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University of Glasgow

Country: United Kingdom

University of Glasgow

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3,423 Projects, page 1 of 685
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 2370185

    Channelisation has resulted in a legacy of rivers characterised by uniform channel geometry and river-bed sediment, and a lack of the flow variability required to provide varied ecological habitat. In rural settings, with no constraints, restoration of such rivers to enable river migration and sediment connectivity often involves channel diversion and re-meandering. Such schemes are expensive due to excavation works and land use change compensation. Further, for deeply incised rivers and in many urban areas, realignment is not physically feasible. Alternative strategies to improve the morphological condition of incised, straightened rivers include the creation of "multi-stage" channels, where embankments are set back and banks reprofiled to create floodplain benches, and in-channel structures, such as flow deflectors, are used to vary flow and induce sediment transport. The effectiveness of such approaches to river restoration have yet to be investigated. This studentship addresses the need for quantitative evidence to assess interactions between sediment, morphology and hydrology in channels that are restored using multi-stage design. The studentship will be supervised collaboratively by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the University of Glasgow. The primary hypothesis is that multi-stage channel design produces significant increases in the diversity of morphology, river-bed sediment and flow patterns. The project uses multi-stage channel restoration schemes on the River Nith (Ayrshire), Glazert Water (Dumbarton) and Pow Burn (Angus), a total of 10 km of river. Integrated monitoring and numerical modelling will answer the following questions: (1) How do the morphology and sedimentology of multi-stage channels evolve after flow events? (2) What controls fluvial landform assemblages and their evolution? (3) What is the effectiveness of different flow deflection structures in initiating geomorphic processes? To address (1), repeat topographic surveys will be undertaken using the most appropriate technique for each site (UAV imagery & SfM photogrammetry, TLS, RTK-GNSS, total station). Automated, field-calibrated, photo sieving and roughness analyses will be used to map river bed and bar sedimentology. Fixed point photos and meso-habitat (flow/substrate) surveys will also be undertaken. Geomorphic change will be calculated and analysed. Analysis of these data will be used to evaluate over what timescales dynamic equilibrium may be re-established following restoration. To investigate (2), Delft3D hydraulic models of flow pattern will be built, using the topographic survey data. Metrics for 3D landform shape and depth/velocity relationships will be used to map landforms and habitats. Geospatial patterns, and associated controls, between landforms will be investigated. (3) will be investigated through SEPA's trial of a range of different flow deflectors at Pow Burn to initiate bank erosion. Repeat, high-resolution aDcp mapping of flow hydraulics will be used to map geomorphic change, and calibrate Delft3D morphodynamic change models to inform adaptive management of deflectors. The findings from this project will be significant because incised, straightened, and/or embanked rivers make up a considerable proportion of rivers in the UK with poor morphological condition, and thus poor ecological status as defined by the Water Framework Directive. In Scotland, they account for a significant proportion of 4,000 km of rivers with less than good morphological condition, out of a total network length of 27,000 km. River restoration strategies are needed to improve the morphological condition of these channels, recognising the infeasibility of re-meandering. The project's findings will provide quantitative evidence to guide future restoration practice for these rivers. The main impact of this studentship's findings will be for regulatory bodies, environmental advisory bodies and consultancies.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ST/W508081/1
    Funder Contribution: 67,300 GBP

    Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/P001610/1
    Funder Contribution: 341,469 GBP

    DNA encodes all the genetic information needed to act as a blueprint for life. This blueprint, though, needs to be converted ultimately into the building blocks of a cell. However, the information that DNA stores is buried deep within the structure of this molecule and can only be accessed by stripping apart the two strands that constitute DNA, so-called unwinding. This critical function is performed by enzymes called helicases that are tiny nanomotors that ratchet along DNA, separating the two DNA strands as they go. All organisms have a variety of different helicases and defects in just one type of helicase can result in catastrophe for a cell, potentially causing lethality or debilitating mutations within genes. The central importance of helicases in maintaining the viability of all cells and in passing the genetic blueprint from one generation to the next has been known for decades. Recently we have also come to appreciate that helicases face a particular problem when attempting to unwind DNA. DNA is coated in a wide variety of different proteins inside cells. These proteins play important roles in packaging DNA, reading the genetic blueprint and coordinating the movement of chromosomes inside cells. Unfortunately we now know that these bound proteins also present problems to helicases since any proteins bound to the DNA must also be pushed off to allow separation of the two DNA strands by a helicase. However, we know very little about how helicases displace proteins bound to the nucleic acid. We have been studying a helicase called Rep that plays an important role in copying of the genetic blueprint by displacing proteins that are bound to DNA. Our preliminary work has discovered that removal of part of this helicase activates DNA unwinding but at the same time inhibits displacement of proteins from the DNA. This discovery is important because it shows that displacement of proteins from DNA must involve something more than the helicase merely ratcheting along the DNA. This helicase has therefore evolved specific features to help push proteins off DNA although currently we do not understand what these features are. We aim to investigate how this helicase displaces proteins from DNA by using a combination of different molecular tools to investigate the properties of Rep and versions of this helicase that have increased or decreased abilities to push proteins off DNA. This work will cast light on how this important class of enzyme deals with the vast array of proteins that coat DNA. This problem is one that all organisms must face and so our findings will help us to understand how DNA is maintained effectively inside cells and, just as importantly, how things might go wrong. Mistakes made by helicases can result in very harmful rearrangements within the genetic code, contributing to genetic disease, and so our proposed work will shed light on potential sources of corruption of the genetic code. Conversely, this work may also reveal new ways of deliberately inhibiting helicases. Such inhibitors have potential uses as antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer compounds since helicases are so important for survival.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 623027
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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/T003138/1
    Funder Contribution: 901,441 GBP

    Understanding how the brain processes and transmits information is one the fundamental challenges for current basic and medical research. Recent evidence suggests two broad classes of processes can be distinguished that seem to support different functions and are characterized by distinct biological correlates: 1) a "feedforward" mode that transmits information based upon the characteristics of the incoming stimulus and 2) a "feedback" mode that is governed by the internal activity of the brain, such as expectations and predictions about events. This distinction may be fundamental for gaining novel insights into how the brain operates under normal circumstances and how changes in these two different modes may contribute to psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia (ScZ). Until now, distinguishing these different brain modes using non-invasive brain imaging, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or Magnetoencephalography (MEG), has been challenging. However, novel evidence from basic anatomy and biology has suggested that distinct brain waves at different frequencies as well as particular brain layers may support these different brain modes. As a result, we will attempt for the first time to identify these brain modes through using state-of-the-art brain imaging and thus gain a new understanding of how the brain transmits information and how these processes might contribute to ScZ. In the first part of the project, we will present healthy volunteers sequences of sounds while they watch a movie. During this task, we measure their brain waves with a MEG-machine. In particular, we are interested in finding out whether changes in rhythms of neural activity, so-called "oscillations", may be influenced by the presence of sounds that deviate in duration. In particular, we aim to show that the flow of these oscillations between brain regions will change depending on whether a sound is different or not. The MEG-recordings will be accompanied by fMRI-measurements at 7 Tesla. In contrast to the majority of fMRI-research which is carried out with a field strength of 3 Tesla, we expect that fMRI-recordings at 7 Tesla reveal novel details about brain activity that cannot be observed with conventional fMRI-machines. In particular, based on our prior work in this area, we expect that we can observe brain activity in different layers which may be crucial for gaining new insights into how the brain uses different channels to communicate. Based on these new insights, we will then apply this framework to understand changes in brain activity in ScZ-patients and young people who are at high-risk for developing the disorder. ScZ is a common mental disorder which is associated with a range of complaints, including hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms of psychosis are accompanied by pronounced impairments in perception and cognition. A better understanding of cognitive deficits is particularly important because current treatments are unable to improve perception and memory functions which result in difficulties of patients' to organize their lives and maintain employment. We expect that our ability to distinguish different brain modes will allow us to identify the cause of patients' difficulties in perceiving the world and their problems in organizing their thoughts. Specifically, we will identify whether the problem for patients with ScZ is to register the information coming into the brain or whether their problems lies more in controlling their thoughts and perceptions through prior assumptions which are generated in higher brain areas. As a result, we expect that in addition to identifying the causes of ScZ, this approach may be relevant for novel therapies and early detection and diagnosis as it could inform whether therapies should focus on improving the ability to perceive auditory and visual information as opposed to focussing on the assumptions and thoughts about the world a patient may have.

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