Now showing items 1-20 of 10354

    • Towards A Practice Theory of Goal-setting: Assessing the theoretical goal-setting of The Leprosy Mission in Nigeria

      Kellehear, Allan; McIntosh, Bryan; McNamara, Barbara; Ogbeiwi, Osahon J.I. (University of BradfordFaculty of Health Studies, 2019)
      Goal-setting is indispensable for effective healthcare management. Yet, literature evidence suggests many organisations worldwide do not know how to formulate ‘SMART’ goals. Evidence of how existing theories work in practice is scarce, and the practices in low-income countries are unknown. Therefore, this research explored how leprosy project goals were formulated to describe the theoretical practice framework of The Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN). Using a case-study design, ten managers were interviewed individually concerning their goal-setting knowledge, experience and perspective; and documented goals of six projects were reviewed. A five-step constructionist thematic data analysis generated eleven theoretical frameworks from the concepts of the emergent core themes of ‘stakeholders’, ‘strategies’ and ‘statements.’ Further theorisation reduced them to one general framework. This revealed TLMN’s goal-setting practice as a four-stage centre-led, top-down, beneficiary-focused and problem-based process. The stages were national preparation, baseline needs-survey, centralised goal formulation and nationalised planning. The outcome was the formulation of assigned, ‘non SMART’ objective statements, which are then used for planning projects. Other theoretical models constructed included a Goal Effects Cycle, ‘SMARTA’ goal attributes and hierarchical criteria for differentiating goal-types. A theory developed from TLMN goal-setting postulates that: ‘Assigned non SMART goal formulation directly results from centralised goal-setting practice and is the predictor of unrealistic project planning.’ Therefore, I propose that goal statements will be ‘SMARTA’ and plans, more realistic and relevant if goal setting is done collaboratively by all stakeholders at all stages of the process. Also, ‘Change-Beneficiary-Indicator-Target-Timeframe’ and ‘Change- Beneficiary-Location-Timeframe’ frameworks are recommended as templates for writing SMART objectives and aims respectively.
    • Green light for green credit? Evidence from its impact on bank efficiency

      Galán, J.E.; Tan, Yong (2023)
      We assess, for the first time in the literature, the impact of green credit on bank efficiency. We find that green credit has a negative impact on bank efficiency. However, the effect is heterogeneous among different types of banks. While small and low capitalized banks are more affected, the impact is lower in banks with higher levels of risk. On the other hand, we find that highly capitalized banks can offset the negative effects of green credit, while large banks and those highly involved in green credit, benefit from this activity.
    • Demographic efficiency drivers in the Chinese energy production chain: A hybrid neural multi-activity network data envelopment analysis

      Zhao, Y.; Antunes, J.J.M.; Tan, Yong; Wanke, P.F. (2023)
      For meeting the external requirements of the Paris Agreement and reducing energy consumption per gross domestic product, China needs to improve its energy efficiency. Although the existing studies have attempted to investigate energy efficiency from different perspectives, little effort has yet been made to consider the collaboration among different stages in the production chain to produce energy outputs. In addition, various studies have also examined the determinants of energy efficiency, however, they mainly focused on technology and economic factors, no study has yet proposed and considered the influence of geographical factors on energy efficiency. In this article, we fill in the gap and make theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature. In this study, a two-stage analysis method is used to analyse energy efficiency and the influencing factors in China between 2009 and 2021. More specifically, from the theoretical/methodological perspective, a multi-activity network data envelopment analysis model is used to measure energy efficiency of different processes in the energy production chain. From the empirical perspective, we attempt to investigate the influence of geographical factors on energy efficiency through a neural network analysis. Meanwhile, the comparisons among different provinces are made. The result shows that the overall energy efficiency is low in China, and China relies more on the traditional energy industry than the clean energy industry. The efficiency level experiences a level of volatility over the examined period. Finally, we find that raw fuel pre-process and industry have a significant and positive impact on energy efficiency in China.
    • Dynamic network data envelopment analysis with a sequential structure and behavioural-causal analysis: Application to the Chinese banking industry

      Fukuyama, H.; Tsionas, M.; Tan, Yong (2023-06)
      The current study contributes to the literature in efficiency analysis in two ways: 1) we build on the existing studies in Dynamic Network Data Envelopment Analysis (DNDEA) by proposing a sequential structure incorporating dual-role characteristics of the production factors; 2) we initiate the efforts to complement the proposal of our innovative sequential DNDEA through a behavioural-causal analysis. The proposal of this statistical analysis is very important considering it does not only validate the proposal of the efficiency analysis but also our practice can be generalized to the future studies dealing with designing innovative production process. Finally, we apply these two different analyses to the banking industry. Using a sample of 43 Chinese commercial banks including five different ownership types (state-owned, joint-stock, city, rural, and foreign banks) between 2010 and 2018, we find that the inefficiency level is around 0.14, although slight volatility has been observed. We find that the highest efficiency is dominated by state-owned banks, and although foreign banks are less efficient than joint-stock banks, they are more efficient than city banks. Finally, we find that rural banks have the highest inefficiency.
    • A new perspective on the U.S. energy efficiency: The political context

      Antunes, J.J.M.; Neves, J.C.; Elmor, L.R.C.; Araujo, M.F.R.D.; Wanke, P.F.; Tan, Yong (2023-01)
      This paper offers a new perspective on the energy efficiency literature by bringing evidence of political contextual factors as the predictors of energy efficiency. Specifically, we posit that the Democrat administration is more energy-efficient considering the reduction of environmental impact, in contrast, the Republican administration is more efficient considering only financial expenditures leading to the production of economic growth. In addition, we predict that political administration tenure is negatively correlated with green energy efficiency and that political distancing moderates the relationship between political party administration and energy efficiency. This study sheds light on these matters by performing an efficiency analysis of fifty North American states through a bootstrap DEA non-parametric model, followed by Tobit regressions to evaluate our hypotheses concerning the effect of the contextual factors on the calculated efficiency scores.
    • TEA-IS: A hybrid DEA-TOPSIS approach for assessing performance and synergy in Chinese health care

      Antunes, J.J.M.; Hadi-Vencheh, A.; Jamshidi, A.; Tan, Yong; Wanke, P.F. (2023)
      This paper presents an assessment of the Chinese healthcare system in 31 provinces for a 10-year period in light of relevant physical and human resource variables. First, a novel TEA-IS (Trigonometric Envelopment Analysis for Ideal Solutions) model is developed to assess healthcare efficiency at the province level. Machine learning methods are also employed to predict high-low performance and the synergistic Chinese healthcare province in terms of contextual variables. The results indicate that synergy has played a pivotal role in the Chinese healthcare systems, not only by triggering higher performance levels due to the progressive adoption of best practices over the course of time, but also by being closely related to different socioeconomic and demographic variables, such as the illiteracy rate. It is possible to claim that healthcare performance has remained stable in China over the past two decades, performance and synergy at the province level are still heterogeneous.
    • Estimating market power under a nonparametric analysis: evidence from the Chinese real estate sector

      Fukuyama, H.; Tan, Yong (2022-10)
      The traditional Lerner index is limited in its capacity to estimate the level of competition in the economic sector from the perspective that it mainly focuses on the overall level of market power for each individual decision-making unit. Recently, Fukuyama and Tan (J Oper Res Soc, 73:445–453, 2022) estimated the Lerner index by applying the nonparametric data envelopment analysis (DEA) to calculate the marginal cost, which is an important component in the estimation of the Lerner index. Our study further extends the study of Fukuyama and Tan (J Oper Res Soc, 73:445–453, 2022) by estimating the marginal cost under the DEA in a multi-product setting. Our proposed methodology benefits from the ability to find positive marginal costs for all the products and specifies all decision-making units are profit maximizers. In order to achieve this, the marginal cost is estimated by referring to the nearest point on the best practice cost-efficient frontier for the profit-maximizing firms. We then apply our innovative method to the Chinese real estate industry. The result shows that the Chinese real estate industry has higher market power in the residential commodity housing market than that in the commodity housing market. This is also the case for different geographical areas in China. Overall, for both of these two different markets, the level of market power experiences a level of volatility.
    • Investigating the expression and function of aldehyde dehydrogenases in prostate cancer. Probing the expression and function of ALDHs using chemical probes, drugs and siRNA

      Pors, Klaus; Maitland, N.J.; Phillips, Roger M.; Sadiq, Maria (University of BradfordFaculty of Life Sciences, 2017)
      Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) remains an aggressive incurable disease in men mainly due to treatment resistance. Current treatments do not effectively eradicate cancer stem cells (CSCs), which play a pivotal role in tumour maintenance, progression and drug resistance. Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) have been used in some tumour types as CSC markers. Their high expression and high functional activity found in CSCs is also associated with drug resistance. Emerging evidence suggests deregulation of certain ALDH isoforms have implications in cancer. The role of ALDHs in prostate cancer as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets has not been fully explored yet. Accordingly, this study investigated the expression, regulation and function of selected ALDH isoforms in prostate cancer. This study showed that ALDH1A3, ALDH1B1, ALDH2 and ALDH7A1 are highly expressed in primary prostate cancer cells (n=9) compared to benign (n=9) prostate cells. The expression of ALDH1A3 was high in the stem cells (SCs) (n=3) as well as the more differentiated counterparts (n=16). Treatment of both benign and malignant primary prostate cancer cells with all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) also resulted in increased expression of ALDH1A3 and ALDH3A1, supporting a feedback loop between atRA and ALDHs. Furthermore, SerBob, Bob and LNCaP cells were sensitive to treatment with epigenetic drugs and led to significantly higher expression of ALDH1A2, ALDH3A1 and ALDH7A1 respectively. Importantly, siRNA suppression of ALDH1A3 and ALDH7A1 led to reduced SC properties of primary prostate cultures including reduced cell viability, migration and colony formation, and increased differentiation of transit amplifying (TA) cells to committed basal (CB) cells. Novel ALDH-affinic probes showed reduced cell viability of primary prostate epithelial cultures as a single agent and also when used in combination with docetaxel. The results indicate the potential of using ALDH-affinic compounds as single agents for therapeutic intervention or in combination with docetaxel to sensitise resistant cells to this anticancer drug. The data in this thesis provides novel findings, which supports ALDH1A2, -1A3 and -7A1 as potential biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets for drug intervention. Although, a study analysing a larger number of samples is necessary to fully understand ALDH isoform expression in CSC, TA and CB cells it is envisaged that an ALDH-targeted therapy have potential in future treatment strategies for prostate cancer.
    • Engineering of Amorphous Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients by Sonoprecipitation and Spray Drying Pre-and Post-Processing Pharmaceutical Characterisation. Pre- and Post-Processing Physicochemical and Micromeritic Characterisation of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

      Paluch, Krzysztof J.; Paradkar, Anant R.; Abdalmaula, Hanan A.S. (University of BradfordSchool of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. Faculty of Life Sciences, 2019)
      Amorphous active pharmaceutical ingredients remain in the research focus as an avenue to achieve a better solubility of drugs. Several processing techniques are applied to produce amorphous materials. Main two approaches applied to production of amorphous phases are comminution of crystalline materials in order to break down molecular long-range order of their crystal lattices and amorphous phase precipitation from solutions. This thesis is focused on processing challenges in preparation of amorphous API phases from solutions by spray drying and evaporative antisolvent sonoprecipitation. Budesonide (BUD) and simvastatin (SMV) were used as model poorly soluble APIs. Amorphous phases of relatively low-glass transition (Tg) APIs are physically unstable and crystallise upon storage and/or processing conditions. To tackle this issue, for the first time in this work a selection of polyvinylpyrrolidone vinyl acetate (PVP-VA) co-polymers has been applied to investigate impact of sonoprecipitation processing parameters and a composition of PVP-VA on physicochemical and micromeritic properties of BUD/PVP-VA nanoparticulate composites. Studies confirmed that in solid-state BUD is miscible with PVP-VA polymers. Application of factorial design revealed that processing parameters: polymer type, surfactant concentrations, time and amplitude of sonication impact the entrapment efficiency, drug loading, polydispersity and particle size properties of produced nanoparticles. The largest fraction of polymer to drug in produced nanoparticles has been achieved with PVP VA E-535. As it is known that polymer content in formulation of APIs may slow down its dissolution, novel approach to processing and dissolution enhancement of amorphous composites of SMV produced by spray drying has been applied. Introduction of easily crystallising inorganic salt- sodium chloride into spray drying feed rendered SMV-polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) amorphous microparticles loaded with nanocrystalline NaCl. Addition of NaCl successfully facilitated generation of discrete microparticles post spray drying with low-Tg polymers, which otherwise were not processable as binary mixtures. In addition, NaCl content aided tabletability and dissolution of amorphous API composites with more viscous and high-Tg PVP polymers. Studies confirmed that application of factorial design facilitates robust design of production process of amorphous nanocomposites by sonoprecipitation as well as that introduction of soluble nanocrystalline phase into amorphous binary solid dispersion by spray drying aids its processing and dissolution.
    • Development of Concrete Mixtures Based Entirely on Construction and Demolition Waste and Assessment of Parameters Influencing the Compressive Strength

      Yildirim, G.; Ozcelikci, E.; Alhawat, Musab M.; Ashour, Ashraf F. (2023-06)
      Demolition and reconstruction of degrading structures alongside with the repetitive repair, maintenance, and renovation applications create significant amounts of construction and demolition waste (CDW), which needs proper tackling. The main emphasis of this study has therefore been placed on the development of concrete mixtures with components (i.e., aggregates and binder) coming entirely from CDW. As the binding phase, powdered CDW-based masonry units, concrete and glass were used collectively as precursors to obtain geopolymer binders, which were then incorporated with CDW-based fine and coarse concrete aggregates. Together with the entirely CDW-based concretes, designs were also proposed for companion mixtures with mainstream precursors (e.g., fly ash and slag) occupying some part of the CDW-based precursor combination. Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), sodium silicate (Na2SiO3) and calcium hydroxide (Ca[OH]2) were used at various concentrations and combinations as the alkaline activators. Several factors that have impact on the compressive strength results of concrete mixtures, such as mainstream precursor replacement rate, al-kaline molar concentrations, aggregate-to-binder ratios and curing conditions, were considered and these were also backed by the micro-structural analyses. Our results showed that through proper optimiza-tion of the design factors, it is possible to manufacture concrete mix-tures entirely out of CDW with compressive strength results able to reach up to 40 MPa under ambient curing. Current research is believed to be very likely to promote more innovative and up-to-date techniques to upcycle CDW, which are mostly downcycled through basic practices of road base/sub-base filling, encouraging further research and increas-ing the awareness in CDW issue.
    • Extending the Merton model with applications to credit value adjustment

      Akyildirim, Erdinc; Hekimoglu, A.A.; Sensoy, A.; Fabozzi, F.J. (2023)
      Following the global financial crisis, the measurement of counterparty credit risk has become an essential part of the Basel III accord with credit value adjustment being one of the most prominent components of this concept. In this study, we extend the Merton structural credit risk model for counterparty credit risk calculation in the context of calculating the credit value adjustment mainly by estimating the probability of default. We improve the Merton model in a variance-convoluted-gamma environment to include default dependence between counterparties through a linear factor decomposition framework. This allows one to tackle dependence through a systematic common component. Our set-up allows for easier, faster and more accurate fitting for the credit spread. Results confirm that use of the variance-gamma-convolution clearly solves the vanishing credit spread problem for short time-to-maturity or low leverage cases compared to a Brownian motion environment and its modifications.
    • Examining the Relationship Between Blockchain Capabilities and Organizational Performance in the Indian Banking Sector

      Garg, P.; Gupta, B.; Kapil, K.N.; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Gupta, S. (2023-03-20)
      Blockchain has enormous capabilities to transform traditional business models in countless ways. Banks in India are building collaborative blockchain ecosystems to create an innovative business model and disrupt the traditional one to create more competitive advantage. This study’s purpose was to examine the relationship between blockchain capabilities (BCC), competitive advantage (CA), and organizational performance (OP), as well as evaluate CA’s mediating role in the relationship between BCC and OP. In this context, a scientific research model, including a hypothesis, has been developed from extant literature. The proposed model was tested using statistical data collected from blockchain specialists, blockchain product marketing managers, experts in future and emergent technology, and banking, finance, and tech managers or executives who are involved in planning and deploying practical blockchain in the financial sector. Data were analyzed and tested using AMOS 22.0 and a process macro using a sample comprising 289 responses. Our empirical results indicated a significant positive relationship between BCC, CA, and OP, as well as a relationship between BCC and OP, partially mediated by CA. This paper took an original approach and contributes to the literature on this subject to understand CA’s mediating role in the relationship between BCC and OP in the Indian banking sector.
    • Chain-Extendable Crosslinked Hydrogels Using Branching RAFT Modification

      Rimmer, Stephen; Spencer, P.; Nocita, D.; Sweeney, John; Harrison, M.; Swift, Thomas (2023-03-17)
      Functional crosslinked hydrogels were prepared from 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and acrylic acid (AA). The acid monomer was incorporated both via copolymerization and chain extension of a branching, reversible addition–fragmentation chain-transfer agent incorporated into the crosslinked polymer gel. The hydrogels were intolerant to high levels of acidic copolymerization as the acrylic acid weakened the ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) crosslinked network. Hydrogels made from HEMA, EGDMA and a branching RAFT agent provide the network with loose-chain end functionality that can be retained for subsequent chain extension. Traditional methods of surface functionalization have the downside of potentially creating a high volume of homopolymerization in the solution. Branching RAFT comonomers act as versatile anchor sites by which additional polymerization chain extension reactions can be carried out. Acrylic acid grafted onto HEMA–EGDMA hydrogels showed higher mechanical strength than the equivalent statistical copolymer networks and was shown to have functionality as an electrostatic binder of cationic flocculants.
    • Female Board Representation and Coupled Open Innovation: Evidence from Emerging Market Multinational Enterprises

      Adams, Kweku; Attah-Boakye, R.; Yu, H.; Johansson, J.; Njoya, E. (2023)
      Little research has been done on female board representation in emerging market multinational enterprises (EMNEs). Our paper considers the role of female board representation and its impact on open innovation (OI) in the unique context of emerging markets. We draw on upper echelons and institutional theories to understand how female board representation and cross-country institutional contexts influence coupled OI. Combining a 10-year (2009-2019) dataset with a rich in-depth content analysis of 183 (EMNEs) engaged in OI, our results reveal a significant positive association between female board representation and a firm’s commitment to coupled OI initiatives. We also find that country-level institutional factors affect and positively moderate the relationship between female board representation and coupled OI. In emerging market environments where managerial perception and cultural beliefs sometimes hinder the promotion of females into top positions, our work has implications for EMNEs regarding how they harness diversity. We contribute to the OI literature by showing that female board representation enhances corporate OI investment within EMNEs.
    • In jars: The integration of historical anatomical and pathological potted specimens in undergraduate education

      Sutton-Butler, Aoife; Croucher, Karina; Garner, Pip; Bielby-Clarke, Keren; Farrow, Matthew (2023-04)
      Across the UK, many anatomy departments possess historical potted wet cadaveric specimen collections, such as organs preserved in fluid-filled jars. Although considered obsolete by some for anatomical education, there is immense potential for their utilisation in teaching, particularly in institutes that have limited access to cadavers or have had body donation rates impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Another benefit of historical potted cadaveric specimens is that severe pathology, often not seen today, can be observed by the student. The aim of this study was to understand students' opinions and attitudes towards the use of historical anatomical and pathological potted wet specimen collections in undergraduate science teaching. Following their integration into the anatomy program of a Clinical Sciences degree, seventy-seven undergraduate students completed a five-point Likert questionnaire on their perspective for the integration of the historical potted specimens in anatomical education. This study was approved by the Research Ethics committee at the University of Bradford RESULTS: The study demonstrated that 90 % of students found the collection useful in teaching, 92 % would like to see the collection used more in teaching, and 76 % of students found that the collection encouraged them to consider medical ethics and the donor. In conclusion, the survey findings suggest that further utilisation of historical potted wet specimen collections would be useful in the teaching of anatomy and that these collections could potentially encourage conversations on post-mortem bodily integrity, ethics, and organ donation.
    • Hydration characteristics, hydration products and microstructure of reactive powder concrete

      Ge, W.; Zhang, Z.; Ashour, Ashraf F.; Li, W.; Jiang, H.; Hu, Y.; Shuai, H.; Chuanzhi, S.; Li, S.; Liu, W. (Elsevier, 2023-06)
      Reactive Powder Concrete (RPC) is a new type of cementitious materials with a complex hydration mechanism, and active admixtures greatly influence the hydration reaction, formation of hydration products, and evolution of microstructure. In order to comprehensively study the quantitative effects of active admixtures contents, namely silica fume, slag and fly ash, on hydration characteristics, hydration products, and microstructure of RPCs, tests of workability, setting time, electrical conductivity, bound water and mechanical properties were conducted. Furthermore, a series of properties including morphology and micro-structure characteristics of RPCs were analyzed by thermogravimetric (TG) analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD), fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP), Brunauer-Emmet-Teller (BET), and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The results indicate that the initial hydration reaction rate of RPCs is reduced by partly replacing cement with active admixtures. The pozzolanic effect created by the active admixtures enhances hydration and improves RPC's compressive and flexural strength. RPCs made of cement-silica fume mixture exhibit the best macroscopic properties. The adoption of silica fume promotes the production of C-S-H gel during hydration and exerts pozzolanic and crystal nucleation effects to promote cement hydration. RPCs made of pure cement exhibit 15.3% porosity after 28 days of hydration, with the largest proportion of less harmful pores in the microstructure. The porosity is reduced to 5.2% when cement is partially replaced with silica fume, and the microstructure is dominated by harmless pores. When replacement of silica fume is kept at 25%, using slag powder or fly ash substitute part of cement also reduces the number of less harmful pores. It is beneficial to add slag powder to increase the number of gel pores, whereas fly ash reduces the number of gel pores. The investigation presented in this paper would contribute to the production of low cost and environmentally-friendly RPCs, and accelerate the wider applications of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) in engineering structures.
    • Flexural performance of prefabricated U-shaped UHPC permanent formwork - concrete composite beams reinforced with FRP bars

      Ge, W.; Zhang, Z.; Ashour, Ashraf F.; Li, W.; Jiang, H.; Hu, Y.; Shuai, H.; Chuanz, xxx (2023)
      Finite element (FE) analysis of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforced concrete beams cast in U-shaped ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) permanent formworks is presented in this paper. Concrete damage plasticity (CDP) and FRP brittle damage models were used to simulate the damage behavior of concrete and FRP bars. The results of FE simulation are in good agreement with the experimental results. Furthermore, parametric studies were conducted to investigate the effect of concrete and UHPC strengths, yield strength of steel bars, elastic modulus of FRP bars, ultimate tensile strength of FRP bars, types of UHPC normal strength concrete (NSC) interface and thickness of UHPC under different reinforcement conditions. Flexural performances, in terms of cracking, yield, ultimate loads and corresponding deflections, failure mode, energy dissipation and ductility, were investigated. Traction-separation model was used to describe the bonding degradation and the maximum slip of two types of bonding interfaces (smooth surface and medium-rough surface). Both flexural capacity and resistance to deformation of composite beams are significantly improved by the utilization of hybrid FRP/steel reinforcement. The UHPC formwork can also delay the occurrence and development of cracks. By appropriately increasing the strength of UHPC or elastic modulus of FRP bar, the flexural capacity of composite beams is effectively improved. It is expected that the results presented in this paper can guide the design and construction of U-shaped UHPC permanent formwork-concrete composite beams reinforced with FRP bars.
    • Micro-nano scale pore structure and fractal dimension of ultra-high performance cementitious composites modified with nanofillers

      Wang, J.; Wang, X.; Ding, S.; Ashour, Ashraf F.; Yu, F.; Xinjun, L.; Han, B. (Elsevier, 2023)
      The development of ultra-high performance cementitious composite (UHPCC) represents a significant advancement in the field of concrete science and technology, but insufficient hydration and high autogenous shrinkage relatively increase the pores inside UHPCC, in turn, affecting the macro-performance of UHPCC. This paper, initially, optimized the pore structure of UHPCC using different types and dimensions of nanofillers. Subsequently, the pore structure characteristics of nano-modified UHPCC were investigated by the mercury intrusion porosimeter method and fractal theory. Finally, the fluid permeability of nano-modified UHPCC was estimated by applying the Katz-Thompson equation. Experimental results showed that all incorporated nanofillers can refine the pore structure of UHPCC, but nanofillers with different types and dimensions have various effects on the pore structure of UHPCC. Specifically, CNTs, especially the thin-short one, can significantly reduce the porosity of UHPCC, whereas nanoparticles, especially nano-SiO2, are more conducive to refine the pore size. Among all nanofillers, nano-SiO2 has the most obvious effect on pore structure, reducing the porosity, specific pore volume and most probable pore radius of UHPCC by 31.9%, 35.1% and 40.9%, respectively. Additionally, the pore size distribution of nano-modified UHPCC ranges from 10-1nm to 105nm, and the gel pores and fine capillary pores in the range of 3-50nm account for more than 70% of the total pore content, confirming nanofillers incorporation can effectively weaken pore connectivity and induce pore distribution to concentrate at nanoscale. Fractal results indicated the provision of nanofillers reduces the structural heterogeneity of gel pores and fine capillary pores, and induces homogenization and densification of UHPCC matrix, in turn, decreasing the UHPCC fluid permeability by 15.7%-79.2%.
    • Child and family experiences of a whole-systems approach to physical activity in a multiethnic UK city: a citizen science evaluation protocol.

      Frazer, Marie; Seims, Amanda; Tatterton, Michael J.; Lockyer, B.; Bingham, Daniel; Barber, S.; Daly-Smith, Andrew; Hall, Jennifer (2023-02)
      Whole-systems approaches are being adopted to tackle physical inactivity. The mechanisms contributing to changes resulting from whole-systems approaches are not fully understood. The voices of children and families that these approaches are designed for need to be heard to understand what is working, for whom, where and in what context. This paper describes the protocol for the children and families' citizen science evaluation of the Join Us: Move, Play (JU:MP) programme, a whole-systems approach to increasing physical activity in children and young people aged 5-14 years in Bradford, UK. The evaluation aims to understand the lived experiences of children and families' relationship with physical activity and participation in the JU:MP programme. The study takes a collaborative and contributory citizen science approach, including focus groups, parent-child dyad interviews and participatory research. Feedback and data will guide changes within this study and the JU:MP programme. We also aim to examine participant experience of citizen science and the suitability of a citizen science approach to evaluate a whole-systems approach. Data will be analysed using framework approach alongside iterative analysis with and by citizen scientists in the collaborative citizen science study. Ethical approval has been granted by the University of Bradford: study one (E891-focus groups as part of the control trial, E982-parent-child dyad interviews) and study two (E992). Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and summaries will be provided to the participants, through schools or directly. The citizen scientists will provide input to create further dissemination opportunities.
    • Stromal vascular fraction cells from individuals who have previously undergone radiotherapy retain their pro-wound healing properties

      Trevor, L.V.; Riches-Suman, Kirsten; Mahajan, A.L.; Thornton, M. Julie (2023-03)
      Beneficial effects have been observed following the transplant of lipoaspirates containing adipose-derived stem cells into chronic wounds caused by oncologic radiotherapy. It is not yet certain whether adipose-derived stem cells are resistant to radiation exposure. Therefore, the aims of this study were to isolate stromal vascular fraction from human breast tissue exposed to radiotherapy and determine the presence of adipose-derived stem cells. Stromal vascular fraction from irradiated donor tissue was compared to commercially sourced pre-adipocytes. Immunocytochemistry was used to determine the presence of adipose-derived stem cell markers. Conditioned media from stromal vascular fraction isolated from irradiated donors was used as a treatment in a scratch wound assay of dermal fibroblasts also isolated from irradiated donors and compared to pre-adipocyte conditioned media and serum free control. This is the first report of human stromal vascular fraction being cultured from previously irradiated breast tissue. Stromal vascular fraction conditioned media from irradiated donors had a similar effect in increasing the migration of dermal fibroblasts from irradiated skin to pre-adipocyte conditioned media from healthy donors. Therefore, the ability of adipose-derived stem cells in the stromal vascular fraction to stimulate dermal fibroblasts in wound healing appears to be preserved following radiotherapy. This study demonstrates that stromal vascular fraction from irradiated patients is viable, functional and may have potential for regenerative medicine techniques following radiotherapy.