1,407 research outputs found

    Free-standing graphene films embedded in epoxy resin with enhanced thermal properties

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    The poor thermal conductivity of polymer composites has long been a deterrent to their increased use in high-end aerospace or defence applications. This study describes a new approach for the incorporation of graphene in an epoxy resin, through the addition of graphene as free-standing film in the polymeric matrix. The electrical and thermal conductivity of composites embedding two different free-standing graphene films was compared to composites with embedded carbon nanotube buckypapers (CNT-BP). Considerably higher thermal conductivity values than those achieved with conventional dispersing methods of graphene or CNTs in epoxy resins were obtained. The characterisation was complemented with a study of the structure at the microscale by cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images and a thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The films are preconditioned in order to incorporate them into the composites, and the complete manufacturing process proposed allows the production and processing of these materials in large batches. The high thermal conductivity obtained for the composites opens the way for their use in demanding thermal management applications, such as electronic enclosures or platforms facing critical temperature loads.European Defence Agency tender No 17.ESI.OP.066. Study on the Impact of Graphene on Defence Application

    Evaluation of the current knowledge limitations in breast cancer research: a gap analysis

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    BACKGROUND A gap analysis was conducted to determine which areas of breast cancer research, if targeted by researchers and funding bodies, could produce the greatest impact on patients. METHODS Fifty-six Breast Cancer Campaign grant holders and prominent UK breast cancer researchers participated in a gap analysis of current breast cancer research. Before, during and following the meeting, groups in seven key research areas participated in cycles of presentation, literature review and discussion. Summary papers were prepared by each group and collated into this position paper highlighting the research gaps, with recommendations for action. RESULTS Gaps were identified in all seven themes. General barriers to progress were lack of financial and practical resources, and poor collaboration between disciplines. Critical gaps in each theme included: (1) genetics (knowledge of genetic changes, their effects and interactions); (2) initiation of breast cancer (how developmental signalling pathways cause ductal elongation and branching at the cellular level and influence stem cell dynamics, and how their disruption initiates tumour formation); (3) progression of breast cancer (deciphering the intracellular and extracellular regulators of early progression, tumour growth, angiogenesis and metastasis); (4) therapies and targets (understanding who develops advanced disease); (5) disease markers (incorporating intelligent trial design into all studies to ensure new treatments are tested in patient groups stratified using biomarkers); (6) prevention (strategies to prevent oestrogen-receptor negative tumours and the long-term effects of chemoprevention for oestrogen-receptor positive tumours); (7) psychosocial aspects of cancer (the use of appropriate psychosocial interventions, and the personal impact of all stages of the disease among patients from a range of ethnic and demographic backgrounds). CONCLUSION Through recommendations to address these gaps with future research, the long-term benefits to patients will include: better estimation of risk in families with breast cancer and strategies to reduce risk; better prediction of drug response and patient prognosis; improved tailoring of treatments to patient subgroups and development of new therapeutic approaches; earlier initiation of treatment; more effective use of resources for screening populations; and an enhanced experience for people with or at risk of breast cancer and their families. The challenge to funding bodies and researchers in all disciplines is to focus on these gaps and to drive advances in knowledge into improvements in patient care

    The crossroads of evidence-based medicine and health policy: implications for urology

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    As healthcare spending in the United States continues to rise at an unsustainable rate, recent policy decisions introduced at the national level will rely on precepts of evidence-based medicine to promote the determination, dissemination, and delivery of “best practices” or quality care while simultaneously reducing cost. We discuss the influence of evidence-based medicine on policy and, in turn, the impact of policy on the developing clinical evidence base with an eye to the potential effects of these relationships on the practice and provision of urologic care

    Effects of deletion of the Streptococcus pneumoniae lipoprotein diacylglyceryl transferase gene lgt on ABC transporter function and on growth in vivo

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    Lipoproteins are an important class of surface associated proteins that have diverse roles and frequently are involved in the virulence of bacterial pathogens. As prolipoproteins are attached to the cell membrane by a single enzyme, prolipoprotein diacylglyceryl transferase (Lgt), deletion of the corresponding gene potentially allows the characterisation of the overall importance of lipoproteins for specific bacterial functions. We have used a Δlgt mutant strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae to investigate the effects of loss of lipoprotein attachment on cation acquisition, growth in media containing specific carbon sources, and virulence in different infection models. Immunoblots of triton X-114 extracts, flow cytometry and immuno-fluorescence microscopy confirmed the Δlgt mutant had markedly reduced lipoprotein expression on the cell surface. The Δlgt mutant had reduced growth in cation depleted medium, increased sensitivity to oxidative stress, reduced zinc uptake, and reduced intracellular levels of several cations. Doubling time of the Δlgt mutant was also increased slightly when grown in medium with glucose, raffinose and maltotriose as sole carbon sources. These multiple defects in cation and sugar ABC transporter function for the Δlgt mutant were associated with only slightly delayed growth in complete medium. However the Δlgt mutant had significantly reduced growth in blood or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and a marked impairment in virulence in mouse models of nasopharyngeal colonisation, sepsis and pneumonia. These data suggest that for S. pneumoniae loss of surface localisation of lipoproteins has widespread effects on ABC transporter functions that collectively prevent the Δlgt mutant from establishing invasive infection

    The Association Between Women’s Perceptions of Professional Support and Problems Experienced on Breastfeeding Cessation: A Western Australian Study

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    A cross-sectional survey was used to determine the association among women’s breastfeeding problems, their perceptions of support from midwives and child health nurses, and breastfeeding cessation in the first 10 weeks postbirth in a sample of Western Australian women (N = 2669). Primiparous women (75.8%) experienced significantly more problems that multiparous women (52.6%). Although 78.8% of all women agreed or strongly agreed that staff were helpful with feeding, 53.4% confirmed that different midwives offered different feeding advice; however, receiving different advice from midwives around feeding was not associated with breastfeeding cessation. Differences in breastfeeding cessation were associated with parity. Primiparous women’s cessation was associated with experiencing any breastfeeding problems, unhelpful hospital midwives, and unhelpful information from child health nurses, whereas for multiparous women, this included 2 or more breastfeeding problems, not being able to choose when to feed, and unhelpful information from child health nurses

    Comparison of Statistical Population Reconstruction Using Full and Pooled Adult Age-Class Data

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    BACKGROUND: Age-at-harvest data are among the most commonly collected, yet neglected, demographic data gathered by wildlife agencies. Statistical population construction techniques can use this information to estimate the abundance of wild populations over wide geographic areas and concurrently estimate recruitment, harvest, and natural survival rates. Although current reconstruction techniques use full age-class data (0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, … years), it is not always possible to determine an animal's age due to inaccuracy of the methods, expense, and logistics of sample collection. The ability to inventory wild populations would be greatly expanded if pooled adult age-class data (e.g., 0.5, 1.5, 2.5+ years) could be successfully used in statistical population reconstruction. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We investigated the performance of statistical population reconstruction models developed to analyze full age-class and pooled adult age-class data. We performed Monte Carlo simulations using a stochastic version of a Leslie matrix model, which generated data over a wide range of abundance levels, harvest rates, and natural survival probabilities, representing medium-to-big game species. Results of full age-class and pooled adult age-class population reconstructions were compared for accuracy and precision. No discernible difference in accuracy was detected, but precision was slightly reduced when using the pooled adult age-class reconstruction. On average, the coefficient of variation (i.e., SE(θ)/θ) increased by 0.059 when the adult age-class data were pooled prior to analyses. The analyses and maximum likelihood model for pooled adult age-class reconstruction are illustrated for a black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) population in Washington State. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Inventorying wild populations is one of the greatest challenges of wildlife agencies. These new statistical population reconstruction models should expand the demographic capabilities of wildlife agencies that have already collected pooled adult age-class data or are seeking a cost-effective method for monitoring the status and trends of our wild resources

    ELF5 Drives Lung Metastasis in Luminal Breast Cancer through Recruitment of Gr1+ CD11b+ Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells.

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    During pregnancy, the ETS transcription factor ELF5 establishes the milk-secreting alveolar cell lineage by driving a cell fate decision of the mammary luminal progenitor cell. In breast cancer, ELF5 is a key transcriptional determinant of tumor subtype and has been implicated in the development of insensitivity to anti-estrogen therapy. In the mouse mammary tumor virus-Polyoma Middle T (MMTV-PyMT) model of luminal breast cancer, induction of ELF5 levels increased leukocyte infiltration, angiogenesis, and blood vessel permeability in primary tumors and greatly increased the size and number of lung metastasis. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a group of immature neutrophils recently identified as mediators of vasculogenesis and metastasis, were recruited to the tumor in response to ELF5. Depletion of these cells using specific Ly6G antibodies prevented ELF5 from driving vasculogenesis and metastasis. Expression signatures in luminal A breast cancers indicated that increased myeloid cell invasion and inflammation were correlated with ELF5 expression, and increased ELF5 immunohistochemical staining predicted much shorter metastasis-free and overall survival of luminal A patients, defining a group who experienced unexpectedly early disease progression. Thus, in the MMTV-PyMT mouse mammary model, increased ELF5 levels drive metastasis by co-opting the innate immune system. As ELF5 has been previously implicated in the development of antiestrogen resistance, this finding implicates ELF5 as a defining factor in the acquisition of the key aspects of the lethal phenotype in luminal A breast cancer

    Habitat and forage associations of a naturally colonising insect pollinator, the Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum

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    Bumblebees (Bombus species) are major pollinators of commercial crops and wildflowers but factors affecting their abundance, including causes of recent population declines, remain unclear. Investigating the ecology of species with expanding ranges provides a potentially powerful means of elucidating these factors. Such species may also bring novel pollination services to their new ranges. We therefore investigated landscape-scale habitat use and foraging preferences of the Tree Bumblebee, B. hypnorum, a recent natural colonist that has rapidly expanded its range in the UK over the past decade. Counts of B. hypnorum and six other Bombus species were made in March-June 2012 within a mixed landscape in south-eastern Norfolk, UK. The extent of different landscape elements around each transect was quantified at three scales (250 m, 500 m and 1500 m). We then identified the landscape elements that best predicted the density of B. hypnorum and other Bombus species. At the best fitting scale (250 m), B. hypnorum density was significantly positively associated with extent of both urban and woodland cover and significantly negatively associated with extent of oilseed rape cover. This combination of landscape predictors was unique to B. hypnorum. Urban and woodland cover were associated with B. hypnorum density at three and two, respectively, of the three scales studied. Relative to other Bombus species, B. hypnorum exhibited a significantly higher foraging preference for two flowering trees, Crataegus monogyna and Prunus spinosa, and significantly lower preferences for Brassica napus, Glechoma hederacea and Lamium album. Our study provides novel, quantitative support for an association of B. hypnorum with urban and woodland landscape elements. Range expansion in B. hypnorum appears to depend, on exploitation of widespread habitats underutilised by native Bombus species, suggesting B. hypnorum will readily co-exist with these species. These findings suggest that management could target bumblebee species with distinctive habitat requirements to help maintain pollination service

    Search for new phenomena in final states with an energetic jet and large missing transverse momentum in pp collisions at √ s = 8 TeV with the ATLAS detector

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    Results of a search for new phenomena in final states with an energetic jet and large missing transverse momentum are reported. The search uses 20.3 fb−1 of √ s = 8 TeV data collected in 2012 with the ATLAS detector at the LHC. Events are required to have at least one jet with pT > 120 GeV and no leptons. Nine signal regions are considered with increasing missing transverse momentum requirements between Emiss T > 150 GeV and Emiss T > 700 GeV. Good agreement is observed between the number of events in data and Standard Model expectations. The results are translated into exclusion limits on models with either large extra spatial dimensions, pair production of weakly interacting dark matter candidates, or production of very light gravitinos in a gauge-mediated supersymmetric model. In addition, limits on the production of an invisibly decaying Higgs-like boson leading to similar topologies in the final state are presente