Nottingham Trent University
Country: United Kingdom
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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G055769/1
    Funder Contribution: 152,509 GBP
    Partners: NTU

    The rapid development of fabrication technology for small electronic structures allows us now tostudy systems with dimensions of a few nanometres (nanodevices). At these scales the wave nature of electronsbecomes important and so their behaviour is described by quantum mechanics. Another essential feature of many nanodevices is an inevitable presence of imperfections or disorder. Therefore the statistical description is most appropriate in this situation. Statistical properties of quantum systems containing different kind of disorder isthe subject of the theory of disordered quantum systems. Developed initially to study electronic properties of solids, it was applied later to other areas of physics, in which interplay between interference effects and disorder is essential. Among them, for instance, are light propagation in disordered media or physics of ultra cold atomic gases.One of the most powerful tools in the theory of disordered quantum systems is the field-theoretical approach.Originated in high-energy physics, the approach plays an increasingly important role in the modern condensed matter theory. In particular, its application to disordered quantum systems was extremely successful. In spite of this, a number of fundamental problems in the field resisted rigorous understanding.One of the central problems of that kind is the Anderson localization phenomenon. In 1958, P. W. Andersonconjectured that the diffusive propagation of an electron subject to a random potential can be completelysuppressed due to the destructive interference effects. Despite its long history and many important insights obtained, a rigorous theory of Anderson localization in dimensions D>1 is still lacking. The issue attracts a lot of interest from physicists and mathematicians. Indeed, it will be the subject of a forthcoming six-month programme ``Mathematics and Physics of Anderson localization: 50 Years After'' at the Isaac Newton Institutein Cambridge.The goal of this project is to develop novel field-theoretical techniques allowing to solve various problems in the field of quantum disordered systems. Application of those techniques to particular systems, such as, for example, the multidimensional Anderson model, should improve significantly our understanding of the properties of quantum disordered systems, both in the localized and the critical regimes.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/G001898/1
    Funder Contribution: 264,777 GBP
    Partners: NTU

    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: NE/P000916/1
    Funder Contribution: 60,998 GBP
    Partners: NTU

    The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus is globally ubiquitous in the environment, being present on decaying vegetation and in soils, where it performs a valuable role in nutrient recycling. The fungus is a minimal health threat to healthy individuals. However, patients that suffer from cystic fibrosis, cancer or have received organ transplants and are undergoing corticosteroid therapy, are at risk from 'invasive aspergillosis'. Current estimates indicate that over 63,000 patients develop this fungal disease annually across Europe. The primary method for controlling infections is by administering azole antifungal drugs. However, we and others have shown a sharp increase in the resistance of A. fumigatus to frontline azole antifungals, with unacceptably high mortality rates in these at-risk patient groups. The mutations that confer resistance of A. fumigatus to these drugs appear to have evolved in the environment, rather than in the patient. Azole compounds are also used as fungicides to control crop diseases. This has led to the hypothesis that the widespread use in agricultural crops of azole antifungal sprays is leading to the environmental selection for resistance in A. fumigatus, which is then resulting in decreased patient survival following infection. Our project aims to examine this hypothesis by determining the relative proportions of azole-resistant and azole-sensitive A. fumigatus in the UK by sampling environmental populations using growth media containing antifungal drugs. This environmental exposure assessment approach will target environments that have had high to low applications of crop-antifungals and will enable us to statistically examine whether there are links between the intensive use of these azole-based compounds in the environment and the occurrence of drug-resistant A. fumigatus. We will then use powerful technologies to sequence the genomes of many hundreds of A. fumigatus that are sensitive, or resistant, to azole antifungals. We already have numerous isolates pre-collected from around the world though a broad network of project partners, and we now know that there are two main azole-resistance mutations that widely occur. Our plan is to use our genome sequences and cutting-edge statistical genetic methods in order to determine when and where these mutations originated globally, use our newly isolated samples to test whether they occur within the UK environment and patient populations, whether they are spreading to invade new environments here and elsewhere, and whether novel undescribed resistance mutations exist. A. fumigatus is capable of sexual, as well as asexual, reproduction. In this case, the rate at which a newly-evolved resistance mutation can be integrated into new genetic backgrounds depends on the fertility of the A. fumigatus populations. In order to directly measure the 'sexiness' of the A. fumigatus populations, we will therefore perform sexual crosses using sequenced isolates that represent not only the range of genetic diversity that we encounter, but also the range of azole-resistance mutations. By measuring the number and fitness of progeny, we will be able to determine the rate at which resistance mutations can recombine into new genetic backgrounds, and also discover unknown drug-resistance mechanisms. By addressing these questions, we will directly measure the risk that the use of antifungal compounds has on evolving resistance in non-target fungal species, and also answer important questions on the distance that these airborne fungi are able to spread and share genes with one another. Our findings will not only be of high relevance to health care professionals, directly informing diagnostic protocols and disease management in intensive-care settings, but will also inform current debates on the costs of widespread use of antimicrobial compounds in the environment. These goals all directly feed into NERCs new strategic direction 'The Business of the Environment'.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 2284470
    Partners: NTU

    University of Nottingham's Creative energy Homes has multi-vector smart energy system at the Universities. The following Hydrogen infrastructure is Included in the facility - electricity grid linked Electrolyser, McPhy H2 Store and Fuel Cell. This research will build upon significant existing investment that created a unique research facility.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/T008482/1
    Funder Contribution: 596,827 GBP
    Partners: NTU

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing problem in many types of bacteria which cause disease (pathogens) in animals and humans. Salmonella is an important bacterial pathogen of both, and often causes gastrointestinal infections which may sometimes progress to more serious and life-threatening disease. It can spread from infected farm animals to humans through the food chain. Intensively farmed food animals such as poultry and pigs are an important source of Salmonella, and the use of antibiotics in these animals over many years has been associated with the development of new strains of this bacterium which are resistant to antibiotics. This means that infections in animals and humans are more difficult to treat, which may result in more serious infections occurring over time, particularly in vulnerable groups such as the elderly, or those with poor immunity. There is an urgent need to find alternatives to antibiotics which are more sustainable. This project will investigate the use of bacteriophage as a biological control against strains of Salmonella which infect pigs. Bacteriophage, often contracted to 'phage', are viruses which infect and kill bacteria. They are quite specific, only affecting the targeted bacterial species while leaving other bacteria, which may be beneficial, unharmed. Unlike other viruses, phages do not infect the cells of animals or humans and can be found widely in the environment. We plan to use phages to selectively kill strains of Salmonella strains which infect pigs and have the potential to be transmitted through the food chain to consumers. These phages, when used individually or in combination, have the potential to be a natural and sustainable alternative to antibiotics, and may also result in new treatments for antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in other animals and potentially humans as well. The effective application of phage therapy will require a thorough understanding of phage-bacteria interactions in a range of environments. This project will use laboratory experiments and computer simulations (machine learning) to build a comprehensive understanding of how phages infect Salmonella under different conditions. This information will then be used to design protocols for the optimal use of phage therapy to treat experimental Salmonella infections in pigs.