Festival of Postgraduate Research - Preview no.4

Posted by mjs76 at Jun 13, 2011 10:50 AM |
Postgraduate posters from the Departments of Geology, Geography and Chemistry.

Thursday is our annual Festival of Postgraduate Research. A chance for some of our best postgrads to present posters of their work. In the run-up to the Festival, we’re summarising the presentations on Newsblog, grouped into slightly arbitrary bundles.Today we’re taking a look at research in the fields of geology, geography and chemistry.

A Sustainable, Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles and Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Claire Fullarton (Department of Chemistry)

Claire’s research offers hope for the future development of electric vehicles which currently use lead acid, nickel-metal hydride or lithium ion batteries. Her work within our Ionic Liquids Group examines the practicalities of rechargeable zinc batteries and inexpensive, environmentally compatible solvents called Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES). Electric vehicles using this technologically could be safer and last longer between rechargings.

Smouldering Swamps - A Carbon Crisis!

Leanne Milner (Department of Geography)

Wildfires in tropical peatlands can contribute to climate change in two ways: the actual carbon released as smoke during the fire itself, and further carbon released during decomposition of peat previously sheltered by rainforest vegetation, Leanne is researching the ‘chemical fingerprint’ of burnt peat in Indonesian Borneo and her work will feed directly into the EU-funded REDD-ALERT project (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through Alternative Landuses in Rainforests of the Tropics), In 2009 Leanne won the Norman Pye Prize as the Best Final Year Student in the Department and her current work was funded through a University of the Year Scholarship.

Wither the Sea Ice as Global Climate Warms?

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Nicola Clark

Nicola Clark (Department of Geology)

Three million years ago, when CO2 levels were last at their current level, the Earth was three degrees warmer, the seas were 10m higher and there was probably little or no sea ice around Antarctica. Nicola’s research is based on fossilised scallops which contain information about the Southern and Pacific Oceans during that time period.

Monitoring forest drought conditions from space

Othman El Shakmak (Department of Geography)

Forests are enormously important factors in climate change as they lock up vast amounts of carbon within their biomass: 80% of all above-ground organic carbon and 40% of subterranean organic carbon. Measuring the extent of huge forests can be complex and difficult, so Othman’s study looks into the practicalities of using satellite-based radar to monitor forest condition. He is concentrating in particular on a draught-ridden area in north East Libya.

Does Your Breath Have A Fingerprint?

Peter Qualey (Department of Chemistry)

Peter’s research is part of our Diagnostic Development Unit, working towards a range of non-invasive clinical assessments which can be performed quickly and easily in hospitals. He’s looking at the practicalities of using mass spectrometry to analyse exhaled breath, which of course requires a full understanding of what normal, health exhaled breath should look like when put through a mass spectrometer. Studying patients in hospitals should also create a set of distinctive ‘smellprints’ for common conditions.

Sugarloaf mountains: The perfect recipe for rainforest preservation?

Sarah Owen (Departments of Geology and Geography)

Not many people have heard of the mata atlantica rainforest in Brazil, probably because there’s not much of it left. Deforestation has reduced it to 7% of its original size and those parts which survive do so mostly on sugarloaf mountains. Sarah’s research combines analysis of satellite images with geological and ecological fieldwork in eastern Brazil to find out about these distinctive mountains and how they have managed to preserve important flora and fauna.

Shale Gas: what is shale gas and why is everyone talking about it?

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David Hartigan

David Hartigan (Department of Geology)

Shale gas offers a potential new source of fossil fuel, but comparatively little is known about it; in particular, why does some mudstone (fine-grained, sedimentary rock) harbour shale gas and other mudstone deposits have none? David recently presented his work in this area to the London Petrochemical Society who have partially financed his research through their Iain Hillier Academic Award Scheme.

Facebook: The Social Researcher and the Social Network

Sarah Smith (Department of Geography)

Facebook may seem to be everywhere but it’s so new that relatively little research has been done into it, especially its implications for research. There have already been cases of researchers gathering data from Facebook which was insufficiently anonymised when the results were published. Sarah’s research looks at the ethical issues of using Facebook in this way.

Sniffing Infection

Sharmilah Kuppusami (Department of Chemistry)

PTR-TOF-MS is the long and cumbersome abbreviation for proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry, a way of detecting volatile organic compounds in very low concentrations, Sharmilah’s research looks at how this technique, developed for work in atmospheric chemistry, could be applied in medical situation. In particular, whether using PTR-TOF-MS on patients’ stool samples could identify cases of C Diff earlier than is currently possible.

Visit the Festival of Postgraduate Research

The Festival of Postgraduate Research 2011 will be held in the Belvoir Suite on the Second Floor of the Charles Wilson Building between 11.00am and 1.00pm on Thursday 16 June. Entry is free so come along, browse the posters and talk with some of Britain’s brightest young postgrads.

See also:

  • Preview no.1: Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Preview no.2: English, Archaeology and Ancient History, Education, Economics and Sociology
  • Preview no.3: Psychology, Medical and Social Care Education, Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Preview no.5: Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, Infection Immunity and Inflammation, Biology and Biochemistry
  • Preview no.6: Cardiovascular Sciences