Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 15

Search results for: Niklas Voege

15 An Experimental Exploration of the Interaction between Consumer Ethics Perceptions, Legality Evaluations, and Mind-Sets

Authors: Daphne Sobolev, Niklas Voege


During the last three decades, consumer ethics perceptions have attracted the attention of a large number of researchers. Nevertheless, little is known about the effect of the cognitive and situational contexts of the decision on ethics judgments. In this paper, the interrelationship between consumers’ ethics perceptions, legality evaluations and mind-sets are explored. Legality evaluations represent the cognitive context of the ethical judgments, whereas mind-sets represent their situational context. Drawing on moral development theories and priming theories, it is hypothesized that both factors are significantly related to consumer ethics perceptions. To test this hypothesis, 289 participants were allocated to three mind-set experimental conditions and a control group. Participants in the mind-set conditions were primed for aggressiveness, politeness or awareness to the negative legal consequences of breaking the law. Mind-sets were induced using a sentence-unscrambling task, in which target words were included. Ethics and legality judgments were assessed using consumer ethics and internet ethics questionnaires. All participants were asked to rate the ethicality and legality of consumer actions described in the questionnaires. The results showed that consumer ethics and legality perceptions were significantly correlated. Moreover, including legality evaluations as a variable in ethics judgment models increased the predictive power of the models. In addition, inducing aggressiveness in participants reduced their sensitivity to ethical issues; priming awareness to negative legal consequences increased their sensitivity to ethics when uncertainty about the legality of the judged scenario was high. Furthermore, the correlation between ethics and legality judgments was significant overall mind-set conditions. However, the results revealed conflicts between ethics and legality perceptions: consumers considered 10%-14% of the presented behaviors unethical and legal, or ethical and illegal. In 10-23% of the questions, participants indicated that they did not know whether the described action was legal or not. In addition, an asymmetry between the effects of aggressiveness and politeness priming was found. The results show that the legality judgments and mind-sets interact with consumer ethics perceptions. Thus, they portray consumer ethical judgments as dynamical processes which are inseparable from other cognitive processes and situational variables. They highlight that legal and ethical education, as well as adequate situational cues at the service place, could have a positive effect on consumer ethics perceptions. Theoretical contribution is discussed.

Keywords: consumer ethics, legality judgments, mind-set, priming, aggressiveness

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14 Insight-Based Evaluation of a Map-Based Dashboard

Authors: Anna Fredriksson Häägg, Charlotte Weil, Niklas Rönnberg


Map-based dashboards are used for data exploration every day. The present study used an insight-based methodology for evaluating a map-based dashboard that presents research findings of water management and ecosystem services in the Amazon. In addition to analyzing the insights gained from using the dashboard, the evaluation method was compared to standardized questionnaires and task-based evaluations. The result suggests that the dashboard enabled the participants to gain domain-relevant, complex insights regarding the topic presented. Furthermore, the insight-based analysis highlighted unexpected insights and hypotheses regarding causes and potential adaptation strategies for remediation. Although time- and resource-consuming, the insight-based methodology was shown to have the potential of thoroughly analyzing how end users can utilize map-based dashboards for data exploration and decision making. Finally, the insight-based methodology is argued to evaluate tools in scenarios more similar to real-life usage compared to task-based evaluation methods.

Keywords: visual analytics, dashboard, insight-based evaluation, geographic visualization

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13 Effect of Temperature and Relative Humidity on Aerosol Spread

Authors: Getu Hailu, Catelynn Hettick, Niklas Pieper, Paul Kim, Augustine Hamner


Airborne transmission is a problem that all viral respiratory diseases have in common. In late 2019, a disease outbreak, now known as SARS-CoV-2, suddenly expanded across China and the rest of the world in a matter of months. Research on the spread and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 airborne particles is ongoing, as well as the development of strategies for the prevention of the spread of these pathogens using indoor air quality (IAQ) methods. By evaluating the surface area of pollutants on the surface of a mannequin in a mock-based clinic room, this study aims to better understand how altering temperature and relative humidity affect aerosol spread and contamination. Four experiments were carried out at a constant temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit but with four different humidity levels of 0%, 30%, 45 percent, and 60%. The mannequin was placed in direct aerosol flow since it was discovered that this was the position with the largest exposed surface area. The findings demonstrate that as relative humidity increased while the temperature remained constant, the amount of surface area infected by virus particles decreased. These findings point to approaches to reduce the spread of viral particles, such as SARS-CoV-2 and emphasize the significance of IAQ controls in enclosed environments.

Keywords: IAQ, ventilation, COVID-19, humidity, temperature

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12 Deep Reinforcement Learning Approach for Optimal Control of Industrial Smart Grids

Authors: Niklas Panten, Eberhard Abele


This paper presents a novel approach for real-time and near-optimal control of industrial smart grids by deep reinforcement learning (DRL). To achieve highly energy-efficient factory systems, the energetic linkage of machines, technical building equipment and the building itself is desirable. However, the increased complexity of the interacting sub-systems, multiple time-variant target values and stochastic influences by the production environment, weather and energy markets make it difficult to efficiently control the energy production, storage and consumption in the hybrid industrial smart grids. The studied deep reinforcement learning approach allows to explore the solution space for proper control policies which minimize a cost function. The deep neural network of the DRL agent is based on a multilayer perceptron (MLP), Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) and convolutional layers. The agent is trained within multiple Modelica-based factory simulation environments by the Advantage Actor Critic algorithm (A2C). The DRL controller is evaluated by means of the simulation and then compared to a conventional, rule-based approach. Finally, the results indicate that the DRL approach is able to improve the control performance and significantly reduce energy respectively operating costs of industrial smart grids.

Keywords: industrial smart grids, energy efficiency, deep reinforcement learning, optimal control

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11 Rapid, Label-Free, Direct Detection and Quantification of Escherichia coli Bacteria Using Nonlinear Acoustic Aptasensor

Authors: Shilpa Khobragade, Carlos Da Silva Granja, Niklas Sandström, Igor Efimov, Victor P. Ostanin, Wouter van der Wijngaart, David Klenerman, Sourav K. Ghosh


Rapid, label-free and direct detection of pathogenic bacteria is critical for the prevention of disease outbreaks. This paper for the first time attempts to probe the nonlinear acoustic response of quartz crystal resonator (QCR) functionalized with specific DNA aptamers for direct detection and quantification of viable E. coli KCTC 2571 bacteria. DNA aptamers were immobilized through biotin and streptavidin conjugation, onto the gold surface of QCR to capture the target bacteria and the detection was accomplished by shift in amplitude of the peak 3f signal (3 times the drive frequency) upon binding, when driven near fundamental resonance frequency. The developed nonlinear acoustic aptasensor system demonstrated better reliability than conventional resonance frequency shift and energy dissipation monitoring that were recorded simultaneously. This sensing system could directly detect 10⁽⁵⁾ cells/mL target bacteria within 30 min or less and had high specificity towards E. coli KCTC 2571 bacteria as compared to the same concentration of S.typhi bacteria. Aptasensor response was observed for the bacterial suspensions ranging from 10⁽⁵⁾-10⁽⁸⁾ cells/mL. Conclusively, this nonlinear acoustic aptasensor is simple to use, gives real-time output, cost-effective and has the potential for rapid, specific, label-free direction detection of bacteria.

Keywords: acoustic, aptasensor, detection, nonlinear

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10 Measuring Corporate Brand Loyalties in Business Markets: A Case for Caution

Authors: Niklas Bondesson


Purpose: This paper attempts to examine how different facets of attitudinal brand loyalty are determined by different brand image elements in business markets. Design/Methodology/Approach: Statistical analysis is employed to data from a web survey, covering 226 professional packaging buyers in eight countries. Findings: The results reveal that different brand loyalty facets have different antecedents. Affective brand loyalties (or loyalty 'feelings') are mainly driven by customer associations to service relationships, whereas customers’ loyalty intentions (to purchase and recommend a brand) are triggered by associations to the general reputation of the company. The findings also indicate that willingness to pay a price premium is a distinct form of loyalty, with unique determinants. Research implications: Theoretically, the paper suggests that corporate B2B brand loyalty needs to be conceptualised with more refinement than has been done in extant B2B branding work. Methodologically, the paper highlights that single-item approaches can be fruitful when measuring B2B brand loyalty, and that multi-item scales can conceal important nuances in terms of understanding why customers are loyal. Practical implications: The idea of a loyalty 'silver metric' is an attractive idea, but this study indicates that firms who rely too much on one single type of brand loyalty risk to miss important building blocks. Originality/Value/Contribution: The major contribution is a more multi-faceted conceptualisation, and measurement, of corporate B2B brand loyalty and its brand image determinants than extant work has provided.

Keywords: brand equity, business-to-business branding, industrial marketing, buying behaviour

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9 Biodistribution of Fluorescence-Labelled Epidermal Growth Factor Protein from Slow Release Nanozolid Depots in Mouse

Authors: Stefan Gruden, Charlott Brunmark, Bo Holmqvist, Erwin D. Brenndorfer, Martin Johansson, Jian Liu, Ying Zhao, Niklas Axen, Moustapha Hassan


Aim: The study was designed to evaluate the ability of the calcium sulfate-based NanoZolid® drug delivery technology to locally release the epidermal growth factor (EGF) protein while maintaining its biological activity. Methods: NanoZolid-formulated EGF protein labelled with a near-infrared dye (EGF-NIR) depots or EGF-NIR dissolved in PBS were injected subcutaneously into mice bearing EGF receptor (EGFR) positive human A549 lung cancer tumors inoculated subcutaneously. The release and biodistribution of the EGF-NIR were investigated in vivo longitudinally up to 96 hours post-administration, utilizing whole-body fluorescence imaging. In order to confirm the in vivo findings, histological analysis of tumor cryosections was performed to investigate EGF-NIR fluorescent signal and EGFR expression level by immunofluorescence labelling. Results: The in vivo fluorescence imaging showed a controlled release profile of the EGF-NIR loaded in the NanoZolid depots compared to free EGF-NIR. Histological analysis of the tumors further demonstrated a prevailing distribution of EGF-NIR in regions with high levels of EGFR expression. Conclusion: Calcium sulfate based depots can be used to formulate EGF while maintaining its biological activity, e.g., receptor binding capability. This may have good clinical potential for local delivery of biomolecules to enhance treatment efficacy and minimize systemic adverse effects.

Keywords: bioresorbable, calcium sulfate, controlled release, NanoZolid

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8 How Virtualization, Decentralization, and Network-Building Change the Manufacturing Landscape: An Industry 4.0 Perspective

Authors: Malte Brettel, Niklas Friederichsen, Michael Keller, Marius Rosenberg


The German manufacturing industry has to withstand an increasing global competition on product quality and production costs. As labor costs are high, several industries have suffered severely under the relocation of production facilities towards aspiring countries, which have managed to close the productivity and quality gap substantially. Established manufacturing companies have recognized that customers are not willing to pay large price premiums for incremental quality improvements. As a consequence, many companies from the German manufacturing industry adjust their production focusing on customized products and fast time to market. Leveraging the advantages of novel production strategies such as Agile Manufacturing and Mass Customization, manufacturing companies transform into integrated networks, in which companies unite their core competencies. Hereby, virtualization of the process- and supply-chain ensures smooth inter-company operations providing real-time access to relevant product and production information for all participating entities. Boundaries of companies deteriorate, as autonomous systems exchange data, gained by embedded systems throughout the entire value chain. By including Cyber-Physical-Systems, advanced communication between machines is tantamount to their dialogue with humans. The increasing utilization of information and communication technology allows digital engineering of products and production processes alike. Modular simulation and modeling techniques allow decentralized units to flexibly alter products and thereby enable rapid product innovation. The present article describes the developments of Industry 4.0 within the literature and reviews the associated research streams. Hereby, we analyze eight scientific journals with regards to the following research fields: Individualized production, end-to-end engineering in a virtual process chain and production networks. We employ cluster analysis to assign sub-topics into the respective research field. To assess the practical implications, we conducted face-to-face interviews with managers from the industry as well as from the consulting business using a structured interview guideline. The results reveal reasons for the adaption and refusal of Industry 4.0 practices from a managerial point of view. Our findings contribute to the upcoming research stream of Industry 4.0 and support decision-makers to assess their need for transformation towards Industry 4.0 practices.

Keywords: Industry 4.0., mass customization, production networks, virtual process-chain

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7 The Effect of Emotional Intelligence on Physiological Stress of Managers

Authors: Mikko Salminen, Simo Järvelä, Niklas Ravaja


One of the central models of emotional intelligence (EI) is that of Mayer and Salovey’s, which includes ability to monitor own feelings and emotions and those of others, ability to discriminate different emotions, and to use this information to guide thinking and actions. There is vast amount of previous research where positive links between EI and, for example, leadership successfulness, work outcomes, work wellbeing and organizational climate have been reported. EI has also a role in the effectiveness of work teams, and the effects of EI are especially prominent in jobs requiring emotional labor. Thus, also the organizational context must be taken into account when considering the effects of EI on work outcomes. Based on previous research, it is suggested that EI can also protect managers from the negative consequences of stress. Stress may have many detrimental effects on the manager’s performance in essential work tasks. Previous studies have highlighted the effects of stress on, not only health, but also, for example, on cognitive tasks such as decision-making, which is important in managerial work. The motivation for the current study came from the notion that, unfortunately, many stressed individuals may not be aware of the circumstance; periods of stress-induced physiological arousal may be prolonged if there is not enough time for recovery. To tackle this problem, physiological stress levels of managers were collected using recording of heart rate variability (HRV). The goal was to use this data to provide the managers with feedback on their stress levels. The managers could access this feedback using a www-based learning environment. In the learning environment, in addition to the feedback on stress level and other collected data, also developmental tasks were provided. For example, those with high stress levels were sent instructions for mindfulness exercises. The current study focuses on the relation between the measured physiological stress levels and EI of the managers. In a pilot study, 33 managers from various fields wore the Firstbeat Bodyguard HRV measurement devices for three consecutive days and nights. From the collected HRV data periods (minutes) of stress and recovery were detected using dedicated software. The effects of EI on HRV-calculated stress indexes were studied using Linear Mixed Models procedure in SPSS. There was a statistically significant effect of total EI, defined as an average score of Schutte’s emotional intelligence test, on the percentage of stress minutes during the whole measurement period (p=.025). More stress minutes were detected on those managers who had lower emotional intelligence. It is suggested, that high EI provided managers with better tools to cope with stress. Managing of own emotions helps the manager in controlling possible negative emotions evoked by, e.g., critical feedback or increasing workload. High EI managers may also be more competent in detecting emotions of others, which would lead to smoother interactions and less conflicts. Given the recent trend to different quantified-self applications, it is suggested that monitoring of bio-signals would prove to be a fruitful direction to further develop new tools for managerial and leadership coaching.

Keywords: emotional intelligence, leadership, heart rate variability, personality, stress

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6 The Role of Emotional Intelligence in the Manager's Psychophysiological Activity during a Performance-Review Discussion

Authors: Mikko Salminen, Niklas Ravaja


Emotional intelligence (EI) consists of skills for monitoring own emotions and emotions of others, skills for discriminating different emotions, and skills for using this information in thinking and actions. EI enhances, for example, work outcomes and organizational climate. We suggest that the role and manifestations of EI should also be studied in real leadership situations, especially during the emotional, social interaction. Leadership is essentially a process to influence others for reaching a certain goal. This influencing happens by managerial processes and computer-mediated communication (e.g. e-mail) but also by face-to-face, where facial expressions have a significant role in conveying emotional information. Persons with high EI are typically perceived more positively, and they have better social skills. We hypothesize, that during social interaction high EI enhances the ability to detect other’s emotional state and controlling own emotional expressions. We suggest, that emotionally intelligent leader’s experience less stress during social leadership situations, since they have better skills in dealing with the related emotional work. Thus the high-EI leaders would be more able to enjoy these situations, but also be more efficient in choosing appropriate expressions for building constructive dialogue. We suggest, that emotionally intelligent leaders show more positive emotional expressions than low-EI leaders. To study these hypotheses we observed performance review discussions of 40 leaders (24 female) with 78 (45 female) of their followers. Each leader held a discussion with two followers. Psychophysiological methods were chosen because they provide objective and continuous data from the whole duration of the discussions. We recorded sweating of the hands (electrodermal activation) by electrodes placed to the fingers of the non-dominant hand to assess the stress-related physiological arousal of the leaders. In addition, facial electromyography was recorded from cheek (zygomaticus major, activated during e.g. smiling) and periocular (orbicularis oculi, activated during smiling) muscles using electrode pairs placed on the left side of the face. Leader’s trait EI was measured with a 360 questionnaire, filled by each leader’s followers, peers, managers and by themselves. High-EI leaders had less sweating of the hands (p = .007) than the low-EI leaders. It is thus suggested that the high-EI leaders experienced less physiological stress during the discussions. Also, high scores in the factor “Using of emotions” were related to more facial muscle activation indicating positive emotional expressions (cheek muscle: p = .048; periocular muscle: p = .076, almost statistically significant). The results imply that emotionally intelligent managers are positively relaxed during s social leadership situations such as a performance review discussion. The current study also highlights the importance of EI in face-to-face social interaction, given the central role facial expressions have in interaction situations. The study also offers new insight to the biological basis of trait EI. It is suggested that the identification, forming, and intelligently using of facial expressions are skills that could be trained during leadership development courses.

Keywords: emotional intelligence, leadership, performance review discussion, psychophysiology, social interaction

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5 Implementation of an Online-Platform at the University of Freiburg to Help Medical Students Cope with Stress

Authors: Zoltán Höhling, Sarah-Lu Oberschelp, Niklas Gilsdorf, Michael Wirsching, Andrea Kuhnert


A majority of medical students at the University of Freiburg reported stress-related psychosomatic symptoms which are often associated with their studies. International research supports these findings, as medical students worldwide seem to be at special risk for mental health problems. In some countries and institutions, psychologically based interventions that assist medical students in coping with their stressors have been implemented. It turned out that anonymity is an important aspect here. Many students fear a potential damage of reputation when being associated with mental health problems, which may be due to a high level of competitiveness in classes. Therefore, we launched an online-platform where medical students could anonymously seek help and exchange their experiences with fellow students and experts. Medical students of all semesters have access to it through the university’s learning management system (called “ILIAS”). The informative part of the platform consists of exemplary videos showing medical students (actors) who act out scenes that demonstrate the antecedents of stress-related psychosomatic disorders. These videos are linked to different expert comments, describing the exhibited symptoms in an understandable and normalizing way. The (inter-)active part of the platform consists of self-help tools (such as meditation exercises or general tips for stress-coping) and an anonymous interactive forum where students can describe their stress-related problems and seek guidance from experts and/or share their experiences with fellow students. Besides creating an immediate proposal to help affected students, we expect that competitiveness between students might be diminished and bondage improved through mutual support between them. In the initial phase after the platform’s launch, it was accessed by a considerable number of medical students. On a closer look it appeared that platform sections like general information on psychosomatic-symptoms and self-treatment tools were accessed far more often than the online-forum during the first months after the platform launch. Although initial acceptance of the platform was relatively high, students showed a rather passive way of using our platform. While user statistics showed a clear demand for information on stress-related psychosomatic symptoms and its possible remedies, active engagement in the interactive online-forum was rare. We are currently advertising the platform intensively and trying to point out the assured anonymity of the platform and its interactive forum. Our plans, to assure students their anonymity through the use of an e-learning facility and promote active engagement in the online forum, did not (yet) turn out as expected. The reasons behind this may be manifold and based on either e-learning related issues or issues related to students’ individual needs. Students might, for example, question the assured anonymity due to a lack of trust in the technological functioning university’s learning management system. However, one may also conclude that reluctance to discuss stress-related psychosomatic symptoms with peer medical students may not be solely based on anonymity concerns, but could be rooted in more complex issues such as general mistrust between students.

Keywords: e-tutoring, stress-coping, student support, online forum

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4 Psychophysiological Synchronization between the Manager and the Subordinate during a Performance Review Discussion

Authors: Mikko Salminen, Niklas Ravaja


Previous studies have shown that emotional intelligence (EI) has an important role in leadership and social interaction. On the other hand, physiological synchronization between two interacting participants has been related to, for example, intensity of the interaction, and interestingly also to empathy. It is suggested that the amount of covariation in physiological signals between the two interacting persons would also be related to how the discussion is perceived subjectively. To study the interrelations between physiological synchronization, emotional intelligence, and subjective perception of the interaction, performance review discussions between real manager – subordinate dyads were studied using psychophysiological measurements and self-reports. The participants consisted of 40 managers, of which 24 were female, and 78 of their subordinates, of which 45 were female. The participants worked in various fields, for example banking, education, and engineering. The managers had a normal performance review discussion with two subordinates, except two managers who, due to scheduling issues, had discussion with only one subordinate. The managers were on average 44.5 years old, and the subordinates on average 45.5 years old. Written consent, in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, was obtained from all the participants. After the discussion, the participants filled a questionnaire assessing their emotions during the discussion. This included a self-assessment manikin (SAM) scale for the emotional valence during the discussion, with a 9-point graphical scale representing a manikin whose facial expressions ranged from smiling and happy to frowning and unhappy. In addition, the managers filled EI360, a 37-item self-report trait emotional intelligence questionnaire. The psychophysiological activity of the participants was recorded using two Varioport-B portable recording devices. Cardiac activity (ECG, electrocardiogram) was measured with two electrodes placed on the torso. Inter-beat interval (IBI, time between two successive heart beats) was calculated from the ECG signals. The facial muscle activation (EMG, electromyography) was recorded on three sites of the left side of the face: zygomaticus major (cheek muscle), orbicularis oculi (periocular muscle), and corrugator supercilii (frowning muscle). The facial-EMG signals were rectified and smoothed, and cross-coherences were calculated between members of each dyad, for all the three EMG signals, for the baseline and discussion periods. The values were natural-log transformed to normalize the distributions. Higher cross-coherence during the discussion between the manager’s and the subordinate’s zygomatic muscles was related to more positive valence self-reported emotions, F(1; 66,137) = 7,051; p=0,01. Thus, synchronized cheek muscle activation, either due to synchronous smiling or talking, was related to more positive perception of the discussion. In addition, higher IBI synchronization between the manager and the subordinate during the discussion was related to the manager’s higher self-reported emotional intelligence, F(1; 27,981)=4,58; p=0,041. That is, the EI was related to synchronous cardiac activity and possibly to similar physiological arousal levels. The results imply that the psychophysiological synchronization could be a potentially useful index in the study of social interaction and a valuable tool in the coaching of leadership skills in organizational contexts.

Keywords: emotional intelligence, leadership, psychophysiology, social interaction, synchronization

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

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


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

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

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2 A Postmodern Framework for Quranic Hermeneutics

Authors: Christiane Paulus


Post-Islamism assumes that the Quran should not be viewed in terms of what Lyotard identifies as a ‘meta-narrative'. However, its socio-ethical content can be viewed as critical of power discourse (Foucault). Practicing religion seems to be limited to rites and individual spirituality, taqwa. Alternatively, can we build on Muhammad Abduh's classic-modern reform and develop it through a postmodernist frame? This is the main question of this study. Through his general and vague remarks on the context of the Quran, Abduh was the first to refer to the historical and cultural distance of the text as an obstacle for interpretation. His application, however, corresponded to the modern absolute idea of authentic sharia. He was followed by Amin al-Khuli, who hermeneutically linked the content of the Quran to the theory of evolution. Fazlur Rahman and Nasr Hamid abu Zeid remain reluctant to go beyond the general level in terms of context. The hermeneutic circle, therefore, persists in challenging, how to get out to overcome one’s own assumptions. The insight into and the acceptance of the lasting ambivalence of understanding can be grasped as a postmodern approach; it is documented in Derrida's discovery of the shift in text meanings, difference, also in Lyotard's theory of différend. The resulting mixture of meanings (Wolfgang Welsch) can be read together with the classic ambiguity of the premodern interpreters of the Quran (Thomas Bauer). Confronting hermeneutic difficulties in general, Niklas Luhmann proves every description an attribution, tautology, i.e., remaining in the circle. ‘De-tautologization’ is possible, namely by analyzing the distinctions in the sense of objective, temporal and social information that every text contains. This could be expanded with the Kantian aesthetic dimension of reason (critique of pure judgment) corresponding to the iʽgaz of the Coran. Luhmann asks, ‘What distinction does the observer/author make?’ Quran as a speech from God to the first listeners could be seen as a discourse responding to the problems of everyday life of that time, which can be viewed as the general goal of the entire Qoran. Through reconstructing koranic Lifeworlds (Alfred Schütz) in detail, the social structure crystallizes the socio-economic differences, the enormous poverty. The koranic instruction to provide the basic needs for the neglected groups, which often intersect (old, poor, slaves, women, children), can be seen immediately in the text. First, the references to lifeworlds/social problems and discourses in longer koranic passages should be hypothesized. Subsequently, information from the classic commentaries could be extracted, the classical Tafseer, in particular, contains rich narrative material for reconstructing. By selecting and assigning suitable, specific context information, the meaning of the description becomes condensed (Clifford Geertz). In this manner, the text gets necessarily an alienation and is newly accessible. The socio-ethical implications can thus be grasped from the difference of the original problem and the revealed/improved order/procedure; this small step can be materialized as such, not as an absolute solution but as offering plausible patterns for today’s challenges as the Agenda 2030.

Keywords: postmodern hermeneutics, condensed description, sociological approach, small steps of reform

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1 Significant Aspects and Drivers of Germany and Australia's Energy Policy from a Political Economy Perspective

Authors: Sarah Niklas, Lynne Chester, Mark Diesendorf


Geopolitical tensions, climate change and recent movements favouring a transformative shift in institutional power structures have influenced the economics of conventional energy supply for decades. This study takes a multi-dimensional approach to illustrate the potential of renewable energy (RE) technology to provide a pathway to a low-carbon economy driven by ecologically sustainable, independent and socially just energy. This comparative analysis identifies economic, political and social drivers that shaped the adoption of RE policy in two significantly different economies, Germany and Australia, with strong and weak commitments to RE respectively. Two complementary political-economy theories frame the document-based analysis. Régulation Theory, inspired by Marxist ideas and strongly influenced by contemporary economic problems, provides the background to explore the social relationships contributing the adoption of RE within the macro-economy. Varieties of Capitalism theory, a more recently developed micro-economic approach, examines the nature of state-firm relationships. Together these approaches provide a comprehensive lens of analysis. Germany’s energy policy transformed substantially over the second half of the last century. The development is characterised by the coordination of societal, environmental and industrial demands throughout the advancement of capitalist regimes. In the Fordist regime, mass production based on coal drove Germany’s astounding economic recovery during the post-war period. Economic depression and the instability of institutional arrangements necessitated the impulsive seeking of national security and energy independence. During the postwar Flexi-Fordist period, quality-based production, innovation and technology-based competition schemes, particularly with regard to political power structures in and across Europe, favoured the adoption of RE. Innovation, knowledge and education were institutionalized, leading to the legislation of environmental concerns. Lastly the establishment of government-industry-based coordinative programs supported the phase out of nuclear power and the increased adoption of RE during the last decade. Australia’s energy policy is shaped by the country’s richness in mineral resources. Energy policy largely served coal mining, historically and currently one of the most capital-intense industry. Assisted by the macro-economic dimensions of institutional arrangements, social and financial capital is orientated towards the export-led and strongly demand-oriented economy. Here energy policy serves the maintenance of capital accumulation in the mining sector and the emerging Asian economies. The adoption of supportive renewable energy policy would challenge the distinct role of the mining industry within the (neo)-liberal market economy. The state’s protective role of the mining sector has resulted in weak commitment to RE policy and investment uncertainty in the energy sector. Recent developments, driven by strong public support for RE, emphasize the sense of community in urban and rural areas and the emergence of a bottom-up approach to adopt renewables. Thus, political economy frameworks on both the macro-economic (Regulation Theory) and micro-economic (Varieties of Capitalism theory) scales can together explain the strong commitment to RE in Germany vis-à-vis the weak commitment in Australia.

Keywords: political economy, regulation theory, renewable energy, social relationships, energy transitions

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