Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 28

Search results for: Melanie Gau

28 Offenders and Victims in Public Focus: Media Coverage about Crime and Its Consequences

Authors: Melanie Verhovnik

Abstract:

Media shape the image of crime, peoples’ believes, attitudes and sometimes also behaviors. Media not only gives the impression that crime is increasing, it also suggest that very violent crime is more common than it actually is. It is also no wonder that humans are more afraid of being involved in a crime committed by strangers than committed by somebody they know – because this is the media construct. With the help of three case studies, the paper analyzes how media frames crime and criminals and gives valuable hints as to what better reporting could look like.

Keywords: court reporting, offenders in media, quantitative content analysis, victims in media

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27 The Columbine Shooting in German Media Coverage: A Point of No Return

Authors: Melanie Verhovnik

Abstract:

School shootings are a well-known phenomenon in Germany, 14 of which have occurred to date. The first case happened half a year after the April 20th, 1999 Columbine shooting in the United States, which was at the time the most serious school shooting to have occurred anywhere in the world. The German media gave only scant attention to the subject of school shootings prior to Columbine, even though there were numerous instances of it throughout the world and several serious instances in the United States during the 1990s. A mixed method design of qualitative and quantitative content analysis was employed in order to demonstrate the main features and characteristics of core German media’s coverage of Columbine.

Keywords: Columbine, media coverage, qualitative, quantitative content analysis, school shooting

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26 Availability of Metals in Fired Bricks Incorporating Harbour Sediments

Authors: Fabienne Baraud, Lydia Leleyter, Sandra Poree, Melanie Lemoine, Fatiha Oudghiri

Abstract:

Alternative solutions to immersion at sea are searched for the huge amounts of dredged sediments around the world that might contain various types of contaminants. Possible re-uses of such materials in civil engineering appear as sustainable solutions. The French SEDIBRIC project (valorisation de SEDIments en BRIQues et tuiles) aims to replace a part of natural clays with dredged sediments in the preparation of fired bricks. The potential environmental impact of this re-use is explored to complete the technical and economic feasibility of the study. As part of the project, we investigate the environmental availability of metallic elements (Al, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Mg, Mn, Pb, Ti, and Zn) initially present in the dredged sediments selected for the project. Leaching tests (with H₂O, HCl, or EDTA) are conducted in the sediments than in the final bricks in order to evaluate the possible influence of some steps of the bricks manufacturing (desalination pre-treatment, firing, etc.). The desalination pre-treatment using tap water has no or few impacts on the environmental availability of the studied elements. On the opposite, the firing process (900°C) affects the value of the total content of elements detected in the bricks but also the environmental availability for various elements. For instance, Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn are stabilized in the bricks, whereas the availability of some other elements (i.e., Cr, Ni) increases, depending on the nature of the extracting solution.

Keywords: availability, bricks, dredged sediments, metals

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25 Use of Chemical Extractions to Estimate the Metals Availability in Bricks Made of Dredged Sediments

Authors: Fabienne Baraud, Lydia Leleyter, Sandra Poree, Melanie Lemoine

Abstract:

SEDIBRIC (valorization de SEDIments en BRIQues et tuiles) is a French project that aims to replace a part of natural clays with dredged sediments in the preparation of fired bricks in order to propose an alternative solution for the management of harbor dredged sediments. The feasibility of such re-use is explored from a technical, economic, and environmental point of view. The present study focuses on the potential environmental impact of various chemical elements (Al, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Mg, Mn, Pb, Ti, and Zn) that are initially present in the dredged sediments. The total content (after acid digestion) and the environmental availability (estimated by single extractions with various extractants) of these elements are determined in the raw sediments and in the obtained fired bricks. The possible influence of some steps of the manufacturing process (sediment pre-treatment, firing) is also explored. The first results show that the pre-treatment step, which uses tap water to desalinate the raw sediment, does not influence the environmental availability of the studied elements. However, the firing process, performed at 900°C, can affect the amount of some elements detected in the bricks, as well as their environmental availability. We note that for Cr, or Ni, the HCl or EDTA availability was increased in the brick (compared to the availability in the raw sediment). For Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn, the HCl and EDTA availability was reduced in the bricks, meaning that these elements were stabilized within the bricks.

Keywords: bricks, chemical extraction, metals, sediment

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24 Big Classes, Bigger Ambitions: A Participatory Approach to the Multiple-Choice Exam

Authors: Melanie Adrian, Elspeth McCulloch, Emily-Jean Gallant

Abstract:

Resources -financial, physical, and human- are increasingly constrained in higher education. University classes are getting bigger, and the concomitant grading burden on faculty is growing rapidly. Multiple-choice exams are seen by some as one solution to these changes. How much students retain, however, and what their testing experience is, continues to be debated. Are multiple-choice exams serving students well, or are they bearing the burden of these developments? Is there a way to address both the resource constraints and make these types of exams more meaningful? In short, how do we engender evaluation methods for large-scale classes that provide opportunities for heightened student learning and enrichment? The following article lays out a testing approach we have employed in four iterations of the same third-year law class. We base our comments in this paper on our initial observations as well as data gathered from an ethics-approved study looking at student experiences. This testing approach provides students with multiple opportunities for revision (thus increasing chances for long term retention), is both individually and collaboratively driven (thus reflecting the individual effort and group effort) and is automatically graded (thus draining limited institutional resources). We found that overall students appreciated the approach and found it more ‘humane’, that it notably reduced pre-exam and intra-exam stress levels, increased ease, and lowered nervousness.

Keywords: exam, higher education, multiple-choice, law

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23 Optimising Light Conditions for Recombinant Protein Production in the Microalgal Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Chloroplast

Authors: Saskya E. Carrera P., Ben Hankamer, Melanie Oey

Abstract:

The green alga C. reinhardtii provides a platform for the cheap, scalable, and safe production of complex proteins. Despite gene expression in photosynthetic organisms being tightly regulated by light, most expression studies have analysed chloroplast recombinant protein production under constant light. Here the influence of illumination time and intensity on GFP and a GFP-PlyGBS (bacterial-lysin) fusion protein expression was investigated. The expression of both proteins was strongly influenced by the light regime (6-24 hr illumination per day), the light intensity (0-450 E m⁻²s⁻¹) and growth condition (photoautotrophic, mixotrophic and heterotrophic). Heterotrophic conditions resulted in relatively low recombinant protein yields per unit volume, despite high protein yields per cell, due to low growth rates. Mixotrophic conditions exhibited the highest yields at 6 hrs illumination at 200µE m⁻²s⁻¹ and under continuous low light illumination (13-16 mg L⁻¹ GFP and 1.2-1.6 mg L⁻¹ GFP-PlyGBS), as these conditions supported good cell growth and cellular protein yields. A ~23-fold increase in protein accumulation per cell and ~9-fold increase L⁻¹ culture was observed compared to standard constant 24 hr illumination for GFP-PlyGBS. The highest yields under photoautotrophic conditions were obtained under 9 hrs illumination (6 mg L⁻¹ GFP and 2.1 mg L⁻¹ GFP-PlyGBS). This represents a ~4-fold increase in cellular protein accumulation for GFP-PlyGBS. On a volumetric basis the highest yield was at 15 hrs illumination (~2-fold increase L⁻¹ over the constant light for GFP-PlyGBS). Optimising illumination conditions to balance growth and protein expression can thus significantly enhance overall recombinant protein production in C. reinhardtii cultures.

Keywords: chlamydomonas reinhardtii, light, mixotrophic, recombinant protein

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22 Improving Sample Analysis and Interpretation Using QIAGENs Latest Investigator STR Multiplex PCR Assays with a Novel Quality Sensor

Authors: Daniel Mueller, Melanie Breitbach, Stefan Cornelius, Sarah Pakulla-Dickel, Margaretha Koenig, Anke Prochnow, Mario Scherer

Abstract:

The European STR standard set (ESS) of loci as well as the new expanded CODIS core loci set as recommended by the CODIS Core Loci Working Group, has led to a higher standardization and harmonization in STR analysis across borders. Various multiplex PCRs assays have since been developed for the analysis of these 17 ESS or 23 CODIS expansion STR markers that all meet high technical demands. However, forensic analysts are often faced with difficult STR results and the questions thereupon. What is the reason that no peaks are visible in the electropherogram? Did the PCR fail? Was the DNA concentration too low? QIAGEN’s newest Investigator STR kits contain a novel Quality Sensor (QS) that acts as internal performance control and gives useful information for evaluating the amplification efficiency of the PCR. QS indicates if the reaction has worked in general and furthermore allows discriminating between the presence of inhibitors or DNA degradation as a cause for the typical ski slope effect observed in STR profiles of such challenging samples. This information can be used to choose the most appropriate rework strategy.Based on the latest PCR chemistry called FRM 2.0, QIAGEN now provides the next technological generation for STR analysis, the Investigator ESSplex SE QS and Investigator 24plex QS Kits. The new PCR chemistry ensures robust and fast PCR amplification with improved inhibitor resistance and easy handling for a manual or automated setup. The short cycling time of 60 min reduces the duration of the total PCR analysis to make a whole workflow analysis in one day more likely. To facilitate the interpretation of STR results a smart primer design was applied for best possible marker distribution, highest concordance rates and a robust gender typing.

Keywords: PCR, QIAGEN, quality sensor, STR

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21 Development of a Telemedical Network Supporting an Automated Flow Cytometric Analysis for the Clinical Follow-up of Leukaemia

Authors: Claude Takenga, Rolf-Dietrich Berndt, Erling Si, Markus Diem, Guohui Qiao, Melanie Gau, Michael Brandstoetter, Martin Kampel, Michael Dworzak

Abstract:

In patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), treatment response is increasingly evaluated with minimal residual disease (MRD) analyses. Flow Cytometry (FCM) is a fast and sensitive method to detect MRD. However, the interpretation of these multi-parametric data requires intensive operator training and experience. This paper presents a pipeline-software, as a ready-to-use FCM-based MRD-assessment tool for the daily clinical practice for patients with ALL. The new tool increases accuracy in assessment of FCM-MRD in samples which are difficult to analyse by conventional operator-based gating since computer-aided analysis potentially has a superior resolution due to utilization of the whole multi-parametric FCM-data space at once instead of step-wise, two-dimensional plot-based visualization. The system developed as a telemedical network reduces the work-load and lab-costs, staff-time needed for training, continuous quality control, operator-based data interpretation. It allows dissemination of automated FCM-MRD analysis to medical centres which have no established expertise for the benefit of an even larger community of diseased children worldwide. We established a telemedical network system for analysis and clinical follow-up and treatment monitoring of Leukaemia. The system is scalable and adapted to link several centres and laboratories worldwide.

Keywords: data security, flow cytometry, leukaemia, telematics platform, telemedicine

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20 The Aesthetics of Time in Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Reappraisal of the Eternal Recurrence of the Same

Authors: Melanie Tang

Abstract:

According to Nietzsche, the eternal recurrence is his most important idea. However, it is perhaps his most cryptic and difficult to interpret. Early readings considered it as a cosmological hypothesis about the cyclic nature of time. However, following Nehamas’s ‘Life as Literature’ (1985), it has become a widespread interpretation that the eternal recurrence never really had any theoretical dimensions, and is not actually a philosophy of time, but a practical thought experiment intended to measure the extent to which we have mastered and perfected our lives. This paper endeavours to challenge this line of thought becoming scholarly consensus, and to carry out a more complex analysis of the eternal recurrence as it is presented in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In its wider scope, this research proposes that Thus Spoke Zarathustra — as opposed to The Birth of Tragedy — be taken as the primary source for a study of Nietzsche’s Aesthetics, due to its more intrinsic aesthetic qualities and expressive devices. The eternal recurrence is the central philosophy of a work that communicates its ideas in unprecedentedly experimental and aesthetic terms, and a more in-depth understanding of why Nietzsche chooses to present his conception of time in aesthetic terms is warranted. Through hermeneutical analysis of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and engagement with secondary sources such as those by Nehamas, Karl Löwith, and Jill Marsden, the present analysis challenges the ethics of self-perfection upon which current interpretations of the recurrence are based, as well as their reliance upon a linear conception of time. Instead, it finds the recurrence to be a cyclic interplay between the self and the world, rather than a metric pertaining solely to the self. In this interpretation, time is found to be composed of an intertemporal rather than linear multitude of will to power, which structures itself through tensional cycles into an experience of circular time that can be seen to have aesthetic dimensions. In putting forth this understanding of the eternal recurrence, this research hopes to reopen debate on this key concept in the field of Nietzsche studies.

Keywords: Nietzsche, eternal recurrence, Zarathustra, aesthetics, time

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19 Plasma Engineered Nanorough Substrates for Stem Cells in vitro Culture

Authors: Melanie Macgregor-Ramiasa, Isabel Hopp, Patricia Murray, Krasimir Vasilev

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Stem cells based therapies are one of the greatest promises of new-age medicine due to their potential to help curing most dreaded conditions such as cancer, diabetes and even auto-immune disease. However, establishing suitable in vitro culture materials allowing to control the fate of stem cells remain a challenge. Amongst the factor influencing stem cell behavior, substrate chemistry and nanotopogaphy are particularly critical. In this work, we used plasma assisted surface modification methods to produce model substrates with tailored nanotopography and controlled chemistry. Three different sizes of gold nanoparticles were bound to amine rich plasma polymer layers to produce homogeneous and gradient surface nanotopographies. The outer chemistry of the substrate was kept constant for all substrates by depositing a thin layer of our patented biocompatible polyoxazoline plasma polymer on top of the nanofeatures. For the first time, protein adsorption and stem cell behaviour (mouse kidney stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells) were evaluated on nanorough plasma deposited polyoxazoline thin films. Compared to other nitrogen rich coatings, polyoxazoline plasma polymer supports the covalent binding of proteins. Moderate surface nanoroughness, in both size and density, triggers cell proliferation. In association with polyoxazoline coating, cell proliferation is further enhanced on nanorough substrates. Results are discussed in term of substrates wetting properties. These findings provide valuable insights on the mechanisms governing the interactions between stem cells and their growth support.

Keywords: nanotopography, stem cells, differentiation, plasma polymer, oxazoline, gold nanoparticles

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18 Information Extraction for Short-Answer Question for the University of the Cordilleras

Authors: Thelma Palaoag, Melanie Basa, Jezreel Mark Panilo

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Checking short-answer questions and essays, whether it may be paper or electronic in form, is a tiring and tedious task for teachers. Evaluating a student’s output require wide array of domains. Scoring the work is often a critical task. Several attempts in the past few years to create an automated writing assessment software but only have received negative results from teachers and students alike due to unreliability in scoring, does not provide feedback and others. The study aims to create an application that will be able to check short-answer questions which incorporate information extraction. Information extraction is a subfield of Natural Language Processing (NLP) where a chunk of text (technically known as unstructured text) is being broken down to gather necessary bits of data and/or keywords (structured text) to be further analyzed or rather be utilized by query tools. The proposed system shall be able to extract keywords or phrases from the individual’s answers to match it into a corpora of words (as defined by the instructor), which shall be the basis of evaluation of the individual’s answer. The proposed system shall also enable the teacher to provide feedback and re-evaluate the output of the student for some writing elements in which the computer cannot fully evaluate such as creativity and logic. Teachers can formulate, design, and check short answer questions efficiently by defining keywords or phrases as parameters by assigning weights for checking answers. With the proposed system, teacher’s time in checking and evaluating students output shall be lessened, thus, making the teacher more productive and easier.

Keywords: information extraction, short-answer question, natural language processing, application

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17 A PRISMA Systematic Review: Parent Sensitivity in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Its Relationship With Child and Parent Characteristics

Authors: Gabrielle Veloso, Melanie Porter, Kelsie Boulton, Adam Guastella

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The aim of the current systematic review was to examine child and parent factors and their associations with parent sensitivity towards children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Eight bibliographic databases were used to identify peer-reviewed journal articles examining these associations via quantitative analyses, with parent sensitivity measured via validated and reliable observation coding systems. Thirty-one studies were finalized as having met full criteria for inclusion. The review found agreement across studies that parent sensitivity was positively associated with the child’s initiations and responsiveness toward their parent, with more frequent parent-directed behaviors providing greater opportunity for parents to act and react in sensitive manner. There was also substantial evidence that parent sensitivity predicted later growth in child language ability and child social skills. Other factors such as child attachment, parent insightfulness toward their child, and parent resolution of the diagnosis were also identified across a number of studies as being positively associated with parent sensitivity, however, interpretations of these findings were limited by the absence of covariates identified in the literature as explaining much of the variance in parent sensitivity. With respect to non-significant associations, the literature reliably found that parents showed sensitivity toward their child with ASD, regardless of child age, ASD symptomology, concurrent child social skills, and concurrent child cognitive abilities. The robust associations found in this review and their potential explanations can serve as a jump off point in identifying an understanding protective and risk factors for families of children with ASD. With regard to future directions in research, assessment of the studies’ methodological quality identified points for improvement with respect to the measurement of parent sensitivity, as well as the consideration of several important methodological confounds that may be controlled for in statistical analyses.

Keywords: ASD, autism, parenting, parent sensitivity

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16 Combined Treatment of Aged Rats with Donepezil and the Gingko Extract EGb 761® Enhances Learning and Memory Superiorly to Monotherapy

Authors: Linda Blümel, Bettina Bert, Jan Brosda, Heidrun Fink, Melanie Hamann

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Age-related cognitive decline can eventually lead to dementia, the most common mental illness in elderly people and an immense challenge for patients, their families and caregivers. Cholinesterase inhibitors constitute the most commonly used antidementia prescription medication. The standardized Ginkgo biloba leaf extract EGb 761® is approved for treating age-associated cognitive impairment and has been shown to improve the quality of life in patients suffering from mild dementia. A clinical trial with 96 Alzheimer´s disease patients indicated that the combined treatment with donepezil and EGb 761® had fewer side effects than donepezil alone. In an animal model of cognitive aging, we compared the effect of combined treatment with EGb 761® or donepezil monotherapy and vehicle. We compared the effect of chronic treatment (15 days of pretreatment) with donepezil (1.5 mg/kg p. o.), EGb 761® (100 mg/kg p. o.), or the combination of the two drugs, or vehicle in 18 – 20 month old male OFA rats. Learning and memory performance were assessed by Morris water maze testing, motor behavior in an open field paradigm. In addition to chronic treatment, the substances were administered orally 30 minutes before testing. Compared to the first day and to the control group, only the combination group showed a significant reduction in latency to reach the hidden platform on the second day of testing. Moreover, from the second day of testing onwards, the donepezil, the EGb 761® and the combination group required less time to reach the hidden platform compared to the first day. The control group did not reach the same latency reduction until day three. There were no effects on motor behavior. These results suggest a superiority of the combined treatment of donepezil with EGb 761® compared to monotherapy.

Keywords: age-related cognitive decline, dementia, ginkgo biloba leaf extract EGb 761®, learning and memory, old rats

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15 Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles as Support for Classical Anti-cancer Therapies

Authors: Nadine Wiesmann, Melanie Viel, Christoph Buhr, Rachel Tanner, Wolfgang Tremel, Juergen Brieger

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Recidivation of tumors and the development of resistances against the classical anti-tumor approaches represent a major challenge we face when treating cancer. In order to master this challenge, we are in desperate need of new treatment options beyond the beaten tracks. Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) represent such an innovative approach. Zinc oxide is characterized by a high level of biocompatibility, concurrently ZnO NPs are able to exert anti-tumor effects. By concentration of the nanoparticles at the tumor site, tumor cells can specifically be exposed to the nanoparticles while low zinc concentrations at off-target sites are tolerated well and can be excreted easily. We evaluated the toxicity of ZnO NPs in vitro with the help of immortalized tumor cell lines and primary cells stemming from healthy tissue. Additionally, the Chorioallantoic Membrane Assay (CAM Assay) was employed to gain insights into the in vivo behavior of the nanoparticles. We could show that ZnO NPs interact with tumor cells as nanoparticulate matter. Furthermore, the extensive release of zinc ions from the nanoparticles nearby and within the tumor cells results in overload with zinc. Beyond that, ZnO NPs were found to further the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We were able to show that tumor cells were more prone to the toxic effects of ZnO NPs at intermediate concentrations compared to fibroblasts. With the help of ZnO NPs covered by a silica shell in which FITC dye was incorporated, we were able to track ZnO NPs within tumor cells as well as within a whole organism in the CAM assay after injection into the bloodstream. Depending on the applied concentrations, selective tumor cell killing seems feasible. Furthermore, the combinational treatment of tumor cells with radiotherapy and ZnO NPs shows promising results. Still, further investigations are needed to gain a better understanding of the interaction between ZnO NPs and the human body to be able to pave the way for their application as an innovative anti-tumor agent in the clinics.

Keywords: metal oxide nanoparticles, nanomedicine, overcome resistances against classical treatment options, zinc oxide nanoparticles

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14 Validation of an Impedance-Based Flow Cytometry Technique for High-Throughput Nanotoxicity Screening

Authors: Melanie Ostermann, Eivind Birkeland, Ying Xue, Alexander Sauter, Mihaela R. Cimpan

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Background: New reliable and robust techniques to assess biological effects of nanomaterials (NMs) in vitro are needed to speed up safety analysis and to identify key physicochemical parameters of NMs, which are responsible for their acute cytotoxicity. The central aim of this study was to validate and evaluate the applicability and reliability of an impedance-based flow cytometry (IFC) technique for the high-throughput screening of NMs. Methods: Eight inorganic NMs from the European Commission Joint Research Centre Repository were used: NM-302 and NM-300k (Ag: 200 nm rods and 16.7 nm spheres, respectively), NM-200 and NM- 203 (SiO₂: 18.3 nm and 24.7 nm amorphous, respectively), NM-100 and NM-101 (TiO₂: 100 nm and 6 nm anatase, respectively), and NM-110 and NM-111 (ZnO: 147 nm and 141 nm, respectively). The aim was to assess the biological effects of these materials on human monoblastoid (U937) cells. Dispersions of NMs were prepared as described in the NANOGENOTOX dispersion protocol and cells were exposed to NMs at relevant concentrations (2, 10, 20, 50, and 100 µg/mL) for 24 hrs. The change in electrical impedance was measured at 0.5, 2, 6, and 12 MHz using the IFC AmphaZ30 (Amphasys AG, Switzerland). A traditional toxicity assay, Trypan Blue Dye Exclusion assay, and dark-field microscopy were used to validate the IFC method. Results: Spherical Ag particles (NM-300K) showed the highest toxic effect on U937 cells followed by ZnO (NM-111 ≥ NM-110) particles. Silica particles were moderate to non-toxic at all used concentrations under these conditions. A higher toxic effect was seen with smaller sized TiO2 particles (NM-101) compared to their larger analogues (NM-100). No interferences between the IFC and the used NMs were seen. Uptake and internalization of NMs were observed after 24 hours exposure, confirming actual NM-cell interactions. Conclusion: Results collected with the IFC demonstrate the applicability of this method for rapid nanotoxicity assessment, which proved to be less prone to nano-related interference issues compared to some traditional toxicity assays. Furthermore, this label-free and novel technique shows good potential for up-scaling in directions of an automated high-throughput screening and for future NM toxicity assessment. This work was supported by the EC FP7 NANoREG (Grant Agreement NMP4-LA-2013-310584), the Research Council of Norway, project NorNANoREG (239199/O70), the EuroNanoMed II 'GEMN' project (246672), and the UH-Nett Vest project.

Keywords: cytotoxicity, high-throughput, impedance, nanomaterials

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13 Using Signature Assignments and Rubrics in Assessing Institutional Learning Outcomes and Student Learning

Authors: Leigh Ann Wilson, Melanie Borrego

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The purpose of institutional learning outcomes (ILOs) is to assess what students across the university know and what they do not. The issue is gathering this information in a systematic and usable way. This presentation will explain how one institution has engineered this process for both student success and maximum faculty curriculum and course design input. At Brandman University, there are three levels of learning outcomes: course, program, and institutional. Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) are mapped to specific courses. Faculty course developers write the signature assignments (SAs) in alignment with the Institutional Learning Outcomes for each course. These SAs use a specific rubric that is applied consistently by every section and every instructor. Each year, the 12-member General Education Team (GET), as a part of their work, conducts the calibration and assessment of the university-wide SAs and the related rubrics for one or two of the five ILOs. GET members, who are senior faculty and administrators who represent each of the university's schools, lead the calibration meetings. Specifically, calibration is a process designed to ensure the accuracy and reliability of evaluating signature assignments by working with peer faculty to interpret rubrics and compare scoring. These calibration meetings include the full time and adjunct faculty members who teach the course to ensure consensus on the application of the rubric. Each calibration session is chaired by a GET representative as well as the course custodian/contact where the ILO signature assignment resides. The overall calibration process GET follows includes multiple steps, such as: contacting and inviting relevant faculty members to participate; organizing and hosting calibration sessions; and reviewing and discussing at least 10 samples of student work from class sections during the previous academic year, for each applicable signature assignment. Conversely, the commitment for calibration teams consist of attending two virtual meetings lasting up to three hours in duration. The first meeting focuses on interpreting the rubric, and the second meeting involves comparing scores for sample work and sharing feedback about the rubric and assignment. Next, participants are expected to follow all directions provided and participate actively, and respond to scheduling requests and other emails within 72 hours. The virtual meetings are recorded for future institutional use. Adjunct faculty are paid a small stipend after participating in both calibration meetings. Full time faculty can use this work on their annual faculty report for "internal service" credit.

Keywords: assessment, assurance of learning, course design, institutional learning outcomes, rubrics, signature assignments

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12 Resourcing Remote Rural Social Enterprises to Foster Resilience and Regional Development

Authors: Heather Fulford, Melanie Liddell

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The recruitment and retention of high quality employees can prove to be challenging for social enterprises, particularly in some of the core business support functions such as marketing, communications, IT and finance. This holds true for social enterprises in urban contexts, where roles with more attractive remuneration in these business functions can often be found quite readily in the private sector. For social enterprises situated in rural locations, the challenges of staff recruitment and retention are even more acute. Such challenges can lead to a skills deficit in rural social enterprises, which can, at best, hinder their growth potential, and worse, jeopardise their chances of survival. This in turn, can have a negative impact on the sustainability and resilience of the surrounding rural community in which the social enterprise is located. The purpose of this paper is to report on aspects of a collaborative initiative established to stimulate innovation and business growth in remote rural businesses in Scotland. Launched in 2010, this initiative was designed to attract young students and graduates from the region to stay in the region upon completion of their studies, and to attract others from outside the region to re-locate there post-university. To facilitate this, SMEs in the region were offered wage subsidies to encourage them to recruit a student or graduate on a work placement for up to one year to participate in an innovation or business growth-oriented project. A number of the employers offering work placements were social enterprises. Through analysis of the placement project and role specifications devised by the participating social enterprises, an overview is provided of their business development needs and the skills they require to stimulate innovation and growth. Scrutiny of the reflective accounts compiled by the students and graduates at the close of their work placements highlights the benefits they derived from being able to put their academic knowledge and skills into action within a social enterprise. Examination of interviews conducted with a sample of placement employers reveals the contribution the students and graduates made during the business development projects with the social enterprises. The challenges of hosting such placements are also discussed. The paper concludes with indications of the lessons learned and an outline of the wider implications for other remote rural locations in which social enterprises play an important role in the local economy and life of the community.

Keywords: resilience, rural development, regeneration, regional development, recruitment, resource management, retention, remuneration

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11 Designing a Combined Outpatient and Day Treatment Eating Disorder Program for Adolescents and Transitional Aged Youth: A Naturalistic Case Study

Authors: Deanne McArthur, Melinda Wall, Claire Hanlon, Dana Agnolin, Krista Davis, Melanie Dennis, Elizabeth Glidden, Anne Marie Smith, Claudette Thomson

Abstract:

Background and significance: Patients with eating disorders have traditionally been an underserviced population within the publicly-funded Canadian healthcare system. This situation was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying public health measures, such as “lockdowns” which led to increased isolation, changes in routine, and other disruptions. Illness severity and prevalence rose significantly with corresponding increases in patient suffering and poor outcomes. In Ontario, Canada, the provincial government responded by increasing funding for the treatment of eating disorders, including the launch of a new day program at an intermediate, regional health centre that already housed an outpatient treatment service. The funding was received in March 2022. The care team sought to optimize this opportunity by designing a program that would fit well within the resource-constrained context in Ontario. Methods: This case study will detail how the team consulted the literature and sought patient and family input to design a program that optimizes patient outcomes and supports for patients and families while they await treatment. Early steps include a review of the literature, expert consultation and patient and family focus groups. Interprofessional consensus was sought at each step with the team adopting a shared leadership and patient-centered approach. Methods will include interviews, observations and document reviews to detail a rich description of the process undertaken to design the program, including evaluation measures adopted. Interim findings pertaining to the early stages of the program-building process will be detailed as well as early lessons and ongoing evolution of the program and design process. Program implementation and outcome evaluation will continue throughout 2022 and early 2023 with further publication and presentation of study results expected in the summer of 2023. The aim of this study is to contribute to the body of knowledge pertaining to the design and implementation of eating disorder treatment services that combine outpatient and day treatment services in a resource-constrained context.

Keywords: eating disorders, day program, interprofessional, outpatient, adolescents, transitional aged youth

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10 Designing a Waitlist Intervention for Adult Patients Awaiting Outpatient Treatment for Eating Disorders: Preliminary Findings from a Pilot Test

Authors: Deanne McArthur, Melinda Wall, Claire Hanlon, Dana Agnolin, Krista Davis, Melanie Dennis, Elizabeth Glidden, Anne Marie Smith, Claudette Thomson

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In Canada, as prevalence rates and severity of illness have increased among patients suffering from eating disorders, wait times have grown substantially. Patients in Canada often face wait times in excess of 12 months. It is known that delaying treatment for eating disorders contributes to poor patient outcomes and higher rates of symptom relapse. Improving interim services for adult patients awaiting outpatient treatment is a priority for an outpatient eating disorders clinic in Ontario, Canada. The clinical setting currently provides care for adults diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. At present, the only support provided while patients are on the waitlist consists of communication with primary care providers regarding parameters for medical monitoring. The significance of this study will be to test the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of an intervention to support adult patients awaiting outpatient eating disorder treatment for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Methods: An intervention including psychoeducation, supportive resources, self-monitoring, and auxiliary referral will be pilot-tested with a group of patients in the summer of 2022 and detailed using a prospective cohort case study research design. The team will host patient focus groups in May 2022 to gather input informing the content of the intervention. The intervention will be pilot tested with newly-referred patients in June and July 2022. Patients who participate in the intervention will be asked to complete a survey evaluating the utility of the intervention and for suggestions, they may have for improvement. Preliminary findings describing the existing literature pertaining to waitlist interventions for patients with eating disorders, data gathered from the focus groups and early pilot testing results will be presented. Data analysis will continue throughout 2022 and early 2023 for follow-up publication and presentation in the summer of 2023. The aim of this study is to contribute to the body of knowledge pertaining to providing interim support to those patients waiting for treatment for eating disorders and, by extension, to improve outcomes for this population.

Keywords: eating disorders, waitlist management, intervention study, pilot test

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9 Getting It Right Before Implementation: Using Simulation to Optimize Recommendations and Interventions After Adverse Event Review

Authors: Melissa Langevin, Natalie Ward, Colleen Fitzgibbons, Christa Ramsey, Melanie Hogue, Anna Theresa Lobos

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Description: Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is used by health care teams to examine adverse events (AEs) to identify causes which then leads to recommendations for prevention Despite widespread use, RCA has limitations. Best practices have not been established for implementing recommendations or tracking the impact of interventions after AEs. During phase 1 of this study, we used simulation to analyze two fictionalized AEs that occurred in hospitalized paediatric patients to identify and understand how the errors occurred and generated recommendations to mitigate and prevent recurrences. Scenario A involved an error of commission (inpatient drug error), and Scenario B involved detecting an error that already occurred (critical care drug infusion error). Recommendations generated were: improved drug labeling, specialized drug kids, alert signs and clinical checklists. Aim: Use simulation to optimize interventions recommended post critical event analysis prior to implementation in the clinical environment. Methods: Suggested interventions from Phase 1 were designed and tested through scenario simulation in the clinical environment (medicine ward or pediatric intensive care unit). Each scenario was simulated 8 times. Recommendations were tested using different, voluntary teams and each scenario was debriefed to understand why the error was repeated despite interventions and how interventions could be improved. Interventions were modified with subsequent simulations until recommendations were felt to have an optimal effect and data saturation was achieved. Along with concrete suggestions for design and process change, qualitative data pertaining to employee communication and hospital standard work was collected and analyzed. Results: Each scenario had a total of three interventions to test. In, scenario 1, the error was reproduced in the initial two iterations and mitigated following key intervention changes. In scenario 2, the error was identified immediately in all cases where the intervention checklist was utilized properly. Independently of intervention changes and improvements, the simulation was beneficial to identify which of these should be prioritized for implementation and highlighted that even the potential solutions most frequently suggested by participants did not always translate into error prevention in the clinical environment. Conclusion: We conclude that interventions that help to change process (epinephrine kit or mandatory checklist) were more successful at preventing errors than passive interventions (signage, change in memory aids). Given that even the most successful interventions needed modifications and subsequent re-testing, simulation is key to optimizing suggested changes. Simulation is a safe, practice changing modality for institutions to use prior to implementing recommendations from RCA following AE reviews.

Keywords: adverse events, patient safety, pediatrics, root cause analysis, simulation

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8 A Culture-Contrastive Analysis Of The Communication Between Discourse Participants In European Editorials

Authors: Melanie Kerschner

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Language is our main means of social interaction. News journalism, especially opinion discourse, holds a powerful position in this context. Editorials can be regarded as encounters of different, partially contradictory relationships between discourse participants constructed through the editorial voice. Their primary goal is to shape public opinion by commenting on events already addressed by other journalistic genres in the given newspaper. In doing so, the author tries to establish a consensus over the negotiated matter (i.e. the news event) with the reader. At the same time, he/she claims authority over the “correct” description and evaluation of an event. Yet, how can the relationship and the interaction between the discourse participants, i.e. the journalist, the reader and the news actors represented in the editorial, be best visualized and studied from a cross-cultural perspective? The present research project attempts to give insights into the role of (media) culture in British, Italian and German editorials. For this purpose the presenter will propose a basic framework: the so called “pyramid of discourse participants”, comprising the author, the reader, two types of news actors and the semantic macro-structure (as meta-level of analysis). Based on this framework, the following questions will be addressed: • Which strategies does the author employ to persuade the reader and to prompt him to give his opinion (in the comment section)? • In which ways (and with which linguistic tools) is editorial opinion expressed? • Does the author use adjectives, adverbials and modal verbs to evaluate news actors, their actions and the current state of affairs or does he/she prefer nominal labels? • Which influence do language choice and the related media culture have on the representation of news events in editorials? • In how far does the social context of a given media culture influence the amount of criticism and the way it is mediated so that it is still culturally-acceptable? The following culture-contrastive study shall examine 45 editorials (i.e. 15 per media culture) from six national quality papers that are similar in distribution, importance and the kind of envisaged readership to make valuable conclusions about culturally-motivated similarities and differences in the coverage and assessment of news events. The thematic orientation of the editorials will be the NSA scandal and the reactions of various countries, as this topic was and still is relevant to each of the three media cultures. Starting out from the “pyramid of discourse participants” as underlying framework, eight different criteria will be assigned to the individual discourse participants in the micro-analysis of the editorials. For the purpose of illustration, a single criterion, referring to the salience of authorial opinion, will be selected to demonstrate how the pyramid of discourse participants can be applied as a basis for empirical analysis. Extracts from the corpus shall furthermore enhance the understanding.

Keywords: Micro-analysis of editorials, culture-contrastive research, media culture, interaction between discourse participants, evaluation

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7 The Impact of the Covid-19 Crisis on the Information Behavior in the B2B Buying Process

Authors: Stehr Melanie

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The availability of apposite information is essential for the decision-making process of organizational buyers. Due to the constraints of the Covid-19 crisis, information channels that emphasize face-to-face contact (e.g. sales visits, trade shows) have been unavailable, and usage of digitally-driven information channels (e.g. videoconferencing, platforms) has skyrocketed. This paper explores the question in which areas the pandemic induced shift in the use of information channels could be sustainable and in which areas it is a temporary phenomenon. While information and buying behavior in B2C purchases has been regularly studied in the last decade, the last fundamental model of organizational buying behavior in B2B was introduced by Johnston and Lewin (1996) in times before the advent of the internet. Subsequently, research efforts in B2B marketing shifted from organizational buyers and their decision and information behavior to the business relationships between sellers and buyers. This study builds on the extensive literature on situational factors influencing organizational buying and information behavior and uses the economics of information theory as a theoretical framework. The research focuses on the German woodworking industry, which before the Covid-19 crisis was characterized by a rather low level of digitization of information channels. By focusing on an industry with traditional communication structures, a shift in information behavior induced by an exogenous shock is considered a ripe research setting. The study is exploratory in nature. The primary data source is 40 in-depth interviews based on the repertory-grid method. Thus, 120 typical buying situations in the woodworking industry and the information and channels relevant to them are identified. The results are combined into clusters, each of which shows similar information behavior in the procurement process. In the next step, the clusters are analyzed in terms of the post and pre-Covid-19 crisis’ behavior identifying stable and dynamic information behavior aspects. Initial results show that, for example, clusters representing search goods with low risk and complexity suggest a sustainable rise in the use of digitally-driven information channels. However, in clusters containing trust goods with high significance and novelty, an increased return to face-to-face information channels can be expected after the Covid-19 crisis. The results are interesting from both a scientific and a practical point of view. This study is one of the first to apply the economics of information theory to organizational buyers and their decision and information behavior in the digital information age. Especially the focus on the dynamic aspects of information behavior after an exogenous shock might contribute new impulses to theoretical debates related to the economics of information theory. For practitioners - especially suppliers’ marketing managers and intermediaries such as publishers or trade show organizers from the woodworking industry - the study shows wide-ranging starting points for a future-oriented segmentation of their marketing program by highlighting the dynamic and stable preferences of elaborated clusters in the choice of their information channels.

Keywords: B2B buying process, crisis, economics of information theory, information channel

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6 Protonic Conductivity Highlighted by Impedance Measurement of Y-Doped BaZrO3 Synthesized by Supercritical Hydrothermal Process

Authors: Melanie Francois, Gilles Caboche, Frederic Demoisson, Francois Maeght, Maria Paola Carpanese, Lionel Combemale, Pascal Briois

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Finding new clean, and efficient way for energy production is one of the actual global challenges. Advances in fuel cell technology have shown that, for few years, Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cell (PCFC) has attracted much attention in the field of new hydrogen energy thanks to their lower working temperature, possible higher efficiency, and better durability than classical SOFC. On the contrary of SOFC, where O²⁻ oxygen ion is the charge carrier, PCFC works with H⁺ proton as a charge carrier. Consequently, the lower activation energy of proton diffusion compared to the one of oxygen ion explains those benefits and allows PCFC to work in the 400-600°C temperature range. Doped-BaCeO₃ is currently the most chosen material for this application because of its high protonic conductivity; for example, BaCe₀.₉Y₀.₁O₃ δ exhibits a total conductivity of 1.5×10⁻² S.cm⁻¹ at 600°C in wet H₂. However, BaCeO₃ based perovskite has low stability in H₂O and/or CO₂ containing atmosphere, which limits their practical application. On the contrary, BaZrO₃ based perovskite exhibits good chemical stability but lower total conductivity than BaCeO₃ due to its larger grain boundary resistance. By substituting zirconium with 20% of yttrium, it is possible to achieve a total conductivity of 2.5×10⁻² S.cm⁻¹ at 600°C in wet H₂. However, the high refractory property of BaZr₀.₈Y₀.₂O₃-δ (noted BZY20) causes problems to obtain a dense membrane with large grains. Thereby, using a synthesis process that gives fine particles could allow better sinterability and thus decrease the number of grain boundaries leading to a higher total conductivity. In this work, BaZr₀.₈Y₀.₂O₃-δ have been synthesized by classical batch hydrothermal device and by a continuous hydrothermal device developed at ICB laboratory. The two variants of this process are able to work in supercritical conditions, leading to the formation of nanoparticles, which could be sintered at a lower temperature. The as-synthesized powder exhibits the right composition for the perovskite phase, impurities such as BaCO₃ and YO-OH were detected at very low concentration. Microstructural investigation and densification rate measurement showed that the addition of 1 wt% of ZnO as sintering aid and a sintering at 1550°C for 5 hours give high densified electrolyte material. Furthermore, it is necessary to heat the synthesized powder prior to the sintering to prevent the formation of secondary phases. It is assumed that this thermal treatment homogenizes the crystal structure of the powder and reduces the number of defects into the bulk grains. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy investigations in various atmospheres and a large range of temperature (200-700°C) were then performed on sintered samples, and the protonic conductivity of BZY20 has been highlighted. Further experiments on half-cell, NiO-BZY20 as anode and BZY20 as electrolyte, are in progress.

Keywords: hydrothermal synthesis, impedance measurement, Y-doped BaZrO₃, proton conductor

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5 Evaluating the Social Learning Processes Involved in Developing Community-Informed Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategies in the Prince Albert Forest Management Area

Authors: Carly Madge, Melanie Zurba, Ryan Bullock

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The Boreal Forest has experienced some of the most drastic climate change-induced temperature rises in Canada, with average winter temperatures increasing by 3°C since 1948. One of the main concerns of the province of Saskatchewan, and particularly wildfire managers, is the increased risk of wildfires due to climate change. With these concerns in mind Sakaw Askiy Management Inc., a forestry corporation located in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with operations in the Boreal Forest biome, is developing wildfire risk reduction strategies that are supported by the shareholders of the corporation as well as the stakeholders of the Prince Albert Forest Management Area (which includes citizens, hunters, trappers, cottage owners, and outfitters). In the past, wildfire management strategies implemented through harvesting have been received with skepticism by some community members of Prince Albert. Engagement of the stakeholders of the Prince Albert Management Area through the development of the wildfire risk reduction strategies aims to reduce this skepticism and rebuild some of the trust that has been lost between industry and community. This research project works with the framework of social learning, which is defined as the learning that occurs when individuals come together to form a group with the purpose of understanding environmental challenges and determining appropriate responses to them. The project evaluates the social learning processes that occur through the development of the risk reduction strategies and how the learning has allowed Sakaw to work towards implementing the strategies into their forest harvesting plans. The incorporation of wildfire risk reduction strategies works to increase the adaptive capacity of Sakaw, which in this case refers to the ability to adjust to climate change, moderate potential damages, take advantage of opportunities, and cope with consequences. Using semi-structured interviews and wildfire workshop meetings shareholders and stakeholders shared their knowledge of wildfire, their main wildfire concerns, and changes they would like to see made in the Prince Albert Forest Management Area. Interviews and topics discussed in the workshops were inductively coded for themes related to learning, adaptive capacity, areas of concern, and preferred methods of wildfire risk reduction strategies. Analysis determined that some of the learning that has occurred has resulted through social interactions and the development of networks oriented towards wildfire and wildfire risk reduction strategies. Participants have learned new knowledge and skills regarding wildfire risk reduction. The formation of wildfire networks increases access to information on wildfire and the social capital (trust and strengthened relations) of wildfire personnel. Both factors can be attributed to increases in adaptive capacity. Interview results were shared with the General Manager of Sakaw, where the areas of concern and preferred strategies of wildfire risk reduction will be considered and accounted for in the implementation of new harvesting plans. This research also augments the growing conceptual and empirical evidence of the important role of learning and networks in regional wildfire risk management efforts.

Keywords: adaptive capacity, community-engagement, social learning, wildfire risk reduction

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4 Digital Image Correlation Based Mechanical Response Characterization of Thin-Walled Composite Cylindrical Shells

Authors: Sthanu Mahadev, Wen Chan, Melanie Lim

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Anisotropy dominated continuous-fiber composite materials have garnered attention in numerous mechanical and aerospace structural applications. Tailored mechanical properties in advanced composites can exhibit superiority in terms of stiffness-to-weight ratio, strength-to-weight ratio, low-density characteristics, coupled with significant improvements in fatigue resistance as opposed to metal structure counterparts. Extensive research has demonstrated their core potential as more than just mere lightweight substitutes to conventional materials. Prior work done by Mahadev and Chan focused on formulating a modified composite shell theory based prognosis methodology for investigating the structural response of thin-walled circular cylindrical shell type composite configurations under in-plane mechanical loads respectively. The prime motivation to develop this theory stemmed from its capability to generate simple yet accurate closed-form analytical results that can efficiently characterize circular composite shell construction. It showcased the development of a novel mathematical framework to analytically identify the location of the centroid for thin-walled, open cross-section, curved composite shells that were characterized by circumferential arc angle, thickness-to-mean radius ratio, and total laminate thickness. Ply stress variations for curved cylindrical shells were analytically examined under the application of centric tensile and bending loading. This work presents a cost-effective, small-platform experimental methodology by taking advantage of the full-field measurement capability of digital image correlation (DIC) for an accurate assessment of key mechanical parameters such as in-plane mechanical stresses and strains, centroid location etc. Mechanical property measurement of advanced composite materials can become challenging due to their anisotropy and complex failure mechanisms. Full-field displacement measurements are well suited for characterizing the mechanical properties of composite materials because of the complexity of their deformation. This work encompasses the fabrication of a set of curved cylindrical shell coupons, the design and development of a novel test-fixture design and an innovative experimental methodology that demonstrates the capability to very accurately predict the location of centroid in such curved composite cylindrical strips via employing a DIC based strain measurement technique. Error percentage difference between experimental centroid measurements and previously estimated analytical centroid results are observed to be in good agreement. The developed analytical modified-shell theory provides the capability to understand the fundamental behavior of thin-walled cylindrical shells and offers the potential to generate novel avenues to understand the physics of such structures at a laminate level.

Keywords: anisotropy, composites, curved cylindrical shells, digital image correlation

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3 A Community Solution to Address Extensive Nitrate Contamination in the Lower Yakima Valley Aquifer

Authors: Melanie Redding

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Historic widespread nitrate contamination of the Lower Yakima Valley aquifer in Washington State initiated a community-based effort to reduce nitrate concentrations to below-drinking water standards. This group commissioned studies on characterizing local nitrogen sources, deep soil assessments, drinking water, and assessing nitrate concentrations at the water table. Nitrate is the most prevalent groundwater contaminant with common sources from animal and human waste, fertilizers, plants and precipitation. It is challenging to address groundwater contamination when common sources, such as agriculture, on-site sewage systems, and animal production, are widespread. Remediation is not possible, so mitigation is essential. The Lower Yakima Valley is located over 175,000 acres, with a population of 56,000 residents. Approximately 25% of the population do not have access to safe, clean drinking water, and 20% of the population is at or below the poverty level. Agriculture is the primary economic land-use activity. Irrigated agriculture and livestock production make up the largest percentage of acreage and nitrogen load. Commodities include apples, grapes, hops, dairy, silage corn, triticale, alfalfa and cherries. These commodities are important to the economic viability of the residents of the Lower Yakima Valley, as well as Washington State. Mitigation of nitrate in groundwater is challenging. The goal is to ensure everyone has safe drinking water. There are no easy remedies due to the extensive and pervasiveness of the contamination. Monitoring at the water table indicates that 45% of the 30 spatially distributed monitoring wells exceeded the drinking water standard. This indicates that there are multiple sources that are impacting water quality. Washington State has several areas which have extensive groundwater nitrate contamination. The groundwater in these areas continues to degrade over time. However, the Lower Yakima Valley is being successful in addressing this health issue because of the following reasons: the community is engaged and committed; there is one common goal; there has been extensive public education and outreach to citizens; and generating credible data using sound scientific methods. Work in this area is continuing as an ambient groundwater monitoring network is established to assess the condition of the aquifer over time. Nitrate samples are being collected from 170 wells, spatially distributed across the aquifer. This research entails quarterly sampling for two years to characterize seasonal variability and then continue annually afterward. This assessment will provide the data to statistically determine trends in nitrate concentrations across the aquifer, over time. Thirty-three of these wells are monitoring wells that are screened across the aquifer. The water quality from these wells are indicative of activities at the land surface. Additional work is being conducted to identify land use management practices that are effective in limiting nitrate migration through the soil column. Tracking nitrate in the soil column every season is an important component of bridging land-use practices with the fate and transport of nitrate through the subsurface. Patience, tenacity, and the ability to think outside the box are essential for dealing with widespread nitrate contamination of groundwater.

Keywords: community, groundwater, monitoring, nitrate

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2 Decrease in Olfactory Cortex Volume and Alterations in Caspase Expression in the Olfactory Bulb in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease

Authors: Majed Al Otaibi, Melissa Lessard-Beaudoin, Amel Loudghi, Raphael Chouinard-Watkins, Melanie Plourde, Frederic Calon, C. Alexandre Castellano, Stephen Cunnane, Helene Payette, Pierrette Gaudreau, Denis Gris, Rona K. Graham

Abstract:

Introduction: Alzheimer disease (AD) is a chronic disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. Symptoms include memory dysfunction, and also alterations in attention, planning, language and overall cognitive function. Olfactory dysfunction is a common symptom of several neurological disorders including AD. Studying the mechanisms underlying the olfactory dysfunction may therefore lead to the discovery of potential biomarkers and/or treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Objectives: To determine if olfactory dysfunction predicts future cognitive impairment in the aging population and to characterize the olfactory system in a murine model expressing a genetic factor of AD. Method: For the human study, quantitative olfactory tests (UPSIT and OMT) have been done on 93 subjects (aged 80 to 94 years) from the Quebec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging (NuAge) cohort accepting to participate in the ORCA secondary study. The telephone Modified Mini Mental State examination (t-MMSE) was used to assess cognition levels, and an olfactory self-report was also collected. In a separate cohort, olfactory cortical volume was calculated using MRI results from healthy old adults (n=25) and patients with AD (n=18) using the AAL single-subject atlas and performed with the PNEURO tool (PMOD 3.7). For the murine study, we are using Western blotting, RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Result: Human Study: Based on the self-report, 81% of the participants claimed to not suffer from any problem with olfaction. However, based on the UPSIT, 94% of those subjects showed a poor olfactory performance and different forms of microsmia. Moreover, the results confirm that olfactory function declines with age. We also detected a significant decrease in olfactory cortical volume in AD individuals compared to controls. Murine study: Preliminary data demonstrate there is a significant decrease in expression levels of the proform of caspase-3 and the caspase substrate STK3, in the olfactory bulb of mice expressing human APOE4 compared with controls. In addition, there is a significant decrease in the expression level of the caspase-9 proform and caspase-8 active fragment. Analysis of the mature neuron marker, NeuN, shows decreased expression levels of both isoforms. The data also suggest that Iba-1 immunostaining is increased in the olfactory bulb of APOE4 mice compared to wild type mice. Conclusions: The activation of caspase-3 may be the cause of the decreased levels of STK3 through caspase cleavage and may play role in the inflammation observed. In the clinical study, our results suggest that seniors are unaware of their olfactory function status and therefore it is not sufficient to measure olfaction using the self-report in the elderly. Studying olfactory function and cognitive performance in the aging population will help to discover biomarkers in the early stage of the AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, APOE4, cognition, caspase, brain atrophy, neurodegenerative, olfactory dysfunction

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1 Poverty Reduction in European Cities: Local Governments’ Strategies and Programmes to Reduce Poverty; Interview Results from Austria

Authors: Melanie Schinnerl, Dorothea Greiling

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In the context of the 2020 strategy, poverty and its fight returned to the center of national political efforts. This served as motivation for an Austrian research grant-funded project to focus on the under-researched local government level with the aim to identify municipal best-practice cases and to derive policy implications for Austria. Designing effective poverty reduction strategies is a complex challenge which calls for an integrated multi-actor in approach. Cities are increasingly confronted to combat poverty, even in rich EU-member states. By doing so cities face substantial demographic, cultural, economic and social challenges as well as changing welfare state regimes. Furthermore, there is a low willingness of (right-wing) governments to support the poor. Against this background, the research questions are: 1. How do local governments define poverty? 2. Who are the main risk groups and what are the most pressing problems when fighting urban poverty? 3. What is regarded as successful anti-poverty initiatives? 4. What is the underlying welfare state concept? To address the research questions a multi-method approach was chosen, consisting of a systematic literature analysis, a comprehensive document analysis, and expert interviews. For interpreting the data the project follows the qualitative-interpretive paradigm. Municipal approaches for reducing poverty are compared based on deductive, as well as inductive identified criteria. In addition to an intensive literature analysis, interviews (40) were conducted in Austria since the project started in March 2018. From the other countries, 14 responses have been collected, providing a first insight. Regarding the definition of poverty the EU SILC-definition as well as counting the persons who receive need-based minimum social benefits, the Austrian form of social welfare, are the predominant approaches in Austria. In addition to homeless people, single-parent families, un-skilled persons, long-term unemployed persons, migrants (first and second generation), refugees and families with at least 3 children were frequently mentioned. The most pressing challenges for Austrian cities are: expected reductions of social budgets, a great insecurity of the central government's social policy reform plans, the growing number of homeless people and a lack of affordable housing. Together with affordable housing, old-age poverty will gain more importance in the future. The Austrian best practice examples, suggested by interviewees, focused primarily on homeless, children and young people (till 25). Central government’s policy changes have already negative effects on programs for refugees and elderly unemployed. Social Housing in Vienna was frequently mentioned as an international best practice case, other growing cities can learn from. The results from Austria indicate a change towards the social investment state, which primarily focuses on children and labour market integration. The first insights from the other countries indicate that affordable housing and labor market integration are cross-cutting issues. Inherited poverty and old-age poverty seems to be more pressing outside Austria.

Keywords: anti-poverty policies, European cities, empirical study, social investment

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