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See detailTowards a complexity turn in border studies? Rückblicke und Ausblicke
Wille, Christian UL

Presentation (2019, December)

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See detailDas postfaktische Drängen des Buchstaben in Zeiten rechtlich-sprachlicher Entgrenzung
Becker, Katrin UL

in Geisenhanslüke, Achim (Ed.) Buchstäblichkeit Theorie, Geschichte, Übersetzung (2019)

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See detailFrom tech to bench: Deep Learning pipeline for image segmentation of high-throughput high-content microscopy data
Garcia Santa Cruz, Beatriz UL; Jarazo, Javier UL; Saraiva, Claudia UL et al

Poster (2019, November 29)

Automation of biological image analysis is essential to boost biomedical research. The study of complex diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases calls for big amounts of data to build models towards ... [more ▼]

Automation of biological image analysis is essential to boost biomedical research. The study of complex diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases calls for big amounts of data to build models towards precision medicine. Such data acquisition is feasible in the context of high-throughput screening in which the quality of the results relays on the accuracy of image analysis. Although the state-of-the-art solutions for image segmentation employ deep learning approaches, the high cost of manual data curation is hampering the real use in current biomedical research laboratories. Here, we propose a pipeline that employs deep learning not only to conduct accurate segmentation but also to assist with the creation of high-quality datasets in a less time-consuming solution for the experts. Weakly-labelled datasets are becoming a common alternative as a starting point to develop real-world solutions. Traditional approaches based on classical multimedia signal processing were employed to generate a pipeline specifically optimized for the high-throughput screening images of iPSC fused with rosella biosensor. Such pipeline produced good segmentation results but with several inaccuracies. We employed the weakly-labelled masks produced in this pipeline to train a multiclass semantic segmentation CNN solution based on U-net architecture. Since a strong class imbalance was detected between the classes, we employed a class sensitive cost function: Dice coe!cient. Next, we evaluated the accuracy between the weakly-labelled data and the trained network segmentation using double-blind tests conducted by experts in cell biology with experience in this type of images; as well as traditional metrics to evaluate the quality of the segmentation using manually curated segmentations by cell biology experts. In all the evaluations the prediction of the neural network overcomes the weakly-labelled data quality segmentation. Another big handicap that complicates the use of deep learning solutions in wet lab environments is the lack of user-friendly tools for non-computational experts such as biologists. To complete our solution, we integrated the trained network on a GUI built on MATLAB environment with non-programming requirements for the user. This integration allows conducting semantic segmentation of microscopy images in a few seconds. In addition, thanks to the patch-based approach it can be employed in images with different sizes. Finally, the human-experts can correct the potential inaccuracies of the prediction in a simple interactive way which can be easily stored and employed to re-train the network to improve its accuracy. In conclusion, our solution focuses on two important bottlenecks to translate leading-edge technologies in computer vision to biomedical research: On one hand, the effortless obtention of high-quality datasets with expertise supervision taking advantage of the proven ability of our CNN solution to generalize from weakly-labelled inaccuracies. On the other hand, the ease of use provided by the GUI integration of our solution to both segment images and interact with the predicted output. Overall this approach looks promising for fast adaptability to new scenarios. [less ▲]

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See detailDeep Neural Networks for Personalized Sentiment Analysis with Information Decay
Guo, Siwen UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

People have different lexical choices when expressing their opinions. Sentiment analysis, as a way to automatically detect and categorize people’s opinions in text, needs to reflect this diversity. In ... [more ▼]

People have different lexical choices when expressing their opinions. Sentiment analysis, as a way to automatically detect and categorize people’s opinions in text, needs to reflect this diversity. In this research, I look beyond the traditional population-level sentiment modeling and leverage socio-psychological theories to incorporate the concept of personalized modeling. In particular, a hierarchical neural network is constructed, which takes related information from a person’s past expressions to provide a better understanding of the sentiment from the expresser’s perspective. Such personalized models can suffer from the data sparsity issue, therefore they are difficult to develop. In this work, this issue is addressed by introducing the user information at the input such that the individuality from each user can be captured without building a model for each user and the network is trained in one process. The evolution of a person’s sentiment over time is another aspect to investigate in personalization. It can be suggested that recent incidents or opinions may have more effect on the person’s current sentiment than the older ones, and the relativeness between the targets of the incidents or opinions plays a role on the effect. Moreover, psychological studies have argued that individual variation exists in how frequently people change their sentiments. In order to study these phenomena in sentiment analysis, an attention mechanism which is reshaped with the Hawkes process is applied on top of a recurrent network for a user-specific design. Furthermore, the modified attention mechanism delivers a functionality in addition to the conventional neural networks, which offers flexibility in modeling information decay for temporal sequences with various time intervals. The developed model targets data from social platforms and Twitter is used as an example. After experimenting with manually and automatically labeled datasets, it can be found that the input formulation for representing the concerned information and the network design are the two major impact factors of the performance. With the proposed model, positive results have been observed which confirm the effectiveness of including user-specific information. The results reciprocally support the psychological theories through the real-world actions observed. The research carried out in this dissertation demonstrates a comprehensive study of the significance of considering individuality in sentiment analysis, which opens up new perspectives for future research in the area and brings opportunities for various applications. [less ▲]

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See detailTOWARDS A MODELLING FRAMEWORK WITH TEMPORAL AND UNCERTAIN DATA FOR ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS
Mouline, Ludovic UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

Self-Adaptive Systems (SAS) optimise their behaviours or configurations at runtime in response to a modification of their environments or their behaviours. These systems therefore need a deep ... [more ▼]

Self-Adaptive Systems (SAS) optimise their behaviours or configurations at runtime in response to a modification of their environments or their behaviours. These systems therefore need a deep understanding of the ongoing situation which enables reasoning tasks for adaptation operations. Using the model-driven engineering (MDE) methodology, one can abstract this situation. However, information concerning the system is not always known with absolute confidence. Moreover, in such systems, the monitoring frequency may differ from the delay for reconfiguration actions to have measurable effects. These characteristics come with a global challenge for software engineers: how to represent uncertain knowledge that can be efficiently queried and to represent ongoing actions in order to improve adaptation processes? To tackle this challenge, this thesis defends the need for a unified modelling framework which includes, besides all traditional elements, temporal and uncertainty as first-class concepts. Therefore, a developer will be able to abstract information related to the adaptation process, the environment as well as the system itself. Towards this vision, we present two evaluated contributions: a temporal context model and a language for uncertain data. The temporal context model allows abstracting past, ongoing and future actions with their impacts and context. The language, named Ain’tea, integrates data uncertainty as a first-class citizen. [less ▲]

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See detailA professional development course in translanguaging: Challenges and opportunities
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL; Dzoen, Bebic-Crestany

Scientific Conference (2019, November 27)

In Luxembourg, the new law in 2017 has declared multilingual early education mandatory. Not only that teachers need to help children develop their Luxembourgish, but also they need to familiarize them ... [more ▼]

In Luxembourg, the new law in 2017 has declared multilingual early education mandatory. Not only that teachers need to help children develop their Luxembourgish, but also they need to familiarize them with French and value their home languages. In order to support preschool teachers in this endeavour, our project aims to: (1) offer a professional development (PD) course in translanguaging, (2) involve children’s families to reinforce home-school collaboration, and (3) foster children’s cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional engagement in the classroom. We use a panoply of measures to reach our aims: focus groups and teacher questionnaires (aim 1), parent questionnaires and interviews (aim 2), a test in early literacy and numeracy in school and home languages, teacher assessment of children’s socio-emotional development and video observations with children (aim 3). Translanguaging, the main topic of our 22 hour PD course (June – December 2019), is the use of a full linguistic repertoire to make meaning (Otheguy, García, & Reid, 2015). In eight sessions, we explore multilingual ecology, parental involvement, and oracy and early literacy. We will present preliminary findings of the focus groups with teachers and tests in early literacy and numeracy in children’s home and school languages. Challenges and opportunities that emerged during the course will be explored as well. [less ▲]

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See detailChildren's multilingual agency through translanguaging practices
Mortini, Simone UL

Presentation (2019, November 27)

My doctoral thesis focuses on eight children’s multilingual practices in the four institutions participating in the MuLiPEC research project, more precisely on their (trans)languaging and agency in ... [more ▼]

My doctoral thesis focuses on eight children’s multilingual practices in the four institutions participating in the MuLiPEC research project, more precisely on their (trans)languaging and agency in interaction with peers and practitioners. Guided by a sociocultural perspective on language learning and child agency and inspired by the methodology of linguistic ethnography, I drew on multidimensional qualitative research methods to understand the relationship between multilingual pedagogies, language learning, translanguaging and child agency. The data resulted in 65 days of participant observations (including fieldnotes and discussions), 473 video-recordings and 16 semi-structured interviews with the practitioners. The findings show that the children engaged in translanguaging practices for various purposes (e.g. communication, meaning making) and showed an agentive behaviour that went beyond active participation (e.g. influencing adults’ language practices). I argue that the practitioners’ multilingual practices and other sociocultural factors enabled the children’s agency and flexible language use. [less ▲]

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See detailDreaming of Constructivist Technology Integration Strategies in Future Teacher Students
Reuter, Robert UL; Busana, Gilbert UL

Scientific Conference (2019, November 27)

Based on previous experiences in preparing future teachers for technology integration (Reuter & Busana, 2017), and based on the recommendations from Kolb’s (2017) Triple E framework about effective uses ... [more ▼]

Based on previous experiences in preparing future teachers for technology integration (Reuter & Busana, 2017), and based on the recommendations from Kolb’s (2017) Triple E framework about effective uses of ICT in education, we have adapted the Educational Technology course in our Initial Teacher Training. Over the years, we have indeed observed that, when given the choice of the type of technology integration strategies, many students designed ICT-based learning and teaching scenarios that implemented a rather teacher-centred teaching model (Roblyer & Doering, 2013). These scenarios were often far from innovative nor did they implement the disruptive potential of ICT in education (Christensen, Horn & Johnson, 2008). In the winter semester 2018-2019 we thus decided to ask our students to design and develop constructivist technology integration scenarios. We assessed the success of this adaptation with the help of our own observations, the semester reports produced by our students and their answers to an end-of-semester course evaluation. In general, we saw that students were able to design rather attractive constructivist learning activities. We also observed that our students were quite surprised that such activities do not require complicated and expensive tools, but that they can be implemented with standard productivity tools. [less ▲]

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See detailDe Suchtverband verbënnt - 2. nationales Suchtsymposium, Kommunale Suchtprävention
Böwen, Petra UL

Conference given outside the academic context (2019)

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See detailModeling Parkinson's disease using human midbrain organoids
Monzel, Anna Sophia UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

With increasing prevalence, neurodegenerative disorders present a major challenge for medical research and public health. Despite years of investigation, significant knowledge gaps exist, which impede the ... [more ▼]

With increasing prevalence, neurodegenerative disorders present a major challenge for medical research and public health. Despite years of investigation, significant knowledge gaps exist, which impede the development of disease-modifying therapies. The development of tools to model both physiological and pathological human brains greatly enhanced our ability to study neurological disorders. Brain organoids, derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), hold unprecedented promise for biomedical research to unravel novel pathological mechanisms of a multitude of brain disorders. As brain proxies, these models bridge the gap between traditional 2D cell cultures and animal models. Owing to their human origin, hiPSC-derived organoids can recapitulate features that cannot be modeled in animals by virtue of differences in species. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a human-specific neurodegenerative disorder. The major manifestations are the consequence of degenerating dopaminergic neurons (DANs) in the midbrain. The disease has a multifactorial etiology and a multisystemic pathogenesis and pathophysiology. In this thesis, we used state-of-the-art technologies to develop a human midbrain organoid (hMO) model with a great potential to study PD. hMOs were generated from iPSC-derived neural precursor cells, which were pre-patterned to the midbrain/hindbrain region. hMOs contain multiple midbrain-specific cell types, such as midbrain DANs, as well as astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. We could demonstrate features of neuronal maturation such as myelination, synaptic connections, spontaneous electrophysiological activity and neural network synchronicity. We further developed a neurotoxin-induced PD organoid model and set up a high-content imaging platform coupled with machine learning classification to predict neurotoxicty. Patient-derived hMOs display PD-relevant pathomechanisms, indicative of neurodevelopmental deficits. hMOs as novel in vitro models open up new avenues to unravel PD pathophysiology and are powerful tools in biomedical research. [less ▲]

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See detailFlexibler nachfrageorientierter Betrieb von Biogasanlagen durch 2-stufiges Verfahrenskonzept
Greger, Manfred UL

Speeches/Talks (2019)

Der steigende Anteil von erneuerbarer Energie im Mix der Stromerzeugung mit den erheblichen bekannten Fluktuationen bei Wind- und Photovoltaikanlagen führt zu einer steigenden Diskrepanz zwischen der ... [more ▼]

Der steigende Anteil von erneuerbarer Energie im Mix der Stromerzeugung mit den erheblichen bekannten Fluktuationen bei Wind- und Photovoltaikanlagen führt zu einer steigenden Diskrepanz zwischen der Stromerzeugung und seiner Nachfrage. Bisher wird die Stromerzeugung aus Biogasanlagen mehr oder weniger konstant gefahren. Allerdings könnte dies in Zukunft mehr zum Ausgleich der Stromerzeugung und Nachfrage genutzt werden wozu jedoch größere Puffervolumina erforderlich sind. Hierzu könnte eine interessante Variante des Zwei-Stufen-Prozesses verwendet werden. Die erste Stufe wird dabei mit höherer Belastung und kurzer Verweilzeit bei relativ niedrigen pH-Werten betrieben und es entstehen im Wesentlichen flüssige Zwischenprodukte (und nur wenig Gas). Der Ablauf der ersten Stufe kann dann in relativ kleinen Flüssigkeitsbehältern zwischengelagert werden und bei Bedarf der zweiten Stufe zugeführt werden, in der die Weiterreaktion zum Biogas stattfindet. Die vorgestellte Variante hat gegenüber der Zwischen-Speicherung von Biogas den Vorteil, dass die erforderlichen Speicher-Volumina deutlich kleiner ausfallen. [less ▲]

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See detailParliamentary Administrations in EU Politics: The Sources and Impact of Diversity
Högenauer, Anna-Lena UL

E-print/Working paper (2019)

National parliaments tend to delegate a range of tasks related to EU affairs scrutiny to their administrations. However, there is considerable variation in the extent to which national parliaments invest ... [more ▼]

National parliaments tend to delegate a range of tasks related to EU affairs scrutiny to their administrations. However, there is considerable variation in the extent to which national parliaments invest in EU affairs staff. This raises two questions: what is the source of this diversity, and what is its impact on the EU affairs scrutiny of national parliaments? This paper argues that greater investments in EU affairs staff are associated with public Euroscepticism, large parliaments and parliaments with strong scrutiny powers. A large EU staff is, in turn, associated with parliaments that are relatively active in EU affairs scrutiny. This is particularly true for the 15 EU member states that joined before 2004. [less ▲]

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See detailUnifying machine learning and quantum chemistry with a deep neural network for molecular wavefunctions
Schütt, Kristof; Gastegger, Michael; Tkatchenko, Alexandre UL et al

in Nature Communications (2019), 10(1), 5024

Machine learning advances chemistry and materials science by enabling large-scale exploration of chemical space based on quantum chemical calculations. While these models supply fast and accurate ... [more ▼]

Machine learning advances chemistry and materials science by enabling large-scale exploration of chemical space based on quantum chemical calculations. While these models supply fast and accurate predictions of atomistic chemical properties, they do not explicitly capture the electronic degrees of freedom of a molecule, which limits their applicability for reactive chemistry and chemical analysis. Here we present a deep learning framework for the prediction of the quantum mechanical wavefunction in a local basis of atomic orbitals from which all other ground-state properties can be derived. This approach retains full access to the electronic structure via the wavefunction at force-field-like efficiency and captures quantum mechanics in an analytically differentiable representation. On several examples, we demonstrate that this opens promising avenues to perform inverse design of molecular structures for targeting electronic property optimisation and a clear path towards increased synergy of machine learning and quantum chemistry. [less ▲]

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See detailSix regards sur la master-classe de piano : phénoménologie et sémiotique de la rencontre musicale
Kim, Seong Jae UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

In this thesis, I suggest new ways of grasping the affective dimension of musical experience that which traditional semiotics and musicology take little into account. Inspired by a dynamistic modelling ... [more ▼]

In this thesis, I suggest new ways of grasping the affective dimension of musical experience that which traditional semiotics and musicology take little into account. Inspired by a dynamistic modelling approach –which developed from the 1960s and since then has been influential in the domain of semiolinguistic disciplines–, I sketch out the fluctuating phases of semiogenesis within the field of piano masterclasses. The term ‘semiogenesis’ here, is taken in a broad sense, encompassing any deployment of sign-forms, either vague or articulated, diffused or well-defined. Such forms are conceived as being strained between expressiveness and normativity. They are also valorized in that they call the subject to participate in his or her own ‘lines of life’ which, in turn, may come to exist by those forms. A piano masterclass is given by a genuine master to highly accomplished students, both who truly testify to their own lives, to their own ways of ethical feeling, in the search for a unique musical praxis. In recent years, the field of masterclass has begun to attract the attention of the scientific community, especially in areas related to musical teaching and experience, such as psychology, aesthetics and epistemology or even sociology. Yet it is still suboptimal that most of the problems adopted in these frameworks incorporate nothing or so little in terms of the metamorphosis of sensitivity and the play of musical feeling in the characterization of their research objects. Nevertheless, the field of piano masterclass seems to be a particularly interesting and promising object of research in that the horizon of affect is preeminent in all the semiotic activities tied to it. Thus, I have attended several masterclasses in order to closely follow the praxis of the musicians (e.g., active and passive participation in masterclasses, audiovisual recordings, interviews, conversations and debates on music, etc.), in the spirit of making all its genetic depth to the semiotic activity, by approaching it under the perspective of an encountering and an orientation of musical sensibilities. One of the main tasks of my approach in the designing of the descriptions of this particular musical praxis consists in understanding the acoustic, gestural and linguistic phenomena, as giving birth to semiogenetic conditions of the constitution of a musical meaning. In this way, it is a fundamentally descriptive method, inspired by philosophical (Shaftesbury, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty) and semiotic (Peirce, Saussure) minds, which joins the semiotic preoccupation from the very initial levels of a microgenesis, and by promoting it immediately into a hermeneutical and existential phenomenology. The perceptive and semiogenetic issues of musical sensitivity allow us to remodel the notion of a musical motive, understood both as a motive-of-praxis and as an existential-motive. I tried to grasp the idea of a certain listening of the musical praxis by finding there a constant passage between an ethical perception, and the search –through the playing of the music and its motives–, for a musical personality engaged in the musical praxis. Such conceptions on motive and personality proved to be fruitful to the extent that they make it possible to suggest a certain ethic of musical feeling, without reducing it to a skill, a psychology or a ritual. I have thus managed to redefine the notion of a musical ‘sign’ by playing up on the 'motival' horizon of this semiotic activity, understood – in the formal and sensitive nature of musical practices– as participation (i.e., desire and commitment to participate) to a certain regime of human existence. In this way, I believe to be paving the way for a new conception of musical praxis, which interweaves aesthetics and ethics. The thesis thus addresses these problems by casting six successive contemplations on it: Piano Masterclass; Feeling, Knowing and Doing; Field and Form; Motive and Form; Lines of Life; Enchantment. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of macro-substrate on micropollutant degradation in activated sludge systems
Christen, Anne UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

Wastewater treatment plants are designed as a first barrier to reduce xenobiotic emission into rivers. However, they are not sufficient enough to fully prevent environmental harm of emerging substances in ... [more ▼]

Wastewater treatment plants are designed as a first barrier to reduce xenobiotic emission into rivers. However, they are not sufficient enough to fully prevent environmental harm of emerging substances in the water body. Therefore, advanced treatment processes are currently being investigated but their implementation is cost-intensive. The optimisation of the activated sludge treatment to enhance biological micropollutant removal could reduce operating costs and material. Although the impact of operational parameters, such as sludge retention time and hydraulic retention time on the xenobiotic removal have been investigated, the influence of the macro-substrate composition and load on micropollutant elimination causes a high degree of uncertainty. This study focuses on the latter by analysing 15 municipal wastewater treatment plants, where variations in load and composition of the macro-substrate were expected. Assuming that macro-substrate shapes the biomass and triggers their activity, the impact of macro-substrate composition and load on xenobiotic degradation by microorganisms was analysed. It was hypothesised that on the one hand, a high dissolved organic carbon concentration might lead to enhanced xenobiotic degradation for certain substances due to a high microbial activity. The latter is assumed to be caused by a high labile dissolved organic carbon portion and the tendency for a shorter sludge retention time. On the other hand, a low dissolved organic carbon concentration, probably containing a predominant recalcitrant substrate portion, tends to a longer sludge retention time. Consequently, slow-growing and specialised microorganisms may develop, able to degrade certain xenobiotics. As a second question, the contribution of the autotrophic biomass to xenobiotic degradation was tested by inhibiting the autotrophic microorganisms during the degradation test. To additionally test the hypothesis, the impact of a readily biodegradable substrate (acetate) on the xenobiotic degradation was tested and the sensitivity of the fluorescence signal of tryptophan was used to analyse the impact of tryptophan on xenobiotic degradation. Degradation tests focusing on the removal of macro-substrate and micropollutants within 18 hours incubation in the OxiTop® system were performed. The OxiTop® system is known as fast and easy method for organic matter analysis in the wastewater. To assess the macro-substrate composition prior to and after the degradation test, three characterisation methods were applied. Firstly, to determine the labile and the rather recalcitrant portion in the dissolved organic carbon, absorbance was measured at 280 nm and further analysed. This was verified by the characterisation of both portions based on the oxygen consumption measurements. Secondly, to analyse the organic matter concerning its fluorescent properties, excitation-emission scans were run and analysed using the parallel factor analysis approach. Lastly, the chromophoric and fluorescent organic matter was separated via size-exclusion chromatography to investigate the macro-substrate composition. Micropollutant elimination efficiency was followed by measuring initial and final concentrations of the targeted substances using liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry and calculating pseudo-first-order degradation rates. To distinguish between the contribution of the heterotrophic biomass and the total biomass on xenobiotic degradation, allylthiourea was added to inhibit the autotrophic biomass. No significant composition changes of the chromophoric macro-substrate were observed. A higher initial dissolved organic carbon concentration led to higher chromophoric and fluorescent properties. The same was found for the degraded dissolved organic carbon amount and the loss of signal within the chromophoric and fluorescent portions. Variations in the macro-substrate load or rather concentration were tracked. Derived from the oxygen consumption measurements, a prominent labile and non-chromophoric portion was present at higher dissolved organic carbon levels, impacting the microbial activity. However, a characterisation of the non-chromophoric macro-substrate composition was not done within the study. Regarding the micropollutant removal, varying elimination rates were observed. For 4 out of 17 substances, distinct degradation dynamics were found, suggesting a possible impact of the present macro-substrate load. However, no overall impact of the macro- substrate on xenobiotic removal was observed. Atenolol, bezafibrate and propranolol showed a negative correlation with the initial dissolved organic carbon concentration, meaning higher degradation rates at a lower substrate load. This might indicate the presence of specialised microorganisms and a higher microbial diversity. Furthermore, inhibition studies using allylthiourea suggest a contribution of the autotrophic biomass to xenobiotic degradation. Sulfamethoxazole showed a positive trend with the initial dissolved organic carbon concentration, possibly indicating co-metabolic degradation of sulfamethoxazole by the autotrophic and heterotrophic biomass. Thus, it seemed that the removal efficiencies of sulfamethoxazole benefited from higher substrate loads. With respect to the short term experiments with acetate, higher degradation efficiencies were observed for several substances in the presence of acetate. Ketoprofen and bezafibrate showed in all tested wastewaters enhanced removal efficiencies. The tryptophan test indicated the presence of tryptophan in wastewater, but no clear contribution to the xenobiotic degradation was seen. The presented findings substantially contribute to the understanding of the influencing parameters on xenobiotic degradation in activated sludge systems. By using the OxiTop® application for xenobiotic degradation tests, an easy and fast method was established. Absorbance and fluorescence measurements proved to be a sufficient method for characterisation and biodegradability estimation of organic matter, which could be further applied as online measurements on wastewater treatment plants. Thus, the current study will serve as a base for future work investigating the influencing parameters on the xenobiotic degradation pathways and focusing on the optimisation of the biological and advanced treatment process to overcome current limitations. [less ▲]

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See detailMechanical strength of a new plate compared to six previously tested opening wedge high tibial osteotomy implants
Diffo Kaze, Arnaud; Maas, Stefan UL; Belsey, James et al

in Journal of Experimental Orthopaedics (2019)

Background This study aimed to assess the mechanical static and fatigue strength provided by the FlexitSystem plate in medial opening wedge high tibial osteotomies (MOWHTO), and to compare it to six ... [more ▼]

Background This study aimed to assess the mechanical static and fatigue strength provided by the FlexitSystem plate in medial opening wedge high tibial osteotomies (MOWHTO), and to compare it to six previously tested implants: the TomoFix small stature, the TomoFix standard, the ContourLock, the iBalance, the second generation PEEKPower and the size 2 Activmotion. Thus, this will provide surgeons with data that will help in the choice of the most appropriate implant for MOWHTO. Methods Six fourth-generation tibial bone composites underwent a MOWHTO and each was fixed using six FlexitSystem plates, according to standard techniques. The same testing procedure that has already been previously defined, used and published, was used to investigate the static and dynamic strength of the prepared bone-implant constructs. The test consisted of static loading and cyclical loading for fatigue testing. Results During static testing, the group constituted by the FlexitSystem showed a fracture load higher than the physiological loading of slow walking (3.7 kN > 2.4 kN). Although this fracture load was relatively small compared to the average values for the other Implants from our previous studies, except for the TomoFix small stature and the Contour Lock. During fatigue testing, FlexitSystem group showed the smallest stiffness and higher lifespan than the TomoFix and the PEEKPower groups. Conclusions The FlexitSystem plate showed sufficient strength for static loading, and average fatigue strength compared to the previously tested implants. Full body dynamic loading of the tibia after MOWHTO with the investigated implants should be avoided for at least three weeks. Implants with a wider T-shaped proximal end, positioned onto the anteromedial side of the tibia head, or inserted in the osteotomy opening in a closed-wedge construction, provided higher mechanical strength than implants with small a T-shaped proximal end, centred onto the medial side of the tibia head. [less ▲]

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See detailKinetic Control of Parallel versus Antiparallel Amyloid Aggregation via Shape of the Growing Aggregate
Hakami Zanjani, Ali Asghar UL; Reynolds, Nicholas; Zhang, Afang et al

in Nature Scientific Reports (2019)

By combining atomistic and higher-level modelling with solution X-ray diffraction we analyse self-assembly pathways for the IFQINS hexapeptide, a bio-relevant amyloid former derived from human lysozyme ... [more ▼]

By combining atomistic and higher-level modelling with solution X-ray diffraction we analyse self-assembly pathways for the IFQINS hexapeptide, a bio-relevant amyloid former derived from human lysozyme. We verify that (at least) two metastable polymorphic structures exist for this system which are substantially different at the atomistic scale, and compare the conditions under which they are kinetically accessible. We further examine the higher-level polymorphism for these systems at the nanometre to micrometre scales, which is manifested in kinetic differences and in shape differences between structures instead of or as well as differences in the small-scale contact topology. Any future design of structure based inhibitors of the IFQINS steric zipper, or of close homologues such as TFQINS which are likely to have similar structures, should take account of this polymorphic assembly. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of nuclear vibrations on van der Waals and Casimir interactions at zero and finite temperature
Venkataram, Prashanth; Hermann, Jan; Vongkovit, Teerit et al

in Science Advances (2019), 5(1), 0456

Recent advances in measuring van der Waals (vdW) interactions have probed forces on molecules at nanometric separations from metal surfaces and demonstrated the importance of infrared nonlocal ... [more ▼]

Recent advances in measuring van der Waals (vdW) interactions have probed forces on molecules at nanometric separations from metal surfaces and demonstrated the importance of infrared nonlocal polarization response and temperature effects, yet predictive theories for these systems remain lacking. We present a theoretical framework for computing vdW interactions among molecular structures, accounting for geometry, short-range electronic delocalization, dissipation, and collective nuclear vibrations (phonons) at atomic scales, along with long-range electromagnetic interactions in arbitrary macroscopic environments. We primarily consider experimentally relevant low-dimensional carbon allotropes, including fullerenes, carbyne, and graphene, and find that phonons couple strongly with long-range electromagnetic fields depending on molecular dimensionality and dissipation, especially at nanometric scales, creating delocalized phonon polaritons that substantially modify infrared molecular response. These polaritons, in turn, alter vdW interaction energies between molecular and macroscopic structures, producing nonmonotonic power laws and nontrivial temperature variations at nanometric separations feasible in current experiments. [less ▲]

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See detailThe conformal group of a compact simply connected Lorentzian manifold
Melnick, Karin; Pecastaing, Vincent UL

E-print/Working paper (2019)

Detailed reference viewed: 96 (1 UL)