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ChesterRep is the University of Chester's institutional repository and an online platform designed to collate, store, and aid discoverability of research carried out at the university to the wider research community

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  • Pencil it in: Exploring the Feasibility of Hand-Drawn Pencil Electrochemical Sensors and their Direct Comparison to Screen-Printed Electrodes

    Bernalte, Elena; Foster, Christopher W.; Brownson, Dale A. C.; Mosna, Morgane; Smith, Graham C.; Banks, Craig; Manchester Metropolitan University; Universidad de Extremadura; University of Chester (MDPI, 2016-08-29)
    We explore the fabrication, physicochemical characterisation (SEM, Raman, EDX and XPS) and electrochemical application of hand-drawn pencil electrodes (PDEs) upon an ultra-flexible polyester substrate; investigating the number of draws (used for their fabrication), the pencil grade utilised (HB to 9B) and the electrochemical properties of an array of batches (i.e, pencil boxes). Electrochemical characterisation of the PDEs, using different batches of HB grade pencils, is undertaken using several inner- and outer-sphere redox probes and is critically compared to screen-printed electrodes (SPEs). Proof-of-concept is demonstrated for the electrochemical sensing of dopamine and acetaminophen using PDEs, which are found to exhibit competitive limits of detection (3σ) upon comparison to SPEs. Nonetheless, it is important to note that a clear lack of reproducibility was demonstrated when utilising these PDEs fabricated using the HB pencils from different batches. We also explore the suitability and feasibility of a pencil-drawn reference electrode compared to screen-printed alternatives, to see if one can draw the entire sensing platform. This article reports a critical assessment of these PDEs against that of its screen-printed competitors, questioning the overall feasibility of PDEs’ implementation as a sensing platform
  • Building Compassion Capacity: Chester Retold and Storyhouse, a Case Study

    Pollard, Eileen; University of Chester (Edinburgh Napier University in collaboration with Aston University, the Universities of Dundee and Auckland, 2018-09-25)
    This article is a case study of a level five experiential learning module that I designed and taught at the University of Chester in the summer term of 2018 in collaboration with the city’s innovative new arts hub, Storyhouse. As a case study, it will demonstrate how ‘compassion’ can be placed at the heart of module design within Higher Education Arts and Humanities teaching, as well as how compassionate practice can emerge organically from innovation.
  • Brexit, Babylon and Prophecy: Semiotics of the End Times

    Knowles, Steve; University of Chester (MDPI, 2018-12-03)
    This article examines the predilection some Christian premillennialist preachers and teachers have with the semiotic association of geopolitics and biblical prophecy concerning the end times. This was epitomised in the run up to the United Kingdom’s referendum on continued membership of the European Union in June 2016. Since its inception, many premillennialists have interpreted the European Union as the place where the Antichrist emerges. Material objects associated with the European Union such as architecture, sculptures, currency and even posters, have been routinely highlighted as providing clear signs of the coming eschaton. Prophetic links between the European Union and satanic agencies, purported to be behind the ambition for an expanding European confederacy, ensured that many premillennialists voted to leave the European Union or were advised to do so in light of such prophetic signifiers. Utilising Webb Keane’s notion of representational economies, I argue that a premillennialist representational economy drives the search for signs in the everyday, and specifically those associated with the European Union. In this case, such semiotic promiscuity ratified the need to leave the European Union.
  • In-depth synthetic, physicochemical and in vitro biological investigation of a new ternary V(IV) antioxidant material based on curcumin.

    Halevas, E; Papadopoulos, T A; Swanson, C H; Smith, G C; Hatzidimitriou, A; Katsipis, G; Pantazaki, A; Sanakis, I; Mitrikas, G; Ypsilantis, K; Litsardakis, G; Salifoglou, A; email: salif@auth.gr (2018-11-06)
    Curcumin is a natural product with a broad spectrum of beneficial properties relating to pharmaceutical applications, extending from traditional remedies to modern cosmetics. The biological activity of such pigments, however, is limited by their solubility and bioavailability, thereby necessitating new ways of achieving optimal tissue cellular response and efficacy as drugs. Metal ion complexation provides a significant route toward improvement of curcumin stability and biological activity, with vanadium being a representative such metal ion, amply encountered in biological systems and exhibiting exogenous bioactivity through potential pharmaceuticals. Driven by the need to optimally increase curcumin bioavailability and bioactivity through complexation, synthetic efforts were launched to seek out stable species, ultimately leading to the synthesis and isolation of a new ternary V(IV)-curcumin-(2,2'-bipyridine) complex. Physicochemical characterization (elemental analysis, FT-IR, Thermogravimetry (TGA), UV-Visible, NMR, ESI-MS, Fluorescence, X-rays) portrayed the solid-state and solution properties of the ternary complex. Pulsed-EPR spectroscopy, in frozen solutions, suggested the presence of two species, cis- and trans-conformers. Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations revealed the salient features and energetics of the two conformers, thereby complementing EPR spectroscopy. The well-described profile of the vanadium species led to its in vitro biological investigation involving toxicity, cell metabolism inhibition in S. cerevisiae cultures, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)-suppressing capacity, lipid peroxidation, and plasmid DNA degradation. A multitude of bio-assays and methodologies, in comparison to free curcumin, showed that it exhibits its antioxidant potential in a concentration-dependent fashion, thereby formulating a bioreactivity profile supporting development of new efficient vanado-pharmaceuticals, targeting (extra)intra-cellular processes under (patho)physiological conditions. [Abstract copyright: Crown Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]
  • Connect 4: A Novel Paradigm to Elicit Positive and Negative Insight and Search Problem Solving.

    Hill, Gillian; Kemp, Shelly M (2018-10-25)
    Researchers have typically defined insight as a sudden new idea or understanding accompanied by an emotional feeling of Aha. Recently, examples of negative insight in everyday creative problem solving have been identified. These are seen as sudden and sickening moments of realization experienced as an Uh-oh rather than Aha. However, such experiences have yet to be explored from an experimental perspective. One barrier to doing so is that methods to elicit insight in the laboratory are constrained to positive insight. This study therefore aimed to develop a novel methodology that elicits both positive and negative insight solving, and additionally provides the contrasting experiences of analytic search solving in the same controlled conditions. The game of Connect 4 was identified as having the potential to produce these experiences, with each move representing a solving episode (where best to place the counter). Eighty participants played six games of Connect 4 against a computer and reported each move as being a product of positive search, positive insight, negative search or negative insight. Phenomenological ratings were then collected to provide validation of the experiences elicited. The results demonstrated that playing Connect 4 saw reporting of insight and search experiences that were both positive and negative, with the majority of participants using all four solving types. Phenomenological ratings suggest that these reported experiences were comparable to those elicited by existing laboratory methods focused on positive insight. This establishes the potential for Connect 4 to be used in future problem solving research as a reliable elicitation tool of insight and search experiences for both positive and negative solving. Furthermore, Connect 4 may be seen to offer more true to life solving experiences than other paradigms where a series of problems are solved working toward an overall superordinate goal rather than the presentation of stand-alone and un-related problems. Future work will need to look to develop versions of Connect 4 with greater control in order to fully utilize this methodology for creative problem solving research in experimental psychology and neuroscience contexts.

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