• Can exercise ameliorate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease? modes and mechanisms

      Ali, Hossam Eldin Hamdy Ahmed (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012)
      Movement disorders are the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and can severely compromise an individual’s ability to perform well-learned motor skills such as walking, writing, turning around and transferring in and out of bed. The first symptoms of PD typically do not appear until a critical threshold of 70-80% loss of the striatal neurotransmitter called Dopamine (DA) is exceeded. The loss of DA compromises the connection between the striatum and the Substania Nigra (SN); this connection is essential for the control of body movement. The lifelong management of individuals with PD needs a multidisciplinary approach, which includes coordination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. The use of prescribed exercise as a non-invasive PD symptom management tool is well recognized. What needs further research and development is an evidence-base for the type, frequency, intensity, duration etc. of exercise bouts. It is however ethically, socially and morally challenging to put unknown physical demands on PD sufferers, therefore in vivo and in vitro studies will be essential in delineating and targeting appropriate interventions. Additionally, in order to establish whether the various interventions are effective will also require a simple measure, preferably one that can be detected following exercise. Ca2+ plays an important role in the synthesis of DA via the Ca2+ calmodulin system and its increase in exercise coincidences with the reported positive effects of exercise on dopamenirgic neuron activity. The aim of this thesis was therefore to use in vivo, in vitro and human methodologies to establish a role for physical exercise in the amelioration of the symptoms of PD. The in vivo study comprised of four groups of experimental animals (rats): a control group (C), a training exercise group (E), a group in which Parkinson’s was induced via systemic injections of PD toxin MPTP (PD) and a group where PD-induced animals were trained/exercised (PDE). (E) and (PDE) groups were trained with 8 weeks of endurance exercise at 90% of the lactate threshold (LT), 5 times a week with each bout lasting for 45 min using a custom-built rodent treadmill. After 8 weeks, all animals were sacrificed and brain samples were collected for immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis. Ca2+ calmodulin kinases I (CaMK-1) and IV (CaMK-4) were investigated as indicators of the activity of the Ca2+ calmodulin pathway. Immunohistochemical analysis of SN region indicated that in the PD group, CaMK-1 and CaMK-4 expression was suppressed when compared with control (C) animals. This phenotype was apparently rescued by endurance exercise as those animals. The western blot results also showed quantitative differences in CaMK-1 and CaMK-4 proteins in the studied brain regions in the (PDE) and (E) groups compared with the PD group. It was concluded from this data that endurance exercise could up regulate the expression of both CaMK-1 and CaMK-4 in the brain of PD sufferers. It was postulated that changes in Ca2+ levels might therefore drive the neuroprotective effect of exercise. The in vitro study was designed to test the hypothesis generated from the in vivo work that Ca2+ is a main effector of the neuroprotective effect of exercise. The SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line is used as a model of DA neurons as it has DA activity and can synthesize DA. PD was simulated in these cells by exposure to the toxin 6-OHDA whilst addition of Ca2+ was used as an “exercise mimic”. Results showed differences in the survival of SH-SY5Y cells after exposure to specific concentration of Ca2+ following treatment with 6-OHDA. Finally, in order to assess the importance of this data to the clinical population and to further develop the concept that Ca2+ is a major effector of the positive effect of exercise, the effect of moderate-level exercise on the levels of blood Ca2+ in subjects with PD was investigated. Measures of cardiovascular physiology and blood biochemistry (total blood Ca2+) were obtained during cycling exercise at an intensity of 90% of the lactate threshold. Results indicated exercise to be beneficial in alleviating motor symptoms of PD.
    • Can student teachers’ pedagogy be enhanced by heeding children’s thoughts about their learning?

      Hudson, Kate Joanne (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-09)
      The focus of this enquiry was to enable student teachers to engage with children’s views to construct meaningful classroom learning experiences. The underpinning assumption was that learning is socially constructed. Issues addressed were: what pupils thought helped/hindered their learning in classrooms, how heeding children’s views of barriers to/facilitators of their learning can be used by student teachers for lesson evaluation, planning and reflective practice, to what extent children’s views can support student teachers’ understanding of children’s learning and the development of their pedagogical practices (this includes both curriculum planning and teaching), the development and learning of initial teacher education students as student teachers engaged in reflective practice. The research comprises two case studies; pilot and subsequent larger-scale project. It incorporated action research designed as iterative spirals of research, evaluation and development in classrooms where the student teachers were teaching children. New learning accumulated in one cycle was intended to be taken into the next. Bespoke pedagogical tools were used to create dialogic spaces and also as research data collection techniques. They scaffolded inter and intra- personal exchanges to enable student teachers to understand children’s learning from a socio-cultural perspective. These tools mediated children’s reflection on their learning and then feedback to the student teacher about what they had learnt; how they had learnt it and what would enable them to learn better. The results indicated: enhanced student teachers’ understanding of how children learn as they adapted their practice in response to children’s views, enhanced learning by the children owing to their exchanges on the interpersonal plane, with peers in the dialogic space created by the bespoke pedagogical tools, mentors require development to support student teachers to engage meaningfully with children’s learning. Outcomes cannot easily be generalised from case studies. This study found: children can express learning needs when appropriate scaffolds enable them to articulate abstract concepts, when student teachers respond to children talking about learning they can develop their practice.Implications for Initial Teacher Education are that it should: highlight the importance of children’s voice to support student teachers in developing their pedagogy, model ways in which teachers can create dialogic spaces for children’s interthinking, consider what development mentors require to support student teachers’ understanding of children’s learning in classrooms. Mediating the construction of dialogue with the Thinking Fish provided a way into both the process of interthinking for children, and also student teachers’ understanding of such interthinking as expressed through their dialogue in the focus groups. Thus the Thinking Fish may be considered to be the vicarious presence of the teacher. This may be a useful approach for teachers and student teachers to adopt as the experience for the participants in this study was meaningful and replicable in future practice, using real classroom activity as research data.
    • Capturing of 3D content using a single aperture camera

      Jácome Fernández, Juan Carlos (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-03-10)
      Integral imaging has recently re-emerged as an alternative to current 3D capturing systems, providing post-production refocusing capabilities and reducing the complexity of 3D capturing systems. One of the main drawbacks of conventional plenoptic 1 integral imaging systems is the implementation of a single custom made microlens array which has a fixed focal length and a high cost/low scalability associated with. This thesis demonstrates a variable focal length microlens arrays system, which can flexibly operate within a range of various focal lengths, increase the cost-effectiveness of the integral imaging system and offers the opportunity to manipulate the main camera optical parameters without modifying the objective lens settings. To validate the proposed concept, a custom-made integral imaging camera system was designed and built (IMPERX 4K system). Based on the results obtained from two initial optical simulations, software simulation and mathematical model; the suitable microlens arrays were acquired, and several experiments were performed to establish the feasibility of a variable focal length microlens arrays system. The results obtained show the proposed system performed as expected. The variable focal length system represents an ideal method to control microlens focal length, as it offers a higher microlens count, without a dedicated electronic system, whose performance is not susceptible to temperature-pressure changes and can operate in real-time as it does not require downtimes to re-adjust. Additionally, an existing technique of increasing the spatial resolution in Plenoptic 1 systems was conducted using a different implementation method. An alternative technique to fabricate microlens arrays using commercial 3D printers was attempted. Throughout the research, the quality of the images was improved using relevant optical elements and optimal optical integrations.
    • Car make and model recognition under limited lighting conditions at night

      Boonsim, Noppakun (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-10)
      Car make and model recognition (CMMR) has become an important part of intelligent transport systems. Information provided by CMMR can be utilized when licence plate numbers cannot be identified or fake number plates are used. CMMR can also be used when automatic identification of a certain model of a vehicle by camera is required. The majority of existing CMMR methods are designed to be used only in daytime when most car features can be easily seen. Few methods have been developed to cope with limited lighting conditions at night where many vehicle features cannot be detected. This work identifies car make and model at night by using available rear view features. A binary classifier ensemble is presented, designed to identify a particular car model of interest from other models. The combination of salient geographical and shape features of taillights and licence plates from the rear view are extracted and used in the recognition process. The majority vote of individual classifiers, support vector machine, decision tree, and k-nearest neighbours is applied to verify a target model in the classification process. The experiments on 100 car makes and models captured under limited lighting conditions at night against about 400 other car models show average high classification accuracy about 93%. The classification accuracy of the presented technique, 93%, is a bit lower than the daytime technique, as reported at 98 % tested on 21 CMMs (Zhang, 2013). However, with the limitation of car appearances at night, the classification accuracy of the car appearances gained from the technique used in this study is satisfied.
    • Career development and understanding consequences of context: Angolan perspectives from the oil industry

      Arvinen-Muondo, Raisa J. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-10)
      Despite multidisciplinary and extensive coverage, existing career theory is largely premised on Western frameworks and limited research has been conducted into career development experiences of individuals from African countries in local or transnational settings. Thus the research presented in this thesis extends on existing constructionist career development commentary by gaining insight into the interplay between societal structures and individual action in an African context. The purpose of this study was to investigate factors influencing the career development of professional Angolans working in the oil and gas industry and how experiences associated with living and working in Western contexts influences the career development of such individuals. The aim was to go beyond discovery of factors and analyse data in the form of highly personalised accounts from key informants to deepen understanding of African career development in transnational settings, mindful of postcolonial factors. Data were collected over an 18-month period using ethnographic fieldwork and semi-structured interviewing with 24 participants. Within an ethnomethodological framework and drawing on developments in postcolonial theory, constructionist grounded theory approaches informed the hermeneutic analysis of data. Findings revealed that multiple and distinctly nuanced dynamics between institutional micro structures (e.g., family, education and employment) and societal macro structures (e.g., socio-economic, political, historical and cultural environments) significantly shape individual career decision making, behaviour and aspirations in the Angolan context. Experiences of living and working in Western settings were found to have a profound impact on personal and professional development as well as aspirations for international careers. The main limitations of this study derive from its relatively small sample size and particularist focus on a single industry, however its value stems from rich narratives captured and significant effort made to triangulate findings via ‘research conversations’ with informants and industry professionals. In light of the above, this study adds to existing career theory by incorporating postcolonial perspectives and career development experiences that go beyond planned structured careers in organisational settings by focusing on the individual consequences of international assignments in transnational settings. In light of this, insights offer value also for multinational organisations that are engaged in developing African talent.
    • Cell identity allocation and optimisation of handover parameters in self-organised LTE femtocell networks

      Zhang, Xu (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-09-16)
      Femtocell is a small cellular base station used by operators to extend indoor service coverage and enhance overall network performance. In Long Term Evolution (LTE), femtocell works under macrocell coverage and combines with the macrocell to constitute the two-tier network. Compared to the traditional single-tier network, the two-tier scenario creates many new challenges, which lead to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) implementing an automation technology called Self-Organising Network (SON) in order to achieve lower cost and enhanced network performance. This thesis focuses on the inbound and outbound handovers (handover between femtocell and macrocell); in detail, it provides suitable solutions for the intensity of femtocell handover prediction, Physical Cell Identity (PCI) allocation and handover triggering parameter optimisation. Moreover, those solutions are implemented in the structure of SON. In order to e ciently manage radio resource allocation, this research investigates the conventional UE-based prediction model and proposes a cell-based prediction model to predict the intensity of a femtocell's handover, which overcomes the drawbacks of the conventional models in the two-tier scenario. Then, the predictor is used in the proposed dynamic group PCI allocation approach in order to solve the problem of PCI allocation for the femtocells. In addition, based on SON, this approach is implemented in the structure of a centralised Automated Con guration of Physical Cell Identity (ACPCI). It overcomes the drawbacks of the conventional method by reducing inbound handover failure of Cell Global Identity (CGI). This thesis also tackles optimisation of the handover triggering parameters to minimise handover failure. A dynamic hysteresis-adjusting approach for each User Equipment (UE) is proposed, using received average Reference Signal-Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio (RS-SINR) of the UE as a criterion. Furthermore, based on SON, this approach is implemented in the structure of hybrid Mobility Robustness Optimisation (MRO). It is able to off er the unique optimised hysteresis value to the individual UE in the network. In order to evaluate the performance of the proposed approach against existing methods, a System Level Simulation (SLS) tool, provided by the Centre for Wireless Network Design (CWiND) research group, is utilised, which models the structure of two-tier communication of LTE femtocell-based networks.
    • Challenges facing government revenue from the Nigerian oil industry: a system dynamics approach

      Musawa, Idris Abubakar (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-02)
      Extractive industries (including oil, gas and mining) generally afford an opportunity for the host government to generate the revenue to fund sustainable growth and development. It is therefore not surprising for conventional economic theory to suggest this is a readily available revenue source for resource blessed countries. However, contrary to this reasonable expectation, several of these economies were found to be suffering a financial handicap. Nigeria, despite being the largest crude oil producer in Africa and the tenth largest in the world, has so far found realising the full financial benefits of this nature’s gift unattainable. Using both qualitative and quantitative data as well as grounded theory in the analysis of the qualitative data, this research work has been carried out to develop a model of Nigerian oil industry using System Dynamics modelling methodology in order to understand these challenges. Specifically, the research develops an System Dynamics model to capture and quantify the various potential revenue streams to the Nigerian government from the oil (petroleum) industry with the objective of providing an explanatory model of the causal factors and then using the model to construct policy experiments in order to evaluate policies that may optimise these revenues. Findings show that, the development of the model for the Nigerian oil industry was successfully undertaken. The model was used to evaluate two government policy interventions that were aimed at improving government revenue from the industry. Moreover, a range of alternative scenarios which suggested increase of transparency policy, reduction of rate of gas flare and reduction of time taken for repairs of vandalised facilities were used in the model. The relevant system actors in the Nigerian oil industry were impressed with the modelling idea, particularly in its ability to represents all the economic challenges facing the industry, which offered a better understanding of the system they are dealing with. Overall, the model was able to depict some potential policy points thus serving as a decision-making tool.
    • Changes in diversionary strategies within the youth justice system of England & Wales (1908-2010)

      Randall, Vicki Louise (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011-03)
      Youth justice in England and Wales is a highly politicised area of government policy and youth justice provision has always been a highly contested issue. The discourse of diversion stems from debates about the purpose and effectiveness of various types of penal regimes, and particularly their effect on children and young people in trouble with the law. The process of diversion aims to remove children and young people from the formal sanctions of the criminal justice system or minimize their penetration into it, and failing that it aims to avoid incarceration. Over the years diversion has taken many forms and the extent to which children have been diverted has varied. This thesis explores the various types of diversionary practice and how they have changed over time. It explores the political, administrative and professional conditions under which diversion has been a priority and those under which it has been effective. Bernard (1992) has argued that there is a ‘cycle of youth justice’ in which responses to youth crime move from the harsh to the more lenient before swinging back again. The thesis suggests that there is a ‘spiral’ of youth justice in which different paradigms are sometimes entangled together leading to the often contradictory and complex realities of youth justice and diversion without necessarily returning to the place of origin. It concludes that, given the current fiscal climate, there is a distinct likelihood that diversion policies will gain ascendancy. However, any developments will be fragile and susceptible to unintended consequences if the ‘real’ outcomes for children and young people are not part of the motivation for reform.
    • Changing sedentary behaviour in the workplace

      Brierley, Marsha Lynn (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-06)
      Sedentary behaviour is independently related to the development of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and their risk markers. The office workplace is a major contributor to daily sedentary behaviour (sitting); however, it also offers the opportunity to intervene with a large population. Desk-based police staff make up at least a third of UK police employees and experience poorer cardiometabolic health profiles than higher ranked police employees. The purpose of this thesis was to develop and assess the feasibility of delivering a tailored intervention to reduce prolonged sitting in police staff. The first aim of the thesis was to determine the effects of sedentary workplace interventions on cardiometabolic risk markers and ascertain the ‘active ingredients’ in promising studies (Study 1). The second aim was to gather qualitative insights into the acceptability of a theory-based workplace intervention using the APEASE framework (Study 2). The third aim was to interview police staff to understand their barriers and facilitators for reducing sedentary time (Study 3). The fourth aim was to assess the feasibility of conducting a multi-component intervention in police staff (Study 4). The systematic review (Study 1, Chapter 4) found that interventions show promise for improving cardiometabolic health. However, individual studies were at risk of allocation and performance bias. The behaviour change techniques of social comparison, problem solving, demonstration of the behaviour, goal setting, behaviour substitution, and habit reversal were frequently observed in promising interventions. In Study 2 (Chapter 5), a theory-derived sedentary behaviour office worker intervention comprising individual, organisational/social, and environmental modifications was acceptable and practicable. Productivity concerns and cost (of sit-stand desks) were barriers to organisational buy-in. Preference and work tasks influenced engagement with intervention resources. Police staff would benefit from a low cost intervention targeting social influences, education/skills training, and habit reinforcement (Study 3, Chapter 6). In Study 4 (Chapter 8), a tailored intervention was found to be feasible and acceptable for reducing prolonged sitting in police staff. This thesis provides a ‘roadmap’ for the development of interventions using the Behaviour Change Wheel. Findings from the feasibility trial identified key indicators of successful implementation regarding participant recruitment and retention, which should be considered should the intervention go to a full trial. Future research should investigate the long term behavioural and health effects of this intervention in police staff and other office-based occupations with the aim of improving public health.
    • The channel relationship between tour operators and travel agents in Britain and Poland

      Ujma, Dorota (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2001-10)
      The aim of this research was to compare the distribution channel relationships in two different tourism markets: the mature market of Britain and the evolving market in Poland, with a view to assessing likely courses of tourism development in Poland. Relationships in channels of distribution can be understood as all the interactions, processes and flows taking place between companies involved in exchange of products and services. The focus of the research was an investigation of channel relationships between travel agents and tour operators. The evolution of tourism channel relationships in Britain and Poland was investigated in three stages: initiation, implementation and review, following the Kale and McIntyre (1991) and Crotts et al. (1998) models. Analysis of existing literature established that historical, political and economic backgrounds, as well as demand and supply, impact in different ways upon the structure of such channels in each country. Following that recognition two phases of empirical research were conducted using a mixed methods approach. The exploratory phase was based on interviews with British and Polish travel agents and tour operators, and from this phase a set of propositions was developed regarding travel agents' and tour operators' attitudes towards channel relationships. These propositions were explored using data collected from a detailed questionnaire survey distributed to a sample of British and Polish tour operators and travel agents. The results from this quantitative research were qualitatively augmented by outcomes from indepth interviews. The key findings from the research were that the Polish distribution system resembled to some extent the old British tourism structure. It was, however, unable to directly follow the development route undertaken by British companies. The pattern of operation was different in both countries due to four factors. Firstly, the distortions in operations in Poland originated from the post-socialist business structure; secondly, the diversity of business in Poland was much greater than in Britain, whilst, thirdly, the level of vertical integration between companies and the level of the development of information technology was more extensive in Britain. Finally, although the relationship development process consisted of similar stages in both countries, the field investigations showed differences in partners' selection, monitoring and support. The Polish companies relied heavily on social bonding and social ties in the selection stage, while in Britain the transparency and higher stability in the market reduced the necessity of close social bonding between employees and companies. The overall conclusion from the research is that the Polish travel companies are likely to follow many aspects of the British route, though with some specifically Polish characteristics. The initial evaluation of channel partners and the evaluation of the relationship between agents and tour operators would be strengthened in Poland, if there were a strong, regulatory and advisory association in the Polish market such as ABTA in Britain. Further research is recommended in terms of the impact of information technology on channel relationships in tourism and the role of tourism associations in the organisation of the tourism market.
    • The characterisation and modelling of the wireless propagation channel in small cells scenarios

      Fang, Cheng (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-09)
      The rapid growth in wireless data traffic in recent years has placed a great strain on the wireless spectrum and the capacity of current wireless networks. In addition, the makeup of the typical wireless propagation environment is rapidly changing as a greater percentage of data traffic moves indoors, where the coverage of radio signals is poor. This dual fronted assault on coverage and capacity has meant that the tradition cellular model is no longer sustainable, as the gains from constructing new macrocells falls short of the increasing cost. The key emerging concept that can solve the aforementioned challenges is smaller base stations such as micro-, pico- and femto-cells collectively known as small cells. However with this solution come new challenges: while small cells are efficient at improving the indoor coverage and capacity; they compound the lack of spectrum even more and cause high levels of interference. Current channel models are not suited to characterise this interference as the small cells propagation environment is vast different. The result is that overall efficiency of the networks suffers. This thesis presents an investigation into the characteristics of the wireless propagation channel in small cell environments, including measurement, analysis, modelling, validation and extraction of channel data. Two comprehensive data collection campaigns were carried out, one of them employed a RUSK channel sounder and featured dual-polarised MIMO antennas. From the first dataset an empirical path loss model, adapted to typical indoor and outdoor scenarios found in small cell environments, was constructed using regression analysis and was validated using the second dataset. The model shows good accuracy for small cell environments and can be implemented in system level simulations quickly without much requirements.
    • Characterisation of immune responses to the E5 protein of the human papillomavirus type 16

      Gill, Dilbinder Kaur (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 1999-12)
      High-risk mucosal human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are major aetiological agents for the development of cervical cancer. Thus, the current goal of cervical cancer treatment is to develop vaccines against HPV s. Such vaccines would either prevent cervical cancer by eliminating HPV infection or be useful for treating established lesions by the destruction of cells displaying HPV proteins. The aim of this thesis was to characterise immune responses to the E5 protein of HPV -16, one of several antigens with possible use in vaccination. To determine whether immune responses to HPV -16 E5 existed and whether they could be correlated with disease severity or with the presence of HPV -16 DNA, both cell mediated (Chapter Two) and humoral (Chapter Three) immunity was investigated in women with and without cervical disease. Cellular responses in a minority of women were inversely correlated with disease severity. However, E5 specific antibodies were negatively correlated with the absence of HPV -16 DNA. Thus, although some immune responses were evident, these were generally limited to a small number of subjects and were not associated with the detection of HPV-16 E5 mRNA or DNA sequence variants. Due to the immune responses in women, E5 was further investigated to determine if the absence of HPV -16 E5 specific immune responses was due to the poor antigenicity of HPV -16. Mice were immunised with synthetic peptides corresponding to full length HPV -16 E5 (Chapter Four). As with the human data, cellular responses and weak antibody responses were detected in mice. Some mice also exhibited cytotoxic T -lymphocyte responses and when E5/major histocompatibility class I (MHC-I) interactions were investigated, a number of peptides showed a high percentage of binding. The E5/MHC-I interactions were further investigated (Chapter Five). The surface expression of MHC-I on cells containing HPV-16 or -18 DNA was found to be lower than on HPV DNA negative cell lines even after stimulation with interferon-gamma. Stimulation with E5 synthetic peptides increased expression of cell surface MHC-I molecules on cell lines negative for HPV DNA. Furthermore, the presence of the E5 gene reduced the expression of the ovalbumin gene in normal human keratinocytes. In conclusion, the data contained within this thesis indicate that HPV-16 E5 CMI is inversely correlated with disease status. It is possible to induce cell mediated responses to HPV -16 E5 and low-titre antibody responses. The presence of HPV16 E5 DNA may impair normal cellular function.
    • Characterisation of the combined effects of physicochemical parameters and toxicants on microbial cells

      Bhatia, Radhika (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-02)
      This thesis reports on the combined effects of toxicants and physicochemical factors on micro-organisms. The main objective of the project was to use multi-sensing systems such as mediated and non-mediated sensor systems, growth tests and physicochemical sensors to investigate novel stressor-toxicant-assay combinations. Screen-printed, disposable, developmental-phase, physicochemical sensor constructs (conductivity and dissolved oxygen) were validated under conditions compatible with microbial bioassays, to ascertain their potential role in toxicity testing. The conductivity sensor construct could be used to indirectly inform on the osmolality of the test samples, but the dissolved oxygen sensor construct was not found to give reproducible results. The results were thought to be compromised by in-house screen-printing using a complex carbon ink formulation for the working electrode. Escherichia coli and a consortium with ammonia oxidation capacity (CAOC) were used as the test species for the bioassays. The combined effects of four inorganic salts (NaCl, NaN03, KCl and KN03) and two toxicants (3,5-DCP and HgCh) on E. coli were investigated using the CellSense™ biosensor system, Clark oxygen electrode and microtitre plate growth assays. A variety of trends were observed with each salt-toxicantbioassay combination, emphasising a need for better understanding of the assay media and factors such as bioavailability, to interpret the toxicity data. The results also suggested the importance of using multiple bioassays with varied end points, for toxicity testing. The CAOC, which was isolated from the activated sludge, was tested for physicochemical stressor and toxicant effects using the mediated biosensors. The results were very different from those obtained with E. coli, indicating that each species reacts to toxicants and changes in physicochemical factors differently. Although the full potential of disposable, physicochemical sensors, at the point of toxicity testing was not achieved, the study did investigate previously uncharacterised, combined effects of salts and toxicants on microbial cells. It highlighted the need for development of hybrid systems and also offered a route towards integration of physicochemical and biological sensing systems for simultaneous monitoring of both environmental and biological elements.
    • Characterisation of the expression of tumour antigens and biomarkers in myeloid leukaemia and ovarian cancer

      Khan, Ghazala (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-12)
      Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and ovarian cancer (OVC) are two difficult to treat cancers. AML is often treatable however minimal residual disease (MRD) endures such that many patients who achieve remission eventually relapse and succumb to the disease. OVC affects approximately 7000 women in the U.K. every year. It can occur at any age but is most common after menopause. Diagnosis at an early stage of disease greatly improves the chances of survival however, patients tend to be diagnosed in the later stages of disease when treatment is often less effective. Immunotherapy has the potential to reduce MRD and delay or prevent relapse. In order for immunotherapy to work, tumour antigens need to be identified and characterised so they can be effectively targeted. Personalised treatments require the identification of biomarkers, for disease detection and confirmation, as well as to provide an indication of best treatment and the prediction of survival. PASD1 has been found to be frequently expressed in haematological malignancies and I wanted to determine if there was a correlation between the presence of antigen-specific T cells in the periphery of patients with AML and PASD1 protein expression in the leukaemic cells. The expression of other leukaemia antigens were concurrently examined as comparators. I performed RT-PCR on nine antigens and immunocytochemistry on PASD1 in 18 samples from AML patients. I found a correlation between PASD1 expression in AML samples and the presence of PASD1-specific T cells as detected on the pMHC array. OVC lacks suitable targets for immunotherapy with few CTAs having been identified. I examined the expression of SSX2IP and the CTAs PASD1 and SSX2 in OVC. I compared the protein expression of these known tumour antigens to the “gold standard” biomarker for the diagnosis of OVC, CA125 and two other proteins known to be promising in the diagnosis of OVC, HE4 and WT1. I analysed commercially available paraffin-embedded OVC multiple tissue arrays (MTAs) containing 191 samples, predominantly stage I (n= 166), II (n= 15) and III (n= 6) OVC as well as healthy donor (n= 8) and normal adjacent tissues (n= 8). Scoring was performed in a single blinded fashion. I found SSX2A to be expressed at a score level of 3 with a frequency (37/191) that exceeded that of CA125 (14/191), HE4 (14/191), WT1 (1//191) or PASD1 (0/191). To confirm this expression I used two additional commercially-available antibodies that recognise the region common to SSX2A and B, and an antibody specific for SSX2A. Using SSX2 peptides, I blocked the immunolabelling of SSX2 in SSX2-positive cell lines showing that the immunolabelling of SSX2 and SSX2A was specific. I demonstrated that the expression of SSX2 and specifically SSX2A was reproducible and restricted to ovarian cancer with little or no expression in endometrial tissues, or diseased or inflamed endometrial tissue. In summary, these studies demonstrated that PASD1 expression in leukaemia cells correlated with the presence of PASD1-specific T cells in the periphery of presentation AML patients. I have shown that PASD1 specific-T cells are present in AML patients at diagnosis and that immunotherapy targeting PASD1 could be used to break tolerance and clear residual leukaemia cells during first remission. Analysis of the expression of three antigens in OVC, identified the specific expression of SSX2, in particular SSX2A in OVC but not healthy or diseased endometrial tissues. The expression of SSX2A was more frequent and more specific to OVC, than HE4 and WT1, and more frequent at higher intensity, especially in early stage OVC, than CA125. SSX2 and explicitly SSX2A requires further investigation to determine whether the high level of background at score 2 can be reduced with better blocking of non-specific sites. This may require the use of different SSX2 antibodies or an improved staining protocol.
    • Chemotherapy response and the role of the WWOX tumour suppressor

      Farooq, Haroon (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017-08)
      Paclitaxel is a widely used chemotherapy drug for the treatment of multiple cancers. Paclitaxel works by inhibiting the disassembly of microtubules. Besides the role of paclitaxel in mitotic arrest, many studies suggest that paclitaxel could initiate apoptosis by activating ER-stress pathways. Cisplatin, another chemotherapy drug is also used for the treatment of solid tumours. It works by forming adducts with the structure of DNA leading to cell cycle arrest, DNA damage and apoptosis. These two chemotherapy drugs have different mechanisms of killing tumour cells, but they are often combined to give greater effect. WWOX is a tumour suppressor in many cancers. It has been shown that WWOX promotes apoptosis and suppresses in vivo tumorigenesis, but its function remains unclear. Here in my study I hypothesize that ER-stress is an important part of paclitaxel response in cancer cells, and the WWOX tumour suppressor is important in mediating paclitaxel induced ER-stress response. I also hypothesize that WWOX is important in mediating the apoptotic response to cisplatin. My results show that paclitaxel could not induce ER stress in multiple cancer cells lines, and WWOX did not affect the cytotoxic action of paclitaxel. I show some evidence that ER-stress may influence survival in ovarian cancer patients, but this is independent of the effect of WWOX expression. I show that WWOX is not important for cisplatin response since cisplatin suppresses the expression of WWOX. This effect may relate to its location at a common fragile site since cisplatin also down-regulates another fragile site-associated gene FHIT. However, I also show the apparent involvement of NF-kB2 and PAR2 transcription factors in the down regulation of WWOX. These findings increase our understanding of the unintended effects of chemotherapy treatments.
    • Children first, offenders second: an aspiration or a reality for youth justice in Wales

      Thomas, Susan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015)
      England and Wales have the same criminal justice system, but devolution in Wales has created some differences between the two countries. In Wales all child and young person related services, with the exception of youth justice, are devolved to the Welsh Government. It is claimed by some that devolution has resulted in youth justice policy in Wales diverging from that of England. This is because of the Welsh Government’s adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been incorporated into its domestic legislation. This is not mirrored in England, as the UK Government’s youth justice policies during the New Labour period have been characterised as punitive, risk-led and managerialist. Although attitudes and approaches changed during the Coalition Government’s administration, the fundamental features of the system have not. Youth justice in Wales has been described as taking a ‘children first, offenders second’ approach to children and young people in trouble with the law, which by inference suggests the opposite for youth justice in England. The purpose of this study is to examine whether there is a different youth justice in Wales. This was done by scrutinising a range of evidence that included the policies of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales and the Welsh Government and the interface and relationship between them, to determine what youth justice in Wales looks like and how it compares to youth justice in England. This was supported by an analysis of YJB data about the operation of the system, which disaggregated information about Wales from national statistics, to establish if outcomes for young people in Wales differed from their counter-parts in England. Finally, the perspectives of practitioners in two youth offending teams in England and two in Wales were explored to establish what their practice cultures looked like and the extent to which practitioners had similar or different views about how the system should and does operate, whether a ‘children first’ philosophy is dominant in Wales and how this relates to the policy positions of the respective governments.
    • Children, sex and the law

      Janes, Laura Kerner (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-12)
      Anxieties about the premature sexualisation of children (Bailey, 20II) and the prevalence of abuse among children (Radford et al, 20 11) have coincided with ongoing attempts through legislation and policy to protect children from sexual abuse by adults and children alike since the early 1990s (Masson, 2006). As the legal framework has expanded in scope, research by psychologists, criminologists and social scientists suggest that children convicted of sexual offences have low rates of recidivism (Hargreaves and Francis 2013), reduced further by interventions that meet their needs as young people in a holistic fashion (Rich, 20II; Hackett, 2004). Against this background, Children, sex and the law explores the complex issues that emerge when the law is used to respond to sexual activity by children. The research comprises a combination of secondary research of the legal framework and direct inductive qualitative research through in-depth semi-structured interviews with ten young people, followed by interviews with ten professionals to contextualise their experiences. The findings provide a unique insight into the experience of ten young people with histories of harmful sexual behaviour in contact with the criminal justice system and their experiences of the legal processes. The findings consider the journeys of these ten young people in three distinct phases, each marked by legal events: in the lead up to contact with the criminal justice system, their navigation through the system and their preparation towards reintegration. The study concludes that the current legal framework is ill suited to achieving its aim of protecting children and preventing reoffending.
    • China as an imaginal realm: a study of the representational framing of a nation in tourism

      Hou, Chunxiao (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2010-06)
      Over recent decades, China has opened up to the wider world in a myriad of ways. By 2020 – a decade hence – it will be transformed from its scarcely-visited-1980s self, to become the most visited nation on earth. It is therefore important to gauge how China is being represented through the immensely-powerful signifying practices of tourism. Predicated on the view that reciprocal understanding between China (or ‘the East’) has never been high with ‘the West’, this critico-interpretive study explores how China is symbolized / projected via the meditative agency of tourism – that is, by a collaborative projective Leviathan, which predominantly authorizes via longstanding eurocentric visions. Industrially-scripted representations of tourism are inspected regarding their normalizing (Foucauldian) capacity to naturalise certain visions of China’s inheritances and drawcards whilst unrecognizing / denying others. Underpinned by the multiple-truth-cognisance of social constructivism (especially that of Lincoln and Cuba), this emergent study is based upon Kincheloean bricoleurship. Initially seeking to crystallize found representational repertoires of / about ‘China’ by the use of multiple methods, it becomes – following difficulties in finding decision-takers who were both China-aware and active in such acts of signification (who could be both interviewed and work-shadowed) – an inquiry rescaffolded as a multiple-data-set exploration of worldmaking discursivity. The investigation makes critical use of Nyiri’s recent examination of the Chinese government’s ortholalia (i.e., its cultural authority) in regulating what China is and how it should be staged / performed / projected, and of various newspress articles on the late soft power articulation of both the nation’s forty-centuries of ‘brilliant history’ and its ‘sudden modern vitality’. The inquiry progresses by condemning the general and ubiquitous inadequacy of the twin fields of Tourism Management / Tourism Studies to school either practitioners or researchers as Confucian-style organic intellectuals, able to comprehend the international economic foundations of tourism, yet also appreciate its deep cultural, political, and psychic rhizomata. It culminates in the development of an ‘organic intellectual’ research agenda (after Venn), signposted to direct immediate but longrun inspection of these Foucauldian / Confucian acts of the ongoing (?) normalized or compossible (cogenerative) worlding of China.
    • Cinema and new technologies: the development of digital video filmmaking in West Africa

      Benagr, S. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012-02)
      This research investigates the development of digital video filmmaking in West Africa using Ghana and Burkina Faso as case studies within the context of new technologies. The key research questions that guided the study were how do the economic, social and political contexts of video filmmaking affect the development of a digital video film industry in Ghana and Burkina Faso? and how have the perceptions of digital technologies (held by filmmakers and other stakeholders) impacted upon the development of digital video film making in West Africa? Using field interviews with stakeholders in the video film industry in Ghana and Burkina Faso, as well as with the West African diaspora community in the UK, document research, textual references, and personal observation, the research discusses the challenges of new digital and video technologies, and their implications for the development of the video film industry. The research establishes that video and digital technologies are offering many people the opportunity to make films. There is however, a plethora of new digital technologies that enable the work of video film producers, which require closer examination. The research suggests that the impact of the digital revolution has been limited, and a number of factors account for this. The study offers recommendations that might contribute to discussions on finding solutions to the development of a professional, regulatory and practical video filmmaking environment. This would lead to the formulation of policies that impact positively on filmmaking in the region, and consequently increase the capacity of local productions to compete on the international film scene.
    • Citizens’ juries and social learning: understanding the transformation of preference

      O’Neill, Claire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003)
      The model of the citizens' jury is used here to examine whether the promise that deliberative democracy can enable transformations of preference among citizens is valid. Supporters of the citizens' jury go so far as to claim that it can encourage the habit of active citizenship. Deliberation has become central to academic work on the future of democracy and much of this work alludes to a relationship between deliberation and learning. So far however, the learning processes that are seen as central to it have not been fully investigated. This thesis explores the impact of participation in a deliberative process by presenting a predominantly qualitative analysis ofthe way the citizens' jury experience changes participants' preferences. The changes experienced by the jurors are presented as a juror journey but not all jurors embark on this journey in the same way, nor do they all travel at the same pace. Some of those interviewed for this study claim that their journey only ended some time after the jury itself came to an end and for some it is clearly ongoing. Addressing the juror journey as a learning process highlights the changes in the discursive strategies employed by the jurors as they come to understand the ethical components of discourse. By dividing the process into its constituent parts of thinking, willing and judging the procedural requirements of deliberation are highlighted. The results of the fieldwork show that the majority of respondents in this study of former citizens' jurors develop a heightened sense of efficacy that enables them to assert a sense of themselves as citizens. Most describe a new awareness that their actions affect others on whose behalf they are deliberating. This now occurs for many of them alongside a new sense of trust in others to make decisions on their behalf. The research concludes that if practitioners of deliberation want to continue to make claims about transformation of preference they need to use the principles of discourse ethics to examine the legitimacy of deliberative forums that are in use and to make recommendations about how to improve their validity in the eyes of the public.