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Oxford Brookes University
Country: United Kingdom
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204 Projects, page 1 of 41
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/J005959/1
    Funder Contribution: 343,753 GBP
    Partners: OBU

    Plant viruses are a serious economic pest, causing significant crop losses worldwide due to an ability to control their movement effectively. All plant viruses are extremely efficient at moving extensively within plants, causing necrosis and yield losses wherever they replicate to high levels. To move between plant cells, all viruses exploit plasmodesmata, specialised pores in the walls between adjacent cells. During the course of evolution viruses adopted very efficient strategies for modifying plasmodesmata so that their genetic material can be passed from one cell to the next. All plant viruses encode 'movement proteins', specialised proteins that interact with plasmodesmata, causing them to dilate and allow the viral genome to traffic through the pore. Through the center of the pore lies an axial membranous structure known as the desmotubule, and it is with this structure that movement proteins are thought to interact. The desmotubule is an enigmatic structure, unique to plants, and at only 15 nm in diameter is one of the most tightly constricted membrane structures known in nature. We hypothesise that a recently discovered family of proteins, known as the reticulons, function to remodel the plant endoplasmic reticulum into desmotubules, thus giving rise to plasmodesmata each time plant cells divide. We suggest, further, that the reticulons of the desmotubule function as the central target of viral movement proteins that bind to reticulons, causing an increase in the transport properties of plasmodesmata. It is argued that understanding the mechanism by which viruses pass through plasmodesmata is central to the development of strategies for eliminating virus movement in plants, thus controlling infections at the entry stage. This project will 'tag' reticulon proteins to examine the ways in which they give rise to the formation of plasmodesmata. It will also use genetic strategies to overproduce or eliminate reticulons during plant-cell division to examine the effects on the formation of plasmodesmata. It is likely that reticulons interact with other important proteins within plasmodesmata, and specific tagged reticulons will be used as biochemical 'bait' to identify these unknown proteins. The project will also attempt to make 'artificial desmotubules' by constricting membranes into fine tubes biochemically. These 'artificial desmotubules' will be used to study how viral movement proteins interact with desmotubules and to study how proteins are able to pass through native plasmodesmata. The project will involve a unique combination of state-of-the-art microscopy, genetics, virology and cell biology to understand how plants alone are able to make plasmodesmata. The results will have far reaching implications for controlling the movement of substances between plant cells, specifically the transport of infectious genetic material exemplified by viruses. An overall goal, through increased understanding of plasmodesmatal structure and function, is to develop effective strategies for the control of virus movement in crop species.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 751376
    Overall Budget: 183,455 EURFunder Contribution: 183,455 EUR
    Partners: OBU

    This proposal revolves around two specific questions: 1) to what extent multidisciplinary strategies to improve energy performance of existing buildings and neighbourhoods can be integrated; and 2) how this integration can bring technology and sustainable redevelopment of existing buildings together. It aims to develop an innovative learning platform for Knowledge Integration in Energy Retrofit (C-mapER) to develop the skills to manage complexity inherent in retrofit projects. An alternative method and an associated platform to evaluate and manage complexity, through a novel application of meaningful learning activities in designing technological solutions for energy retrofit, is the main vehicle.The objectives are to: 1) develop a conceptual framework of the key concepts and relationships that influence Energy Retrofit projects in workpackage 1 (WP1), 2) develop the beta version of the platform (WP2); and 3) test, refine, verify and disseminate the platform (WP3).The ultimate goal is to revolutionalise the traditional approach to educating future professionals, which is currently based on rote learning. This study will deliver an innovative learning platform and approach to develop practitioners who are well-placed to improve the energy performance of existing buildings through inter-disciplinary collaboration. The platform will address the lack of programs dedicated to interdisciplinary education, which helps develop the capacity to transfer information and knowledge between disciplinary boundaries and to deal with the tensions between social, economic, environmental and technological dimensions of sustainability. The outputs can be exploited at different levels within higher education sectors and professional development. By doing so, and in accordance with the main topic of the Marie Curie Individual Fellowship Action, new opportunities for developing the candidate’s career at the international level are created. It is anticipated that this Fellowship will create opportunities for inter-disciplinary teaching both within the host Faculty, across Oxford Brookes University, and beyond. It therefore has the potential to become a showcase exemplifying how research and teaching can be inter-linked.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/I006664/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,144,510 GBP
    Partners: OBU

    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.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/H010173/1
    Funder Contribution: 73,265 GBP
    Partners: OBU

    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.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/V004085/1
    Funder Contribution: 209,256 GBP
    Partners: OBU

    On 20th March 2020, the UK Government instigated a nationwide nursery and school closure in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, followed by instructions for people to stay at home. For millions of children, this brought stark changes to their routines, with a decrease in outdoor activities and interactions with others. The environments children grow up in heavily influence key elements of cognitive development such as language and executive functions, which in turn associate with later educational and occupational attainment as well as health and wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime situation that has dramatically changed the daily lives of millions of families. Several environmental factors likely to be affected by quarantine measures (such as sleep, parenting style and social interactions, screen use, and outdoor activities/exercise) are known predictors of language and executive function development. The proposed study will follow up a UK-wide cohort of 600 children aged 8 to 36 months of age, enrolled in an online study at the onset of social distancing measures, to capture changes in key environmental variables and measure their impact on children's vocabulary size and executive function. Using sophisticated analyses on a large and diverse sample, we will examine the role of each factor on children's cognitive abilities. At this time of unforeseen and ongoing change, it is imperative to understand the impacts of the lockdown on cognition during a critical period for development (0 to 3 years of age), and then find strategies to minimise disruption to this cohort. Our findings will identify approaches that mitigate the temporary loss of formal early years' education, identify those groups most at risk of adverse consequences, and inform policy on how to remediate the negative impacts of lockdown post-COVID-19.