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Funders:
The Wellcome Trust
Recipients:
Volunteering Matters
The Royal British Legion
University of Exeter
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Results

Nature Photograms in the Anthropocene 11 Jun 2019

<p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">This project considers the photographic practice of three contemporary artists who produce photograms, intimate close-ups of the natural world, asking: how do these artists portray humanity&rsquo;s relationship with and responsibility for nature in the age of the Anthropocene? I will be working with a selection of material from the V&amp;A Photography Collection to investigate the contemporary resonances of (and historical references to) the Victorian cyanotype photograms of Anna Atkins&rsquo;, who pioneered nature photography in 1854. In particular, I will be looking at photograms produced by Barbara Baran (1956&ndash;) and Zafer Baran (1955&ndash;), Elaine Duigenan (1964&ndash;), and well-known photographer Garry Fabian Miller (1957&ndash;), as well as Anna Atkins&rsquo; cyanotypes. I will draw on the V&amp;A&rsquo;s previous exhibition &ldquo;Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography&rdquo; (13 October 2010 to 20 February 2011) and its associated publication <em>Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography</em> (2010), curated and written by Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs at the V&amp;A. This project will look particularly at the ways in which contemporary artists utilise photogram technology to highlight an intimacy and proximity between humans and the natural world, and how this emphasis on intimacy and proximity poses a call to greater responsibility for the natural world.</p>

Amount: £28,796
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Horseshoe crab use in securing public health: challenges and alternatives 11 Jun 2019

<p>This project will develop understanding of the use of horseshoe crabs in endotoxin testing as a complex scientific and societal issue, situated at the interface of human, animal, and environmental health. Bacterial endotoxins pose a serious public health concern, causing fever, inflammation, and death, meaning testing for endotoxins is vital for the safe production and use of injectable medicines and vaccines.&nbsp;</p> <p>Endotoxin testing currently uses blood harvested from wild horseshoe crabs in the Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) test. However, there are increasing concerns around the impact of capturing and bleeding ~500,000 crabs annually on animal welfare, coastal ecologies, and the sustainability of pharmaceutical supply. A synthetic substitute has been available since 2003, but uptake is slow, and there are many uncertainties and views on the future of endotoxin testing.&nbsp;</p> <p>This project has been developed with the RSPCA. It will use social science methods to engage key stakeholders and understand their differing interests and perspectives on the biomedical, sustainability, animal welfare, commercial, and ecological risks around future horseshoe crab use. Goals are to use social science to understand the challenges to developing and embedding alternatives, and support dialogue around a currently invisible issue through stakeholder report, academic articles, and public-facing poster.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Amount: £26,153
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Accelerating genetic research in Exeter with the Illumina NovaSeq 6000 DNA Sequencing System 04 Jul 2019

<p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">We request funds to purchase an Illumina NovaSeq 6000 DNA Sequencing System. This will enable the University of Exeter to sequence DNA from humans and other species relevant to human health with the best possible efficiency, throughput, speed, and flexibility. Our current Illumina HiSeq 2500 system is approaching the end of its useful lifespan. Replacing it with the NovaSeq 6000 will reduce running costs by ~75%. Local accessibility to the most up-to-date DNA sequencing technology is critical to many researchers, especially those translating research into the NHS, and underpins several &ldquo;flagship&rdquo; Exeter research programmes.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">The current equipment is routinely used by groups in the Medical School and Biosciences, and existing demand exceeds capacity. Local access to DNA sequencing has enabled Exeter researchers to drive world leading studies identifying the genetic basis of diseases including diabetes, obesity, dementia and schizophrenia, and enabled us to establish internationally-renowned projects in epigenomics and transcriptomics. The sequencer will be managed and operated as a Research Facility within the University, by an experienced sequencing team established more than 10 years ago, to provide a key resource for the biomedical research community in Exeter and beyond that is critical to our continued innovation and leadership in genomics.</p>

Amount: £616,706
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Shame and Medicine 30 Jul 2019

<p>Shame is a powerful force in the everyday experiences of patients, medical students and healthcare practitioners. For patients, shame&nbsp;has been associated with treatment avoidance, increased burden of illness, and negative health outcomes, while also being recognised as a force that can sometimes motivate positive changes to lifestyle and health. Shame can influence how healthcare practitioners perform, interact with patients and other professionals, and cope with adversity. In addition, shame has been identified as a negative, yet frequently present, aspect of medical education. Despite the prevalence and significance of shame within various aspects of healthcare, at present, our understanding of the impact of shame, its many varieties, and other related negative self-conscious emotions, within medical contexts is incomplete.&nbsp;<em>Shame and Medicine&nbsp;</em>engages an interdisciplinary team working across medicine, medical humanities, and social sciences, in order to investigate shame, and related experiences, within healthcare. We aim produce new evidence on the experiential basis of shame, cultures of shame, and to investigate differential experiences of shame due to race, ethnicity, class and gender.&nbsp;<em>Shame and Medicine&nbsp;</em>is a ground-breaking interdisciplinary project that will propose new opportunities to improve the quality of healthcare delivery within a more responsive and effective health service.<br> &nbsp;</p>

Amount: £739,506
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

DNA methylation of different brain cell types in Parkinson’s disease 11 Apr 2019

<p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">Parkinson&rsquo;s disease is an increasing global concern, affecting one in twenty people by age 85 and costing the NHS more than &pound;1 billion/year. The underlying mechanisms are still almost completely unknown and there are no drugs that can cure the disease.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">In addition to traditional genetics, recent work in Parkinson&rsquo;s has focussed on epigenetic variation, in particular DNA methylation in the brain. However, even though different brain cell types are affected by Parkinson&rsquo;s in different ways, all previous work has only considered bulk brain tissue consisting of a mixture of cell types.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">For the first time, this project will determine the DNA methylation profile in individual cell types of the prefrontal cortex in both people with Parkinson&rsquo;s and matched controls. In particular, this will include separate analysis of neurons, oligodendrocytes and other glial cells.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">This will generate pilot data that will lead to several large (&gt;&pound;1M) follow-up grant applications, including not only studies of DNA methylation, but single-cell-type investigations of other epigenetic marks such as histone modifications and non-coding RNAs.</p> <p>The hope is that this approach will lead to a step change in the mechanistic understanding of Parkinson&rsquo;s disease, and produce a host of new potential drug targets.</p>

Amount: £99,458
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Talking about gene drive 11 Mar 2019

<p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">Decisions involving the potential future use and governance of gene drive technology will require meaningful, empowered and culturally relevant dialogue among and between stakeholders and communities. However, gene drive is a complex science and stakeholders are already using language to advance their respective interests. Emerging empirical work suggests that the narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies used to talk about gene drive may be more important than technical vocabulary. We employ social representations theory to understand how people make sense of and communicate about gene drive through narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">Through a comparative case study research design we map and understand the language and terminology used to explain gene drive across four case studies: Uganda, Australia, USA and UK. We use media analysis, interviews and focus groups to evaluate the utility of the different narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies and explore cultural differences in order to develop an independent and shared understanding of how to talk about gene drive.</p>

Amount: £100,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

C-type lectins in antifungal immunity 16 Jul 2019

<p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">I have established that C-type lectin receptors (CLRs) play a central role in antifungal immunity. In this proposal, I will capitalize on our exciting recent discoveries to address two questions that represent novel aspects of CLR biology:</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">&nbsp;</p> <ol style="list-style-type: upper-roman"> <li><strong>How do CLRs regulate antifungal adaptive immunity?</strong></li> </ol> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">We discovered dendritic cell expressed CLRs, the KLRs, which regulate the development of adaptive immunity during fungal infection. Our objective is to determine the physiological role of the KLRs, elucidating their cellular expression and function, the nature of their T-cell ligand(s), their influence on T-cell immunity and their importance in anti-fungal immunity.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">&nbsp;</p> <ol start="2" style="list-style-type: upper-roman"> <li><strong>What is the impact of fungal secondary metabolite recognition by CLRs?</strong></li> </ol> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">We identified two novel CLRs that recognise fungal secondary metabolites, including secreted toxins such as aflatoxin (a major clinically significant fungal-derived carcinogen).&nbsp; Our objective is to gain a definitive understanding of the functions of these receptors and the immunological and physiological impact of their ability to recognise these secreted fungal products.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">Using a variety of <em>in vivo</em> and <em>in vitro</em> approaches, this research programme will significantly advance our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of antifungal immunity, and will open new fields of investigation in the areas of adaptive immunity and medical mycology.</p>

Amount: £2,275,853
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Evaluating Health Impacts of Climate Adaptation Strategies 10 Feb 2019

<p>Focus Area 3: Adaptation to climate change</p> <p>This research will develop a new evaluation tool for sustainable adaptation that will comprehensively incorporate direct and indirect health effects of adaptation interventions. It will explicitly focus on the wider effects of adaptation for the health and socio-economic wellbeing of the most vulnerable populations. The research will integrate insights from climate and hydrological sciences, social sciences, and health and economic sciences of disease burden and well-being. &nbsp;</p> <p>The evaluation tool will be developed through cross-disciplinary interaction on concepts and methods,&nbsp;and then calibrated through&nbsp;empirical study of existing adaptations, focused on flooding. Flood risk is a prevalent climate impact globally and diverse adaptations currently being&nbsp;implemented globally. New empirical insights into flood adaptation will be generated focussing on three adaptation interventions for:&nbsp;flood infrastructure, planned relocation, and catchment-based planning across Ghana, Ireland, and UK. The project will undertake proof-of-concept evaluations for these interventions to develop the tool, generating specific lessons on flood adaptation and wider lessons on climate change adaptations more broadly.</p> <p>The research will engage with UK stakeholders and&nbsp;other national and international agencies to ensure the tool, evidence and planned user interface will be policy-relevant for adaptation planning at the global scale. &nbsp;<br> &nbsp;</p>

Amount: £499,529
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

The genetics and epigenetics underpinning a broad spectrum of human fungal pathogens 02 Nov 2018

<p>Fungal pathogens are a global threat to human health. Few antifungal drugs are effective, and even these are becoming less useful as fungi increasingly develop resistance. New treatments and mitigation efforts are hampered by the lack of basic science on the genetic basis of virulence in these pathogens. I will address this, by describing how pathogenic fungi regulate gene expression by genetic and epigenetic means in cell culture <em>vs. ex vivo</em> (macrophages). I will further<br> characterize and verify regulatory networks, changes to nucleosome positions and histone modifications in response to macrophages. Foci may include the cell membrane component ergosterol, which is an important antifungal drug target, as well as capsule genes that are essential virulence factors in some pathogens. By comparing across multiple pathogen systems, I will identify the extent genomic instability provides a mechanism for adaptation, how gene expression correlates with the host environment and what role chromatin state plays in virulence. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that drive the evolution of these phenotypic determinants will enable the development of new remedial measures.</p>

Amount: £97,523
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Open access block grant 2016/17 30 Sep 2016

Not available

Amount: £20,041
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Open access award 2015/16. 21 Sep 2015

Not available

Amount: £37,705
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Open access publishing costs 2014/15. 15 Sep 2014

Not available

Amount: £37,705
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Open Access Awards 2017/18 30 Sep 2018

Not available

Amount: £60,425
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Open Access (COAF) Award 2018/19 30 Sep 2019

Not available

Amount: £35,973
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures 29 Jan 2019

<p>This project will undertake an interdisciplinary investigation of the imagining of the future relationship between disability and technology. Grounded in the research team's diverse specialisms, but united by three interdisciplinary cross-cutting themes and engagement with disabled participants, the project will explore: cultural and phenomenological narratives of disability, care and embodiment; assistive product design; and the manufacture of prototype companion robots for those with disabilities. We will focus particularly on the ways creative and theoretical imaginings of disability and augmentation inform and are informed by&nbsp;the practicalities of product design and creation, and how these are&nbsp;then experienced&nbsp;by&nbsp;service users and their families in our focus areas of&nbsp;Leeds, Sheffield and Dundee. The project will ask what models of imagined technological augmentation inform contemporary understanding of physical and cognitive disabilities, and how such models produce disability experiences, shape&nbsp;technological design change and production, and&nbsp;resulting predictions of future disability healthcare. Innovative research outputs will bring together academic, lay and design communities concerned with&nbsp;living disability and creating future technologies. We aim to be the first research team to bring these&nbsp;perspectives together to further understand the healthcare nexus they describe and to address the challenges for the future they outline.&nbsp;</p>

Amount: £151,011
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

REFLECT: Understanding experiences of mental health in deprived coastal communities 11 Oct 2018

<p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">During our research in a deprived seaside town following a spate of suicides, people expressed an urgent need for a deeper understanding of how&nbsp;mental health can change - and be changed by &ndash; living by the sea.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">Research shows that blue spaces have mental health benefits(1). But individuals&rsquo; lived experiences often jar with this; the sea is seen as a place of cruelty; and the site of that most final of mental health outcomes.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">This project aims to tell the stories of people in mental health treatment living by the sea, and to weave these stories - told through words, music and visual art - into a rich tapestry of their emotional experience of their environment.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">The sound and art installations co-created by local people with a lived experience of mental health in one deprived setting (Bude, Cornwall), will be taken to a second setting (Newhaven, East Sussex) to test whether new understanding of mental health and the sea translates.</p> <p style="margin-left: 0cm; margin-right: 0cm">We hope the project will empower the individuals involved - who often feel forgotten next to their urban counterparts - and give voice to their experiences in a de-stigmatising manner; and that their&nbsp;insights&nbsp;will&nbsp;drive health research projects.</p>

Amount: £67,885
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Modulation of circuit dynamics by noradrenergic signalling in the annelid model Platynereis 27 Nov 2018

<p>In nervous systems, a large number of neuromodulators regulates the activity of every neural circuit. The monoamine noradrenalin (norepinephrine) is a major neuromodulatory transmitter that promotes wakefulness and arousal and regulates autonomic functions. Until recently, noradrenalin signalling was considered to be specific to vertebrates. Our discovery of functional noradrenalin signalling in marine invertebrates has overturned this long-held view. In this project, we propose to investigate noradrenergic signalling in the larval stages of the marine annelid&nbsp;<em>Platynereis dumerilii</em>, a laboratory animal and powerful new model for connectomics and circuit function. We will take advantage of the&nbsp;<em>Platynereis&nbsp;</em>system to obtain novel cellular-level insights into noradrenergic signalling through a systems-neuroscience approach. To analyse the functions of noradrenalin&nbsp;and its regulators at single-cell resolution, we will generate transgenic constructs and CRISPR-induced knockout lines and analyse wild-type, knockout and transgenic larvae with whole-brain activity imaging and various behavioural paradigms. We will establish whole-body wiring diagrams through serial EM reconstruction and map the components of noradrenergic signalling to the connectome. The use of this simple and accessible invertebrate genetic model will thus allow us to study noradrenergic signalling in unprecedented detail in a fully-mapped nervous system.</p>

Amount: £1,559,269
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

Institutional Strategic Support Fund 30 Sep 2019

Not available

Amount: £600,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

The evolutionary and mechanistic basis of virus host shifts 30 Sep 2019

<p>For researchers aspiring to building their own research group, most enter into doing so with no formal training on how to run and manage a research team. This is a particularly daunting prospect if there are few senior role models to relate to, and underrepresented groups are particularly likely to leave research as early career researchers.&nbsp; This highlights the need to support early career researchers in overcoming barriers to successfully establishing their own groups and long-term research careers.</p> <p><br> We will run a leadership workshop to provide early career researchers with the skills required to set up and manage an independent research group. The workshop will be used to identify the challenges facing early career researchers in our department and approaches to overcome these issues, in order to reduce the loss of underrepresented groups at these career stages.</p> <p><br> The knowledge and skills acquired will be used to develop resources to better enable individuals to overcome these barriers. Course participants will produce an open access toolkit to allow participants to share what they have learned with the wider research community. We will also produce a more bespoke guide to assist early career researchers setting up their own groups in our department, and will run workshops, support networks and a mentoring scheme for early career researchers establishing their own groups.</p>

Amount: £20,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter

A Healthy Interest: diets, exercise, and ideal bodies in England and Holland, 1650-1800. 08 May 2018

<p>My thesis will analyse diet and exercise advice and practices to investigate attitudes to &lsquo;healthy bodies&rsquo; in Dutch and English printed medical literature, physician&rsquo;s casebooks, patient-physician correspondence, and recipe books between 1650 and 1800. With modern concerns around increasing obesity rates and an ever-growing body of dietary advice in both medical and popular literature, a study of diets and exercise in the past can help us understand where our current ideas and ideals concerning body and health originate. The key goals of this project are to locate the health values and practices that were being promoted at this time; to assess to what extent dietary advice and ideals reached lay society; to analyse to what extent patients followed advice and made dietary and exercise considerations part of their &lsquo;lifestyle&rsquo;; and to examine attitudes to &lsquo;healthy&rsquo; or &lsquo;unhealthy&rsquo; bodies and bodily ideals in late seventeenth and eighteenth-century Dutch and English society. Examining manuscript and printed sources in a geographically comparative study will provide a rich and in-depth understanding of contemporary &lsquo;health cultures&rsquo; and bodily ideals.&nbsp; In so doing the thesis will analyse how far we can identify the development of a modern &lsquo;health culture&rsquo; in this period.</p>

Amount: £99,441
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University of Exeter