Graduate Research Day 2017

14 June 2017

Last week we gathered to hear from some of our Graduate students about their exciting work.

Assistant Senior Tutor (Graduates) Annette Mahon organised the day and said afterwards:

"Once again we were delighted to see the great variety of excellent work being done by our Graduate students. All attendees were hugely impressed by the quality of the presentations"

Marianna Kopsida (Engineering) started the day with a presentation on Automated Progress Monitoring Using Mixed Reality Progress. SUMMARY: Monitoring inspection practice is laborious, time consuming and error prone. Inspectors conduct visual inspections and fill several forms, write reports and perform extensive information extraction from drawings and other databases. This research has led to a Microsoft HoloLens app for automating the inspection process of construction progress monitoring. This tool will allow us to bring the digital design model onto the construction site. The app aligns the 3D as-planned model to the real world as-built environment. Once alignment is complete, the 3D model is fixed relative to the scene and remains stable. Also, the scene is not affected by any occlusions. The app then automatically compares the current as-built status with the as-planned data to derive instant progress information for the building under construction by simply walking around the site. This information allows inspectors to detect any schedule discrepancies and take timely corrective actions that could prevent time and cost overruns of the project during the construction phase.

 

Zoi Angeli (French) presented next on 'The ontology of the image from an anti-platonic standpoint'. SUMMARY: Underlying every aesthetic theory is the premise of a fundamental incompatibility between the imaginary and the real world. It is precisely this premise that this presentation attempts to revitalize by drawing on Maurice Blanchot’s key notion of the image, as explored in his major work L’espace littéraire. My paper examines how Blanchot, following Sartre, reverses the aesthetic tradition of incongruity insofar as the reality/imagination relation is concerned. In addition, it explores how the image in Blanchot’s thought, in opposition to a phenomenological approach, is not linked to visibility and the virility of the gaze but rather to invisibility, powerlessness, the sensory and touch. We do not see an image; it is rather the image that seizes us. Briefly, this presentation calls for a reconfiguration of the central to many debates concepts of imagination and the image, and, more importantly, of the way we usually think of their relation with the world and reality. 

 

Maria Schacker (Physiology, Development and Neuroscience) spoke about 'Defining the genomic and epigenetic signature of mouse embryonic stem cells with compromised in vivo potential'. SUMMARY: We identified several targeted mES cell lines with abnormalities in their capacity to generate chimeric mice. These clones result in embryonic death during mid to late gestation, suggesting that the cells are able to contribute to the embryo but are interfering with normal embryonic development. RNA sequencing identified three genes which are downregulated in our compromised clones. These are the maternally expressed genes Gtl2, Rian and Mirg, located in an imprinted region on chromosome 12. I am now investigating their epigenetic signature and the role they play during development.

 

Molly Yarn (English) presented  her paper 'Ghosts in the Margins: Early Women Editors of Shakespeare'. SUMMARY: We call them ghosts - characters like Innogen, Hero’s mother, who linger, nearly erased, in the margins of Shakespeare’s plays. Like Innogen, most women editors of Shakespeare prior to 1950 find themselves haunting the edges of editorial history. Modern attitudes regarding the domestic or 
 family-oriented focus of much of their work (illustrated, expurgated, or student editions) facilitate their neglect. Various forms of bias relegate them to a bottom-rung position on the editorial hierarchy. Although some individual editors such as Mary Cowden Clarke have received scholarly attention, further work remains both to elucidate the specifics of their textual work and to place them in context with their contemporaries, who remain almost entirely unexamined. This talk demonstrates how primary source documents and textual evidence can combine to resurrect the forgotten lives and work of these early female scholars, and in the process, unearth an alternative history of Shakespeare editing. 

 

Polytimi Frangou (Psychology) argued that 'GABAergic inhibition facilitates visual learning in the human brain'. SUMMARY: Successful interactions in our environment entail using sensory information to inform perceptual judgements. Our visual system is challenged when searching for targets in noisy backgrounds or when discriminating between highly similar features. Perceptual learning is believed to improve such visual skills, however the exact brain mechanisms involved are currently unknown.  Using functional MRI, we find differential activation patterns for these visual tasks, however we are unable to differentiate between excitatory and inhibitory contributions to learning. Advances in Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy allow us to measure GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter, non-invasively in the human brain, and investigate inhibitory mechanisms related to brain plasticity. My talk describes a series of experiments that employ multimodal imaging to measure brain activation patterns and GABA concentration changes during visual learning, providing a novel framework for visual cortical plasticity. 

 

Carole Gardener (Public Health and Primary Care) discussed 'Towards person-centred care: development of a patient support needs tool for patients with advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)'. SUMMARY:  Patients with advanced COPD have difficulty articulating their support needs to health care professionals, undermining person-centred care. A new intervention, the Support Needs Approach for Patients (SNAP), informed by, and modelled on, the evidence-based Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT), may enable patients to identify and express their support needs. SNAP is underpinned by an evidence-based tool to help patients consider and express their support needs.  A comprehensive range of evidence-based domains of support need were identified and formulated into items for inclusion on the draft SNAP tool. The draft tool asked patients to consider whether they need more support in relation to 15 broad areas (domains) of support need e.g understanding their illness and getting out and about. Patients, carers and clinical stakeholders broadly endorsed the content and wording of the draft tool and the proposed Support Needs Approach for Patients. The SNAP tool has the potential to help patients with advanced COPD identify and express their support needs to clinicians in order to enable delivery of person-centred care. Future work will test tool validity and feasibility in clinical practice. 

 

Dilar Dirik (Sociology) presented 'The women's struggles in Kurdistan'. SUMMARY: As the so-called Islamic State has been launching countless attacks on communities in the Middle East and beyond, its specific use of sexualized violence as a tool of war has been central to its methods. To the astonishment of many, Kurdish women picked up arms and turned out to be the most efficient forces to defeat the ideology and hegemony of ISIS across vast territories. However, women's militancy with feminist ideologies is in fact a rooted tradition. So who are these women? And what is the social, cultural, and political context in which they struggle? This presentation will be based on my extensive ethnographic research with Kurdish women militants. 



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