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  • Journal article
    Brandfellner L, Muratspahić E, Bismarck A, Müller HWet al., 2024,

    Quantitative description of polymer drag reduction: Effect of polyacrylamide molecular weight distributions

    , Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, Vol: 325, ISSN: 0377-0257

    The effect of molecular weight distribution of polyacrylamide (PAAm) on drag reduction was studied in two flow geometries. Commercial PAAm with different weight averaged molecular weights (Mw = 5 × 105 to 1.8 × 107 g/mol) were investigated in turbulent pipe and rotational flows. Comparison of PAAm with different molecular weight distributions showed that drag reduction is not only a function of the averaged molecular weight. Broader polymer molecular weight distributions provided increased drag reduction over polymers of same average molecular weight but with a more narrow distribution. The role of distribution widths is of significance as polymer degradation in turbulent flows causes narrowing of the molecular weight distributions. Multiple linear regression was employed to connect weight fractions of polyacrylamide with drag reduction. Multiple linear regression was successfully applied to describe drag reduction in turbulent pipe and rotational flows indicating that drag reduction can be quantitatively derived from the molecular weight distribution of PAAm.

  • Journal article
    Davies J, Mossop M, Jonathan I-H, Hughes D, Dobra R, Cunanan A, Rosenthal M, Carr S, Ramadan N, Nolan Let al., 2024,

    Chronicity Counts: The Impact of P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and Co-Infection in Cystic Fibrosis

    , American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, ISSN: 1073-449X
  • Journal article
    Eder T, Mautner A, Xu Y, Reithofer MR, Bismarck A, Chin JMet al., 2024,

    Transparent PDMS Surfaces with Covalently Attached Lubricants for Enhanced Anti-adhesion Performance.

    , ACS Appl Mater Interfaces

    Liquid-like surfaces featuring slippery, omniphobic, covalently attached liquids (SOCALs) reduce unwanted adhesion by providing a molecularly smooth and slippery surface arising from the high mobility of the liquid chains. Such SOCALs are commonly prepared on hard substrates, such as glass, wafers, or metal oxides, despite the importance of nonpolar elastomeric substrates, such as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) in anti-fouling or nonstick applications. Compared to polar elastomers, hydrophobic PDMS elastomer activation and covalent functionalization are significantly more challenging, as PDMS tends to display fast hydrophobic recovery upon activation as well as superficial cracking. Through the extraction of excess PDMS oligomers and fine-tuning of plasma activation parameters, homogeneously functionalized PDMS with fluorinated polysiloxane brushes could be obtained while at the same time reducing crack formation. Polymer brush mobility was increased through the addition of a smaller molecular silane linker to exhibit enhanced dewetting properties and reduced substrate swelling compared to functionalizations featuring hydrocarbon functionalities. Linear polymer brushes were verified by thermogravimetric analysis. The optical properties of PDMS remained unaffected by the activation in high-frequency plasma but were impacted by low-frequency plasma. Drastic decreases in solid adhesion of not just complex contaminants but even ice could be shown in horizontal push tests, demonstrating the potential of SOCAL-functionalized PDMS surfaces for improved nonstick applications.

  • Journal article
    Cookson W, Cuthbertson L, Moffatt M, 2024,


    , Communications Biology, ISSN: 2399-3642
  • Journal article
    Webster VL, Hemmings S, Pérez M, Fisher MC, Brown MJF, Farrer RAet al., 2024,

    Revealing the genome of the microsporidian Vairimorpha bombi, a potential driver of bumble bee declines in North America.

    , G3 (Bethesda)

    Pollinators are vital for food security and the maintenance of terrestrial ecosystems. Bumblebees are important pollinators across northern temperate, arctic, and alpine ecosystems, yet are in decline across the globe. Vairimorpha bombi is a parasite belonging to the fungal class Microsporidia that has been implicated in rapid declines of bumblebees in North America, where it may be an emerging infectious disease. To investigate the evolutionary basis of pathogenicity of V. bombi, we sequenced and assembled its genome using Oxford Nanopore and Illumina technologies and performed phylogenetic and genomic evolutionary analyses. The genome assembly for V. bombi is 4.73 Mb, from which we predicted 1,870 protein coding genes and 179 tRNA genes. The genome assembly has low repetitive content and low GC content. V. bombi's genome assembly is the smallest of the Vairimorpha and closely related Nosema genera, but larger than those found in the Encephalitozoon and Ordospora sister clades. Orthology and phylogenetic analysis revealed 18 core conserved single-copy microsporidian genes including the Histone acetyltransferase (HAT) GCN5. Surprisingly, V. bombi was unique to the microsporidia in not encoding the 2nd predicted HAT ESA1. The V. bombi genome assembly annotation included 265 unique genes (i.e., not predicted in other microsporidia genome assemblies), 20% of which encode a secretion signal, which is a significant enrichment. Intriguingly, of the 36 microsporidian genomes we analysed, 26 also had a significant enrichment of secreted signals encoded by unique genes, ranging from 6% to 71% of those predicted genes. These results suggest that microsporidia are under selection to generate and purge diverse and unique genes encoding secreted proteins, potentially contributing to or facilitating infection of their diverse hosts. Furthermore, V. bombi has 5/7 conserved Spore Wall Proteins (SWPs) with its closest relative V. ceranae (that primarily infects honeybees), while als

  • Journal article
    Peng H, Darlington APS, South EJ, Chen H-H, Jiang W, Ledesma-Amaro Ret al., 2024,

    A molecular toolkit of cross-feeding strains for engineering synthetic yeast communities

    , Nature Reviews Microbiology, ISSN: 1740-1526

    Engineered microbial consortia often have enhanced system performance and robustness compared with single-strain biomanufacturing production platforms. However, few tools are available for generating co-cultures of the model and key industrial host Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we engineer auxotrophic and overexpression yeast strains that can be used to create co-cultures through exchange of essential metabolites. Using these strains as modules, we engineered two- and three-member consortia using different cross-feeding architectures. Through a combination of ensemble modelling and experimentation, we explored how cellular (for example, metabolite production strength) and environmental (for example, initial population ratio, population density and extracellular supplementation) factors govern population dynamics in these systems. We tested the use of the toolkit in a division of labour biomanufacturing case study and show that it enables enhanced and tuneable antioxidant resveratrol production. We expect this toolkit to become a useful resource for a variety of applications in synthetic ecology and biomanufacturing.

  • Journal article
    Woubshete M, Cioccolo S, Byrne B, 2024,

    Advances in membrane mimetic systems for manipulation and analysis of membrane proteins; detergents, polymers, lipids and scaffolds.

    , Chempluschem

    Extracting membrane proteins from the hydrophobic environment of the biological membrane, in a physiologically relevant and stable state, suitable for downstream analysis remains a challenge. The traditional route to membrane protein extraction has been to use detergents and the last 15 years or so have seen a veritable explosion in the development of novel detergents with improved properties, making them more suitable for individual proteins and specific applications. There have also been significant advances in the development of encapsulation of membrane proteins in lipid based nanodiscs, either directly from the native membrane using polymers allowing effective capture of the protein and protein-associated membrane lipids, or via reconstitution of detergent extracted and purified protein into nanodiscs of defined lipid composition. All of these advances have been successfully applied to the study of membrane proteins via a range of techniques and there have been some spectacular membrane protein structures solved using these new approaches. In addition, the first detailed structural and biophysical analyses of membrane proteins retained within a biological membrane have been reported. Here we summarise and review the recent advances with respect to these new agents and systems for membrane protein extraction, reconstitution and analysis.

  • Journal article
    Guder F, Coatsworth P, Bozkurt O, Cotur Y, Collins AS-P, Olenik S, Zhou Z, Naik A, Asfour T, Gonzalez-Macia L, Chao D-Yet al., 2024,

    Time-resolved chemical monitoring of whole plant roots with printed electrochemical sensors and machine learning

    , Science Advances, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2375-2548

    Traditional single-point measurements fail to capture dynamic chemical responses of plants, which are complex, nonequilibrium biological systems. We report TETRIS (time-resolved electrochemical technology for plant root environment in situ chemical sensing), a real-time chemical phenotyping system for continuously monitoring chemical signals in the often-neglected plant root environment. TETRIS consisted of low-cost, highly scalable screen-printed electrochemical sensors for monitoring concentrations of salt, pH, and H2O2 in the root environment of whole plants, where multiplexing allowed for parallel sensing operation. TETRIS was used to measure ion uptake in tomato, kale, and rice and detected differences between nutrient and heavy metal ion uptake. Modulation of ion uptake with ion channel blocker LaCl3 was monitored by TETRIS and machine learning used to predict ion uptake. TETRIS has the potential to overcome the urgent “bottleneck” in high-throughput screening in producing high-yielding plant varieties with improved resistance against stress.

  • Journal article
    Wu Z, Smith DJF, Yazbeck L, Saunders P, Smith JA, Maher TM, Molyneaux PLet al., 2024,

    Cough Severity Visual Analogue Scale Assesses Cough Burden and Predicts Survival in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.

    , Am J Respir Crit Care Med
  • Journal article
    Wang Z, Cuthbertson LF, Thomas C, Sallah HJ, Mosscrop LG, Li H, Talts T, Kumar K, Moffatt MF, Tregoning JSet al., 2024,

    IL-1α is required for T cell driven weight loss after respiratory viral infection

    , Mucosal Immunology, ISSN: 1933-0219

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