University of Southampton

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/M028941/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,011,620 GBP
    Partners: University of Southampton

    This project will investigate the enzymatic glycosylation of modified carbohydrate monosaccharides to achieve larger, biologically relevant glycan structures. This will be achieved by extensive screening of glycosyltransferase enzymes (enzymes that catalyse the addition of a new monosaccharide to a growing sugar 'acceptor'), that are able to use modified sugars as the 'acceptor', but also as 'donor'. The biological relevance of the synthesised new type of glycan structures will be validated by investigating their binding profile to a range of proteins that are known to be of relevance in the health sciences, with the immediate aim to develop new diagnostics applications. However, depending on the array results, further applications in other areas in the health sciences are envisaged.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 834330
    Overall Budget: 224,934 EURFunder Contribution: 224,934 EUR
    Partners: University of Southampton

    The Southern Ocean (SO) is a disproportionately important region, relative to its size, for mitigating the consequences of the anthropogenic climate change, being responsible for 43% and 75% of the ocean uptake of anthropogenic CO2 and heat, respectively. The Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) and Antarctic Intermediate Waters (AAIW) effect the bulk of this uptake. Yet the dynamical processes that control the formation of these water masses in the thick winter mixed layers to the north of the SubAntarctic Front (SAF), and the associated drawdown of carbon, are not well understood, primarily as a result of the scarcity of data during winter in this remote region. Hence, the present and future evolution of the SO carbon sink remains the subject of vigorous debate. The main goal of the SO-CUP project is to identify and quantify the processes that control the amount of inorganic carbon that is subducted with the SAMW/AAIW. To do so, the work plan integrates the use of recent in situ observations from biogeochemical Argo floats and a state-of-the-art data-assimilating, high-resolution coupled biogeochemical-physical ocean model (B-SOSE). Through analysis of these novel datasets, which allow for unprecedented data coverage of the SO in winter, the SO-CUP project will produce a major step forward toward understanding the ventilation and carbon uptake processes in the SO, and will help to predict their response to ongoing and future climatic changes. This proposal will also enable Dr. Fernández-Castro to decisively broaden his expertise on ocean physics and biogeochemistry, and to gain experience in the state-of-the-art technologies in these disciplines. These new skills and knowledge will propel Dr. Fernández-Castro’s career toward a status of independent scientist with high international visibility. Further, the SO-CUP project will establish new links between the EU and US communities for the investigation of the fundamental role of the SO in the climate system.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 1657264
    Partners: University of Southampton

    This proposal is divided in 2 research topics. Topic I develops in-depth a project proposed in my original ER grant. The fact that there are now 3-dimensional numerical schemes (required to achieve the aims in the gravitational sector) justifies that I request the computer & human resources to enhance/develop this program (w.r.t. the original ER proposal that aimed the scalar sector). Topic II is not a project of my original ER grant. However, it extends the original holographic studies in a direction whose timeliness, scientific relevance and expected impact is justified. I. Black holes with a single isometry. Superradiant physics and its endpoint Superradiance is the process whereby a wave is amplified when it scatters a black hole (BH) and, in an anti-de Sitter (AdS) background, it leads to an instability. The time evolution, endpoint and novel phases associated with this phenomenon are largely unknown. This project aims to: 1) Construct nonlinearly charged hairy BH and solitonic solutions that are associated with the zero-mode of the scalar superradiant instability in the charged Reissner-Nordström-AdS BH. Consequently, complete the phase diagram of static solutions of the d=4 Einstein-AdS theory. 2) Find the time evolution & endpoint of scalar superradiance. 3) Construct nonlinearly the single isometry BHs that, in a phase diagram, bifurcate from the Kerr-AdS BH family at the onset curve of the rotating gravitational superradiant instability (we have perturbative evidence for the existence of these BHs). Such BHs will challenge the current BH paradigm: they will prove that, against current assumptions, the Kerr-AdS BH is not the only stationary BH of Einstein-AdS theory. 4) Find the time evolution & endpoint of rotating gravitational superradiance. This is one the most important open questions of gravitational physics. 5) In the context of the gauge/gravity duality, find the dual interpretation of the superradiant instability. Find also the dual interpretation of the novel hairy and single Killing field phases. II. Holographic heavy ion collisions. Out-of-equilibrium holography In the context of holographic gauge/gravity dualities, Einstein's equation encodes hydrodynamic near-equilibrium physics but also the far-from-equilibrium dynamics. Consequently, it can be used to model the far-from-equilibrium dynamics of heavy ion collisions that form the strongly coupled quark gluon plasma (sQGP) at LHC-CERN. The broad objective is to develop the available holographic studies on this subject to compute the dynamics of models that mimic more accurately the experiments at CERN, namely: 1) Collide 2 gravitational shock waves (SWs) with non-vanishing impact parameter. This will model holographically the peripheral collisions and elliptic flow observed at RHIC and LHC. That is, when the collision is not head-on, the two disks intercept in an elliptic-shapped area. A plasma formed with this shape in vacuum will necessarily expand at different rates along the 2 axis of the ellipse. 2) Study non-head-on collisions with different initial radial profiles for the SWs and find how they affect the thermalization properties and the sQGP profile. 3) Collide two SWs with asymmetric properties (to model the collision of two beams of different ions that will be studied at RHIC). This will allow to identify the intrinsic sQGP properties that are independent of the initial conditions and how the system reacts to different initial anisotropies. 4) RHIC/LHC experiments reveal the presence of interesting phenomena in the sGQP like jet quenching, conical SW flow and turbulence (sQGP has low viscosity). Search for signatures of these in the above holographic simulations. A byproduct aim of this proposal is to communicate with other scientific communities where numerical schemes are more mature in order develop and optimise numerical methods required to solve non-linear and out-of-equilibrium holographic and BH problems

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/M006115/1
    Funder Contribution: 70,204 GBP
    Partners: University of Southampton

    ODYSEA will assess how, when, and where the ocean affects atmospheric variability and weather in Europe and in particular in the UK on timescales up to a decade. Particular emphasis will be on the identification of oceanic "early warning signs" that indicate the development of unusually warm, cold, dry or wet conditions several months or years in advance, especially related to extreme weather events. Such early warning signs can include changes in the ocean surface temperature or in the position of major ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream. The best known role of the ocean for climate and weather is as a reservoir of heat and moisture. The ocean stores 1000 times more heat than the atmosphere. Heat stored in the ocean during summer moderates winter temperatures and in summer the large ocean heat capacity ensures that ocean temperatures rise less than on land areas, meaning that in summer the ocean cools the climate of surrounding land masses. This maritime effect is pronounced for the climate of the UK, Europe and Northwest America, with winters that are warmer and summers that are cooler than in other regions at similar latitudes. North Atlantic moisture is the source of a substantial fraction of the precipitation affecting Europe. A recent prominent example is the very unsettled spell of weather that led to widespread flooding in the UK in late 2013/early 2014. Together, the ocean and the atmosphere reduce the temperature difference between low and high latitudes by carrying heat from the tropics to high latitudes. In the Atlantic a circulation called the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) transports heat northward at a rate of more than 1000 Terawatts (TW) - equivalent to the energy produced by 1,000,000 average sized nuclear power stations. This heat transport leads to an additional warming of Western Europe that is present throughout the year and temperatures in Western Europe are on average higher than at similar latitudes in the maritime climate of Northwest America. Over the mid-latitudes heat and moisture from the North Atlantic is carried towards Europe and well into Eurasia by the predominantly westerly winds (in particular the North Atlantic storm track). In ODYSEA we will investigate how variability in the ocean circulation modulates the atmospheric exchange between ocean and land. Research suggests that meanders of the Gulf Stream affect the atmosphere in a region that is key to the formation of North Atlantic Storms. The MOC has also been shown to be highly variable with likely impacts on ocean surface temperatures. This affects the amount of heat released to the atmosphere overlying the ocean, but also the efficiency and direction by which this heat is carried towards the continents. A recent study performed at NOC suggests that anomalies of surface ocean temperatures were key to the development of the atmospheric conditions that led to the extremely cold December of 2010. These anomalous ocean surface temperatures were preceded by a particularly weak MOC in 2009. In ODYSEA we will establish if similar oceanic impacts can be identified for previous weather extremes that have affected Europe and the UK (e.g. wet summers of 2005, 2007 and 2012, the heat waves in the summer of 2003 and of July 2006). Emphasis will be on acquiring a better understanding of the mechanisms through which the ocean can impact the atmosphere and therefore our weather and climate. Current knowledge strongly suggests that the ocean affects variability of European weather and climate on timescales of months to years, but the underlyingmechanisms are far from fully understood. This hampers prediction and attribution of those events. ODYSEA will reduce this gap in our understanding of the variability of UK/European weather and climate by using cutting edge ocean and atmosphere models available in the UK as well as by analysing data from the latest seasonal to decadal forecasting systems run by the UK Met Office.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: G0800185
    Funder Contribution: 321,066 GBP
    Partners: University of Southampton

    The anthrax spore attacks along the eastern united states in autumn 2001 focused attention on the lack of effective treatments for this disease. Pulmonary anthrax results from inhalation of airborne spores and is highly fatal. Anthrax acts by releasing two toxins into the body that are transported into cells by a third protein. These toxins, called lethal factor and edema factor, cause cell death and when present at high levels are fatal. The disease is without symptoms for several weeks, progressing to mild fever, aches and cough. As bacteria reach high levels in the circulation, the disease progresses rapidly, causing respiratory disease, shock and widespread haemorage. Death usually occurs within 24 hours and antibiotics are without benefit at this point due to the accumulation of the bacterial toxins. Our research aims to develop a new line of compounds for use in anthrax infection. These compounds will act by preventing the anthrax toxins being transported into human cells. This is achieved by targeting the assembly of a key anthrax protein complex, which forms pores in the cell membrane allowing toxin entry. The compounds developed in this project will prevent cellular entry of anthrax toxins, therefore allowing anthrax infections to become treatable by a combination of therapy approach with antibiotics.