Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 40

Search results for: Michele Sinico

40 The Effect of Symmetry on the Perception of Happiness and Boredom in Design Products

Authors: Michele Sinico


The present research investigates the effect of symmetry on the perception of happiness and boredom in design products. Three experiments were carried out in order to verify the degree of the visual expressive value on different models of bookcases, wall clocks, and chairs. 60 participants directly indicated the degree of happiness and boredom using 7-point rating scales. The findings show that the participants acknowledged a different value of expressive quality in the different product models. Results show also that symmetry is not a significant constraint for an emotional design project.

Keywords: product experience, emotional design, symmetry, expressive qualities

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39 Perceptual Organization within Temporal Displacement

Authors: Michele Sinico


The psychological present has an actual extension. When a sequence of instantaneous stimuli falls in this short interval of time, observers perceive a compresence of events in succession and the temporal order depends on the qualitative relationships between the perceptual properties of the events. Two experiments were carried out to study the influence of perceptual grouping, with and without temporal displacement, on the duration of auditory sequences. The psychophysical method of adjustment was adopted. The first experiment investigated the effect of temporal displacement of a white noise on sequence duration. The second experiment investigated the effect of temporal displacement, along the pitch dimension, on temporal shortening of sequence. The results suggest that the temporal order of sounds, in the case of temporal displacement, is organized along the pitch dimension.

Keywords: time perception, perceptual present, temporal displacement, Gestalt laws of perceptual organization

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38 The Influence of Directionality on the Giovanelli Illusion

Authors: Michele Sinico


In the Giovanelli illusion, some collinear dots appear misaligned, when each dot lies within a circle and the circles are not collinear. In this illusion, the role of the frame of reference, determined by the circles, is considered a crucial factor. Three experiments were carried out to study the influence of directionality of the circles on the misalignment. The adjustment method was used. Participants changed the orthogonal position of each dot, from the left to the right of the sequence, until a collinear sequence of dots was achieved. The first experiment verified the illusory effect of the misalignment. In the second experiment, the influence of two different directionalities of the circles (-0.58° and +0.58°) on the misalignment was tested. The results show an over-normalization on the sequences of the dots. The third experiment tested the misalignment of the dots without any inclination of the sequence of circles (0°). Only a local illusory effect was found. These results demonstrate that the directionality of the circles, as a global factor, can increase the misalignment. The findings also indicate that directionality and the frame of reference are independent factors in explaining the Giovanelli illusion.

Keywords: Giovannelli illusion, visual illusion, directionality, misalignment, the frame of reference

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37 Development of Researcher Knowledge in Mathematics Education: Towards a Confluence Framework

Authors: Igor Kontorovich, Rina Zazkis


We present a framework of researcher knowledge ‎development in conducting a study in mathematics education. The key ‎components of the framework are: knowledge germane to conducting a ‎particular study, processes of knowledge accumulation, and catalyzing ‎filters that influence a researcher decision making. The components of ‎the framework originated from a confluence between constructs and ‎theories in Mathematics Education, Higher Education and Sociology. ‎Drawing on a self-reflective interview with a leading researcher in ‎mathematics education, professor Michèle Artigue, we illustrate how ‎the framework can be utilized in data analysis. Criteria for framework ‎evaluation are discussed. ‎

Keywords: community of practice, knowledge development, mathematics education research, researcher knowledge

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36 Social Business Models: When Profits and Impacts Are Not at Odds

Authors: Elisa Pautasso, Matteo Castagno, Michele Osella


In the last decade, the emergence of new social needs as an effect of the economic crisis has stimulated the flourishing of business endeavours characterised by explicit social goals. Social start-ups, social enterprises or Corporate Social Responsibility operations carried out by traditional companies are quintessential examples in this regard. This paper analyses these kinds of initiatives in order to discover the main characteristics of social business models and to provide insights to social entrepreneurs for developing or improving their strategies. The research is conducted through the integration of literature review and case study analysis and, thanks to the recognition of the importance of both profits and social impacts as the key success factors for a social business model, proposes a framework for identifying indicators suitable for measuring the social impacts generated.

Keywords: business model, case study, impacts, social business

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35 A Combinatorial Representation for the Invariant Measure of Diffusion Processes on Metric Graphs

Authors: Michele Aleandri, Matteo Colangeli, Davide Gabrielli


We study a generalization to a continuous setting of the classical Markov chain tree theorem. In particular, we consider an irreducible diffusion process on a metric graph. The unique invariant measure has an atomic component on the vertices and an absolutely continuous part on the edges. We show that the corresponding density at x can be represented by a normalized superposition of the weights associated to metric arborescences oriented toward the point x. A metric arborescence is a metric tree oriented towards its root. The weight of each oriented metric arborescence is obtained by the product of the exponential of integrals of the form ∫a/b², where b is the drift and σ² is the diffusion coefficient, along the oriented edges, for a weight for each node determined by the local orientation of the arborescence around the node and for the inverse of the diffusion coefficient at x. The metric arborescences are obtained by cutting the original metric graph along some edges.

Keywords: diffusion processes, metric graphs, invariant measure, reversibility

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34 Experimental Chip/Tool Temperature FEM Model Calibration by Infrared Thermography: A Case Study

Authors: Riccardo Angiuli, Michele Giannuzzi, Rodolfo Franchi, Gabriele Papadia


Temperature knowledge in machining is fundamental to improve the numerical and FEM models used for the study of some critical process aspects, such as the behavior of the worked material and tool. The extreme conditions in which they operate make it impossible to use traditional measuring instruments; infrared thermography can be used as a valid measuring instrument for temperature measurement during metal cutting. In the study, a large experimental program on superduplex steel (ASTM A995 gr. 5A) cutting was carried out, the relevant cutting temperatures were measured by infrared thermography when certain cutting parameters changed, from traditional values to extreme ones. The values identified were used to calibrate a FEM model for the prediction of residual life of the tools. During the study, the problems related to the detection of cutting temperatures by infrared thermography were analyzed, and a dedicated procedure was developed that could be used during similar processing.

Keywords: machining, infrared thermography, FEM, temperature measurement

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33 Investigation on the Kinetic Mechanism of the Reduction of Fe₂O₃/CoO-Decorated Carbon Xerogel

Authors: Mohammad Reza Ghaani, Michele Catti


The reduction of CoO/Fe₂O₃ oxides supported on carbon xerogels was studied to elucidate the effect of nano-size distribution of the catalyst in carbon matrices. Resorcinol formaldehyde xerogels were synthesized, impregnated with iron and cobalt nitrates, and subsequently heated to obtain the oxides. The mechanism of oxide reduction to metal was investigated by in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction in dynamic, non-isothermal conditions. Kinetic profiles of the reactions were obtained by plotting the diffraction intensities of selected Bragg peaks vs. temperature. The extracted Temperature-Programmed-Reduction (TPR) diagrams were analyzed by appropriate kinetic models, leading to best results with the Avrami-Erofeev model for all reduction reactions considered. The activation energies for the two-step reduction of iron oxide were 65 and 37 kJmol⁻¹, respectively. The average value for the reduction of CoO to Co was found to be around 21 kJ mol⁻¹. Such results may contribute to develop efficient and inexpensive non-noble metal-based catalysts in element form, e.g., Fe, Co, via heterogenization of metal complexes on mesoporous supports.

Keywords: non-isothermal kinetics, carbon aerogel, in-situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction, reduction mechanisms

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32 Clonal Evaluation of Malignant Mesothelioma

Authors: Sabahattin Comertpay, Sandra Pastorino, Rosanna Mezzapelle, Mika Tanji, Oriana Strianese, Andrea Napolitano, Tracey Weigel, Joseph Friedberg, Paul Sugarbaker, Thomas Krausz, Ena Wang, Amy Powers, Giovanni Gaudino, Harvey I. Pass, Fatmagul Ozcelik, Barbara L. Parsons, Haining Yang, Michele Carbone


Tumors are thought to be monoclonal in origin. This paradigm arose decades ago, primarily from the study of hematopoietic malignancies and sarcomas. The clonal origin of malignant mesothelioma (MM), a deadly cancer resistant to the current therapies, has not been investigated. Examination of the pleura from patients with MM shows often the presence of multiple pleural nodules, raising the question of whether they represent independent or metastatic growth processes. To investigate the clonality patterns of MM, we used the HUMARA (Human Androgen Receptor) assay to examine 14 sporadic and 2 familial Malignant Mesotheliomas (MM). Of 16 specimens studied, 15 were informative and 14/15 revealed two electrophoretically distinct methylated HUMARA alleles, indicating a polyclonal origin for these tumors. This discovery has important clinical implications, because an accurate assessment of tumor clonality is key to the design of novel molecular strategies for the treatment of MM.

Keywords: malignant mesothelioma, clonal origin, HUMARA, sarcomas

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31 Bibliometrics of 'Community Garden' and Associated Keywords

Authors: Guilherme Reis Ranieri, Guilherme Leite Gaudereto, Michele Toledo, Luis Fernando Amato-Lourenco, Thais Mauad


Given the importance to urban sustainability and the growing relevance of the term ‘community garden’, this paper aims to conduct a bibliometric analysis of the term. Using SCOPUS as database, we analyzed 105 articles that contained the keywords ‘community garden’, and conducted a cluster analysis with the associated keywords. As results, we found 205 articles and 404 different keywords. Among the keywords, 334 are not repeated anytime, 44 are repeated 2 times and 9 appear 3 times. The most frequent keywords are: community food systems (74), urban activism (14), Communities of practice (6), food production (6) and public rethoric (5). Within the areas, which contains more articles are: social sciences (74), environmental science (29) and agricultural and biological sciences (24).The three main countries that concentrated the papers are United States (54), Canada (15) and Australia (12). The main journal with these keywords is Local Environment (10). The first publication was in 1999, and by 2010 concentrated 30,5% of the publications. The other 69,5% occurred 2010 to 2015, indicating an increase in frequency. We can conclude that the papers, based on the distribution of the keywords, are still scattered in various research topics and presents high variability between subjects.

Keywords: bibliometrics, community garden, metrics, urban agriculture

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30 Roles of Lysine-63-Linked Ubiquitination in Cell Decision Fate between Cell Proliferation and Apoptosis

Authors: Chargui Abderrahman, Nehdi Afef , BelaïD Amine , Djerbi Nadir, Tauc Michel, Hofman Paul, Mograbi Baharia, El May MichèLe


K63-linked ubiquitination — i.e. conjugation of a chain of ubiquitins (Ub) linked through lys63 — has emerged as a key mechanism regulating signalling transduction pathways. Although critical, very little information is currently available about how subversion of K63 ubiquitination might contribute to cancers and inflammatory diseases. The present study provides the first evidence that Cadmium (Cd), a widespread environmental carcinogen and toxicant, is a powerful activator of K63 ubiquitination. Indeed, Cd induces accumulation of K63 polyUb proteins. Importantly, Cd-induced ubiquitination does not stem on oxidative damage or proteasome impairment. Rather, we demonstrate that Cd not only activates K63 ubiquitination but also amplifies their accumulation by overloading the capacity of autophagy pathway. At molecular level, Cd-induced ubiquitination is correlated with stabilization of HIF-1 and the activation of NF-B, two transcription factors. Strikingly, prolonged cell exposure to high Cd concentrations induces an exaggerated K63 ubiquitination that fosters aggresome formation, thus precluding these proteins from interacting with their downstream nuclear targets. We therefore propose that the aberrant activation of K63 ubiquitination by the carcinogen Cadmium could promote cell proliferation and inflammation at low levels while high levels committed cell to death.

Keywords: cadmium, environmental exposure, Lysine-63-ubiquitination, kidney, apoptosis, proliferation, autophagy

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29 Costume Design Influenced by Seventeenth Century Color Palettes on a Contemporary Stage

Authors: Michele L. Dormaier


The purpose of the research was to design costumes based on historic colors used by artists during the seventeenth century. The researcher investigated European art, primarily paintings and portraiture, as well as the color palettes used by the artists. The methodology examined the artists, their work, the color palettes used in their work, and the practices of color usage within their palettes. By examining portraits of historic figures, as well as paintings of ordinary scenes, subjects, and people, further information about color palettes was revealed. Related to the color palettes, was the use of ‘broken colors’ which was a relatively new practice, dating from the sixteenth century. The color palettes used by the artists of the seventeenth century had their limitations due to available pigments. With an examination of not only their artwork, and with a closer look at their palettes, the researcher discovered the exciting choices they made, despite those restrictions. The research was also initiated with the historical elements of the era’s clothing, as well as that of available materials and dyes. These dyes were also limited in much the same manner as the pigments which the artist had at their disposal. The color palettes of the paintings have much to tell us about the lives, status, conditions, and relationships from the past. From this research, informed decisions regarding color choices for a production on a contemporary stage of a period piece could then be made. The designer’s choices were a historic gesture to the colors which might have been worn by the character’s real-life counterparts of the era.

Keywords: broken color palette, costume color research, costume design, costume history, seventeenth century color palette, sixteenth century color palette

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28 Extraction of M. paradisiaca L. Inflorescences Using Compressed Propane

Authors: Michele C. Mesomo, Madeline de Souza Correa, Roberta L. Kruger, Luis R. S. Kanda, Marcos L. Corazza


Natural extracts of plants have been used for many years for different purposes and recently they have been screened for their potential use as alternative remedies and food preservatives. Inflorescences of M. paradisiaca L., also known as the heart of the banana, have great economic interest due to its fruit. All parts of the banana are used for many different purposes, including use in folk medicine. The use of extraction via supercritical technology has grown in recent years, though it is still necessary to obtain experimental information for the construction of industrial plants. This work reports the extraction of Musa paradisiaca L. using compressed propane as solvent. The effects of the supercritical extraction conditions, pressure and temperature on the yield were evaluated. The raw material, inflorescences banana, was dried at 313.15 K and milled. The particle size used for the packaging of the extraction cell was 12 mesh (23.5%), 16 mesh (23.5%), 32 mesh (34.5%), 48 mesh (18.5%). The extractions were performed in a laboratory scale unit at pressures of 3.0 MPa, 6.5 MPa and 10.0 MPa and at 308.15 K, 323.15 K and 338.15 K. The operating conditions tested achieved a maximum yield of 2.94 wt% for the CO2 extraction at 10.0 MPa and 338.15 K, higher pressure and temperature. The lower yield, 2.29 wt%, was obtained in the condition of lower pressure and higher temperature. Temperature presented significant and positive effect on the extraction yield with supercritical CO2, while pressure had no effect on the yield. The overall extraction curves showed typical behavior obtained for the supercritical extraction procedure and and reached a constant extraction rate of about 80 to 100 min. The largest amount of extract was obtained at the beginning of the process, within 10 to 60 min.

Keywords: banana, natural products, supercritical extraction, temperature

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27 Non-Destructive Testing of Selective Laser Melting Products

Authors: Luca Collini, Michele Antolotti, Diego Schiavi


At present, complex geometries within production time shrinkage, rapidly increasing demand, and high-quality standard requirement make the non-destructive (ND) control of additively manufactured components indispensable means. On the other hand, a technology gap and the lack of standards regulating the methods and the acceptance criteria indicate the NDT of these components a stimulating field to be still fully explored. Up to date, penetrant testing, acoustic wave, tomography, radiography, and semi-automated ultrasound methods have been tested on metal powder based products so far. External defects, distortion, surface porosity, roughness, texture, internal porosity, and inclusions are the typical defects in the focus of testing. Detection of density and layers compactness are also been tried on stainless steels by the ultrasonic scattering method. In this work, the authors want to present and discuss the radiographic and the ultrasound ND testing on additively manufactured Ti₆Al₄V and inconel parts obtained by the selective laser melting (SLM) technology. In order to test the possibilities given by the radiographic method, both X-Rays and γ-Rays are tried on a set of specifically designed specimens realized by the SLM. The specimens contain a family of defectology, which represent the most commonly found, as cracks and lack of fusion. The tests are also applied to real parts of various complexity and thickness. A set of practical indications and of acceptance criteria is finally drawn.

Keywords: non-destructive testing, selective laser melting, radiography, UT method

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26 Highway Lighting of the 21st Century is Smart, but is it Cost Efficient?

Authors: Saurabh Gupta, Vanshdeep Parmar, Sri Harsha Reddy Yelly, Michele Baker, Elizabeth Bigler, Kunhee Choi


It is known that the adoption of solar powered LED highway lighting systems or sensory LED highway lighting systems can dramatically reduce energy consumption by 55 percent when compared to conventional on-grid High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps that are widely applied to most highways. However, an initial high installation cost for building the infrastructure of solar photovoltaic devices hampers a wider adoption of such technologies. This research aims to examine currently available state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic and sensory technologies, identify major obstacles, and analyze each technology to create a benchmarking metrics from the benefit-cost analysis perspective. The on-grid HPS lighting systems will serve as the baseline for this study to compare it with other lighting alternatives such as solar and sensory LED lighting systems. This research will test the validity of the research hypothesis that alternative LED lighting systems produce more favorable benefit-cost ratios and the added initial investment costs are recouped by the savings in the operation and maintenance cost. The payback period of the excess investment and projected savings over the life-cycle of the selected lighting systems will be analyzed by utilizing the concept of Net Present Value (NPV). Researchers believe that if this study validates the research hypothesis, it can promote a wider adoption of alternative lighting systems that will eventually save millions of taxpayer dollars in the long-run.

Keywords: lighting systems, sensory and solar PV, benefit cost analysis, net present value

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25 Moral Identity and Moral Attentiveness as Predictors of Ethical Leadership in Financial Sector

Authors: Pilar Gamarra Gamarra, Michele Girotto


In the expanding field of leaders’ ethical behavior research, little attention has been paid to the association between finance leaders’ ethical traits (beyond personality) and ethical leadership, and more importantly, how these ethical characteristics can be predictors of ethical behavior at the leadership level in the financial sector. In this study, we tested a theoretical model based on uponsocial cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) and the cognitive-developmental model (Piaget, 1932) to examine leaders’ moral identity and moral attentiveness as antecedents of ethical leadership. After the 2008 economic crisis, the marketplace has awakened to the potential dangers of unethical behavior. The unethical behavior of the leaders of the financial sector was identified as guilty of this economic catastrophe. For that reason, it seems increasingly prudent for organizations to have leaders who are cognitively inclined toward ethical behavior. This evidence suggests that moral attentiveness and moral identity is perhaps one way of identifying those kinds of leaders. For leaders who are morally attentive and have a high moral identity, themes of ethics interventions are consistent with their way of seeing the word. As a result, these leaders could become critical components of change in organizations and could provide the energy and skills necessary for these efforts to be successful. Ethical behavior of leader from the financial sector and marketing sectors must be joined to manage the change. In this study, a leader’s moral identity, leader’s moral attentiveness, and self-importance of Ethical Leadership are measured for financial and marketing leaders to be compared to determine the relationship between the three variables in each sector. Other conclusion related to gender, educational level or generation are obtained.

Keywords: ethical leadership, moral identity, moral attentiveness, financial leaders, marketing leaders, ethical behavior

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24 The Consequences of COVID-19 Crisis on Informal Workers in Brazil: An Analysis of Emergency Aid from the Government

Authors: Michele Romanello


COVID-19 has spread rapidly in Brazil since March 2020, making the country one of the most affected in the world by the pandemic. From an economic point of view, Brazil came from a pre-pandemic period characterized by low or negative growth, with a resulting increase in the number of unemployed and informal workers. This paper considers lockdown implementation in the situation of the large presence of informality in the economy. The objective of the paper is to analyze how the country has tried to help workers affected by economic crisis after the implementation of measures against COVID-19 and whether the emergency assistance from the government has been adequate to contain the increase of informal workers and unemployed. The methodology used in this paper is survival analysis. Through this methodology, the formality – informality, and informality – unemployment transitions are analyzed. This analysis draws data from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Continuous PNAD) and from the National Household Sample Survey COVID-19 (PNAD COVID-19) covering the period of January 2020 – July 2020. The results indicate that emergency aid has been not sufficient to reduce the transitions of workers from formal to informal jobs and from informal jobs to unemployment. Emergency aid has been not sufficient considering the previous situation of the country, with levels of poverty and inequality very high. In the next months, another fundamental determinant of the income trajectory in the context of the COVID-19 crisis will be the continuity of the emergency aid, especially considering the fiscal adjustment policy pursued by the government. Therefore, the current negative portrait may be even worse in the coming months.

Keywords: Brazil, COVID-19, informality, survival analysis

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23 Exoskeleton-Enhanced Manufacturing: A Study Exploring Psychological and Physical Effects on Assembly Operators' Wellbeing

Authors: Iveta Eimontaite, Sarah R. Fletcher, Michele Surico, Alfio Minissale, Fabio F. Abba


Industry 4.0 offers possibilities for increased production volumes and greater efficiency whilst at the same time presenting new opportunities and challenges for the human workforce. Exoskeletons have been used in healthcare and are now starting to be adopted in manufacturing. The potential benefits of reducing fatigue and physical strain are attractive prospects of the technology for industry; however, the novelty of exoskeletons and surrounding ethical issues raise concerns amongst the stakeholders. The current case study investigated the introduction of an upper body exoskeleton designed to support posture but not increase physical strength in a factory over three time points: before the exoskeleton was introduced, and one and two months post-introduction once operators had experienced working with it. The main focus was to evaluate changes in operators' workload, situation awareness, technology self-efficacy, and physical discomfort following the introduction of the exoskeleton. After using the exoskeleton over two months, operators reported a decrease in temporal demand and an increase in performance of the NASA TLX instrument. Furthermore, over the second month, operators' self-reported technology self-efficacy scores increased, but at the same time, their situation awareness decreased. Interestingly, operators' physical discomfort after using the exoskeleton for two months increased from not uncomfortable to quite uncomfortable in the shoulder, arm, and middle back regions. The results suggest that self-perceived task efficiency improved; however, increased discomfort and decreased situation awareness scores indicate that two months might not be long enough for the exoskeleton to be integrated into operators’ mental body schema. The paper will discuss further implications and suggestions for exoskeleton introduction to manufacturing environments.

Keywords: exoskeleton, manufacturing, mental workload, physical discomfort, situation awareness, technology self-efficacy

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22 Corporate Governance in Higher Education: A South African Perspective

Authors: Corlia van der Walt, Michele K. Havenga


The study considers corporate governance regulation and practice in South African higher education institutions and makes recommendations for the improvement of current governance practices in this sector. The development of corporate governance principles and practices in South Africa, culminating in the King IV Report on Corporate Governance which was launched in November 2016, is discussed. King IV enjoys international recognition as a progressive corporate governance instrument. It was necessitated by the fundamental changes in business and society nationally and globally, as well as by the significant changes to South African company law introduced by new legislation. Corporate governance and the corporate form are narrowly associated, but there is general recognition that the principles of ethical and effective leadership are not restricted to corporations. Thus King IV was drafted with the express aim that it should apply to all organisations, regardless of their form of incorporation, and the report includes specific sector supplements in support of this aspiration. The South African higher education sector has of late been under intense scrutiny, and a few universities have been placed under administration because of poor governance practices. Universities have also been severely impacted by the consequences of what is generally known as ‘#FeesmustFall’, a student led protest movement initially aimed against the increase of fees at public universities, but which rapidly expanded to also include other concerns. It was clearly necessary to revisit corporate governance policy and practice in the sector. The review of the current higher education governance regime in light of the King IV recommendations, lessons from company law regarding the entrenchment and enforcement of corporate governance principles, and a comparison of higher education governance practices in selected other jurisdictions led to recommendations for the improvement of governance practices in South African higher education. It is further suggested that a sector supplement for higher education institutions may provide additional clarity. Some of the recommendations may be of comparative value for international higher education governance.

Keywords: committees, corporate governance, ethical leadership, higher education institutions, integrated reporting, King IV, sector supplements, sustainability

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21 A Gold-Based Nanoformulation for Delivery of the CRISPR/Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein for Genome Editing

Authors: Soultana Konstantinidou, Tiziana Schmidt, Elena Landi, Alessandro De Carli, Giovanni Maltinti, Darius Witt, Alicja Dziadosz, Agnieszka Lindstaedt, Michele Lai, Mauro Pistello, Valentina Cappello, Luciana Dente, Chiara Gabellini, Piotr Barski, Vittoria Raffa


CRISPR/Cas9 technology has gained the interest of researchers in the field of biotechnology for genome editing. Since its discovery as a microbial adaptive immune defense, this system has been widely adopted and is acknowledged for having a variety of applications. However, critical barriers related to safety and delivery are persisting. Here, we propose a new concept of genome engineering, which is based on a nano-formulation of Cas9. The Cas9 enzyme was conjugated to a gold nanoparticle (AuNP-Cas9). The AuNP-Cas9 maintained its cleavage efficiency in vitro, to the same extent as the ribonucleoprotein, including non-conjugated Cas9 enzyme, and showed high gene editing efficiency in vivo in zebrafish embryos. Since CRISPR/Cas9 technology is extensively used in cancer research, melanoma was selected as a validation target. Cell studies were performed in A375 human melanoma cells. Particles per se had no impact on cell metabolism and proliferation. Intriguingly, the AuNP-Cas9 internalized spontaneously in cells and localized as a single particle in the cytoplasm and organelles. More importantly, the AuNP-Cas9 showed a high nuclear localization signal. The AuNP-Cas9, overcoming the delivery difficulties of Cas9, could be used in cellular biology and localization studies. Taking advantage of the plasmonic properties of gold nanoparticles, this technology could potentially be a bio-tool for combining gene editing and photothermal therapy in cancer cells. Further work will be focused on intracellular interactions of the nano-formulation and characterization of the optical properties.

Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9, gene editing, gold nanoparticles, nanotechnology

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20 Perfectionism, Self-Compassion, and Emotion Dysregulation: An Exploratory Analysis of Mediation Models in an Eating Disorder Sample

Authors: Sarah Potter, Michele Laliberte


As eating disorders are associated with high levels of chronicity, impairment, and distress, it is paramount to evaluate factors that may improve treatment outcomes in this group. Individuals with eating disorders exhibit elevated levels of perfectionism and emotion dysregulation, as well as reduced self-compassion. These variables are related to eating disorder outcomes, including shape/weight concerns and psychosocial impairment. Thus, these factors may be tenable targets for treatment within eating disorder populations. However, the relative contributions of perfectionism, emotion dysregulation, and self-compassion to the severity of shape/weight concerns and psychosocial impairment remain largely unexplored. In the current study, mediation analyses were conducted to clarify how perfectionism, emotion dysregulation, and self-compassion are linked to shape/weight concerns and psychosocial impairment. The sample was comprised of 85 patients from an outpatient eating disorder clinic. The patients completed self-report measures of perfectionism, self-compassion, emotion dysregulation, eating disorder symptoms, and psychosocial impairment. Specifically, emotion dysregulation was assessed as a mediator in the relationships between (1) perfectionism and shape/weight concerns, (2) self-compassion and shape/weight concerns, (3) perfectionism and psychosocial impairment, and (4) self-compassion and psychosocial impairment. It was postulated that emotion dysregulation would significantly mediate relationships in the former two models. An a priori hypothesis was not constructed in reference to the latter models, as these analyses were preliminary and exploratory in nature. The PROCESS macro for SPSS was utilized to perform these analyses. Emotion dysregulation fully mediated the relationships between perfectionism and eating disorder outcomes. In the link between self-compassion and psychosocial impairment, emotion dysregulation partially mediated this relationship. Finally, emotion dysregulation did not significantly mediate the relationship between self-compassion and shape/weight concerns. The results suggest that emotion dysregulation and self-compassion may be suitable targets to decrease the severity of psychosocial impairment and shape/weight concerns in individuals with eating disorders. Further research is required to determine the stability of these models over time, between diagnostic groups, and in nonclinical samples.

Keywords: eating disorders, emotion dysregulation, perfectionism, self-compassion

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19 The Integration Process of Non-EU Citizens in Luxembourg: From an Empirical Approach Toward a Theoretical Model

Authors: Angela Odero, Chrysoula Karathanasi, Michèle Baumann


Integration of foreign communities has been a forefront issue in Luxembourg for some time now. The country’s continued progress depends largely on the successful integration of immigrants. The aim of our study was to analyze factors which intervene in the course of integration of Non-EU citizens through the discourse of Non-EU citizens residing in Luxembourg, who have signed the Welcome and Integration Contract (CAI). The two-year contract offers integration services to assist foreigners in getting settled in the country. Semi-structured focus group discussions with 50 volunteers were held in English, French, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian or Chinese. Participants were asked to talk about their integration experiences. Recorded then transcribed, the transcriptions were analyzed with the help of NVivo 10, a qualitative analysis software. A systematic and reiterative analysis of decomposing and reconstituting was realized through (1) the identification of predetermined categories (difficulties, challenges and integration needs) (2) initial coding – the grouping together of similar ideas (3) axial coding – the regrouping of items from the initial coding in new ways in order to create sub-categories and identify other core dimensions. Our results show that intervening factors include language acquisition, professional career and socio-cultural activities or events. Each of these factors constitutes different components whose weight shifts from person to person and from situation to situation. Connecting these three emergent factors are two elements essential to the success of the immigrant’s integration – the role of time and deliberate effort from the immigrants, the community, and the formal institutions charged with helping immigrants integrate. We propose a theoretical model where the factors described may be classified in terms of how they predispose, facilitate, and / or reinforce the process towards a successful integration. Measures currently in place propose one size fits all programs yet integrative measures which target the family unit and those customized to target groups based on their needs would work best.

Keywords: integration, integration services, non-eu citizens, qualitative analysis, third country nationals

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18 Changes in the fecal Microbiome of Periparturient Dairy Cattle and Associations with the Onset of Salmonella Shedding

Authors: Lohendy Munoz-Vargas, Stephen O. Opiyo, Rose Digianantonio, Michele L. Williams, Asela Wijeratne, Gregory Habing


Non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica is a zoonotic pathogen with critical importance in animal and public health. The persistence of Salmonella on farms affects animal productivity and health, and represents a risk for food safety. The intestinal microbiota plays a fundamental role in the colonization and invasion of this ubiquitous microorganism. To overcome the colonization resistance imparted by the gut microbiome, Salmonella uses invasion strategies and the host inflammatory response to survive, proliferate, and establish infections with diverse clinical manifestations. Cattle serve as reservoirs of Salmonella, and periparturient cows have high prevalence of Salmonella shedding; however, to author`s best knowledge, little is known about the association between the gut microbiome and the onset of Salmonella shedding during the periparturient period. Thus, the objective of this study was to assess the association between changes in bacterial communities and the onset of Salmonella shedding in cattle approaching parturition. In a prospective cohort study, fecal samples from 98 dairy cows originating from four different farms were collected at four time points relative to calving (-3 wks, -1 wk, +1 wk, +3 wks). All 392 samples were cultured for Salmonella. Sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene using the Illumina platform was completed to evaluate the fecal microbiome in a selected sample subset. Analyses of microbial composition, diversity, and structure were performed according to time points, farm, and Salmonella onset status. Individual cow fecal microbiomes, predominated by Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Spirochaetes, and Proteobacteria phyla, significantly changed before and after parturition. Microbial communities from different farms were distinguishable based on multivariate analysis. Although there were significant differences in some bacterial taxa between Salmonella positive and negative samples, our results did not identify differences in the fecal microbial diversity or structure for cows with and without the onset of Salmonella shedding. These data suggest that determinants other than the significant changes in the fecal microbiome influence the periparturient onset of Salmonella shedding in dairy cattle.

Keywords: dairy cattle, microbiome, periparturient, Salmonella

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17 West Nile Virus in North-Eastern Italy: Overview of Integrated Surveillance Activities

Authors: Laura Amato, Paolo Mulatti, Fabrizio Montarsi, Matteo Mazzucato, Laura Gagliazzo, Michele Brichese, Manlio Palei, Gioia Capelli, Lebana Bonfanti


West Nile virus (WNV) re-emerged in north-eastern Italy in 2008, after ten years from its first appearance in Tuscany. In 2009, a national surveillance programme was implemented, and re-modulated in north-eastern Italy in 2011. Hereby, we present the results of surveillance activities in 2008-2016 in the north-eastern Italian regions, with inferences on WNV epidemiological trend in the area. The re-modulated surveillance programmes aimed at early detecting WNV seasonal reactivation by searching IgM antibodies in horses. In 2013, the surveillance plans were further modified including a risk-based approach. Spatial analysis techniques, including Bernoulli space-time scan-statistics, were applied to the results of 2010–2012 surveillance on mosquitoes, equines, and humans to identify areas where WNV reactivation was more likely to occur. From 2008 to 2016, residential horses tested positive for anti-WNV antibodies on a yearly basis (503 cases), also in areas where WNV circulation was not detected in mosquito populations. Surveillance activities detected 26 syndromic cases in horses, 102 infected mosquito pools and WNV in 18 dead wild birds. Human cases were also recurrently detected in the study area during the surveillance period (68 cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease). The recurrent identification of WNV in animals, mosquitoes, and humans indicates the virus has likely become endemic in the area. In 2016, findings of WNV positives in horses or mosquitoes were included as triggers for enhancing screening activities in humans. The evolution of the epidemiological situation prompts for continuous and accurate surveillance measures. The results of the 2013-2016 surveillance indicate that the risk-based approach was effective in early detecting seasonal reactivation of WNV, key factor of the integrated surveillance strategy in endemic areas.

Keywords: arboviruses, horses, Italy, surveillance, west nile virus, zoonoses

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16 Avoidance and Selectivity in the Acquisition of Arabic as a Second/Foreign Language

Authors: Abeer Heider


This paper explores and classifies the different kinds of avoidances that students commonly make in the acquisition of Arabic as a second/foreign language, and suggests specific strategies to help students lessen their avoidance trends in hopes of streamlining the learning process. Students most commonly use avoidance strategies in grammar, and word choice. These different types of strategies have different implications and naturally require different approaches. Thus the question remains as to the most effective way to help students improve their Arabic, and how teachers can efficiently utilize these techniques. It is hoped that this research will contribute to understand the role of avoidance in the field of the second language acquisition in general, and as a type of input. Yet some researchers also note that similarity between L1 and L2 may be problematic as well since the learner may doubt that such similarity indeed exists and consequently avoid the identical constructions or elements (Jordens, 1977; Kellermann, 1977, 1978, 1986). In an effort to resolve this issue, a case study is being conducted. The present case study attempts to provide a broader analysis of what is acquired than is usually the case, analyzing the learners ‘accomplishments in terms of three –part framework of the components of communicative competence suggested by Michele Canale: grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence and discourse competence. The subjects of this study are 15 students’ 22th year who came to study Arabic at Qatar University of Cairo. The 15 students are in the advanced level. They were complete intermediate level in Arabic when they arrive in Qatar for the first time. The study used discourse analytic method to examine how the first language affects students’ production and output in the second language, and how and when students use avoidance methods in their learning. The study will be conducted through Fall 2015 through analyzing audio recordings that are recorded throughout the entire semester. The recordings will be around 30 clips. The students are using supplementary listening and speaking materials. The group will be tested at the end of the term to assess any measurable difference between the techniques. Questionnaires will be administered to teachers and students before and after the semester to assess any change in attitude toward avoidance and selectivity methods. Responses to these questionnaires are analyzed and discussed to assess the relative merits of the aforementioned strategies to avoidance and selectivity to further support on. Implications and recommendations for teacher training are proposed.

Keywords: the second language acquisition, learning languages, selectivity, avoidance

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15 An Improvement of ComiR Algorithm for MicroRNA Target Prediction by Exploiting Coding Region Sequences of mRNAs

Authors: Giorgio Bertolazzi, Panayiotis Benos, Michele Tumminello, Claudia Coronnello


MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate the expression levels of messenger RNAs. MicroRNA regulation activity depends on the recognition of binding sites located on mRNA molecules. ComiR (Combinatorial miRNA targeting) is a user friendly web tool realized to predict the targets of a set of microRNAs, starting from their expression profile. ComiR incorporates miRNA expression in a thermodynamic binding model, and it associates each gene with the probability of being a target of a set of miRNAs. ComiR algorithms were trained with the information regarding binding sites in the 3’UTR region, by using a reliable dataset containing the targets of endogenously expressed microRNA in D. melanogaster S2 cells. This dataset was obtained by comparing the results from two different experimental approaches, i.e., inhibition, and immunoprecipitation of the AGO1 protein; this protein is a component of the microRNA induced silencing complex. In this work, we tested whether including coding region binding sites in the ComiR algorithm improves the performance of the tool in predicting microRNA targets. We focused the analysis on the D. melanogaster species and updated the ComiR underlying database with the currently available releases of mRNA and microRNA sequences. As a result, we find that the ComiR algorithm trained with the information related to the coding regions is more efficient in predicting the microRNA targets, with respect to the algorithm trained with 3’utr information. On the other hand, we show that 3’utr based predictions can be seen as complementary to the coding region based predictions, which suggests that both predictions, from 3'UTR and coding regions, should be considered in a comprehensive analysis. Furthermore, we observed that the lists of targets obtained by analyzing data from one experimental approach only, that is, inhibition or immunoprecipitation of AGO1, are not reliable enough to test the performance of our microRNA target prediction algorithm. Further analysis will be conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the tool with data from other species, provided that validated datasets, as obtained from the comparison of RISC proteins inhibition and immunoprecipitation experiments, will be available for the same samples. Finally, we propose to upgrade the existing ComiR web-tool by including the coding region based trained model, available together with the 3’UTR based one.

Keywords: AGO1, coding region, Drosophila melanogaster, microRNA target prediction

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14 Design and Assessment of Base Isolated Structures under Spectrum-Compatible Bidirectional Earthquakes

Authors: Marco Furinghetti, Alberto Pavese, Michele Rinaldi


Concave Surface Slider devices have been more and more used in real applications for seismic protection of both bridge and building structures. Several research activities have been carried out, in order to investigate the lateral response of such a typology of devices, and a reasonably high level of knowledge has been reached. If radial analysis is performed, the frictional force is always aligned with respect to the restoring force, whereas under bidirectional seismic events, a bi-axial interaction of the directions of motion occurs, due to the step-wise projection of the main frictional force, which is assumed to be aligned to the trajectory of the isolator. Nonetheless, if non-linear time history analyses have to be performed, standard codes provide precise rules for the definition of an averagely spectrum-compatible set of accelerograms in radial conditions, whereas for bidirectional motions different combinations of the single components spectra can be found. Moreover, nowadays software for the adjustment of natural accelerograms are available, which lead to a higher quality of spectrum-compatibility and to a smaller dispersion of results for radial motions. In this endeavor a simplified design procedure is defined, for building structures, base-isolated by means of Concave Surface Slider devices. Different case study structures have been analyzed. In a first stage, the capacity curve has been computed, by means of non-linear static analyses on the fixed-base structures: inelastic fiber elements have been adopted and different direction angles of lateral forces have been studied. Thanks to these results, a linear elastic Finite Element Model has been defined, characterized by the same global stiffness of the linear elastic branch of the non-linear capacity curve. Then, non-linear time history analyses have been performed on the base-isolated structures, by applying seven bidirectional seismic events. The spectrum-compatibility of bidirectional earthquakes has been studied, by considering different combinations of single components and adjusting single records: thanks to the proposed procedure, results have shown a small dispersion and a good agreement in comparison to the assumed design values.

Keywords: concave surface slider, spectrum-compatibility, bidirectional earthquake, base isolation

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13 Life Satisfaction of Non-Luxembourgish and Native Luxembourgish Postgraduate Students

Authors: Chrysoula Karathanasi, Senad Karavdic, Angela Odero, Michèle Baumann


It is not only the economic determinants that impact on life conditions, but maintaining a good level of life satisfaction (LS) may also be an important challenge currently. In Luxembourg, university students receive financial aid from the government. They are then registered at the Centre for Documentation and Information on Higher Education (CEDIES). Luxembourg is built on migration with almost half its population consisting of foreigners. It is upon this basis that our research aims to analyze the associations with mental health factors (health satisfaction, psychological quality of life, worry), perceived financial situation, career attitudes (adaptability, optimism, knowledge, planning) and LS, for non-Luxembourgish and native postgraduate students. Between 2012 and 2013, postgraduates registered at CEDIES were contacted by post and asked to participate in an online survey with either the option of English or French. The study population comprised of 644 respondents. Our statistical analysis excluded: those born abroad who had Luxembourgish citizenship, or those born in Luxembourg who did not have citizenship. Two groups were formed one consisting 147 non-Luxembourgish and the other 284 natives. A single item measured LS (1=not at all satisfied to 10=very satisfied). Bivariate tests, correlations and multiple linear regression models were used in which only significant relationships (p<0.05) were integrated. Among the two groups no differences were found between LS indicators (7.8/10 non-Luxembourgish; 8.0/10 natives) as both were higher than the European indicator of 7.2/10 (for 25-34 years). In the case of non-Luxembourgish students, they were older than natives (29.3 years vs. 26.3 years) perceived their financial situation as more difficult, and a higher percentage of their parents had an education level higher than a Bachelor's degree (father 59.2% vs 44.6% for natives; mother 51.4% vs 33.7% for natives). In addition, the father’s education was related to the LS of postgraduates and the higher was the score, the greater was the contribution to LS. Whereas for native students, when their scores of health satisfaction and career optimism were higher, their LS’ score was higher. For both groups their LS was linked to mental health-related factors, perception of their financial situation, career optimism, adaptability and planning. The higher the psychological quality of life score was, the greater the LS of postgraduates’ was. Good health and positive attitudes related to the job market enhanced their LS indicator.

Keywords: career attributes, father's education level, life satisfaction, mental health

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12 Pooled Analysis of Three School-Based Obesity Interventions in a Metropolitan Area of Brazil

Authors: Rosely Sichieri, Bruna K. Hassan, Michele Sgambato, Barbara S. N. Souza, Rosangela A. Pereira, Edna M. Yokoo, Diana B. Cunha


Obesity is increasing at a fast rate in low and middle-income countries where few school-based obesity interventions have been conducted. Results of obesity prevention studies are still inconclusive mainly due to underestimation of sample size in cluster-randomized trials and overestimation of changes in body mass index (BMI). The pooled analysis in the present study overcomes these design problems by analyzing 4,448 students (mean age 11.7 years) from three randomized behavioral school-based interventions, conducted in public schools of the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The three studies focused on encouraging students to change their drinking and eating habits over one school year, with monthly 1-h sessions in the classroom. Folders explaining the intervention program and suggesting the participation of the family, such as reducing the purchase of sodas were sent home. Classroom activities were delivered by research assistants in the first two interventions and by the regular teachers in the third one, except for culinary class aimed at developing cooking skills to increase healthy eating choices. The first intervention was conducted in 2005 with 1,140 fourth graders from 22 public schools; the second, with 644 fifth graders from 20 public schools in 2010; and the last one, with 2,743 fifth and sixth graders from 18 public schools in 2016. The result was a non-significant change in BMI after one school year of positive changes in dietary behaviors associated with obesity. Pooled intention-to-treat analysis using linear mixed models was used for the overall and subgroup analysis by BMI status, sex, and race. The estimated mean BMI changes were from 18.93 to 19.22 in the control group and from 18.89 to 19.19 in the intervention group; with a p-value of change over time of 0.94. Control and intervention groups were balanced at baseline. Subgroup analyses were statistically and clinically non-significant, except for the non-overweight/obese group with a 0.05 reduction of BMI comparing the intervention with control. In conclusion, this large pooled analysis showed a very small effect on BMI only in the normal weight students. The results are in line with many of the school-based initiatives that have been promising in relation to modifying behaviors associated with obesity but of no impact on excessive weight gain. Changes in BMI may require great changes in energy balance that are hard to achieve in primary prevention at school level.

Keywords: adolescents, obesity prevention, randomized controlled trials, school-based study

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11 Antimicrobial Properties of SEBS Compounds with Copper Microparticles

Authors: Vanda Ferreira Ribeiro, Daiane Tomacheski, Douglas Naue Simões, Michele Pitto, Ruth Marlene Campomanes Santana


Indoor environments, such as car cabins and public transportation vehicles are places where users are subject to air quality. Microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, yeasts) enter these environments through windows, ventilation systems and may use the organic particles present as a growth substrate. In addition, atmospheric pollutants can act as potential carbon and nitrogen sources for some microorganisms. Compounds base SEBS copolymers, poly(styrene-b-(ethylene-co-butylene)-b-styrene, are a class of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), fully recyclable and largely used in automotive parts. Metals, such as cooper and silver, have biocidal activities and the production of the SEBS compounds by melting blending with these agents can be a good option for producing compounds for use in plastic parts of ventilation systems and automotive air-conditioning, in order to minimize the problems caused by growth of pathogenic microorganisms. In this sense, the aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of copper microparticles as antimicrobial agent in compositions based on SEBS/PP/oil/calcite. Copper microparticles were used in weight proportion of 0%, 1%, 2% and 4%. The compounds were prepared using a co-rotating double screw extruder (L/D ratio of 40/1 and 16 mm screw diameter). The processing parameters were 300 rpm of screw rotation rate, with a temperature profile between 150 to 190°C. SEBS based TPE compounds were injection molded. The compounds emission were characterized by gravimetric fogging test. Compounds were characterized by physical (density and staining by contact), mechanical (hardness and tension properties) and rheological properties (melt volume rate – MVR). Antibacterial properties were evaluated against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains. To avaluate the abilities toward the fungi have been chosen Aspergillus niger (A. niger), Candida albicans (C. albicans), Cladosporium cladosporioides (C. cladosporioides) and Penicillium chrysogenum (P. chrysogenum). The results of biological tests showed a reduction on bacteria in up to 88% in E.coli and up to 93% in S. aureus. The tests with fungi showed no conclusive results because the sample without copper also demonstrated inhibition of the development of these microorganisms. The copper addition did not cause significant variations in mechanical properties, in the MVR and the emission behavior of the compounds. The density increases with the increment of copper in compounds.

Keywords: air conditioner, antimicrobial, cooper, SEBS

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