Get a taste for a wide range of our students’ research through their abstracts or summaries, with accompanying images, videos and audio.

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Image rankings were weighted by multiplying the rank position with number of responses given e.g. if 5 people ranked an image as 4th best, 5 x 4 = 20. This would mean that the image with the lowest overall score was assessed as best overall, and the image with the highest score was deemed worst overall. The scores were tabulated, and a bar chart produced in order of technique.

Optimisation of Horizontal Beam Lateral (HBL) X-ray hip projections

Amina Baker, Rupert Maclaren, Lilian Baker, Amanda Bower, Richard Thomas,  Medical Imaging

Introduction Under IR(ME)R 2017, a key role of the operator is optimisation through practice, keeping ionising radiation dose as low as reasonably practicable, and technique standardisation can reduce image repetition. Differences in practice undertaking HBL hip projections include angle estimation, varied of varying detectors, and some lead (Pb) use. Method Using a phantom and standardised exposure factors, images were taken at a 45° angle using a free detector, upright Bucky without AECs, with and without lead. Further Bucky only images were taken at 10° increments from 20 to 70°. The images were anonymised and ranked by seven (7) qualified radiographers in a standardised setting according to graded diagnostic quality criteria. Images with the lowest score were assessed as best overall. Results As expected, images at 45° ranked best. As the angulation increased/decreased, the images ranked worse. Unexpectedly, the best ranked image overall was at 45° upright Bucky with lead (+Pb), correlating with previous plain film rather than current digital practice. No significant difference in quality was found between the upright Bucky and the free detector at 45°. Conclusion All efforts should be made in practice to achieve a 45° angle ±5° to result in optimal imaging irrespective of detector. Despite digital systems adaptability, plain film techniques might still improve image quality. With acknowledged limitations, this research still has implications for clinical practice. Recommendations To aid optimal 45° angle estimation, a floor marker is recommended. Further research into the impact of Pb on image quality by clinical trial would be advised.

Towards quantifying European estuarine-air CO2 fluxes using low-cost in situ sensors

Sophie Corrigan, Biosciences

Estuaries are responsible for intense biogeochemical cycling, transporting terrestrial carbon to coastal systems and emitting significant volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Nevertheless, global carbon budgets often exclude estuarine contributions, due to their highly heterogeneous nature and sparse quantification, accredited to a current lack of affordable long-term measurement techniques. This study describes the successful development of a low-cost in situ method capable of being deployed throughout European estuarine systems. Instruments were tested from September to November 2018 in the Fal (UK), a previously unquantified estuary. Weekly maintenance and water sampling mitigated biofouling and validated sensor readings. Water samples identified bias in the CO2 sensor, which was attributed to overheating, and enabled readings to be corrected using the sensitivity relationship of CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) to temperature. This study presents the highest frequency of calculated CO2 gas fluxes in any UK estuary to date, with estuarine-air fluxes in the Fal ranging from -8.87 – 57.64 mmol C m-2 hr-1. This macrotidal estuary was found to be a substantial source of atmospheric CO2, with average emission rates of 90.23 ± 95.40 mol C m-2 yr-1. Variability in outgassing was attributed to differences in estuarine pCO2, influenced by biological activity, salinity, sea surface temperature and tidal cycles. An additional 18 sites were identified around Europe where this methodology could be implemented based on estuarine suitability and proximity to marine laboratories for water chemistry analysis. Expanding to these sites would increase the spatial coverage of European estuarine gas fluxes by ~5%. to coastal systems and emitting significant volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Nevertheless, global carbon budgets often exclude estuarine contributions, due to their highly heterogeneous nature and sparse quantification, accredited to a current lack of affordable long-term measurement techniques. This study describes the successful development of a low-cost in situ method capable of being deployed throughout European estuarine systems. Instruments were tested from September to November 2018 in the Fal (UK), a previously unquantified estuary. Weekly maintenance and water sampling mitigated biofouling and validated sensor readings. Water samples identified bias in the CO2 sensor, which was attributed to overheating, and enabled readings to be corrected using the sensitivity relationship of CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) to temperature. This study presents the highest frequency of calculated CO2 gas fluxes in any UK estuary to date, with estuarine-air fluxes in the Fal ranging from -8.87 – 57.64 mmol C m-2 hr-1. This macrotidal estuary was found to be a substantial source of atmospheric CO2, with average emission rates of 90.23 ± 95.40 mol C m-2 yr-1. Variability in outgassing was attributed to differences in estuarine pCO2, influenced by biological activity, salinity, sea surface temperature and tidal cycles. An additional 18 sites were identified around Europe where this methodology could be implemented based on estuarine suitability and proximity to marine laboratories for water chemistry analysis. Expanding to these sites would increase the spatial coverage of European estuarine gas fluxes by ~5%.agna.

It's all about the little things in life: exploring ‘Britishness’ within a Model Village in Southwest England

This dissertation explores the miniature landscape of a model village in the Southwest of England as a site through which visitors negotiate national identity. Ethnographic methods are adopted to investigate what features of the British landscape, life and culture are drawn together by the modellers to build up a narrative of ‘Britishness’. It focuses on concepts of vision and embodiment in the tourist experience to understand how visitors encounter the model landscape, and thus, how they interact with the narrative within this unique form of representation. There is also a little insight into the behind-the-scenes processes for constructing the models.

Gender Dysphoria: Understanding the correlations between genetic influence and brain development

Ferdinand Boucher, Medicine

Gender dysphoria (GD) is a facet of modern human biology which is believed to derive from the sexual differentiation of the human brain. It is classed as a condition whereby an individual identifies as an opposing sex to that which their genetics decides. Individuals report feeling uncomfortable and faced with prejudice from those around, affecting their mental health status. Elucidating the correlations between the genetic influences, gonadal development and brain development could give an insight into this clinical condition. To address this issue, a review of literature database was carried out. Evidence suggests that several gene mutations, particularly within the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome gene (SRY), could lead to abnormal gonadal development, causing some foetuses to present with indifferent gonads and to be reassigned at birth to the default female sex. This disparity in genetic influences correlates to an increased likelihood of a diagnosis of GD. An investigation on complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, involving androgen receptor (AR) gene mutation, suggests that these individuals also experience gender dysphoria. Furthermore, known differences exist in the brain structure and neuronal signalling between sexes. Evidence suggests that these correlate more closely to individuals’ perceived gender identity. However, not enough evidence has associated these differences with GD. Individuals with GD are found to have two physiological attributes, relating to gonadal and brain development, correspond most closely to that of their perceived gender. The shadow on our understanding of genetic influences and brain development on perceived gender identity is still not clear.

Electrolysis-like set-up to investigate the effects of direct current and other parameters on the growth and hydrocarbon production of algae, Botryococcus braunii

The effect of electric current on the growth and metabolite production of bacteria and algae

Srashti Khandelwal, Biosciences

With the exigency to effectively tackle the alarming rate of climate change, the search for biofuel is no longer a curiosity but a necessity and algae look like viable replacements for fossil fuels. Around 61% of Botryococcus braunii’s dry weight comprises of hydrocarbons, unfortunately, it is still not enough to meet the high demands of the fuel industry. Previously, B. braunii has been used to produce electricity but the opposite has not yet been explored so we hypothesised that introducing more electrons in a photosynthetic system might result in a higher amount of hydrocarbon production. Lactobacillus plantarum is extensively used industrially as a probiotic and microbial starter and has recently also been used in novel biofuel production pathways. Since L. plantarum already uses electrons in metabolism and for transportation of metabolites, we theorized that supplying it with electric current might have a positive effect on metabolite production. Using an electrolysis-like set-up, the effects of direct current and other parameters were studied on the growth and metabolite or hydrocarbon production of Lactobacillus plantarum and Botryococcus braunii. In Botryococcus braunii, electric current and pH both seemed to affect hydrocarbon production which was also assessed using GC-MS. The growth rate of bacteria was determined by colony-forming unit calculations and continuous pH and oxygen measurements were taken. Interestingly, the electric current had a significant effect, reducing media acidification over 24 hrs by half and caused metabolite production to shift in favour of acetate instead of lactate as measured through HPLC.

When the Frame is the Issue: Framing, Disability and Sexuality

Daniel Easterbrook, Politics

Sexuality in the context of disability has been a matter that has garnered popular and political disinterest, resulting in the reinforcing of infantile stereotypes and an assumption of asexuality. While this can still be considered to be the dominant paradigm, we must consider emerging narratives, the traction that they are gaining and how this can be considered in the popular and political sense. In the popular sense, we will consider attitudinal change bought about by influencers. We must then consider political, within which there are some altogether more sinister and serious implications of popular attitudinal control and change. Dissecting these we shall see the implications of governmentality and a statute book resistant to change. Resistant, but not immovable. In closing, we consider how the frame of disability and sexuality is the largest popular and political barrier against the consideration of sexual citizenship in 21stc society.

The lIFeLONG Study (Improving FamiLy history recording in General practice)

The Current Standard of Family History Recording in General Practice: The lIFeLONG Study

Molly Dineen, Health

Background In the current genomic revolution, family history (FH) recording is becoming increasingly important in general practice. Previous research had suggested that FH recording was not comprehensive, thorough and accurate enough to make meaningful risk assessments. This study aimed to provide an up-to-date assessment of the current standard of FH recording in a single UK general practice. Methods Participants were adult patients registered with St Leonards Practice, Exeter. Their electronic medical records (EMRs) were analysed for the frequency, quality and accuracy of FH recording. Patients completed a FH report via a validated questionnaire to estimate the scale of the problem. NHS ethics approval was granted from the Health Research Authority. Results 241 randomly-selected patients were approached and 61 (25.3%) eligible records analysed. 42/61 (68.9%) records contained FH information. The most commonly recorded conditions were heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer and bowel cancer. There was no recording of any multifactorial conditions. 100/106 (94.3%) positive FH recordings included the condition, 91/106 (85.8%) the relative, 83/106 (78.3%) the lineage and 92/106 (86.8%) the gender. 20/106 (18.9%) positive recordings contained the age of disease-onset/death. Only 10/61 (16.4%) EMRs contained negative FH information. 84.1% of patient-reported positive FH information was not included in the patients’ records. Conclusions There were significant deficiencies in the frequency, quality and accuracy of FH recording and no recording of multifactorial conditions (e.g. obesity). More research is needed to identify the barriers to FH recording and to develop tools that will assist GPs to improve FH recording.

The activation of plantar intrinsic foot muscles (PIMs) during walking in flip flops

Olivia Elliott, Sport and Exercise Medical Sciences

PIM activity contributes to the function of the longitudinal arch (LA) in absorbing and generating mechanical power for the propulsion phase of gait. The active contribution of muscles alongside the passive ‘windlass’ mechanism of the aponeurosis (AP) in the LA has aided in the evolution of efficient bipedal locomotion in humans. Increased cushioning footwear, worn habitually by most of the Western world, reduces the work of these muscles during the repeated loading in gait. Walking barefoot is not practical in modernised society. Minimalistic footwear may be an appropriate solution to reduce side-effects of increased shoe cushioning. Flip-flops are a common yet distinct type of minimalistic footwear, with the characteristic of having no medial arch support. There is sparse evidence surrounding this footwear type and PIM activity due to invasive procedures needed. This project aims to determine whether flip flops could be a possible intervention to strengthen PIM muscles through increasing their muscle activation during normal gait. Eleven healthy participants (7 males, 4 females) walked at their preferred walking speed in flip flops, barefoot and trainers. Whilst walking across a force plate, foot and ankle kinematic measurements were detected using the multisegmented foot model and movement analysis, during barefoot and flip flop conditions. Intramuscular electromyography (EMG) signals were recorded from 3 PIMs along with surface EMG from the soleus to collect data on their activation throughout stance. Data processing and analysis has yet to be completed regarding any differences in muscle activity, kinetics and kinematics in flip-flops versus barefoot trials.

The research team winning awards at the international iGEM competition for Best Entrepreneurship, Best Supporting Hardware and Best Integrated Human Practices, alongside gold medals.

PETexe: Protecting the Oceans One Wash at a Time

Lydia Pike, Natural Sciences

Polyester fibres are used to make 55% of all clothing, which when washed shed tiny microplastic fibres that make their way into our ocean`s ecosystem and inevitably our food chain. The highly awarded 2019 University of Exeter iGEM team has developed a microplastic filter which captures and degrades PET microplastic fibres released from household washing machines, using bioengineered PETase and MHETase enzymes. The PETexe filter will be either attached externally or housed within washing machines, preventing the fibres from entering our water systems and oceans. The fibres will be broken down by these enzymes, releasing two environmentally benign byproducts, terephthalic acid (TPA) and ethelyne glycol (EG). The final filtration system will include an enzyme delivery mechanism to release a concentrated enzyme solution onto the microplastic fibres to break them down before washing the byproducts away prior to the next washing cycle. The PETexe vision is to revolutionise the washing machine industry, creating a future in which laundry is no longer the largest contributor to microplastic pollution.

Change and Continuity in the Media Coverage of British Female Prime Ministers

Anna Pawluk, Politics

The media coverage of women politicians in the UK is known to be gendered, and has had an effect on how we think of women politicians. The extraordinarily unfavourable coverage Theresa May has faced as a Prime Minister is palpable. This study attempts to detect whether the negative media attention she has faced is similar to Margaret Thatcher’s, and to identify any potential differences. My analysis is based on articles published at the time of their regimes in major British newspapers. I analyse them by looking at common themes, such as fashion, nicknames, referring to the female Prime Ministers as wives and mothers, reinforcing gender stereotypes and more. I conclude that there is evidence to argue for both continuity and change in how female Prime Ministers are portrayed by the British press. However, overall Theresa May has received more negative and gendered coverage than Margaret Thatcher. These results have powerful implications on the situation of women politicians. Because the media have an influence on how we perceive politicians, the more negative media coverage female Prime Ministers receive, the more obstacles they face in politics. It is striking that this has been exacerbated. This study has the potential to explain the media coverage of women in politics apart of Prime Ministers, as well as female executive leaders worldwide.

a-f: Clockwise from the Top Left: a: an x-ray image of a hand with a wooden FB injury. b-f: same image with different pseudocolour filters (b: GE colours filter, c: inferno filter, d: stern filter, magma filter, e: NIH filter. All the images were made with OsiriX Lite 10.0.4) The Wooden FB was Diagonally Inserted through at the Middle level of the First Phalanx and Created an Air Lucency. (Case courtesy of Dr Giovanni Caruana, Radiopaedia.org, rID: 48960., modifications were made)

Perceive the "Invisible" - Enhancing the Visibility of Foreign Body in soft tissue injuries in X-rayrs

Wing Sum Tam, Medical Imaging

Wooden foreign bodies (FB) constitute 78% of all wounded trauma, and can cause serious complications if unremoved. The visibility of hardwood FB under x-ray was inconsistent in literature. Soft tissue has a similar density to wooden materials, making it difficult to distinguish the contrast difference between the two on the x-ray due to the human eye greyscales discriminatory power limitation. Different photoreceptors are responsible for differentiating greyscales and colours; while only 25-30 grey-levels can be perceived simultaneously at one brightness level (brightness adaption), human eyes’ discriminatory power for colour is far higher. The just-noticeable-difference-thresholds for monochrome is 0.08 for monochrome; in comparison to 0.025, 0.026 and 0.023 for red, blue and green individually. By colourising a monochromic x-ray image by applying a colour lookup table, a smaller difference between shades can be perceived in colour than in greyscale and potentially helps in the detection of FBs with similar density to their surrounding soft tissue. Moreover, the fovea, the area in the retina that provide the sharpest vision, only contains colour detecting photoreceptors (cones). Thus, pseudocolour enhances the subtle differences, and increases the chance for humans to perceive FBs in soft tissue. It is not a novelty to use pseudocolour in x-ray images to assistant detection, and it is widely used in non-medical x-ray images. Shockingly, extremely limited amount of research is currently available on the potential of pseudocolour in medical images, further research is urgently needed.

Lie Algebras and Lie Groups

Jack Watts, Mathematics

Lie Algebras and Lie Groups are incredibly important within the field of differential geometry. Originally introduced as a tool to solve or simplify ordinary and partial differential equations, the subject was developed by Marius Sophus Lie (1842-1899), somewhat inspired by Galois' application of groups to solving equations. We will discuss the notion of Lie Algebras, first by detailing the relevant definitions and inspecting some examples. The most interesting example of a Lie Algebra we will look at here will be the Heisenberg Algebra. This Lie Algebra will also serve to provoke a brief discussion of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, one of the most interesting principles in modern physics.Once our understanding of Lie Algebras as a mathematical object is secure, we will discuss Ado's Theorem and what it means for Lie Algebras, by the inspection of an example. We will then go on to look at Lie Groups, including the definition, structure, and some examples. Here, we will spend a great deal of time discussing the General Linear Group, an important Lie Group of which many notable Lie Groups are subgroups. Our discussion of Lie Algebras and Lie Groups will be framed mostly from an algebraic perspective, rather than topological. The choice here is mostly due to personal preference but is made in order to best enable an effective discussion of algebraic properties such as sizes of sets. This approach to the topic is the same as that used in many sources found during research into the topic.

This graph gives the mean Shannon’s diversity index of each site. The Shannon’s diversity index for each of the 10 quadrats was used to calculate the mean diversity index for each site. The error bars were calculated using the Standard Deviation from the mean for each site. No citation needed as the graph was created by the author.

Testing the Passenger-Driver hypothesis in lands degraded by Pittosporum undulatum

Rowan Williams, Biological Sciences

Invasive species pose a serious threat to Australia’s endemic flora. Management actions depend on the specific method of invasion: whether it is a driver, a superior competitor to the native vegetation, or a passenger, which can better tolerate disturbances. This paper explores the Passenger-Driver hypothesis in relation to Pittosporum undulatum invading native flora on the Mornington Peninsula in South-Eastern Australia. A variety of field sampling techniques were used to collect data across three sites where Pittosporum undulatum was: absent, eradicated, or present. Data analysis showed that biodiversity in the site where Pittosporum undulatum had been eradicated was still significantly lower than in the site that had never been invaded, indicating that Pittosporum undulatum was a passenger of environmental change. As Pittosporum undulatum has previously been shown to be a driver of ecological change, this paper gives an important insight into the possibility of state-dependent invasion methods, with the method of invasion changing with different abiotic and biotic factors. This paper highlights the importance of site-specific research to best determine the appropriate and most effective management option for invasive species.

A role for translocator protein 18 kDa (TSPO) in immunometabolic regulation of astrocytes

Daisy Stewart, Medical Sciences with Professional Training Year

The 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO) is an evolutionarily conserved outer mitochondrial membrane protein. Originally thought to transport cholesterol for steroidogenesis, recent studies indicate a more fundamental role for TSPO in cellular processes including metabolism and inflammation. Increasing research is revealing a complex bi-directional interplay between cellular metabolism and inflammation known as immunometabolism. Astrocyte-mediated inflammation is implicated in the pathology of various neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis, and coincides with upregulation of TSPO, which we hypothesised may regulate inflammatory processes in these cells through controlling metabolism. We utilised CRISPR/Cas9-mediated TSPO knockout in the U373 human astrocytoma cell line to investigate the effects of TSPO depletion on metabolism and immunometabolic mitochondrial functions. We observed that: 1) pro-inflammatory activation of U373 cells altered mitochondrial morphology, which reports suggest facilitates a metabolic switch to glycolysis and the inflammatory response. This effect was absent in TSPO knockout cells, suggesting that TSPO may regulate astrocyte inflammation by controlling mitodynamics. 2) TSPO knockout cells had increased basal oxidative metabolism, supporting recent findings indicating that TSPO inhibits fatty acid oxidation. 3) Basal mitochondrial membrane potential, glucose uptake, and ATP production were not different between TSPO knockout and wildtype U373 cells. Overall, this supports the theory that TSPO regulates core mitochondrial functions including oxidative metabolism, which may include inhibition of fatty acid oxidation to promote inflammation, and could be a therapeutic target in the treatment and prevention of various neurological diseases.

Jackson, P. (2013) Identities, in Cloke, P., Crang, P. and Goodwin, M. (eds) Introducing Human Geographies, Third Edition, Routledge, London and New York, pp 628-640 O’Grady, A. (2012) Spaces of Play: The Spatial Dimensions of Underground Club Culture and Locating the Subjunctive, Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture, 4 (1), pp 86-106 Image; Creamfields. (2017a) Creamfields Festival, viewed 25th September 2017,

Bass and Place: Identity and Community at Electronic Dance Music Festivals

Tom Allars, Geography

This project addresses Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festivals as spaces of identity and community, addressing pre-existing literature on precursory rave cultures. This explicates the need to consider contemporary EDM festival space as fundamentally different from rave spaces, necessitating further academic research. My research questions are; (1) to what extent ‘rave ideologies’ (O’Grady, 2012:87) have transferred into EDM festival identities; (2) how have ‘new sources of authority’ (Jackson, 2013:632) proliferated these spaces; and (3) how identities are demonstrated in the festival space. Research was conducted at two major UK EDM festivals, MTV Crashes Plymouth and Creamfields, and involved interviews with 206 participants, observation of a diverse range of sets, and active observation within the crowd. This research elucidates the importance of the performer in shaping behaviour, group assimilation undermining largescale crowd community, and the role of stage design in creating intense hedonistic community space.

A Sophiological Proposal on the Synthesis of Wisdom and the Generation of The Holy Spirit

Mitchell Foyle-York, Theology and Religion

This study seeks to expand upon the ‘Sophiology’ of Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, and explore the Dialectical nature of Sophia (or ‘Wisdom’) in the context of Christ the Son’s prayers to God the Father at Gethsemane and whilst dying on the cross. I argue that it is best to understand this ‘Dialectic’ of Sophia through the lens of ‘antinomism’, rather than Hegelian or post-Hegelian Dialectics, for antinomism supports the Dialectical opposites of ‘creaturely’ and ‘Divine Sophia’, whilst also upholding their union in the (Christian) God, and thus adhering to orthodox Christian dogma. Furthermore, this study proposes that the third Hypostasis of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, may have been generated in its earthly form as a result of the ‘creaturely Sophia’ and the ‘Divine Sophia’ became unionised through the prayers and wisdom of Christ. Through this study, I wish to demonstrate how the controversial branch of ‘Sophiology’ can in fact aid contemporary theology in significant theological questions, and offer to us a lens through which we can view systematic theology.

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