Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 336

Search results for: Paul C. Okolie

6 Genome-Scale Analysis of Streptomyces Caatingaensis CMAA 1322 Metabolism, a New Abiotic Stress-Tolerant Actinomycete

Authors: Suikinai Nobre Santos, Ranko Gacesa, Paul F. Long, Itamar Soares de Melo

Abstract:

Extremophilic microorganism are adapted to biotopes combining several stress factors (temperature, pressure, radiation, salinity and pH), which indicate the richness valuable resource for the exploitation of novel biotechnological processes and constitute unique models for investigations their biomolecules (1, 2). The above information encourages us investigate bioprospecting synthesized compounds by a noval actinomycete, designated thermotolerant Streptomyces caatingaensis CMAA 1322, isolated from sample soil tropical dry forest (Caatinga) in the Brazilian semiarid region (3-17°S and 35-45°W). This set of constrating physical and climatic factores provide the unique conditions and a diversity of well adapted species, interesting site for biotechnological purposes. Preliminary studies have shown the great potential in the production of cytotoxic, pesticidal and antimicrobial molecules (3). Thus, to extend knowledge of the genes clusters responsible for producing biosynthetic pathways of natural products in strain CMAA1322, whole-genome shotgun (WGS) DNA sequencing was performed using paired-end long sequencing with PacBio RS (Pacific Biosciences). Genomic DNA was extracted from a pure culture grown overnight on LB medium using the PureLink genomic DNA kit (Life Technologies). An approximately 3- to 20-kb-insert PacBio library was constructed and sequenced on an 8 single-molecule real-time (SMRT) cell, yielding 116,269 reads (average length, 7,446 bp), which were allocated into 18 contigs, with 142.11x coverage and N50 value of 20.548 bp (BioProject number PRJNA288757). The assembled data were analyzed by Rapid Annotations using Subsystems Technology (RAST) (4) the genome size was found to be 7.055.077 bp, comprising 6167 open reading frames (ORFs) and 413 subsystems. The G+C content was estimated to be 72 mol%. The closest-neighbors tool, available in RAST through functional comparison of the genome, revealed that strain CMAA1322 is more closely related to Streptomyces hygroscopicus ATCC 53653 (similarity score value, 537), S. violaceusniger Tu 4113 (score value, 483), S. avermitilis MA-4680 (score value, 475), S. albus J1074 (score value, 447). The Streptomyces sp. CMAA1322 genome contains 98 tRNA genes and 135 genes copies related to stress response, mainly osmotic stress (14), heat shock (16), oxidative stress (49). Functional annotation by antiSMASH version 3.0 (5) identified 41 clusters for secondary metabolites (including two clusters for lanthipeptides, ten clusters for nonribosomal peptide synthetases [NRPS], three clusters for siderophores, fourteen for polyketide synthetase [PKS], six clusters encoding a terpene, two clusters encoding a bacteriocin, and one cluster encoding a phenazine). Our work provide in comparative analyse of genome and extract produced (data no published) by lineage CMAA1322, revealing the potential of microorganisms accessed from extreme environments as Caatinga” to produce a wide range of biotechnological relevant compounds.

Keywords: caatinga, streptomyces, environmental stresses, biosynthetic pathways

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5 Formal History Teaching and Lifeworld Literacies: Developing Transversal Skills as an Embodied Learning Outcomes in Historical Research Projects

Authors: Paul Flynn, Luke O’Donnell

Abstract:

There is a pressing societal need for educators in formal and non-formal settings to develop pedagogical frameworks, programmes, and interventions that support the development of transversal skills for life beyond the classroom. These skills include communication, collaboration, interpersonal relationship building, problem-solving, and planning, and organizational skills; or lifeworld literacies encountered first hand. This is particularly true for young people aged between 15-18. This demographic represents both the future of society and those best positioned to take advantage of well-designed, structured educational supports within and across formal and non-formal settings. Secondary school history has been identified as an appropriate area of study which deftly develops many of those transversal skills so crucial to positive societal engagement. However, in the formal context, students often challenge history’s relevance to their own lived experience and dismiss it as a study option. In response to such challenges, teachers will often design stimulating lessons which are often well-received. That said, some students continue to question modern-day connections, presenting a persistent and pervasive classroom distraction. The continuing decline in numbers opting to study second-level history indicates an erosion of what should be a critical opportunity to develop all-important lifeworld literacies within formal education. In contrast, students readily acknowledge relevance in non-formal settings where many participants meaningfully engage with history by way of student-focused activities. Furthermore, many do so without predesigned pedagogical aids which support transversal skills development as embodied learning outcomes. As this paper will present, there is a dearth of work pertaining to the circular subject of history and its embodied learning outcomes, including lifeworld literacies, in formal and non-formal settings. While frequently challenging to reconcile formal (often defined by strict curricula and examination processes), and non-formal engagement with history, opportunities do exist. In the Irish context, this is exemplified by a popular university outreach programme: breaking the SEAL. This programme supports second-level history students as they fulfill curriculum requirements in completing a research study report. This report is a student-led research project pulling on communication skills, collaboration with peers and teachers, interpersonal relationships, problem-solving, and planning and organizational skills. Completion of this process has been widely recognized as excellent preparation not only for higher education (third level) but work-life demands as well. Within a formal education setting, the RSR harnesses non-formal learning virtues and exposes students to limited aspects of independent learning that relate to a professional work setting –a lifeworld literacy. Breaking the SEAL provides opportunities for students to enhance their lifeworld literacy by engaging in an independent research and learning process within the protective security of the classroom and its teacher. This paper will highlight the critical role this programme plays in preparing participating students (n=315) for life after compulsory education and presents examples of how lifeworld literacies may be developed through a scaffolded process of historical research and reporting anchored in non-formal contexts.

Keywords: history, education, literacy, transversal skills

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4 A Proposed Treatment Protocol for the Management of Pars Interarticularis Pathology in Children and Adolescents

Authors: Paul Licina, Emma M. Johnston, David Lisle, Mark Young, Chris Brady

Abstract:

Background: Lumbar pars pathology is a common cause of pain in the growing spine. It can be seen in young athletes participating in at-risk sports and can affect sporting performance and long-term health due to its resistance to traditional management. There is a current lack of consensus of classification and treatment for pars injuries. Previous systems used CT to stage pars defects but could not assess early stress reactions. A modified classification is proposed that considers findings on MRI, significantly improving early treatment guidance. The treatment protocol is designed for patients aged 5 to 19 years. Method: Clinical screening identifies patients with a low, medium, or high index of suspicion for lumbar pars injury using patient age, sport participation and pain characteristics. MRI of the at-risk cohort enables augmentation of existing CT-based classification while avoiding ionising radiation. Patients are classified into five categories based on MRI findings. A type 0 lesion (stress reaction) is present when CT is normal and MRI shows high signal change (HSC) in the pars/pedicle on T2 images. A type 1 lesion represents the ‘early defect’ CT classification. The group previously referred to as a 'progressive stage' defect on CT can be split into 2A and 2B categories. 2As have HSC on MRI, whereas 2Bs do not. This distinction is important with regard to healing potential. Type 3 lesions are terminal stage defects on CT, characterised by pseudarthrosis. MRI shows no HSC. Results: Stress reactions (type 0) and acute fractures (1 and 2a) can heal and are treated in a custom-made hard brace for 12 weeks. It is initially worn 23 hours per day. At three weeks, patients commence basic core rehabilitation. At six weeks, in the absence of pain, the brace is removed for sleeping. Exercises are progressed to positions of daily living. Patients with continued pain remain braced 23 hours per day without exercise progression until becoming symptom-free. At nine weeks, patients commence supervised exercises out of the brace for 30 minutes each day. This allows them to re-learn muscular control without rigid support of the brace. At 12 weeks, bracing ceases and MRI is repeated. For patients with near or complete resolution of bony oedema and healing of any cortical defect, rehabilitation is focused on strength and conditioning and sport-specific exercise for the full return to activity. The length of this final stage is approximately nine weeks but depends on factors such as development and level of sports participation. If significant HSC remains on MRI, CT scan is considered to definitively assess cortical defect healing. For these patients, return to high-risk sports is delayed for up to three months. Chronic defects (2b and 3) cannot heal and are not braced, and rehabilitation follows traditional protocols. Conclusion: Appropriate clinical screening and imaging with MRI can identify pars pathology early. In those with potential for healing, we propose hard bracing and appropriate rehabilitation as part of a multidisciplinary management protocol. The validity of this protocol will be tested in future studies.

Keywords: adolescents, MRI classification, pars interticularis, treatment protocol

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3 Deep-Learning Coupled with Pragmatic Categorization Method to Classify the Urban Environment of the Developing World

Authors: Qianwei Cheng, A. K. M. Mahbubur Rahman, Anis Sarker, Abu Bakar Siddik Nayem, Ovi Paul, Amin Ahsan Ali, M. Ashraful Amin, Ryosuke Shibasaki, Moinul Zaber

Abstract:

Thomas Friedman, in his famous book, argued that the world in this 21st century is flat and will continue to be flatter. This is attributed to rapid globalization and the interdependence of humanity that engendered tremendous in-flow of human migration towards the urban spaces. In order to keep the urban environment sustainable, policy makers need to plan based on extensive analysis of the urban environment. With the advent of high definition satellite images, high resolution data, computational methods such as deep neural network analysis, and hardware capable of high-speed analysis; urban planning is seeing a paradigm shift. Legacy data on urban environments are now being complemented with high-volume, high-frequency data. However, the first step of understanding urban space lies in useful categorization of the space that is usable for data collection, analysis, and visualization. In this paper, we propose a pragmatic categorization method that is readily usable for machine analysis and show applicability of the methodology on a developing world setting. Categorization to plan sustainable urban spaces should encompass the buildings and their surroundings. However, the state-of-the-art is mostly dominated by classification of building structures, building types, etc. and largely represents the developed world. Hence, these methods and models are not sufficient for developing countries such as Bangladesh, where the surrounding environment is crucial for the categorization. Moreover, these categorizations propose small-scale classifications, which give limited information, have poor scalability and are slow to compute in real time. Our proposed method is divided into two steps-categorization and automation. We categorize the urban area in terms of informal and formal spaces and take the surrounding environment into account. 50 km × 50 km Google Earth image of Dhaka, Bangladesh was visually annotated and categorized by an expert and consequently a map was drawn. The categorization is based broadly on two dimensions-the state of urbanization and the architectural form of urban environment. Consequently, the urban space is divided into four categories: 1) highly informal area; 2) moderately informal area; 3) moderately formal area; and 4) highly formal area. In total, sixteen sub-categories were identified. For semantic segmentation and automatic categorization, Google’s DeeplabV3+ model was used. The model uses Atrous convolution operation to analyze different layers of texture and shape. This allows us to enlarge the field of view of the filters to incorporate larger context. Image encompassing 70% of the urban space was used to train the model, and the remaining 30% was used for testing and validation. The model is able to segment with 75% accuracy and 60% Mean Intersection over Union (mIoU). In this paper, we propose a pragmatic categorization method that is readily applicable for automatic use in both developing and developed world context. The method can be augmented for real-time socio-economic comparative analysis among cities. It can be an essential tool for the policy makers to plan future sustainable urban spaces.

Keywords: semantic segmentation, urban environment, deep learning, urban building, classification

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2 Evaluation of Polymerisation Shrinkage of Randomly Oriented Micro-Sized Fibre Reinforced Dental Composites Using Fibre-Bragg Grating Sensors and Their Correlation with Degree of Conversion

Authors: Sonam Behl, Raju, Ginu Rajan, Paul Farrar, B. Gangadhara Prusty

Abstract:

Reinforcing dental composites with micro-sized fibres can significantly improve the physio-mechanical properties of dental composites. The short fibres can be oriented randomly within dental composites, thus providing quasi-isotropic reinforcing efficiency unlike unidirectional/bidirectional fibre reinforced composites enhancing anisotropic properties. Thus, short fibres reinforced dental composites are getting popular among practitioners. However, despite their popularity, resin-based dental composites are prone to failure on account of shrinkage during photo polymerisation. The shrinkage in the structure may lead to marginal gap formation, causing secondary caries, thus ultimately inducing failure of the restoration. The traditional methods to evaluate polymerisation shrinkage using strain gauges, density-based measurements, dilatometer, or bonded-disk focuses on average value of volumetric shrinkage. Moreover, the results obtained from traditional methods are sensitive to the specimen geometry. The present research aims to evaluate the real-time shrinkage strain at selected locations in the material with the help of optical fibre Bragg grating (FBG) sensors. Due to the miniature size (diameter 250 µm) of FBG sensors, they can be easily embedded into small samples of dental composites. Furthermore, an FBG array into the system can map the real-time shrinkage strain at different regions of the composite. The evaluation of real-time monitoring of shrinkage values may help to optimise the physio-mechanical properties of composites. Previously, FBG sensors have been able to rightfully measure polymerisation strains of anisotropic (unidirectional or bidirectional) reinforced dental composites. However, very limited study exists to establish the validity of FBG based sensors to evaluate volumetric shrinkage for randomly oriented fibres reinforced composites. The present study aims to fill this research gap and is focussed on establishing the usage of FBG based sensors for evaluating the shrinkage of dental composites reinforced with randomly oriented fibres. Three groups of specimens were prepared by mixing the resin (80% UDMA/20% TEGDMA) with 55% of silane treated BaAlSiO₂ particulate fillers or by adding 5% of micro-sized fibres of diameter 5 µm, and length 250/350 µm along with 50% of silane treated BaAlSiO₂ particulate fillers into the resin. For measurement of polymerisation shrinkage strain, an array of three fibre Bragg grating sensors was embedded at a depth of 1 mm into a circular Teflon mould of diameter 15 mm and depth 2 mm. The results obtained are compared with the traditional method for evaluation of the volumetric shrinkage using density-based measurements. Degree of conversion was measured using FTIR spectroscopy (Spotlight 400 FT-IR from PerkinElmer). It is expected that the average polymerisation shrinkage strain values for dental composites reinforced with micro-sized fibres can directly correlate with the measured degree of conversion values, implying that more C=C double bond conversion to C-C single bond values also leads to higher shrinkage strain within the composite. Moreover, it could be established the photonics approach could help assess the shrinkage at any point of interest in the material, suggesting that fibre-Bragg grating sensors are a suitable means for measuring real-time polymerisation shrinkage strain for randomly fibre reinforced dental composites as well.

Keywords: dental composite, glass fibre, polymerisation shrinkage strain, fibre-Bragg grating sensors

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1 The Prospects of Optimized KOH/Cellulose 'Papers' as Hierarchically Porous Electrode Materials for Supercapacitor Devices

Authors: Dina Ibrahim Abouelamaiem, Ana Jorge Sobrido, Magdalena Titirici, Paul R. Shearing, Daniel J. L. Brett

Abstract:

Global warming and scarcity of fossil fuels have had a radical impact on the world economy and ecosystem. The urgent need for alternative energy sources has hence elicited an extensive research for exploiting efficient and sustainable means of energy conversion and storage. Among various electrochemical systems, supercapacitors attracted significant attention in the last decade due to their high power supply, long cycle life compared to batteries and simple mechanism. Recently, the performance of these devices has drastically improved, as tuning of nanomaterials provided efficient charge and storage mechanisms. Carbon materials, in various forms, are believed to pioneer the next generation of supercapacitors due to their attractive properties that include high electronic conductivities, high surface areas and easy processing and functionalization. Cellulose has eco-friendly attributes that are feasible to replace man-made fibers. The carbonization of cellulose yields carbons, including activated carbon and graphite fibers. Activated carbons successively are the most exploited candidates for supercapacitor electrode materials that can be complemented with pseudocapacitive materials to achieve high energy and power densities. In this work, the optimum functionalization conditions of cellulose have been investigated for supercapacitor electrode materials. The precursor was treated with potassium hydroxide (KOH) at different KOH/cellulose ratios prior to the carbonization process in an inert nitrogen atmosphere at 850 °C. The chalky products were washed, dried and characterized with different techniques including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), x-ray tomography and nitrogen adsorption-desorption isotherms. The morphological characteristics and their effect on the electrochemical performances were investigated in two and three-electrode systems. The KOH/cellulose ratios of 0.5:1 and 1:1 exhibited the highest performances with their unique hierarchal porous network structure, high surface areas and low cell resistances. Both samples acquired the best results in three-electrode systems and coin cells with specific gravimetric capacitances as high as 187 F g-1 and 20 F g-1 at a current density of 1 A g-1 and retention rates of 72% and 70%, respectively. This is attributed to the morphology of the samples that constituted of a well-balanced micro-, meso- and macro-porosity network structure. This study reveals that the electrochemical performance doesn’t solely depend on high surface areas but also an optimum pore size distribution, specifically at low current densities. The micro- and meso-pore contribution to the final pore structure was found to dominate at low KOH loadings, reaching ‘equilibrium’ with macropores at the optimum KOH loading, after which macropores dictate the porous network. The wide range of pore sizes is detrimental for the mobility and penetration of electrolyte ions in the porous structures. These findings highlight the influence of various morphological factors on the double-layer capacitances and high performance rates. In addition, they open a platform for the investigation of the optimized conditions for double-layer capacitance that can be coupled with pseudocapacitive materials to yield higher energy densities and capacities.

Keywords: carbon, electrochemical performance, electrodes, KOH/cellulose optimized ratio, morphology, supercapacitor

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