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Swansea University news

The latest study and research news from Swansea University

August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
March 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
February 2011

Can charcoal help fight climate change? Research funding for Swansea expert will help find answers

Most of us think of charcoal only when we’re lighting a barbecue, but research at Swansea looking at its potential for tackling climate change has been boosted by an award of £1,000 from the Welsh Livery Guild.

Adrian Warner of the Welsh Livery Guild (l) presents researcher Ian Mugford with a cheque for £1,000, watched by Professor Alayne Street-Perrott (r)Ian Mugford, a PhD research student in the College of Science, is researching biochar, which is a carbonised material, similar to charcoal, made of plants and wood. Biochar can lock away carbon for hundreds or even thousands of years, keeping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide out of the air.

Ian’s research has now been given a big boost by the Welsh Livery Guild, which has awarded him a travel scholarship of £1,000 to allow him to carry out fieldwork in Italy.

Ian explained: ‘My work looks at traditional and modern charcoal production. We’re trying to find out what the long-term impact is of applying biochar to soil. We have to look at soil in different climates. So the travel scholarship from the Welsh Livery Guild is very welcome as it has helped to support a research trip to Italy, which is vital in developing my work.’

Professor Alayne Street-Perrott, an international expert in the field and Ian’s research supervisor, said: ‘We have a team at Swansea University made up of experts from different subjects, all looking at biochar. We don’t really know a lot about what happens when charcoal or biochar is added to soil, but it’s important to find out. It could make a big difference in helping us tackle carbon emissions.’

Adrian Warner from the Welsh Livery Guild said: ‘Our awards are to help people develop their talents. We look to support outstanding students with a strong Welsh connection. We cover the whole of Wales and fund a wide range of awards – whether for apprentices or for students in schools, colleges and universities.

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Engineering students accelerate into the fast lane

A Swansea University College of Engineering team have designed and delivered a new revolutionary car which won praise at an international design competition.

Swansea University College of Engineering ‘Formula Student’ team with their designed and built racing carThe Swansea team developed and built the first successful integration of an engine with turbocharging and continuous variable transmission in the history of UK Formula Student.

Organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Formula Student is one of Europe’s most prestigious established educational motorsport engineering design competitions.

Groups of students are called to design, build, and race competitive formula style racing cars; analysing and justifying the design, costing, and associated business plans. This year at Silverstone, over 130 university teams from 34 countries (from Iceland to Australia) were registered, with over 2,500 students participating.

Swansea University’s car was light and presented a totally new compact packaging. The students were able to design and deliver this new revolutionary car in a single year.

At the competition, the car was one of the most visible, visited and praised, arriving in 12th place overall in the design contest, and 4th among the British teams.

In the acceleration and sprint events the car performed well, placing 5th among the UK teams. Unfortunately during the final endurance event there were some issues with the hot re-ignition at the driver changeover. Even with this penalisation, Swansea University reached 30th position overall and 7th position among 40 attending UK teams, becoming the best Welsh team.

Swansea University Lecturer Dr Davide Deganello said: ‘My first year as Formula Advisor was an incredible experience. I met a group of motivated exceptional students, who “dared and won”.’

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Discovery receives commendation from the WCVA Wales-Africa Community Links group

Discovery, a charity based at Swansea University, has been commended for its Wales-Africa partnership links by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Over the last two years Discovery has developed the Swansea-Siavonga Partnership. The project is an excellent model of a geographical connection, allowing people in both Swansea and Siavonga to explore different lifestyles and approaches to shared but different experiences of family life, health, the environment, nutrition and poverty.

Eleven Swansea University students visited Siavonga last July to work alongside a team of volunteers from the Siavonga Nutrition Group. The students were involved in an intensive fundraising programme as well as giving presentations and undertaking relevant training. In Siavonga the students involved themselves in an intensive programme of activities, which included delivering workshops on health and agriculture for some of the village women as well as educational games for the children at the orphanage.

Other activities included building a playground but the most impressive part of this project were the cultural exchanges that took place between the young volunteers from Swansea and the Siavonga Nutrition Group, working together, supporting and encouraging each other through the challenges and achievements of volunteering. Developing relationships and sharing daily living experiences has been an excellent example of global citizenship that will stand all the young people in good stead for the future.

The project had a profound effect on the students themselves – some making career and life choices relating to that experience, others noting a change in their attitudes to others and life in the UK. The students had a very high level of autonomy and through this they supported, encouraged and enabled the African volunteers to take control of their own volunteering role and to be their own decision makers. The Siavonga volunteers have now formed their own committee and are leading on their volunteering projects at the orphanage. They have all benefited from some long lasting friendships both amongst themselves as well as those in Africa.

Discovery Volunteer Tom Lloyd said: ‘The visit to Siavonga will stay with me forever, the laughs, excitement, hard work and enthusiasm of both the Swansea and Siavonga people was AMAZING – here’s to future visits.’

The women and children in the villages were keen to share their skills and culture. The students facilitated workshops and discussion groups based on villagers’ requests as well as telling them about Swansea. Some of the village women decided to set up a netball team and challenge other villages using donated netballs and bibs, and the volunteers also worked to provide a football pitch for another village.

The project continues to establish links between Swansea and Siavonga with a second group of students in Zambia at present.

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New research could save coral reefs from extinction

New pioneering research by Swansea University could help to preserve the world’s most beautiful and fragile coral reefs from extinction due to ocean acidification.

The research, which is to be published as a paper in the Open Access Environmental Research Letters journal, found that the high photosynthetic rates of seagrass meadows can make seawater less acidic and potentially enhance the growth of nearby corals.

The research was conducted by Dr Richard Unsworth, Research Officer at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, College of Science, Swansea University in collaboration with scientists at the University of Oxford, the Northern Fisheries Centre, Australia, and James Cook University in Australia.

Explaining the background to the study the author Dr Richard Unsworth said: ‘Highly productive tropical seagrasses often live adjacent to or among coral reefs and photosynthesise at such rates you can see the oxygen they produce practically bubbling away. We wanted to understand whether this could be a major local influence on seawater and the problems of ocean acidification.’

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air, primarily from human fossil fuel combustion, reduces ocean pH and causes wholesale shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry. Over long-term timescales, this change in seawater carbonate chemistry is likely to cause coral reefs to start to disappear as the rate of erosion starts to exceed growth rates. Coral reefs house thousands of unique species that are found nowhere else on the planet. They provide physical protection for small island communities, and provide food for millions of people globally. Losing these reefs would have serious negative economic and food security consequences.

Dr Unsworth explained that their research models have shown remarkable results. He said: ‘Our analyses show that in shallow water reef environments coral calcification downstream of seagrass has the potential to be 18% greater than in an environment without seagrass. It illustrates the importance of keeping seagrass meadows healthy and offers a potential tool in marine park management to offset the impacts of ocean acidification (depending on local conditions and habitats).’

He added: ‘Not only are seagrass meadows important to hundreds of millions of people worldwide who are dependent upon the food resources that they supply, our novel study suggests that they could potentially, in the long-term, have the added benefit of enhancing the growth of coral reefs under threat of extinction.’

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Swansea University and Soochow University, China
sign Memorandum of Understanding

Swansea University’s Centre for NanoHealth has extended its global link to a new partner, from the Chinese city of Suzhou, home to the Nano Science and Technology Park.

On 7 March 2012 Soochow University President, Professor Xiulin Zhu and his colleagues visited Swansea University at the invitation of Dr Weixi Xing, Director of China Centre in the Department of Research and Innovation at Swansea University.

Professor Xiulin Zhu and colleagues toured the newly opened Centre for NanoHealth at Swansea University, and met Dr Steve Conlan, Director of Centre for NanoHealth, Professor Steve Wilks, Head of College of Science, and Dr Zhidao Xia, lecturer in the College of Medicine.

During their meeting, opportunities for research collaboration and student exchange programmes in the strategic area of NanoHealth were discussed.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies and Professor Xiulin Zhu signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the two universities’ intensions to explore strategic collaborations.

Soochow University President Xiulin Zhu said: ‘It was great to meet staff at Swansea University’s Centre for NanoHealth. I have seen a number of opportunities to deepen our relationship with Swansea, particularly in the area of NanoHealth and materials engineering.’

Swansea University Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies said: ‘It was a pleasure to welcome Professor Xiulin Zhu and his colleagues to Swansea University. Soochow is a highly rated University in China with complementary research strengths to our own. The visit enabled us to identify exciting opportunities for collaboration and I hope that this is the beginning of a successful long term relationship between both institutions.’

Professor Steve Wilks and Dr Steve Conlan plan to make a return visit to Soochow University in April where they will also visit Biobay, an innovative science and technology centre for the bio- and nanotechnology industries.

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21st Century technology sheds light on medieval treasure

A unique project about the historical warship the Mary Rose which is providing information about life in medieval times is benefitting from 21st Century technology.

For the past 18 months the Mary Rose Trust has been working with sports scientists from the College of Engineering at Swansea University to discover more about the lives of the medieval archers on board the ship.

When Henry VIII’s warship, which sunk in 1545, was raised from the Solent in 1982, many thousands of medieval artefacts along with 92 fairly complete skeletons of the crew of the Mary Rose were recovered.

Nick Owen, Sport and Exercise Biochemist from the College of Engineering at Swansea University said: ‘This sample of human remains offers a unique opportunity to study activity related changes in human skeletons. It is documented that there was a company of archers aboard when the ship sank, at a time when many archers came from Wales and the South West of England.

‘These archers had specialist techniques for making and using very powerful longbows. Some bows required a lifetime of training and immense strength as the archers had to pull weights up to 200lbs (about 90kg).’

Alexzandra Hildred, Curator of Ordnance at the Mary Rose Trust explains: ‘It was a requirement by law for every male to practice archery regularly from an early age, and many of the skeletons recovered show evidence of repetitive stress injuries of the shoulder and lower spine. This could be as a result of the shooting heavy longbows regularly. Being able to quantify the stresses and their effect on the skeleton may enable us at last to isolate an elite group of professional archers from the ship.’

Mr Owen and his team are basing their research on the biomechanical analysis on the skeletons of the medieval archers to examine the effect of a life of using very powerful longbows on the musculoskeletal system.

Part of the process of analysing the skeletons involves creating 3D virtual images so that measurements can be taken from the remains without causing any damage to the valuable heritage artefacts. The results of this research are expected this summer.

Whilst Mr Owen’s team were scanning the skeletons, the Mary Rose Trust was sourcing replicas of some of the skulls in their collection to create facial reconstructions. They approached the team to look at whether they could scan and print a 3D skull rather than using more traditional methods.

The expertise gained at the University in conjunction with Newport Medieval Ship Project allowed the Mary Rose team to scan, post process and 3D print a number of skulls from the collection with sponsorship from HP.

The reverse engineering of the skulls was done using the in house 3D laser scanner, and Dr Nick Lavery and Will Newton ‘printed’ the skulls on the College’s 3D printer.

Alex Hildred said: ‘The remains of seven individuals intimately associated with clothing and possessions, which suggested specific occupations, have been selected as key characters within the new exhibition. Scanning of the skulls will enable facial reconstructions of a carpenter, master gunner, archer purser, officer and gentleman.’

The printed skulls are now being sent to Sweden where forensic artist Oscar Nilsson will recreate faces from the past.

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Zambian student celebrates Masters success

An outstanding student from Zambia celebrated the award of her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Swansea University in January.

Linda celebrates her MBA successForty-year-old Linda Hamweemba graduated with an MBA with Distinction for the College of Business, Economics and Law at the University’s Winter Degree and Award Congregations, held in Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall.

Linda was working as a senior manager in Zambia when she decided to come to Swansea. She arrived in 2008 to do a BSc in Business Management Finance, leaving her husband and family at home in Zambia.

Since then she has had to cope with lengthy separations – her first visit home was at the end of Part I of her MBA, four years after leaving.

Linda has now decided to stay on at Swansea to carry out a PhD on Zambian women in international management.

MBA tutor, Professor Antonis Simintiras, said: ‘Linda has been one of our most positive, popular, friendly and hard-working students. She has been an outstanding student and achieved a well earned and well deserved distinction in her MBA.

‘Linda acted as student representative for the 10/11 MBA cohort, and has in many ways been a leader on her programme – someone other students look to organise and represent them.’

Linda said: ‘I am so pleased to be here today to receive my MBA, and can’t wait to get started on my PhD studies. I am particularly looking forward to going back to Zambia to carry out some of my research in my home country.’

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Swansea University students pledge to promote mental health in 2012

Students at Swansea University have been recognised by a national organisation aiming to make university campuses healthier, happier places for students. The students will work alongside 24 other universities during 2012 to promote mental health around campus through events and campaigns.

The national campaign, aptly named ‘25by2012’, was launched with the aim of making university campuses, healthier, happier places for students to live and study, by encouraging student-led activism. It has been supported by national organisations such as Action for Happiness, Young Minds, and the £20m anti-stigma project, Time to Change, as well as dozens of universities.

The campaign was launched by Mental Wealth UK, a non-profit body that was set up to support student-led mental health and wellbeing advocacy. Edward Pinkney, who founded Mental Wealth UK after launching a student wellbeing society at the University of Leeds in 2008, said: ‘More and more students are stepping forward to take leadership roles at their universities. The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ new report highlights the threats to student mental health and wellbeing, and with university resources stretched, we believe that student-led initiatives are going to play an increasingly important role in tackling these challenges.’

Each of the 25 Mental Wealth groups, formed at universities across the UK, aims to ‘bring mental health out of the shadows’ by challenging discrimination, raising awareness, and providing students with opportunities for training and skill-building.

Sara Huws Davies, Director of Student Services said: ‘Swansea University is extremely pleased to be one of the first universities whose students have joined the 25by2012 initiative in taking a proactive approach to mental health. Swansea has Healthy City status and Swansea University is the first HEI in Wales to join the Healthy Universities initiative to promote and advance health and wellbeing in all its activities.

‘The Students’ Union is very active in the Healthy Universities work and the Swansea Mental Wealth Society is just one aspect of this. We wish the group every success in their activities to promote mental health. The wellbeing of students and staff is of paramount importance and this group has the potential to make a real difference.’

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New DVD to aid men affected by a partner’s postnatal depression

A new DVD to help men deal with the impact of postnatal depression has been produced by Swansea University College of Human and Health Sciences and the Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health.

Postnatal depression affects about one in 10 mothers in the UK. But the impact of postnatal illness extends beyond the mother. Sometimes there is deterioration in the marital relationship and men too can also experience isolation, stigmatisation and frustration.

Babies Aloud, a new research-based DVD dealing with the impact of postnatal depression (PND) has been released, especially created for men.

The new DVD introduces three films dealing with the impact of PND on relationships, libido and infant attachment and interaction.

Dr Jane Hanley, Lecturer at Swansea University and International President at the Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health, said: ‘Following a review of global DVDs dealing with PND, only one Australian video addressed the views of men. It was felt that this neglected area could be targeted in the novel way of making “light” of a desperate situation, as it was felt that men might respond more readily to this format than a more in-depth discussion.’

Clinical professionals and clinical educators are concerned that pregnancy, childbirth, and issues surrounding it, may be seen as ‘women’s business’, in which the part played by men is peripheral at best.

Dr Hanley added: ‘These films are designed to challenge this stereotype by reinforcing the notion of a balanced parental relationship which is fundamental in helping the mother affected by postnatal depression to cope with the disorder and to make an effective recovery from it.’

All three films are based on research by members of the Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health and each film examines the particular stressors and misconceptions and proposes possible remedies.

The DVD is available from Amazon UK and profits from the sales will help fund research into perinatal mental health.

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Swansea University ‘egg-cels’ in animal welfare awards

Swansea University has been presented with a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award for its efforts to help improve the welfare of millions of farm animals.

Swansea University was among some 40 hospitals, education centres and local councils from across the UK to be presented with a Compassion in World Farming, Public Procurement Good Farm Animal Welfare Award.

The awards, in three categories – Good Egg, Good Chicken and Good Dairy – recognise commitment to improving the lives of animals by sourcing only higher welfare eggs, chicken or dairy produce for their catering. Swansea University won a Good Egg Award.

Catering Manager Les Carmichael said: ‘The Good Egg Award underpins Swansea University’s intent on supporting the improvement of animal welfare and ethical procurement.

‘We support improvement of animal welfare by ensuring that our meat suppliers, when commercially viable, is red tractor certified, this now applies to all our fresh chicken purchased. We also have freedom food certification for our purchase of pork, and we are also progressing with an application for the soil association food mark.

‘Our ethical procurement culminates in being the first Welsh Fairtrade University, we are also accredited by the Vegetarian Society, we locally purchase as much food and beverages as possible, and we showcase this every March with our Welsh food festival.’

Katy Read, Head of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming said: ‘It is so great to see the public sector’s catering departments taking animal welfare into consideration when sourcing their meat and egg produce. Higher welfare produce isn’t just the responsibility of the large corporations, but something that can be achieved at all levels. Well done to all our award winners – keep up the good work!’

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Swansea University Students’ Union finalist for International Students Award

Swansea University Students’ Union reached the final of the UK’s National Union of Students Internationalisation Awards in recognition of its work on international student campaigning and communication.

Swansea University’s nomination, which came third overall, highlighted the important work which the Students’ Union does, ie:

  • Swansea University Students’ Union is the only Students’ Union in Wales with a full time International Students Officer, Mahaboob Basha from India.
  • The International Students Officer sends emails directly to all international and overseas students.
  • He gives weekly updates on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
  • The Swansea University Chinese Society is one of the largest student social networks in the UK, with over a thousand members from across the world including business people in China and the UK and Members of Parliament in UK and China.
  • Weekly meetings with Arab and European students.
  • 18 international societies on campus.

Swansea University Students’ Union’s campaigning slogan for international students ‘If I say NO I will find out who can say YES for you’ is very popular across the campus.

The first ever Internalisation Awards attracted 85 applications from 35 Students’ Union’s, competing in 11 award categories.

Sara Huws-Davies, Director of Student Services said: ‘Swansea University is extremely proud of the achievement of the Students’ Union in the recent NUS Internationalisation Awards. This recognises the importance of the role the Union plays in supporting internationalisation in partnership with the University’s International Development Office and International Student Advisory Service.

‘Through highly effective joint working, Swansea aims to provide a truly excellent experience to incoming international students and home UK students wishing to study abroad.’

The NUS Internationalisation Awards are supported by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). UKCISA is the UK’s national advisory body serving the interests of international students and those who work with them.

The Internationalisation Networking Day and Awards Ceremony took place on 13 December at the Birmingham Guild of Students. The day celebrated the successes of the Internationalising Students’ Unions projects and looked at what the future holds for internationalisation.

The awards ceremony followed a day of networking with interactive workshops and knowledge building presentations covering a wide range of international student issues and internationalised union activities, allowing unions to showcase their work and learn from others.

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Step forward for major Swansea medical research centre

A state-of-the-art Swansea centre doing pioneering medical research took a major step-forward with the official opening of new facilities by the First Minister Carwyn Jones today.

The Institute of Life Science (ILS) is the research arm of Swansea University’s College of Medicine and carries out work on areas such as cancer, obesity and diabetes.

The first phase cost £52m and today the £28.8m second phase was officially unveiled by the First Minister and is expected to create 650 jobs. The building also houses the Centre for NanoHealth (CNH), a £21.6m joint initiative between the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine.

The first phase of the ILS opened in March 2007 and was the biggest research investment ever in Swansea. It houses specialists in medical research and business incubation. The project is a unique collaboration between the Welsh Government, Swansea University and IBM. The ILS is dedicated to finding new solutions to old problems in medicine.

The new seven-storey, 6,000 square metre building includes clinical research and will play a major role in developing new products and services for the healthcare industry. It will also provide an economic boost by tripling the space available to grow related businesses.

The Welsh Government is providing £10m to phase two of the project, with £12.8m coming from the EU’s Regional Development fund.

Nanotechnology has an increasingly important role to play in the early detection and treatment of disease via the detection and measurement of biomarkers present in fluid or tissue samples at a level of sensitivity far beyond current methods. CNH gives access to patients and creates a pioneering, integrated facility in which novel devices and sensors can be designed, manufactured, functionalised, tested and evaluated.

The First Minister said: ‘The Institute of Life Sciences and Centre for NanoHealth is a world-class facility based here in Swansea. It is leading the way in vital research into areas such as cancer and obesity that blight our society and it is providing a crucial role in finding new answers to these problems.

‘It is a unique collaboration between government, academia and the private sector that not only provides medical expertise and research, but also economic development by nurturing new companies and creating jobs. The ILS and CNH are already internationally renowned for the high quality of its research projects. This facility will boost the economy by providing businesses with both skilled graduates and leading-edge research. The Welsh Government is proud to support the the University and invest in research and development and the growth of the knowledge economy. I wish it all the best.’

Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, said: ‘At a time of economic gloom, this is a remarkable good news story: medical research creating jobs and leading to improved medical care. Funding from the Welsh Government and the Welsh European Funding office has enabled Swansea to build upon the success of the Institute of Life Science at the University. The new development more than doubles the space available including enhanced facilities for companies working with the University. It also provides a home for the world-class research of the Swansea University Centre for NanoHealth.’

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Swansea student’s project wins UK National Lottery Award

Swansea University postgraduate student Janet Hoskin’s pioneering project has beaten off hundreds of competitors to win the UK National Lottery Award for the Best Education Project.

The ‘Include Duchenne’ project was one of seven winners selected from hundreds of projects from across the UK to win the prestigious title of the UK’s favourite Lottery projects.

The Include Duchenne project helps children with a serious and progressive muscle wasting condition. Janet researched and developed the project which focuses on the behavioural and learning difficulties that often affect children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Children with the condition are at risk of Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism. The programme which Janet developed takes a fresh child centred approach to learning and which teaches to the child’s strengths as well as addressing their weaknesses.

The project features specialist learning assessments affected by DMD. They follow a new custom-built online literacy programme called ‘Decipha’ that’s based on the theme of time travel and is delivered in partnership between home and school.

National Lottery funding has paid for specialist dyslexia teachers to assess children with Duchenne, as well as train parents and schools how to deliver the Decipha programme.

Speaking about the Award Janet said: ‘As a special needs teacher and parent of a boy with DMD I know at first hand the difficulties which teachers, parents and schools face in educating children with this condition. That was why I researched and developed this new tool to support children with these complex needs.

‘I am absolutely delighted that the Include Duchenne project has won this prestigious award and that the hard work that the Decipha team does in working with children, families, schools and local authorities all over the country in supporting new methods of learning has been recognised.’

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Celebrating Swansea University authors

Talented writers from Swansea University will be inspiring budding authors to put ‘pen to paper’ with the launch of the Celebrating Swansea University Authors project.

Published authors in each College were invited to be filmed speaking about their selected book and what inspired them to write. The ten very interesting short videos are available on the new ‘Celebrating Swansea University Authors’ YouTube channel. Posters to promote the authors and their books have also been produced and will be on permanent display in the University’s Library.

The project, coordinated by the University’s Information Services and Systems Department, has been funded by the Welsh Government’s Reading Roadshow grant for local libraries to inspire reading in Wales.

Lori Havard, Head of Academic Support in the Information Services and Systems Department at the University said: ‘We were delighted to have been awarded funding for our project which we have used to create videos and posters at very little cost.

‘We hope that the stories told in the videos will encourage students to read the interesting publications which our staff have crafted and perhaps inspire them to go down the path of publishing their own research. If this pilot is successful we will be looking to use this project to promote other exciting literary works produced by our talented academics and staff.’

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Wales-US research uses dreams to find how the brain makes our memories ‘permanent’

New research which uses evidence from dream reports to investigate how during sleep the brain consolidates memories – or makes them permanent – was published by leading US science journal PLoS ONE on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

The study, entitled Assessing the dream-lag effect for REM and NREM stage 2 dreams, is an international collaboration between Swansea University, Bangor University in Wales and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Massachusetts General Hospital in the US. The study’s data were collected at the Swansea University Sleep Laboratory.

Explaining the background to the study, the paper’s lead author Professor Mark Blagrove, of Swansea University’s Department of Psychology, said: ‘It is well-known that events and memories from waking life can be incorporated into dreams. These incorporations can be a literal replication of what occurred in waking life, or, more often, they can be partial or indirect, like a metaphor.

‘When events or experiences re-appear in dreams the most frequent reappearance is for events from the immediately preceding day – these were termed “day-residues” by Freud.

‘The next most common is for events that occurred five to seven days prior to the dream. This latter delayed incorporation of events into dreams is called the “dream-lag effect”.

‘Dreams can occur in REM sleep, a type of sleep where the brain is very active and the eyes move rapidly side to side, and non-REM sleep, which can be a deep or light sleep.

‘Previous work on the dream-lag effect has used spontaneous dreams that are recalled at home, usually after waking up in the morning. Those dreams could be from Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM) or from non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (NREM).’

This new study examined whether the dream-lag effect occurs only for REM sleep dreams, or for both REM and NREM dreams.

And as much recent work has linked REM sleep with the consolidation, ie making permanent, of emotional memories, the researchers predicted that the dream-lag effect might occur only for REM sleep dreams.

During an experiment which formed part of the research, 20 participants kept a daily diary for over a week before sleeping in the Swansea University Sleep Laboratory. When they slept in the laboratory, they were woken several times each night, in either REM or non-REM sleep, and were asked if they had been having a dream.

The recordings of the REM and non-REM dream reports collected in the laboratory were transcribed. A week later, each participant rated the level of correspondence between every one of their dream reports and every one of their diary records, so as to give a measure of how much the events of each day were being incorporated into each dream.

The key finding was the dream-lag effect was found for REM but not non-REM dreams.

The main implications were that these results provide evidence for a seven-day memory consolidation process that is specific to REM sleep, and accord with proposals for the importance of REM sleep to emotional memory consolidation.

And dream reports may give information about how the brain is consolidating memories during sleep.

The paper is now available online with open access.

Members of the public worldwide, as well as the scientific community, are able to access this paper for free, and will be able to add comments at that site and engage in discussion with the authors and with other readers of the article, as part of the Open Access mission of the US Public Library of Science (PLoS).

For more information about Swansea University’s Sleep Laboratory visit the Swansea University website.

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Swansea University hosts visit of the Turkish Ambassador

Swansea University increased its international links this week when it hosted the visit of the Ambassador for Turkey to the campus.

During his visit to the University, His Excellency Mr Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz Büyükelçi met senior managers, academic staff and 14 Turkish students who spoke to the Ambassador about life at Swansea University.

The delegation were given a tour of the campus and taken to the College of Engineering and shown the work our engineers are doing on the Bloodhound SSC jet engine powered car and to the Institute of Life Science, Wales’ leading centre for translational medical research.

Emma Frearson Emmanuel, Head of International Recruitment, said: ‘We are delighted that His Excellency the Ambassador for Turkey expressed a wish to include Swansea in his visit to Wales. Since its foundation Swansea University has embraced opportunities to think globally. The University is internationally active attracting students and staff from over one hundred countries. Our Academic Schools enjoy strong and productive links with partner institutions around the world, and much of the University’s teaching and research has global relevance.

‘Developing institutional links is important if countries wish to widen their academic horizons and exchange expertise and knowledge. Next month Swansea University will be leading a Wales International Consortium visit to Istanbul to meet with the British Council, Education Minister for Turkey and to visit Istanbul University. The visit is intended to lift the profile of Wales within Turkey and enable us to develop educational links.’

Swansea University has been working with Turkey over the last two years and the University visits the three key cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, which is particularly popular for Maritime Law.

The University is also in the early stages of developing a link with Doga School, a school based on a number of campuses across Istanbul. A number of Swansea University’s academics will be visiting the School to give an introductory lecture to final year students and the University will be involved in a week-long university programme in Istanbul in March 2012.

Next summer Swansea University will also be hosting a week-long summer programme for Doga School for 24 students mixing academic lecturers and seminars with activities focused around the Swansea campus and Gower.

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Disability and Industrial Society project results in million pound award for Swansea University

The Wellcome Trust has granted a Swansea University led research team almost one million pounds for a project which will explore the history of disability and industrialisation.

The research entitled Disability and Industrial Society: A Comparative Cultural History of British Coalfields will bring together academics from Swansea, Aberystwyth, Northumbria and Strathclyde Universities to focus on how industrialization shaped perceptions and experiences of disability between 1780 and 1948.

The grant for £972,501, which will run from October 2011 to September 2016, makes Swansea the leading UK centre for disability history with a research programme of international significance.

The research team will be led by Professor Anne Borsay of the College of Human and Health Sciences whose book, Disability and Social Policy in Britain since 1750: A History of Exclusion (2005) has played a key role in developing disability history.

She will be supported by Dr David Turner of the University’s College of Arts and Humanities, who has recently held a prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship award for his work on disability in eighteenth-century England.

Four themes will be addressed by the team: the effects of economic and technological developments; the role of medical and welfare services; the consequences of politics, trade unionism and social relations; and the implications of these historical factors for the literary genre of coalfield narrative.

The project will produce a number of books and articles, as well as a web page of statistical data. The public engagement programme will ensure that the research findings are accessible to all, and will include a roadshow in south Wales in 2012, a workshop for health and social care professionals, and an exhibition on coalfield disability at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

Professor Borsay said: ‘I am delighted to have this opportunity to progress the neglected field of disability history. The team is excited by the challenges of interdisciplinary, comparative research across three coalfields and looks forward to presenting the findings to a wide audience. We are grateful to the Wellcome Trust for their generous support.’

A disabled people’s panel will be convened eight times during the tenure of the award to ensure that the research and public engagement is informed by disabled people’s perspectives.

Dr Turner said: ‘For disabled people today, the project’s findings will challenge understandings of disability by demonstrating that attitudes and policies are socially constructed, and therefore open to change. The project will also contribute to current debates about welfare relief and ability to work by revealing the changing role of social, political and medical factors in determining eligibility for assistance.’

Rhian Williams, Chief Executive of Disability Wales said: ‘In history disabled people are most often characterised as the “deserving poor”. Disability Wales looks forward to participating in this timely research project which places disabled people at the centre of an unfolding story where disability and industrialisation are inextricably intertwined in ways which still resonate today.’

Three new posts will be funded at Swansea as a result of the project – two research fellow positions, and a PhD studentship. There will also be a research associate role created in each of the collaborating universities.

Dr Hywel Francis, MP for Aberavon, said: ‘This project is exciting for south Wales as it will look at a part of our coalmining history which has been previously neglected. Whilst coalmining communities in this region are renowned for their social solidarity it will be interesting to learn if disabilities caused as a result of working in this dangerous and unpredictable industry impacted on social unity, with what results and if this changes our understanding of our industrial past.’

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Swansea scientists enhance analysis of Welsh Rugby Union for World Cup success

Experts from Swansea University’s College of Engineering and Department of Computer Science have been working with the Welsh Rugby Union to use novel technology for match analysis.

Currently, team analysts suffer from ‘information overload’ due to the high level of detail with which they study the events of the match. This level of detail is often unnecessary when it comes to understanding the big picture of the team’s performance.

The Swansea University researchers have developed a visualization system, known as the MatchPad, that overcomes such problems associated with information overload. The MatchPad uses graphical notation and iconic representation of events to produce a visual timeline of the game so far. The analysts and coaches can review video and additional detail on the events they are most interested in simply by pressing the icon. The MatchPad runs as an ‘app’ on the Apple iPad. The portability of the device means this analysis can be performed in the analysis box, in the changing rooms, or even at pitch-side.

Dr Iwan Griffiths, heading up the project, comments: ‘The sports visualization team at Swansea have come up with a really innovative way of helping the Welsh team with their coaching and on-the-spot analysis.’

The development of the software has been led by Dr Philip Legg, who says: ‘The MatchPad incorporates data visualization of the match in a clear and intuitive interface that allows analysts to access the crucial information that they need quickly and efficiently.’

A prototype of the system has been developed, which the WRU have used in their recent International friendly matches at Millennium Stadium with great success. Rhys Long is the Head of Performance Analysis at the Welsh Rugby Union. He says: ‘The major benefit of the product is that it gives us a good overview of how the game is going. It has been a very good tool in terms of looking at key instances of the game and how they interact with each other.’

Following on from this success, the team has adopted the use of the MatchPad, which they now regard as a vital tool for their performance analysis. The WRU are using the MatchPad as part of their ongoing Rugby World Cup 2011 campaign.

The collaborative industrial research project is supported by the Welsh Government’s Academic Expertise for Business programme, which is funded through European Structural Funds. Swansea University will be hosting the first International Conference on Computational Sports Analysis in April 2012, which will showcase the latest innovations and collaborations between Sports Science and Computer Science.

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Swansea student reaches National Lottery Awards final

Swansea University postgraduate student Janet Hoskin has reached the final of the National Lottery Awards with her pioneering project which helps children with a serious and progressive muscle wasting condition.

Janet researched and developed the Include Duchenne project which focuses on the behavioural and learning difficulties that often affect children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Children with the condition are at risk of Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism.

The project features specialist learning assessments for children affected by DMD. They follow a new custom-built online literacy programme called ‘Decipha’ that’s based on the theme of time travel and is delivered in partnership between home and school.

National Lottery funding has already paid for specialist dyslexia teachers to assess children with Duchenne, as well as train parents and schools on how to deliver the Decipha programme.

Speaking about the project Janet said: ‘As a special needs teacher and parent of a boy with DMD I know at first hand the difficulties which teachers, parents and schools face in educating children with this condition. After extensive research I developed a tool to support children with complex needs, including dyslexia, speech and language, which took a fresh child centred approach to learning and which teaches to the child’s strengths as well as addressing their weaknesses.’

The Decipha team now works with children, families, schools and local authorities all over the country in supporting new methods of learning through the Decipha programme.

Research from the programme has generated a Leverhulme emeritus fellowship for Professor Fawcett, in conjunction with other research she is completing at Swansea University.

Angela Fawcett, Emeritus Professor at Swansea University said: ‘We are extremely proud that Janet’s passion, hard work and dedication has been rewarded with her project reaching the final of these prestigious awards. We wish her good luck and hope people will vote for her as she would be a worthwhile winner.’

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Two Swansea Arts & Humanities scholars win British Academy research grants

Dr Joy Porter and Dr Mike Franklin from Swansea University’s College of Arts & Humanities have both been successful in winning British Academy research grants worth more than £200,000.

The grants, for £207,649, came in the face of very strong competition for the British Academy Mid-Career fellowships as the success rate for applications is under 10%.

The awards support individual researchers who submit exceptional research proposals and who help greater public understanding of humanities and social sciences.

Dr Porter’s research award follows further significant investment in Native American Studies at Swansea University by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2010. Her latest British Academy research is titled The American Presidency and Tribal Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century.

Dr Porter said: ‘My research addresses the most important question in twentieth-century Native American politics – how decisive were personal tribal relationships with individual American presidents? The answer could alter fundamentally not only our existing understandings of the presidency but also how we regard relationships between ‘small nations’ and dominant powers more generally.

‘This is work likely to be of profound interest to Native peoples and to anyone curious about how individual presidents functioned. The research will be publicised via American Indian Radio Satellite, Native American Public Telecommunications, Lincoln, Nebraska – a library group for Public Service Broadcasting in the US – and through a major US press.’

As part of the award Dr Porter will carry out extensive research in presidential libraries in Maryland and New Mexico during 2012.

Dr Franklin’s project entitled Pluralism and the Multicultural Heritage of Maurya and Mughal India: the contribution of Warren Hastings’ Orientalist Regime investigates the literary, political and religio-cultural aspects of Hastings’s period of office as Governor and Governor-General of Bengal, 1772–85.

Dr Franklin said: ‘Hastings was fascinated by Hindu and Indo-Persian culture and encouraged Charles Wilkins to translate the ‘sublime’ Bhagvat-Geeta (1785); patronized Indo-Persian poets; sang Hindi songs; established a Calcutta Madrasah; and composed an Oriental tale from a Mahabharata source.

‘For Hastings the mystical aspects of both Hindu mysticism and of Islamic Sufism encouraged a subcontinental tradition of respect for all religions. Muslims frequently attended Hindu religious festivals and Hindus revered Sufi saints. Such tolerance was politically useful; it facilitated multicultural governance.

‘For Hastings and his circle, as for Pandit Nehru, India was more than Hindutva (Hindu-ness) and this remains relevant in a world where many are seeking to destroy the diversity and plurality of Islam.’

Mike Franklin’s research will be highlighted in press interviews in a range of broadcast media, and in public lectures.

Dr Franklin’s biography of Sir William Jones, Orientalist Jones, is also due to be published by OUP as an ‘impact’ title this August.

Professor Chris Williams, Director of the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities said: ‘We are delighted to welcome further success by arts and humanities staff in gaining prestigious awards in what is an intensely difficult competition. The two awards reflect the extensive geographical diversity of research being undertaken in the College of Arts and Humanities. They are a marvellous tribute to the scholarly reputations of Joy Porter and Mike Franklin and a great morale boost for colleagues working in this area at the present time.’

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Italy-Wales partnership celebrated as first joint PhD student graduates

Milan-born Aldo Tagliabue has become the first student to graduate with a joint doctoral degree (PhD) from Swansea University and Padua University in northern Italy.

The 28-year-old celebrated the award of the degree at an Award Congregation for the College of Arts and Humanities, held in the city’s Brangwyn Hall, which was attended by his mother Silvia and his sister Sofia.

Aldo began his studies in Classics at Padua University in 2008, before joining Swansea University’s Department of History and Classics in January 2009.

His studies focussed on the Greek novel, and the topic of his PhD thesis was a commentary on the Ephesiaca, a text written by Xenophon of Ephesus in the Early Imperial Era.

His interest in studying in Wales was sparked six months after he began his PhD, when he became aware of the KYKNOS research group – the Swansea and Lampeter Centre for Research on the Narrative Literatures of the Ancient World – which is led by John Morgan, Professor of Greek at Swansea University’s College of Arts and Humanities.

He had also wanted to experience studying in an English-speaking country, and after a brief visit to Swansea in November 2008, where he met Professor Morgan and colleagues from the KYKNOS research group, he made the move from Italy to Wales.

‘In my first year at Swansea, my academic background was greatly enriched,’ said Aldo.

‘I learned a new method of approaching texts, with a special focus on narratology (the study of narrative structure), a discipline which is not popular in Italy.’

By the end of his first year at Swansea, he felt that his PhD research, under the supervision of Professor John Morgan, had benefitted significantly. He chose to extend his stay in Wales – a decision which he says led him to take an unexpected but important step to progress his studies.

‘Discussions took place between Professor Morgan, Swansea’s Academic Registrar Huw Morris, and Padua University to explore the possibility of a collaborative degree,’ he said. ‘And at the beginning of 2010, my PhD became a joint programme.’

He reached the final stage of his research in January 2011, before submitting his thesis in English. His successful PhD viva examination – or thesis defence – was held in Padua on March 31, with internal examiners from both universities, and external examiners from Italy and the UK.

Aldo now plans to pursue an academic career as a researcher or a lecturer in the UK.

He said: ‘As a result of the rich and varied experience I have had as a postgraduate student at Swansea, I will endeavour to continue collaborating with Professor Morgan and the KYKNOS research group.

‘At the same time, I hope that many more Swansea students will be involved in joint programmes with European universities.’

Professor John Morgan added: ‘It has been a pleasure and a privilege for us to work with an outstanding young scholar from Italy.

‘I am extremely proud of his achievements; Aldo will certainly be a magnificent ambassador for KYKNOS and Swansea.’

For more information about Swansea University Graduation Week visit the Swansea University website.

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Art competition winners announced at Swansea

The prize-winners of a Swansea University art competition which celebrates the diversity and beauty of academic research have been announced.

Overall award winner Pac Man by Elizabeth SackettThe competition invited images from all over the University that are inspired by research or inspire research. Of the 60 entries, the four top prize-winners and two special awards were announced at an award ceremony hosted by University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Noel Thompson.

The overall winner was Elizabeth Sackett, from the College of Engineering, for her image entitled Pac-Man, a striking representation of a laser-bombarded aerospace alloy.

The runners-up were Suzy Moody, from the Institute of Life Sciences, for Scrutiny, showing a bacterial colony, Arnold Beckmann from Computer Science for his mosaic of Alan Turing and Matt Carnie from the College of Engineering for his image entitled A year in a day which represented his year’s research into dye-sensitized solar cells.

The Catherine Draycott (Head of Wellcome Images) Biomedical Award went to Mark Penny and Rich Brown, of the College of Engineering and Lewis Francis of the Institute of Life Sciences, for their image entitled Regenerative Cartilage Sunrise.

The Professor Dame Jean Thomas Postgraduate Image Award went to Jamie Nemeth and Will Bryan, for their image of Ion shells produced by ultrafast intense infrared laser pulses.

The competition was organised by Swansea University Research Forum (SURF), who are committed to enhancing the research environment, encouraging interdisciplinary networking, facilitating individual research excellence, and aiming to inspire research throughout the University. Funding for the competition was provided by Bridging the Gaps (BTG).

Dr Richard Johnston, organiser of the event, SURF Board Member and lecturer in the Materials Research Centre, School of Engineering, said: ‘The quality of the entrants was extremely high and I congratulate the winners on their achievement. The aim of this event is to create excitement around research at Swansea, and an innovative interface for collaboration.’

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14 fully funded Doctoral and Master’s Awards available at Swansea University

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has announced that Swansea University’s College of Arts and Humanities has been successful in obtaining a Block Grant Partnership: Capacity Building Award, which will provide 14 funded studentships over the next three academic years.

In 2011–12 fully funded Doctoral Awards have been granted in English Language and Interpreting and Translation and Master’s Awards in Celtic Studies, Film and Television Studies and History.

In 2012–13 fully funded Doctoral Awards have been granted in Celtic Studies, Film and Television Studies and History and Master’s Awards in History, Creative Writing and Interpreting and Translation.

In 2013–14 a funded Doctoral Award has been made in History and one Master’s Award in Creative Writing.

The AHRC specifies that candidates are to be recruited by broad subject areas and not by a specific research title so recruitment will be under the subject areas stated above.

There are also opportunities for students to develop tailor made programmes of research that lead onto Doctoral Awards, these are classified as MA by Research Awards.

For applicants looking to start in the next academic year the following Awards are available:

  • Three-year Doctoral Funding Awards in English Language and Literature and in Interpreting and Translation.
  • One year Master’s Awards in Celtic Studies, Film Studies and Television Studies, and History.

Head of the Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities (RIAH), Professor Chris Williams said: ‘We are delighted to have been successful in obtaining these awards in a very competitive environment. This is a thoroughly deserved endorsement of the quality of the research and postgraduate teaching available within the College of Arts and Humanities, and an important first step in building towards the next stage of bidding for an AHRC Block Grant Partnership.’

How to apply:

To receive an application form please contact: Gabriella Wasiniak, Graduate Centre Administrator by email, or by telephone: +44(0)1792 295926.

The closing date for applications is 15 July 2011.

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College of Science announces scholarships for research programmes

Swansea University’s College of Science has announced a range of full- and part-funded Doctoral and Master’s scholarships for high-calibre students enrolling in September 2011.

There are three fully-funded and up to 10 part-funded PhD opportunities which are open to new applicants for full-time study.

In addition to these, there are also 20 part-funded scholarships available for students enrolling for a one-year full-time MSc by Research programme. These scholarships, which are worth £3,000, will be offset against tuition fees.

Head of College of Science, Professor Steve Wilks said: ‘We are delighted to be able to offer these scholarships to potential MSc by Research and PhD students who really have the most to offer.

‘The College of Science brings together Biosciences, Computer Science, Geography, Mathematics and Physics in an environment that enables us to collaborate in enhancing our teaching and research, providing new and challenging opportunities for all our students.’

The closing date for applications is 22 July 2011. See the Swansea University website for more information on scholarship availability, eligibility and how to apply:

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Upping the anti: Swansea physicists help trap antimatter atoms for 1,000 seconds

A paper published online on 5 June by the leading science journal Nature Physics reports that scientists at CERN in Geneva – including physicists from Swansea University – have succeeded in trapping antimatter atoms for over 16 minutes.

The ALPHA (Anti-hydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) project’s latest report, entitled Confinement of Antihydrogen for 1,000 Seconds, details how the team have created, trapped, and stored some antihydrogen atoms long enough to begin to study them in detail.

This significant development builds on the experiment’s major advance last November, when atoms of antimatter were trapped for the first time.

It is the longest time period so far that antihydrogen has been captured, which means that the antihydrogen atoms have time to reach their ground state, rather than only existing in the highly excited states created by previous experiments.

Professor Mike Charlton, who leads the team of physicists involved in the experiment from Swansea University’s College of Science, said: ‘Our aim is to study antihydrogen, and make detailed comparisons with ordinary hydrogen. Whilst hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe, it seems that antihydrogen has only ever been formed in our experiments here on Earth.

‘Why there was no antimatter left when the Universe became cold enough for atoms to form remains a great mystery – and one we hope to shed some light upon.

‘The manner in which we have achieved this latest success bodes well for future experiments aimed at studying the properties of this unique object.’

The Swansea team – comprising Professor Mike Charlton, Dr Niels Madsen, Dr Dirk Peter van der Werf and Dr Stefan Eriksson – are an important part of the international ALPHA collaboration at CERN.

The project also involves physicists from the University of Liverpool, led by Professor Paul Nolan. The work is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Controlled production of antihydrogen atoms in the laboratory has been possible for nearly a decade, when the ATHENA project, also based at CERN, made its first breakthrough.

Swansea University physicists were also major players in ATHENA, the first experiment to produce copious amounts of cold antihydrogen. However, all of these anti-atoms were quickly annihilated when they came into contact with matter. This has now changed with the latest ALPHA breakthrough.

Nonetheless, painstaking preparation of the antiparticles is necessary to trap antihydrogen as the state-of-the-art ALPHA apparatus can only hold atoms with an energy a 100 billion times lower than that of the particles delivered by CERN.

‘This latest development is a huge step towards measurements on antihydrogen and we are planning first experiments for later in the year,’ said Swansea University physicist Dr Niels Madsen, who is currently on sabbatical at CERN after winning a prestigious Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship.

‘We have increased the efficiency with which we trap the antihydrogen atoms and held onto some of them for long periods, already increasing our capability several thousand times over what we reported last November.’

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Swansea scientists a step closer to targeting disease with nanoparticle technology

Scientists at Swansea University have developed a statistical framework that tracks the uptake of nanoparticles by living cells using florescent nanoparticles, resulting in an accurate prediction of particle dosages which could be used in applications such as targeted nanodrug delivery.

The breakthrough technology, conducted within the Centre for Nanohealth (CNH) at Swansea University, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) for £1 million is the first in-depth statistical analysis of nanoparticle uptake into living cells.

The research group’s paper this month featured on Nature Nanotechnology’s website in a report entitled Statistical analysis of nanoparticle dosing in a dynamic cellular system.

Nanoparticles have immense potential in medicine due to their ability to enter living cells; this has led to the burgeoning field of Nanomedicine in which nanoparticles are used to diagnose and treat disease at the cellular level.

Professor Huw Summers, Head of the Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Centre (MNC) at Swansea University is leading the research. He said: ‘Nanoparticles are artificial molecules and so sit within the analytical framework of statistical thermodynamics as described by probability functions.

‘In addressing the critical issue of bias in the delivery and dispersion of nanoparticles, we have developed a statistical mechanics framework for relating the microscale, singlecell stochasticity to macroscopic, whole-population dynamics.

‘This analytical framework provides a basis for developing future models that can predict the dosages for treatment and the extent of toxicity in susceptible subpopulations of cells.

‘Although results have shown that cellular targeting of nanoparticles is inherently imprecise due to the randomness of nature at the molecular scale, our development of a statistical framework offers a way to predict nanoparticle dosage for therapy and for the study of nanotoxins.

‘Ultimately the vision is to target individual diseased cells and to selectively deliver nanoparticles loaded with drugs to them. Thus in treating cancer for example, tumour cells would be recognised and destroyed cell by cell in a precision treatment of the ultimate specificity.’ 

Further information about the work being conducted in the Centre for Nanohealth within the School of Engineering at Swansea University.

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Swansea sports science PhD student prepares England Cricket Team for glory

A Swansea University postgraduate student who also works as a Strength and Conditioning coach for the English Cricket Board (ECB) is hoping the innovative sports science methods developed at Swansea which helped him prepare the English Cricket Team for victory in the Ashes will also lead the Team to glory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2010/11 which started on 19 February.

Huw Bevan (standing). © Getty ImagesHuw Bevan is currently pursuing a PhD focusing on training methods to develop powerful athletes within the Health and Sport Portfolio in the University’s College of Engineering.

Huw’s research into increasing speed and power in athletes, together with his considerable sporting background have put him in prime position as Strength and Conditioning Coach for the English Cricket team.

Together with a team of researchers within the Health and Sport Portfolio, and led by Senior Lecturer, Dr Liam Kilduff, Huw has worked in conjunction with the ECB on neuromuscular and endocrine response to Twenty20 and 1-day test cricket to better understand the demands of the game and the subsequent recovery from it.

Dr Liam Kilduff said: ‘Although Huw would never admit to it, it is very clear for everybody to see what a massive impact he has made to the conditioning of the English cricket players allowing them to compete physically with the other leading cricket countries.

‘Huw’s approach is very much centred on his previous experiences in professional sport coupled with his ability to translate key research findings into applied practice.

‘We pride ourselves at Swansea University in ensuring our research has a direct application to our primary industry which in my case is elite sporting partners. Huw’s success is another prime example of how our research is continuing to contribute to elite sport in Wales and further afield.’

Huw said: ‘My role as Strength & Conditioning coach with the Senior side is centred around making sure the players are in the best physical condition possible to allow for optimal performance. I try to achieve this through my previous experience working as a strength & conditioning coach and more recently through the skills and knowledge I have developed throughout my PhD studies.

‘I’ve developed a very strong working relationship with Dr Kilduff at Swansea University since my time with the Ospreys which lead me to undertake my PhD at Swansea. I hope to continue this relationship in the future to further enhance my ability to work at the very elite end of sport.’

For further information about the Health and Sport Portfolio within the College of Engineering, visit the Swansea University website.

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