358 research outputs found

    Expanding Horizons with Chameleon: Team Missouri\u27s Innovative Home Automation System

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    Team Missouri\u27s 2009 Solar Decathlon entry featured a revolutionary home automation system, Chameleon, promoting both convenience and energy savings. This was accomplished using the typical controls of a convenience based automation system, while maintaining user set points, such as a home\u27s ambient temperature, in the most energy efficient manner. Environmental features of the system include controls for home heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting, windows, shades, appliances, indoor air quality, as well as indoor and outdoor irrigation. Further analysis and refinement to the prototype system displayed at the competition is also presented in this paper

    Identification and prioritisation of sustainability issues for the UK precast concrete industry

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    As part of its strategy for more sustainable construction, the UK Government has been encouraging sector representative bodies and trade associations to develop sector sustainability strategies. A four-year research programme aimed at developing such a strategy for the precast concrete industry was therefore established by the British Precast Concrete Federation in 2004, in collaboration with the Department of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University. In accordance with best practice, the research began with the identification and prioritisation of sustainability issues for the precast industry. A facilitated workshop with key practitioners from the industry identified a series of key business issues for the industry and demonstrated that sustainability was intrinsically linked to the profitability and competitiveness of the industry. A questionnaire survey was then conducted to verify and prioritise these issues across the wider industry. Whilst the survey verified the issues, priorities were found to vary between groups of companies as a result of them being in different phases of a corporate sustainability model. The research has enabled priorities for the precast sector sustainability strategy to be identified which will facilitate progress towards a more sustainable precast concrete industry in the UK

    Michaelis-Menten Dynamics in Complex Heterogeneous Networks

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    Biological networks have been recently found to exhibit many topological properties of the so-called complex networks. It has been reported that they are, in general, both highly skewed and directed. In this paper, we report on the dynamics of a Michaelis-Menten like model when the topological features of the underlying network resemble those of real biological networks. Specifically, instead of using a random graph topology, we deal with a complex heterogeneous network characterized by a power-law degree distribution coupled to a continuous dynamics for each network's component. The dynamics of the model is very rich and stationary, periodic and chaotic states are observed upon variation of the model's parameters. We characterize these states numerically and report on several quantities such as the system's phase diagram and size distributions of clusters of stationary, periodic and chaotic nodes. The results are discussed in view of recent debate about the ubiquity of complex networks in nature and on the basis of several biological processes that can be well described by the dynamics studied.Comment: Paper enlarged and modified, including the title. Some problems with the pdf were detected in the past. If they persist, please ask for the pdf by e-mailing yamir(at_no_spam)unizar.es. Version to appear in Physica

    Expression analysis of G Protein-coupled receptors in mouse macrophages

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    Background. Monocytes and macrophages express an extensive repertoire of G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) that regulate inflammation and immunity. In this study we performed a systematic micro-array analysis of GPCR expression in primary mouse macrophages to identify family members that are either enriched in macrophages compared to a panel of other cell types, or are regulated by an inflammatory stimulus, the bacterial product lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Results. Several members of the P2RY family had striking expression patterns in macrophages; P2ry6 mRNA was essentially expressed in a macrophage-specific fashion, whilst P2ry1 and P2ry5 mRNA levels were strongly down-regulated by LPS. Expression of several other GPCRs was either restricted to macrophages (e.g. Gpr84) or to both macrophages and neural tissues (e.g. P2ry12, Gpr85). The GPCR repertoire expressed by bone marrow-derived macrophages and thioglycollate- elicited peritoneal macrophages had some commonality, but there were also several GPCRs preferentially expressed by either cell population. Conclusion. The constitutive or regulated expression in macrophages of several GPCRs identified in this study has not previously been described. Future studies on such GPCRs and their agonists are likely to provide important insights into macrophage biology, as well as novel inflammatory pathways that could be future targets for drug discovery

    Detrimental effects of duplicate reads and low complexity regions on RNA- and ChIP-seq data

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    Background Adapter trimming and removal of duplicate reads are common practices in next-generation sequencing pipelines. Sequencing reads ambiguously mapped to repetitive and low complexity regions can also be problematic for accurate assessment of the biological signal, yet their impact on sequencing data has not received much attention. We investigate how trimming the adapters, removing duplicates, and filtering out reads overlapping low complexity regions influence the significance of biological signal in RNA- and ChIP-seq experiments. Methods We assessed the effect of data processing steps on the alignment statistics and the functional enrichment analysis results of RNA- and ChIP-seq data. We compared differentially processed RNA-seq data with matching microarray data on the same patient samples to determine whether changes in pre-processing improved correlation between the two. We have developed a simple tool to remove low complexity regions, RepeatSoaker, available at https://github.com/mdozmorov/RepeatSoaker, and tested its effect on the alignment statistics and the results of the enrichment analyses. Results Both adapter trimming and duplicate removal moderately improved the strength of biological signals in RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data. Aggressive filtering of reads overlapping with low complexity regions, as defined by RepeatMasker, further improved the strength of biological signals, and the correlation between RNA-seq and microarray gene expression data. Conclusions Adapter trimming and duplicates removal, coupled with filtering out reads overlapping low complexity regions, is shown to increase the quality and reliability of detecting biological signals in RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data

    International telemedicine consultations for neurodevelopmental disabilities

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    Background: A telemedicine program was developed between the Children\u27s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, DC, and the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A needs assessment and a curriculum of on-site training conferences were devised preparatory to an ongoing telemedicine consultation program for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities in the underserved eastern region of the UAE. Materials and Methods: Weekly telemedicine consultations are provided by a multidisciplinary faculty. Patients are presented in the UAE with their therapists and families. Real-time (video over Internet protocol; average connection, 768 kilobits/s) telemedicine conferences are held weekly following previews of medical records. A full consultation report follows each telemedicine session. Results: Between February 29, 2012 and June 26, 2013, 48 weekly 1-h live interactive telemedicine consultations were conducted on 48 patients (28 males, 20 females; age range, 8 months‚Äď22 years; median age, 5.4 years). The primary diagnoses were cerebral palsy, neurogenetic disorders, autism, neuromuscular disorders, congenital anomalies, global developmental delay, systemic disease, and epilepsy. Common comorbidities were cognitive impairment, communication disorders, and behavioral disorders. Specific recommendations included imaging and DNA studies, antiseizure management, spasticity management including botulinum toxin protocols, and specific therapy modalities including taping techniques, customized body vests, and speech/language and behavioral therapy. Improved outcomes reported were in clinician satisfaction, achievement of therapy goals for patients, and requests for ongoing sessions. Conclusions: Weekly telemedicine sessions coupled with triannual training conferences were successfully implemented in a clinical program dedicated to patients with neurodevelopmental disabilities by the Center for Neuroscience at CNMC and the UAE government. International consultations in neurodevelopmental disabilities utilizing telemedicine services offer a reliable and productive method for joint clinical programs

    Genome-Wide Association Reveals Pigmentation Genes Play a Role in Skin Aging

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    Loss of fine skin patterning is a sign of both aging and photoaging. Studies investigating the genetic contribution to skin patterning offer an opportunity to better understand a trait that influences both physical appearance and risk of keratinocyte skin cancer. We undertook a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of a measure of skin pattern (microtopography score) damage in 1,671 twin pairs and 1,745 singletons (N = 5,087) drawn from three independent cohorts. We identified that rs185146 near SLC45A2 is associated with a skin aging trait (p = 4.1 √ó 10-9); to our knowledge this is previously unreported. We also confirm previously identified loci, rs12203592 near IRF4 (p = 8.8 √ó 10-13), and rs4268748 near MC1R (p = 1.2 √ó 10-15). At all three loci we highlight putative functionally relevant SNPs. There are a number of red hair/low pigmentation alleles of MC1R; we found that together these MC1R alleles explained 4.1% of variance in skin pattern damage. We also show that skin aging and reported experience of sunburns was proportional to the degree of penetrance for red hair of alleles of MC1R. Our work has uncovered genetic contributions to skin aging and confirmed previous findings, showing that pigmentation is a critical determinate of skin aging
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