The CRR will contain standardised summary data and analyses on an estimated 200,000 children with a CA born from 1995 to 2014 up to age 10, enabling hypotheses on their health and education to be investigated at an EU level. This enhanced information will allow optimisation of personalised care and treatment decisions for children with rare CAs. Registries will be supported in using social media platforms to connect with families who live with CAs in their regions. A novel sustainable e-forum, ConnectEpeople, will link these families with local, national and international registries and information resources. ConnectEpeople will involve these families in setting research priorities and ensuring a meaningful dissemination of results. Findings will provide evidence to inform national treatment guidelines, such as concerning screening programs, to optimise diagnosis, prevention and treatment for these children and reduce health inequalities in Europe. An economic evaluation of the hospitalisation costs associated with CA will be provided. The CRR and associated documentation, including linkage and standardisation procedures and ConnectEpeople forum will be available post-EUROlinkCAT thus facilitating future local and EU level analyses.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 900.00K | Year: 2017

Aquaculture is an important food source for the worlds growing population. The increasing demand and productivity of aquaculture leads to global trade in breeding stock, genetic material and aquaculture products for human consumption, but also exacerbates the globalization of pathogens.SAFE-Aqua, an international inter- and multidisciplinary consortium, aims to provide scientific solutions to solve disease-related issues in aquaculture using shrimp as a model through research and innovation staff exchange and sharing of knowledge and ideas from research to market. SAFE-Aqua will explore the benefits of developed feed additives on keeping a healthy gut microbial balance, enhancing immune-capacity, and maintaining nutritional integrity of shrimp as a product. To assess these beneficial effects, SAFE-Aqua will synergize the cutting-edge technology platforms, multidisciplinary and complementary expertise, as well as infrastructure from networks of the partnership among the leading research institutes in France, UK and Thailand and a synthetic biology company in Spain. The outcomes of SAFE-Aqua will undoubtedly help improve competitiveness of EU aquaculture industry whose growth has been relatively constant since year 2000 compared to aquaculture production worldwide. Moreover, we strongly believe that SAFE-Aqua will promote international and inter-sector collaboration through research and innovation staff exchanges and sharing of knowledge and ideas from research to market. The use of cutting-edge innovative technologies will allow to researchers to develop new skill sets helping them to develop their carreers in the best way. In addition administrative staff implicated in the project management will also greatly benefit from the knowledge exchange and build further collaborations.

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