• 18 Years of Medication-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (MRONJ) Research: Where Are We Now?—An Umbrella Review

      Sacco, Roberto; orcid: 0000-0002-8413-1053; email: roberto.sacco@manchester.ac.uk; Calasans-Maia, Monica Diuana; orcid: 0000-0001-5759-7926; email: monicacalasansmaia@gmail.com; Woolley, Julian; orcid: 0000-0001-7879-8815; email: julianwoolley@gmail.com; Akintola, Oladapo; email: dapoakintola@nhs.net; de Almeida Barros Mourão, Carlos Fernando; orcid: 0000-0001-5775-0222; email: mouraocf@gmail.com; Moraschini, Vittorio; email: vitt.mf@gmail.com; Kushnerev, Evgeny; email: evgeny.kushnerev@manchester.ac.uk; Acocella, Alessandro; email: alessandroacocella@yahoo.it; Obisesan, Olamide; email: oobisesan@nhs.net; Yates, Julian; email: julian.yates@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-09-23)
      Background: Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a condition affecting patients exposed to medications used to treat benign and malignant conditions of bone tissue. Many studies have highlighted that ONJ is a severe condition, which is very challenging to manage, especially in individuals with oncologic disease. The aim of this umbrella review is to analyze all available interventional and non-interventional systematic reviews published on medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) and summarize this evidence. Material and methods: A multi-database search (PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL) was performed to identify related multi-language papers published from January 2003 until June 2021. An additional manual search was also performed in systematic review registries (PROSPERO, INPLASY, JBI and OFS) to identify possible missing reviews. Data were extracted from relevant papers and analyzed according to the outcomes selected in this review. Results: The search generated 25 systematic reviews eligible for the analysis. The total number of patients included in the analysis was 80,840. Of the reviews, 64% (n = 16) were non-interventional and 36% (n = 9) were interventional. Study designs included case series 20.50% (n = 140), retrospective cohort studies 12.30% (n = 84) and case reports 12.20% (n = 83). It was unclear what study design was used for 277 studies included in the 25 systematic reviews. Conclusions: The data reviewed confirmed that the knowledge underpinning MRONJ in the last 20 years is still based on weak evidence. This umbrella review highlighted a widespread low-level quality of studies and many poorly designed reviews.
    • A Case Study of a Negotiated Tender within a Small-to-Medium Construction Contractor: Modelling Project Cost Variance

      Ellis, James; email: james_ellis1998@me.com; Edwards, David John; email: drdavidedwards@aol.com; Thwala, Wellington Didibhuku; email: didi-bhukut@uj.ac.za; Ejohwomu, Obuks; orcid: 0000-0001-7098-8999; email: obuks.ejohwomu@manchester.ac.uk; Ameyaw, Ernest Effah; email: ernest.ameyaw@northumbria.ac.uk; Shelbourn, Mark; email: mark.shelbourn@bcu.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-06-18)
      This research explores the failure of competitively tendered projects in the UK construction industry to procure the most suited contractor(s) to conduct the works. Such work may have equal relevance for other developed nations globally. This research seeks to teach clients and their representatives that “lowest price” does not mean “best value”, by presenting a case study of a successfully negotiated tender undertaken by a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) contractor; SME studies are relatively scant in academic literature. By applying the “lessons learnt” principle, this study seeks to improve future practice through the development of a novel alternative procurement option (i.e., negotiation). A mixed philosophical stance combining interpretivism and pragmatism was used—interpretivism to critically review literature in order to form the basis of inductive research to discuss negotiation as a viable procurement route, and pragmatism to analyse perceptions of tendering and procurement. The methods used follow a three-stage waterfall process including: (1) literature review and pilot study; (2) quantitative analysis of case study data; and (3) qualitative data collection via a focus group. Our research underscores the need to advise clients and their representatives of the importance of understanding the scope of works allowed within a tender submission before discounting it based solely on price. In addition, we highlight the failings of competitive tendering, which results in increased costs and project duration once the works commence on site. These findings provide new contemporary insight into procurement and tendering in the construction industry, with emphasis on SME contractors, existing relationships, and open-book negotiation. This research illustrates the adverse effects of early cost estimates produced without first securing a true understanding of project buildability and programming. Our work concludes with a novel insight into an alternative procurement option that involves early SME contractor involvement in an open-book environment, without the need for a third-party cost control.
    • A Comparative Assessment of Machine-Learning Techniques for Forest Degradation Caused by Selective Logging in an Amazon Region Using Multitemporal X-Band SAR Images

      Kuck, Tahisa Neitzel; orcid: 0000-0003-0952-7055; email: tahisa@ieav.cta.br; Sano, Edson Eyji; orcid: 0000-0001-5760-556X; email: edson.sano@embrapa.br; Bispo, Polyanna da Conceição; orcid: 0000-0003-0247-8449; email: polyanna.bispo@manchester.ac.uk; Shiguemori, Elcio Hideiti; orcid: 0000-0001-5226-0435; email: elcio@ieav.cta.br; Silva Filho, Paulo Fernando Ferreira; orcid: 0000-0003-0556-3470; email: silvafilho@ieav.cta.br; Matricardi, Eraldo Aparecido Trondoli; email: ematricardi@unb.br (MDPI, 2021-08-24)
      The near-real-time detection of selective logging in tropical forests is essential to support actions for reducing CO2 emissions and for monitoring timber extraction from forest concessions in tropical regions. Current operating systems rely on optical data that are constrained by persistent cloud-cover conditions in tropical regions. Synthetic aperture radar data represent an alternative to this technical constraint. This study aimed to evaluate the performance of three machine learning algorithms applied to multitemporal pairs of COSMO-SkyMed images to detect timber exploitation in a forest concession located in the Jamari National Forest, Rondônia State, Brazilian Amazon. The studied algorithms included random forest (RF), AdaBoost (AB), and multilayer perceptron artificial neural network (MLP-ANN). The geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) of logged trees and the LiDAR point clouds before and after selective logging were used as ground truths. The best results were obtained when the MLP-ANN was applied with 50 neurons in the hidden layer, using the ReLu activation function and SGD weight optimizer, presenting 88% accuracy both for the pair of images used for training (images acquired in June and October) of the network and in the generalization test, applied on a second dataset (images acquired in January and June). This study showed that X-band SAR images processed by applying machine learning techniques can be accurately used for detecting selective logging activities in the Brazilian Amazon.
    • A Comprehensive Review of the Composition, Nutritional Value, and Functional Properties of Camel Milk Fat

      Bakry, Ibrahim A.; email: ibrahimbakry@zu.edu.eg; Yang, Lan; email: sunnylan07@126.com; Farag, Mohamed A.; orcid: 0000-0001-5139-1863; email: mohamed.alifarag@aucegypt.edu; Korma, Sameh A.; orcid: 0000-0001-8385-2599; email: sameh.hosny@zu.edu.eg; Khalifa, Ibrahim; orcid: 0000-0002-7648-2961; email: Ibrahiem.khalifa@fagr.bu.edu.eg; Cacciotti, Ilaria; orcid: 0000-0002-3478-6510; email: ilaria.cacciotti@unicusano.it; Ziedan, Noha I.; email: n.ziedan@chester.ac.uk; Jin, Jun; email: wangxg1002@gmail.com; Jin, Qingzhe; email: jqzwuxi@163.com; Wei, Wei; orcid: 0000-0001-7836-7812; email: weiw@jiangnan.edu.cn; et al. (MDPI, 2021-09-13)
      Recently, camel milk (CM) has been considered as a health-promoting icon due to its medicinal and nutritional benefits. CM fat globule membrane has numerous health-promoting properties, such as anti-adhesion and anti-bacterial properties, which are suitable for people who are allergic to cow’s milk. CM contains milk fat globules with a small size, which accounts for their rapid digestion. Moreover, it also comprises lower amounts of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids concurrent with higher levels of essential fatty acids than cow milk, with an improved lipid profile manifested by reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. In addition, it is rich in phospholipids, especially plasmalogens and sphingomyelin, suggesting that CM fat may meet the daily nutritional requirements of adults and infants. Thus, CM and its dairy products have become more attractive for consumers. In view of this, we performed a comprehensive review of CM fat’s composition and nutritional properties. The overall goal is to increase knowledge related to CM fat characteristics and modify its unfavorable perception. Future studies are expected to be directed toward a better understanding of CM fat, which appears to be promising in the design and formulation of new products with significant health-promoting benefits.
    • A Double-Level Model Checking Approach for an Agent-Based Autonomous Vehicle and Road Junction Regulations

      Alves, Gleifer Vaz; orcid: 0000-0002-5937-8193; email: gleifer@utfpr.edu.br; Dennis, Louise; orcid: 0000-0003-1426-1896; email: louise.dennis@manchester.ac.uk; Fisher, Michael; orcid: 0000-0002-0875-3862; email: michael.fisher@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-06-25)
      Usually, the design of an Autonomous Vehicle (AV) does not take into account traffic rules and so the adoption of these rules can bring some challenges, e.g., how to come up with a Digital Highway Code which captures the proper behaviour of an AV against the traffic rules and at the same time minimises changes to the existing Highway Code? Here, we formally model and implement three Road Junction rules (from the UK Highway Code). We use timed automata to model the system and the MCAPL (Model Checking Agent Programming Language) framework to implement an agent and its environment. We also assess the behaviour of our agent according to the Road Junction rules using a double-level Model Checking technique, i.e., UPPAAL at the design level and AJPF (Agent Java PathFinder) at the development level. We have formally verified 30 properties (18 with UPPAAL and 12 with AJPF), where these properties describe the agent’s behaviour against the three Road Junction rules using a simulated traffic scenario, including artefacts like traffic signs and road users. In addition, our approach aims to extract the best from the double-level verification, i.e., using time constraints in UPPAAL timed automata to determine thresholds for the AVs actions and tracing the agent’s behaviour by using MCAPL, in a way that one can tell when and how a given Road Junction rule was selected by the agent. This work provides a proof-of-concept for the formal verification of AV behaviour with respect to traffic rules.
    • A Eulerian–Lagrangian Coupled Method for the Simulation of Submerged Granular Column Collapse

      Wang, Chun; email: chunwang@sjtu.edu.cn; Ye, Guanlin; email: ygl@sjtu.edu.cn; Meng, Xiannan; email: xiannan.meng@manchester.ac.uk; Wang, Yongqi; orcid: 0000-0003-1292-0384; email: wang@fdy.tu-darmstadt.de; Peng, Chong; email: pengchong07@gmail.com (MDPI, 2021-06-03)
      A two-fluid Eulerian–Lagrangian coupled model is developed to investigate the complex interactions between solid particles and the ambient water during the process of submerged granular column collapse. In this model, the water phase is considered to be a Newtonian fluid, whereas the granular column is modeled as an elastic–perfectly plastic material. The water flow field is calculated by the mesh-based Eulerian Finite Volume Method (FVM), with the free surface captured by the Volume-of-Fluid (VOF) technique. The large deformation of the granular material is simulated by the mesh-free, particle-based Lagrangian Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics method (SPH). Information transfer between Eulerian nodes and Lagrangian particles is performed by the aid of the SPH interpolation function. Both dry and submerged granular column collapses are simulated with the proposed model. Experiments of the submerged cases are also conducted for comparison. Effects of dilatancy (compaction) of initially dense (loose) packing granular columns on the mixture dynamics are investigated to reveal the mechanisms of different flow regimes. Pore water pressure field and granular velocity field are in good agreement between our numerical results and experimental observations, which demonstrates the capability of the proposed Eulerian–Lagrangian coupled method in dealing with complex submerged water–granular mixture flows.
    • A Global Survey of Current Zoo Housing and Husbandry Practices for Fossa: A Preliminary Review

      Harley, Jessica J.; orcid: 0000-0002-9355-9641; email: 1914124@chester.ac.uk; O’Hara, Lisa; email: education@taytopark.ie; Rose, Paul E.; orcid: 0000-0002-5375-8267; email: p.rose@exeter.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-20)
      The fossa is a specialized Malagasy carnivore housed in ex situ facilities since the late 19th century. Moderate breeding success has occurred since the 1970s, and welfare issues (notably stereotypic pacing behaviour) are commonly documented. To understand challenges relating to fossa housing and husbandry (H) across global facilities and to identify areas of good practice that dovetail with available husbandry standards, a survey was distributed to ZIMS-registered zoos in 2017. Results showed that outdoor housing area and volume varied greatly across facilities, the majority of fossa expressed unnatural behaviours, with pacing behaviour the most frequently observed. All fossa received enrichment, and most had public access restricted to one or two sides of the enclosure. The majority of fossa were locked in/out as part of their daily management and forty-one percent of the fossa surveyed as breeding individuals bred at the zoo. Dense cover within an enclosure, restricted public viewing areas, a variable feeding schedule and limited view of another species from the fossa exhibit appear to reduce the risk of unnatural behavior being performed. The achievement of best practice fossa husbandry may be a challenge due to its specialized ecology, the limited wild information guiding captive care, and the range of housing dimensions and exhibit features provided by zoos that makes identification of standardized practices difficult. We recommended that holders evaluate how and when enrichment is provided and assess what they are providing for environmental complexity as well as consider how the public views their fossa.
    • A Multiple Level-of-Detail 3D Data Transmission Approach for Low-Latency Remote Visualisation in Teleoperation Tasks

      Pacheco-Gutierrez, Salvador; orcid: 0000-0001-6575-1348; email: salvador.pacheco-gutierrez@ukaea.uk; Niu, Hanlin; orcid: 0000-0003-0457-0871; email: hanlin.niu@manchester.ac.uk; Caliskanelli, Ipek; orcid: 0000-0002-2641-3570; email: ipek.caliskanelli@ukaea.uk; Skilton, Robert; orcid: 0000-0003-1076-906X; email: robert.skilton@ukaea.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-14)
      In robotic teleoperation, the knowledge of the state of the remote environment in real time is paramount. Advances in the development of highly accurate 3D cameras able to provide high-quality point clouds appear to be a feasible solution for generating live, up-to-date virtual environments. Unfortunately, the exceptional accuracy and high density of these data represent a burden for communications requiring a large bandwidth affecting setups where the local and remote systems are particularly geographically distant. This paper presents a multiple level-of-detail (LoD) compression strategy for 3D data based on tree-like codification structures capable of compressing a single data frame at multiple resolutions using dynamically configured parameters. The level of compression (resolution) of objects is prioritised based on: (i) placement on the scene; and (ii) the type of object. For the former, classical point cloud fitting and segmentation techniques are implemented; for the latter, user-defined prioritisation is considered. The results obtained are compared using a single LoD (whole-scene) compression technique previously proposed by the authors. Results showed a considerable improvement to the transmitted data size and updated frame rate while maintaining low distortion after decompression.
    • A Novel Averaging Principle Provides Insights in the Impact of Intratumoral Heterogeneity on Tumor Progression

      Hatzikirou, Haralampos; orcid: 0000-0002-1270-7885; email: haralampos.hatzikirou@ku.ac.ae; Kavallaris, Nikos I.; orcid: 0000-0002-9743-8636; email: n.kavallaris@chester.ac.uk; Leocata, Marta; orcid: 0000-0002-5261-3699; email: mleocata@luiss.it (MDPI, 2021-10-09)
      Typically stochastic differential equations (SDEs) involve an additive or multiplicative noise term. Here, we are interested in stochastic differential equations for which the white noise is nonlinearly integrated into the corresponding evolution term, typically termed as random ordinary differential equations (RODEs). The classical averaging methods fail to treat such RODEs. Therefore, we introduce a novel averaging method appropriate to be applied to a specific class of RODEs. To exemplify the importance of our method, we apply it to an important biomedical problem, in particular, we implement the method to the assessment of intratumoral heterogeneity impact on tumor dynamics. Precisely, we model gliomas according to a well-known Go or Grow (GoG) model, and tumor heterogeneity is modeled as a stochastic process. It has been shown that the corresponding deterministic GoG model exhibits an emerging Allee effect (bistability). In contrast, we analytically and computationally show that the introduction of white noise, as a model of intratumoral heterogeneity, leads to monostable tumor growth. This monostability behavior is also derived even when spatial cell diffusion is taken into account.
    • A Novel Ship Collision Avoidance Awareness Approach for Cooperating Ships Using Multi-Agent Deep Reinforcement Learning

      Chen, Chen; orcid: 0000-0003-1064-4961; email: chenchen0120@wit.edu.cn; Ma, Feng; orcid: 0000-0002-1357-3006; email: martin7wind@whut.edu.cn; Xu, Xiaobin; email: xuxiaobin1980@hdu.edu.cn; Chen, Yuwang; orcid: 0000-0002-2007-1821; email: Yu-wang.Chen@manchester.ac.uk; Wang, Jin; email: J.Wang@ljmu.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-09-25)
      Ships are special machineries with large inertias and relatively weak driving forces. Simulating the manual operations of manipulating ships with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques becomes more and more common, in which avoiding collisions in crowded waters may be the most challenging task. This research proposes a cooperative collision avoidance approach for multiple ships using a multi-agent deep reinforcement learning (MADRL) algorithm. Specifically, each ship is modeled as an individual agent, controlled by a Deep Q-Network (DQN) method and described by a dedicated ship motion model. Each agent observes the state of itself and other ships as well as the surrounding environment. Then, agents analyze the navigation situation and make motion decisions accordingly. In particular, specific reward function schemas are designed to simulate the degree of cooperation among agents. According to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs), three typical scenarios of simulation, which are head-on, overtaking and crossing, are established to validate the proposed approach. With sufficient training of MADRL, the ship agents were capable of avoiding collisions through cooperation in narrow crowded waters. This method provides new insights for bionic modeling of ship operations, which is of important theoretical and practical significance.
    • A Personal Tribute to Robert B. Sim with Reflections on Our Work Together on Factor H

      Day, Anthony J.; orcid: 0000-0002-1415-3134; email: anthony.day@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-06-28)
      Robert (Bob) Sim had a profound effect on almost every aspect of my approach to scientific research, acting as a mentor and moral compass through the many different stages of my career [...]
    • A Review of Passive and Active Ultra-Wideband Baluns for Use in Ground Penetrating Radar

      van Verre, Wouter; orcid: 0000-0003-3331-5140; email: wouter.vanverre@manchester.ac.uk; Podd, Frank J. W.; orcid: 0000-0002-5228-4602; email: frank.podd@manchester.ac.uk; Gao, Xianyang; orcid: 0000-0002-5682-811X; email: xianyang.gao@manchester.ac.uk; Daniels, David J.; orcid: 0000-0002-9103-2416; email: david.daniels@manchester.ac.uk; Peyton, Anthony J.; orcid: 0000-0002-5740-348X; email: a.peyton@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-05-13)
      Microwave ultra-wideband technology has been widely adopted in instrumentation and measurement systems, including ground-penetrating radar (GPR) sensors. Baluns are essential components in these systems to feed balanced antennas from unbalanced feed cables. Baluns are typically introduced to avoid issues with return signals, asymmetrical radiation patterns and radiation from cables. In GPR systems, these issues can cause poor sensitivity due to a reduction in radiated power, blind spots due to changes in the radiation pattern and additional clutter from common mode radiation. The different balun technologies currently available exhibit a wide variation in performance characteristics such as insertion loss, reflection coefficient and phase balance, as well as physical properties such as size and manufacturability. In this study, the performance of two magnetic transformer baluns, two tapered microstrip baluns and an active balun based on high-speed amplifiers were investigated, all up to frequencies of 6 GHz. A radio frequency current probe was used to measure the common mode currents on the feed cables that occur with poor performing baluns. It was found that commercially available magnetic transformer baluns have the best phase linearity, while also having the highest insertion losses. The active balun design has the best reflection coefficient at low frequencies, while, at high frequencies, its performance is similar to the other baluns tested. It was found that the active balun had the lowest common mode current on the feed cables.
    • A Review on Microcellular Injection Moulding

      Ding, Yifei; email: yifei.ding@manchester.ac.uk; Hassan, Mohammed H.; orcid: 0000-0002-0832-8559; email: Mohamed.hassan@manchester.ac.uk; Bakker, Otto; orcid: 0000-0002-1862-6955; email: ottojan.bakker@manchester.ac.uk; Hinduja, Srichand; email: sri.hinduja@manchester.ac.uk; Bártolo, Paulo; orcid: 0000-0003-3683-726X; email: paulojorge.dasilvabartolo@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-28)
      Microcellular injection moulding (MuCell®) is a polymer processing technology that uses a supercritical fluid inert gas, CO2 or N2, to produce light-weight products. Due to environmental pressures and the requirement of light-weight parts with good mechanical properties, this technology recently gained significant attention. However, poor surface appearance and limited mechanical properties still prevent the wide applications of this technique. This paper reviews the microcellular injection moulding process, main characteristics of the process, bubble nucleation and growth, and major recent developments in the field. Strategies to improve both the surface quality and mechanical properties are discussed in detail as well as the relationships between processing parameters, morphology, and surface and mechanical properties. Modelling approaches to simulate microcellular injection moulding and the mathematical models behind Moldex 3D and Moldflow, the two most commonly used software tools by industry and academia, are reviewed, and the main limitations are highlighted. Finally, future research perspectives to further develop this technology are also discussed.
    • A Three-Year Longitudinal Study Comparing Bone Mass, Density, and Geometry Measured by DXA, pQCT, and Bone Turnover Markers in Children with PKU Taking L-Amino Acid or Glycomacropeptide Protein Substitutes

      Daly, Anne; orcid: 0000-0003-2579-8699; email: a.daly3@nhs.net; Högler, Wolfgang; orcid: 0000-0003-4328-6304; email: wolfgang.hoegler@kepleruniklinikum.at; Crabtree, Nicola; email: nicola.crabtree@nhs.net; Shaw, Nick; email: nick.shaw@nhs.net; Evans, Sharon; orcid: 0000-0002-7654-3621; email: evanss.21@me.com; Pinto, Alex; email: alex.pinto@nhs.net; Jackson, Richard; email: r.j.jackson@liverpool.ac.uk; Ashmore, Catherine; email: catherine.ashmore@nhs.net; Rocha, Júlio C.; orcid: 0000-0002-4977-8345; email: rochajc@nms.unl.pt; Strauss, Boyd J.; orcid: 0000-0002-5391-9681; email: boyd.strauss@manchester.ac.uk; et al. (MDPI, 2021-06-17)
      In patients with phenylketonuria (PKU), treated by diet therapy only, evidence suggests that areal bone mineral density (BMDa) is within the normal clinical reference range but is below the population norm. Aims: To study longitudinal bone density, mass, and geometry over 36 months in children with PKU taking either amino acid (L-AA) or casein glycomacropeptide substitutes (CGMP-AA) as their main protein source. Methodology: A total of 48 subjects completed the study, 19 subjects in the L-AA group (median age 11.1, range 5–16 years) and 29 subjects in the CGMP-AA group (median age 8.3, range 5–16years). The CGMP-AA was further divided into two groups, CGMP100 (median age 9.2, range 5–16years) (n = 13), children taking CGMP-AA only and CGMP50 (median age 7.3, range 5–15years) (n = 16), children taking a combination of CGMP-AA and L-AA. Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was measured at enrolment and 36 months, peripheral quantitative computer tomography (pQCT) at 36 months only, and serum blood and urine bone turnover markers (BTM) and blood bone biochemistry at enrolment, 6, 12, and 36 months. Results: No statistically significant differences were found between the three groups for DXA outcome parameters, i.e., BMDa (L2–L4 BMDa g/cm2), bone mineral apparent density (L2–L4 BMAD g/cm3) and total body less head BMDa (TBLH g/cm2). All blood biochemistry markers were within the reference ranges, and BTM showed active bone turnover with a trend for BTM to decrease with increasing age. Conclusions: Bone density was clinically normal, although the median z scores were below the population mean. BTM showed active bone turnover and blood biochemistry was within the reference ranges. There appeared to be no advantage to bone density, mass, or geometry from taking a macropeptide-based protein substitute as compared with L-AAs.
    • Active Aging: Social Entrepreneuring in Local Communities of Five European Countries

      Socci, Marco; orcid: 0000-0001-9093-2167; email: m.socci@inrca.it; Clarke, David; email: clarke.d@chester.ac.uk; Principi, Andrea; orcid: 0000-0003-3701-0539; email: a.principi@inrca.it (MDPI, 2020-04-03)
      Building on the active aging framework, the aim of this study, carried out between 2016 and 2018, is to analyze concrete experiences of older individuals acting as key players of social change in six local communities of five European countries (Bulgaria, Denmark, England, France, Spain). The 19 seniors involved in the study, according to social contexts, individual past experiences, knowledge, and motivations, acted as senior social entrepreneurs, trying to build a pathway towards social solutions for unmet social problems they detected in local communities. Data were collected via templates and questionnaires and analyzed using the thematic analysis. The results highlighted that the 16 local initiatives created by seniors concerned social problems such as food waste, social isolation, multicultural integration, etc. The social solutions implemented by seniors seemed to have the potential to produce social value and, to different degrees, encouraging results and impact. Since this “social experiment” provided evidence that senior social entrepreneuring could be a driver to solve societal problems, policy makers should sustain the spread of both social entrepreneurial mindset and practices at the European level, for catalyzing the active potential of older people for the benefit of European local communities.
    • Adaptive Impedance-Conditioned Phase-Locked Loop for the VSC Converter Connected to Weak Grid

      Hamood, Mostafa A.; email: mostafa.hamood@manchester.ac.uk; Marjanovic, Ognjen; email: Ognjen.Marjanovic@manchester.ac.uk; Carrasco, Joaquin; email: joaquin.carrascogomez@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-09-23)
      In this paper, an adaptive version of the impedance-conditioned phase-locked loop (IC-PLL), namely the adaptive IC-PLL (AIC-PLL), is proposed. The IC-PLL has recently been proposed to address the issue of synchronisation with a weak AC grid by supplementing the conventional synchronous reference frame phase-locked loop (SRF-PLL) with an additional virtual impedance term. The resulting IC-PLL aims to synchronise the converter to a remote and stronger point in the grid, hence increasing the upper bound on the achievable power transfer achieved by the VSC converter connected to the weak grid. However, the issue of the variable grid strength imposes another challenge in the operation of the IC-PLL. This is because the IC-PLL requires impedance estimation methods to estimate the value of the virtual impedance part. In AIC-PLL, the virtual impedance part is estimated by appending another dynamic loop in the exciting IC-PLL. In this method, an additional closed loop is involved so that the values of the virtual inductance and resistance are internally estimated and adapted. Hence, the VSC converter becomes effectively viable for the case of the grid strength variable, where the estimation of the grid impedance becomes unnecessary. The results show that the converter that relies on AIC-PLL has the ability to transfer power that is approximately equal to the theoretical maximum power while maintaining satisfactory dynamic performance.
    • Advances in Biofabrication for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Applications

      Domingos, Marco; email: marco.domingos@manchester.ac.uk; Moxon, Sam; email: samuel.moxon@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-05-09)
      Biofabrication strategies continue to gain considerable interest in the efforts to develop methods for better replicating in vitro models of human tissues [...]
    • Agents and Robots for Reliable Engineered Autonomy:A Perspective from the Organisers of AREA 2020

      Cardoso, Rafael C.; orcid: 0000-0001-6666-6954; email: rafael.cardoso@manchester.ac.uk; Ferrando, Angelo; orcid: 0000-0002-8711-4670; email: angelo.ferrando@dibris.unige.it; Briola, Daniela; orcid: 0000-0003-1994-8929; email: daniela.briola@unimib.it; Menghi, Claudio; orcid: 0000-0001-5303-8481; email: claudio.menghi@uni.lu; Ahlbrecht, Tobias; orcid: 0000-0002-4652-901X; email: tobias.ahlbrecht@tu-clausthal.de (MDPI, 2021-05-14)
      Multi-agent systems, robotics and software engineering are large and active research areas with many applications in academia and industry. The First Workshop on Agents and Robots for reliable Engineered Autonomy (AREA), organised the first time in 2020, aims at encouraging cross-disciplinary collaborations and exchange of ideas among researchers working in these research areas. This paper presents a perspective of the organisers that aims at highlighting the latest research trends, future directions, challenges, and open problems. It also includes feedback from the discussions held during the AREA workshop. The goal of this perspective is to provide a high-level view of current research trends for researchers that aim at working in the intersection of these research areas.
    • Airway Bacteria Quantification Using Polymerase Chain Reaction Combined with Neutrophil and Eosinophil Counts Identifies Distinct COPD Endotypes

      Beech, Augusta; orcid: 0000-0002-2690-5364; email: augusta.beech@manchester.ac.uk; Lea, Simon; orcid: 0000-0003-3700-1886; email: Simon.lea@manchester.ac.uk; Li, Jian; email: Jian.Li@manchester.ac.uk; Jackson, Natalie; email: njackson@meu.org.uk; Mulvanny, Alex; email: amulvanny@meu.org.uk; Singh, Dave; email: dsingh@meu.org.uk (MDPI, 2021-09-27)
      Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) inflammatory endotypes are associated with different airway microbiomes. We used quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis of sputum samples to establish the bacterial load upper limit in healthy controls; these values determined the bacterial colonisation prevalence in a longitudinal COPD cohort. Bacteriology combined with sputum inflammatory cells counts were used to investigate COPD endotypes. Methods: Sixty COPD patients and 15 healthy non-smoking controls were recruited. Sputum was analysed by qPCR (for Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Psuedomonas aeruginosa) and sputum differential cell counts at baseline and 6 months. Results: At baseline and 6 months, 23.1% and 25.6% of COPD patients were colonised with H. influenzae, while colonisation with other bacterial species was less common, e.g., S. pneumoniae—1.9% and 5.1%, respectively. H. influenzae + ve patients had higher neutrophil counts at baseline (90.1% vs. 67.3%, p 0.01), with similar results at 6 months. COPD patients with sputum eosinophil counts ≥3% at ≥1 visit rarely showed bacterial colonisation. Conclusions: The prevalence of H. influenzae colonisation was approximately 25%, with low colonisation for other bacterial species. H. influenzae colonisation was associated with sputum neutrophilia, while eosinophilic inflammation and H. influenzae colonisation rarely coexisted.
    • An Active Plasma Beam Dump for EuPRAXIA Beams

      Bonatto, Alexandre; orcid: 0000-0003-1992-7116; email: abonatto@ufcspa.edu.br; Nunes, Roger Pizzato; orcid: 0000-0001-9610-7256; email: roger.pizzato@ufrgs.br; Nunes, Bruno Silveira; orcid: 0000-0002-6938-1097; email: bruno.nunes@ufcspa.edu.br; Kumar, Sanjeev; orcid: 0000-0001-8275-4428; email: sanjeev.kumar@manchester.ac.uk; Liang, Linbo; orcid: 0000-0002-0173-7149; email: linbo.liang@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk; Xia, Guoxing; orcid: 0000-0002-3683-386X; email: guoxing.xia@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-07-05)
      Plasma wakefields driven by high power lasers or relativistic particle beams can be orders of magnitude larger than the fields produced in conventional accelerating structures. Since the plasma wakefield is composed not only of accelerating but also of decelerating phases, this paper proposes to utilize the strong decelerating field induced by a laser pulse in the plasma to absorb the beam energy, in a scheme known as the active plasma beam dump. The design of this active plasma beam dump has considered the beam output by the EuPRAXIA facility. Analytical estimates were obtained, and compared with particle-in-cell simulations. The obtained results indicate that this active plasma beam dump can contribute for more compact, safer, and greener accelerators in the near future.