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Anaesthesia
Dr P Watson
RM10010
National Disability Development Initiative - A multi-centre randomised controlled trial comparing the efficacy of a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation programme versus a “best advice" intervention in returning unemployed subjects with chronic pain to employment
£648,994 

Job Centre Plus (Dept of Wages & Pensions) 
 
Chronic pain frequently leads to high levels of disability which result in subject being unable to continue working, this has a significant cost to the individual and the state. The healthcare cost for back pain alone was £1.6 billion in 1999 and the indirect costs of social benefits and lost production in industry amounted to £10.7 billion.  Those patients who are out of work for greater than 2 years are highly unlikely to ever work again. This project builds upon previous research developed by Dr Paul Watson and colleagues. Traditional pain management techniques combining physiotherapy and psychological approaches are combined with specific, targeted vocational advice to assist unemployed people with chronic pain to identify appropriate work and help them gain employment. People will be split into two groups one receiving the “best practise” approach from the employment services and the second the full intervention. The effectiveness of the approach in returning people to work will be assessed for up to two years. A cost benefit analysis with respect to future benefit claims and healthcare usage will to performed.
October 2002

Biology
Dr S Moller
RM48048
Mapping of dynamic intraplastidic localisation patterns of plastid division components
£30,864 

BBSRC 
 
Plastids are tremendously important as photosynthetic organelles and as sites for many important intermediary metabolic pathways and one of the most important aspect of maintaining plastid functionality is plastid division. We are taking an integrative approach using advanced proteomics and cell biology to isolate novel plastid division components and examining intraplastidic "real-time" localisation dynamics in 3D and 4D using state-of-the-art imaging facilities. Our newly aquired imaging facility is fully computer interfaced with the latest hardware and software applications. The research proposed will not only aid in understanding the cell biology of plastid division but will also lead to agricultural applications.
October 2002

Cell Physiology and Pharmacology
Dr N Davies
RM36045
Mechanisms of vasoconstrictor regulation of arterial Kv channels by PKA and PKC
£114,246 

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.
October 2002

Chemistry
Dr M Lowe
RP10066
New contrast agents for magnetic resonance angiography
£121,892 

EPSRC 
 
Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is an emerging diagnostic technique, which provides a safer alternative to the current invasive methods of X-ray angiography. It is used to visualise blood vessels for the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and associated disorders. Contrast agents, the magnetic resonance equivalent of a dye, are injected into the body to enhance image contrast. The aim of this research programme is to synthesise complexes of gadolinium (III) for use as contrast agents in MRA. These complexes are designed to interact with the protein, human serum albumin. This compartmentalises the contrast agent in the cardiovascular system (i.e. increasing local concentrations) and maximises the image contrast.
October 2002

Chemistry
Dr P Monks
RP10069
Tropospheric Organic Chemistry Experiment (TORCH)
£31,238 

NERC 
Organic compounds are found throughout the atmosphere and contribute to the generation of photochemical oxidants such as ozone, and fine aerosol abundance. Gas phase organic compounds cover a vast range of volatilities, chemical functionalities and reactivities, which define their participation in photochemical and gas to particle conversion processes.  Whilst all organics may be eventually oxidised to CO2 and H2O, they have varying potentials to generate free radicals and photochemical ozone, and undergo heterogeneous or homogenous nucleation to the aerosol phase. The nature of the organic material in both urban and background tropospheric aerosol is highly uncertain.  TORCH (Tropospheric organic chemistry experiment) aims to via a comprehensive and integrated modelling and measurement programme to increase understanding of the role played by primary and partially oxidised organic species in gas phase photochemistry coupled to an investigation of the production, composition and evolution of organic aerosol and its links with gas phase organic oxidation.  The University of Leicester team will play a full role on the collection and analysis of a range of data in relation short-lived organic species as part of TORCH. 
October 2002

Child Health
Professor C O'Callaghan 
RM12030
Donation from Astra Foundation
£20,000 

Astra Zeneca 
 
The Astra Foundation Charity has given £20,000 to support development work into a project looking at the 3-dimensional reconstruction of the upper airway using MRI imaging. Dynamic imaging will allow the effects of the oropharyngeal configuration to be determined during inhalation via various drug delivery devices. By manipulating the oropharyngeal configuration it is possible that aerosol drug delivery to the lower respiratory tract and the reproducibility of the delivery may be markedly improved. This will be assessed using pharmacokinetic analysis of commonly used drugs.
October 2002

General Practice and Primary Healthcare
Dr M Stone 
RM45040
Primary prevention of coronary heart disease in South Asian schoolchildren
£99, 

Eastern Leicester Primary Care Trust 
 
This study will use a series of interviews to identify and examine patients’ attitudes towards self-management of their diabetes, including cultural barriers and preferences. It is hoped that this will inform the design and implementation of a peer education and support programme for South Asian patients with diabetes living in Leicester.
October 2002

General Practice and Primary Healthcare
Dr K Khunti 
RM45039
Peer education for people with diabetes – a primary care study focusing on South Asians in Leicester
£10,000 

Eastern Leicester Primary Care Trust 
 
The key aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of health diet and physical activity behaviour in children of South Asian origin and to evaluate an action research intervention to improve health lifestyles. Further aims are to determine the association of health lifestyle factors in South Asian children of adults with CHD and diabetes and those without. We will also determine barriers to changing to healthy lifestyles among South Asian schoolchildren. The study is being conducted in 6 inner city second schools comprising 7361 children of whom 70% are of South Asian origin.
October 2002

Genetics
Professor C Kyriacou 
RM33056
Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for Professor Charalambous Kyriacou
£250,000 

Royal Society
 
Aggression is one of the most primitive behavioural instincts of all higher organisms, and must have served as an adaptive characteristic during the early evolution of man. However, it now serves only to create misery and suffering within and between human societies. There are a number of studies that show that the biochemical basis of aggression is similar between man and mouse, and even the lowly fruitfly. We seek to use the fruitfly as a model for aggression , and will apply a modern genomics programme of research to identify the many genes that are responsible for generating such maladaptive (at least in the human) behaviour. These fly 'aggro' genes will have their counterparts in the mammal, so our approach should also identify key molecules that play a role in the corresponding human interactions.
October 2002

Law
Dr M Bell 
RL10012
Report on measures to combat discrimination in 13 candidate countries
£7,054 

CEC (via MEDE European Consultancy)
 
The project is funded by the European Commission and seeks to analyse the anti-discrimination laws in the 13 countries that have applied to join the European Union. For each state a national report will be prepared. Two international legal experts will then review these reports before they are finalised. One of the two international experts is Mark Bell from the Department of Law. The reports must compare the countries' existing laws with the standards required by the European Union's anti-discrimination Directives. It focuses on discrimination on grounds of race, religion, age, disability and sexual orientation.
October 2002

Mathematics and Computer Science
Professor S Koenig 
RP15048
Visiting Fellowship for Professor CC Xi
£1,400 

London Mathematical Society 
Algebraic cell structures occur in mathematics in many different ways, for example as Specht modules for symmetric groups or as Weyl modules for reductive algebraic groups. A few years ago, an axiomatic definition of `cellular algebras' has been found (by J Graham and G Lehrer). Over the past six years, CC Xi and S Koenig have developed a structure theory of such algebras and they have applied this theory to algebras which are used in various other parts of mathematics. This visiting fellowship will allow them to continue their collaboration.
October 2002

Mathematics and Computer Science
Professor S Koenig 
RP15045
Workshop on Hochschild cohomology and applications
£9,840 

EPSRC 
Over the past few years, Leicester's pure mathematics group has established a series of interdiscplinary conferences and activities, notably the `Algebra and Topology Weeks' held in 2000 and in 2001. The Workshop on Hochschild cohomology and its applications will follow a similar scheme, focussing on interdisciplinary connections between algebra, geometry and topology. Objects and structures studied in mathematics are often made up from small and `simple' building blocks which are glued together in some way; cohomology is the technical term for the amount of glue needed and for the directions for use of the glue. Thus cohomology measures how sophisticated a mathematical construction is. It also helps to distinguish different structures and is, therefore, important for classification results, which are of fundamental importance in mathematics. The workshop will focus on one of the most frequently used and most successful cohomology theories, Hochschild cohomology, and its use in various branches of mathematics. It will aim at stimulating cross-fertilization and unification of approaches.
October 2002

Surgery
Professor M Gallinanes 
RM22050
Efficacy of the mode of delivery of autologous bone marrow vells into heart scar muscle for the recovery of contractile function
£14,700 

Univesity Hospital Leicester 
Approximately 50% of patients suffering a heart attach will eventually develop heart failure after 10 years. Although heart transplantation remains the only effective therapy for patients with end-stage disease, the transplantation of cardiac myocytes have shown to improve myocardial perfusion and contractility in animal species.

Bone marrow contains various kinds of primitive cells, which differentiate into endothelial cells and myocytes. It has recently been demonstrated that implantation of bone marrow into areas of the heart exhibiting irreversible dysfunction, is sage and improved contractility. The aim of the study is to clarify which mode of delivery of bone marrow cells to the heart scar muscle is more effective in improving contractile function. If the efficacy of bone marrow transplantation is demonstrated in the human heart, then this approach represents a better way of preventing and combating heart failure than medical treatments and heart transplantation.
October 2002


Applied Psychology
Professor C Hollin 
RM432002
Evaluation of Pathfinder Programmes
£194,244 

Home Office 
 
In 1998 the British Government launched its Crime Reduction Programme, an initiative based on a review of research evidence on effective Criminal Justice interventions. As part of this initiative, funding was made available to pilot, develop, implement and evaluate offending behaviour programmes in the Probation Service of England and Wales. A three-year contract for the evaluative aspect of this work was initially awarded to Leicester and Liverpool Universities in 1999 and has recently been extended to run until 2004. The evaluative work consists of three streams of evaluation:

  • Process: investigating the implementation of these programmes with the Probation Service Areas;
  • Outcome: assessing the impact of these programmes on offending in the intermediate and long term; and
  • Cost-effectiveness.
The findings from this research project will be used to inform the development and implementation of these programmes within the Probation Service of England and Wales. The interim findings of this work have recently been published by the Home Office and are available on the Home Office website.
September 2002
   

Biochemistry
Dr A Munro
RM31071
Development of Mycobacterium tuberculosis P450s as novel drug targets
£21,000 

GlaxoSmithKline 
 
Drug-resistant strains of the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb, the causative agent of TB) present a massive threat to human health worldwide; as recognised by the World Health Organization’s description of the situation as a potential “global catastrophe”. In the search for new Mtb drug targets, we have narrowed in on an enzyme class known as P450s. Mtb has an extraordinarily large number (20) of P450s, and we have demonstrated that anti-P450 azole drugs are highly effective antibiotics against related mycobacteria. We have also solved the atomic structure of a key Mtb drug-target P450. This project will take the work to the next stage – involving structural studies of how these drugs bind and inactivate P450 targets, and determining their efficiency. By using gene knockout technology, we will inactivate Mtb P450-encoding genes, to establish which are essential for pathogen survival and should represent the best enzymes to target with novel azole drugs.

September 2002
 

Cardiology
Dr A G Ng
RM142022
The Role of the Autonomic Nervous System and Nitric Oxide in Determining the Susceptibility of Ventricular Myocardium to Lethal Arrhythmias
£134,673
British Heart Foundation

Activity of the nervous system is abnormal in many heart conditions, such as heart failure and in patients with previous heart attacks. Mortality is high and death is often sudden in these conditions, many of which are due to dangerous rhythm disturbances. The mechanisms underlying these rhythm disturbances are not well understood and the association with abnormal activity in the nervous system not fully investigated. This study will examine the effects that the nervous system has on the tendency of the heart to these rhythm disturbances and the role that the chemical messenger, nitric oxide, plays in modulating these effects. With better knowledge of these mechanisms, it is hoped that it will be possible to develop new and more effective treatment for conditions that carry such high mortality.
September 2002

Cell Physiology and Pharmacology
Professor S Nahorski
RM36043
Insights into the structure-function of P2X receptors using molecular modelling based bioinformatics
£96,951
Wellcome Trust
P2X receptors are ATP-gated cation channels, they are expressed in a range of excitable cells and contribute to a range of physiological processes including the neuronal control of smooth muscle and synaptic transmission between nerves and have been implicated in the control of male fertility, bladder function, the control of blood pressure and blood clotting.  Recent advances have given an insight into the molecular basis of a number of properties of the channels.  However, relatively little is known of the structure of these proteins.  The aim of this Prize Studentship is to use Bioinformatics to systematically analyse the amino acid sequences of P2X receptors and to develop structural models of P2X receptors.  These models will be tested experimentally using a combination of molecular biology and electrophysiological and biochemical studies on recombinant receptors.  It is hoped that this approach will be useful in the rational design of purinergic drugs.
September 2002

Chemistry
Dr P Monks
RP10061
Study of Future Microwave Sounders on Geostationary and Medium Earth Orbits
£9,779 

Astrium Ltd     
Microwave radiometers have been in use in low-earth orbit meteorological satellites since 1972. For meteorological applications they offer the great advantage compared to some other techniques in that they are relatively unaffected by cloud.   This study for the European Space Agency led by Astrium Ltd. re-examines the requirement for geostationary microwave radiometers in the timescale of the end of the current geostationary meteorological satellites, i.e. 2015+.  The University of Leicester contribution will be to asses the scientific benefit of any future microwave sounder instrument in geostationary orbit.
September 2002

Chemistry
Dr P Dyer
RP10027
Supplement - Tailored monomers towards controlled growth of well-defined substituted Poly (para-phenylenevinylene) Polymers via ROMP
£45,908 

EPSRC     
Increasingly sophisticated and higher performance electronic display devices are in great demand for many diverse applications (e.g. laptop and mobile phone screens).  One of the most exciting areas of research in this arena involves the use of electroactive, synthetic organic polymers, which can be 'tailored' to meet targets such as specific colour emission, while providing the properties normally associated with plastics, such as flexibility, ease of moulding, etc.  Indeed, the pioneering work on such materials was recognised by the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000.  One of the most promising polymeric candidates so far is the poly(para-phenylenevinylene) (PPV) family of materials.  This award will allow us to investigate and develop new methodologies for the synthesis of functionalised PPVs.  Our approach involves the initial preparation of versatile and structurally diverse, discrete organic building blocks that will subsequently be used to construct well-defined polymers, in an extremely controlled manner, by exploiting a range of efficient transition metal catalysts.
September 2002

Education
Dr J Rogers
RE10037
Raising Standards in Numeracy: Thinking Skills
£756
DFES   
The ability to solve problems is an important feature of the National Curriculum, National Numeracy Strategy and SATs tests yet problem-solving continues to be an area of difficulty for many children.

This project is to be carried out with children aged between 8 and 11 years and will investigate the factors involved in the ability to solve mathematical problems involving number. The research will involve observations, interviews and empiricial tests carried out in the classroom environment. The aims are to identify how children make sense of a problem, the practical and cognitive processes involved, the language and strategies they employ and how they make choices about the arithmetical operations they apply.

The findings will directly inform future teaching and assessment methods in the school where the research is to be carried out and may well provide data of wider interest suitable for dissemination and publication.
September 2002

Education
Dr R Watling 
RE10029
External Evaluation of Burglar Bill Project 

£1,500 
Galleries of Justice
This is the second in a series of projects for the Galleries of Justice, who are piloting new workshop activities in primary schools. The Centre for Citizenship Studies is conducting the evaluation between May and October 2002 with the aim of identifying the extent to which the project meets its own key objectives.
September 2002

Education
Dr R Watling
RE10030
Building Communities Research Project
£6,600
Leicester City Council
This research project forms part of a wider project arising out of a joint proposal from Leicester LEA, Leicester College, the Leicester Somali Steering Group and the Leicester African-Caribbean Citizens’ Forum. The “Building Communities Partnership” is designed to address issues of social cohesion in the local communities served by Leicester College and Regent College, particularly with regard to recent events affecting members of the Afro-Caribbean and Somali communities. Staff at the Centre for Citizenship Studies will act as facilitators for a series of action projects to be conducted with and by the key partners.
September 2002

Epidemiology & Public Health 
Dr M Dixon-Woods
RM13071
How can Systematic Reviews incorporate Qualitative Research?

ESRC
Systematic reviews are reviews of literature that are undertaken using rigorous criteria for selecting, identifying, appraising, and synthesising literature. Methods for including qualitative research in systematic reviews remain seriously underdeveloped. This is an increasingly important problem as systematic review becomes one of the key methods in generating recommendations for policy and practice in health, social care and policy, crime and policing, and education. While several proposed methods exist for the identification, appraisal, and synthesis of qualitative evidence, most remain empirically untested, and there is little information on the impact of different methods on the results and recommendations of systematic reviews, or on the feasibility of the methods.  This project aims to incorporate qualitative research into an existing systematic review in the area of support for breast-feeding, particularly for underprivileged mothers, which currently includes only quantitative evidence. It will evaluate the impact of a range of strategies for the identification, appraisal, and synthesis of qualitative and quantitative evidence on the substantive results of the review and on its recommendations for policy and practice; will refine existing methods and develop original methods where none exist; and will generate guidelines for good practice in the area which can be used in training.
September 2002

Engineering 
Professor C Pollock
RP12056 
Motor Development VI
£30,626
Black and Decker Ltd. 
This project, funded by Black and Decker Ltd. will develop sensorless control techniques for the flux switching motor.
September 2002

Engineering 
Dr T Pearce
RP120056 
CEC FWF - neurone - eu neuroinformatics network of excellence
£95,368
CEC 
Neuroinformatics is an emerging field uniquely positioned at the intersection of information technology and neuroscience. It is inherently interdisciplinary, promising to accelerate our understanding of the nervous system, as well as translate this understanding into new clinical and technological solutions. This 4-year EU Network of Excellence will provide the accompanying infrastructure for related neuroinformatics RTD projects funded by the CEC in FPV and in forthcoming FPVI. The network will enable a sustained dialogue, education, exchange and training opportunities, between the EU-based research community involved in neuroinformatics related RTD projects.
September 2002

English
Dr M Halliwell
RA12011
Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture
£12,035
AHRB  
This book-length project focuses on the contribution of the American social critic and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr to American intellectual culture in the middle of the twentieth century. The objective is to reexamine the changing role of the American intellectual by positioning Neibuhr in a series of debates on political, religious, ethical and cultural issues with other infuential American thinkers such as William James, John Dewey, Paul Tillich, Erik Erikson and Martin Luther King. The major theme running through these dialogues is the tension between Niebuhr’s public role as radical social critic and his conservative, and largely private, belief in neo-orthodox Christianity. The research entails archive work at The Library of Congress, Washington DC, The Burke Library at the Union Theological Seminary, New York City, and the Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Cambridge, MA. The book will be published by Rowman & Littlefield’s Intellectual History Series in 2004.
September 2002

English 
Dr M Halliwell  
RA12012 
Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture 
£2,515 

British Academy

This book-length project focuses on the contribution of the American social critic and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr to American intellectual culture in the middle of the twentieth century. The objective is to reexamine the changing role of the American intellectual by positioning Neibuhr in a series of debates on political, religious, ethical and cultural issues with other infuential American thinkers such as William James, John Dewey, Paul Tillich, Erik Erikson and Martin Luther King. The major theme running through these dialogues is the tension between Niebuhr’s public role as radical social critic and his conservative, and largely private, belief in neo-orthodox Christianity. The research entails archive work at The Library of Congress, Washington DC, The Burke Library at the Union Theological Seminary, New York City, and the Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Cambridge, MA. The book will be published by Rowman & Littlefield’s Intellectual History Series in 2004.
September 2002

Epidemiology & Public Health
Dr S Ablett 
RM13070
High Risk Neuroblastoma Study 1 of Siop – Europe
£36,271
Cancer Research Campaign
        
The presence of metastatic disease (detected by light microscopy) in bone marrow (BM) is a powerful indicator of poor prognosis in children with neuroblastoma (NBL); overall survival for these children is at best 30%.

Improved outcome may be achieved by multi-modality therapy, as anticipated in the high risk ESIOP NBL study. In this proposed complementary biological study the clearance of NBL cells from BM and peripheral blood (PB) will be evaluated by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) through out treatment; we have previously shown RT-PCR to detect clinically significant disease in PB from children with stage 4 NBL (Burchill et al, 2001, JCO, 19, 1795-1801). In particular the clearance of minimal residual disease from BM and PB using 13-cis retinoic acid alone or in combination with anti-GD2 immunotherapy will be assessed.

The clinical significance of tumour cell detection by RT-PCR in peripheral blood stem cell harvests will also be evaluated. These studies will provide a sensitive and specific evaluation of NBL cell contamination of BM and PB throughout the high risk ESIOP NBL protocol, and may identify clinically useful strategies for the assessment of disease status in children with high risk NBL. This may lead to improved clinical management and survival.

The presence of metastatic disease (detected by light microscopy) in bone marrow (BM) is a powerful indicator of poor prognosis in children with neuroblastoma (NBL); overall survival for these children is at best 30%.

Improved outcome may be achieved by multi-modality therapy, as anticipated in the high risk ESIOP NBL study. In this proposed complementary biological study the clearance of NBL cells from BM and peripheral blood (PB) will be evaluated by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) through out treatment; we have previously shown RT-PCR to detect clinically significant disease in PB from children with stage 4 NBL (Burchill et al, 2001, JCO, 19, 1795-1801). In particular the clearance of minimal residual disease from BM and PB using 13-cis retinoic acid alone or in combination with anti-GD2 immunotherapy will be assessed.

The clinical significance of tumour cell detection by RT-PCR in peripheral blood stem cell harvests will also be evaluated. These studies will provide a sensitive and specific evaluation of NBL cell contamination of BM and PB throughout the high risk ESIOP NBL protocol, and may identify clinically useful strategies for the assessment of disease status in children with high risk NBL. This may lead to improved clinical management and survival.
September 2002

Epidemiology & Public Health
Dr M Dixon-Woods 
RM13069
Vulnerable groups and access to healthcare: a meta-ethnographic literature review
£111,543
Department of Health        
The aim of this study is identify, critically appraise and synthesize the research, policy and theoretical literature on barriers to access to healthcare, and to explain how these barriers are mediated by structural variables including ethnicity, socio-economic status, age and gender. In particular, we will be interested in vulnerable groups, including members of ethnic minorities, children, older people, and the socially and economically disadvantaged. We will explore evidence and theory about how help-seeking behaviours in these groups influence access. We will identify and characterise specific barriers and problems, and the extent to which structural variables ameliorate or intensify these. Finally, we will identify and assess evidence on interventions to improve access, again focusing on the value of these interventions in addressing the problems of vulnerable groups. Because of the particular features of the funding and organisation of the NHS, the review will focus primarily on UK-based research, but will also include evidence and theory from other countries where it is likely that these might produce translatable insights. The review will use innovative meta-ethnographic techniques to achieve a systematic and comprehensive overview of a diverse literature.
September 2002

General Practice
Dr A Wilson
RM45037
Interventions to Change the Consultation Length of Primary Care Physicians:  Cochrane Review
£1,936

Royal College of General Practitioners
There is pressure from both the public and the profession for longer consultations in general practice.  This systematic review, the protocol of which has been published in the Cochrane Library, will include all studies examining interventions to change consultation length in general practice. The effect on these processes (such as prescribing , referral and investigation rates) and outcomes (such as satisfaction, enablement, chronic disease control) will be examined.
September 2002

General Practice
Dr M Stone
RM45036
Access to Data and Patient Trust (ADAPT)
£10,101

Royal College of General Practitioners

Collecting information about patients for research purposes has implications in terms of confidentiality and data protection. Trust between health professionals and patients is important and could be compromised by health professionals sharing information about their patients with researchers. Key issues regarding data sharing in the context of general practice will be explored in a series of qualitative interviews.
September 2002

Genetics
Professor C Kyriacou 
RM33047
Decoding the Molecular Calendar by DNA Microarray Analysis of Seasonally Driven Changes in Gene Expression
£38,611

Wellcome Trust
Hibernation in mammals is stimulated by changes in daylength, and leads to profound changes in metabolism and physiology.  We are studying this widespread phenomenon in mammals using new molecular technology whereby we can see changes in the expression profiles of thousands of genes at a time.  We have already identified a number of genes that alter their expression in hibernating hamsters and which are involved in the shutdown of the reproductive system during the winter.  Our results will have widespread implications for understanding the mammalian molecular calendar.
September 2002

Genetics
Professor R C Trembath 
RM33045
High Throughput Class 1 MHC HLAWC Gene Sequencing, a Candidate for Psoriasis Genetic Susceptibility Bursary - Jennifer Higgins
£1,550

Nuffield Foundation
The molecular basis of the pathogenesis of psoriasis remains unclear.  We have suggested that the PSORS1 locus confers significant risk for disease and estimate this to account for between 35% and 50% of the familial clustering observed in the disorder (Trembath et al 1999).  We, and others, have recently confined the location of a psoriasis susceptibility region to approximately 300-KL that surrounds HLA C.  Recent studies have intensified the search for disease alleles, including our own large-scale analysis of over 400 families recruited from around Europe (Assumulati et al 2002).  As part of this study, four positional candidate genes were re-sequenced for their entire coding region. 

Through the identification of additional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) further support for the location of the psoriasis susceptibility gene centred around HLA C has been generated (Veal et al.  In press 2002).  We now seek to perform detailed and high density sequencing of the highly polymorphic HLA C gene in individuals with these well-characterized disease bearing chromosomes.  This bursary will enable a student to participate in these studies. 
September 2002  

Genetics
Professor E Louis 
RM33053
The role of helicases in nuclear architecture and genome stability in saccharomyces - prize studentship for Esther Males
£91,888

Wellcome Trust
This Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship for Esther Males, a student from Canada, is associated with the Wellcome Trust Programme Grant (RM33039) recently awarded to Professor Ed Louis in the Department of Genetics. The project entails the study of helicases, a large family of genes involved in many fundamental biological processes including gene expression, genome stability, ageing and cancer. We will be analyzing a few of these genes that have roles in telomere biology. 
September 2002  

Geography
Dr M Phillips
RP13011
Globalising British Ruralities? The Export and Reconstruction of Socio-Spacial Identities through British Television Dramas
£104,640
AHRB
This three-year research project seeks to examine the images of rural life and national identity contained in rural television drama programmes broadcast in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Previous research by Dr Phillips has highlighted the popularity within Britain of television of drama programmes set in the British countryside, but these programmes also have a growing 'global trajectory' through international sales of broadcasting rights and videos, international co-production and the emergence of globally networked audiences. The present programme of research seeks to document this globalisation and consider the social identities and senses of space and place produced in association with the broadcasting of four globalised British rural dramas - Ballykissangel, Heartbeat, Monarch of the Glen and Peak Practice - within Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. These will be compared with the socio-spatial identities associated with the production and broadcasting of ‘post-colonial’ rural television dramas produced in these two countries. 
September 2002

Geology
Dr L A Coogan 
RP14030
NERC Ocean Drilling Programme Fellowship
£71,864
NERC  
Laurence Coogan joined the Geology Department at the end of August 2002 on a NERC funded Ocean Drilling Program Fellowship. His research concentrates on trying to understand the creation of new oceanic crust at mid-ocean ridges. At these ridges volcanic processes (eruption
and intrusion) create new crust; they are the primary sites of volcanism on the planet with approximately 20 km3 of magma being generated every year. Not only are ridges the primary location for volcanism, they also play an important role in regulating the composition of seawater through the reaction of hot, newly formed, crust with seawater. In some instances these hydrothermal reactions can lead to the formation of large mineral deposits. The aims of Laurence’s project are to investigate the linkages between volcanism and hydrothermal circulation at ridges. This will be achieved through field, petrological and geochemical investigations of samples recovered from the seafloor.
September 2002

Labour Market Studies
Dr A Felstead
RS141004
Fresa baseline labour market information 2002
£20,000

EMDA 
The main objective of this project is to analyse both labour supply and, more importantly, labour demand data with a view to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of the East Midlands region. The project will also examine, as far as is possible with the data available, the interaction of demand and supply at regional level. The report will serve to inform the Framework for Regional Employment and Skills Action (FRESA) which aims to outline what strategies and policies the East Midlands Development Agency needs to adopt in order for the region to maintain and develop a healthy labour market.
September 2002


Law
Ms E Baker
RL10011
Freedom, Security and Criminal Justice in the European Union
£12,035

AHRB 
Despite practical arguments in favour of the conferring a criminal jurisdiction upon the European Union, the Member States remain opposed to pooling their sovereignty in this field.  Simultaneously, however, they have created a complex patchwork of legal and political structures at European level to deal with the sorts of problems which would typically meet with a criminal justice response when regulating their internal affairs.  Drawing upon a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the first objective of the research project is to evaluate the extent to which a fully-fledged EU criminal jurisdiction is emerging from these initiatives.  Apart from being intrinsically important, the analysis will demonstrate that the question has a bearing on a number of key issues affecting the future development of the Union.  Accordingly, the research is of potential political significance because it will consider whether the founding of such a jurisdiction is a necessary pre-requisite to further European integration.
September 2002

Mathematics and Computer Science
Dr S Koenig
RP15044
Algebras and Representations in China and Europe
£180,000

CEC 
Representation theory is a core area of pure mathematics, with a wide range of applications within mathematics, in physics, chemistry and computer science. Leicester's pure mathematics group has initiated and is now running a Chinese-European network involving five European universities (in Belgium, Germany and the UK) and four Chinese elite institutions (Beijing Normal University, Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Science, Chinese University of Science and Technology Hefei). The network provides a sandwich PhD programme for outstanding Chinese graduate students, aiming at educating future academic leaders. It also supports training missions and research collaborations between the partner institutions, all of whom are strong in representation theory, and it will organise an international workshop on representation theory and its applications in Beijing in 2004. The network managers are Professor Bangming Deng (Beijing Normal University), Dr Anne Henke (Leicester) and Professor Steffen Koenig (Leicester).
September 2002

Medical Physics
Professor D Evans
RM41004
UMEDS: Ultrasonic Monitoring and Early Diagnosis of Stroke
£178,
296
CEC
The primary goal of this European Community funded project is to establish non-invasive techniques for the early diagnosis and monitoring of stroke in order to improve outcome. In total 8 laboratories and 2 manufacturers of medical equipment from 5 European countries are collaborating in the work which has attracted total funding of 2.86 million Euros. The main contribution of the University of Leicester Department of Medical Physics will be in the area of micro-embolus detection using non-invasive Doppler ultrasound techniques. (Emboli are small pieces of foreign material that are transported in the blood in certain medical condition and are thought to cause up to two thirds of all strokes). Work on embolus detection will take place at the Universities of Leicester, Florence and Tours, and will be coordinated by the Leicester Department. The project will involve the development of novel software for automatically detecting signals from emboli, novel instrumentation for tracking emboli in the brain, and new ultrasonic contrast agents for determining the composition of emboli.
September 2002

Medicine & Therapeutics
Professor A Wardlaw
RM148018
Identification of the Chemokines and Chemokine Receptors involved in the Organ-specific Homing of Lung Lymphocytes
£83,610

Wellcome Trust
The lung's primary role is as an organ of gaseous exchange. However, its other vital role is to provide a defence against foreign bodies such as allergens/pollens or viruses. These invaders can potentially be harmful in that they may cause an imbalance in our normal immune system and lead to diseases such as asthma, COPD or tuberculosis.

Elimination of such foreign bodies involves the trafficking of a subset of white cells, the lymphocytes to the lung.  These cells can enter this organ only upon receiving chemical instruction from the structural cells within the lung.  We believe that these are specific instructions are in the form of proteins called chemokines and selectively attract lymphocytes that have been programmed to respond only to these invaders.

The purpose of this study is to elucidate which of these chemokines are necessary for lymphocytes to enter the lung so that we can then inhibit those inappropriate signals that cause many of the lung diseases.
September 2002

Physics & Astronomy
Dr D Wright
RP16071
A Novel Programme of Active Experiments for the Investigation of the
Terrestrial Magnetosphere-Ionosphere System

£23,343

PPARC
The primary focus of this work is the fundamental plasma physical processes
which occur as a result of Sun-Earth interactions. These processes have
wide applicability in astrophysics, but can only be addressed by in situ
experimental investigation at the Earth. The work will also contribute to
our knowledge of the properties and behaviour of the regions surrounding
the Earth which are important for modern technological systems such as
spacecraft and communications. Energy and momentum are transported and
dissipated throughout the near-Earth environment by magnetohydrodynamic
(MHD) waves, which are thus an important area of research. A novel
programme of experiments will be applied to their investigation. The
scientific objectives will be achieved utilising a combination of ground-
and space-based instruments, including the University of Leicester built SPEAR
and CUTLASS radars alongside the Cluster spacecraft, to make detailed
investigations of solar-terrestrial interactions. 
September 2002

Politics
Karen Henderson 
RS30005
Domestic & International Influences on Democratic Consolidation: The 2002 Slovak Parliamentary Elections
£2,550

British Academy
Slovakia is for many people one of the least known and puzzling of Central European states, although it is just 40 miles from Vienna.  While in many respects still similar to their Czech neighbours, the Slovaks experienced far worse problems establishing themselves as an independent state in the mid-1990s, when their domestic politics sometimes verged on the bizarre.  The country now faces a crucial autumn, with parliamentary elections in September and decisions by the EU and NATO on whether to admit Slovakia as a member just two months later.

There has been substantial debate about the role played by the international community in guiding Slovakia into the democratic fold, particularly in the run-up to the 1998 elections, which led to a dramatic change in government.  With Slovakia’s EU and NATO membership dependent on the results of the September 2002 elections, this project – which is based on field research in Slovakia during the election campaign - questions whether international pressure is actually as crucial as sometimes assumed, or whether it is primarily domestic factors that ensure the Slovaks’ strong western orientation. 
September 2002

Psychiatry
Professor T Brugha
RM21030
Operational and Individual Predictors of Outcome of Assertive Outreach Throughout England
£157,712

Department of Health
The Section of Social and Epidemiological Psychiatry have been awarded their third central government research contract to study psychiatric services throughout England. This study will examine the benefits to patients with severe mental illness of being cared for by new Assertive Outreach mental health teams working in the community throughout England.

Some patients with severe mental illness are difficult to help and treat when they return to the community. In the past they have sometimes been lost to contact. The Department of Health has established with new funding well staffed teams who can establish and maintain contact with these patients, give them more support and hopefully encourage them to follow their reccommended treatments.

This research contract, which is being lead from Leicester, will be undertaken in conjunction with the National Mental Health Policy Research Group founded by Professor Brugha jointly with senior
academic researchers in other institutions with expertise in social policy, survey methods and mental health research.
September 2002

Psychiatry
Dr S Davies
RM21032
Arnold lodge Admission Cohort: Reconviction and intervening treatment.
£
18,000
Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust
This study seeks to follow-up a group of 504 patients treated at Arnold Lodge Regional Secure Unit between 1983 and 1998. Patients were often admitted after committing serious offences and are at risk of committing further offences in the future. The majority of patients suffered from schizophrenia but a quarter suffered from personality disorder. We intend to follow them up through various databases such as the Home Office Offenders Index that holds details of all criminal convictions in England and Wales. Other outcomes include mortality and subsequent hospital admissions. There is very little research literature on patients discharged from regional secure units and a follow-up of the Arnold Lodge Admission Cohort would be an important addition to our knowledge in this area.
September 2002

Scarman Centre
Dr R Barberet 
RS301028
Supplement - Student Victimisation in the East Midlands
£37,855.19
Home Office
Funding has been given by the Home Office for a study of student victimisation at nine universities in the East Midlands (Leicester, De Montfort, Derby, Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Loughborough, Lincoln, Bishop Grosseteste and University College Northampton).  The overall aim of the research is to increase the understanding about the nature and extent of student victimisation and repeat victimisation for a number of crimes, with a view to identifying issues which can lead to partnership work to reduce this.  The research is carried out as part of ongoing work into this by the Crime Reduction Director in the Government Office for the East Midlands region.  The information provided from the research will be used to help towards developing methods of effectively reducing the vulnerability and victimisation of students.

This study aims to obtain prevalence victimisation rates for fulltime course taught students presently enrolled at these universities, whether they live in university accommodation or in private residences.  A sample of 405 students will be administered face to face interviews following a questionnaire designed after the British Crime Survey which examines fear of crime, risk factors for victimisation as well as victimisation itself of crimes such as burglary, theft, assault and sexual violence.  Students will be asked about security measures, crime prevention advice received and safety precautions they currently put into practice.

Dr. Barberet is being assisted by two consultants from the University of Cincinnati, USA: Dr. Bonnie Fisher, a renowned expert in the field of student victimisation, and Dr. Graham Farrell, an expert in repeat victimisation.  Researchers Helen Taylor, Lana Puzovic and Hannah Goodman, accompanied by 40 student interviewers have been working on this project since February 25th.  The project is due to end in early July and results are expected to be released by the Home Office in Autumn.
September 2002

 

 


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