CELL PHYSIOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY
Dr N Davies
Regulation of arterial Ca2+-activated K+ (Bkca) channels by angiotensin
£65,592 British Heart Foundation
Contraction of vascular smooth muscle (vasoconstriction) leads to an increase in blood pressure. Several mechanisms regulate vasoconstriction including the potential difference between the inside and outside of the cell (membrane potential). K+ channels (proteins in the membrane) have a vital role in regulating membrane potential, and any substance that alters their activity will alter the membrane potential and thereby vasoconstriction. This project will investigate the cellular regulation of certain K+ channels providing basic knowledge which is vital to understanding physiological regulation and for the development of new therapeutic approaches to treat blood pressure problems.
Professor I Postlethwaite, Dr Da-Wei Gu
The Optimal scheduling of soaking pits in the metal rolling process
£95,776 Alcoa Manufacturing GB Ltd./DTI
This KTP (formerly TCS) will optimise the use of soaking pits, which are used to preheat aluminium slabs prior to rolling. The aim is to increase throughput of the rolling mill process and decrease energy consumption. Artificial neural networks will be used to estimate heating and roling times for use in a novel scheduling procedure.
Dr A Mondal
American Comparative Literature Association Conference
£343 British Academy
The British Academy funded delivery of a paper entitled 'Secularism and the End of Global Discourse: Globalization, Modernity and Discontent' to the American Comparative Literature Association annual conference in San Diego, April 2003. The paper explores the resurgence of religion as a motivating factor in contemporary politics and locates the issue of secularism at the heart of political questions surrounding globalization. It argues that globalization is not only made sense of by secular knowledge but also by non-secular ones, of which radical Islam is one of many. This creates discrepant and discordant narratives of globalization that accentuate global divisions that cut across civilizations.
Dr J Ketley
Iron responsive gene regulation in campylobacter jejuni
Iron is an important micronutrient used by bacteria as it plays an essential role in cellular metabolism. Iron restriction in animal tissues provides a non-specific defence system against microbial infection. During infection pathogens are likely to be in a state of near continual iron deficiency in the face of fierce competi
tion from the normal microbiota and iron restriction by the host. Iron acquisition is an important determinant for a pathogen to colonise a host and the detection of an iron limited niche serves as an environmental cue to express virulence determinants.
Campylobacter jejuni is a foodborne pathogen of major economical and medical significance throughout the world. We need to understand the mechanisms of the iron-responsive regulatory systems present in C. jejuni and the role that iron plays in colonisation and virulence. The aims of the project are to fully characterise iron-responsive gene regulation in C. jejuni with a view to establishing knowledge led strategies for the control or eradication of Campylobacter.
Dr C Binns, K Trohidou (Institute of Materials Science, Demokritos,
High performance magnetic materials produced by nanoclusters
£4,500 British Council
New magnetic materials with enhanced performance are urgently needed by key industries, especially the magnetic recording industry. For example the storage density on computer hard disks is limited by the magnetic field available from the magnetic pole of the write head. Increasing this performance is an exceedingly difficult problem as evidenced by the fact that the alloys used in the industry have been available for nearly a century but so far no better material has been found. Recently research laboratories around the world including the nanomagnetism group at Leicester have been researching the possibility of building high performance magnetic materials out of pre-formed nanoclusters containing typically a few hundred atoms of a magnetic element. These behave like artificial super-atoms with enhanced properties and they can be used as building blocks of a high-performance material. The grant from the British council will support a collaboration between Leicester and the National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR) in Greece to study how to achieve greater control of properties of the individual nanoclusters.
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