Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 20

Search results for: Dimitris Charalampopoulos

20 Characterisation of Fractions Extracted from Sorghum Byproducts

Authors: Prima Luna, Afroditi Chatzifragkou, Dimitris Charalampopoulos

Abstract:

Sorghum byproducts, namely bran, stalk, and panicle are examples of lignocellulosic biomass. These raw materials contain large amounts of polysaccharides, in particular hemicelluloses, celluloses, and lignins, which if efficiently extracted, can be utilised for the development of a range of added value products with potential applications in agriculture and food packaging sectors. The aim of this study was to characterise fractions extracted from sorghum bran and stalk with regards to their physicochemical properties that could determine their applicability as food-packaging materials. A sequential alkaline extraction was applied for the isolation of cellulosic, hemicellulosic and lignin fractions from sorghum stalk and bran. Lignin content, phenolic content and antioxidant capacity were also investigated in the case of the lignin fraction. Thermal analysis using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) revealed that the glass transition temperature (Tg) of cellulose fraction of the stalk was ~78.33 oC at amorphous state (~65%) and water content of ~5%. In terms of hemicellulose, the Tg value of stalk was slightly lower compared to bran at amorphous state (~54%) and had less water content (~2%). It is evident that hemicelluloses generally showed a lower thermal stability compared to cellulose, probably due to their lack of crystallinity. Additionally, bran had higher arabinose-to-xylose ratio (0.82) than the stalk, a fact that indicated its low crystallinity. Furthermore, lignin fraction had Tg value of ~93 oC at amorphous state (~11%). Stalk-derived lignin fraction contained more phenolic compounds (mainly consisting of p-coumaric and ferulic acid) and had higher lignin content and antioxidant capacity compared to bran-derived lignin fraction.

Keywords: alkaline extraction, bran, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, stalk

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19 Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation for D-Lactic Acid Production from Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles

Authors: Nurul Aqilah Mohd Zaini, Afroditi Chatzifragkou, Dimitris Charalampopoulos

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D-Lactic acid production is gaining increasing attention due to the thermostable properties of its polymer, Polylactic Acid (PLA). In this study, D-lactic acid was produced in microbial cultures using Lactobacillus coryniformis subsp. torquens as D-lactic acid producer and hydrolysates of Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) as fermentation substrate. Prior to fermentation, DDGS was first alkaline pretreated with 5% (w/v) NaOH, for 15 minutes (121oC/ ~16 psi). This led to the generation of DDGS solid residues, rich in carbohydrates and especially cellulose (~52%). The carbohydrate-rich solids were then subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis with Accellerase® 1500. For Separate Hydrolysis and Fermentation (SHF), enzymatic hydrolysis was carried out at 50oC for 24 hours, followed by fermentation of D-lactic acid at 37oC in controlled pH 6. The obtained hydrolysate contained 24 g/l glucose, 5.4 g/l xylose and 0.6 g/l arabinose. In the case of Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF), hydrolysis and fermentation were conducted in a single step process at 37oC in pH 5. The enzymatic hydrolysis of DGGS pretreated solids took place mostly during lag phase of L. coryniformis fermentation, with only a small amount of glucose consumed during the first 6 h. When exponential phase was started, glucose generation reduced as the microorganism started to consume glucose for D-lactic acid production. Higher concentrations of D-lactic acid were produced when SSF approach was applied, with 28 g/l D-lactic acid after 24 h of fermentation (84.5% yield). In contrast, 21.2 g/l D-lactic acid were produced when SHF was used. The optical pu rity of D-lactic acid produced from both experiments was 99.9%. Besides, approximately 2 g/l acetic acid was also generated due to lactic acid degradation after glucose depletion in SHF. SSF was proved an efficient towards DDGS ulilisation and D-lactic acid production, by reducing the overall processing time, yielding sufficient D-lactic acid concentrations without the generation of fermentation by-products.

Keywords: DDGS, alkaline pretreatment, SSF, D-lactic acid

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18 A Real Time Monitoring System of the Supply Chain Conditions, Products and Means of Transport

Authors: Dimitris E. Kontaxis, George Litainas, Dimitris P. Ptochos

Abstract:

Real-time monitoring of the supply chain conditions and procedures is a critical element for the optimal coordination and safety of the deliveries, as well as for the minimization of the delivery time and cost. Real-time monitoring requires IoT data streams, which are related to the conditions of the products and the means of transport (e.g., location, temperature/humidity conditions, kinematic state, ambient light conditions, etc.). These streams are generated by battery-based IoT tracking devices, equipped with appropriate sensors, and are transmitted to a cloud-based back-end system. Proper handling and processing of the IoT data streams, using predictive and artificial intelligence algorithms, can provide significant and useful results, which can be exploited by the supply chain stakeholders in order to enhance their financial benefits, as well as the efficiency, security, transparency, coordination, and sustainability of the supply chain procedures. The technology, the features, and the characteristics of a complete, proprietary system, including hardware, firmware, and software tools -developed in the context of a co-funded R&D programme- are addressed and presented in this paper.

Keywords: IoT embedded electronics, real-time monitoring, tracking device, sensor platform

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17 Transformations between Bivariate Polynomial Bases

Authors: Dimitris Varsamis, Nicholas Karampetakis

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It is well known that any interpolating polynomial P(x,y) on the vector space Pn,m of two-variable polynomials with degree less than n in terms of x and less than m in terms of y has various representations that depends on the basis of Pn,m that we select i.e. monomial, Newton and Lagrange basis etc. The aim of this paper is twofold: a) to present transformations between the coordinates of the polynomial P(x,y) in the aforementioned basis and b) to present transformations between these bases.

Keywords: bivariate interpolation polynomial, polynomial basis, transformations, interpolating polynomial

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16 Electrical Properties of CVD-Graphene on SiC

Authors: Bilal Jabakhanji, Dimitris Kazazis, Adrien Michon, Christophe Consejo, Wilfried Desrat, Benoit Jouault

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In this paper, we investigate the electrical properties of graphene grown by Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) on the Si face of SiC substrates. Depending on the growth condition, hole or electron doping can be achieved, down to a few 1011cm−2. The high homogeneity of the graphene and the low intrinsic carrier concentration, allow the remarkable observation of the Half Integer Quantum Hall Effect, typical of graphene, at the centimeter scale.

Keywords: graphene, quantum hall effect, chemical vapor, deposition, silicon carbide

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15 A Parallel Implementation of k-Means in MATLAB

Authors: Dimitris Varsamis, Christos Talagkozis, Alkiviadis Tsimpiris, Paris Mastorocostas

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The aim of this work is the parallel implementation of k-means in MATLAB, in order to reduce the execution time. Specifically, a new function in MATLAB for serial k-means algorithm is developed, which meets all the requirements for the conversion to a function in MATLAB with parallel computations. Additionally, two different variants for the definition of initial values are presented. In the sequel, the parallel approach is presented. Finally, the performance tests for the computation times respect to the numbers of features and classes are illustrated.

Keywords: K-means algorithm, clustering, parallel computations, Matlab

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14 Digital Recording System Identification Based on Audio File

Authors: Michel Kulhandjian, Dimitris A. Pados

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The objective of this work is to develop a theoretical framework for reliable digital recording system identification from digital audio files alone, for forensic purposes. A digital recording system consists of a microphone and a digital sound processing card. We view the cascade as a system of unknown transfer function. We expect same manufacturer and model microphone-sound card combinations to have very similar/near identical transfer functions, bar any unique manufacturing defect. Input voice (or other) signals are modeled as non-stationary processes. The technical problem under consideration becomes blind deconvolution with non-stationary inputs as it manifests itself in the specific application of digital audio recording equipment classification.

Keywords: blind system identification, audio fingerprinting, blind deconvolution, blind dereverberation

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13 The Characteristics of a Fair and Efficient Tax Auditing Information System as a Tool against Tax Evasion: A Theoretical Framework

Authors: Dimitris Balios, Stefanos Tantos

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Economic growth and social evolution are connected to trust relationships in a society. The quality of the accounting information, the tax information system and the tax audit mechanism evolve multiple benefits in an economy. Tax evasion, the illegal practice where people and companies do not pay taxes, is a crime because of the negative effect in economy and society. In this paper, we describe a theoretical framework on the characteristics of a fair and efficient tax auditing information system which could be a tool against tax evasion, a tool for an economy to grow, especially in countries that face fluctuations in economic activity. We conclude that a fair and efficient tax auditing information system increases the reliability of tax administration, improves taxpayers’ tax compliance and causes a developmental trajectory for the economy.

Keywords: auditing information system, auditing mechanism, tax evasion, taxation

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12 The Reflection of Greek Reality Concerning Taxation from the Perspective of Both Tax Payers and Taxmen

Authors: Evagelia Makri, Maria Tsourela, Dimitris Paschaloudis, Dafni M. Nerantzaki

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One of the biggest financial and social problems, which at the same time constitute one of the greater challenges that Greek society faces today, is the illegal avoidance of tax payments. Tax evasion may negate financial data and community budgets, as well as breed financial chaos. This research seeks to reflect Greek reality concerning tax measures. Also, there will be an effort to record the factors surrounding tax evasion. Greek tax system’s data will be rendered in financial terms. Questionnaires will be handed out to tax payers, and interviews will be conducted to taxmen. The quantitative analysis of the questionnaire answers will define the tax payers’ opinion towards the existence of tax evasion. The qualitative analysis of the interviews will reveal the main reason that boosts tax evasion. At the end, there will be some realistic proposals about how to better collect taxes, through the creation of a strong regulatory mechanism.

Keywords: tax evasion, tax collection measures, insurance recovery measures, Greek tax system

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11 Design and Optimization of a 6 Degrees of Freedom Co-Manipulated Parallel Robot for Prostate Brachytherapy

Authors: Aziza Ben Halima, Julien Bert, Dimitris Visvikis

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In this paper, we propose designing and evaluating a parallel co-manipulated robot dedicated to low-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy. We developed 6 degrees of freedom compact and lightweight robot easy to install in the operating room thanks to its parallel design. This robotic system provides a co-manipulation allowing the surgeon to keep control of the needle’s insertion and consequently to improve the acceptability of the plan for the clinic. The best dimension’s configuration was solved by calculating the geometric model and using an optimization approach. The aim was to ensure the whole coverage of the prostate volume and consider the allowed free space around the patient that includes the ultrasound probe. The final robot dimensions fit in a cube of 300 300 300 mm³. A prototype was 3D printed, and the robot workspace was measured experimentally. The results show that the proposed robotic system satisfies the medical application requirements and permits the needle to reach any point within the prostate.

Keywords: medical robotics, co-manipulation, prostate brachytherapy, optimization

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10 Forest Fire Risk Mapping Using Analytic Hierarchy Process and GIS-Based Application: A Case Study in Hua Sai District, Thailand

Authors: Narissara Nuthammachot, Dimitris Stratoulias

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Fire is one of the main causes of environmental and ecosystem change. Therefore, it is a challenging task for fire risk assessment fire potential mapping. The study area is Hua Sai district, Nakorn Sri Thammarat province, which covers in a part of peat swamp forest areas. 55 fire points in peat swamp areas were reported from 2012 to 2016. Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Geographic Information System (GIS) methods were selected for this study. The risk fire area map was arranged on these factors; elevation, slope, aspect, precipitation, distance from the river, distance from town, and land use. The results showed that the predicted fire risk areas are found to be in appreciable reliability with past fire events. The fire risk map can be used for the planning and management of fire areas in the future.

Keywords: analytic hierarchy process, fire risk assessment, geographic information system, peat swamp forest

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9 Velocity Logs Error Reduction for In-Service Calibration of Vessel Performance Indicators

Authors: Maria Tsompanoglou, Dimitris Armenis

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Vessel behavior in different operational and weather conditions constitutes the main area of interest for the ship operator. Ship speed and fuel consumption are the most decisive parameters in this respect, as their correlation provides information about the economic and environmental efficiency of the vessel, becoming the basis of decision making in terms of maintenance and trading. In the analysis of vessel operational profile for the evaluation of fuel consumption and the equivalent CO2 emissions footprint, the indications of Speed Through Water are widely used. The seasonal and regional variations in seawater characteristics, which are available nowadays, can provide the basis for accurate estimation of the errors in Speed Through Water indications at any time. Accuracy in the speed value on a route basis can enable operator identify the ship fuel and propulsion efficiency and proceed with improvements. This paper discusses case studies, where the actual vessel speed was corrected by a post-processing algorithm. The effects of the vessel correction to standard Key Performance Indicators, as well as operational findings not identified earlier, are also discussed.

Keywords: data analytics, MATLAB, vessel performance monitoring, speed through water

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8 Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change: A Review of EU Tools, Legislation, National Strategies and Projects in the Mediterranean Basin

Authors: Dimitris Kokkinos, Panagiotis Prinos

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In the last three decades, climate change has been studied extensively from scientific community, and its consequences are more than clear all around the world. Most countries have carried out a great effort to reduce global warming rates with the ratification and implementation of several international treaties. Moreover, many of them have already adopted national plans in order to adapt to climate change effects and mitigate human and economic losses. Coastal environments, with their inherent physical sensitivity, will face important challenges as a result of projected changes in climate conditions and hundreds of millions of people will be affected. Coastal zones are of high social and economic value and this research focuses on the Mediterranean basin, which is a densely populated and highly urbanized area. With 40% of its land used for human activity and the inevitability of the impacts of the climate change, it is obvious that some form of adaptation measures will be necessary. In this regard, the EU tools, policies and legislation concerning adaptation to climate change are presented. Additionally, the National Adaptation Strategies of State members of the Mediterranean basin are compared and analyzed concerning the coastal areas, along with an overview of projects and programs results focused on coastal issues at different spatial scales. The purpose of this research is to stress the differences between Mediterranean State members at methodologies implemented, to highlight the possible gaps in co-ordination and to emphasize on research initiatives that EU can build upon moving towards an integrated adaptation planning on a region-wide basis.

Keywords: coastal adaptation, Mediterranean Basin, climate change, coastal environments

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7 Visual Inspection of Road Conditions Using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks

Authors: Christos Theoharatos, Dimitris Tsourounis, Spiros Oikonomou, Andreas Makedonas

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This paper focuses on the problem of visually inspecting and recognizing the road conditions in front of moving vehicles, targeting automotive scenarios. The goal of road inspection is to identify whether the road is slippery or not, as well as to detect possible anomalies on the road surface like potholes or body bumps/humps. Our work is based on an artificial intelligence methodology for real-time monitoring of road conditions in autonomous driving scenarios, using state-of-the-art deep convolutional neural network (CNN) techniques. Initially, the road and ego lane are segmented within the field of view of the camera that is integrated into the front part of the vehicle. A novel classification CNN is utilized to identify among plain and slippery road textures (e.g., wet, snow, etc.). Simultaneously, a robust detection CNN identifies severe surface anomalies within the ego lane, such as potholes and speed bumps/humps, within a distance of 5 to 25 meters. The overall methodology is illustrated under the scope of an integrated application (or system), which can be integrated into complete Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) systems that provide a full range of functionalities. The outcome of the proposed techniques present state-of-the-art detection and classification results and real-time performance running on AI accelerator devices like Intel’s Myriad 2/X Vision Processing Unit (VPU).

Keywords: deep learning, convolutional neural networks, road condition classification, embedded systems

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6 Prisoners for Sexual Offences: Custodial Regime, Prison Experience and Reintegration Interventions

Authors: Nikolaos Koulouris, Anna Kasapoglou, Dimitris Koros

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The paper aims to present the course of ongoing research concerning the treatment of pretrial detainees, convicted or released prisoners for sexual offenses, an area that has not received much attention in Greece in terms of the prison experience and the reintegration potentials regarding this specific category of prisoners. The study plan provides for the use of a combination of research methods (focus groups with prisoners, structured individual interviews with prisoners and prison staff). Also, interviews with ex-prisoners detained regarding sexual offenses will take place. In Greece, there are no special provisions for the treatment of sexual offenders in prison, nor are there any special programs in place for their rehabilitation. Sexual offenders are usually separated from other prisoners, as the informal code of the social organization of the prison community dictates, despite no relevant legal framework. The study aims to explore the reasons for the separate detention of sexual offenders and discuss their special (non) treatment from different points of view, namely the legality and legitimacy of this discriminatory practice in terms of prisoners’ protection, safety, stigmatization, and possible social exclusion, as well as their post-release expectations and social reintegration potentials. The purpose of the research is the exploration of the prison experience of sexual offenders, the exercise of their legal rights, their adjustment to the demands of social life in prison, as well as the role of prison officers and various interventions aiming to their preparation for reentry to society. The study will take into consideration the European and international prison/penitentiary standards and best practices in order to examine the issue comparatively, while the contribution of the United Nations and the Council of Europe and its standards will be used to assess the treatment of sexual offenders in terms of its compatibility to international and European model-rules and trends. The outcome will be utilized to form main directions and propositions for a coherent and consistent human rights-based and social integration-oriented penal policy regarding the treatment of persons accused or convicted of sexual offenses in Greece.

Keywords: prisoners’ treatment, sex offenders, social exclusion, social reintegration

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5 Evaluating Multiple Diagnostic Tests: An Application to Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia

Authors: Areti Angeliki Veroniki, Sofia Tsokani, Evangelos Paraskevaidis, Dimitris Mavridis

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The plethora of diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) studies has led to the increased use of systematic reviews and meta-analysis of DTA studies. Clinicians and healthcare professionals often consult DTA meta-analyses to make informed decisions regarding the optimum test to choose and use for a given setting. For example, the human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA, mRNA, and cytology can be used for the cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2+ (CIN2+) diagnosis. But which test is the most accurate? Studies directly comparing test accuracy are not always available, and comparisons between multiple tests create a network of DTA studies that can be synthesized through a network meta-analysis of diagnostic tests (DTA-NMA). The aim is to summarize the DTA-NMA methods for at least three index tests presented in the methodological literature. We illustrate the application of the methods using a real data set for the comparative accuracy of HPV DNA, HPV mRNA, and cytology tests for cervical cancer. A search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus from inception until the end of July 2019 to identify full-text research articles that describe a DTA-NMA method for three or more index tests. Since the joint classification of the results from one index against the results of another index test amongst those with the target condition and amongst those without the target condition are rarely reported in DTA studies, only methods requiring the 2x2 tables of the results of each index test against the reference standard were included. Studies of any design published in English were eligible for inclusion. Relevant unpublished material was also included. Ten relevant studies were finally included to evaluate their methodology. DTA-NMA methods that have been presented in the literature together with their advantages and disadvantages are described. In addition, using 37 studies for cervical cancer obtained from a published Cochrane review as a case study, an application of the identified DTA-NMA methods to determine the most promising test (in terms of sensitivity and specificity) for use as the best screening test to detect CIN2+ is presented. As a conclusion, different approaches for the comparative DTA meta-analysis of multiple tests may conclude to different results and hence may influence decision-making. Acknowledgment: This research is co-financed by Greece and the European Union (European Social Fund- ESF) through the Operational Programme «Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning 2014-2020» in the context of the project “Extension of Network Meta-Analysis for the Comparison of Diagnostic Tests ” (MIS 5047640).

Keywords: colposcopy, diagnostic test, HPV, network meta-analysis

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4 Wood as a Climate Buffer in a Supermarket

Authors: Kristine Nore, Alexander Severnisen, Petter Arnestad, Dimitris Kraniotis, Roy Rossebø

Abstract:

Natural materials like wood, absorb and release moisture. Thus wood can buffer indoor climate. When used wisely, this buffer potential can be used to counteract the outer climate influence on the building. The mass of moisture used in the buffer is defined as the potential hygrothermal mass, which can be an energy storage in a building. This works like a natural heat pump, where the moisture is active in damping the diurnal changes. In Norway, the ability of wood as a material used for climate buffering is tested in several buildings with the extensive use of wood, including supermarkets. This paper defines the potential of hygrothermal mass in a supermarket building. This includes the chosen ventilation strategy, and how the climate impact of the building is reduced. The building is located above the arctic circle, 50m from the coastline, in Valnesfjord. It was built in 2015, has a shopping area, including toilet and entrance, of 975 m². The climate of the area is polar according to the Köppen classification, but the supermarket still needs cooling on hot summer days. In order to contribute to the total energy balance, wood needs dynamic influence to activate its hygrothermal mass. Drying and moistening of the wood are energy intensive, and this energy potential can be exploited. Examples are to use solar heat for drying instead of heating the indoor air, and raw air with high enthalpy that allow dry wooden surfaces to absorb moisture and release latent heat. Weather forecasts are used to define the need for future cooling or heating. Thus, the potential energy buffering of the wood can be optimized with intelligent ventilation control. The ventilation control in Valnesfjord includes the weather forecast and historical data. That is a five-day forecast and a two-day history. This is to prevent adjustments to smaller weather changes. The ventilation control has three zones. During summer, the moisture is retained to dampen for solar radiation through drying. In the winter time, moist air let into the shopping area to contribute to the heating. When letting the temperature down during the night, the moisture absorbed in the wood slow down the cooling. The ventilation system is shut down during closing hours of the supermarket in this period. During the autumn and spring, a regime of either storing the moisture or drying out to according to the weather prognoses is defined. To ensure indoor climate quality, measurements of CO₂ and VOC overrule the low energy control if needed. Verified simulations of the Valnesfjord building will build a basic model for investigating wood as a climate regulating material also in other climates. Future knowledge on hygrothermal mass potential in materials is promising. When including the time-dependent buffer capacity of materials, building operators can achieve optimal efficiency of their ventilation systems. The use of wood as a climate regulating material, through its potential hygrothermal mass and connected to weather prognoses, may provide up to 25% energy savings related to heating, cooling, and ventilation of a building.

Keywords: climate buffer, energy, hygrothermal mass, ventilation, wood, weather forecast

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3 Association of Temperature Factors with Seropositive Results against Selected Pathogens in Dairy Cow Herds from Central and Northern Greece

Authors: Marina Sofia, Alexios Giannakopoulos, Antonia Touloudi, Dimitris C Chatzopoulos, Zoi Athanasakopoulou, Vassiliki Spyrou, Charalambos Billinis

Abstract:

Fertility of dairy cattle can be affected by heat stress when the ambient temperature increases above 30°C and the relative humidity ranges from 35% to 50%. The present study was conducted on dairy cattle farms during summer months in Greece and aimed to identify the serological profile against pathogens that could affect fertility and to associate the positive serological results at herd level with temperature factors. A total of 323 serum samples were collected from clinically healthy dairy cows of 8 herds, located in Central and Northern Greece. ELISA tests were performed to detect antibodies against selected pathogens that affect fertility, namely Chlamydophila abortus, Coxiella burnetii, Neospora caninum, Toxoplasma gondii and Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis Virus (IBRV). Eleven climatic variables were derived from the WorldClim version 1.4. and ArcGIS V.10.1 software was used for analysis of the spatial information. Five different MaxEnt models were applied to associate the temperature variables with the locations of seropositive Chl. abortus, C. burnetii, N. caninum, T. gondii and IBRV herds (one for each pathogen). The logistic outputs were used for the interpretation of the results. ROC analyses were performed to evaluate the goodness of fit of the models’ predictions. Jackknife tests were used to identify the variables with a substantial contribution to each model. The seropositivity rates of pathogens varied among the 8 herds (0.85-4.76% for Chl. abortus, 4.76-62.71% for N. caninum, 3.8-43.47% for C. burnetii, 4.76-39.28% for T. gondii and 47.83-78.57% for IBRV). The variables of annual temperature range, mean diurnal range and maximum temperature of the warmest month gave a contribution to all five models. The regularized training gains, the training AUCs and the unregularized training gains were estimated. The mean diurnal range gave the highest gain when used in isolation and decreased the gain the most when it was omitted in the two models for seropositive Chl.abortus and IBRV herds. The annual temperature range increased the gain when used alone and decreased the gain the most when it was omitted in the models for seropositive C. burnetii, N. caninum and T. gondii herds. In conclusion, antibodies against Chl. abortus, C. burnetii, N. caninum, T. gondii and IBRV were detected in most herds suggesting circulation of pathogens that could cause infertility. The results of the spatial analyses demonstrated that the annual temperature range, mean diurnal range and maximum temperature of the warmest month could affect positively the possible pathogens’ presence. Acknowledgment: This research has been co‐financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and Greek national funds through the Operational Program Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, under the call RESEARCH–CREATE–INNOVATE (project code: T1EDK-01078).

Keywords: dairy cows, seropositivity, spatial analysis, temperature factors

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2 CD97 and Its Role in Glioblastoma Stem Cell Self-Renewal

Authors: Niklas Ravn-Boess, Nainita Bhowmick, Takamitsu Hattori, Shohei Koide, Christopher Park, Dimitris Placantonakis

Abstract:

Background: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and deadly primary brain malignancy in adults. Tumor propagation, brain invasion, and resistance to therapy critically depend on GBM stem-like cells (GSCs); however, the mechanisms that regulate GSC self-renewal are incompletely understood. Given the aggressiveness and poor prognosis of GBM, it is imperative to find biomarkers that could also translate into novel drug targets. Along these lines, we have identified a cell surface antigen, CD97 (ADGRE5), an adhesion G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), that is expressed on GBM cells but is absent from non-neoplastic brain tissue. CD97 has been shown to promote invasiveness, angiogenesis, and migration in several human cancers, but its frequency of expression and functional role in regulating GBM growth and survival, and its potential as a therapeutic target has not been investigated. Design: We assessed CD97 mRNA and protein expression in patient derived GBM samples and cell lines using publicly available RNA-sequencing datasets and flow cytometry, respectively. To assess CD97 function, we generated shRNA lentiviral constructs that target a sequence in the CD97 extracellular domain (ECD). A scrambled shRNA (scr) with no predicted targets in the genome was used as a control. We evaluated CD97 shRNA lentivirally transduced GBM cells for Ki67, Annexin V, and DAPI. We also tested CD97 KD cells for their ability to self-renew using clonogenic tumorsphere formation assays. Further, we utilized synthetic Abs (sAbs) generated against the ECD of CD97 to test for potential antitumor effects using patient-derived GBM cell lines. Results: CD97 mRNA expression was expressed at high levels in all GBM samples available in the TCGA cohort. We found high levels of surface CD97 protein expression in 6/6 patient-derived GBM cell cultures, but not human neural stem cells. Flow cytometry confirmed downregulation of CD97 in CD97 shRNA lentivirally transduced cells. CD97 KD induced a significant reduction in cell growth in 3 independent GBM cell lines representing mesenchymal and proneural subtypes, which was accompanied by reduced (~20%) Ki67 staining and increased (~30%) apoptosis. Incubation of GBM cells with sAbs (20 ug/ ml) against the ECD of CD97 for 3 days induced GSC differentiation, as determined by the expression of GFAP and Tubulin. Using three unique GBM patient derived cultures, we found that CD97 KD attenuated the ability of GBM cells to initiate sphere formation by over 300 fold, consistent with an impairment in GSC self-renewal. Conclusion: Loss of CD97 expression in patient-derived GBM cells markedly decreases proliferation, induces cell death, and reduces tumorsphere formation. sAbs against the ECD of CD97 reduce tumorsphere formation, recapitulating the phenotype of CD97 KD, suggesting that sAbs that inhibit CD97 function exhibit anti-tumor activity. Collectively, these findings indicate that CD97 is necessary for the proliferation and survival of human GBM cells and identify CD97 as a promising therapeutically targetable vulnerability in GBM.

Keywords: adhesion GPCR, CD97, GBM stem cell, glioblastoma

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1 Ionian Sea Aquarium-Museum in Kefallinia Island, Greece: A Hub Developing the Underwater Natural and Cultural Resources in the Ionian Sea and Advancing the Ocean Literacy to the Public

Authors: Ferentinos George, Papatheodorou George, Belmonte Genuario, Geraga Maria, Christodoulou Dimitris, Fakiris Elias, Iatrou Margarita, Kordella Stravroula, Prevenios Michail, Mentogianis Vassilis, Sotiropoulos Makis

Abstract:

The Ionian Sea Aquarium-Museum in Kefallinia Island, Greece and its twinning with that of Santa Maria al Bagno in the Salento peninsula, Italy, are recently established Hubs in the Ionian Sea funded by the European Territorial Cooperation Programme, Greece-Italy 2007-2013. The objectives of the Ionian Sea Aquarium-Museum are: (i) exhibiting to the public the underwater natural and cultural treasures of the seas surrounding the island, (ii) the functioning of a recreational/vocational hub for all educational levels but also for sea users and stakeholders, to raise their awareness of the seas and engage them in the European notion of the Blue Growth of the Seas and (iii) setting up diving parks in sites of natural and cultural importance. The natural heritage in the Aquarium-Museum is exhibited in five tanks displaying the two most important benthic habitats in the Mediterranean Sea, that is, the Posidonia oceanica and the Coralligene assemblages with the associated rich fauna. The cultural heritage is exhibited in: (i) Dioramas displaying scale model replicas of the three best preserved ancient and historic wrecks. -The Fiscardo Roman wreck dating between 1st cent B.C. and 2nd cent. A.D., which is one of the largest and best preserved in the Mediterranean Sea. -The HMS PERSEUS British submarine, which is known for the second deepest submarine escape from all sunken submarines in WW II, and -A wooden wreck, the Italian ship Alma probably, which was requisitioned by the German army and used for transporting supplies and ammunition. (ii) Documentaries: The first two present the complete story from launching to sinking of: the HMS PERSEUS British submarine, the SS Ardena which is associated with the Italian Aqui Division killed by the German forces in Kefallinia and made known from the book and film “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” and the third documentary deals with the birth place of seafaring in the world, which took place in the Greek. Archipelago by Neanderthals and modern humans between 115 and 35 thousand years ago. The Aquarium-Museum starts from next year (a) educational programmes for schools and tourists to discover the natural and cultural treasures around Kefallinia island, (b) recreational/vocational holiday activities centered on eco-diving and get involved in mapping and monitoring NATURA 2000 sites around the island and thus actively engaged in the Blue Growth of the seas and (c) summer schools aimed at under/post-graduate students, who are interested in marine archaeology and geo-habitat mapping and are looking for a job in the sustainable management of the seas. The exhibition themes in the Aquarium-Museum as well as the recreational /vocational and educational activities are prepared by the Oceanus Net laboratories of Patras University and were selected after surveying the seafloor using the latest state of art sonar and camera technologies.

Keywords: aquarium-museum, cultural and natural treasures, ionian sea, Kefallinia Island

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