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Funders:
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
The Wellcome Trust
Recipients:
University College London
Amounts:
£500 - £1,000
£1,000 - £5,000

Results

A Two-day Conference on the Human Right to Health, Universal Health Coverage and Priority Setting. 27 Oct 2014

This grant would be used to fund a two-day conference exploring the various tensions between what the UN refers to as the progressive realisation of the human right to health, the international effort to secure universal health coverage and the inevitable need to set priorities between different treatments and services. The conference would bring together three research centres within UCL (the Institute of Global Health, the Institute of Global Governance and the Centre for Philosophy, Justi ce and Health) to hear new evidence from researchers, policy-makers and practitioners from both the UK and abroad. The conference would: i) explore existing policy drives towards HRH, universal health coverage and priority setting activities; ii) reflect upon conceptual and ethical tensions between such policies; and iii) assess the feasibility of solutions aimed at resolving this tension. The conference's main output would be a consensus statement, drawn up by Benedict Rumbold and circula ted to delegates before the meeting and discussed by attendees on Day Two of the conference itself, setting out the delegates thoughts on the next steps towards remedying the current conflict between HRH, the drive towards Universal Coverage and priority setting.

Amount: £4,760
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Student Elective Prize for Ms Leonora Weil 29 Aug 2008

The Epidemiology and Public Health of Mlaria in Vanuatu

Amount: £1,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

No time for panic: British responses to influenza in peace and war, 1889-1919 29 Aug 2008

The 1918 influenza pandemic represents the worst outbreak of infectious disease in Britain in modern times. Although the virus swept the world in three waves between March 1918 and April 1919, in Britain the majority of the estimated 228,000 fatalities occurred in the autumn of 1918. In London alone deaths at the peak of the epidemic were 55.5 per 1,000- the highest since the 1849 cholera epidemic. Yet in the capital as in other great cities and towns throughout Britain, there was none of the panic that had accompanied earlier 19th century outbreaks of infectious disease at the heart of urban populations. Instead, the British response to the 'Spanish Lady' as the pandemic strain of flu was familiarly known was remarkably sanguine. As The Times commented at the height of the pandemic: 'Never since the Black Death has such a plague swept over the face of the world, [and] never, perhaps, has a plague been more stoically accepted.' The apparent absence of marked social responses to the 1918 influenza is a phenomenon much remarked on in the literature of the pandemic, as is the apparent paradox that despite the widespread morbidity and high mortality the pandemic had little apparent impact on public institutions and left few traces in public memory. However, to date no one has explored the deeper cultural 'narratives' that informed and conditioned these responses. Was Britain really a more stoical and robust nation in 1918, or was the absence of medical and other social responses a reflection of the particular social and political conditions that prevailed in Britain during the First World War and then medical nosologies and cultural perceptions of influenza? And if the 1918 pandemic was 'overshadowed,' as one writer puts it, by the war and the peace that followed the Armistice, what explains the similarly muted response to the Russian flu pandemic of the early 1890's, a disease outbreak that coincided with a long period of peace and stability in Britain? In this project I aim to show that, contrary to previous studies, both the 1918 and the 1889-92 Russian flu pandemic were the objects of much deeper public concern and anxiety than has previously been acknowledged and that the morbidity of prominent members of British society, coupled with the high mortality, occasioned widespread 'dread' and in some cases alarm. However, in 1918 at least, government departments and public institutions actively suppressed these concerns for the sake of the war effort and the maintenance of national morale.

Amount: £657
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Body Matters 13 Apr 2010

Body Matters' is an exhibition exploring how cutting edge research in science, medicine and archaeology taking place at UCL can change and challenge our perceptions of health-related issues. The exhibition will take an audience-based approach to communicate complex research in an attractive and accessible way to an adult audience with no specialist knowledge of some or all of these fields The exhibition is designed and curated by postgraduate Museum Studies students from UCL, and is part of a project which also includes an event to be held at the Science Museum's Dana Centre. The exhibition will be held in the Leventis Gallery of UCL's Institute of Archaeology and will run from May 2010 to April 2011. Audience research has shown that the audience will be largely adult and academic, but with no specialist knowledge of science, medicine or archaeology. The exhibition is open to UCL staff, students and visitors, and also to the public. We are seeking funding to assist us in creating an exhibition that is as attention-grabbing and inspiring as the research it is presenting, and to partially fund the private view, which will include the Director of the Science Museum and UCL's Vice Provost of Research as speakers.

Amount: £1,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

The roles of glial cells in models of neurodegenerative disease. 14 Dec 2005

My own work, using fluorescent imaging techniques during the rotation project, showed that Ab increases ROS generation by activation of the NADPH oxidase in BV2 cells and that inhibition of the CLIC1-mediated chloride conductance - with IAA-94, by transfecting cells with an siRNA against the CLIC1 protein or by substitution of Cl with non-permeant anions almost completely prevents that response. We propose that the activity of the NADPH oxidase is limited by charge compensation and that the chloride conductance plays a key role in augmenting the activity of the enzyme by providing a route for the compensation of electron flow across the membrane. CLIC1 is also expressed in astrocytes, but at present we have no data regarding its possible functions. The functions of this CLIC1-mediated chloride conductance, its mode of activation, the means by which its inhibition can reduce ROS production and neuronal death and its potential ubiquity and general importance in glial cell physiology will form the basis of the research to be undertaken during the course of this PhD.

Amount: £4,890
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Structural Basis of Gabapentinoid Drug Action 01 Apr 2016

Gabapentinoids are blockbuster drugs used to treat conditions including neuropathic pain and epilepsy. They act by binding alpha2delta voltage-gated Ca2+ channel subunits. The focus of this summer project is to investigate the structure of alpha2delta to help understand its role in presynaptic Ca2+ entry and reveal the molecular basis of gabapentinoid binding. We have developed constructs for alpha2delta expression in High5 insect cells and HEK293T eukaryotic cells. We will express and purify different regions of alpha2delta, taking advantage of enzymes at our disposal for modifying glycosylation and pre-protein cleavage. Co-crystallisation screens will be set up with natural and synthetic small molecules including pregabalin and gabapentin. Successful crystal hits will be tested for x-ray diffraction using an in-house x-ray source. In the final fortnight of reserach, the student will perform crosslinking coupled to mass spectrometry experiments to determine the interaction sites of different subunits within the calcium channel complex, depending on the progress of crystallisation experiments.

Amount: £2,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Cloning of a galactosyl transferase gene promoter to understand the mechanism linking genetic variation to the altered enzyme activity found in IgA nephropathy 01 Apr 2016

IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is the most common glomerulonephritis and is a major cause of kidney failure worldwide. IgAN is characterised by abnormal deposition of galactose-deficient IgA (Gd-IgA) in the kidney, and levels of Gd-IgA are raised in the serum of patients, with levels correlating with clinical outcomes [1, 2]. Why some people have elevated Gd-IgA is unknown, but we have shown that Gd-IgA levels are highly heritable [3, 4] and recently performed a genome wide association study (GWAS) that showed that the presence of a haplotype across a particular galactosyl transferase gene is strongly correlated with Gd-IgA level (p-10), implying that common genetic variation across the locus modulates enzyme activity in the population. Fine mapping of the locus using imputed genotypes, and consultation of available expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) maps disclosed the set of common variants across the region that might explain the effect, and we now wish to understand the mechanism linking the known genetic variation with altered enzyme activity. The aim of this project is to clone the promoter region of the gene from individuals with and without the associated haplotype for studies using a reporter gene to assess promoter activity of different allotypes.

Amount: £2,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Epilepsy inducing mutation of the GABA-A receptor alpha 1 subunit 01 Apr 2016

We will investigate how a newly discovered mutation to the GABA-A receptor alpha 1 subunit gene (GABRA1) is causing epilepsy in a young child. A single mutation has been identified, which resides in the receptor's first transmembrane domain. This is near the previously identifed neurosteroid binding site from which endogenous neurosteroids can positively modulate GABA-A receptor activity. To investigate the implications of this mutation we have formulated the following aims that will be addressed using heterologous expression of GABA-A receptors in a cell line: 1. To establish the effect of the mutation on GABA concentration response curves and current voltage relationships for typical synaptic and extrasynaptic-type GABA receptors. 2. To determine if known allosteric modulators of GABA-A receptors are affected by the alpha1 subunit mutation. 3. To deduce if the expression levels and receptor mobility at the cell surface are affected by the alpha 1 subunit mutation. To achieve these goals, we will use a combination of patch clamp electrophysiology and single particle imaging techniques. This should establish whether the mutation is causing a gain- or loss-of function, or affects receptor trafficking.

Amount: £2,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

The Involvement of Ventral Hippocampal Circuitry in Social Interaction 01 Apr 2016

The research project represents an initial investigation into the role of the diverse components of the ventral hippocampal circuitry in the context of social interaction. The aim is to explore a potential correlation between complex behavioural patterns observed during social interaction tasks and degree of activation of ventral hippocampal neurons. Behavioural assessment will only be carried out on single housed male mice to avoid sex-specific differences. During my experiments I will compare two contexts. First, as a control, mice will be placed in a test chamber with a novel object. Second, social interaction will be tested by introducing a juvenile male. The behavioural patterns generated will be scored and compared both qualitatively and quantitatively. After 90 minutes, the degree of activation of distinct ventral hippocampal areas (CA1, CA2, CA3, Dentate Gyrus and Subiculum) will be tested in each of these groups of mice using expression of the immediate-early gene c-fos (which is correlated to neuronal activation), by optimising immunohistochemical detection in the lab. I will then aim to establish the involvement of the ventral hippocampus in social interaction by using fluorescent microscopy analysis, followed by appropriate statistical testing between the control and social groups.

Amount: £2,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Cow Killers and Informal Empire: U.S. Perspectives on Foot-and-Mouth Disease Eradication in Mexico, 1947-1955. 24 Jun 2013

The grant will fund a trip to consult official records of the Mexico-U.S. Commission for the Eradication of Foot-and-Mouth Disease, 1946-1955. These are held in 70 file boxes in the National Archive and Records Administration, Maryland. It will also pay for copying a small number of related documents in the Truman Memorial Library. This research will result in the completion of an article in January 2014 analyzing how U.S. politics and culture shaped the campaign, focusing on cattle-ranching int erests and U.S. attitudes to science, state power, rural Mexico, and the Cold War. This research will also allow me to gather materials for a larger monograph-length project that I am currently developing.

Amount: £3,990
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Towards a Chinese Medical Humanities: Film and the Body. 17 Dec 2013

In the context of the UCL initiative for the creation of an ethnically Chinese Medical Humanities www.ucl.ac.uk/chinahealth, we propose a collaborative workshop (UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity [UCL CCHH], Peking University [PKU] Institute of Medical Humanities and King's College London [KCL]) to develop new topics for teaching. Building on the experience of an existing UCL CCHH course on Film and the Body taught together with experts across the three institutions, we will explore the p otential of film for speaking to the challenges of the discipline. The workshop anticipates a larger conference to be held across the institutions involved, looking at the future of the teaching of Medical Humanities in and about China and what it can contribute to the wider field. It is envisaged that the proceedings of both workshop and conference will generate publications and online open access teaching materials. Support is sought for the travel and accommodation of key contributors and fun ds are matched by both Peking University and UCL.

Amount: £4,970
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Molecular and developmental alterations in circadian clock function in various strains of the Mexican blind cavefish, Astyanax mexicanus. 29 Mar 2010

A major environmental cue for most organisms is the daily cycle of light and darkness Consequently, most organisms have developed a system, synchronised by the light/dark cycle coordinating physiology and behaviour with the environment. This system is known as the circadian clock and was proposed to be a neural phenomenon residing in a region of the central nervous system: the SCN. Over the last decade, research has led to a decentralisation of the circadian clock with discoveries of independent peripheral oscillators both in vivo (Whitmore et al, 1998) and in vitro cell culture (Whitmore et al, 2000; Welsh et al, 2004). Additionally, zebrafish cells can detect light and use this to set the phase of the circadian clock. Recent research in our lab has begun to investigate the workings of the circadian clock in a species of fish that lives in perpetual darkness, and is therefore missing the major environmental cue for most living organisms. This work has been performed using the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus; a single teleost species consisting of a sighted surface-dwelling form and several independent cave dwelling forms. Cavefish have lost eyes and pigmentation, as well as gaining constructive feature: such as increased jaw size and taste bud number. Selective pressures for retaining light adaptive features such as pigmentation are relaxed in the absence of light, and it is believed that pigmentation is lost through neutral mutations in the Oca2 gene (Protas et al, 2006). Little research has been performed on circadian clocks in cave animals, and particularly not on cave animals with living con-specific surface dwelling ancestors. This is important because when the ancestral surface form is still present, a direct comparison can be made between ancestral and derived developmental states. Astyanax is thus an important model for understanding the molecular basis of developmental changes in the context microevolution. Jeffery suggested "cavefish can be compared with surface fish in essentially the same way as mutants are compared with wild-type phenotypes" (Jeffery, 2008). We possess a model in which we can investigate a range of clock phenotypes. We will use surface fish and the two different populations of cavefish (Pachon and Steinhard) in our proposed research to further understand clock mechanisms in a dark adapted animal and assess whether cavefish really are clock mutants. If they are mutants in the clock me

Amount: £4,680
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Student Elective Prize for Ms Katy Walsh 29 Aug 2008

Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Antenatal Women in Vanuatu.

Amount: £1,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Student Elective Prize for Ms Maria-Charlotte Campbell 29 Aug 2008

Management and rehabilitation of patients with socially incompatible personality disorders at Broadmoor Hospital. Secondly an audit into the outcomes of people bought into the emergency department by police who are under the influence of methamphetamine and have suicidal ideation, at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney.

Amount: £1,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Student Elective Prize for Ms Meha J Bhayani 29 Aug 2008

A clinical research project to investigate the cardiac reviews and outcomes of patients with hereditary neuromuscular disease.

Amount: £1,300
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

'The importance of medical history: Transnational and cross-cultural perspectives on a multi-faceted discipline' conference to be held in Mumbai, India from 15th to 17th November 2007. 17 Oct 2007

The importance of medical history: Trans-national and cross-cultural perspectives on a multi-faceted discipline The proposed meeting will be the first of its type in the South Asian sub-continent - dealing with the important questions of historical method and historiography, from trans-national and cross-disciplinary perspectives; it will allow the audience access to a plethora of perspectives on how to study HOM. The projected audience will be university and college teaching, research and administrative staff of all grades, we well as undergraduate and post-graduate students, doctors, print and TV journalists, and independent researchers. A number of well-known scholars have agreed to attend the meeting, as they acknowledge the usefulness of an event like this in popularising HOM in an important education centre in Asia. These academics, who are attached to a number of Wellcome Trust-funded units, will draw upon an important item of their research - dealing with Europe, North America, Asia and further afield - to develop trans-national perspectives of how to study HOM. This meeting will engender a lot of discussion, which is critically important for an endeavour that seeks to provide new insights to post-and under-graduate teachers about important international developments in the discipline, and the most effective ways of teaching and carrying out research. Themes to be covered: History of pharmacology; Anatomy; Global trade and medicine; Medical genetics and gender; Medicine in the early modern period; Public health in 19th and 20th centuries; Global health programmes and disease eradication; War and medicine; International perspectives on rabies; Scottish doctors and British empire; Obstetrics and surgery; Cross-disciplinary perspectives on leprosy and empire; Hospitals; Medicine and 'witchcraft' in the early modern period; Healthcare in colonial Mumbai/India; Health of industrial labour; Oral histories of contemporary medicine and biological science; History of medical practice and multiple meanings of health.

Amount: £600
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

A cross-cohort comparison of unhealthily low BMI in early adolescence – a feasibility study and development of research protocol 31 Jan 2016

Childhood thinness (unhealthily low body mass index) has been linked to poorer health and development but has received relatively little research attention in high income countries. Contemporary routine data reported by the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) point towards a possible U-shaped socio-economic gradient in thinness in 10-11 year olds (whereby those living in the most and least deprived areas have elevated rates of thinness). However, since the main focus of the NCMP is overweight and obesity, this social patterning in thinness has not been emphasised or further investigated. The U-shaped socio-economic distribution in thinness may be explained by food poverty in more disadvantaged areas, and issues of body image and eating disorders in more advantaged groups. UK cohort studies provide an untapped resource for examining this issue, because they contain rich, individual-level data, spanning different time periods (exposed to different social and economic contexts). However cross-cohort comparisons can be challenging and require a lot of input at the planning stage. This proposal therefore comprises of a feasibility study for a cross-cohort investigation of individual-level socio-economic inequalities in thinness in young people (and possible reasons behind them).

Amount: £2,100
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Investigating the development of visual object perception from noisy images 01 Apr 2016

As we perceive the world, our brain continuously makes educated guesses about what we will see next. These inferences allow us to distinguish objects in our field of vision without having to examine every detail. This is known as the Bayesian model of visual perception. Recent evidence suggests that object recognition tasks for which such inferences are likely to be crucial may develop well into adolescence. There is anecdotal evidence that children find tasks such as identifying objects in poor lighting conditions or when borders are unclear (Bova, 2007) very difficult, even when they know exactly what the object they are looking for looks like (Yoon, 2007). This suggests that the robust object perception described in Bayesian models of the adult system takes surprisingly long to develop. This piece of research will test this hypothesis by (a) measuring children’s ability to recognize objects in a distorted ("noisy") image, and (b) testing how expectations about the objects (e.g. what it will look like) can improve perception. This aims to further our understanding of how the brain learns to use existing knowledge to interpret new sensory information, and make better inferences about the world.

Amount: £2,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London

Harnessing Diversity Generating Retroelements (DGRs) for in vivo evolution 01 Apr 2016

The goal of the project is to express the reverse transcriptase (RT), central to the Bordertella phage BPP-1 diversity generating retroelement (DGR), and test it for synthetic nucleic acid (XNA) synthesis as well as reverse transcription. In addition, I will focus on cloning the BPP-1 DGR elements into E. coli, creating a circuit where DGR function can activate a selectable marker (e.g. kanR). I will try and demonstrate that the BPP-1 DGR is active in E. coli and can be used as a tool for in vivo directed evolution.

Amount: £2,000
Funder: The Wellcome Trust
Recipient: University College London