Bloemfontein, South Africa

University of the Free State

www.ufs.ac.za/
Bloemfontein, South Africa

The University of the Free State is a multi campus public university in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State and the judicial capital of South Africa. Wikipedia.


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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

“Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace”: a book of reflections on the extraordinary potential of an ordinary life. “Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace” is the creation of published author Dane Fowlkes, who has led anything but a dull existence—from initiation into an African tribe in northern Kenya where he is known as Jilo, a name that means “a season of celebration,” to living near Gandhi’s ashram on the Sabarmati River in Gujarat, India. Dane served as pastor of several churches before being appointed for missionary service in Kenya. He worked with an unreached tribe in northern Kenya and equipped existing churches around Mount Kenya to establish new ones, later becoming dean of Kenya Baptist Theological College and leading a national program of theological education for pastors. After two terms of service in Kenya, he moved to India, before returning to the United States. Dane earned a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He now works with an international relief organization. Published by Christian Faith Publishing, Dane Fowlkes‘s new book reveals the presence of God in the midst of daily life. He embraces difficult questions and garden-variety experiences as equally essential components of our lives, rather than as enemies that seek to destroy us or bore us to tears. Ordinary Glory inspires laughter, hope, and transforms the way we view the unremarkable moments that fill much of our our lives. View a synopsis of “Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace” on YouTube. Readers can purchase “Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace” at traditional brick and mortar bookstores, or online at Amazon.com, Apple iTunes store, Kobo or Barnes and Noble. For additional information or inquiries about “Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace,” contact the Christian Faith Publishing media department at 866-554-0919.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

AS MORE than 40,000 runners prowl the start line of the London marathon this weekend, many of them will be wondering what they have got themselves into. Even without a heavy novelty costume, and no matter how well they have stuck to their training regime, running non-stop for 26.2 miles (42 kilometres) is going to hurt. Now consider the barnacle goose. Before setting off on a 3000-kilometre migration, it undertakes the training equivalent of sitting on the sofa guzzling fish and chips. What about the months of gradually building up fitness, followed by a steady taper before the big day? That’s not really the barnacle goose’s style. Instead, says Lewis Halsey, an environmental physiologist at the University of Roehampton, London, “they just basically sit on the water and eat a lot”. Scientists are only now beginning to investigate how this can be. Until recently, nobody had really asked whether exercise is as tightly connected to fitness in the rest of the animal kingdom as it is for us. In the past year or two, though, a handful of researchers have been inspired to do so by seemingly lazy creatures that manage feats of endurance that make marathons pale by comparison. The question is tied up in a broader assumption: that, because of the exercise they get finding food and escaping predators, wild animals live at the peak of physical fitness. Halsey, who recently wrote an article for the Journal of Animal Ecology with the provocative title “Do animals exercise to keep fit?”, points out that this may not necessarily be the case. Take, for a moment, a domestic equivalent, the house cat. Most cats spend much of the day lounging around, apparently doing nothing. But over short distances, even the laziest could put Usain Bolt to shame. And all that time spent napping seems to have no effect on their natural agility should a dog suddenly appear in the garden. Similarly, black and brown bears manage to come out of several months of hibernation with their muscle mass intact – without having to lift so much as a paw. “Over short distances, even the laziest cat could put Usain Bolt to shame” Barnacle geese go one better. In the process of sitting around, they don’t just maintain their fitness. They also develop stronger hearts, bigger flight muscles and – somehow – get fit enough to fly for thousands of miles in a migration lasting just two days. So, if exercise isn’t necessarily the key to physical prowess, then what is? One clue comes from a broader view of the meaning of physical fitness. Biologically speaking, all it means is that the body has undergone changes that make it stronger and more efficient. In humans, these changes are induced by exercise. In animals such as bears and migratory birds, they appear to be triggered by seasonal changes that alert their bodies to a coming challenge. For bears, that cue might be falling temperatures or a lack of available food. Whatever the exact tip-off, it seems to prompt the release of muscle-protecting compounds in their blood. In experiments in which rat muscle was bathed in the blood of hibernating bears, muscle loss was reduced by 40 per cent compared with muscle put in blood from bears that were not hibernating. Barnacle geese, Halsey suggests, may be responding to an environmental change such as temperature, which helps their bodies somehow “know” that a big physical challenge is looming and to beef up accordingly. In other bird species, that cue is a seasonal change in the amount of daylight. Chris Guglielmo, a physiological ecologist at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, has found that subjecting migratory yellow-rumped warblers to changing hours of daylight stimulates hundreds of changes in the genes that are activated in their muscles. “We don’t need to take little songbirds and train them up to do a 6 or 10-hour flight,” he says. If they are subjected to the right daylight cycle, “we can take them out of the cage and put them in the wind tunnel, and they fly for 10 hours“. Unlike migratory birds, however, humans have no biological shortcut to getting fit every April, however much the modern marathoner might wish we did. And we have no muscle-protecting substances in our blood that we can switch on to prevent losing our hard-earned strength while lounging on the sofa. Instead, pressures in our evolutionary history made our bodies tie fitness to exercise. Our ancestors’ lives were unpredictable. They had to do a lot of running to catch food and escape danger, but they also needed to keep muscle mass to a minimum because food was limited. Seen through this lens, losing condition is an adaptation in itself. Muscle is biologically expensive. Each kilogram contributes about 10 to 15 kilocalories a day to our resting metabolism – which doesn’t sound like much until you realise that muscles account for about 40 per cent of the average person’s body mass. “Most of us are spending 20 per cent of our basic energy budget taking care of muscle mass,” says Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary biologist and marathon runner from Harvard University. So our physiology evolved to let our weight and fitness fluctuate depending on how much food was available. This makes us evolutionarily different from most other animals, says Lieberman. In general, animals merely need to be capable of short bouts of intense activity, whether it’s the cheetah chasing prey or the gazelle escaping. Cats are fast, but they don’t need to run very far. Perhaps a few mad dashes around the house are all it takes to keep a domestic one fit enough for feline purposes. Humans, on the other hand, needed to adapt to run slower, but for longer, says Lieberman. He argues that long ago on the African savannah, natural selection made us into “supremely adapted” endurance athletes, capable of running prey into the ground and ranging over long distances with unusual efficiency. But only, it appears, if we train. Otherwise we quickly degenerate into couch potatoes. As for speed, even those animals that do cover impressive distances don’t have to be the fastest they can possibly be. Barnacle geese needn’t set world records when crossing the North Atlantic; they just need to be able to do it. And, says exercise physiologist Ross Tucker at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, humans may be the only animal that actually cares about reaching peak performance. Other than racehorses and greyhounds, both of which we have bred to race, animals aren’t directly competing against one another. “I don’t know that all animals are all the same, performance-wise… and we don’t know whether training would enhance their ability,” he says. So, what can the human fitness fanatic learn from nature’s lazy fit animals? It is tempting to hope that science will come up with a marathon preparation pill that might make our bodies transform like a goose’s, but, the health and ethical aspects of doping aside, that seems unlikely in the near future. In the meantime, perhaps we should look to a humbler kind of creature for motivation. As anyone who has ever had a pet hamster knows, rodents love to run. In fact, brain chemistry experiments show that they appear to derive pleasure from it, says Vincent Careau, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Ottawa, Canada. “Mice are wired to like it through the dopamine system,” he says. “It gives them a runner’s high.” In fact, a 2014 Dutch experiment found that it isn’t just domesticated rodents that react this way. If you put an exercise wheel outdoors, the study found, even wild mice will exercise on it, once they figure it out. This summer, Careau plans to follow up on this by putting training wheels out in the wild, tagging as many mice as possible and clocking their running miles to see if there is any effect on their survival rates. It makes sense that there might be, because mice spend their entire lives trying to avoid predators, whether they are hawks, foxes, snakes or weasels. It may turn out that, just like us, the exercise they get in the course of normal life isn’t enough for the running they may have to do, so they need to work out in their spare time. For humans, being fit is an evolutionary luxury. But for mice, being fit is the difference between survival and being cat food. So, if you are a marathoner looking for a good result, forget the geese, cats and bears. Instead, think like a mouse, and ride the dopamine high. This article appeared in print under the headline “All gain, no pain”


Patent
University of the Free State | Date: 2017-07-12

The present invention relates to a treatment system having a barium carbonate (BaCO3) dispersed alkaline substrate (BDAS) for use in the remediation or at least partial remediation of mine drainage (MD) and/or environmental media contaminated with a source of MD. The invention utilizes chemical, biological and combined treatment systems remove high concentrations of sulfates, hardness, heavy metals and N-compounds, that may exist in the MD as well as high concentrations of alkalinity produced during the remediation process. The invention further extends to a process for treating MD and/or environmental media contaminated with MD and to an apparatus for use in this process.


Marston A.,University of the Free State
Journal of Chromatography A | Year: 2011

Bioautography on thin-layer chromatographic (TLC) plates is a means of detecting the biological activity of a sample which has migrated on the plate with a suitable solvent. It only requires small amounts of sample and is ideal for the investigation of plant constituents, which often occur as complex mixtures. It can be used for the target-directed isolation of these constituents. In contrast to HPLC, many samples can be run at the same time on TLC. Organic solvents, which cause inactivation of enzymes or death of living organisms, can be completely removed before biological detection. Many bioassays are compatible with TLC. Antimicrobial, radical scavenging, antioxidant activities and enzyme inhibition feature among the tests that are employed. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 670.90K | Year: 2016

South African higher education (HE) is characterised by inequalities of access, participation and success, and hence youth disadvantage, yet it is also seen as central to economic development and social mobility. The aim of the research, captured in the production of an innovative HE Index, is to develop an integrated, policy-oriented theorisation of pathways to learning outcomes that foregrounds equality and quality for young people from rural areas and townships when they are preparing for university, their experiences at university, and their graduate outcomes, and to understand what enables the realization of the transformative potential of HE for them. The project conceptualises raising learning outcomes as a process of multi-dimensional capabilities expansion and realization of plural valued functionings. Using the capability approach allows an understanding of how various factors interact to inhibit or enable capabilities that are valuable to individuals and to building a decent society. The project will uncover interrelated personal, educational and social challenges that account for the inequities in outcomes experienced by young people from challenging backgrounds, and standing in the way of quality HE for all. In particular, the project will focus on HE students supported by Thusanani Foundation (http://www.thusananifoundation.org), a youth-led not-for-profit organisation. Working with the Foundation provides access to disadvantaged youth and their educational pathways into, in and beyond higher education, and is a site through which important user insights can be gained. The mixed-method study will explore contextual factors - families, schools, university educational and social arrangements, and work-readiness activities - that enable and inhibit higher education pathways for these students. In particular, it will investigate what learning outcomes are valued by students themselves and by other stakeholders, why they are valued, and whether and how they are achieved. Engagement with stakeholders and impact activities are built into the project from the outset; the evidence-informed and consultative process will generate practice recommendations and policy options. The main research participants are Thusanani Foundation supported students, attending four historically diverse universities, over four years from 2nd HE year to post graduation. Against a backdrop analysis of documentation, literature and national statistical data of inequalities and learning outcomes (cohort analyses), we will use quantitative (survey of n=700 Thusanani supported students; final year students n=1600), longitudinal qualitative methods (life histories; interviews, n=48 x 4 years), as well as notes of stakeholder meetings and visual methods to explore, at macro and micro levels, student experiences and learning outcomes. The methodology includes a participatory element with young people (students plus mentors) as researchers (n=32) and the interviews they conduct (n=40), to allow co-construction of ideas and to explore how participation in research might enhance learning outcomes. Interviews with Foundation student mentors (24); Foundation Board members (5); and, ethnographic field notes of Foundation work with school pupils will provide insight into the motivations, strategies and possibilities of raising learning outcomes. The project thus provides an integrated analysis of access, higher education experiences and graduate outcomes, with attention to educational, social and economic impacts. The data will be analysed in terms of: (1) structural distributive patterns of opportunities and achievements, including an analysis of the differences made by Thusanani Foundation; (2) a framework of capabilities inhibition and expansion, profiled inductively and deductively; and, (3) multi-dimensional HE learning outcomes Index of practical use to policy makers and development agencies, going beyond narrow measures of completion rates.


Patent
University of the Free State | Date: 2013-09-06

This invention relates to a mammographic tomography test object (hereinafter referred to as a phantom) and more particularly, but not exclusively, to a mammographic tomography test phantom for use in the verification of image reconstruction positions in digital breast tomosynthesis. The phantom includes a body made from an approximately tissue equivalent x-ray attenuating material; an upper spacer located on top of the body, and a lower spacer located below the body, the spacers being made from a substantially non-compressible material; and a plurality of x-ray opaque granules located at predetermined positions within the body.


The present invention relates to the expression of polypeptides using Yarrowia lipolytica, in particular the secretion of expressed polypeptides into either the extracellular space or the surface of the Y. lipolytica host cell wall. The invention also extends to the use of the polypeptides so expressed in biotechnological applications. The present invention provides an expression construct for the expression of polypeptides using at least a single Yarrowia lipolytica yeast cell, the expression construct having at least one expression cassette, the expression cassette including an acid extracellular protease secretion signal sequence and flanking zeta sequence recombination sites.


The present invention relates to the expression of polypeptides using Yarrowia lipolytica, in particular the secretion of expressed polypeptides into either the extracellular space or the surface of the Y. lipolytica host cell wall. The invention also extends to the use of the polypeptides so expressed in biotechnological applications. The present invention provides an expression construct for the expression of polypeptides using at least a single Yarrowia lipolytica yeast cell, the expression construct having at least one expression cassette, the expression cassette including an acid extracellular protease secretion signal sequence and flanking zeta sequence recombination sites.


Patent
University of the Free State | Date: 2015-08-17

The invention relates to an additive manufacturing system 10 for manufacturing a product 300 layer-by-layer. The system 10 includes a production arrangement 12 which is configured to manufacture a product 300 layer-by-layer upon receiving instructions from a control arrangement 32. The control arrangement 32 is operatively connected to the production arrangement 12 and is configured to control the operation of the production arrangement 12 by providing control instructions for each layer of a product 300 to be manufactured to the production arrangement 12. The system 10 includes an optical monitoring arrangement 14 which is configured to capture an image of a layer manufactured by the production arrangement and/or a layer of source material laid/placed over a previously manufactured layer of the product 300. The optical monitoring arrangement 14 is also configured to send the captured image to the control arrangement for processing. The control arrangement 32 is configured to analyse the received captured image and, if required, to adjust control instructions for the manufacturing of the next layer.


Patent
University of the Free State | Date: 2013-10-30

The present invention relates to the isolation and characterization of a protein responsible for the reduction of uranium (VI) to uranium (IV). The present invention extends to the use of the isolated protein in the reduction of uranium (VI) to uranium (IV) and further extends to a process for the bioremediation, or at least partial remediation, of a site contaminated with a source of U (VI). According to a first aspect thereof, the present invention provides an isolated polypeptide derived from Thermus scotoductus strain SA-01 that is responsible for the reduction of uranium (VI), in a source of uranium (VI), to uranium (IV), wherein the polypeptide comprises the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No: 1.

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