ARCHAEOLOGY AND ANCIENT HISTORY
Dr H Barton
The identification of carbohydrate-rich plant foods from Niah Cave, Sarawak, Borneo
£2,263 British Academy
This project will investigate the use of carbohydrate-rich plant foods in the tropical rainforests of Sarawak by prehistoric hunter-gatherers. This study will be carried out in association with the Niah Caves Project, under the direction of Professor Graeme Barker, School of Archaeology and Ancient History. My research at Niah Cave has been an investigation of preserved starch grains found within the guano-rich occupation deposits in the cave, some of which date back to at least 50,000 years before the present. These starch grains, produced by all living plants, are particularly abundant in storage organs such as tubers, fruits and nuts. When people processed or discarded these plant tissues in the cave, some of their starch grains were preserved. The granules vary in their size and shape between different species and therefore have the potential to inform archaeologists about prehistoric diet in a very direct way. This work compliments that of pollen and phytolith analysis as starches can be very numerous in some parts of the plant that lack pollen and/or phytoliths, bridging a gap in our ability to detect certain types of plants or parts of preserved plant tissue. This grant will enable me to increase the reference collection of tropical starch-rich plants that is necessary for the identification of starch grains from the archaeological deposits at Niah Cave.
Dr H Barton
Prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the tropical rain forests of Sarawak
£7,595 L.S.B. Leakey Foundation
How and when did humans first colonise the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia? Did these forests form barriers to permanent human occupation until the mid-Holocene period, c5,000 years ago, as many archaeologists and anthropologists contend, or was occupation of rain forest feasible as early as the late Pleistocene, c40-50,000 years ago. Currently this debate lacks much needed hard data regarding the distribution and density of key plant resources that could have sustained early human populations in these environments. This project will attempt to redress this imbalance by undertaking a program of forest survey to assess the modern distribution of plant speices that may have been utilised by early forest foragers. While it has to be accepted that the modern forests of Sarawak are not completely analogous to those of the Pleistocene period, it should be possible to establish some benchmarks for this important debate. A program of ethnobotanical research will also be undertaken with the Iban community of farmer-foragers to assess their current use of tuberous plant species and to collect data on the energetics of foraging for tubers in lowland tropical rain forest.
Dr J Norman
Kinase control of alphavbeta3 integrin recyclying
£300,955 Wellcome Trust
Animal cells express molecules on their surfaces whose task it is to establish adhesive contact with other cells and extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen. In order to migrate through the extracellular matrix, cells must make and break these contacts in a coordinated fashion. We have shown that one of the ways in which cells do this is by moving adhesive molecules (or integrin proteins) into intracellular compartments and then re-exposing them at the cell surface in response to particular signals. This proposal aims to explore the molecular mechanisms by which cells control the transport of a particular integrin protein (avb3) from an intracellular compartment to the cell surface. From this there is the potential to identify as yet unknown intracellular signalling systems involved in initiating cell adhesion and migration. A range of diseases result from the aberrant adhesive and migratory behaviour of cells, amongst them are arthritis, heart disease and invasive malignancies. Therefore there is the possibility that intracellular signalling systems characterised in this study may represent novel targets for drugs or therapies aimed at controlling these diseases.
Dr J Hales
Psoriasis, streptococcus pyogenes and stress (part 2)
£37,284 Psoriasis Association
Approximately 1.5 million people in the UK and Ireland suffer from psoriasis, an inflammatory disease, which can cause severe redness and scaling of the skin. Streptococcal throat infections have often been reported to trigger psoriasis or exacerbate established disease. One credible hypothesis, as to the cause of the disease, is that the immune cells clearing Streptococcus pyogenes throat infections become inappropriately diverted to attack keratins in the skin because the microbe and keratin have a degree of molecular similarity. The research funded by the Psoriasis Association aims to establish whether the lymphocytes which accumulate in diseased skin are the same lymphocytes which can clear throat infections, whether the antibodies they promote recognise unique portions of the streptococcal M protein, and whether the well established exacerbation of psoriasis by stress can be explained by the novel finding that the stress hormone, noradrenaline, promotes the growth of many bacteria, including S pyogenes.
Professor I Postlethwaite, Dr M Turner
Stabilisation and performance enhancement in the presence of nonlinearly constrained signals
This research aims to make important advances in the performance of control systems in the presence of nonlinear temporal constraints, which arise from nonlinear actuators and the limits imposed on plant variables in order to address safety and maintenance issues. 'Anti-windup' synthesis for unstable plants is a significant challenge and most of the work on override control is currently ad-hoc and directed to single-input single-output systems. Our emphasis will be on rigorous theoretical developments using LMI(Linear Matrix Inequalities)-based synthesis to guarantee stability and L2 performance for multivariable systems. Nonlinear compensators will also be investigated, building on our proposed improvements to sector-based nonlinear stability analysis.
In aircraft, saturations and rate-limits can cause severe pilot-vehicle interactions, called PIOs. It is proposed to use anti-windup methods to design 'phase compensators' to prevent PIOs. Their effectiveness will be assessed and compared with industrial designs through piloted simulations carried out by GARTEUR. An analysis technique, the so-called OLOP criterion, has been developed to predict the susceptibility of an aircraft to PIOs. However, the technique is restricted to single-input single-output systems. We propose to develop a multivariable criterion, which will have far greater applicability.
Ms H Parker
Learning from doing: benefits and challenges of setting up and running Icon5
£10,209 University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
ICon5 is an innovative alternative to traditional acute care, providing nurse and therapy led intermediate care in a ward setting. The research aims to provide descriptive and qualitative data on this new UHL service. A secondary aim is to use the data generated to explore the feasibility of developing a collaborative grant proposal to examine the effectiveness of ward based intermediate care with controls in other similar settings.
Specific objectives include:
· to facilitate routine data collection as part of practice at the outset of the new service
· to provide an evidence base to assess effectiveness of a new service thus enabling informed decisions on continuation, expansion or otherwise
· to explore feasibility of possible study methods for future evaluation
· to learn from the challenges of implementing ward based intermediate care which in turn could help to inform new ways of providing acute care.
The primary end points are:
(i) descriptive data on service activity, case-mix, and outcomes for a six month cohort of patients admitted to ICon5
(ii) views from key professionals on the benefits and challenges of setting up and running the service.
LABOUR MARKET STUDIES
Mr J Sung
Baseline labour market information for Leicestershire
The East Midlands Development Agency has set out its aim of making the region one of Europe¹s top 20 regions by 2010 and the Regional Economic Strategy underpins this. In order to deliver the strategy, it has recognised the need to operate in local communities at the sub-regional level. The setting up of Sub-regional Strategic Partnerships (SSPs) in 2002 reflected this thinking. However, labour market data to support Sub-regional Strategic Partnerships is lacking. Most labour market data is collected and published using geographical identifiers, eg standard government office region, Learning and Skills Council and county boundaries, none of which are co-terminous with SSPs. The current project is to derive new SSP data sets from the Labour Force Survey for Leicestershire. It also evaluates the key differences between existing data sets and the new SSP data, and the feasibility to create similar data sets for other areas within the EMDA region.
MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
Last update: March 2003
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