Research Outreach Blog
September 14, 2022

Research Outreach – Issue 131: Vaccines, nanotech, and new teacher troubles

Research Outreach Issue 131 covers the spectrum of scientific research from long-range submarine sensors to using nanotechnology in nuclear fusion, as well as social issues such as building inner strength, and how to support new teachers when teaching ‘out-of-field’. We cover a number of positive new insights in the field of medicine, including a valuable approach to childhood vaccines that uses conjugation chemistry to increase the efficacy of the treatment against pneumonia. New research into the action of vitamin a1 and arsenic trioxide finally sheds light on why this treatment has been so effective in curing patients with acute promyelocytic leukaemia.

And Research Outreach interviews Stephen Wordsworth, Executive Director of the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara), about the Council’s work providing practical and financial help to academics who have been forced to leave their homes due to persecution, oppression, or war.

Listening across the oceans: Distributed acoustic sensing

Fibre optic cables are most commonly used in digital communication across oceans, but recent research highlights innovative ways of harnessing the power of fibre optic cables as long sensor arrays. This enables researchers to detect sound sources several kilometres away on the ocean floor through distributed acoustic sensing. Distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) has applications in a variety of sectors from monitoring seismic activity to identifying whale species based on their songs.

NAPLIFE: Advancing nuclear fusion with nanotechnology

Bringing us closer to sustained nuclear fusion by using laser pulses to target nanoparticles in nuclear fuel. Research from the Wigner Research Centre indicates that using laser pulses to ignite nuclear fuel could be more efficient and more ecologically friendly. Getting closer to sustainable nuclear energy is desperately needed, as the urge to stop relying on fossil fuels is growing.

Building a psychological toolbox: Using neuroplastic methods to develop lasting inner strengths

Learning how to engage your brain’s neuroplasticity and develop healthy coping mechanisms and inner strength. Social-emotional learning enables our brains to convert passing experiences into psychological resources that we can then draw upon at a later point, but research indicates that this is not as useful as it might sound. Recent studies focus on how we can actively engage our brains to foster positive neuroplastic change, helping us to become stronger, mentally.

Conjugation chemistry creates affordable childhood vaccines

Vaccines have been valuable for the last century, but not everyone is able to get the vaccination they need, when they need it. Advances in conjugation chemistry allow for the production of affordable, effective vaccines for children against diseases such as pneumonia.

Cara and Researchers at Risk: Offering a lifeline to academics in danger

Research Outreach speaks to Stephen Wordsworth, Executive Director of Cara, about the council’s new Researchers at Risk scheme. Cara was founded in 1933 to help academics at risk from persecution in Germany under the Nazi rule, but the aim of the Council has always been to help researchers around the world to find a safe home to continue their work. The focus is still to help researchers at risk, but to support them as they come to the UK as researchers, not as refugees.

Refugees on the Ukrainian border.

Out-of-field teaching: New teachers surviving under pressure

Research into the challenges faced by newly qualified teachers when having to teach out of their field, as well as the impact it has on student learning. Transitioning from initial teacher education to actively teaching is challenging for almost all teachers, but this is exacerbated when the teacher is required to teach outside of their specialist subject. This study shows how we can support these teachers to stay in their jobs and provide the best lessons for their students.

Unlocking the mechanism of action of arsenic trioxide in leukaemia

Understanding exactly how arsenic trioxide has transformed a form of leukaemia  – acute promyelocytic leukaemia – from a fatal disease to a curable one. The treatment has been in use and effective for some years, but it has not been clear how the treatment has been working. Researchers from Jackson State University have shed light on the pathways through which arsenic trioxide blocks the multiplication of cancer cells.


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