• 3D animation visualization on commercial websites

      Simons, Alain (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2012)
      3D technology became more and more a part of our live. Often we even don’t know it. 3D technology can be found back in medical applications, cinematographic, automotive design, etc... Only one technology seems to have missed the 3D train, namely the World Wide Web. Internet is still not overwhelmed with 3D content, still and animated. This project analyses the reasons, bottlenecks why 3D technology is so slow in conquering the World Wide Web. The research is focused on 3D visualization in commercial websites. Research is done after the difficulties to include 3D content in a HTML environment. By involving a complete website solution, the ISPN-system, a realistic and immersive environment is setup to research where and what kind of issues may occur. The development of the ISPN-system could be a case on his own eventual done in another Msc project or a PhD project. Main goal of the ISPN-system is to provide decent footage material (visual and data) to graphic designers and website developers. An inquiry will be conducted whether this has some sense.
    • An access control system to improve security amongst randomly associated nodes in BYOD network

      Nwebonyi, Francis (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-05)
      The growth of mobile devices both in variety and in computational abilities have given birth to a concept in the corporate world known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Employees are allowed under this concept to bring personally owned mobile devices for official work. Though relatively new, it has gained up to 53% patronage among organisations, and it is expected to hit 88% in the near future. Its popularity is driven by the significant advantages it brings along such as reduced cost, employee satisfaction and improved productivity, to mention a few. However, as a relatively new concept, it also introduces new security challenges; for instance, the organisation looses the ownership of devices used for official work, to the employees. Implying that the employees own and manage the devices they use to work, including seeing to the security needs of such devices. With this development, protecting the corporate network becomes more challenging; outsmarting the usual traditional access control mechanisms, owing to the highly dynamic nature of mobile devices. Considering the fact that BYOD is also a type of pervasive/dynamic environment, this work studies similar dynamic environments, relating to how their security challenges are addressed, as bases to propose an algorithm for enhancing the security of BYOD via access control. Various access control mechanisms have also been adequately analyzed as a justification for the proposed approach.
    • Actualised playgrounds: exploring preparatory phase rehearsal exercises

      Whitney, John (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-11)
      This project investigates how board games can be used in the development of a series of rehearsal exercises, which assist in the development of initial characters in preparation for later stages of a rehearsal process. Existing practice contextualises the project, and Stanislavski’s theories of If, Given Circumstance and Ultranaturalism are used to develop the approach. Through using the board game as one of Richard Schechner’s ‘actual’, its own meeting between performer and problem, we are able to springboard into theories of play, social drama and reciprocity. Johan Huizinga and Roger Callois’ theories of play assist with identifying indicators of tension and control that are used to manipulate the difficulty of the game, to explore whether this assists character development. The use of Victor Turner’s social drama demonstrates that it provides a schism in initial character development. The method is edited with the difficulty relaxed, allowing more opportunity to play within the ludic playground of character creation. Erving Goffman further develops the discussion, through discussions of reciprocity. The process leads to the system being established, whilst still providing a series of other outcomes including the identification of any issues performers may have and the creation of a collective ensemble for both character development and relationships building through issues of reciprocity. This will demonstrate that the project has potential beyond purely the rehearsal room.
    • The acute impact of breakfast consumption and omission on postprandial metabolic responses in adolescent girls

      Morari, Victoria (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-12)
      Breakfast consumption (BC) frequency declines from childhood to adolescence and is associated with poor metabolic health. This research aimed to analyse whether BC versus breakfast omission (BO) affects substrate oxidation during rest in adolescent girls. Secondly, it examined whether BC vs BO influences postprandial and 5 h glycaemia and insulineamia. Lastly, it evaluated the effects of BC vs BO on Fatmax, MFO, rate of perceived exertion and physical activity (PA) enjoyment during an exercise bout performed 2 h after lunch. Seventeen breakfast consuming girls (13.2 ± 0.7 years old) were recruited. Two experimental trials were completed in a randomised counterbalanced order: BC and BO. A standardised lunch was provided three hours after breakfast (BC) or after breakfast omission (BO). Finger prick blood samples for the analysis of plasma glucose and plasma insulin and expired gas samples for the analysis of substrate oxidation were taken throughout the trials. An incremental 7-stage cycling test was performed 2 h after lunch for the determination of maximum fat oxidation (MFO) and intensity at which MFO occurred (Fatmax). OMNI Scale was used to evaluate the perceived exertion at the end of each cycling stage. PA enjoyment was evaluated after the cool-down using Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). There was a significant main effect of condition (BC vs BO) for fat (p= 0.008) and carbohydrate (p< 0.001) oxidation after lunch. Fat oxidation was significantly higher during BO compared to BC, while carbohydrate oxidation was significantly higher during BC compared to BO. The main effect of condition for glucose and insulin incremental area under the curve (iAUC) (p= 0.509; p= 0.603, respectively) and total area under the curve (tAUC) for glucose and insulin (p= 0.738; p= 0.665, respectively) throughout the whole day was not significant. However, post lunch glucose and insulin iAUC (p= 0.05; p= 0.001) and tAUC (p= 0.05; p= 0.001) were significantly higher during BO compared to BC. There was no significant difference in MFO (p= 0.104) or Fatmax (p= 0.945) between conditions. Physical activity enjoyment was higher during BC vs BO with an almost significant difference (p= 0.055). The main effect of condition for perceived exertion (p= 0.307) was not significantly different. In conclusion, BC resulted in lower fat oxidation and lower second meal glycaemic and insulineamic responses. Ultimately, the findings of this study will assist in understanding further the effects of BC vs BO on adolescents’ metabolism. This may have important implications in prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
    • Adaptation for knowing audiences – analysing fan on-line responses to fidelity and deviation in film adaptation

      Pearce, Samantha (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-07)
      Adaptation theory has historically viewed film as hierarchically and artistically inferior to the book, measuring the success or failure of an adaptation on the grounds of fidelity. More recent critics have challenged the possibility and the desirability of fidelity when adapting one medium to another, proposing other tropes to validate the adaptive process such as intertextuality and contextuality. By examining the online Twilight fan community as an example of a ‘knowing audience’, acquainted with both novel and adapted film, this thesis considers the tensions that exist between fidelity and deviation by analysing the fans’ responses to the altered ending of the film adaptation Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012). Having conducted a systematic cataloguing exercise of this online fandom, unprompted online fan discussion from a sub-set of key fan sites was analsyed, uncovering the startling reaction of fans to the film’s unexpected ending. This study identifies fan audiences as intensive readers, collaborators and viewers of adapted texts and suggests the creative and commercial advantages to be gained from a collaborative and open dialogue between adaptors and fans. It also challenges the assumed superiority of the novel and the author’s authority over canon and narrative, and reveals the unexpected added pleasure derived from a deviation from canon.
    • Adolescent materialism, parental and peer materialism, parental and peer support and adolescent well-being

      Sutton, Cordelia (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-12)
      Recent research highlights how the current materialistic culture of the UK has a detrimental effect on young people's lives. The present study aimed to investigate how parent and peer relationships impacts on adolescent materialism and wellbeing. A correlational design was employed, utilising standardised questionnaires, previously validated as appropriate tools for the topics and age of participants. Participants (N= 166) aged 13-15 were recruited from two secondary schools in South England. Adolescents completed measures of materialism, peer support, parental support, perceived peer group pressure, contingent self-worth and wellbeing. Parents (N=47) of participants completed measures of materialism and parental support. Parents' and perceived peers' materialism significantly predicted adolescent materialism, accounting for 51% of the variance in adolescent materialism. Several new findings to existing research on adolescent materialism are presented. Peer support moderated the effect of perceived peers' materialism on adolescents' own materialism. Pro-social behaviour predicted lower materialism, and additionally was a partial mediator of the relationship between perceived peer group pressure and adolescent materialism. Adolescent materialism predicted poorer well-being. Perceived parental support predicted higher well-being. Whilst higher materialism of parents and peers are associated with increases in adolescent materialism, social support may help reduce the negative consequences of adolescent materialism.
    • Adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse: abused parents' accounts

      Bell, Rebecca (University of Bedfordshire, 2018-09)
      Adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse (APVA); is an adolescents utilisation of "a pattern of behaviour that uses verbal, financial, physical or emotional means to practice power and exert control over a parent" (Holt, 2013, p. 1). As well as causing psychological damage to the parent and child it is a growing social problem which is largely absent from within both academic and social policy domains (Miles & Condry, 2014). This study sought to contribute to existing literature by examining parents’ accounts of APVA shared within online forums to identify themes of issues of significance to them via a thematic analysis (Braun & Clark, 2006). Data comprised thirty-two archived message ‘posts’ written by twenty-three (71.8%) mothers, four (12.5%) fathers, and five (15.6%) step-fathers describing the abuse that they experienced by their adolescent (93.3% male, 13.3% female). Findings formed three themes; the ‘emotional turmoil’, the ‘need to explain’, and ‘fractured relationships. The themes are discussed in relation to wider literature and recommendations for further study are suggested to address limitations.
    • The advantage of using commercial mediation over commercial litigation

      Farooq, Bilal (University of Bedfordshire, 2012)
      Commercial litigation is the one oldest methods of resolving a dispute between parties, which dates back many centuries. The normal way to resolve a dispute was primarily through the courts, the way to the courts is principally through the lawyers. Many lawyers recognise that following the court route for every dispute would mean it would be too costly, of legal resources, of court time. As a result of commercial litigation becoming costly, time consuming method of resolving dispute, there has been much discussion and many attempts, not only to find ways of making the court process more accessible and affordable to ordinary people, but also to divert disputes away from the courts, into various recognised forms of alternative dispute resolution such as commercial mediation. This has led to many disputant over the recent years using other forms of dispute resolution, which are cost effective and to which people are to an extent satisfied. Therefore the emergence of other forms of dispute resolutions has led to commercial litigation once being a household name, and a famous renowned process for resolving disputes in the shadows of other dispute resolutions, which to an extent are more preferred and seem as the most suitable forms of resolving disputes. For example commercial mediation in comparison to commercial ligation can be see less cost effective, less formal, lets the disputants decide upon the outcomes, less rigid, whereas commercial litigation on the other hand it expensive, time consuming an emotional and distressful process and is more formal and not flexible.
    • Analysis of Wi-Fi received signal strength indicator as observed

      Ogundele, Oluwasegun Olatunde (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-05-22)
      The last couple of years have witnessed tremendous growth in wireless communications. The quest for mobility of devices while maintaining seamless connectivity with a network has been a major driving force in the wireless technology industry. This has led to the introduction of various wireless standards such as WiMax, 3G/4G, MAN, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to name a few. With Wi-Fi rising in popularity due to its increasing preference as last mile technology, we often witness the short comings first hand. These short comings many times are in the form of signal strengths as Wi-Fi operates in the unlicensed spectrum which is largely over-crowed by many devices and are major sources of interference. This thesis provides an overview of the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) of Wi-Fi signals and then employs it as a basis for comparing the behaviour of signals at peak and off-peak periods. The peak and off-peak periods have been defined by the number of people in the areas considered. inSSIDer software was used in signal logging and MATLAB was extensively used for both programming and analysis. All of these were done with the aim of establishing a pattern for Wi-Fi RSSI behaviour at peak and off-periods. Relevant techniques used in data analysis for signals were discussed in details stating why each was used. The results confirm that RSSI behaves differently under different physical conditions. Peaks signals were observed to be about 5dBm poorer than their off-peak measurements. It was also discovered that it is possible to relate attributes of the signal plot to the conditions of the physical environment. This thesis also provides recommendations on how the results produced may be used to improve existing structures and systems.
    • The antecedents of trust in B2B banking services in South Korea

      Lee, Hagsoo; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      In the rapidly changing and competitive environments, companies are forced to develop long-term relationships with their customers. Trust has been considered as key element to establish, maintain and enhance relationships. There exists a large body of literature with models and theories of trust, however, the majority of these studies feature a Western perspective, having been conducted in Europe or the US. Relatively few studies in this area have been carried out in Asia, and of those that have been, most were done in the Middle East or in China, thus presenting an incomplete picture of the Asian market. South Korea is the third largest economy in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Nevertheless, there is very limited work that has been done in this area of research in South Korea. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to develop a conceptual model that examines the antecedents of trust in business to business (B2B) banking services in the context of South Korea. In so doing, this study provides critical implications for managers of financial service institutions. A conceptual model was developed from the existing literature on trust and the antecedents of trust, including the constructs of corporate reputation, service quality, perceived value, competence, customer orientation and open communication. A set of hypotheses concerning direct and indirect links between constructs was derived from the literature. The conceptual model was tested on data collected from more than 200 companies in South Korea during a 7 weeks period in 2017. A pilot test was conducted and frequency distributions of the sample were calculated using SPSS and Structural Equation modelling (SEM) using LISREL was employed to test the proposed model. Additionally t-test and ANOVA analysis was conducted to test the effect of the demographic factors of the participants on the variables of this study. The results indicate that the proposed theoretical framework was consistent and valid scales for all constructs. The measurement model for each construct showed good measures of fit. Associated with the structural model, all constructs except corporate reputation were found to have a positive effect on trust.
    • Applying business intelligence in higher education sector: conceptual models and users acceptance

      Chen, Meng (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-09)
      Advances in emerging ICT have enabled organizations, such as universities, to generate, collect, and distribute data that may not be possible before. However, this leads to the explosion of data and unprecedented challenges in making strategic and effective use of available data. As a result, individuals who work for higher educational institutions (HEIs) are struggling to make sense of multi-dimensional and huge volume data available for them. The current student information systems in HEIs appear to mainly collect and store data in databases, thus serve as merely an information source rather than a decision support environment. Business Intelligence (BI) aims to enable interactive and easy access to diverse data, enable manipulation and transformation of these data, and users the ability to conduct appropriate analyses and perform actions (Turban et al., 2011). However, there appears very limited research on the acceptance and use of BI by individual users in universities. Therefore, this study aims to promote BI applications in HEIs by designing a demonstrational portal to introduce the concept of Educational Intelligence (EI) and its applications, and to investigate the factors affecting EI acceptance by academic individuals in a Chinese university using Technology Acceptance Model (TAM). To achieve the research aims, the study adopted two approaches: one is to design a BI portal to demonstrate BI concepts and potentials by introducing the concept and benefits of EI to the potential users. The other approach is to conduct a survey based on TAM model to understand the factors influencing user's acceptance of EI. Data of Abstract ii the questionnaire survey is gathered from the academic staff in a key Chinese university in Beijing. Based on the 85 valid responses, factor analysis is used to examine the validity of all research instruments after the test of reliability. The Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) technique is employed to verify the theoretical model and test the research hypotheses. The main finding of the SEM results indicate that the perceived usefulness of EI system strongly influence behavioral intention to use. The result suggests that user's willing to utilize EI system depends on how well the ability of EI system improves their job performance. In addition, there is no insignificant influence between perceived ease of use of EI system and attitude towards to use the EI system. It means whether users decide to adopt EI system does not depend on the ease of use of EI system. That may be because EI will be an evitable trend to the evolution of student information systems in HEIs. In summary, this study identified a gap in terms of understanding the acceptance of BI in Higher Education sector. It introduced the concept of EI based on the previous literature, and attempted to explore and demonstrate the EI concept and potentials through a demonstration portal. The study revealed the factors determining the acceptance of EI from the technology acceptance perspective. The survey findings will help practitioners to take effective measures to improve user acceptance and usage of the BI systems in HEIs. In addition, the EI demonstration portal can be further improved in the future to serve as a one stop knowledge base to help users apply EI techniques and tools for supporting their decision making and planning.
    • Aquifer investigations in north Qatar

      Elobaid, Elnaiem Ali (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2000-09)
      The purpose of this study was to investigate the levels and quality of groundwater in a farming area to the north of Doha, the capital of the State of Qatar. Two rows of about five wells were selected, the lines being more or less parallel to each other, about 30 km apart, running for 45 km inland from the east coast. Vertical electrical sounding surveys were undertaken and groundwater samples were taken from these wells in winter and in summer. The water was chemically analysed, and the results formed the basis for a hydrogeochemical modelling exercise. The results of the geophysical and geochemical surveys indicate that there is a seasonal vertical and lateral migration of the fresh water/salt water interface in winter before the rainfall replenishes the groundwater aquifers. The geochemistry of the groundwater indicate that there is a gradual decrease of cations and anions, particularly Na+, cr, S04, and HC03-, together with a decrease in conductivity CEC), total dissolved solids (TDS) and sodium absorption ratio (SAR) from the coast inland. There is an upconing which brings the saline water to the surface near the middle of the southern profile in both seasons. In both profiles the fresh water/salt water interface migrates inland due to the excessive extraction of fresh water from the wells.
    • Are talking therapies culturally relevant for the British South-Asian community?: a look into the views and experiences of British South-Asians

      Khalil, Sidhra Adilia (University of Bedfordshire, 2018-11)
      The personal experiences of South-Asians who have accessed talking therapy have been widely overlooked in the development of culturally adapted therapies for ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom (Naeem et al., 2015). This research aimed to gain an understanding into the experiences of British South-Asian service users, discovering the views held towards existing mental health services and exploring how their experiences shaped these. Additionally, the experiences of community members and professionals were also explored, with all three groups being sought to discover whether talking therapies were culturally relevant for the British South Asian community in England. This qualitative study consisted of 20 semi-structured interviews carried out with British South-Asian service users (n=4), British South-Asian community members (n=5) and mental health professionals (n=11) who had experience of providing therapy to the South-Asian community. Interviews were analysed using inductive thematic analysis, with four key themes arising within each group. There was consensus among the three groups that specific barriers caused difficulty when accessing services, including cultural norms and perceptions towards mental health, English as a second language and limited cultural understanding within existing services. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research into minority communities and recommendations for future research are made.
    • Aripiprazole and weight gain: a meta-analysis

      Hassan, Farah (University of Bedfordshire, 2008-10)
      This quantitative systematic review has focussed on eight studies for a meta-analysis that has provided significant and positive evidence for the atypical antipsychotic, aripiprazole, on weight loss. Aripiprazole has been compared to other antipsychotics such as olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone and haloperidol on weight loss (N=2, 507). Although it has been argued that there is weight loss due to aripiprazole (Beebe, 2003) discussion of this treatment for mental illness has to be understood with respect to the psychological as well as the physical and adverse effects of taking antipsychotic medication. The significant factor that has emerged for a longer lasting solution for maintaining weight loss in the treatment of mental illness and psychoses is the integrative approach which has a psychological design (Citrome and Yeomans, 2005). This is most supportive for the sufferer, where clinicians respond to their issue armed with the knowledge from research and evidence-based practices for a long-term treatment of weight management (Lean, 2003). The meta-analyses results was highly significant at -6.700 at p less than or equal to 0.0001 that indicated that the hypothesis was supported with weight loss for aripiprazole compared to other antipsychotics in this review.
    • Associations of sedentary behaviour patterns with cardiometabolic risk in children: the sit less for health study

      White, Stephanie L. (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-12)
      This study investigated the association between patterns of sedentary behaviour and cardiometabolic risk in children aged 11–12-years-old. Inclinometer and accelerometer determined sedentary behaviour patterns were measured in 118 (51 males) school children, in addition to cardiometabolic risk markers. Data were analysed using partial correlations and multiple linear regression. After adjustment for potential confounding variables, prolonged sedentary time was significantly negatively associated with weight (β=-.681), waist circumference (WC) (β=-.557), body mass index (BMI) (β=-.675) and body fat% (β=-.685) and significantly positively associated with total cholesterol (TC) (β=.410) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) (β=.432). The number of breaks in sedentary time was significantly negatively associated with weight (β=-.661), WC (β=-.597), BMI (β=-.601) and body fat% (β=-.546) and significantly positively associated with TC (β=.334) and HDL (β=.415). Total standing time was significantly negatively associated with weight (β=-.270), WC (β=-.272) and body fat% (β=-.286) and significantly positively associated with HDL (β=.312). This study provides evidence that the number of breaks in sedentary time and total standing time are beneficially associated with cardiometabolic risk in children aged 11–12-years-old. However, the associations of other sedentary behaviour variables cardiometabolic risk is mixed and thus requires further research.
    • Awareness of oral cancers among the students of the University of Bedfordshire, Luton campus : is there a need for oral cancer awareness programme?

      Abayomi-Ojumu, Olayinka (University of Bedfordshire, 2008-10)
      Oral cancer is a malignancy that develops in and affects the mouth. It affects both male and female alike. The disease has been known to affects people older than fifty years of age; however an increasing number of younger people are now affected. Oral cancer at its earliest stage is often asymptomatic, consequently the patient may be unaware of the disease until signs and symptoms occur. Unfortunately, this type of cancer is sometimes difficult to treat; treatments for the disease at the late stage involve radical measures that frequently lead to loss of facial structures, functions aesthetics. The disease has a high mortality rates. The poor survival rate of the disease has been attributed to the late presentation ofthe patients in the hospital for treatment as well as various factors such as lack ofknowledge about the disease, the inability to readily identify the sign and symptoms of the disease or a lack ofknowledge about the risk factors ofthe disease. This study assessed the level of awareness of oral cancer among the students of the University of Bedfordshire, Luton, United Kingdom. A descriptive cross-sectional survey was carried out using a questionnaire. 100 students comprising of43 male and 56 female were the responders. Information on knowledge of oral cancer risk factors, signs and symptoms, dental habits as well as socio- demographic details were obtain from the participants. Data was analysed with the aid of SPSS version 12 for windows software. Findings from the study indicated a low level of awareness of oral cancer among the student. Except for tobacco and cigarette; identification of the other risk factors for oral cancer was poor. Hence, public health education aimed at increasing the awareness of the disease is recommended.
    • The campaign as a tale - the usefulness of storytelling techniques in marketing communication campaign development

      Bucsa, Irina Nicoleta (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-04)
      Tapping into the consumer mindset is the quest of any marketer, and storytelling, one of the oldest forms of marketing communication is arguably a key source in understanding consumer behaviour and rationale at both a conscious and unconscious level. Whilst prior research acknowledges the persuasiveness of storytelling in advertising, the primary aim of this research was to identify key elements that help to create and nourish the relationship between the brand and the consumer, and to explore how storytelling techniques can become an integral part of the campaign planning and development process in order to improve overall efficiency. An in-­‐depth interpretive study was conducted into the use of narrative and storytelling techniques in the context of contemporary branding and consumer psychology. Furthermore, data has been gathered on campaign development techniques employed by students at an undergraduate level, which was further corroborated by a survey carried out in an online environment. The study confirmed the overall acknowledgement of storytelling as a very effective communication tool, but one not viewed as an integral element in the planning and development process of a marketing communications campaign. Therefore, as part of this exploration, a tentative framework has been developed and conceptualised, adding storytelling narrative to the creative thought process, which is ultimately believed to improve the overall effectiveness of the campaign.
    • Can the notion of raunch culture be effectively challenged by contemporary performance makers

      Leach, Rebecca Anne (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-11)
      The focus of this thesis is involved with whether or not contemporary performance makers can effectively challenge the notion of raunch culture. This study identifies the cultural phenomenon of raunch culture and offers an academic definition; popular feminist and academic feminist texts are used to inform this definition. The research method use is a qualitative approach. Findings from this thesis demonstrate that raunch culture is part of a constantly evolving script of narrowly defined femininity. This script is oppressive and works to control the behaviour and appearance of girls and women. It is promoted by mass media in order to lock women into the cycle of capitalist gain. Judith Butler’s theory of gender construction highlights the performative nature of gender imposed upon society through dominant discourses. Dominant discourses ensure that traditional hierarchies of power remain unchallenged and the gender matrix remains intact. The performances of GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN, Lucy Kirkwood, and Nic Green show that the performative nature of gender scripts can be unveiled. This thesis proposes that once the performative nature has been revealed, performance makers can challenge the notion of raunch culture but that political feminist ideas must be utilised in order to offer an effective counter strategy.
    • Changes in strength and power characteristics over a season in elite English rugby union players

      Hogben, Patrick (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-04)
      Those involved in the physical preparation of elite players must balance the stresses of training multiple physical qualities with the need to adequately recover and perform optimally on a weekly basis over a long competitive season (Brooks et al., 2005). At present limited information exists regarding the changes in strength, power and body composition that occur during the pre-season and competitive season in elite rugby union players. It is currently unclear how neuromuscular characteristics such as rate of force development (RFD), stretch shortening cycle performance and maximal force production change over a season. Furthermore the effects of both positional grouping of players and game time exposure on the change in physiological characteristics in professional rugby union players remains to be elucidated. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the change in strength, power and body composition in 19 male, English professional rugby union players over the course of a 41 week season, consisting of an eight week pre-season and a 33 week competitive season. The subject group consisted of 5 backs and 14 forwards from the same RFU Championship division team. Subjects participated in four data collection sessions in which body composition data were obtained followed by jump and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) testing. Changes in physiological characteristics were examined and the relationships between these and game minutes played were explored. Increases of 6.9% in IMTP peak force were observed following the pre-season alongside decreases of -10.9% and -1.8% in RFD at 0.1 s and eccentric utilization ratio (EUR) respectively. Increases of 4.5% in IMTP peak force, 17.8% in RFD at 0.1 s and 2.8% in EUR were observed over the competitive season. An improvement of 1.7% was observed in fat-free mass (FFM) alongside a 1.3% reduction in body mass during pre-season. Following this FFM was maintained whilst body mass showed a small increase (1.7%) over the competitive season. The two positional groups followed a similar pattern of change throughout the whole season although backs showed larger decreases in reactive strength index and IMTP force at 0.1 s following the pre-season period. A moderate correlation was found between total minutes played and increases in IMTP peak force (r =0.36, p =0.07) whereas small (r =≤0.19, p=≥0.19) or small negative correlations (r = ≥-0.23, p= ≥0.18) were reported between total match minutes and change in power based measures The results of this investigation show strength can be improved over the pre-season and competitive season in elite English rugby union players. In contrast power based characteristics are likely to decrease over the pre-season period and be maintained or show small increases during the competitive season. Whilst both positional groups are likely to show similar changes in physiological characteristics, fast SSC performance may be affected to a greater degree in backs. High match exposure does not impair strength development but may impact negatively on the development of some power based characteristics.
    • Characterisation of the novel TPI-GAPDH fusion enzyme in Blastocystis hominis

      Evans, Kayleigh (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-03)
      Protist parasites such as the human pathogens Trypanosoma brucei, Blastocystis hominis and the plant pathogen Phytophthora infestans cause devastating diseases worldwide and in the case of P. infestans, huge financial losses in potato crops. Treating these diseases is fraught with toxic side effects due to the similar functioning of all eukaryotes and emerging resistance problems. This highlights a requirement for new and innovative antiparasitic treatments that are specific against the target organism without damaging the host. Studies haves demonstrated protist metabolism as a potential drug target. A novel mitochondrial targeted glycolytically active TPI-GAPDH fusion enzyme has been discovered in a selection of stramenopiles (including B. hominis and P. infestans). This is interesting in terms of a potential selective drug target and when considering the mitochondrial targeting to the enzyme, suggesting a retention of glycolysis originating from the mitochondrial precursor before the endosymbiosis event (i.e. from alpha proteobacteria). This study characterises TPI-GAPDH from B. hominis by performing enzymatic assays on wild type TPI-GAPDH, mutated TPI-GAPDH and by splitting the protein into separate TPI and GAPDH enzymes. The enzymatic assays showed that GAPDH does not function as effectively when separated from TPI, having 2-fold decrease in enzyme activity compared against wtTPI-GAPDH. This suggests that TPI has a structural effect on GAPDH function. The enzymatic assays also demonstrated a competition for GAP between TPI and GAPDH, this goes against the canonical understanding of TPI. TPI functions to equilibrate DHAP to GAP in a 22:1 ratio and is generally considered to be a ‘perfect’ enzyme which is not rate limited in its function. However, when attached to GAPDH, TPI appears to be in competition with GAPDH for substrate. The apparent loss of function of B. hominis GAPDH when separated from TPI makes the linkage between the two enzymes a potential novel drug target within glycolysis in these protists.