Wellcome Trust – MIT Postdoctoral Fellowship

Wellcome Trust-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship:
Affect and Facial Processing in Infants at High Risk for Autism

Expression of interest by January 10th 2011
for application deadline of July 1st 2011

The Wellcome Trust and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) international Postdoctoral Fellowship supports scientists to train in a new research area that is complementary to, but distinct from, their current field of expertise, and enable an interdisciplinary approach to important biomedical research questions. The fellowship is for four years full-time, with the fellow based at MIT for two to three years (Phase 1) before returning to a host institution in the UK for the remainder of the award (Phase 2).  Full details are on: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Biomedical-science/Funding-schemes/Fellowships/International-fellowships/WTX054661.htm

The Affective Computing Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory and Autism Research Group at the University of Manchester, UK are seeking a strong candidate to apply for this fellowship in July 2011. The project will build on existing work in the MIT Affective Computing Group into face and affect recognition in children and adults with autism, and in the Manchester group into parent-infant social interaction and early intervention in infants at high risk of developing autism (siblings of children already diagnosed with the condition). The aim of phase one at MIT will be to develop adaptations into infancy of the existing MIT innovations in affective computing in autism and then in the UK phase two to apply these adaptations to the empirical study of high-risk infants within the context of ongoing developmental and intervention studies at the University of Manchester and the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings. The planned output of the Fellowship will be a set of internationally innovative research techniques and initial results from their application to ongoing autism research.

For further details please click here

Junk the Jargon Competition – £500 prize

PhD students and Post-Docs,

The Junk the Jargon competition challenges you to present your research to a non-specialist audience. Can you make it clear, interesting and entertaining in just 3 minutes?

Your chance to win £500! – see the advert and  website for more details:

Advert:
http://www.researchsupport.eps.manchester.ac.uk/online_resources/jtj/Final_blog_version.swf

Website:
https://sites.google.com/site/junkthejargon/

Structuring information: sentence or fragment?

Academic Writing in English – Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences

Session 3 Structuring Information

Subjects and verbs

A fundamental rule in written English is that every sentence has a subject which comes before a verb. Subjects generally come at or near the beginning of a sentence. They are usually things or people that we want to say something about. Verbs may be actions or they may simply provide a link between the subject and certain information about the subject.

Look at the examples below:

• He treated the patient. (action)

• Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes. (link)

• Endoscopic surgery helps patients to recover fast by reducing complications after gynaecological procedures. (action)

Notice that the subject and the verb may be quite complex phrases, consisting of more than one word.

• Not all hospital or academic libraries are open to the public. (link)

• Seizures in patients with HIV can be caused by brain lesions, the effects of HIV on the brain, or drug toxicity. (action)

Certain words or phrases may precede the subject:

• Consequently, patients receiving chemotherapy suffer unwanted toxicities in both the haematological and other systems (action)

• In the same period last year, the hospital deficit was 4 million pounds. (link)

Many sentences contain more than just one subject and one verb. Sometimes one subject may have two verbs. Look at these examples. The subjects are in bold.

• She received the treatment on 10th June and responded immediately.

Sometimes a verb may have two subjects:

• Currently, about 35 percent of women and 31 percent of men are considered seriously overweight.

Exercise 1
Indicate whether you think the items below are sentences.

1. The impact of medical libraries and literature on patient care in New Zealand.

2. The company will push ahead with its research and drug development programmes.

3. Data presented on the impact of rapid testing with PNA FISH (TM) on patient care.

4. To explore whether mortality from female breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancer were negatively associated with exposure to sunlight.

5. PNA FISH(TM) is a qualitative nucleic acid hybridization assay intended for identification of bacteria and yeast species from blood cultures.

6. As a result of understanding of the roles of individual matrix molecules, it is now becoming increasingly apparent that one of the mechanisms leading to tissue destruction is inefficient repair in disease.

7. Side-effects associated with sulphonamide antibiotics are thought to be caused by a number of factors including bioactivation, direct cellular damage, increased oxidative stress, and poor detoxification.

8. Increased adverse drug reactions to antimicrobials and anticonvulsants in patients with HIV infection. As can be seen in figure 8, infant mortality is still high in urban areas.

9. One of the reasons for the apparent increase in allergic reactions is said to be that the challenge to the immune system from infection is reduced in Western society.

10. Collagen is a white, inelastic protein that is formed and maintained by fibroblasts.

Answers

1. The impact of medical libraries and literature on patient care in New Zealand. (no verb!) N

2. The company will push ahead with its research and drug development programmes. Y

3. Data presented on the impact of rapid testing with PNA FISH (TM) on patient care. (no verb!) N

4. To explore whether mortality from female breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancer were negatively associated with exposure to sunlight. N

5. PNA FISH(TM) is a qualitative nucleic acid hybridization assay intended for identification of bacteria and yeast species from blood cultures. Y

6. As a result of understanding of the roles of individual matrix molecules, it is now becoming increasingly apparent that one of the mechanisms leading to tissue destruction is inefficient repair in disease. Y

7. Side-effects associated with sulphonamide antibiotics are thought to be caused by a number of factors including bioactivation, direct cellular damage, increased oxidative stress, and poor detoxification. Y

8. Increased adverse drug reactions to antimicrobials and anticonvulsants in patients with HIV infection remains to be a considerable problem. This can be seen in figure 8. which shows infant mortality is still high in urban areas. N

9. One of the reasons for the apparent increase in allergic reactions is said to be that the challenge to the immune system from infection is reduced in Western society. Y

10. A collagen is a white, inelastic protein that is formed and maintained by fibroblasts. Y

Recognising academic style

Session 2
Recognising Academic Style

Exercise 1

Look at the following sentences. Discuss how you might rewrite the text to make it more academically acceptable.

The dieters destined for failure

(1) It’s something that most dieters will have experienced – losing all those pounds only to put them all back on later.

(2) Now doctors have discovered why it is so hard to maintain weight loss. It’s all because of our hormones.

(3) A study looked at the effects of the hormone leptin, which plays a key role in regulating our metabolism and tells our body when it has had too much food.

(4) The researchers found that when we lose weight, our levels of leptin also fall, making it harder to burn off the calories and sending our weight creeping back up.

(5) The findings could explain why 85 per cent of dieters fail to keep to their target weight – and could also pave the way for new leptin-based dieting drugs.

(6) Dr Michael Rosenbaum, who led the research funded by First Great Pharmaceuticals in New York, said the key to maintaining weight loss is to keep our leptin levels high.

(7) ‘Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that you never lose as much as you should for what you are eating,’ he said.

(8) ‘And even if you reach a weight you are happy with, you are never able to sustain that level of thinness.

(9) ‘Leptin fools your body into being happy with a lower weight. It won’t help you lose weight but it should help you keep weight off once you have lost it.’

(10) Dr Rosenbaum’s team looked at the effect of leptin on healthy volunteers.

(11) As the men and women lost weight, their leptin levels fell. But giving them leptin allowed them to keep to their new weight, the study, published in a US journal, found.

(12) Previous studies have shown that leptin acts as an appetite suppressant.

(13) Research last year showed that when we don’t get enough sleep, our levels of leptin fall and we feel the urge to eat more.

(14) Leptin is one of many chemicals released during sleep and it is thought that losing just an hour or two of sleep a night might be enough to cause a significant dip in levels of the hormone.

(15) The findings suggested those who regularly have too little sleep, such as night-shift workers, are at very high risk of becoming obese.

Exercise 2

Transform the style of the sentences below to make them more academically acceptable:

a) I subjected the mean score for the two trials to multivariate analysis.

______________________________________________________________

b) Many women feel that they are under a lot of social pressure to conform to a
certain physical shape.

______________________________________________________________

c) The subjects didn’t have much trouble with the task.

______________________________________________________________

d) People say passive smoking causes lung cancer.

______________________________________________________________

e) You could clearly see the difference between these two processes.

______________________________________________________________

i) So what is the relationship between the nurse and the patient?

______________________________________________________________

j) It’s a challenge to gain information about the different ways that the
wards are managed and the care given.

______________________________________________________________

k) People tell me there’s lots of racism in the health service.

______________________________________________________________

Exercise 3: Achieving clarity

Look at the two descriptions of an experiment. Both were submitted to 1,580 scientists from industry and the academic world. Based on the evidence of the text alone, 75% of the scientists surveyed concluded that one of the writers had a better organised mind and was more competent as a researcher than the other. Sixty nine percent also found the same text more interesting and stimulating. Which one is it?

Text A

In the first experiment of the series using mice it was discovered that total removal of the adrenal glands effects reduction of aggressiveness and that aggressiveness in adrenalectomized mice is re storable to the level of intact mice by treatment with corticosterone. These results point to the indispensability of the adrenals for the full expression of aggression. Nevertheless, since adrenalectomy is followed by an increase in the release of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), and since ACTH has been reported (Brain, 1972) to decrease the aggressiveness of intact mice, it is possible that the effects of adrenalectomy on aggressiveness are a function of the concurrent increased levels of ACTH. However, high levels of ACTH, in addition to causing increases in glucocorticoids (which possibly accounts for the depression of aggression in intact mice by ACTH), also result in decreased androgen levels. In view of the fact that animals with low androgen levels are characterised by decreased aggressiveness the possibility exists that adrenalectomy, rather than affecting aggression directly, has the effect of reducing aggressiveness by producing an ACTH-mediated condition of decreased androgen levels.

Text B

The first experiment in our series with mice showed that total removal of the adrenal glands reduces aggressiveness. Moreover, when treated with corticosterone, mice that had their adrenals taken out became as aggressive as intact animals again. These findings suggest that the adrenals are necessary for animals to show full aggressiveness.

Nevertheless removal of the adrenals raises the levels of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), and Brain2 found that ACTH lowers the aggressiveness of intact mice. Thus the reduction of aggressiveness after this operation might be due to the higher levels of ACTH which accompany it.

However, high levels of ACTH have two effects. First, the levels of glucocorticoids rise, which might account for Brain’s results. Second, the levels of androgen fall. Since animals with low levels of androgen are less aggressive, it is possible that removal of the adrenals reduces aggressiveness only indirectly: by raising the levels of ACTH it causes androgen levels to drop.

Turk, C. & Kirkman, J. (1989). Effective writing. London: E. & F. N. Spon.

Recognising academic style