Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Search results for: Georg Holländer

19 Assessment of Barriers to the Clinical Adoption of Cell-Based Therapeutics

Authors: David Pettitt, Benjamin Davies, Georg Holländer, David Brindley

Abstract:

Cellular based therapies, whose origins can be traced from the intertwined concepts of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, have the potential to transform the current medical landscape and offer an approach to managing what were once considered untreatable diseases. However, despite a large increase in basic science activity in the cell therapy arena alongside a growing portfolio of cell therapy trials, the number of industry products available for widespread clinical use correlates poorly with such a magnitude of activity, with the number of cell-based therapeutics in mainstream use remaining comparatively low. This research serves to quantitatively assess the barriers to the clinical adoption of cell-based therapeutics through identification of unique barriers, specific challenges and opportunities facing the development and adoption of such therapies.

Keywords: cell therapy, clinical adoption, commercialization, translation

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18 Attitude towards Biology among Academic Talented Students in Term of Gender: Case Study of ASASIpintar Pre–University Programme

Authors: Sy Ing Ong, N. Norazman, H. W. You, A. Zahidi, R. Ahmad Faisal

Abstract:

The decline in students’ involvement in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) worldwide is alarming. In Malaysia, this scenario also draws the attention of Ministry of Education due to the high demand for professionals in STEM industries and for the sake of country development. Intensive researches have been done worldwide to identify the best solution to improve the enrolment of students in science studies. Attitude is being identified as one of the key factors that will influence students’ interest and achievement in academic. Male students are always associated with negative attitudes compared to female students towards the study of Biological science. Hence, this study investigates the attitudes of students towards Biology in the setting of an academic talented institution in Malaysia namely ASASIpintar Pre-University Programme. A total of 84 students were randomly selected from 127 students as the samples of this study. The instrument of Biology Attitude Scale (BAS) from Russell and Hollander (1975) was used to identify the attitudes of samples. Based on the analysis, there was no significant difference in the students’ mean attitude towards Biology subject in this institution between genders with a significant level of p = 0.05. This indicated that gender is not a key factor that influences students’ attitude towards Biology in this study. Future research can be done on other factors that will contribute to the attitude of students towards biology in Malaysia, especially for academically talented students.

Keywords: academic talented, attitude, biology, gender

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17 Electrochemical Radiofrequency Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Measurements for Fingerprinting Single Electron Transfer Processes

Authors: Abhishek Kumar, Mohamed Awadein, Georg Gramse, Luyang Song, He Sun, Wolfgang Schofberger, Stefan Müllegger

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Electron transfer is a crucial part of chemical reactions which drive everyday processes. With the help of an electro-chemical radio frequency scanning tunneling microscopy (EC-RF-STM) setup, we are observing single electron mediated oxidation-reduction processes in molecules like ferrocene and transition metal corroles. Combining the techniques of scanning microwave microscopy and cyclic voltammetry allows us to monitor such processes with attoampere sensitivity. A systematic study of such phenomena would be critical to understanding the nano-scale behavior of catalysts, molecular sensors, and batteries relevant to the development of novel material and energy applications.

Keywords: radiofrequency, STM, cyclic voltammetry, ferrocene

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16 Size-Reduction Strategies for Iris Codes

Authors: Jutta Hämmerle-Uhl, Georg Penn, Gerhard Pötzelsberger, Andreas Uhl

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Iris codes contain bits with different entropy. This work investigates different strategies to reduce the size of iris code templates with the aim of reducing storage requirements and computational demand in the matching process. Besides simple sub-sampling schemes, also a binary multi-resolution representation as used in the JBIG hierarchical coding mode is assessed. We find that iris code template size can be reduced significantly while maintaining recognition accuracy. Besides, we propose a two stage identification approach, using small-sized iris code templates in a pre-selection satge, and full resolution templates for final identification, which shows promising recognition behaviour.

Keywords: iris recognition, compact iris code, fast matching, best bits, pre-selection identification, two-stage identification

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15 Empirical Evaluation of Gradient-Based Training Algorithms for Ordinary Differential Equation Networks

Authors: Martin K. Steiger, Lukas Heisler, Hans-Georg Brachtendorf

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Deep neural networks and their variants form the backbone of many AI applications. Based on the so-called residual networks, a continuous formulation of such models as ordinary differential equations (ODEs) has proven advantageous since different techniques may be applied that significantly increase the learning speed and enable controlled trade-offs with the resulting error at the same time. For the evaluation of such models, high-performance numerical differential equation solvers are used, which also provide the gradients required for training. However, whether classical gradient-based methods are even applicable or which one yields the best results has not been discussed yet. This paper aims to redeem this situation by providing empirical results for different applications.

Keywords: deep neural networks, gradient-based learning, image processing, ordinary differential equation networks

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14 Multi-Modal Visualization of Working Instructions for Assembly Operations

Authors: Josef Wolfartsberger, Michael Heiml, Georg Schwarz, Sabrina Egger

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Growing individualization and higher numbers of variants in industrial assembly products raise the complexity of manufacturing processes. Technical assistance systems considering both procedural and human factors allow for an increase in product quality and a decrease in required learning times by supporting workers with precise working instructions. Due to varying needs of workers, the presentation of working instructions leads to several challenges. This paper presents an approach for a multi-modal visualization application to support assembly work of complex parts. Our approach is integrated within an interconnected assistance system network and supports the presentation of cloud-streamed textual instructions, images, videos, 3D animations and audio files along with multi-modal user interaction, customizable UI, multi-platform support (e.g. tablet-PC, TV screen, smartphone or Augmented Reality devices), automated text translation and speech synthesis. The worker benefits from more accessible and up-to-date instructions presented in an easy-to-read way.

Keywords: assembly, assistive technologies, augmented reality, manufacturing, visualization

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13 A Literature Review on Development of a Forecast Supported Approach for the Continuous Pre-Planning of Required Transport Capacity for the Design of Sustainable Transport Chains

Authors: Georg Brunnthaller, Sandra Stein, Wilfried Sihn

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Logistics service providers are facing increasing volatility concerning future transport demand. Short-term planning horizons and planning uncertainties lead to reduced capacity utilisation and increasing empty mileage. To overcome these challenges, a model is proposed to continuously pre-plan future transport capacity in order to redesign and adjust the intermodal fleet accordingly. It is expected that the model will enable logistics service providers to organise more economically and ecologically sustainable transport chains in a more flexible way. To further describe such planning aspects, this paper gives a structured literature review on transport planning problems. The focus is on strategic and tactical planning levels, comprising relevant fleet-sizing-, network-design- and choice-of-carriers-problems. Models and their developed solution techniques are presented and the literature review is concluded with an outlook to our future research objectives

Keywords: choice of transport mode, fleet-sizing, freight transport planning, multimodal, review, service network design

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12 Development of a Forecast-Supported Approach for the Continuous Pre-Planning of Mandatory Transportation Capacity for the Design of Sustainable Transport Chains: A Literature Review

Authors: Georg Brunnthaller, Sandra Stein, Wilfried Sihn

Abstract:

Transportation service providers are facing increasing volatility concerning future transport demand. Short-term planning horizons and planning uncertainties lead to reduced capacity utilization and increasing empty mileage. To overcome these challenges, a model is proposed to continuously pre-plan future transportation capacity in order to redesign and adjust the intermodal fleet accordingly. It is expected that the model will enable logistics service providers to organize more economically and ecologically sustainable transport chains in a more flexible way. To further describe these planning aspects, this paper gives an overview on transportation planning problems in a structured way. The focus is on strategic and tactical planning levels, comprising relevant fleet-sizing, service-network-design and choice-of-carriers-problems. Models and their developed solution techniques are presented, and the literature review is concluded with an outlook to our future research directions.

Keywords: freight transportation planning, multimodal, fleet-sizing, service network design, choice of transportation mode, review

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11 Formation of an Empire in the 21st Century: Theoretical Approach in International Relations and a Worldview of the New World Order

Authors: Rami Georg Johann

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Against the background of the current geopolitical constellations, the author looks at various empire models, which are discussed and compared with each other with regard to their stability and functioning. The focus is on the fifth concept as a possible new world order in the 21st century. These will be discussed and compared to one another according to their stability and functioning. All empires to be designed will be conceptualised based on one, two, three, four, and five worlds. All worlds are made up of a different constellation of states and relating coalitions. All systems will be discussed in detail. The one-world-system, the“Western Empire,” will be presented as a possible solution to a new world order in the 21st century (fifth concept). The term “Western” in “Western Empire” describes the Western concept after World War II. This Western concept was the result of two horrible world wars in the 20th century.” With this in mind, the fifth concept forms a stable empire system, the “Western Empire,” by political measures tied to two issues. Thus, this world order provides a significantly higher long-term stability in contrast to all other empire models (comprising five, four, three, or two worlds). Confrontations and threats of war are reduced to a minimum. The two issues mentioned are “merger” and “competition.” These are the main differences in forming an empire compared to all empires and realms in the history of mankind. The fifth concept of this theory, the “Western Empire,” acts explicitly as a counter model. The Western Empire (fifth concept) is formed by the merger of world powers without war. Thus, a world order without competition is created. This merged entity secures long-term peace, stability, democratic values, freedom, human rights, equality, and justice in the new world order.

Keywords: empire formation, theory of international relations, Western Empire, world order

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10 Maximizing Profit Using Optimal Control by Exploiting the Flexibility in Thermal Power Plants

Authors: Daud Mustafa Minhas, Raja Rehan Khalid, Georg Frey

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The next generation power systems are equipped with abundantly available free renewable energy resources (RES). During their low-cost operations, the price of electricity significantly reduces to a lower value, and sometimes it becomes negative. Therefore, it is recommended not to operate the traditional power plants (e.g. coal power plants) and to reduce the losses. In fact, it is not a cost-effective solution, because these power plants exhibit some shutdown and startup costs. Moreover, they require certain time for shutdown and also need enough pause before starting up again, increasing inefficiency in the whole power network. Hence, there is always a trade-off between avoiding negative electricity prices, and the startup costs of power plants. To exploit this trade-off and to increase the profit of a power plant, two main contributions are made: 1) introducing retrofit technology for state of art coal power plant; 2) proposing optimal control strategy for a power plant by exploiting different flexibility features. These flexibility features include: improving ramp rate of power plant, reducing startup time and lowering minimum load. While, the control strategy is solved as mixed integer linear programming (MILP), ensuring optimal solution for the profit maximization problem. Extensive comparisons are made considering pre and post-retrofit coal power plant having the same efficiencies under different electricity price scenarios. It concludes that if the power plant must remain in the market (providing services), more flexibility reflects direct economic advantage to the plant operator.

Keywords: discrete optimization, power plant flexibility, profit maximization, unit commitment model

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9 Challenges, Chances and Possibilities during the Change Management Process of the National Defence Academy Vienna

Authors: Georg Ebner

Abstract:

The National Defence Academy, an element of the Austrian Ministry of Defence, is undergoing a transition process leading the Academy towards a new target structure that is currently being developed. In so doing, in addition to a subject-oriented approach, also an employee-oriented process was introduced. This process was initiated by the Ministry of Defence and should lead the National Defence Academy into a new constellation. During this process, the National Defence Academy worked in very special adapted World Café sessions. The “change manager” dealed with very different issues. They took the data feedback from the sessions and prepared with the feedback and information from the guidance the next session. So they got various information and a very different picture around the academy. It was very helpful to involve most of the employees of the academy during this process and to take their knowledge and wisdom. The process himself started with very different feelings and ended with great consent. A very interesting part of this process was also that the commander and his deputy worked together during all of this sessions and they answered all questions from the employees in time. The adapted World Café phases were necessary to deal with the information of the staff and to implement these absolutely needful data into this process. In cooperation with the responsible Headquarters, the first items resulting from the World Café phases could already be fed back to the employees and be implemented. The staff-oriented process is currently supported via a point of contact, through which the staff can contribute ideas as well, but also by the active information policy on the part of the Headquarters. The described change process makes innovative innovations possible. So far, in the event of change processes staff members have been entrusted only with the concrete implementation plan and tied into the process when the respective workplaces were to be re-staffed. The procedure described here can be seen as food-for-thought for further change processes. The findings of this process are that a staff oriented process can lead an organisation into a new era of thinking and working. This process has shown, that a lot of innovative ideas can also take place in a ministry. This process can be a background for a lot of change management processes in ministries and governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Keywords: both directions approach, change management, knowledge database, transformation process, World Cafe

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8 A Player's Perspective of University Elite Netball Programmes in South Africa

Authors: Wim Hollander, Petrus Louis Nolte

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University sport in South Africa is not isolated from the complexity of globalization and professionalization of sport, as it forms an integral part of the sports development environment in South Africa. In order to align their sports programs with global and professional requirements, several universities opted to develop elite sports programs; recruit specialized personnel such as coaches, administrators, and athletes; provide expert coaching; scientific and medical services; sports testing; fitness, technical and tactical expertise; sport psychological and rehabilitation support; academic guidance and career assistance; and student-athlete accommodation. In addition, universities provide administrative support and high-quality physical resources (training facilities) for the benefit of the overall South African sport system. Although it is not compulsory for universities to develop elite sports programs to prepare their teams for competitions, elite competitions such as the annual Varsity Sport, University Sport South Africa (USSA) and local club competitions and leagues within international university competitions where universities not only compete but also deliver players for representative national netball teams. The aim of this study is, therefore, to describe the perceptions of players of the university elite netball programs they were participating in. This study adopted a descriptive design with a quantitative approach, utilizing a self-structured questionnaire as a research technique. As this research formed part of a national research project for NSA with a population of 172 national and provincial netball players, a sample of 92 university netball players from the population was selected. Content validity of the self-structured questionnaire was secured through a test-retest process, with construct validity through a member of the Statistical Consultation Services (STATCON) of the University of Johannesburg that provided feedback on the structural format of the questionnaire. Reliability was measured utilizing Cronbach Alpha on p < 0.005 level of significance. A reliability score of 0.87 was measured. The research was approved by the Board of Netball South Africa and ethical conduct implemented according to the processes and procedures approved by the Ethics Committees of the Faculty of Health Sciences, the University of Johannesburg with clearance number REC-01-30-2019. From the results, it is evident that university elite netball programs are professional, especially with regards to the employment of knowledgeable and competent coaches and technical officials such as team managers and sport sciences staff. These professionals have access to elite training facilities, support staff, and relatively large groups of elite players, all elements of an elite program that could enhance the national federation’s (Netball South Africa) system. Universities could serve the dual purpose of serving as university netball clubs, as well as providing elite training services and facilities as performance hubs for national players.

Keywords: elite sport programmes, university netball, player experiences, varsity sport netball

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7 Development of a Nursing Care Program Based on Anthroposophic External Therapy for the Pediatric Hospital in Brazil and Germany

Authors: Karina Peron, Ricardo Ghelman, Monica Taminato, Katia R. Oliveira, Debora C. A. Rodrigues, Juliana R. C. Mumme, Olga K. M. Sunakozaua, Georg Seifert, Vicente O. Filho

Abstract:

The nurse is the most available health professional for the interventions of support in the integrative approach in hospital environment, therefore a professional group key to changes in the model of care. The central components in the performance of anthroposophic nursing procedures are direct physical contact, promotion of proper rhythm, thermal regulation and the construction of a calm and empathic atmosphere, safe for patients and their caregivers. The procedures of anthroposophic external therapies (AET), basically composed of the application of compresses and the use of natural products, provide an opportunity to intensify the therapeutic results through an innovative, complementary and integrative model in the university hospital. The objective of this work is to report the implementation of a program of nursing techniques (AET) through a partnership between the Pediatric Oncology Sector of the Department of Pediatrics of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sao Paulo and Charite University of Berlin, with lecturers from Berlin's Integrative Hospital Havelhöhe and Witten-Herdecke Integrative Hospital, both in Germany. Intensive training activities of the Hospital's nursing staff and a survey on AET needs were developed based on the most prevalent complaints in pediatric oncology patients in the three environments of the Hospital of Pediatric Oncology: Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Intensive Care Unit and Division of Internal Patients. We obtained the approval of the clinical protocol of external anthroposophic therapies for nursing care by the Ethics Committee and the Academic Council of the Hospital. With this project, we highlight the key AET needs that will be part of the standard program of pediatric oncology care with appropriate scientific support. The results of the prevalent symptoms were: vomiting, nausea, pain, difficulty in starting sleep, constipation, cold extremities, mood disorder and psychomotor agitation. This project was the pioneer within the Integrative Pediatrics Program, as an innovative concept of Medicine and Integrative Health presented at scientific meetings.

Keywords: integrative health care, integrative nursing, pediatric nursing, pediatric oncology

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6 Roboweeder: A Robotic Weeds Killer Using Electromagnetic Waves

Authors: Yahoel Van Essen, Gordon Ho, Brett Russell, Hans-Georg Worms, Xiao Lin Long, Edward David Cooper, Avner Bachar

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Weeds reduce farm and forest productivity, invade crops, smother pastures and some can harm livestock. Farmers need to spend a significant amount of money to control weeds by means of biological, chemical, cultural, and physical methods. To solve the global agricultural labor shortage and remove poisonous chemicals, a fully autonomous, eco-friendly, and sustainable weeding technology is developed. This takes the form of a weeding robot, ‘Roboweeder’. Roboweeder includes a four-wheel-drive self-driving vehicle, a 4-DOF robotic arm which is mounted on top of the vehicle, an electromagnetic wave generator (magnetron) which is mounted on the “wrist” of the robotic arm, 48V battery packs, and a control/communication system. Cameras are mounted on the front and two sides of the vehicle. Using image processing and recognition, distinguish types of weeds are detected before being eliminated. The electromagnetic wave technology is applied to heat the individual weeds and clusters dielectrically causing them to wilt and die. The 4-DOF robotic arm was modeled mathematically based on its structure/mechanics, each joint’s load, brushless DC motor and worm gear’ characteristics, forward kinematics, and inverse kinematics. The Proportional-Integral-Differential control algorithm is used to control the robotic arm’s motion to ensure the waveguide aperture pointing to the detected weeds. GPS and machine vision are used to traverse the farm and avoid obstacles without the need of supervision. A Roboweeder prototype has been built. Multiple test trials show that Roboweeder is able to detect, point, and kill the pre-defined weeds successfully although further improvements are needed, such as reducing the “weeds killing” time and developing a new waveguide with a smaller waveguide aperture to avoid killing crops surrounded. This technology changes the tedious, time consuming and expensive weeding processes, and allows farmers to grow more, go organic, and eliminate operational headaches. A patent of this technology is pending.

Keywords: autonomous navigation, machine vision, precision heating, sustainable and eco-friendly

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5 Microglia Activation in Animal Model of Schizophrenia

Authors: Esshili Awatef, Manitz Marie-Pierre, Eßlinger Manuela, Gerhardt Alexandra, Plümper Jennifer, Wachholz Simone, Friebe Astrid, Juckel Georg

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Maternal immune activation (MIA) resulting from maternal viral infection during pregnancy is a known risk factor for schizophrenia. The neural mechanisms by which maternal infections increase the risk for schizophrenia remain unknown, although the prevailing hypothesis argues that an activation of the maternal immune system induces changes in the maternal-fetal environment that might interact with fetal brain development. It may lead to an activation of fetal microglia inducing long-lasting functional changes of these cells. Based on post-mortem analysis showing an increased number of activated microglial cells in patients with schizophrenia, it can be hypothesized that these cells contribute to disease pathogenesis and may actively be involved in gray matter loss observed in such patients. In the present study, we hypothesize that prenatal treatment with the inflammatory agent Poly(I:C) during embryogenesis at contributes to microglial activation in the offspring, which may, therefore, represent a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and underlines the need for new pharmacological treatment options. Pregnant rats were treated with intraperitoneal injections a single dose of Poly(I:C) or saline on gestation day 17. Brains of control and Poly(I:C) offspring, were removed and into 20-μm-thick coronal sections were cut by using a Cryostat. Brain slices were fixed and immunostained with ba1 antibody. Subsequently, Iba1-immunoreactivity was detected using a secondary antibody, goat anti-rabbit. The sections were viewed and photographed under microscope. The immunohistochemical analysis revealed increases in microglia cell number in the prefrontal cortex, in offspring of poly(I:C) treated-rats as compared to the controls injected with NaCl. However, no significant differences were observed in microglia activation in the cerebellum among the groups. Prenatal immune challenge with Poly(I:C) was able to induce long-lasting changes in the offspring brains. This lead to a higher activation of microglia cells in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region critical for many higher brain functions, including working memory and cognitive flexibility. which might be implicated in possible changes in cortical neuropil architecture in schizophrenia. Further studies will be needed to clarify the association between microglial cells activation and schizophrenia-related behavioral alterations.

Keywords: Microglia, neuroinflammation, PolyI:C, schizophrenia

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4 Light-Controlled Gene Expression in Yeast

Authors: Peter. M. Kusen, Georg Wandrey, Christopher Probst, Dietrich Kohlheyer, Jochen Buchs, Jorg Pietruszkau

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Light as a stimulus provides the capability to develop regulation techniques for customizable gene expression. A great advantage is the extremely flexible and accurate dosing that can be performed in a non invasive and sterile manner even for high throughput technologies. Therefore, light regulation in a multiwell microbioreactor system was realized providing the opportunity to control gene expression with outstanding complexity. A light-regulated gene expression system in Saccharomyces cerevisiae was designed applying the strategy of caged compounds. These compounds are photo-labile protected and therefore biologically inactive regulator molecules which can be reactivated by irradiation with certain light conditions. The “caging” of a repressor molecule which is consumed after deprotection was essential to create a flexible expression system. Thereby, gene expression could be temporally repressed by irradiation and subsequent release of the active repressor molecule. Afterwards, the repressor molecule is consumed by the yeast cells leading to reactivation of gene expression. A yeast strain harboring a construct with the corresponding repressible promoter in combination with a fluorescent marker protein was applied in a Photo-BioLector platform which allows individual irradiation as well as online fluorescence and growth detection. This device was used to precisely control the repression duration by adjusting the amount of released repressor via different irradiation times. With the presented screening platform the regulation of complex expression procedures was achieved by combination of several repression/derepression intervals. In particular, a stepwise increase of temporally-constant expression levels was demonstrated which could be used to study concentration dependent effects on cell functions. Also linear expression rates with variable slopes could be shown representing a possible solution for challenging protein productions, whereby excessive production rates lead to misfolding or intoxication. Finally, the very flexible regulation enabled accurate control over the expression induction, although we used a repressible promoter. Summing up, the continuous online regulation of gene expression has the potential to synchronize gene expression levels to optimize metabolic flux, artificial enzyme cascades, growth rates for co cultivations and many other applications addicted to complex expression regulation. The developed light-regulated expression platform represents an innovative screening approach to find optimization potential for production processes.

Keywords: caged-compounds, gene expression regulation, optogenetics, photo-labile protecting group

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3 The Audiovisual Media as a Metacritical Ludicity Gesture in the Musical-Performatic and Scenic Works of Caetano Veloso and David Bowie

Authors: Paulo Da Silva Quadros

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This work aims to point out comparative parameters between the artistic production of two exponents of the contemporary popular culture scene: Caetano Veloso (Brazil) and David Bowie (England). Both Caetano Veloso and David Bowie were pioneers in establishing an aesthetic game between various artistic expressions at the service of the music-visual scene, that is, the conceptual interconnections between several forms of aesthetic processes, such as fine arts, theatre, cinema, poetry, and literature. There are also correlations in their expressive attitudes of art, especially regarding the dialogue between the fields of art and politics (concern with respect to human rights, human dignity, racial issues, tolerance, gender issues, and sexuality, among others); the constant tension and cunning game between market, free expression and critical sense; the sophisticated, playful mechanisms of metalanguage and aesthetic metacritique. Fact is that both of them almost came to cooperate with each other in the 1970s when Caetano was in exile in England, and when both had at the same time the same music producer, who tried to bring them closer, noticing similar aesthetic qualities in both artistic works, which was later glimpsed by some music critics. Among many of the most influential issues in Caetano's and Bowie's game of artistic-aesthetic expression are, for example, the ideas advocated by the sensation of strangeness (Albert Camus), art as transcendence (Friedrich Nietzsche), the deconstruction and reconstruction of auratic reconfiguration of artistic signs (Walter Benjamin and Andy Warhol). For deepen more theoretical issues, the following authors will be used as supportive interpretative references: Hans-Georg Gadamer, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schiller, Johan Huizinga. In addition to the aesthetic meanings of Ars Ludens characteristics of the two artists, the following supporting references will be also added: the question of technique (Martin Heidegger), the logic of sense (Gilles Deleuze), art as an event and the sense of the gesture of art ( Maria Teresa Cruz), the society of spectacle (Guy Debord), Verarbeitung and Durcharbeitung (Sigmund Freud), the poetics of interpretation and the sign of relation (Cremilda Medina). The purpose of such interpretative references is to seek to understand, from a cultural reading perspective (cultural semiology), some significant elements in the dynamics of aesthetic and media interconnections of both artists, which made them as some of the most influential interlocutors in contemporary music aesthetic thought, as a playful vivid experience of life and art.

Keywords: Caetano Veloso, David Bowie, music aesthetics, symbolic playfulness, cultural reading

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2 The Positive Effects of Top-Sharing: A Case Study

Authors: Maike Andresen, Georg Dochtmann

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Due to political, social, and societal changes in labor organization, top-sharing, defined as job-sharing in leading positions, becomes more important in HRM. German companies are looking for practical and economically meaningful solutions that allow to enduringly increase women’s ratio in management, not only because of a recently implemented quota. Furthermore, supporting employees in achieving work-life balance is perceived as an important goal for a sustainable HRM to gain competitive advantage. Top-sharing is seen as being suitable to reach both goals. To evaluate determinants leading to effective top-sharing, a case study of a newly implemented top-sharing tandem in a large German enterprise was conducted over a period of 15 months. In this company, a full leadership position was split into two 60%-part-time positions held by an experienced female leader in her late career and a female college who took over her first leadership position (mid-career). We assumed a person-person fit in terms of a match of the top sharing partners’ personality profiles (Big Five) and their leadership motivations to be important prerequisites for an effective collaboration between them. We evaluated the person-person fit variables once before the tandem started to work. Both leaders were expected to learn from each other (mentoring, competency development). On an operational level, they were supposed to lead together the same employees in an effective manner (leader-member exchange), presupposing an effective cooperation between both (handing over information). To see developments over time, these processes were evaluated three times over the span of the project. Top-Sharing and the underlined processes are expected to positively influence the tandem’s performance which has been evaluated twice, at the beginning and the end of the project, to assess its development over time as well. The evaluation of the personality and the basic motives suggests that both executives can be a successful top-sharing tandem. The competency evaluations (supervisor as well as self-assessment) increased over the time span. Although the top sharing tandem worked on equal terms, they implemented rather classical than peer-mentoring due to different career ambitions of the tandem partners. Thus, opportunities were not used completely. Team-member exchange scores proved the good cooperation between the top-sharers. Although the employees did not evaluate the leader-member-exchange between them and the two leaders of the tandem homogeneously, the top-sharing tandem itself did not have the impression that the employees’ task performance depended on whom of the tandem was responsible for the task. Furthermore, top-sharing did not negatively influence the performance of both leaders. During qualitative interviews with the top-sharers and their team, we found that the top-sharers could focus more easily on their tasks. The results suggest positive outcomes of top-sharing (e.g. competency improvement, learning from each other through mentoring). Top-Sharing does not hamper performance. Thus, further research and practical implementations are suggested. As part-time jobs are still more often a female solution to increase their work-life- and work-family-balance, top-sharing may be a suitable solution to increase the woman’s ratio in leadership positions as well as to sustainable increase work-life-balance of executives.

Keywords: mentoring, part-time leadership, top-sharing, work-life-balance

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1 Squaring the Triangle: A Stumpian Solution to the Major Frictions that Exist between Pragmatism, Religion, and Moral Progress; Richard Bernstein, Cornel West, and Hans-Georg Gadamer Re-Examined

Authors: Martin Bloomfield

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This paper examines frictions that lie at the heart of any pragmatist conception of religion and moral progress. I take moral progress to require the ability to correctly analyse social problems, provide workable solutions to these problems, and then rationally justify the analyses and solutions used. I take religion here to involve, as a minimal requirement, belief in the existence of God, a god, or gods, such that they are recognisable to most informed observers within the Western tradition. I take pragmatism to belong to, and borrow from, the philosophical traditions of non-absolutism, anti-realism, historicism, and voluntarism. For clarity, the relevant brands of each of these traditions will be examined during the paper. The friction identified in the title may be summed up as follows: those who, like Cornel West (and, when he was alive, Hilary Putnam), are theistic pragmatists with an interest in realising moral progress, have all been aware of a problem inherent in their positions. Assuming it can be argued that religion and moral progress are compatible, a non-absolutist, anti-realist, historicist position nevertheless raises problems that, as Leon Wieseltier pointed out, the pragmatist still believes in a God who isn’t real, and that the truth of any religious statement (including “God exists”) is relative not to any objective reality but to communities of engaged interlocutors; and that, where there are no absolute standards of right and wrong, any analysis of (and solution to) social problems can only be rationally justified relative to one or another community or moral and epistemic framework. Attempts made to universalise these frameworks, notably by Dewey, Gadamer, and Bernstein, through democracy and hermeneutics, fall into either a vicious and infinite regress, or (taking inspiration from Habermas) the problem of moral truths being decided through structures of power. The paper removes this friction by highlighting the work of Christian pragmatist Cornel West through the lens of the philosopher of religion Eleanore Stump. While West recognises that for the pragmatist, the correctness of any propositions about God or moral progress is impossible to rationally justify to any outside the religious, moral or epistemic framework of the speakers themselves without, as he calls it, a ‘locus of truth’ (which is itself free from the difficulties Dewey, Gadamer and Bernstein fall victim to), Stump identifies routes to knowledge which provide such a locus while avoiding the problems of relativism, power dynamics, and regress. She describes “Dominican” and “Franciscan” knowledge (roughly characterised as “propositional” and “non-propositional”), and uses this distinction to identify something Bernstein saw as missing from Gadamer: culture-independent norms, upon which universal agreement can be built. The “Franciscan knowledge” Stump identifies as key is second-personal knowledge of Christ. For West, this allows the knower to access vital culture-independent norms. If correct, instead of the classical view (religion is incompatible with pragmatism), Christianity becomes key to pragmatist knowledge and moral-knowledge claims. Rather than being undermined by pragmatism, Christianity enables pragmatists to make moral and epistemic claims, free from troubling power dynamics and cultural relativism.

Keywords: Cornel West, Cultural Relativism, Gadamer, Philosophy of Religion, Pragmatism

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