The mu3e experiment searches for a rare flavour violating decay of the muon to three electrons. The decay is highly suppressed in the standard model and any observation of signal will be a herald of new physics. The experiment is currently under construction in the Paul-Scherrer Institute in Switzerland by an international collaboration and is scheduled to take its very first data in 2020. This PhD thesis will take place within the Liverpool mu3e group, which currently leads the UK participation in the experiment and mu3e tracker construction. The group also contributes to the development of the experiment software framework. The thesis topic will focus on the commissioning of the tracker towards the first data taking, the understanding of the mu3e detector performance and the analysis of the very first data. In addition to contributing to the very first results on the mu->3e decay, the student will explore the possibility of expanding the experiment's physics potential by developing and optimizing software for the GPU farm to select and analyse in real time mu->eeeX decays, where X is a new particle, e.g. a new neutral boson or a dark photon. The student will also have the opportunity to explore the interconnections of the sensitivity to these particles with results from other experiments in the lepton sector and the LHC.
Influenza A virus (IAV) and human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) are two very important respiratory viruses of major significance for global health. Both viruses cause infections in winter months in the UK with IAV also having the potential to cause major pandemics. Both viruses can infect the adult population with HRSV also infecting all children under the age of two. Whilst there are effective vaccines to seasonal IAV and also anti-viral drugs that can be taken there are no equivalent therapies for HRSV. Likewise, pandemic IAV can go global very quickly and therefore effective therapeutic countermeasures are always needed. Thus there is an urgent and unmet healthcare need to ensure robust strategies to lower the current and future disease burden caused by these viruses. For both viruses they rely critically on the cell they infect to mount productive and efficient infections. However, these cells resemble a battleground with the virus attacking the cell and the cell trying to sabotage and reduce the impact of virus infection. Certain host cell proteins are key players in the balance between these processes and sometime this is referred to as an 'evolutionary arms race'. We have identified a group of similar cellular proteins that we propose are one of these key proteins that can tip the favour in the balance of virus infection. Collectively they are known as Adenosine Deaminase Acting on RNA (ADAR), and their function is to change the sequence of the viral genetic material. Originally it was thought this worked for the benefit of the cell by causing the buildup of harmful mutations that prevent the virus from working. However, our preliminary and published data combined with that from other research groups suggests that for a number of medically important viruses, including IAV and HRSV and viruses such as HIV-1 and herpesviruses that these are actually pro-viral and the viruses use them to promote virus infection and the expense of the host cell. Our proposal is to investigate how and why the interaction with ADAR achieves this pro-viral activity for IAV and HRSV and we have all the expert ease necessary to conduct this research. We want to determine where on the virus genetic material ADAR works, where in the cell this occurs and how this causes beneficial effect for virus biology and diversity of the genetic material. This latter point is very important because as ADAR is used by many viruses as a positive pro-viral factor, the ability to therapeutically manipulate ADAR activity would be of medical benefit as it could provide the potential for a generic therapy against many different viruses. The proposal will focus on IAV at the Roslin Institute and HRSV at the University of Leeds. However, we propose that undertaking this as a combined project will allow the efficient sharing of many different reagents are more important identify and investigate common mechanisms of ADAR activity for both respiratory viruses.
K3 surfaces is one of the most remarkable classes of algebraic surfaces which are very important in contemporary Mathematics and Physics. During last 40 years there was a big progress in their understanding, but we still discover some their new, unexpected and important properties. , elements of the Picard lattice (generated by algebraic curves) of a K3 surface deliver remarkable two-dimensional algebraic cycles on the product of the K3 surface with itself, and a correspondence of the K3 surface with itself. It happens when moduli of coherent sheaves over a K3 surface with a given Mukai vector coincide with this K3 surface. We want to study this phenomenon in details.
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