12 research outputs found

    Alaska’s Judicial Retention Elections: A Comparative Analysis

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    The results of recent judicial retention elections in Alaska, and the recent increase in political activities related to judicial selection in Alaska and many other states, have given rise to concerns about the fates of future Alaska retention candidates. This Article analyzes the results of retention elections nationwide and suggests that there may be good reason for Alaska judges to be worried. Baseline levels of voter support for retention candidates in most of Alaska are among the lowest in the country, and have gradually been declining over time. In addition, Alaskan voters have targeted individual judges for removal more frequently than voters in most other states. This Article’s analysis indicates that ensuring the retention of competent Alaska judges in the future requires more than simply improving the effectiveness of pro-retention campaigns for individual candidates, and that understanding and addressing deeply held voter attitudes must be part of a more comprehensive effort

    The life and scientific work of William R. Evitt (1923-2009)

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    Occasionally (and fortunately), circumstances and timing combine to allow an individual, almost singlehandedly, to generate a paradigm shift in his or her chosen field of inquiry. William R. (‘Bill’) Evitt (1923-2009) was such a person. During his career as a palaeontologist, Bill Evitt made lasting and profound contributions to the study of both dinoflagellates and trilobites. He had a distinguished, long and varied career, researching first trilobites and techniques in palaeontology before moving on to marine palynomorphs. Bill is undoubtedly best known for his work on dinoflagellates, especially their resting cysts. He worked at three major US universities and spent a highly significant period in the oil industry. Bill's early profound interest in the natural sciences was actively encouraged both by his parents and at school. His alma mater was Johns Hopkins University where, commencing in 1940, he studied chemistry and geology as an undergraduate. He quickly developed a strong vocation in the earth sciences, and became fascinated by the fossiliferous Lower Palaeozoic strata of the northwestern United States. Bill commenced a PhD project on silicified Middle Ordovician trilobites from Virginia in 1943. His doctoral research was interrupted by military service during World War II; Bill served as an aerial photograph interpreter in China in 1944 and 1945, and received the Bronze Star for his excellent work. Upon demobilisation from the US Army Air Force, he resumed work on his PhD and was given significant teaching duties at Johns Hopkins, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He accepted his first professional position, as an instructor in sedimentary geology, at the University of Rochester in late 1948. Here Bill supervised his first two graduate students, and shared a great cameraderie with a highly motivated student body which largely comprised World War II veterans. At Rochester, Bill continued his trilobite research, and was the editor of the Journal of Paleontology between 1953 and 1956. Seeking a new challenge, he joined the Carter Oil Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during 1956. This brought about an irrevocable realignment of his research interests from trilobites to marine palynology. He undertook basic research on aquatic palynomorphs in a very well-resourced laboratory under the direction of one of his most influential mentors, William S. ‘Bill’ Hoffmeister. Bill Evitt visited the influential European palynologists Georges Deflandre and Alfred Eisenack during late 1959 and, while in Tulsa, first developed several groundbreaking hypotheses. He soon realised that the distinctive morphology of certain fossil dinoflagellates, notably the archaeopyle, meant that they represent the resting cyst stage of the life cycle. The archaeopyle clearly allows the excystment of the cell contents, and comprises one or more plate areas. Bill also concluded that spine-bearing palynomorphs, then called hystrichospheres, could be divided into two groups. The largely Palaeozoic spine-bearing palynomorphs are of uncertain biological affinity, and these were termed acritarchs. Moreover, he determined that unequivocal dinoflagellate cysts are all Mesozoic or younger, and that the fossil record of dinoflagellates is highly selective. Bill was always an academic at heart and he joined Stanford University in 1962, where he remained until retiring in 1988. Bill enjoyed getting back into teaching after his six years in industry. During his 26-year tenure at Stanford, Bill continued to revolutionise our understanding of dinoflagellate cysts. He produced many highly influential papers and two major textbooks. The highlights include defining the acritarchs and comprehensively documenting the archaeopyle, together with highly detailed work on the morphology of Nannoceratopsis and Palaeoperidinium pyrophorum using the scanning electron microscope. Bill supervised 11 graduate students while at Stanford University. He organised the Penrose Conference on Modern and Fossil Dinoflagellates in 1978, which was so successful that similar meetings have been held about every four years since that inaugural symposium. Bill also taught many short courses on dinoflagellate cysts aimed at the professional community. Unlike many eminent geologists, Bill actually retired from actively working in the earth sciences. His full retirement was in 1988; after this he worked on only a small number of dinoflagellate cyst projects, including an extensive paper on the genus Palaeoperidinium

    Whole genome sequencing and comparative genomic analyses of two Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal-specific Podoviruses to other N4-like phages reveal extensive genetic diversity

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    Background Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal is the only serogroup other than O1 implicated in cholera epidemics. We describe the isolation and characterization of an O139 serogroup-specific phage, vB_VchP_VchO139-I (ϕVchO139-I) that has similar host range and virion morphology as phage vB_VchP_JA1 (ϕJA1) described previously. We aimed at a complete molecular characterization of both phages and elucidation of their genetic and structural differences and assessment of their genetic relatedness to the N4-like phage group. Methods Host-range analysis and plaque morphology screening were done for both ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I. Both phage genomes were sequenced by a 454 and Sanger hybrid approach. Genomes were annotated and protein homologies were determined by Blast and HHPred. Restriction profiles, PFGE patterns and data on the physical genome structure were acquired and phylogenetic analyses were performed. Results The host specificity of ϕJA1 has been attributed to the unique capsular O-antigen produced by O139 strains. Plaque morphologies of the two phages were different; ϕVchO139-I produced a larger halo around the plaques than ϕJA1. Restriction profiles of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I genomes were also different. The genomes of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I consisted of linear double-stranded DNA of 71,252 and 70,938 base pairs. The presence of direct terminal repeats of around 1974 base pairs was demonstrated. Whole genome comparison revealed single nucleotide polymorphisms, small insertions/deletions and differences in gene content. Both genomes had 79 predicted protein encoding sequences, of which only 59 were identical between the two closely related phages. They also encoded one tRNA-Arg gene, an intein within the large terminase gene, and four homing endonuclease genes. Whole genome phylogenetic analyses of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I against other sequenced N4-like phages delineate three novel subgroups or clades within this phage family. Conclusions The closely related phages feature significant genetic differences, in spite of being morphologically identical. The phage morphology, genetic organization, genomic content and large terminase protein based phylogeny support the placement of these two phages in the Podoviridae family, more specifically within the N4-like phage group. The physical genome structure of ϕJA1 could be demonstrated experimentally. Our data pave the way for potential use of ϕJA1 and ϕVchO139-I in Vibrio cholerae typing and control.ISSN:1743-422

    Vantage sensitivity: a framework for individual differences in response to psychological intervention

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    Purpose People differ significantly in their response to psychological intervention, with some benefitting more from treatment than others. According to the recently proposed theoretical framework of vantage sensitivity, some of this variability may be due to individual differences in environmental sensitivity, the inherent ability to register, and process external stimuli. In this paper, we apply the vantage sensitivity framework to the field of psychiatry and clinical psychology, proposing that some people are more responsive to the positive effects of psychological intervention due to heightened sensitivity. Methods After presenting theoretical frameworks related to environmental sensitivity, we review a selection of recent studies reporting individual differences in the positive response to psychological intervention. Results A growing number of studies report that some people benefit more from psychological intervention than others as a function of genetic, physiological, and psychological characteristics. These studies support the vantage sensitivity proposition that treatment response is influenced by factors associated with heightened sensitivity to environmental influences. More recently, studies have also shown that sensitivity can be measured with a short questionnaire which appears to predict the response to psychological intervention. Conclusions Vantage sensitivity is a framework with significant relevance for our understanding of widely observed heterogeneity in treatment response. It suggests that variability in response to treatment is partly influenced by people’s differing capacity for environmental sensitivity, which can be measured with a short questionnaire. Application of the vantage sensitivity framework to psychiatry and clinical psychology may improve our knowledge regarding when, how, and for whom interventions work

    From infection to immunotherapy: host immune responses to bacteria at the bladder mucosa

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