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Newcastle University

Newcastle University

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2,943 Projects, page 1 of 589
  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation Project Code: G0701632
    Funder Contribution: 149,934 GBP

    Autoimmune Addison`s disease is a chronic disease caused by the body`s immune system attacking and eventually destroying the adrenal glands. This causes deficiency of certain steroid hormones that are essential for life and wellbeing, which the healthy adrenal glands normally produce. The current approach to treating Addison`s disease is simply to replace the missing adrenal steroid hormones using tablets. This makes people feel better, but often not fully back to normal and leaves them chronically dependent upon steroid medications (2 or 3 doses daily), with several long-term side effects, as well as a reduced life-expectancy. We plan a radical new approach to treatment of Addison`s disease, which is to try to switch off the immune system, so the attack on the adrenal glands ceases. We will use a safe but powerful treatment called rituximab that removes a certain type of immune cell, called the B lymphocyte, from the bloodstream and tissues. This treatment has been used on more than a million people with blood conditions over the last 10 years, and is given as two 4-hour infusions, 14 days apart. The results of rituximab therapy in several other autoimmune disease show great promise, with substantial amelioration of disease. As adrenal tissue is already known to have a great capacity for regeneration, it is highly likely that the remaining (not destroyed) adrenal cells will regenerate, restoring the secretion of the vital steroid hormones to normal, once the immune attack has gone. The body naturally makes an adrenal gland stimulating hormone, ACTH-adrenocorticotropic hormone, when adrenal secretions are deficient or below the necessary levels. People with Addison`s have very high levels of ACTH, and this would cause the regeneration of the adrenal glands once the immune attack has been removed. This strategy could lead to a permanent cure of autoimmune Addison s disease, for the first time.

  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation Project Code: G0900652
    Funder Contribution: 352,528 GBP

    Neurological disorders such as Alzheimer?s disease and psychiatric disorders such as major depression affect large numbers of individuals in the UK and represent some of the major health burdens in developed countries. For example Alzheimer?s affects over 400,000 people in the UK and the numbers of people with the disorder are expected to rise substantially in coming years. Whilst considerable advances have been made in our understanding of disorders that affect brain function, we still need to identify the underlying causes so that we can find new treatments. Collection of brain tissue from donors at death represents one of the very few ways that we can investigate the development of psychiatric and degenerative disorders. It is not generally possible to take brain tissue from live donors and animal models can only mimic certain aspects of the human disorder. Post mortem tissue research is therefore our best avenue to understanding. By studying such tissue samples it is possible to identify the changes that give rise to conditions such as Alzheimer?s disease, Parkinson?s disease, depression and motor neurone disease. This project aims to collect brain tissue from donors from as wide as possible a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders for distribution to both the national and international research community through a wide network managed in collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council. This will ensure that as many research projects as possible can be undertaken on the samples thereby increasing the opportunities for identifying treatments for these disorders. This will be complemented by the collection of tissue from normal individuals of a similar age so that comparisons can be made. All donors will have been seen in a recognised specialist clinic and will have agreed to donate tissue before their death, having been informed of all procedures. Next of kin and other involved parties will be included in these discussions. The project has already received formal Ethical Approval and we have been making this type of request to patients and their families for many years without experiencing any adverse reactions. Indeed most people find this a welcome opportunity to contribute to an important research effort. Our long term aim is to contribute as widely as possible to the national programme of brain research into neurological and psychiatric disorders and advance our understanding of the causes of these disorders, with the long term aim of identifying treatments.

  • Funder: UK Research and Innovation Project Code: 2384880

    Emergent engineering techniques, such as 3D printed steel, present potential benefits to both manufacturing and society as a whole. Such techniques represent ways to accomplish feats which are impossible using classical techniques. For example, 3D printed metals are able to create complex geometric features which are impossible to fabricate otherwise. As these technologies are new, there is limited understanding in how the resultant engineering systems behave and as such present challenges which are statistical in nature. Thus, a great deal of impact may be achieved by developing a suitable statistical methodology for these emergent techniques. In this thesis I will be using a number of carefully designed case studies to develop an appropriate uncertainty quantification (UQ) approach for a complex engineering simulation of a 3D printed bridge. The printing was conducted by welding layers of stainless steel into the desired geometry. Many factors are at play in a welding process as the metal is heated and applied to a surface. The heating and cooling of steels have a profound effect on its material properties. In addition to this, welding machines do not produce consistent, regular welds. As such, the geometry and material properties will both vary throughout a given structure. This variation can't be simply quantified as a given model and as such it is appropriate to consider these variations as stochastic processes.

  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 716980
    Overall Budget: 1,485,640 EURFunder Contribution: 1,485,640 EUR

    This proposal aims to create a new generation of security assurance. It investigates whether one can certify an inter-connected dynamically changing system in such a way that one can prove its security properties without disclosing sensitive information about the system's blueprint. This has several compelling advantages. First, the security of large-scale dynamically changing systems will be significantly improved. Second, we can prove properties of topologies, hosts and users who participate in transactions in one go, while keeping sensitive information confidential. Third, we can prove the integrity of graph data structures to others, while maintaining their their confidentiality. This will benefit EU governments and citizens through the increased security of critical systems. The proposal pursues the main research hypothesis that usable confidentiality-preserving security assurance will trigger a paradigm shift in security and dependability. It will pursue this objective by the creation of new cryptographic techniques to certify and prove properties of graph data structures. A preliminary investigation in 2015 showed that graph signature schemes are indeed feasible. The essence of this solution can be traced back to my earlier research on highly efficient attribute encodings for anonymous credential schemes in 2008. However, the invention of graph signature schemes only clears one obstacle in a long journey to create a new generation of security assurance systems. There are still many complex obstacles, first and foremost, assuring "soundness" in the sense that integrity proofs a verifier accepts translate to the state of the system at that time. The work program involves six WPs: 1) to develop graph signatures and new cryptographic primitives; 2) to establish cross-system soundness; 3) to handle scale and change; 4) to establish human trust and usability; 5) to create new architectures; and 6) to test prototypes in practice.

  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 886525
    Overall Budget: 252,802 EURFunder Contribution: 252,802 EUR

    The development of water-smart cities is one of the societal challenges of the EU. Urban water management is facing many challenges: urbanization, climate variability and water stress. Innovative solutions are required, such as urban stormwater reuse to enhance groundwater supplies. Stormwater contaminated with various substances could threaten valuable groundwater resources. Polar trace organic chemicals (TOrC) are of emerging concern as they are highly mobile in soil and data on the contamination risks are still scarce. Thus, a precautionary treatment is essential to improve stormwater quality prior to groundwater recharge. The StormTre project assesses the risks associated with TOrC in stormwater and their control with emerging, low-cost biochar systems. The project will be achieved through three tasks: i) field monitoring and risk assessment of TOrCs, ii) laboratory based treatment tests for challenging conditions, and iii) development of a forecasting model. The results will quantify the unknown risk associated with TOrC in stormwater – an important knowledge gap for stormwater reuse. The project will lead to design and operation recommendations for safe groundwater recharge. Hosted at Stanford University in the outgoing phase, Dr. Lena Mutzner (LM) will study water reuse systems in a stimulating environment, where water scarcity drives innovation towards water-smart cities. LM will enhance her skills in chemical analysis and deepen her knowledge in contaminant occurrence and treatment. In the return phase at Newcastle University, LM will be integrated in UK’s outdoor National Green Infrastructure Laboratory team, where she will be trained in microbial analysis and complement her scientific profile with biological process modelling knowledge. The unique combination of multi-disciplinary expertise gained will significantly enhance her career prospective towards building her own research group in the field of water quality and water reuse.


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