Links Between Delicate Turbulence and Lung Cancer: College News | Imperial News
Here’s a bunch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.
From new understanding of the role turbulence plays in the oceans to why lung cancer has worse consequences in men, here is some quick read news from across the college.
Turbulence – the chaotic movement of fluids like air and water – is essential to all fluid systems on Earth, but it is notoriously difficult to understand. Describing how turbulence drains energy from fluid movements has eluded scientists for decades, as standard theory is known not to match observations.
A new paper by Dr BB Cael from National Oceanographic Center and Dr Ali Mashayek of Imperial’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has now reconciled the gap that has eluded academics for 60 years, paving the way for a better understanding of the role turbulence plays in the oceans and beyond. Dr Mashayek said: “We have adjusted the standard theory to take into account that turbulence occurs in different ways, often all occurring at the same time. This eliminated this mismatch between theory and data.
The new theory could be used to predict more extreme events like abnormally large waves, and could have other applications in astro, solar and plasma physics.
Control of GM mosquitoes
Researchers have developed an innovative approach to deactivate powerful genetic devices designed to control populations of harmful insects.
The team, led by researchers at Imperial, previously developed gene drive technologies that could eliminate mosquito populations in the lab, offering a powerful new strategy to prevent deadly vector-borne diseases like malaria. The gene drives inserted into the mosquito genome can quickly spread genetic changes, such as impaired fertility, throughout the population after mating with wild insects.
In this new study, the team improved control of the gene drive system by deactivating it using a bacteriophage-derived protein called AcrIIA4, directly encoded in the mosquito genome.
Modeling predictions as well as laboratory cage tests show that a single release of male mosquitoes carrying the protein can block the spread of the suppressive gene drive and prevent population collapse.
Read the full article in Nature Communications: ‘Genetically encoded anti-CRISPR protein limits gene drive spread and prevents population suppression‘
Impact of emission rate
Containment has resulted in a rapid reduction in carbon emissions. This prompted scientists to question whether this change was strong enough to invalidate previous projections of climate change.
A large international group of researchers used last-minute estimates of the effects of foreclosure on emissions and simple projections of the impact of foreclosure on future emissions. The group, which included scientists from the Met Office and Dr Robin Lamboll and Dr Joeri Rogelj from the Imperial, then compared the results.
Dr Lamboll says: “Traditionally calibrated program schedules generally take years to collect and are not designed to include rapid changes in emissions. This project worked much faster using sources such as movement and location data from mobile phones to estimate changes in emissions.
“The emissions were subjected to many different climate simulators to see if the results differ significantly from the projections made before the lockdown. The first results show that although the air has temporarily become cleaner, the confinement has not had a significant impact on the climate in the medium or long term. “
Lung cancer link
A new study has shed light on the reasons why lung cancer has worse consequences in men than in women. By examining the genetics of lung cancer patients, the researchers identified that a proportion of male patients had degradation of their Y chromosome. Professor Miriam Moffatt and her team found that a quarter of male tumors have lost all or part of their Y chromosome.
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide. It affects more men than women, and men generally have poorer survival outcomes. There is a recognized need for biomarkers capable of guiding therapeutic decision making in lung cancer. These results highlight a biomarker that can be used to identify a group of male patients at increased risk so that they can be treated earlier.
The article was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports “Y-disruption, autosomal hypomethylation, and poor lung cancer survival in humans”.
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