3,635 research outputs found

    A Cross-Functional Approach for the Fuzzy Front End: Highlights from a Conceptual Project

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    Ideation is regarded as a critical element in the innovation process; besides, it is transversal to the different design models. Notwithstanding its fundamental characteristics for the innovation process, ideation is the least-studied phase and an ambiguous nature is sometimes assigned to it. Consequently, the Fuzzy Front End (FFE) designation was born to describe this early phase and the interest over its study has recently increased. By means of an extensive literature review, ideation is highlighted from the design process and diverging models for the FFE are comparatively analyzed. The importance of a cross-functional approach for the FFE is underpinned with an analysis of a multidisciplinary and mainly conceptual project over the transportation sector. The innovative character and the perceived value of this project is precisely grounded in its integrated and cross-functional approach, which combines the technological possibilities with the passenger focus

    The apelinergic system in the developing lung: expression and signaling

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    Apelin and its receptor APJ constitute a signaling pathway best recognized as an important regulator of cardiovascular homeostasis. This multifunctional peptidergic system is currently being described to be involved in embryonic events which extend into vascular, ocular and heart development. Additionally, it is highly expressed in pulmonary tissue. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the role of apelinergic system during fetal lung development. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis were used to characterize apelin and APJ expression levels and cellular localization in normal fetal rat lungs, at five different gestational ages as well as in the adult. Fetal rat lung explants were cultured in vitro with increasing doses of apelin. Treated lung explants were morphometrically analyzed and assessed for MAPK signaling modifications. Both components of the apelinergic system are constitutively expressed in the developing lung, with APJ exhibiting monomeric, dimeric and oligomeric forms in the pulmonary tissue. Pulmonary epithelium also displayed constitutive nuclear localization of the receptor. Fetal apelin expression is higher than adult expression. Apelin supplementation inhibitory effect on branching morphogenesis was associated with a dose dependent decrease in p38 and JNK phosphorylation. The results presented provide the first evidence of the presence of an apelinergic system operating in the developing lung. Our findings also suggest that apelin inhibits fetal lung growth by suppressing p38 and JNK signaling pathways.This project was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/SAU-OBD/108051/2008), PP was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (reference SFRH/BD/33410/2008). RSM was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (reference SFRH/BPD/15408/2005)

    A familial partial AZFb-c microdeletion associated with diferente fértile phenotypes

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    After the Klinefelter syndrome, Y chromosome microdeletions are the second most frequent genetic cause of spermatogenic failure resulting in male infertility. Y chromosome microdeletions, encompassing one or more of the three AZF regions, are associated with diverse testicular histology, ranging from Sertoli-cell-only syndrome (AZFa del), maturation arrest (AZFb del) to hypospermatogenesis (AZFc del). The molecular screening of these regions is routinely performed in the work-up of infertile patients with azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia as each one has different prognostic values, both in terms of clinical decision-making and appropriate genetic counselling as well as for understanding the etiology of spermatogenesis impairment. Different partial AZFc deletions were already described, although it is still controversial if these are truly a genetic risk factor for spermatogenesis impairment or a deletional variant without phenotypic consequences. Here we present the molecular results obtained after AZF analysis of two infertile brothers (both diagnosed with oligoteratoastenozoospermia), and of their fertile father. Several multiplex-PCR assays were performed with distinct sets of STS markers, specific for the three AZF regions. The molecular analysis revealed that all three men presented the same partial AZFb/c microdeletion, namely the absence of the sY1197, sY1291 and sY1192 STSs. This microdeletion probably results from the recombination of amplicons b1/b3, reducing the gene copy number of PRY, BPY, DAZ, and RBMY. The b1/b3 deletion is rare and its influence on spermatogenesis is still not clear since it can be found in men with severe oligozoospermia or with normal sperm counts. Our result suggests that b1/b3 del is most likely a risk factor predisposing to spermatogenic failure, but is not sufficient alone. The different (in)fertile phenotypes associated with it, a fertile father opposed to his two infertile sons, can be possibly influenced by genetic background, environmental and epigenetic factors, contributing to different phenotypic expressions of individual/specific genomes

    Music Synthesis From Images

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    UIDB/00693/2020 UIDP/00693/2020MuSyFI is a system that tries to model an inspirationalcomputational creative process. It uses images as sourceof inspiration and begins by implementing a possibletranslation between visual and musical features. Resultsof this mapping are fed to a Genetic Algorithm (GA)to try to better model the creative process and producemore interesting results. Three different musical artifacts are generated: an automatic version, a co-createdversion, and a genetic version. The automatic versionmaps features from the image into musical features nondeterministically; the co-created version adds harmonylines manually composed by us to the automatic version; finally, the genetic version applies a genetic algorithm to a mixed population of automatic and co-createdartifacts.The three versions were evaluated for six differentimages by conducting surveys. They evaluated whetherpeople considered our musical artifacts music, if theythought the artifacts had quality, if they considered theartifacts ’novel’, if they liked the artifacts, and lastly ifthey were able to relate the artifacts with the image inwhich they were inspired. We gathered a total of 300answers and overall people answered positively to allquestions, which confirms our approach was successfuland worth further exploring.publishersversionpublishe

    Subcritical carbon dioxide foaming of polycaprolactone for bone tissue regeneration

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    Accepted manuscriptThe preparation of three-dimensional polycaprolactone scaffolds using dense CO2 as foaming agent, without supercritical conditions, was evaluated in this study towards future applications in bone repair. Herein, 3D foams were obtained at 5.0 MPa and 45 °C. To induce bioactivity, β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP, 10 wt%) and dexamethasone (5 and 10 wt%) were dispersed in the scaffolds. Foams revealed a pore size range of 164–882 μm, 73–99% porosity and 79–99% interconnectivity, assessed by micro-computed tomography, and a Young modulus of 1.76–2.92 MPa. Dexamethasone did not impair morphology of the matrices in comparison with PCL+β-TCP, which presented a water uptake of nearly 100% after 14 days. A sustained release of dexamethasone was achieved over 35 days in physiologic solution. This study reports the feasibility of using dense CO2 to produce in one-step a porous matrix loaded with active agents opening new possibilities towards injectable systems for in situ foamingEuropean Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement number REGPOT-CT2012-316331-POLARIS. It was also funded by the project “Novel smart and biomimetic materials for innovative regenerative medicine approaches” (RL1-ABMR-NORTE-01-0124-FEDER-000016) co-financed by North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (ON.2 – O Novo Norte), under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the project NORTE‐01‐0145‐FEDER‐000013, supported by the Northern Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the Portugal 2020 Partnership Agreement. The authors would like to acknowledge the funding of the project Associate Laboratory ICVS/3B’s, under grant agreement number POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007038 supported by FEDER, through the Competitiveness Factors Operational Programme (COMPETE), and by National funds, through the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT)info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    When gold stops glittering: corrosion mechanisms of René Lalique's Art Nouveau jewellery

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    ABSTRACT: Art Nouveau jewellery created by René Lalique is presently corroded. To identify the corrosion processes, Au-Ag-Cu alloys with compositions comparable to those used in the René Lalique’s jewellery were fabricated to be exposed to sulphide-containing environments. Using SEM-EDS, XRD, UV-Vis spectroscopy and ellipsometry, it was for the first time demon-strated that at the surface of tarnished Au alloys forms a corrosion film with a layer-by-layer structure. Considering the complex refractive indices of bulk Cu and Ag oxides and sulphides, a two-step corrosion mechanism was proposed. The formation of Cu-based compounds during the early corrosion stages is followed by the formation of Ag-based compounds. The thinness of the formed film, shown for one of the gold alloys to be of 80 nm, is due to a corrosion kinetics controlled by the presence of Au and by the formation of an Au-S self-assembled monolayer. The corrosion mechanism of gold alloys raises a new conservation challenge concerning the removal of nanometric layers.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Use of oak and cherry wood chips during alcoholic fermentation and the maturation process of Rosé wines: impact of phenolic composition and sensory profile

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    There is a lack of knowledge about the use of di erent wood species on rosé wine production. Thus, this work focused on the impact of the addition of wood chips from oak and cherry trees during the alcoholic fermentation and maturation process on rosé wine characteristics. Therefore, phenolic composition and sensory characteristics were monitored during the rosé wines’ production. The use of wood chips during alcoholic fermentation induced a significant increase of phenolic content in rosé musts. During rosé wine maturation, the wood chip contact induced significantly higher values of colored anthocyanins, color intensity, and polymeric pigments, and significantly lower values of color hue in the corresponding rosé wines. In terms of sensory profile, a tendency for lower scores of “overall appreciation” were attributed to control rosé wine, while significantly higher scores for “color intensity” descriptor were attributed to all rosé wines matured in contact with wood chips. For the majority of phenolic parameters and individual phenolic compounds quantified, a clear and specific influence of the use of oak and cherry wood chips was not detected, except for (+)-catechin, where the rosé wines produced in contact with cherry chips showed the highest values. This study provides relevant information for winemakers about the impact of the use of wood chips on rosé wine qualityinfo:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Finite element analysis of pectus carinatum surgical correction via a minimally invasive approach

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    Pectus carinatum (PC) is a chest deformity caused by a disproportionate growth of the costal cartilages compared to the bony thoracic skeleton, pulling the sternum towards, which leads to its protrusion. There has been a growing interest on using the 'reversed Nuss' technique as a minimally invasive procedure for PC surgical correction. A corrective bar is introduced between the skin and the thoracic cage and positioned on top of the sternum highest protrusion area for continuous pressure. Then, it is fixed to the ribs and kept implanted for about 2-3 years. The purpose of this work was to (a) assess the stresses distribution on the thoracic cage that arise from the procedure, and (b) investigate the impact of different positioning of the corrective bar along the sternum. The higher stresses were generated on the 4th, 5th and 6th ribs backend, supporting the hypothesis of pectus deformities correction-induced scoliosis. The different bar positioning originated different stresses on the ribs' backend. The bar position that led to lower stresses generated on the ribs backend was the one that also led to the smallest sternum displacement. However, this may be preferred, as the risk of induced scoliosis is lowered.This work was financially supported by the Potuguese Foundation for Science and Techrnology (FCT) under the R&D project PTDC/SAU-BEB/103368/2008 and the fellowship SFRH/BPD/46851/2008
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