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Plymouth University

Country: United Kingdom
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477 Projects, page 1 of 96
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 2275068
    Partners: Plymouth University

    Subsistence farmers in Africa are often dependent on food grown within a limited area. Therefore, their health is often associated with geochemical factors that influence the soil-to-crop transfer of essential micronutrients (MN) for health (e.g. zinc). Food production and quality is compromised by soil erosion and downstream transport of sediments to waterbodies where sediment and associated nutrients/pollutants impact water security. Resources to manage soils sustainably can be limited, resulting in weathering and erosion of soil into waterways/catchments, such as Lake Victoria. Little is known about the loss of MN from weathering of soils and whether these are more prone to poor soil management (organic retention). Loss of fine soil particles may result in transfer of micronutrients or naturally occurring/anthropogenic potentially harmful elements (PHEs) into water courses/catchments with implications for ecological health. The Winam Gulf catchment of Lake Victoria is an exemplar of these processes as a regionally important source of food both from land and water.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/J012866/1
    Funder Contribution: 436,112 GBP
    Partners: Plymouth University

    The FROTH project is a close collaboration between five universities with significant experience in research into wave interactions with fixed and floating structures working together to combine and apply their expertise to different aspects of the problem. The aim is to investigate the detailed physics of violent hydrodynamic impact loading on rigid and elastic structures through a carefully integrated programme of numerical modelling and physical experiments at large scale. Open source numerical code will be developed to simulate laboratory experiments to be carried out in the new national wave and current facility at the UoP []. It is well known that climate change will lead to sea level rise and increased storm activity (either more severe individual storms or more storms overall, or both) in the offshore marine environment around the UK and north-western Europe. This has critical implications for the safety of personnel on existing offshore structures and for the safe operation of existing and new classes of LNG carrier vessels whose structures are subject to large instantaneous loadings due to violent sloshing of transported liquids in severe seas. Some existing oil and gas offshore structures in UK waters are already up to 40 years old and these aging structures need to be re-assessed to ensure that they can withstand increased loading due to climate change, and to confirm that their life can be extended into the next 25 years. The cost of upgrading these existing structures and of ensuring the survivability and safe operation of new structures and vessels will depend critically on the reliability of hydrodynamic impact load predictions. These loadings cause severe damage to sea walls, tanks providing containment to sloshing liquids (such as in LNG carriers) and damage to FPSOs and other offshore marine floating structures such as wave energy converters. Whilst the hydrodynamics in the bulk of a fluid is relatively well understood, the violent motion and break-up of the water surface remains a major challenge to simulate with sufficient accuracy for engineering design. Although free surface elevations and average loadings are often predicted relatively well by analysis techniques, observed instantaneous peak pressures are not reliably predicted in such extreme conditions and are often not repeatable even in carefully controlled laboratory experiments. There remain a number of deeply fundamental open questions as to the detailed physics of hydrodynamic impact loading, even for fixed structures and the extremely high-pressure impulse that may occur. In particular, uncertainty exists in the understanding of the influence of: the presence of air in the water (both entrapped pockets and entrained bubbles) as the acoustic properties of the water change leading to variability of wave impact pressures measured in experiments; flexibility of the structure leading to hydroelastic response; steepness and three dimensionality of the incident wave. This proposal seeks to directly attack this fundamentally difficult and safety-critical problem with a tightly integrated set of laboratory experiments and state of the art numerical simulations with the ultimate aim of providing improved guidance to the designers of offshore, marine and coastal structures, both fixed and floating.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/E01898X/1
    Funder Contribution: 43,359 GBP
    Partners: Plymouth University

    Microalgae, microscopic plants ubiqitous in the world's oceans, are nature's very own power cells converting light energy from the sun into chemical compounds. The high biodiversity of microalgae and their adaptation to a wide range of changing environments has resulted in them containing unique suites of compounds. Certain suites of compounds play a key role in protecting the cell against for example the sun's damaging rays. These same compounds have potential to protect humans and could be used in a range of healthcare consumer products. Currently, microalgae are a relatively untapped source of natural products. The heathcare industry are are looking to nature for sustainable alternatives in a range of their personal care products and microalgae have many attributes that make them particularly attractive. Research at Plymouth Marine Laboratory in collaboration with the Boots Company has revealed that certain species of microalgae contain valuable bioactivity including sunscreen protection and antioxidant activity. This project will focus on optimising the yield of these bioactives and on understanding biosynthetic pathways and interconversions. Results from experimental studies will be compared to those derived from mathematical models and will be used to optimise the yield of bioactives in microalgae grown using photobioreactor (PBR) technology, required for commercial scale production of microlagae. We will also investigate the potential of using waste CO2 and NOx emissions to enhance the growth of the microalgae and assess the impact this has on levels of bioactives. Additionally co-product material, remaining after extraction of targeted bioactives, will be investigated as a potential sustainable source of nutrition for farmed fish.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 618289
    Partners: Plymouth University
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: MR/M023605/1
    Funder Contribution: 420,015 GBP
    Partners: Plymouth University

    Huntington's Disease (HD) is a devastating dementia disease. The alteration in a gene called huntingtin (htt) leads to changed Htt protein and its toxic aggregates, which in turn cause brain cell death and HD. Strong evidence has shown that cellular "self-eating "process, termed autophagy, counteracts dementia diseases such as HD because autophagy clears up protein aggregates in cells, thereby removing their toxicity to cells. Defects in autophagy give rise to various dementia diseases. Bim is a critical protein that causes cell death in various tissues including those in brains. Recently we found that Bim also suppresses autophagy in addition to its cell death induction. Therefore, Bim are involved in autophagy inhibition and cell death induction, both of which are relevant to HD. Previously, Bim was shown to be increased in HD models, and we observed that reduction of Bim decreased toxic Htt protein aggregates and cell death in HD cells. These suggest that Bim may be an important driver for HD progression. Importantly, we identified a portion of Bim (Bim-P) capable of enhancing autophagy and reducing toxic Htt protein aggregates in HD cells. Based on the preliminary data, we will further establish the process that causes the increase of Bim protein in HD, examine if Bim contributes to HD progression and test the efficacy of Bim-P in treating HD using HD mouse models.