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  • Journal article
    Wang J, Anthony DB, Fuentes CA, De Luca HG, Zhang D, Bismarck A, Van Vuure AW, Shaffer MSP, Seveno Det al., 2022,

    Wettability of carbon nanotube-grafted carbon fibers and their interfacial properties in polypropylene thermoplastic composite

    , Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, Vol: 159, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1359-835X

    The interfacial properties of carbon fiber (CF) reinforced thermoplastic composites depend strongly on the wettability and surface characteristics of the reinforcing fibers, and their compatibility with a chosen matrix. The interface between conventional fibers and thermoplastic matrices is generally weak, due to a lack of specific chemical interaction, especially in the case of polyolefins. Carbon nanotube-grafted-carbon fibers (CNT-g-CF) are considered to be potential reinforcements as they provide additional mechanical interlocking. Commercial CFs were successfully grafted with nanotubes using a continuous, and hence scalable, CVD method. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Wilhelmy wetting measurements, and scanning electron microscopy confirmed the successful grafting and resulting hydrophobic surface chemistry, dominated by van der Waals interactions. The grafted CNTs, with diameters and lengths around 10 nm and 140 nm respectively, were well suited to improve the overall wettability and interfacial shear strength (+53.4 %) of the CNT-g-CF in a polypropylene matrix when compared to as-received unsized CFs.

  • Journal article
    Lv X, Hueso-Gil A, Bi X, Wu Y, Liu Y, Liu L, Ledesma Amaro Ret al., 2022,

    New synthetic biology tools for metabolic control

    , Current Opinion in Biotechnology, Vol: 76, ISSN: 0958-1669

    In industrial bioprocesses, microbial metabolism dictates the product yields, and therefore, our capacity to control it has an enormous potential to help us move towards a bio-based economy. The rapid development of multiomics data has accelerated our systematic understanding of complex metabolic regulatory mechanisms, which allow us to develop tools to manipulate them. In the last few years, machine learning-based metabolic modeling, Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) derived synthetic biology tools, and synthetic genetic circuits have been widely used to control the metabolism of microorganisms, manipulate gene expression, and build synthetic pathways for bioproduction. This review describes the latest developments for metabolic control, and focuses on the trends and challenges of metabolic engineering strategies.

  • Journal article
    Zhang T, Deng R, Wang Y, Wu C, Zhang K, Wang C, Gong N, Ledesma-Amaro R, Teng X, Yang C, Xue T, Zhang Y, Hu Y, He Q, Li W, Li Jet al., 2022,

    A paper-based assay for the colorimetric detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants at single-nucleotide resolution

    , Nature Biomedical Engineering, Vol: 6, Pages: 957-967, ISSN: 2157-846X

    The evolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has highlighted the need for versatile diagnostic assays that can discriminate among emerging variants of the virus. Here we report the development and performance benchmarking of an inexpensive (approximately US$0.30 per test) assay for the rapid (sample-to-answer time within 30 min) colorimetric detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants. The assay, which we integrated into foldable paper strips, leverages nucleic acid strand-displacement reactions, the thermodynamic energy penalty associated with single-base-pair mismatches and the metal-ion-controlled enzymatic cleavage of urea to amplify the recognition of viral RNAs for the colorimetric readout of changes in pH via a smartphone. For 50 throat swab samples, the assay simultaneously detected the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and mutations specific to the SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha, Beta and Gamma, with 100% concordance with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction and RNA sequencing. Customizable and inexpensive paper-based assays for the detection of viruses and their variants may facilitate viral surveillance.

  • Journal article
    Evans RA, Leavy OC, Richardson M, Elneima O, McCauley HJC, Shikotra A, Singapuri A, Sereno M, Saunders RM, Harris VC, Houchen-Wolloff L, Aul R, Beirne P, Bolton CE, Brown JS, Choudhury G, Diar-Bakerly N, Easom N, Echevarria C, Fuld J, Hart N, Hurst J, Jones MG, Parekh D, Pfeffer P, Rahman NM, Rowland-Jones SL, Shah AM, Wootton DG, Chalder T, Davies MJ, De Soyza A, Geddes JR, Greenhalf W, Greening NJ, Heaney LG, Heller S, Howard LS, Jacob J, Jenkins RG, Lord JM, Man WD-C, McCann GP, Neubauer S, Openshaw PJM, Porter JC, Rowland MJ, Scott JT, Semple MG, Singh SJ, Thomas DC, Toshner M, Lewis KE, Thwaites RS, Briggs A, Docherty AB, Kerr S, Lone NI, Quint J, Sheikh A, Thorpe M, Zheng B, Chalmers JD, Ho LP, Horsley A, Marks M, Poinasamy K, Raman B, Harrison EM, Wain LV, Brightling CE, Abel K, Adamali H, Adeloye D, Adeyemi O, Adrego R, Aguilar Jimenez LA, Ahmad S, Ahmad Haider N, Ahmed R, Ahwireng N, Ainsworth M, Al-Sheklly B, Alamoudi A, Ali M, Aljaroof M, All AM, Allan L, Allen RJ, Allerton L, Allsop L, Almeida P, Altmann D, Alvarez Corral M, Amoils S, Anderson D, Antoniades C, Arbane G, Arias A, Armour C, Armstrong L, Armstrong N, Arnold D, Arnold H, Ashish A, Ashworth A, Ashworth M, Aslani S, Assefa-Kebede H, Atkin C, Atkin P, Aung H, Austin L, Avram C, Ayoub A, Babores M, Baggott R, Bagshaw J, Baguley D, Bailey L, Baillie JK, Bain S, Bakali M, Bakau M, Baldry E, Baldwin D, Ballard C, Banerjee A, Bang B, Barker RE, Barman L, Barratt S, Barrett F, Basire D, Basu N, Bates M, Bates A, Batterham R, Baxendale H, Bayes H, Beadsworth M, Beckett P, Beggs M, Begum M, Bell D, Bell R, Bennett K, Beranova E, Bermperi A, Berridge A, Berry C, Betts S, Bevan E, Bhui K, Bingham M, Birchall K, Bishop L, Bisnauthsing K, Blaikely J, Bloss A, Bolger A, Bonnington J, Botkai A, Bourne C, Bourne M, Bramham K, Brear L, Breen G, Breeze J, Bright E, Brill S, Brindle K, Broad L, Broadley A, Brookes C, Broome M, Brown A, Brown A, Brown J, Brown J, Brown M, Brown M, Brown V, Brugha T, Brunskill Net al., 2022,

    Clinical characteristics with inflammation profiling of long COVID and association with 1-year recovery following hospitalisation in the UK: a prospective observational study

    , The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 10, Pages: 761-775, ISSN: 2213-2600

    BackgroundNo effective pharmacological or non-pharmacological interventions exist for patients with long COVID. We aimed to describe recovery 1 year after hospital discharge for COVID-19, identify factors associated with patient-perceived recovery, and identify potential therapeutic targets by describing the underlying inflammatory profiles of the previously described recovery clusters at 5 months after hospital discharge.MethodsThe Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID) is a prospective, longitudinal cohort study recruiting adults (aged ≥18 years) discharged from hospital with COVID-19 across the UK. Recovery was assessed using patient-reported outcome measures, physical performance, and organ function at 5 months and 1 year after hospital discharge, and stratified by both patient-perceived recovery and recovery cluster. Hierarchical logistic regression modelling was performed for patient-perceived recovery at 1 year. Cluster analysis was done using the clustering large applications k-medoids approach using clinical outcomes at 5 months. Inflammatory protein profiling was analysed from plasma at the 5-month visit. This study is registered on the ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN10980107, and recruitment is ongoing.Findings2320 participants discharged from hospital between March 7, 2020, and April 18, 2021, were assessed at 5 months after discharge and 807 (32·7%) participants completed both the 5-month and 1-year visits. 279 (35·6%) of these 807 patients were women and 505 (64·4%) were men, with a mean age of 58·7 (SD 12·5) years, and 224 (27·8%) had received invasive mechanical ventilation (WHO class 7–9). The proportion of patients reporting full recovery was unchanged between 5 months (501 [25·5%] of 1965) and 1 year (232 [28·9%] of 804). Factors associated with being less likely to report full recovery at 1 year were female sex (odds ratio 0·68 [95% CI 0·46–0·99]), obes

  • Journal article
    Kowal J, Arrigoni E, Jarvis S, Zappala S, Forbes E, Bidartondo MI, Suz LMet al., 2022,

    Atmospheric pollution, soil nutrients and climate effects on Mucoromycota arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

    , Environmental Microbiology, Vol: 24, Pages: 3390-3404, ISSN: 1462-2912

    Fine root endophyte mycorrhizal fungi in the Endogonales (Mucoromycota arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, M-AMF) are now recognized as at least as important globally as Glomeromycota AMF (G-AMF), yet little is known about the environmental factors which influence M-AMF diversity and colonization, partly because they typically only co-colonize plants with G-AMF. Wild populations of Lycopodiella inundata predominantly form mycorrhizas with M-AMF and therefore allow focussed study of M-AMF environmental drivers. Using microscopic examination and DNA sequencing we measured M-AMF colonization and diversity over three consecutive seasons and modelled interactions between these response variables and environmental data. Significant relationships were found between M-AMF colonization and soil S, P, C:N ratio, electrical conductivity, and the previously overlooked micronutrient Mn. Estimated N deposition was negatively related to M-AMF colonization. Thirty-nine Endogonales Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) were identified in L. inundata roots, a greater diversity than previously recognized in this plant. Endogonales OTU richness correlated negatively with soil C:N while community composition was mostly influenced by soil P. This study provides first evidence that M-AMF have distinct ecological preferences in response to edaphic variables also related to air pollution. Future studies require site-level atmospheric pollution monitoring to guide critical load policy for mycorrhizal fungi in heathlands and grasslands.

  • Journal article
    Kozik AJ, Holguin F, Segal LN, Chatila TA, Dixon AE, Gern JE, Lozupone C, Lukacs N, Lumeng C, Molyneaux PL, Reisdorph N, Vujkovic-Cvijin I, Togias A, Huang YJet al., 2022,

    Microbiome, metabolism, and immunoregulation of asthma: an American Thoracic Society and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases workshop report.

    , American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, Vol: 67, Pages: 155-163, ISSN: 1044-1549

    This report presents the proceedings from a workshop titled "Microbiome, Metabolism and Immunoregulation of Asthma" that was held virtually May 13 and 14, 2021. The workshop was jointly sponsored by the American Thoracic Society (Assembly on Allergy, Immunology, and Inflammation) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It convened an interdisciplinary group of experts with backgrounds in asthma immunology, microbiome science, metabolomics, computational biology, and translational pulmonary research. The main purpose was to identify key scientific gaps and needs to further advance research on microbial and metabolic mechanisms that may contribute to variable immune responses and disease heterogeneity in asthma. Discussions were structured around several topics, including 1) immune and microbial mechanisms of asthma pathogenesis in murine models, 2) the role of microbes in pediatric asthma exacerbations, 3) dysregulated metabolic pathways in asthma associated with obesity, 4) metabolism effects on macrophage function in adipose tissue and the lungs, 5) computational approaches to dissect microbiome-metabolite links, and 6) potential confounders of microbiome-disease associations in human studies. This report summarizes the major points of discussion, which included identification of specific knowledge gaps, challenges, and suggested directions for future research. These include questions surrounding mechanisms by which microbiota and metabolites shape host health versus an allergic or asthmatic state; direct and indirect influences of other biological factors, exposures, and comorbidities on these interactions; and ongoing technical and analytical gaps for clinical translation.

  • Journal article
    Davies J, Hughes D, Rosenthal M, Cuthbertson L, ramadan N, Felton I, Simmonds N, Loebinger M, price H, Armstrong-James D, elborn S, Cookson W, Moffatt Met al., 2022,

    An invisible threat? Aspergillus positive cultures and co-infecting bacteria in airway sample

    , Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, ISSN: 1569-1993

    BackgroundAspergillus fumigatus (Af) infection is associated with poor lung health in chronic suppurative lung diseases but often goes undetected. We hypothesised that inhibition of Af growth by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) increases the frequency of false-negative Af culture in co-infected people. Using a substantial group of cystic fibrosis (CF) airway samples, we assessed the relationship between Af and bacterial pathogens, additionally comparing fungal culture with next-generation sequencing.MethodsFrequency of co-culture was assessed for 44,554 sputum/BAL cultures, from 1,367 CF patients between the years 2010–2020. In a subgroup, Internal Transcribed Spacer-2 (ITS2) fungal sequencing was used to determine sequencing-positive, culture-negative (S+/C-) rates.ResultsPa+ samples were nearly 40% less likely (P<0.0001) than Pa- samples to culture Af, an effect that was also seen with some other Gram-negative isolates. This impact varied with Pa density and appeared to be moderated by Staphylococcus aureus co-infection. Sequencing identified Af-S+/C- for 40.1% of tested sputa. Samples with Pa had higher rates of Af-S+/C- (49.3%) than those without (35.7%; RR 1.38 [1.02–1.93], P<0.05). Af-S+/C- rate was not changed by other common bacterial infections. Pa did not affect the S+/C- rates of Candida, Exophiala or Scedosporium.ConclusionsPa/ Af co-positive cultures are less common than expected in CF. Our findings suggest an Af-positive culture is less likely in the presence of Pa. Interpretation of negative cultures should be cautious, particularly in Pa-positive samples, and a companion molecular diagnostic could be useful. Further work investigating mechanisms, alternative detection techniques and other chronic suppurative lung diseases is needed.

  • Journal article
    Li W, Cui L, Mai J, Shi T-Q, Lin L, Zhang Z-G, Ledesma-Amaro R, Dong W, Ji X-Jet al., 2022,

    Advances in Metabolic Engineering Paving the Way for the Efficient of Terpenes in Yeasts

  • Journal article
    Krexner T, Bauer A, Zollitsch W, Weiland K, Bismarck A, Gronauer A, Kral Iet al., 2022,

    Environmental life cycle assessment of nano-cellulose and biogas production from manure

  • Journal article
    Stolting H, Baillon L, Frise R, Bonner K, Hewitt RJ, Molyneaux PL, Gore ML, Barclay WS, Saglani S, Lloyd CMet al., 2022,

    Distinct airway epithelial immune responses after infection with SARS-CoV-2 compared to H1N1

    , Mucosal Immunology, Vol: 15, Pages: 952-963, ISSN: 1933-0219

    Children are less likely than adults to suffer severe symptoms when infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), while influenza A H1N1 severity is comparable across ages except for the very young or elderly. Airway epithelial cells play a vital role in the early defence against viruses via their barrier and immune functions. We investigated viral replication and immune responses in SARS-CoV-2-infected bronchial epithelial cells from healthy paediatric (n = 6; 2.5–5.6 years old) and adult (n = 4; 47–63 years old) subjects and compared cellular responses following infection with SARS-CoV-2 or Influenza A H1N1. While infection with either virus triggered robust transcriptional interferon responses, including induction of type I (IFNB1) and type III (IFNL1) interferons, markedly lower levels of interferons and inflammatory proteins (IL-6, IL-8) were released following SARS-CoV-2 compared to H1N1 infection. Only H1N1 infection caused disruption of the epithelial layer. Interestingly, H1N1 infection resulted in sustained upregulation of SARS-CoV-2 entry factors FURIN and NRP1. We did not find any differences in the epithelial response to SARS-CoV-2 infection between paediatric and adult cells. Overall, SARS-CoV-2 had diminished potential to replicate, affect morphology and evoke immune responses in bronchial epithelial cells compared to H1N1.

This data is extracted from the Web of Science and reproduced under a licence from Thomson Reuters. You may not copy or re-distribute this data in whole or in part without the written consent of the Science business of Thomson Reuters.

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