National University of Ireland, Galway
Recent publications
This study presents a computational framework that investigates the effect of localised surface-based corrosion on the mechanical performance of a magnesium-based alloy. A finite element-based phenomenological corrosion model was used to generate a wide range of corrosion profiles, with subsequent uniaxial tensile test simulations to predict the mechanical response to failure. The python-based detection framework PitScan provides detailed quantification of the spatial phenomenological features of corrosion, including a full geometric tracking of corroding surface. Through this approach, this study is the first to quantitatively demonstrate that a surface-based non-uniform corrosion model can capture both the geometrical and mechanical features of a magnesium alloy undergoing corrosion by comparing to experimental data. Using this verified corrosion modelling approach, a wide range of corrosion scenarios was evaluated and enabled quantitative relationships to be established between the mechanical integrity and key phenomenological corrosion features. In particular, we demonstrated that the minimal cross-sectional area parameter was the strongest predictor of the remaining mechanical strength (R² = 0.98), with this relationship being independent of the severity or spatial features of localised surface corrosion. Interestingly, our analysis demonstrated that parameters described in ASTM G46-94 showed weaker correlations to the mechanical integrity of corroding specimens, compared to parameters determined by Pitscan. This study establishes new mechanistic insight into the performance of the magnesium-based materials undergoing corrosion.
Herein, we prepared two kinds of single-atom catalysts (SACs) with uniformed coordination structures (M−N4, M = Fe, and Cu) for evaluating the versatile pathways of peroxymonosulfate (PMS) activation by different metal sites. Fe-SAC exhibited a higher catalytic performance than that of Cu-SAC for chloroquine phosphate (CQP) oxidation. Results showed that the high-valent iron-oxo species accounted for 74.5 % for CQP oxidation in Fe-SAC/PMS system, while radicals (SO4•– and HO•) dominated the CQP oxidation (58.3 %) in Cu-SAC/PMS system, which was associated to the different spin-state of the metal sites for PMS adsorption and breakage of OO in PMS as well as the intermediates in versatile pathways. The SACs were then fixed onto the catalytic filter for PMS activation, which showed stable and effective catalytic performance for versatile recalcitrant organics. Overall, this work not only provided the atomic-level knowledge on PMS activation, but also gave the potential applications of Fenton-like for water remediation.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of nano-magnetite on the CO2 reduction of homoacetogens with different extracellular electron transfer (EET) pathways in the microbial electrosynthesis system (MES). Homoacetogens were cathode-cultured in the MES, which was operated under voltages of 0.5 and 0.8 V. Compared with the MES without magnetite, acetate (i.e., a C2–C4 carboxylic acid) yield was doubled in the MES with nano-magnetite under 0.5 V. However, the nano-magnetite effect was not significant in the MES under 0.8 V. The result suggested that homoacetogens in the MES had different EET pathways under different voltages. Based on SEM and CV results, magnetite promoted microorganism adherence to the cathode, and enhanced catalytic activity of the biocathode at 0.5 V, which increased acetate yield. Carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone inhibited the ATP synthesis of homoacetogens in the H2-cultured condition but increased the current output in the biocathode, suggesting that the pathway for homoacetogens to harvest electrons from the cathode was different from the H2-mediated pathway. Rotenone inhibited the current output of biocathode at 0.5 V by 3.6% and 15% with and without nano-magnetite, respectively, indicating that NADH dehydrogenase played an important role on the EET pathways of homoacetogens.
Scaling, the persistent rapid growth to deliver a viable business model, often incorporates an explicit international business dimension. However, research on the cross-border management and organization of scaling and scale-ups in international business has been limited. We therefore build on prior scholarly understanding to differentiate scaling in three settings – initiative, organization and ecosystem – and elaborate on their respective international business aspects. We are sensitive to different organizational purposes and their associated scaling for commercial and/or social impact. Our arguments advance the conceptual understanding of scaling in international business and offer an agenda for future research.
There is increasing policy interest in the recruitment and integration of star scientists as a mechanism to catalyse research productivity. We use rich data for three Small Open Economies (Ireland, Denmark, and New Zealand) on publications, citations and co-authorships to examine how co-authorship with a co-located star scientist affects the co-author's productivity, both including and excluding the output directly co-authored with the star. The latter effect provides a measure of the extent to which star collaborations crowd out/in other output. Event-study analyses reveal that star co-authorships are associated with economically and statistically significant increases in co-authors' output (measured by field-normalized total citations). Output in the three years after the initial star co-authorship is increased by 89.6 % when star co-authored publications are included and by 16.2 % when they are excluded. The results are robust to using an alternative measure of quality-adjusted output based on journal publication quality. We find co-authoring with a star increases the quality but not quantity of output when star co-authored publications are excluded. We explore heterogeneity by period, field and whether the authors have multiple star co-authorships. We conclude that policymakers' and institutions' efforts to promote access to star scientists may have substantial direct and indirect effects on the productivity of incumbent scientists within departments.
Purpose: Bio-effects following thermal treatments are a function of the achieved temperature profile in tissue, which can be estimated across tumor volumes with real-time MRI thermometry (MRIT). Here, we report on expansion of a previously developed small-animal microwave hyperthermia system integrated with MRIT for delivering thermal ablation to subcutaneously implanted tumors in mice. Methods: Computational models were employed to assess suitability of the 2.45 GHz microwave applicators for delivering ablation to subcutaneous tumor targets in mice. Phantoms and ex-vivo tissues were heated to temperatures in the range 47-67 °C with custom-made microwave applicators for validating MRIT with the proton resonance frequency shift method against fiberoptic thermometry. HAC15 tumors implanted in nude mice (n = 6) were ablated in vivo and monitored with MRIT in multiple planes. One day post ablation, animals were euthanized, and excised tumors were processed for viability assessment. Results: Average absolute error between temperatures from fiberoptic sensors and MRIT was 0.6 °C across all ex-vivo ablations. During in-vivo experiments, tumors with volumes ranging between 5.4-35.9 mm3 (mean 14.2 mm3) were ablated (duration: 103-150 s) to achieve 55 °C at the tumor boundary. Thermal doses ≥240 CEM43 were achieved across 90.7-98.0% of tumor volumes for four cases. Ablations were incomplete for remaining cases, attributed to motion-affected thermometry. Thermal dose-based ablative tumor coverage agreed with viability assessment of excised tumors. Conclusions: We have developed a system for delivering microwave ablation to subcutaneous tumors in small animals under MRIT guidance and demonstrated its performance in-vivo.
Objective: Adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) among young adults living with asthma is low and in need of appropriate intervention. Digital health interventions (DHIs) have demonstrated potential to improve ICS adherence; however, young adult preferences for these DHIs and how their use could support adherence in this population remain understudied. Therefore, this study aimed to explore young adult preferences for ICS adherence supports and potential DHI features to deliver these supports, in order to improve adherence behaviour throughout this critical developmental stage of the lifespan. Methods: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 young adults living with asthma. Analysis followed an inductive, reflexive thematic approach. Results: Participant’s age ranged from 18 to 30 years (M = 24.7; 8 female). Three themes were developed from the analysis: ‘Enabling young adults to find their ‘own way of knowing', ‘Support for making a habit of adherence’, and ‘Providing accessible information’ which included the sub-themes: ‘Education on asthma self-management and medication’, ‘Self-monitoring information’ and ‘Personal feedback on outcomes of adherence’. Suggested features to deliver these supports included a medication and prescription refill reminder, adherence charts, symptom and trigger monitoring, rewards for adherence, visual representations of lungs demonstrating the impact of adherence and lung function monitoring. Conclusion: DHIs may offer an appropriate solution to improve suboptimal adherence to ICS in young adults. However, it is crucial that young adult preferences for adherence supports and features are integrated into these interventions in order to optimise engagement and support adherence behaviour in this population.
Background The impact of underlying comorbidities on the clinical presentation, management and outcomes in patients with ARDS is poorly understood and deserves further investigation. Objectives We examined these issue in patients with ARDS enrolled in the L arge observational study to UNderstand the Global impact of Severe Acute respiratory FailurE (LUNG SAFE) study. Methods In this secondary analysis of the patient cohort enrolled in the LUNG SAFE study, our primary objective was to determine the frequency, and impact of comorbidities on the management and ICU survival of patients with ARDS. Secondary outcomes relating to comorbidities included their impact on ventilatory management, the development of organ failures, and on end-of-life care. Results Of 2813 patients in the study population, 1692 (60%) had 1 or more comorbidities, of whom 631 (22.4%) had chronic respiratory impairment, 290 (10.3%) had congestive heart failure, 286 (10.2%) had chronic renal failure, 112 (4%) had chronic liver failure, 584 (20.8%) had immune incompetence, and 613 (21.8%) had diabetes. Multiple comorbidities were frequently present, with 423 (25%) having 2 and 182 (11%) having at least 3 or more comorbidities. The use of invasive ventilation (1379 versus 998, 82 versus 89%), neuromuscular blockade (301 versus 249, 18 versus 22%), prone positioning (97 versus 104, 6 versus 9%) and ECMO (32 versus 46, 2 versus 4%) were each significantly reduced in patients with comorbidities as compared to patients with no comorbidity (1692 versus 1121, 60 versus 40%). ICU mortality increased from 27% ( n = 303) in patients with no comorbidity to 39% ( n = 661) in patients with any comorbidity. Congestive heart failure, chronic liver failure and immune incompetence were each independently associated with increased ICU mortality. Chronic liver failure and immune incompetence were independently associated with more decisions to limitation of life supporting measures. Conclusions Most patients with ARDS have significant comorbidities, they receive less aggressive care, and have worse outcomes. Enhancing the care of these patients must be a priority for future clinical studies. Trial registration LUNG-SAFE is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02010073.
Background The aetiology of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) and triggers of relapse are poorly understood. Vitamin D (vitD) is an important immunomodulator, potentially responsible for the observed latitudinal differences between granulomatous and non-granulomatous AAV phenotypes. A narrow ultraviolet B spectrum induces vitD synthesis (vitD-UVB) via the skin. We hypothesised that prolonged periods of low ambient UVB (and by extension vitD deficiency) are associated with the granulomatous form of the disease and an increased risk of AAV relapse. Methods Patients with AAV recruited to the Irish Rare Kidney Disease (RKD) ( n = 439) and UKIVAS ( n = 1961) registries were studied. Exposure variables comprised latitude and measures of ambient vitD-UVB, including cumulative weighted UVB dose (CW-D-UVB), a well-validated vitD proxy. An n -of-1 study design was used to examine the relapse risk using only the RKD dataset. Multi-level models and logistic regression were used to examine the effect of predictors on AAV relapse risk, phenotype and serotype. Results Residential latitude was positively correlated (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.14–1.74, p = 0.002) and average vitD-UVB negatively correlated (0.82, 0.70–0.99, p = 0.04) with relapse risk, with a stronger effect when restricting to winter measurements (0.71, 0.57–0.89, p = 0.002). However, these associations were not restricted to granulomatous phenotypes. We observed no clear relationship between latitude, vitD-UVB or CW-D-UVB and AAV phenotype or serotype. Conclusion Our findings suggest that low winter ambient UVB and prolonged vitD status contribute to AAV relapse risk across all phenotypes. However, the development of a granulomatous phenotype does not appear to be directly vitD-mediated. Further research is needed to determine whether sufficient vitD status would reduce relapse propensity in AAV.
The IOF Epidemiology and Quality of Life Working Group has reviewed the potential role of population screening for high hip fracture risk against well-established criteria. The report concludes that such an approach should strongly be considered in many health care systems to reduce the burden of hip fractures. Introduction The burden of long-term osteoporosis management falls on primary care in most healthcare systems. However, a wide and stable treatment gap exists in many such settings; most of which appears to be secondary to a lack of awareness of fracture risk. Screening is a public health measure for the purpose of identifying individuals who are likely to benefit from further investigations and/or treatment to reduce the risk of a disease or its complications. The purpose of this report was to review the evidence for a potential screening programme to identify postmenopausal women at increased risk of hip fracture. Methods The approach took well-established criteria for the development of a screening program, adapted by the UK National Screening Committee, and sought the opinion of 20 members of the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s Working Group on Epidemiology and Quality of Life as to whether each criterion was met (yes, partial or no). For each criterion, the evidence base was then reviewed and summarized. Results and Conclusion The report concludes that evidence supports the proposal that screening for high fracture risk in primary care should strongly be considered for incorporation into many health care systems to reduce the burden of fractures, particularly hip fractures. The key remaining hurdles to overcome are engagement with primary care healthcare professionals, and the implementation of systems that facilitate and maintain the screening program.
Recent work on language technology has tried to recognize abusive language such as those containing hate speech and cyberbullying and enhance offensive language identification to moderate social media platforms. Most of these systems depend on machine learning models using a tagged dataset. Such models have been successful in detecting and eradicating negativity. However, an additional study has lately been conducted on the enhancement of free expression through social media. Instead of eliminating ostensibly unpleasant words, we created a multilingual dataset to recognize and encourage positivity in the comments, and we propose a novel custom deep network architecture, which uses a concatenation of embedding from T5-Sentence. We have experimented with multiple machine learning models, including SVM, logistic regression, K-nearest neighbour, decision tree, logistic neighbours, and we propose new CNN based model. Our proposed model outperformed all others with a macro F1-score of 0.75 for English, 0.62 for Tamil, and 0.67 for Malayalam.
Recent literature has suggested a link between poor air quality and worse COVID-19 outcomes. In the United States, this link is particularly noteworthy because of residential sorting along ethnic lines within the US population; minorities are disproportionately exposed to health hazards, including air pollution. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have also been disproportionately concentrated amongst minorities. We explore the association between air quality and COVID-19 outcomes, using county level data for the United States from the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, and test whether exposure to more polluted air can account for some of the observed disparities in COVID-19 outcomes among minorities.
This study reports the kinetics and isotherms of the adsorption of five herbicides, MCPA, mecoprop-P, 2,4-D, fluroxypyr and triclopyr, from aqueous solutions onto a range of raw and pyrolysed waste materials originating from an industrial setting. The raw waste materials investigated demonstrated little capability for any herbicide adsorption. Granulated activated carbon (GAC) was capable of the best removal of the herbicides, with >95% removal observed. A first order kinetic model fitted the data best for GAC adsorption of 2,4-D, while a pseudo-first order model fitted the data best for GAC adsorption of fluroxypyr and triclopyr, indicating that adsorption was via physisorption. A pseudo-second order kinetic model fitted the GAC adsorption of MCPA and mecoprop-P, which is indicative of chemisorption. The adsorption of the herbicides in all cases was best described by the Freundlich model, indicating that adsorption occurred onto heterogeneous surfaces.
The use of technology in football is increasing, although, products predominantly focus on men’s football in performance, safety, comfort, and fit considerations. A recent scoping review identified just 32 published scientific articles on technology in women’s football, despite demands of those playing/working in the women’s game increasing. We wish to highlight the progressions made so far and barriers remaining in the elite women’s football technology to shed a light on this topic and prod researchers and manufacturers to help support the evolution of women’s-football-focussed technological considerations. The ten questions presented in this paper address the generic question on whether women’s specific tailoring is needed (Question 1) as well as addressing specific questions on football technology and engineering, such as the progressions made and ongoing issues in the following areas: football kits, religious considerations (hijab designs), sports bras, football boots, balls, football pitches, performance tracking devices, menstrual cycle tracking devices (Question 2–10). It is evidence that certain areas have received more attention than others and with these ten questions we hope to steer readers towards research and engineering gaps for future work.
The promotion of self-employment through financial inclusion initiatives has been adopted as a means of harnessing the entrepreneurial and productive capacities of women within the neoliberal developmental policy framework. This study presents a simple analytical model in the Post-Keynesian tradition to investigate the linkages between self-employment, aggregate demand, and unpaid care work by developing a two-sector model. It shows that a developmental strategy based on fostering women’s self-employment is constrained, on the one hand, by the macroeconomic conditions driving aggregate demand and, on the other, by the trade-off between the time allocation between unpaid care and paid work that the gendered division of care work responsibilities imposes on the self-employed woman worker. The promotion of self-employment cannot serve as a viable development strategy without policies that directly boost aggregate demand and at the same time relieve the burden of care responsibilities on women through public investment and social provision of care. HIGHLIGHTS • Self-employment is too often uncritically prescribed as a vehicle for improving women’s livelihoods. • Increased self-employment creates competing claims on women’s time between paid work and unpaid care. • Women’s self-employment perpetuates gendered asymmetries of care responsibilities within the household. • Macroeconomic demand conditions constrain the potential for women’s self-employment to increase livelihoods and support development. • Financial inclusion policies alone have limited scope in sustaining women’s self-employment.
  • Lorraine BrennanLorraine Brennan
  • Aoife O'GormanAoife O'Gorman
  • Susanne BarthSusanne Barth
  • [...]
  • Anne P. NugentAnne P. Nugent
There is a need to transform our current food system if we are to feed the rapidly expanding global population while maintaining planetary health. Within the island of Ireland, there is an urgent need to diversify the foods that currently contribute to our populations' protein intake. A Shared Island Innovative Food System approach is required to achieve this in a manner that is sustainable and provides benefits to producers, consumers and other supply chain participants. The Protein‐I project employs such an approach, with the paradigm focusing on production of plant food through to human health, while paying particular attention to the development of the rural bioeconomy. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the team will develop strategies to maximise sustainable plant protein production in a traceable/transparent fashion and assess the impact of changes to existing value chains and the development of new value chains for the rural economy. A smart supply chain technology solution tailored to the needs of the agri‐food industry will be developed and tested. Additionally, we will co‐design consumer‐led approaches to diversify plant protein intake, model the impact of changes at the population level and perform human interventions to demonstrate efficacy in terms of achieving adequate nutrition and improved health. Comprehensive engagement with stakeholders is embedded throughout the whole project to embrace the multi‐actor approach. Overall, the project will be a key step towards future‐proofing our food system on the island of Ireland and moving towards protecting planetary and population health, within the context of a just transition.
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) I is an important component of intracellular antigen presentation. However, improper expression of MHC I upon the cell surface has been associated with several autoimmune diseases. Myositis is a rare acquired autoimmune disease which targets skeletal muscle, and MHC I overexpression on the surface of muscle fibres and immune cell infiltration are clinical hallmarks. MHC I overexpression may have an important pathogenic role, mediated by the activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. Given the evidence that muscle is a diverse source of cytokines, we aimed to investigate whether MHC I overexpression can modify the profile of muscle‐derived cytokines and what role the ER stress pathway may play. Using C2C12 myoblasts we overexpressed MHC I with a H‐2kb vector in the presence or absence of salubrinal an ER stress pathway modifying compound. MHC I overexpression induced ER stress pathway activation and elevated cytokine gene expression. MHC I overexpression caused significant release of cytokines and chemokines, which was attenuated in the presence of salubrinal. Conditioned media from MHC I overexpressing cells induced in vitro T‐cell chemotaxis, atrophy of healthy myotubes and modified mitochondrial function, features which were attenuated in the presence of salubrinal. Collectively, these data suggest that MHC I overexpression can induce pro‐inflammatory cytokine/chemokine release from C2C12 myoblasts, a process which appears to be mediated in‐part by the ER stress pathway.
Cuttlefish are an important global fisheries resource, and their demand is placing increasing pressure on populations in many areas, necessitating conservation measures. We reviewed evidence from case studies spanning Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia encompassing diverse intervention methods (fisheries closures, protected areas, habitat restoration, fishing-gear modifications, promoting egg survival, and restocking), and we also discuss the effects of pollution on cuttlefish. We conclude: (1) spatio-temporal closures need to encompass substantial portions of a species’ range and protect at least one major part of their life cycle; (2) fishing-gear modifications have the potential to reduce unwanted cuttlefish capture, but more comprehensive trials are needed; (3) egg survival can be improved by diverting and salvaging from traps; (4) existing lab rearing and restocking may not produce financially viable results; and (5) fisheries management policies should be regularly reviewed in light of rapid changes in cuttlefish stock status. Further, citizen science can provide data to reduce uncertainty in empirical assessments. The information synthesized in this review will guide managers and stakeholders to implement regulations and conservation initiatives that increase the productivity and sustainability of fisheries interacting with cuttlefish, and highlights gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed.
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Peter Dockery
  • Department of Anatomy
Maura Farrell
  • School of Geography and Archaeology
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