Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 26

Search results for: Valeria Dilcheva

26 Comparative Hematological Analysis of Blood Profile in Experimentally Infected with Trichinella spiralis, Trichinella britovi and Trichinella pseudospiralis Mice

Authors: Ivelin Vladov, Valeria T. Dilcheva, Svetlozara L. Petkova


Trichinellosis is a food-borne parasitic disease caused by nematodes of the genus Trichinella which are zoonotic parasites with cosmopolitan distribution and major socio-economic importance. Human infection is acquired through consumption of undercooked meat from domestic or wild animal. Penetration of Trichinella larvae into striated skeletal muscle cells results in ultrastructural and metabolic changes. Migration of larvae causes the typical symptoms and signs of the disease. The severity of the symptoms depends on the number of ingested Trichinella larvae and the immune response of the host. Eosinophilia is present, with few exceptions, in most cases of human trichinellosis, inasmuch as it is the earliest and most important host response. Even in human asymptomatic cases, increases in eosinophilia of up to 15% have been observed. Eosinophilia appears at an early stage of infection between the second and fifth weeks of infection. By 2005 it was considered that only two species of Trichinella genus were found in the country. After routine trichinelloscopy procedure disseminated single muscle larvae in samples of wild boars and badger were PCR-identified as T. pseudospiralis. The study aimed to observed hematological changes occurring during experimentally induced infection with Trichinella spiralis, T. britovi and T. pseudospiralis in mice. We performed hematological blood profile, tracking 15 blood indicators. In statistical analysis made by Two-way ANOVA, there were significant differences of HGB, MCHC, PLT, Lymph%, Gran% in all three types of trichinellosis compared to control animals. Capsule-forming T. spiralis showed statistically significant differences in HGB, MCHC, Lymph% and PLT compared to the other two species. Non capsule-forming T. pseudospiralis showed statistically significant differences in Lymph%, Gran% relative to the control and in Gran% relative to T. spiralis. It appears rather substantial the process of capsule formation for prolonged immune response and retention of high content of percentage of lymphocytes(Lymph%) and low of granulocyte(Gran%) in T. pseudospiralis, which is contrary to studies for T. spiralis and eosinophilia. Studies and analyzes of some specific blood profile parameters can provide additional data in favor of early diagnosis and adequate treatment as well as provide a better understanding of acute and chronic trichinosis.

Keywords: hematological test, T. britovi, T. spiralis, T. pseudospiralis

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25 A Study of the Prevalence of Trichinellosis in Domestic and Wild Animals for the Region of Sofia, Bulgaria

Authors: Valeria Dilcheva, Svetlozara Petkova, Ivelin Vladov


Nemathodes of the genus Trichinella are zoonotic parasites with a cosmopolitan distribution. More than 100 species of mammals, birds and reptiles are involved in the natural cycle of this nematode. At present, T. spiralis, T. pseudospiralis, and T. britovi have been found in Bulgaria. The existence of natural wildlife and domestic reservoirs of Trichinella spp. can be a serious threat to human health. Three trichinella isolates caused human trichinella infection outbreaks from three regions of Sofia City Province were used for the research: sample No. 1 - Ratus norvegicus, sample No. 2 – domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica), sample No. 3 - domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica). Trichinella larvae of the studied species were isolated via digestive method (pepsin, hydrochloric acid, water) at 37ºC by standard procedure and were determined by gender (male and female) based on their morphological characteristics. As a reference trichinella species were used: T. spiralis, T. pseudospiralis, T. nativa and T. britovi. Single male and female larvae of the three isolates were crossed with single male and female larvae of the reference trichinella species as well as reciprocally. As a result of cross-breeding, offspring of muscular larvae with T. spiralis and T. britovi were obtained, while in experiments with T. pseudospiralis and T. nativa, trichinella larvae were not found in the laboratory mice. The results obtained in the control groups indicate that the trichinella larvae used from the isolates and the four trichinella species are infective. Also, the infective ability of the F1 offspring from the successful cross-breeding between isolates and reference species was investigated. Through the data obtained in the experiment was found that isolates No. 1 and No. 2 belong to the species T. spiralis, and isolate No. 3 belongs to the species T. britovi. The results were confirmed by PCR and real-time PCR analysis. Thus the presence and circulation of the species T. spiralis and T. britovi in Bulgaria was confirmed. Probably the rodents (rats) are involved in the distribution of T. spiralis in urban environment. The species T. britovi found in a domestic pig speaks of some contact with wild animals for which T. britovi is characteristic. The probable reason is that a large number of farmers in Bulgaria practice the free-range breeding of domestic pigs. Part of the farmers also used as food for domestic pigs waste products from the game (foxes, jackals, bears, wolves) and probably thus the infection was obtained. The distribution range of trichinella species in Bulgaria is not strictly outlined. It is believed that T. spiralis is most common in domestic animals and T. britovi and T. pseudospiralis are characteristic of wildlife. To answer the question whether wild and synanthropic animals are infected with the same or different trichinella species, which species predominate in nature and what their distribution among different hosts is, further research is required.

Keywords: cross-breeding, Sofia, trichinellosis, Trichinella britovi, Trichinella spiralis

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24 A Simple User Administration View of Computing Clusters

Authors: Valeria M. Bastos, Myrian A. Costa, Matheus Ambrozio, Nelson F. F. Ebecken


In this paper a very simple and effective user administration view of computing clusters systems is implemented in order of friendly provide the configuration and monitoring of distributed application executions. The user view, the administrator view, and an internal control module create an illusionary management environment for better system usability. The architecture, properties, performance, and the comparison with others software for cluster management are briefly commented.

Keywords: Big Data, computing clusters, administration view, user view

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23 Approximation of the Time Series by Fractal Brownian Motion

Authors: Valeria Bondarenko


In this paper, we propose two problems related to fractal Brownian motion. First problem is simultaneous estimation of two parameters, Hurst exponent and the volatility, that describe this random process. Numerical tests for the simulated fBm provided an efficient method. Second problem is approximation of the increments of the observed time series by a power function by increments from the fractional Brownian motion. Approximation and estimation are shown on the example of real data, daily deposit interest rates.

Keywords: Time series, Approximation, fractional Brownian motion, Gausssian processes, estimation of properties of the model

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22 The Evolution of Architecture through Digital: A Survey on Fashion Catwalk Becoming Digital

Authors: Valeria Minucciani, Maria Maddalena Margaria


While mathematical tools that make digital architecture possible are very sophisticated and advanced, theoretical development of digital architecture (intended as a discipline that integrates or replaces the real architecture) is not. The fashion show, that involves interiors architecture, exhibit design and scenography, has been exploiting for ten years the opportunities offered by digital technologies. To gain greater visibility and to reach a wider audience, high-level experimentations have been performed. The aim of this paper is in investigating, through the analysis of some cases of virtual fashion shows, the 'architectural' impact of the virtual conception of interior space.

Keywords: Architectural theory, digital interiors, exhibit, fashion catwalk

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21 Microclimate Variations in Rio de Janeiro Related to Massive Public Transportation

Authors: Valeria M. Bastos, Nelson F. F. Ebecken, Marco E. O. Jardim, Frederico A. M. Souza, Myrian C. A. Costa


Urban public transportation in Rio de Janeiro is based on bus lines, powered by diesel, and four limited metro lines that support only some neighborhoods. This work presents an infrastructure built to better understand microclimate variations related to massive urban transportation in some specific areas of the city. The use of sensor nodes with small analytics capacity provides environmental information to population or public services. The analyses of data collected from a few small sensors positioned near some heavy traffic streets show the harmful impact due to poor bus route plan.

Keywords: Big Data, public transportation, IoT, public health system

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20 The Modelling of Real Time Series Data

Authors: Valeria Bondarenko


We proposed algorithms for: estimation of parameters fBm (volatility and Hurst exponent) and for the approximation of random time series by functional of fBm. We proved the consistency of the estimators, which constitute the above algorithms, and proved the optimal forecast of approximated time series. The adequacy of estimation algorithms, approximation, and forecasting is proved by numerical experiment. During the process of creating software, the system has been created, which is displayed by the hierarchical structure. The comparative analysis of proposed algorithms with the other methods gives evidence of the advantage of approximation method. The results can be used to develop methods for the analysis and modeling of time series describing the economic, physical, biological and other processes.

Keywords: fractional Brownian motion, Wiener process, mathematical model, random process

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19 Preparation and Characterization of Organic Silver Precursors for Conductive Ink

Authors: Wendong Yang, Changhai Wang, Valeria Arrighi


Low ink sintering temperature is desired for flexible electronics, as it would widen the application of the ink on temperature-sensitive substrates where the selection of silver precursor is very critical. In this paper, four types of organic silver precursors, silver carbonate, silver oxalate, silver tartrate and silver itaconate, were synthesized using an ion exchange method, firstly. Various characterization methods were employed to investigate their physical phase, chemical composition, morphologies and thermal decomposition behavior. It was found that silver oxalate had the ideal thermal property and showed the lowest decomposition temperature. An ink was then formulated by complexing the as-prepared silver oxalate with ethylenediamine in organic solvents. Results show that a favorable conductive film with a uniform surface structure consisting of silver nanoparticles and few voids could be produced from the ink at a sintering temperature of 150 °C.

Keywords: Film, electrical property, conductive ink, organic silver

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18 Virtualization of Biomass Colonization: Potential of Application in Precision Medicine

Authors: Maria Valeria De Bonis, Gianpaolo Ruocco


Nowadays, computational modeling is paving new design and verification ways in a number of industrial sectors. The technology is ripe to challenge some case in the Bioengineering and Medicine frameworks: for example, looking at the strategical and ethical importance of oncology research, efforts should be made to yield new and powerful resources to tumor knowledge and understanding. With these driving motivations, we approach this gigantic problem by using some standard engineering tools such as the mathematics behind the biomass transfer. We present here some bacterial colonization studies in complex structures. As strong analogies hold with some tumor proliferation, we extend our study to a benchmark case of solid tumor. By means of a commercial software, we model biomass and energy evolution in arbitrary media. The approach will be useful to cast virtualization cases of cancer growth in human organs, while augmented reality tools will be used to yield for a realistic aid to informed decision in treatment and surgery.

Keywords: Simulation, Tumor, Precision Medicine, Bacteria

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17 Block N Lvi from the Northern Side of Parthenon Frieze: A Case Study of Augmented Reality for Museum Application

Authors: Donato Maniello, Alessandra Cirafici, Valeria Amoretti


This paper aims to present a new method that consists in the use of video mapping techniques – that is a particular form of augmented reality, which could produce new tools - different from the ones that are actually in use - for an interactive Museum experience. With the words 'augmented reality', we mean the addition of more information than what the visitor would normally perceive; this information is mediated by the use of computer and projector. The proposed application involves the creation of a documentary that depicts and explains the history of the artifact and illustrates its features; this must be projected on the surface of the faithful copy of the freeze (obtained in full-scale with a 3D printer). This mode of operation uses different techniques that allow passing from the creation of the model to the creation of contents through an accurate historical and artistic analysis, and finally to the warping phase, that will permit to overlap real and virtual models. The ultimate step, that is still being studied, includes the creation of interactive contents that would be activated by visitors through appropriate motion sensors.

Keywords: Multimedia, Augmented Reality, video mapping, parthenon frieze

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16 Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity of Essential Oil of Eucalyptus camendulensis on a Few Bacteria and Fungi

Authors: M. Mehani, N. Salhi, T. Valeria, S. Ladjel


Red River Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) is a tree of the genus Eucalyptus widely distributed in Algeria and in the world. The value of its aromatic secondary metabolites offers new perspectives in the pharmaceutical industry. This strategy can contribute to the sustainable development of our country. Preliminary tests performed on the essential oil of Eucalyptus camendulensis showed that this oil has antibacterial activity vis-à-vis the bacterial strains (Enterococcus feacalis, Enterobacter cloaceai, Proteus microsilis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and antifungic (Fusarium sporotrichioide and Fusarium graminearum). The culture medium used was nutrient broth Muller Hinton. The interaction between the bacteria and the essential oil is expressed by a zone of inhibition with diameters of MIC indirectly expression of. And we used the PDA medium to determine the fungal activity. The extraction of the aromatic fraction (essentially oil- hydrolat) of the fresh aerian part of the Eucalyptus camendulensis was performed by hydrodistillation. The average essential oil yield is 0.99%. The antimicrobial and fungal study of the essential oil and hydrosol showed a high inhibitory effect on the growth of pathogens.

Keywords: Essential Oil, Eucalyptus camendulensis, bacteria and fungi, red river gum

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15 Alcoxysilanes Production from Silica and Dimethylcarbonate Promoted by Alkali Bases: A DFT Investigation of the Reaction Mechanism

Authors: Valeria Butera, Norihisa Fukaya, Jun-Chu Choi, Kazuhiko Sato, Yoong-Kee Choe


Several silicon dioxide sources can react with dimethyl carbonate (DMC) in presence of alkali bases catalysts to ultimately produce tetramethoxysilane (TMOS). Experimental findings suggested that the reaction proceeds through several steps in which the first molecule of DMC is converted to dimethylsilyloxide (DMOS) and CO₂. Following the same mechanistic steps, a second molecule of DMC reacts with the DMOS to afford the final product TMOS. Using a cluster model approach, a quantum-mechanical investigation of the first part of the reaction leading to DMOS formation is reported with a twofold purpose: (1) verify the viability of the reaction mechanism proposed on the basis of experimental evidences .(2) compare the behaviors of three different alkali hydroxides MOH, where M=Li, K and Cs, to determine whether diverse ionic radius and charge density can be considered responsible for the observed differences in reactivity. Our findings confirm the observed experimental trend and furnish important information about the effective role of the alkali hydroxides giving an explanation of the different catalytic activity of the three metal cations.

Keywords: dft, Alcoxysilanes production, cluster model approach, DMC conversion

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14 Genetic Parameters as Indicators of Sustainability and Diversity of Schinus terebinthifolius Populations in the Riparian Area of the São Francisco River

Authors: Renata Silva-Mann, Sheila Valéria Álvares Carvalho, Robério Anastácio Ferreira, Laura Jane Gomes


There is growing interest in defining indicators of sustainability, which are important for monitoring the conservation of native forests, particularly in areas of permanent protection. These indicators are references for assessing the state of the forest and the status of the depredated area and its ability to maintain species populations. The aim of the present study was to select genetic parameters as indicators of sustainability for Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi. Fragments located in riparian areas between the Sergipe and Alagoas States in Brazil. This species has been exploited for traditional communities, which represent 20% of the incoming. This study was carried out using the indicators suggested by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which were identified as Driving-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) factors. The genetic parameters were obtained in five populations located on the shores and islands of the São Francisco River, one of the most important rivers in Brazil. The framework for Schinus conservation suggests seventeen indicators of sustainability. In accordance with genetic parameters, the populations are isolated, and these genetic parameters can be used to monitor the sustainability of those populations in riparian area with the aim of defining strategies for forest restoration.

Keywords: Biodiversity, Molecular markers, Genetic Diversity, alleles

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13 The Food and Nutrition Security in Brazilian Quilombo: The Account of Experiences in Two Titled Territories

Authors: Dyego Ramos Henrique, Viviane Pimentel, Katia Souto, Ana Valéria Mendonça, Andrea Gallassi


Socioeconomic inequalities in Brazil have accentuated the aggravations of poverty among the most vulnerable populations, among which are the quilombola communities. The objective was to reflect on a situation of food and nutritional security in two Brazilian quilombola communities. The data were collected by means of reports of experience through the production of talk wheels in two quilombola communities (Itamatatiua and Mesquita), located in the cities of Alcântara and Cidade Ocidental. Access to health services and health promotion actions were still incipient in the quilombola communities visited. The perceptions of the participants of the quilombolas revealed that there are still repressed demands that have rendered the fulfillment of the principles of equity, universality and integrality, both for access to health and for access and availability of food. They recognize in governmental instances a socioeconomic-cultural valorization and nutritional qualities intrinsic to the foods produced by them. Although they have been used as communities of quilombolas live and their level of access to services and programs, dealing with quilombola communities does not mean dealing with 'isolated groups or a strictly homogeneous population.' It demands a great need of attention in relation to the access and availability of food, besides overcoming barriers that made it an unfeasible valuation of social, economic and cultural precepts, intrinsic to the thought about food and nutritional security in Brazilian quilombos.

Keywords: Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition Security, access to services, quilombo population

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12 Evaluation of Electro-Flocculation for Biomass Production of Marine Microalgae Phaodactylum tricornutum

Authors: Luciana C. Ramos, Leandro J. Sousa, Antônio Ferreira da Silva, Valéria Gomes Oliveira Falcão, Suzana T. Cunha Lima


The commercial production of biodiesel using microalgae demands a high-energy input for harvesting biomass, making production economically unfeasible. Methods currently used involve mechanical, chemical, and biological procedures. In this work, a flocculation system is presented as a cost and energy effective process to increase biomass production of Phaeodactylum tricornutum. This diatom is the only species of the genus that present fast growth and lipid accumulation ability that are of great interest for biofuel production. The algae, selected from the Bank of Microalgae, Institute of Biology, Federal University of Bahia (Brazil), have been bred in tubular reactor with photoperiod of 12 h (clear/dark), providing luminance of about 35 μmol photons m-2s-1, and temperature of 22 °C. The medium used for growing cells was the Conway medium, with addition of silica. The seaweed growth curve was accompanied by cell count in Neubauer camera and by optical density in spectrophotometer, at 680 nm. The precipitation occurred at the end of the stationary phase of growth, 21 days after inoculation, using two methods: centrifugation at 5000 rpm for 5 min, and electro-flocculation at 19 EPD and 95 W. After precipitation, cells were frozen at -20 °C and, subsequently, lyophilized. Biomass obtained by electro-flocculation was approximately four times greater than the one achieved by centrifugation. The benefits of this method are that no addition of chemical flocculants is necessary and similar cultivation conditions can be used for the biodiesel production and pharmacological purposes. The results may contribute to improve biodiesel production costs using marine microalgae.

Keywords: biomass, Microalgae, Flocculation, diatom

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11 The Development of Open Access in Latin America and Caribbean: Mapping National and International Policies and Scientific Publications of the Region

Authors: Simone Belli, Sergio Minniti, Valeria Santoro


ICTs and technology transfer can benefit and move a country forward in economic and social development. However, ICT and access to the Internet have been inequitably distributed in most developing countries. In terms of science production and dissemination, this divide articulates itself also through the inequitable distribution of access to scientific knowledge and networks, which results in the exclusion of developing countries from the center of science. Developing countries are on the fringe of Science and Technology (S&T) production due not only to low investment in research but also to the difficulties to access international scholarly literature. In this respect, Open access (OA) initiatives and knowledge infrastructure represent key elements for both producing significant changes in scholarly communication and reducing the problems of developing countries. The spreading of the OA movement in the region, exemplified by the growth of regional and national initiatives, such as the creation of OA institutional repositories (e.g. SciELO and Redalyc) and the establishing of supportive governmental policies, provides evidence of the significant role that OA is playing in reducing the scientific gap between Latin American countries and improving their participation in the so-called ‘global knowledge commons’. In this paper, we map OA publications in Latin America and observe how Latin American countries are moving forward and becoming a leading force in widening access to knowledge. Our analysis, developed as part of the H2020 EULAC Focus research project, is based on mixed methods and consists mainly of a bibliometric analysis of OA publications indexed in the most important scientific databases (Web of Science and Scopus) and OA regional repositories, as well as the qualitative analysis of documents related to the main OA initiatives in Latin America. Through our analysis, we aim at reflecting critically on what policies, international standards, and best practices might be adapted to incorporate OA worldwide and improve the infrastructure of the global knowledge commons.

Keywords: Open Access, bibliometric analysis, LAC countries, scientific publications

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10 SiO2-Ag+Chlorex vs SilverSulfaDiazine: An 'in vitro' and 'in vivo' Silver Challenge

Authors: Roberto Cassino, Valeria Dissette, Carlo Alberto Bignozzi, Daniele Pazzi


Background and Aims: The aim of this work was to investigate, both ‘in vitro’ and ‘in vivo’, if the new SCX technology (SiO2-Ag+Chlorex) can easily defeat infections and it is really more effective than SSD (SilverSulfaDiazine). ‘In vitro’ methods: we tested ‘in vitro’ the effectiveness of both silver materials using a pool of 5 strains: Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia Coli, Enterococcus hirae and Candida Albicans. 100 µl of this pool have been seeded on Petri dishes and kept for 24 hours in incubation at 37 C°. ‘In vivo’ methods: we enrolled patients with multiple infectious chronic wounds (according with cutting & harding criteria for infection); after a qualitative evaluation of the wounds bacterial population, taking a sample by plug, we included in the study 6 patients for a total of 10 wounds, infected by one or more of the microorganisms used for the ‘in vitro’ test. The protocol consisted of a treatment with a spray powder of SSD every 48 hours for 14 days; in case of worsening we should have to start a new treatment with a spray powder containing silicon dioxide, ionic silver and chlorexidine (SiO2-Ag+Chlorex) every 48 hours for 14 days. We evaluated the number of clinical signs of infection and the disappearance or not of the wound edge erithema. ‘In vitro’ results: SSD demonstrated a wide zone of inhibition within 24 hours, but after 5 days there was no more signs of inhibition; on the contrary SCX had a good inhibition ring that lasted more than 5 days. ‘In vivo’ results: all wounds treated with SSD got worse; the signs of infection increased and the wound edge erithema did not disappear. According with the protocol, we treated then all wounds with SCX and they all improved within the period of observation with complete disappearance of clinical signs of infection and no more wound edge erithema. Conclusions: the study demonstrated the effectiveness of SiO2-Ag+Chlorex, especially in terms of long lasting antimicrobial action. We had the same results ‘in vitro’, so that there has been a perfect correspondence between the laboratory outcomes and the clinical ones.

Keywords: Infections, SSD, chronic wounds, ionic silver

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9 Differences in Production of Knowledge between Internationally Mobile versus Nationally Mobile and Non-Mobile Scientists

Authors: Valeria Aman


The presented study examines the impact of international mobility on knowledge production among mobile scientists and within the sending and receiving research groups. Scientists are relevant to the dynamics of knowledge production because scientific knowledge is mainly characterized by embeddedness and tacitness. International mobility enables the dissemination of scientific knowledge to other places and encourages new combinations of knowledge. It can also increase the interdisciplinarity of research by forming synergetic combinations of knowledge. Particularly innovative ideas can have their roots in related research domains and are sometimes transferred only through the physical mobility of scientists. Diversity among scientists with respect to their knowledge base can act as an engine for the creation of knowledge. It is therefore relevant to study how knowledge acquired through international mobility affects the knowledge production process. In certain research domains, international mobility may be essential to contextualize knowledge and to gain access to knowledge located at distant places. The knowledge production process contingent on the type of international mobility and the epistemic culture of a research field is examined. The production of scientific knowledge is a multi-faceted process, the output of which is mainly published in scholarly journals. Therefore, the study builds upon publication and citation data covered in Elsevier’s Scopus database for the period of 1996 to 2015. To analyse these data, bibliometric and social network analysis techniques are used. A basic analysis of scientific output using publication data, citation data and data on co-authored publications is combined with a content map analysis. Abstracts of publications indicate whether a research stay abroad makes an original contribution methodologically, theoretically or empirically. Moreover, co-citations are analysed to map linkages among scientists and emerging research domains. Finally, acknowledgements are studied that can function as channels of formal and informal communication between the actors involved in the process of knowledge production. The results provide better understanding of how the international mobility of scientists contributes to the production of knowledge, by contrasting the knowledge production dynamics of internationally mobile scientists with those being nationally mobile or immobile. Findings also allow indicating whether international mobility accelerates the production of knowledge and the emergence of new research fields.

Keywords: Diversity, Bibliometrics, Interdisciplinarity, international mobility, knowledge production

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8 Control of Lymphatic Remodelling by miR-132

Authors: Valeria Arcucci, Musarat Ishaq, Steven A. Stacker, Greg J. Goodall, Marc G. Achen


Metastasis is the lethal aspect of cancer for most patients. Remodelling of lymphatic vessels associated with a tumour is a key initial step in metastasis because it facilitates the entry of cancer cells into the lymphatic vasculature and their spread to lymph nodes and distant organs. Although it is clear that vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), such as VEGF-C and VEGF-D, are key drivers of lymphatic remodelling, the means by which many signaling pathways in endothelial cells are coordinately regulated to drive growth and remodelling of lymphatics in cancer is not understood. We seek to understand the broader molecular mechanisms that control cancer metastasis, and are focusing on microRNAs, which coordinately regulate signaling pathways involved in complex biological responses in health and disease. Here, using small RNA sequencing, we found that a specific microRNA, miR-132, is upregulated in expression in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) in response to the lymphangiogenic growth factors. Interestingly, ectopic expression of miR-132 in LECs in vitro stimulated proliferation and tube formation of these cells. Moreover, miR-132 is expressed in lymphatic vessels of a subset of human breast tumours which were previously found to express high levels of VEGF-D by immunohistochemical analysis on tumour tissue microarrays. In order to dissect the complexity of regulation by miR-132 in lymphatic biology, we performed Argonaute HITS-CLIP, which led us to identify the miR-132-mRNA interactome in LECs. We found that this microRNA in LECs is involved in the control of many different pathways mainly involved in cell proliferation and regulation of the extracellular matrix and cell-cell junctions. We are now exploring the functional significance of miR-132 targets in the biology of LECs using biochemical techniques, functional in vitro cell assays and in vivo lymphangiogenesis assays. This project will ultimately define the molecular regulation of lymphatic remodelling by miR-132, and thereby identify potential therapeutic targets for drugs designed to restrict the growth and remodelling of tumour lymphatics resulting in metastatic spread.

Keywords: Cancer, VEGF, argonaute HITS-CLIP, lymphatic remodelling, miR-132

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7 Urban Accessibility of Historical Cities: The Venetian Case Study

Authors: Valeria Tatano, Francesca Guidolin, Francesca Peltrera


The preservation of historical Italian heritage, at the urban and architectural scale, has to consider restrictions and requirements connected with conservation issues and usability needs, which are often at odds with historical heritage preservation. Recent decades have been marked by the search for increased accessibility not only of public and private buildings, but to the whole historical city, also for people with disability. Moreover, in the last years the concepts of Smart City and Healthy City seek to improve accessibility both in terms of mobility (independent or assisted) and fruition of goods and services, also for historical cities. The principles of Inclusive Design have introduced new criteria for the improvement of public urban space, between current regulations and best practices. Moreover, they have contributed to transforming “special needs” into an opportunity of social innovation. These considerations find a field of research and analysis in the historical city of Venice, which is at the same time a site of UNESCO world heritage, a mass tourism destination bringing in visitors from all over the world and a city inhabited by an aging population. Due to its conformation, Venetian urban fabric is only partially accessible: about four thousand bridges divide thousands of islands, making it almost impossible to move independently. These urban characteristics and difficulties were the base, in the last 20 years, for several researches, experimentations and solutions with the aim of eliminating architectural barriers, in particular for the usability of bridges. The Venetian Municipality with the EBA Office and some external consultants realized several devices (e.g. the “stepped ramp” and the new accessible ramps for the Venice Marathon) that should determine an innovation for the city, passing from the use of mechanical replicable devices to specific architectural projects in order to guarantee autonomy in use. This paper intends to present the state-of-the-art in bridges accessibility, through an analysis based on Inclusive Design principles and on the current national and regional regulation. The purpose is to evaluate some possible strategies that could improve performances, between limits and possibilities of interventions. The aim of the research is to lay the foundations for the development of a strategic program for the City of Venice that could successfully bring together both conservation and improvement requirements.

Keywords: Inclusive Design, accessibility of historical cities, historical heritage preservation, technological and social innovation

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6 Molecular Detection of Staphylococcus aureus in the Pork Chain Supply and the Potential Anti-Staphylococcal Activity of Natural Compounds

Authors: Valeria Velasco, Ana M. Bonilla, José L. Vergara, Alcides Lofa, Jorge Campos, Pedro Rojas-García


Staphylococcus aureus is both commensal bacterium and opportunistic pathogen that can cause different diseases in humans and can rapidly develop antimicrobial resistance. Since this bacterium has the ability to colonize the nares and skin of humans and animals, there is a risk of contamination of food in different steps of the food chain supply. Emerging strains have been detected in food-producing animals and meat, such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and oxacillin susceptibility of S. aureus in the pork chain supply in Chile and to suggest some natural antimicrobials for control. A total of 487 samples were collected from pigs (n=332), carcasses (n=85), and retail pork meat (n=70). Presumptive S. aureus colonies were isolated by selective enrichment and culture media. The confirmation was carried out by biochemical testing (Api® Staph) and molecular technique PCR (detection of nuc and mecA genes, associated with S. aureus and methicillin resistance, respectively). The oxacillin (β-lactam antibiotic that replaced methicillin) susceptibility was assessed by minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) using the Epsilometer test (Etest). A preliminary assay was carried out to test thymol, carvacrol, oregano essential oil (Origanum vulgare L.), Maqui or Chilean wineberry extract (Aristotelia chilensis (Mol.) Stuntz) as anti-staphylococcal agents using the disc diffusion method at different concentrations. The overall prevalence of S. aureus in the pork chain supply reached 33.9%. A higher prevalence of S. aureus was determined in carcasses (56.5%) than in pigs (28.3%) and pork meat (32.9%) (P ≤ 0.05). The prevalence of S. aureus in pigs sampled at farms (40.6%) was higher than in pigs sampled at slaughterhouses (23.3%) (P ≤ 0.05). The contamination of no packaged meat with S. aureus (43.1%) was higher than in packaged meat (5.3%) (P ≤ 0.05). The mecA gene was not detected in S. aureus strains isolated in this study. Two S. aureus strains exhibited oxacillin resistance (MIC ≥ 4µg/mL). Anti-staphylococcal activity was detected in solutions of thymol, carvacrol, and oregano essential oil at all concentrations tested. No anti-staphylococcal activity was detected in Maqui extract. Finally, S. aureus is present in the pork chain supply in Chile. Although the mecA gene was not detected, oxacillin resistance was found in S. aureus and could be attributed to another resistance mechanism. Thymol, carvacrol, and oregano essential oil could be used as anti-staphylococcal agents at low concentrations. Research project Fondecyt No. 11140379.

Keywords: Antimicrobials, pork meat, mecA gen, nuc gen, oxacillin susceptibility

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5 Nanomechanical Characterization of Healthy and Tumor Lung Tissues at Cell and Extracellular Matrix Level

Authors: Valeria Panzetta, Ida Musella, Sabato Fusco, Paolo Antonio Netti


The study of the biophysics of living cells drew attention to the pivotal role of the cytoskeleton in many cell functions, such as mechanics, adhesion, proliferation, migration, differentiation and neoplastic transformation. In particular, during the complex process of malignant transformation and invasion cell cytoskeleton devolves from a rigid and organized structure to a more compliant state, which confers to the cancer cells a great ability to migrate and adapt to the extracellular environment. In order to better understand the malignant transformation process from a mechanical point of view, it is necessary to evaluate the direct crosstalk between the cells and their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) in a context which is close to in vivo conditions. In this study, human biopsy tissues of lung adenocarcinoma were analyzed in order to define their mechanical phenotype at cell and ECM level, by using particle tracking microrheology (PTM) technique. Polystyrene beads (500 nm) were introduced into the sample slice. The motion of beads was obtained by tracking their displacements across cell cytoskeleton and ECM structures and mean squared displacements (MSDs) were calculated from bead trajectories. It has been already demonstrated that the amplitude of MSD is inversely related to the mechanical properties of intracellular and extracellular microenvironment. For this reason, MSDs of particles introduced in cytoplasm and ECM of healthy and tumor tissues were compared. PTM analyses showed that cancerous transformation compromises mechanical integrity of cells and extracellular matrix. In particular, the MSD amplitudes in cells of adenocarcinoma were greater as compared to cells of normal tissues. The increased motion is probably associated to a less structured cytoskeleton and consequently to an increase of deformability of cells. Further, cancer transformation is also accompanied by extracellular matrix stiffening, as confirmed by the decrease of MSDs of matrix in tumor tissue, a process that promotes tumor proliferation and invasiveness, by activating typical oncogenic signaling pathways. In addition, a clear correlation between MSDs of cells and tumor grade was found. MSDs increase when tumor grade passes from 2 to 3, indicating that cells undergo to a trans-differentiation process during tumor progression. ECM stiffening is not dependent on tumor grade, but the tumor stage resulted to be strictly correlated with both cells and ECM mechanical properties. In fact, a greater stage is assigned to tumor spread to regional lymph nodes and characterized by an up-regulation of different ECM proteins, such as collagen I fibers. These results indicate that PTM can be used to get nanomechanical characterization at different scale levels in an interpretative and diagnostic context.

Keywords: Tumor, Mechanical Properties, cytoskeleton, extracellular matrix, particle tracking microrheology

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4 Chemical vs Visual Perception in Food Choice Ability of Octopus vulgaris (Cuvier, 1797)

Authors: Al Sayed Al Soudy, Valeria Maselli, Gianluca Polese, Anna Di Cosmo


Cephalopods are considered as a model organism with a rich behavioral repertoire. Sophisticated behaviors were widely studied and described in different species such as Octopus vulgaris, who has evolved the largest and more complex nervous system among invertebrates. In O. vulgaris, cognitive abilities in problem-solving tasks and learning abilities are associated with long-term memory and spatial memory, mediated by highly developed sensory organs. They are equipped with sophisticated eyes, able to discriminate colors even with a single photoreceptor type, vestibular system, ‘lateral line analogue’, primitive ‘hearing’ system and olfactory organs. They can recognize chemical cues either through direct contact with odors sources using suckers or by distance through the olfactory organs. Cephalopods are able to detect widespread waterborne molecules by the olfactory organs. However, many volatile odorant molecules are insoluble or have a very low solubility in water, and must be perceived by direct contact. O. vulgaris, equipped with many chemosensory neurons located in their suckers, exhibits a peculiar behavior that can be provocatively described as 'smell by touch'. The aim of this study is to establish the priority given to chemical vs. visual perception in food choice. Materials and methods: Three different types of food (anchovies, clams, and mussels) were used, and all sessions were recorded with a digital camera. During the acclimatization period, Octopuses were exposed to the three types of food to test their natural food preferences. Later, to verify if food preference is maintained, food was provided in transparent screw-jars with pierced lids to allow both visual and chemical recognition of the food inside. Subsequently, we tested alternatively octopuses with food in sealed transparent screw-jars and food in blind screw-jars with pierced lids. As a control, we used blind sealed jars with the same lid color to verify a random choice among food types. Results and discussion: During the acclimatization period, O. vulgaris shows a higher preference for anchovies (60%) followed by clams (30%), then mussels (10%). After acclimatization, using the transparent and pierced screw jars octopus’s food choices resulted in 50-50 between anchovies and clams, avoiding mussels. Later, guided by just visual sense, with transparent but not pierced jars, their food preferences resulted in 100% anchovies. With pierced but not transparent jars their food preference resulted in 100% anchovies as first food choice, the clams as a second food choice result (33.3%). With no possibility to select food, neither by vision nor by chemoreception, the results were 20% anchovies, 20% clams, and 60% mussels. We conclude that O. vulgaris uses both chemical and visual senses in an integrative way in food choice, but if we exclude one of them, it appears clear that its food preference relies on chemical sense more than on visual perception.

Keywords: Food choice, Olfaction, Octopus vulgaris, sensory organs, visual sense

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3 South African Multiple Deprivation-Concentration Index Quantiles Differentiated by Components of Success and Impediment to Tuberculosis Control Programme Using Mathematical Modelling in Rural O. R. Tambo District Health Facilities

Authors: Ntandazo Dlatu, Benjamin Longo-Mbenza, Andre Renzaho, Ruffin Appalata, Yolande Yvonne Valeria Matoumona Mavoungou, Mbenza Ben Longo, Kenneth Ekoru, Blaise Makoso, Gedeon Longo Longo


Background: The gap between complexities related to the integration of Tuberculosis /HIV control and evidence-based knowledge motivated the initiation of the study. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore correlations between national TB management guidelines, multiple deprivation indexes, quantiles, components and levels of Tuberculosis control programme using mathematical modeling in rural O.R. Tambo District Health Facilities, South Africa. Methods: The study design used mixed secondary data analysis and cross-sectional analysis between 2009 and 2013 across O.R Tambo District, Eastern Cape, South Africa using univariate/ bivariate analysis, linear multiple regression models, and multivariate discriminant analysis. Health inequalities indicators and component of an impediment to the tuberculosis control programme were evaluated. Results: In total, 62 400 records for TB notification were analyzed for the period 2009-2013. There was a significant but negative between Financial Year Expenditure (r= -0.894; P= 0.041) Seropositive HIV status(r= -0.979; P= 0.004), Population Density (r = -0.881; P= 0.048) and the number of TB defaulter in all TB cases. It was shown unsuccessful control of TB management program through correlations between numbers of new PTB smear positive, TB defaulter new smear-positive, TB failure all TB, Pulmonary Tuberculosis case finding index and deprivation-concentration-dispersion index. It was shown successful TB program control through significant and negative associations between declining numbers of death in co-infection of HIV and TB, TB deaths all TB and SMIAD gradient/ deprivation-concentration-dispersion index. The multivariate linear model was summarized by unadjusted r of 96%, adjusted R2 of 95 %, Standard Error of estimate of 0.110, R2 changed of 0.959 and significance for variance change for P=0.004 to explain the prediction of TB defaulter in all TB with equation y= 8.558-0.979 x number of HIV seropositive. After adjusting for confounding factors (PTB case finding the index, TB defaulter new smear-positive, TB death in all TB, TB defaulter all TB, and TB failure in all TB). The HIV and TB death, as well as new PTB smear positive, were identified as the most important, significant, and independent indicator to discriminate most deprived deprivation index far from other deprivation quintiles 2-5 using discriminant analysis. Conclusion: Elimination of poverty such as overcrowding, lack of sanitation and environment of highest burden of HIV might end the TB threat in O.R Tambo District, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Furthermore, ongoing adequate budget comprehensive, holistic and collaborative initiative towards Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) is necessary for complete elimination of TB in poor O.R Tambo District.

Keywords: Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, Health Inequalities, Failure, success, South Africa, control program

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2 Stent Surface Functionalisation via Plasma Treatment to Promote Fast Endothelialisation

Authors: Xiang Zhang, Irene Carmagnola, Valeria Chiono, Sandra Pacharra, Jochen Salber, Sean McMahon, Chris Lovell, Pooja Basnett, Barbara Lukasiewicz, Ipsita Roy, Gianluca Ciardelli


Thrombosis and restenosis after stenting procedure can be prevented by promoting fast stent wall endothelialisation. It is well known that surface functionalisation with antifouling molecules combining with extracellular matrix proteins is a promising strategy to design biomimetic surfaces able to promote fast endothelialization. In particular, REDV has gained much attention for the ability to enhance rapid endothelialization due to its specific affinity with endothelial cells (ECs). In this work, a two-step plasma treatment was performed to polymerize a thin layer of acrylic acid, used to subsequently graft PEGylated-REDV and polyethylene glycol (PEG) at different molar ratio with the aim to selectively promote endothelial cell adhesion avoiding platelet activation. PEGylate-REDV was provided by Biomatik and it is formed by 6 PEG monomer repetitions (Chempep Inc.), with an NH2 terminal group. PEG polymers were purchased from Chempep Inc. with two different chain lengths: m-PEG6-NH2 (295.4 Da) with 6 monomer repetitions and m-PEG12-NH2 (559.7 Da) with 12 monomer repetitions. Plasma activation was obtained by operating at 50W power, 5 min of treatment and at an Ar flow rate of 20 sccm. Pure acrylic acid (99%, AAc) vapors were diluted in Ar (flow = 20 sccm) and polymerized by a pulsed plasma discharge applying a discharge RF power of 200 W, a duty cycle of 10% (on time = 10 ms, off time = 90 ms) for 10 min. After plasma treatment, samples were dipped into an 1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-3- ethylcarbodiimide (EDC)/N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) solution (ratio 4:1, pH 5.5) for 1 h at 4°C and subsequently dipped in PEGylate-REDV and PEGylate-REDV:PEG solutions at different molar ratio (100 μg/mL in PBS) for 20 h at room temperature. Surface modification was characterized through physico-chemical analyses and in vitro cell tests. PEGylated-REDV peptide and PEG were successfully bound to the carboxylic groups that are formed on the polymer surface after plasma reaction. FTIR-ATR spectroscopy, X -ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and contact angle measurement gave a clear indication of the presence of the grafted molecules. The use of PEG as a spacer allowed for an increase in wettability of the surface, and the effect was more evident by increasing the amount of PEG. Endothelial cells adhered and spread well on the surfaces functionalized with the REDV sequence. In conclusion, a selective coating able to promote a new endothelial cell layer on polymeric stent surface was developed. In particular, a thin AAc film was polymerised on the polymeric surface in order to expose –COOH groups, and PEGylate-REDV and PEG were successful grafted on the polymeric substrates. The REDV peptide demonstrated to encourage cell adhesion with a consequent, expected improvement of the hemocompatibility of these polymeric surfaces in vivo. Acknowledgements— This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme under grant agreement number 604251- ReBioStent (Reinforced Bioresorbable Biomaterials for Therapeutic Drug Eluting Stents). The authors thank all the ReBioStent partners for their support in this work.

Keywords: Surface Functionalisation, Plasma Treatment, stent, endothelialisation

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1 Preliminary Results on a Study of Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Bacillus anthracis Strains Isolated during Anthrax Outbreaks in Italy from 2001 to 2017

Authors: Viviana Manzulli, Luigina Serrecchia, Adelia Donatiello, Valeria Rondinone, Sabine Zange, Alina Tscherne, Antonio Parisi, Antonio Fasanella


Anthrax is a zoonotic disease that affects a wide range of animal species (primarily ruminant herbivores), and can be transmitted to humans through consumption or handling of contaminated animal products. The etiological agent B.anthracis is able to survive in unfavorable environmental conditions by forming endospore which remain viable in the soil for many decades. Furthermore, B.anthracis is considered as one of the most feared agents to be potentially misused as a biological weapon and the importance of the disease and its treatment in humans has been underscored before the bioterrorism events in the United States in 2001. Due to the often fatal outcome of human cases, antimicrobial susceptibility testing plays especially in the management of anthrax infections an important role. In Italy, animal anthrax is endemic (predominantly found in the southern regions and on islands) and is characterized by sporadic outbreaks occurring mainly during summer. Between 2012 and 2017 single human cases of cutaneous anthrax occurred. In this study, 90 diverse strains of B.anthracis, isolated in Italy from 2001 to 2017, were screened to their susceptibility to sixteen clinically relevant antimicrobial agents by using the broth microdilution method. B.anthracis strains selected for this study belong to the strain collection stored at the Anthrax Reference Institute of Italy located inside the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Puglia and Basilicata. The strains were isolated at different time points and places from various matrices (human, animal and environmental). All strains are a representative of over fifty distinct MLVA 31 genotypes. The following antibiotics were used for testing: gentamicin, ceftriaxone, streptomycin, penicillin G, clindamycin, chloramphenicol, vancomycin, linezolid, cefotaxime, tetracycline, erythromycin, rifampin, amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline and trimethoprim. A standard concentration of each antibiotic was prepared in a specific diluent, which were then twofold serial diluted. Therefore, each wells contained: bacterial suspension of 1–5x104 CFU/mL in Mueller-Hinton Broth (MHB), the antibiotic to be tested at known concentration and resazurin, an indicator of cell growth. After incubation overnight at 37°C, the wells were screened for color changes caused by the resazurin: a change from purple to pink/colorless indicated cell growth. The lowest concentration of antibiotic that prevented growth represented the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC). This study suggests that B.anthracis remains susceptible in vitro to many antibiotics, in addition to doxycycline (MICs ≤ 0,03 µg/ml), ciprofloxacin (MICs ≤ 0,03 µg/ml) and penicillin G (MICs ≤ 0,06 µg/ml), recommend by CDC for the treatment of human cases and for prophylactic use after exposure to the spores. In fact, the good activity of gentamicin (MICs ≤ 0,25 µg/ml), streptomycin (MICs ≤ 1 µg/ml), clindamycin (MICs ≤ 0,125 µg/ml), chloramphenicol(MICs ≤ 4 µg/ml), vancomycin (MICs ≤ 2 µg/ml), linezolid (MICs ≤ 2 µg/ml), tetracycline (MICs ≤ 0,125 µg/ml), erythromycin (MICs ≤ 0,25 µg/ml), rifampin (MICs ≤ 0,25 µg/ml), amoxicillin (MICs ≤ 0,06 µg/ml), towards all tested B.anthracis strains demonstrates an appropriate alternative choice for prophylaxis and/or treatment. All tested B.anthracis strains showed intermediate susceptibility to the cephalosporins (MICs ≥ 16 µg/ml) and resistance to trimethoprim (MICs ≥ 128 µg/ml).

Keywords: treatment, minimum inhibitory concentration, antibiotic susceptibility, Bacillus anthracis

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