Category Archives: Spring 2017 Issue

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New research from the University of Huddersfield Press

The University of Huddersfield Press was established in 2007 to provide an outlet for publication for University authors and to encourage new and aspiring authors to publish in their areas of subject expertise. Producing print books, open access eBooks and academic journals, the Press covers a wide range of subject areas providing a platform for innovative and interdisciplinary research at Huddersfield.

Keep up to date with new publications, plus events and competitions by following us on the University of Huddersfield Press blog, Facebook and Twitter.

New titles: 

Grist Anthology

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The latest Grist Anthology is an innovative blend of some of the most exciting and freshest voices in prose and poetry today. It features five sections written from five distinct narrative viewpoints.

Grist offers a valuable platform for new writers. By publishing emerging writers alongside some of the more established names in literature. It offers an exciting opportunity for those starting out in their writing careers.

Have a look at the latest anthology I You He She It – Experiments in Viewpoint

Beerhouses, Brothels and Bobbies

David Taylor

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Professor David Taylor has established a fine reputation for his books and articles on the history of policing in England. This new book on Huddersfield policing looks at the mid-nineteenth century and issues facing the local area in relation to policing a centre of West Riding textile production.

Details of how to purchase a copy and the open access version are available here: Beerhouses, Brothels and Bobbies

Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research

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Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research is a peer reviewed, interdisciplinary and fully open access journal. The journal features primarily work by undergraduates. The journal is a showcase for student work that demonstrates the significance, rigour and high standards of research. Fields is designed to inspire our students to work to the very highest standards and to see the work they do, even as undergraduates, as having the potential for further impact in the wider world.

Read the latest issue here: Fields

Stonehenge app image

Bringing to life the sights and sounds of ancient world heritage sites

Dr Rupert Till and a team of technicians at the University of Huddersfield have launched an app which brings the sights and sounds of sites like Stonehenge back to life. Unlike other computer game-like walkarounds, the sonic dimension of the Huddersfield app enables the user to hear what an ancient site used to sound like, in addition to being able to see what it looked it. This has been achieved by integrating acoustic modelling and using recordings of relevant ancient musical instruments.

The app turns smartphones, tablets and computers into time travel devices, enabling users to see and to hear ancient and mysterious sites such as Stonehenge as they were in the distant past, before they fell into ruin.

Named the EMAP Soundgate, it is now available as a free download for iPhones and iPads, Android devices, for PC and Mac, and with a Mac only version at Apple’s App Store.

Exploring world heritage sites

In addition to Stonehenge, where Dr Till has conducted extensive research on the original acoustics, the first release of the app enables users to make visual and sonic virtual tours of two other World Heritage sites – Palaeolithic Age decorated caves near Altamira in Northern Spain, and the ancient Roman theatre at Paphos in Cyprus.  New sites could be added to future releases, and there are also plans to adapt it for virtual reality headsets.

Full physical access to the sites included on the first version of Dr Till’s app can be restricted. It is rare to be allowed to enter the centre of Stonehenge, for example and some of the caves are not open to the public.  Therefore the app, installed on a portable device, can enrich or even replace an actual visit. Stonehenge today is a remnant of what used to be there and this app enables visitors to see and hear what it was like at different periods, from the beginning of its development through to its completion about 4,000 years ago. App users will also have the choice of visualising the site in daylight, dusk or after dark, with appropriate natural sounds.

Ancient musical sound bank

Ancient musical instruments form part of the app’s sound bank, alongside environmental sounds such as bird song.  Dr Till’s recent activities have included the production of recordings for the European Musical Archaeology Project.  They have included an acclaimed disc of Viking age music and the sounds made by ancient bone flutes.

The app has been conceived, developed and produced in-house at the University of Huddersfield, with the expertise of its Computer Games department being crucial to the digital modelling, based on the acoustic data provided by Dr Till.

Rouen blood transfusion 1954

Women at the forefront of the NHS

The traditional role of women in the medical profession was often seen as one of caring and not necessarily a role that required technical, pharmaceutical or even medical skills. Research at Huddersfield has revealed a new dimension to the type of work women occupied in the NHS during the mid-20th century.

While researching his book on hospitals in Leeds and Sheffield, Professor Doyle discovered documentary material showing mid-20th century women carrying out analysis in the pathology lab, taking charge of radiography and handling other high-tech procedures.

“Care to cure”

2 million volt X-ray Generator, Sheffield
2 million volt X-ray Generator, Sheffield

As the 20th century develops there has been a shift in culture in the medical profession from “care to cure” using new technologies, medication and pharmaceuticals. This focus has often seen men and the male doctor leading this area. This research reveals that in the early days of the NHS, women were just as likely to be found in labs and x-ray departments as at the bedside adopting a caring role.

A brochure issued in 1952 by the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board, reports on the previous five years of its activities – therefore covering the transformation to the NHS in 1948. It has a sequence of photographs showing women – some in nursing uniforms, some in lab coats – taking control of most aspects of hospital life.

This brochure demonstrates that during this time women were using microscopes, manipulating a huge two million volt X-ray machine, operating an iron lung, taking charge of the chest clinic and correcting children’s eyesight in the orthoptic department. Few men are to be seen. Most doctors would have been male, but there were actually very few doctors in hospitals at this period.

Professor Doyle has also accumulated evidence from overseas as well as the UK.  For example, a 1950s blood transfusion centre in Rouen, France, was entirely run by women.

Reappraising the role and status of women

Chest Clinic, Sheffield
Chest Clinic, Sheffield

Professor Doyle now believes there is an opportunity for health historians to reappraise the roles and status of women in early 20th century hospitals and he hopes to carry out further research.  Meanwhile, he has written a blog that includes the text and pictures of the 1952 Sheffield booklet.

He acknowledges that men did begin to exert predominance in healthcare technology and began to take over the narrative of the medicalization of healthcare.

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Developing the next generation of scientists, engineers and technologists

What makes an effective teacher of vocational science, engineering or technology (SET)? How can a teacher’s effectiveness be improved in an education system under increasing pressures from changing economic, political and technological circumstances? These questions have an important bearing on current debates and policy concerning technical and vocational education – not least the recent Sainsbury Review – and are the focus of a three-year research project based in the School of Education and Professional Development.

ITE-VocSET

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Subject Specialist Pedagogy in Initial Teacher Education for Vocational Science, Engineering and Technology (ITE-VocSET) is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, which has a long-standing interest in improving teaching and learning in SET subjects. This interest connects with a wider UK context of ongoing concern about the supply of scientists, engineers and technologists, not only of graduates but also at technician level where further education colleges – and their technical teachers – play a critically important role.

With its long tradition of teacher development for the further education sector, and its strong record of research in this field, the School of Education and Professional Development is uniquely placed to host the project, which combines research into subject specialist pedagogy with application to teacher development.

The project has a semi-experimental methodology based on a series of “interventions” – short programmes of study for trainee teachers in addition to their main teacher education programme. Based on a theory of change in which specific aspects of teacher development are identified as possible consequences of the intervention, the team then aim to evaluate its impact on what teachers do and how they think about their actions.

Learning resources

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The research began in October 2015 with a literature review aimed at building a conceptual model of subject specialist pedagogy appropriate to the teaching of vocational SET subjects. The resulting model of pedagogy was then used to develop and refine learning resources for use by trainee SET teachers taking part in the interventions. These resources include structured video materials based on teaching sessions in further education colleges, animations to explain and illustrate key concepts of pedagogy, and a website providing structured pathways through the conceptual model.

Alongside the resource development, the team has worked with partner universities and colleges to identify trainee SET teachers – and teacher educators – who would like to take part in the interventions. A key issue has been the shortage of SET trainee teachers across the country, which has meant approaching the project on a national basis, using online sessions and “Saturday schools” based in Manchester to facilitate participation.

The first of the interventions is now approaching completion and evaluation is under way. Working with colleagues from the Education and Training Foundation (the national body for further education teaching) the aim is to include up to 70 participants by early 2018. In addition to evaluating the specific approach used in the intervention, the research will provide a rich source of qualitative data on how SET specialists think about their teaching, their students and the relationship between the college and the workplace. This research should be the basis for a range of publications for the 2020 Research Excellence Framework.

Cluster of Differentiation CD40

New cancer treatment without the serious side effects

Researchers at the University of Huddersfield are the first to arrive at a deep understanding of a molecule that destroys cancerous tumours without harming healthy cell tissue. The discovery, which has been patented, opens the doors for a highly effective cancer treatment.

A journal article describes the science behind the breakthrough. The research team headed by Dr Nikolaos Georgopoulos has developed and patented a cancer treatment regime that exploits the unique properties of the molecule – a protein named Cluster of Differentiation 40 (CD40). The next phase is to secure funding for clinical trials.

Targeting tumour cells

Skin cells
Skin cells

Tumour cells proliferate by continuously dividing. This places them under considerable stress, but they have developed protective properties that enable them to cope.  CD40 removes this protection so that the tumour cells die, but because normal cells are not placed under “oxidative stress” they are unharmed by the protein.

It was vital to understand these remarkable properties of CD40, with their immense potential for cancer therapy.  Years of investigation began to unlock the mystery.

Cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, usually have side effects and healthy cells are destroyed along with cancerous cells.

Dr Georgopoulos and his co-researchers at the University of Huddersfield made this discovery because instead of working purely with tumour cells, they were able to make comparisons with the effects of CD40 on normal cells as well as engineered – para-malignant – cells that allowed them to mimic the process of carcinogenesis – cancer development. They have now identified exactly why this molecule can kill tumour cells and why it leaves normal cells unaffected.

Future cancer treatment

From left: Chris Dunnill and Nik Georgopoulos
From left: Chris Dunnill and Nik Georgopoulos

The team has also worked on a method of using CD40 in targeted, intravenous bio-therapy by discovering the best way to deploy the molecule. The discovery has been patented, and the University is exploring commercialisation through a spin-out company – provisionally called ThanatoCure™ – Thanatos is the Greek word for ‘death’, referring here to cell death.

Advanced discussions are being held with a company that specialises in early-stage development of innovative cancer therapies. It is hoped that the company will secure funding in the region of £900,000 for clinical trials that would see colorectal cancer patients receiving the new treatment. The trials could start as early as the end of 2017.

A big proportion of research leading to the breakthrough was conducted by Dr Chris Dunnill, during and beyond his PhD, supervised by Dr Georgopoulos.  Also part of the research team – and co-contributors to the new article in a leading journal – were PhD students Khalidah Ibraheem and Albashir Mohamed, supervised by Dr Georgopoulos, and Professor Jenny Southgate from the Department of Biology, University of York.

  • The article A redox state-dictated signalling pathway deciphers the malignant cell specificity of CD40-mediated apoptosis is in the journal, Oncogene.