Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 62319

Examining Attrition in English Education: A Qualitative Study of the Impact of Preparation, Persistence, and Dispositions in Teacher Education
Over the past three years, the researchers have been tracking a rise in the number of teacher education candidates leaving the field before completing their university’s educator preparation program. At their institution, this rise is most pronounced in English Education. The purpose of this qualitative research study is to understand English Education teacher candidates' expectations in becoming prepared educators at each phase of their four phase teacher education program at one institution of higher education in the United States. Research questions include: To what extent do we find differences in teacher candidates' expectations of their teacher training program and student teaching experiences based upon undergraduate and graduate programs? Why do (or do not) teacher candidates persist in their teacher training program and student teaching experiences? How do dispositions develop through the course of the teacher training program? What supports do teacher candidates self-identify as needing at each phase of the teacher training program? Based upon participant interviews at each phase of the teacher education program, the researchers, all teacher educators, examine the extent to which English Education students feel prepared to student teach, focusing on preparation, persistence, and dispositions. The Colorado State University Center for Educator Preparation (CEP) provides students with information about teaching dispositions, or desired professional behaviors, throughout their education program. CEP focuses these dispositions around nine categories: Professional Behaviors, Initiative and Dependability, Tact and Judgment, Ethical Behavior and Integrity, Collegiality and Responsiveness, Effective Communicator, Desire to Improve Own Performance, Culturally Responsive, and Commitment to the Profession. Currently, in the first phase of a four phase study, initial results indicate participants expect their greatest joys will be working with and learning from students. They anticipate their greatest challenges will involve discipline and confidence. They predict they will persist in their program because they believe the country needs well-prepared teachers and they have a commitment to their professional growth. None of the participants thus far could imagine why they would leave the program. With regard to strongest and weakest dispositions, results are mixed. Some participants see Tact and Judgment as their strongest disposition; others see it as their weakest. All participants stated mentoring is a necessary support at every phase of the teacher preparation process. This study informs the way teacher educators train and evaluate teacher candidates, and has implications for the frequency and types of feedback students receive from mentors and supervisors. This research contributes to existing work on teacher retention, candidate persistence, and dispositional development.
Quiet Ego and Its Predictors: Comparing Turkey and the US
This study compares a typical individualistic culture (the USA) and a relatively collectivist culture (Turkey) on the levels and personality predictors of the quiet ego. A total of 248 Turkish and 683 American university students completed the Quiet Ego Scale and the Big Five Personality Inventory. The moderating role of culture on the relationship between quiet ego and personality characteristics was investigated. Openness to experience was the strongest predictor of the quiet ego among both Turkish and the US samples. Whereas extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness significantly predicted quiet ego in the US, lower levels of neuroticism were related to the quiet ego in Turkey. Results revealed that the effect of personality characteristics on quiet ego varied across cultures. Agreeableness in the US and neuroticism in Turkey seemed to be the critical predictor of quite ego. Results were discussed considering cultural values in Turkish and the USA context.
Zero Net Energy Communities and the Impacts to the Grid
The electricity grid is changing in terms of flexibility. Distributed generation (DG) policy is being discussed worldwide and implemented. Developers and utilities are seeking a pathway towards Zero Net Energy (ZNE) communities and the interconnection to the distribution grid. Using the VISDOM platform for establishing a method for managing and monitoring energy consumption loads of ZNE communities as a capacity resource for the grid. Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and energy security are primary policy drivers for incorporating high-performance energy standards and sustainability practices in residential households, such as a market transformation of ZNE and nearly ZNE (nZNE) communities. This research investigates how load data impacts ZNE, to see if there is a correlation to the daily load variations in a single ZNE home. Case studies will include a ZNE community in California and a nearly ZNE community (All – Electric) in the Netherlands, which both are in measurement and verification (M&V) phases and connected to the grid for simulations of methods.
Usability Testing with Children: BatiKids Case Study
Usability testing with children is similar in many aspects to usability testing with adults. However, there are a few differences that one needs to be aware of in order to get the most out of the sessions, and to ensure that children are comfortable and enjoying the process. This paper presents the need to acquire methodological knowledge for involving children as test users in usability testing, with consideration on Piaget’s theory of cognitive growth. As a case study, we use BatiKids, an application developed to evoke children’s enthusiasm to be involved in culture heritage preservation. The usability test was applied to 24 children from 9 to 10 years old. The children were divided into two groups; one interacted with the application through a graphic tablet with pen, and the other through touch screen. Both of the groups had to accomplish the same amount of tasks. In the end, children were asked to give feedback. The results suggested that children who interacted using the graphic tablet with pen had more difficulties rather than children who interacted through touch screen. However, the difficulty brought by the graphic tablet with pen is an important learning objective in order to understand the difficulties of using canting, which is an important part of batik.
An Exploratory Survey Questionnaire to Understand What Emotions Are Important and Difficult to Communicate for People with Dysarthria and Their Methodology of Doing That
People with speech disorders may rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies to help them communicate. However, the limitations of the current AAC technologies act as barriers to the optimal use of these technologies in daily communication settings. The ability to communicate effectively relies on a number of factors that are not limited to the intelligibility of the spoken words. In fact, non-verbal cues play a critical role in the correct comprehension of messages, and having to rely on verbal communication only, as is the case with current AAC technology, may contribute to problems in communication. This is especially true for people’s ability to express their feelings and emotions, which are communicated to a large part through non-verbal cues. This paper focuses on understanding more about the non- verbal communication ability of people with dysarthria, with the overarching aim of this research being to improve AAC technology by allowing people with dysarthria to better communicate emotions. Preliminary survey results are presented that give an understanding of how people with dysarthria convey emotions, what emotions that are important for them to get across, what emotions that are difficult for them to convey, and whether there is a difference in communicating emotions when speaking to familiar versus unfamiliar people.
Functionalized Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes: Targeting, Cellular Uptake, and Applications in Photodynamic Therapy
In recent years, nanotechnology coupled with photodynamic therapy (PDT) has received considerable attention in terms of improving the effectiveness of drug delivery in cancer therapeutics. The development of functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) has become revolutionary in targeted photosensitizers delivery since it improves the therapeutic index of drugs. The objective of this study was to prepare, characterize and evaluate the potential of functionalized SWCNTs using hyaluronic acid and loading it with photosensitizer and to effectively target colon cancer cells. The single-walled carbon nanotubes were covalently functionalized with hyaluronic acid and the loaded photosensitizer by non-covalent interaction. The photodynamic effect of SWCNTs is detected under laser irradiation in vitro. The hyaluronic acid-functionalized nanocomposites had a good affinity with CD44 receptors, and it avidly binds on to the surface of CACO-2 cells. The cellular uptake of nanocomposites was studied using fluorescence microscopy using lyso tracker. The anticancer activity of nanocomposites was analyzed in CACO-2 cells using different studies such as cell morphology, cell apoptosis, and nuclear morphology. The combined effect of nanocomposites and PDT improved the therapeutic effect of cancer treatment. The study suggested that the nanocomposites and PDT have great potential in the treatment of colon cancer.
Inflammatory Changes Caused by Lipopolysaccharide in Odontoblasts
Objectives: Odontoblasts are the outermost cell layer of dental pulp and form the dentin. Importance of bacterial products, e.g. lipoteichoic acid (LTA), a cell wall component of Gram-positive bacteria and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a cell wall component of Gram-negative bacteria, have been indicated in the pathogenesis of pulpitis. Gram-positive bacteria are more prevalent in superficial carious lesion while the amount gram-negative is higher in the deep lesions. Objective of this study was to investigate the effect of these bacterial products on inflammatory response of pulp tissue. Interleukins (IL) were of special interest. Various ILs have been observed in the dentin-pulp complex of carious tooth in vivo. Methods: Tissue culture method was used for testing the effect of LTA and LPS on human odontoblasts. Enzymatic isolation technique was used to extract living odontoblasts for cell cultures. DNA microarray and quantitative PCR (qPCR) were used to characterize the changes in the expression profile of the tissue cultured odontoblasts. Laser microdissection was used to cut healthy and affected dentin and odontoblast layer directly under carious lesion for experiments. Cytokine array detecting 80 inflammatory cytokines was used to analyze the protein content of conditioned culture media as well as dentin and odontoblasts from the carious teeth. Results: LPS caused increased gene expression IL-1α, and -8 and decrease of IL-1β, 12 , -15 and -16 after 1h treatment, while after 24h treatment decrease of IL-8, -11 and 23 mRNAs was observed. LTA treatment caused cell death in the tissue cultured odontoblasts but in in the cell culture but not in cell culture. Cytokine array revealed at least 2-fold down-regulation of IL-1β, -10 and -12 in response to LPS treatment. Cytokine array of odontoblasts of carious teeth, as well as LPS-treated tissue-cultured odontoblasts, revealed increased protein amounts of IL-16, epidermal growth factor (EGF), angiogenin and IGFBP-1 as well as decreased amount of fractalkine. In carious dentin, increased amount of IL-1β, EGF and fractalkine was observed, as well as decreased level of GRO-1 and HGF. Conclusion: LPS caused marked changes in the expression of inflammatory cytokines in odontoblasts. Similar changes were observed in the odontoblasts cut directly under the carious lesion. These results help to shed light on the inflammatory processes happening during caries.
PolyScan: Comprehending Human Polymicrobial Infections for Vector-Borne Disease Diagnostic Purposes
The Germ Theory (one infectious determinant is equal to one disease) has unarguably evolved our capability to diagnose and treat infectious diseases over the years. Nevertheless, the advent of technology, climate change, and volatile human behavior has brought about drastic changes in our environment, leading us to question the relevance of the Germ Theory in our day, i.e. will vector-borne disease (VBD) sufferers produce multiple immune responses when tested for multiple microbes? Vector diseased patients producing multiple immune responses to different microbes would evidently suggest human polymicrobial infections (HPI). Ongoing diagnostic tools are exceedingly unequipped with the current research findings that would aid in diagnosing patients for polymicrobial infections. This shortcoming has caused misdiagnosis at very high rates, consequently diminishing the patient’s quality of life due to inadequate treatment. Equipped with the state-of-art scientific knowledge, PolyScan intends to address the pitfalls in current VBD diagnostics. PolyScan is a multiplex and multifunctional enzyme linked Immunosorbent assay (ELISA) platform that can test for numerous VBD microbes and allow simultaneous screening for multiple types of antibodies. To validate PolyScan, Lyme Borreliosis (LB) and spondyloarthritis (SpA) patient groups (n = 54 each) were tested for Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia burgdorferi Round Body (RB), Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii, and Ehrlichia chaffeensis against IgM and IgG antibodies. LB serum samples were obtained from Germany and SpA serum samples were obtained from Denmark under relevant ethical approvals. The SpA group represented chronic LB stage because reactive arthritis (SpA subtype) in the form of Lyme arthritis links to LB. It was hypothesized that patients from both the groups will produce multiple immune responses that as a consequence would evidently suggest HPI. It was also hypothesized that the multiple immune response proportion in SpA patient group would be significantly larger when compared to the LB patient group across both antibodies. It was observed that 26% LB patients and 57% SpA patients produced multiple immune responses in contrast to 33% LB patients and 30% SpA patients that produced solitary immune responses when tested against IgM. Similarly, 52% LB patients and an astounding 73% SpA patients produced multiple immune responses in contrast to 30% LB patients and 8% SpA patients that produced solitary immune responses when tested against IgG. Interestingly, IgM immune dysfunction in both the patient groups was also recorded. Atypically, 6% of the unresponsive 18% LB with IgG antibody was recorded producing multiple immune responses with the IgM antibody. Similarly, 12% of the unresponsive 19% SpA with IgG antibody was recorded producing multiple immune responses with the IgM antibody. Thus, results not only supported hypothesis but also suggested that IgM may atypically prevail longer than IgG. The PolyScan concept will aid clinicians to detect patients for early, persistent, late, polymicrobial, & immune dysfunction conditions linked to different VBD. PolyScan provides a paradigm shift for the VBD diagnostic industry to follow that will drastically shorten patient’s time to receive adequate treatment.
Reproductive Biology and Lipid Content of Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga) in the Western Indian Ocean
Scientific advice on the status of fish stocks relies on indicators that are based on strong assumptions on biological parameters such as condition, maturity and fecundity. Currently, information on the biology of albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, in the Indian Ocean is scarce. Consequently, many parameters used in stock assessment models for Indian Ocean albacore originate largely from other studied stocks or species of tuna. Inclusion of incorrect biological data in stock assessment models would lead to inappropriate estimates of stock status used by fisheries manager’s to establish future catch allowances. The reproductive biology of albacore tuna in the western Indian Ocean was examined through analysis of the sex ratio, spawning season, length-at-maturity (L50), spawning frequency, fecundity and fish condition. In addition, the total lipid content (TL) and lipid class composition in the gonads, liver and muscle tissues of female albacore during the reproductive cycle was investigated. A total of 923 female and 867 male albacore were sampled from 2013 to 2015. A bias in sex-ratio was found in favour of females with fork length (LF)
Biosynthesis of a Nanoparticle-Antibody Phthalocyanine Photosensitizer for Use in Targeted Photodynamic Therapy of Cervical Cancer
Cancer cell resistance to therapy is the main cause of treatment failures and the poor prognosis of cancer convalescence. The progression of cervical cancer to other parts of the genitourinary system and the reported recurrence rates are overwhelming. Current treatments, including surgery, chemo and radiation have been inefficient in eradicating the tumor cells. These treatments are also associated with poor prognosis and reduced quality of life, including fertility loss. This has inspired the need for the development of new treatment modalities to eradicate cervical cancer successfully. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a modern treatment modality that induces cell death by photochemical interactions of light and a photosensitizer, which in the presence of molecular oxygen, yields a set of chemical reactions that generate Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and other free radical species causing cell damage. Enhancing PDT using modified drug delivery can increase the concentration of the photosensitizer in the tumor cells, and this has the potential to maximize its therapeutic efficacy. In cervical cancer, all infected cells constitutively express genes of the E6 and E7 HPV viral oncoproteins, resulting in high concentrations of E6 and E7 in the cytoplasm. This provides an opportunity for active targeting of cervical cancer cells using immune-mediated drug delivery to maximize therapeutic efficacy. The use of nanoparticles in PDT has also proven effective in enhancing therapeutic efficacy. Gold nanoparticles (AuNps) in particular, are explored for their use in biomedicine due to their biocompatibility, low toxicity, and enhancement of drug uptake by tumor cells. In this present study, a biomolecule comprising of AuNPs, anti-E6 monoclonal antibodies, and Aluminium Phthalocyanine photosensitizer was synthesized for use in targeted PDT of cervical cancer. The AuNp-Anti-E6-Sulfonated Aluminium Phthalocyanine mix (AlPcSmix) photosensitizing biomolecule was synthesized by coupling AuNps and anti-E6 monoclonal antibodies to the AlPcSmix via Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) chemical links. The final product was characterized using Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), Zeta Potential, Uv-Vis Spectrophotometry, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), and X-ray diffraction (XRD), to confirm its chemical structure and functionality. To observe its therapeutic role in treating cervical cancer, cervical cancer cells, HeLa cells were seeded in 3.4 cm² diameter culture dishes at a concentration of 5x10⁵ cells/ml, in vitro. The cells were treated with varying concentrations of the photosensitizing biomolecule and irradiated using a 673.2 nm wavelength of laser light. Post irradiation cellular responses were performed to observe changes in morphology, viability, proliferation, cytotoxicity, and cell death pathways induced. Dose-Dependent response of the cells to treatment was demonstrated as significant morphologic changes, increased cytotoxicity, and decreased cell viability and proliferation This study presented a synthetic biomolecule for targeted PDT of cervical cancer. The study suggested that PDT using this AuNp- Anti-E6- AlPcSmix photosensitizing biomolecule is a very effective treatment method for the eradication of cervical cancer cells, in vitro. Further studies in vivo need to be conducted to support the use of this biomolecule in treating cervical cancer in clinical settings.
Feasibility of Implementing Digital Healthcare Technologies to Prevent Disease: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of a Digital Intervention Piloted in the National Health Service
Introduction: In line with the National Health Service’s (NHS) long-term plan, the NHS is looking to implement more digital health interventions. This study explores a case study in this area: a digital intervention used by NHS Trusts in London to consent adolescents for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) immunisation. Methods: The electronic consent intervention was implemented in 14 secondary schools in inner city, London. These schools were statistically matched with 14 schools from the same area that were consenting using paper forms. Schools were matched on deprivation and English as an additional language. Consent form return rates and HPV vaccine uptake were compared quantitatively between intervention and matched schools. Data from observations of immunisation sessions and school feedback forms were analysed thematically. Individual and group interviews were undertaken with implementers parents and adolescents and a focus group with adolescents were undertaken and analysed thematically. Results: Twenty-eight schools (14 e-consent schools and 14 paper consent schools) comprising 3219 girls (1733 in paper consent schools and 1486 in e-consent schools) were included in the study. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals, with English as an additional language and students' ethnicity profile, was similar between the e-consent and paper consent schools. Return of consent forms was not increased by the implementation of the e-consent intervention. There was no difference in the proportion of pupils that were vaccinated at the scheduled vaccination session between the paper (n=14) and e-consent (n=14) schools (80.6% vs. 81.3%, p=0.93). The transition to using the system was not straightforward, whilst schools and staff understood the potential benefits, they found it difficult to adapt to new ways of working which removed some level or control from schools. Part of the reason for lower consent form return in e-consent schools was that some parents found the intervention difficult to use due to limited access to the internet, finding it hard to open the weblink, language barriers, and in some cases, the system closed a few days prior to sessions. Adolescents also highlighted the potential for e-consent interventions to by-pass their information needs. Discussion: We would advise caution against dismissing the e-consent intervention because it did not achieve its goal of increasing the return of consent forms. Given the problems embedding a news service, it was encouraging that HPV vaccine uptake remained stable. Introducing change requires stakeholders to understand, buy in, and work together with others. Schools and staff understood the potential benefits of using e-consent but found the new ways of working removed some level of control from schools, which they found hard to adapt to, possibly suggesting implementing digital technology will require an embedding process. Conclusion: The future direction of the NHS will require implementation of digital technology. Obtaining electronic consent from parents could help streamline school-based adolescent immunisation programmes. Findings from this study suggest that when implementing new digital technologies, it is important to allow for a period of embedding to enable them to become incorporated in everyday practice.
Translating the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Obesity Guidelines into Practice into a Rural/Regional Setting in Tasmania, Australia
Chronic disease is Australia’s biggest health concern and obesity the leading risk factor for many. Obesity and chronic disease have a higher representation in rural Tasmania, where levels of socio-disadvantage are also higher. People living outside major cities have less access to health services and poorer health outcomes. To help primary healthcare professionals manage obesity, the Australian NHMRC evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for management of overweight and obesity in adults were developed. They include recommendations for practice and models for obesity management. To our knowledge there has been no research conducted that investigates translation of these guidelines into practice in rural-regional areas; where implementation can be complicated by limited financial and staffing resources. Also, the systematic review that informed the guidelines revealed a lack of evidence for chronic disease models of obesity care. The aim was to establish and evaluate a multidisciplinary model for obesity management in a group of adult people with type 2 diabetes in a dispersed rural population in Australia. Extensive stakeholder engagement was undertaken to both garner support for an obesity clinic and develop a sustainable model of care. A comprehensive nurse practitioner-led outpatient model for obesity care was designed. Multidisciplinary obesity clinics for adults with type 2 diabetes including a dietitian, psychologist, physiotherapist and nurse practitioner were set up in the north-west of Tasmania at two geographically-rural towns. Implementation was underpinned by the NHMRC guidelines and recommendations focused on: assessment approaches; promotion of health benefits of weight loss; identification of relevant programs for individualising care; medication and bariatric surgery options for obesity management; and, the importance of long-term weight management. A clinical pathway for adult weight management is delivered by the multidisciplinary team with recognition of the impact of and adjustments needed for other comorbidities. The model allowed for intensification of intervention such as bariatric surgery according to recommendations, patient desires and suitability. A randomised controlled trial is ongoing, with the aim to evaluate standard care (diabetes-focused management) compared with an obesity-related approach with additional dietetic, physiotherapy, psychology and lifestyle advice. Key barriers and enablers to guideline implementation were identified that fall under the following themes: 1) health care delivery changes and the project framework development; 2) capacity and team-building; 3) stakeholder engagement; and, 4) the research project and partnerships. Engagement of not only local hospital but also state-wide health executives and surgical services committee were paramount to the success of the project. Staff training and collective development of the framework allowed for shared understanding. Staff capacity was increased with most taking on other activities (e.g., surgery coordination). Barriers were often related to differences of opinions in focus of the project; a desire to remain evidenced based (e.g., exercise prescription) without adjusting the model to allow for consideration of comorbidities. While barriers did exist and challenges overcome; the development of critical partnerships did enable the capacity for a potential model of obesity care for rural regional areas. Importantly, the findings contribute to the evidence base for models of diabetes and obesity care that coordinate limited resources.