At the end of the course students will acquire knowledge on present state of natural sciences advances in research and development and future prospects
Dr. Jonathan L. Carrivick (University of Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM)
Short-term geomorphological evolution of proglacial systems
Proglacial systems within polar and alpine environments are amongst the most rapidly changing landscapes on Earth, as glacier mass loss, permafrost degradation and more episodes of intense rainfall progress with climate change. This presentation addresses the urgent need to quantitatively define proglacial systems not only in terms of spatial extent but also in terms of functional processes. It firstly provides a critical appraisal of prevailing conceptual models of proglacial systems, and uses this to justify compiling data on rates of landform change in terms of planform, horizontal motion, elevation changes and sediment budgets. These data permit us to produce novel summary conceptual diagrams that consider proglacial landscape evolution in terms of a balance of longitudinal and lateral water and sediment fluxes. Throughout, examples of newly emerging datasets and data processing methods because these have the potential to assist with the issues of: (i) a lack of knowledge of proglacial systems within high-mountain and polar regions, (ii) considerable inter-and intra-catchment variability in the geomorphology and functioning of proglacial systems, (iii) problems with the magnitude of short-term geomorphological changes being at the threshold of detection, (iv) separating short-term variability from longer-term trends, and (v) of the representativeness of plot-scale field measurements for regionalisation and for upscaling. It is considered that understanding of future climate change effects on proglacial systems in polar and alpine environments requires holistic process-based modelling to explicitly consider feedbacks and linkages, especially between hillslope and valley-floor components. Such modelling must be informed by a new generation of repeated distributed topographic surveys to detect and quantify short-term geomorphological changes.
prof. Dominik Eder (Technische Universität Wien, Vienna, AUSTRIA)
Design strategies for functional nanocarbon-inorganic hybrid photocatalysts
What are nanocarbon-inorganic hybrids? Hybridising nanocarbon materials, i.e. CNTs and graphene, with active inorganic nanomaterials constitutes a powerful strategy towards designing new-generation functional materials for many applications where efficient charge separation and extraction is required, including photovoltaics, photocatalysis, batteries, supercapacitors and biosensors. In contrast to nanocomposites, which merely combine the intrinsic properties of both compounds, nanocarbon hybrids additionally provide access to both a large internal active surface area required for gas/liquid-solid interactions and an extended interface, through which charge and energy transfer processes create synergistic effects that result in unique properties and superior performances.
How can they be improved? I will demonstrate that the performance of these hybrids can be further enhanced through purposefully engineering interfaces and morphology, e.g. fewer grain boundaries alleviate electron transport within the catalyst and the formation of an Ohmic junction facilitates charge transfer and charge separation at the interface with the nanocarbon.
How do they function? I will present a model system that allows for measuring and tuning of interfacial charge and energy transfer processes and for revealing the nature of catalytically active sites in nanocarbon hybrids.
How do go on from here? The next aim is to design hybrids with 3D-accessible ordered mesoporous architectures and large pores to eliminate kinetic restrictions imposed by pore diffusion and allow ready gas and liquid access to all active sites. I will show some preliminary results using tailor-made triblock-terpolymers as structure-directing agents and sacrificial templates.
Key words: Nanocarbon, hybrid, interface, photocatalysis, charge transfer, polymer
Fig: a) Working princliple of nanocarbon-inorganic hybrid photocatalyst; b) model system with dielectric barrier layer (Al2O3) between a photoactive ZnO shell and CNT inner core; b) ordered mesoporous carbon with gyroid architecture.
prof. Vasco Guerra (Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, PORTUGAL)
Deterministic and Kinetic Monte Carlo models for surface kinetics
Deterministic and Monte Carlo methods for simulation of plasma-surface interactions Two approaches to the modeling of surface kinetics in reactive plasmas are discussed. Coarse--grained deterministic models incorporate rate balance equations for coverages of surface active sites. They are computationally effective and can be readily coupled to reactor-scale plasma simulations.
In the kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) approach, the time evolution of a gas- lattice system consisting of a large number of particles is described.
Although being more demanding computationally, KMC algorithms are exact, allow a straightforward description of distributions of surface reactivity and help bridging the gap between simulations on atomic and macroscopic scales. Theoretical and practical aspects of deterministic and KMC modeling of plasma-surface interactions are discussed taking O recombination on silica as a model system.
Unravelling vibrational excitation in molecular gases
Different dynamical Monte Carlo algorithms to investigate molecule formation on surfaces are developed, evaluated and compared with the deterministic approach based on reaction rate equations. These include a null event algorithm, the n-fold way/BKL algorithm and an ‘hybrid’ variant of the latter. NO2 formation by NO oxidation on Pyrex and O recombination on silica with the formation of O2 are taken as case studies. The influence of the grid size on the CPU calculation time and the accuracy of the results is analysed.
The role of Langmuir– Hinsehlwood recombination involving two physisorbed atoms and the effect of back diffusion and its inclusion in a deterministic formulation are investigated and discussed.
It is shown that dynamical Monte Carlo schemes are flexible, simple to implement, describe easily elementary processes that are not straightforward to include in deterministic simulations, can run very efficiently if appropriately chosen and give highly reliable results.
Moreover, the present approach provides a relatively simple procedure to describe fully coupled surface and gas phase chemistries.
prof. Rainer Lohmann (University of Rhode Island, Kingston, USA)
Passive sampling of legacy and emerging POPs in the Great Lakes
Polyethylene passive samplers were simultaneously deployed in surface water and near surface atmosphere to assess sources, spatial trends and air-water exchange of organic pollutants in the Great Lakes region in
2011 and 2012. Legacy pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs) were - by and large - volatilizing from the water; hence the lower Great Lakes acted as a secondary source to the atmosphere. Yet in most cases, on-going sources affected spatial trends of emerging and emerged organic pollutants in the Great Lakes region. Spatial distributions of freely dissolved organic pollutants in Lakes Erie and Ontario were influenced by loadings from contaminated sites and water circulation patterns. PCB fingerprints were used to assess sources of PCBs, most of which indicated residual contamination sources. More recent chemicals of concern were also targeted by the field campaign, including polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) and polycylic musks.
Spatial trends were used to assess the influence of population density on POPs emissions, which varied by the compound’s physico-chemical properties.
prof. Zsolt Molnár (MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Institute of Ecology and Botany, Vácrátót, HUNGARY)
Course on Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Most landscapes botanists like were developed and maintained on the basis of traditional ecological knowledge, the cumulative body of knowledge, practice and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission (sensu Berkes).
During the course we will explore the theory and practice of local and traditional ecological knowledge: local knowledge of plant taxa, habitat types, vegetation dynamics and landscape history, the knowledge connected to traditional use of natural resources – and their possible role in vegetation science and nature conservation. We will discuss the methodology and various methods used in ethnoecology.
In Europe, traditional knowledge and management may be completely abandoned in many landscapes (but not in others), resulting in a loss of biological and cultural diversity. Conservationists may motivate and support, or alternatively, prohibit or suppress traditional use. National Parks are in a position to develop new ways of conservation management based on local and traditional knowledge, for example, by co-producing knowledge with traditional herders and farmers. So traditional knowledge is not for the past, but it is a rich source for knowledge for the future, especially in science, nature conservation and environmental education.
We will also speak about the need for landscape- and culture-specific agricultural regulation and subsidy systems in the European Union. Scientists and policy makers can help those people who still use local and traditional knowledge for their livelihoods. This is an important way of maintaining our culture in Central Europe.
During the course we will discuss the interviews you made (see below), watch and discuss short films on traditional herding, and I will introduce my field experiences about traditional ecological knowledge learnt among traditional steppe herders in the Hortobágy National Park, Hungary and Mongolia, and mountain farmers of the Eastern Carpathians, Romania who manage very species-rich mountain hay meadows. We will also discuss the international literature and the publication possibilities of such research.
Dr. Carsten Müller (Technical University of Munich, GERMANY)
How to unravel the chemical composition and distribution of soil organic matter in polar ecosystems
A large number of studies predict changing organic matter (OM) dynamics in polar soils due to global warming. In contrast to rather slowly altering bulk soil properties, single soil organic matter (SOM) fractions can provide a more detailed picture of the processes involved in the fate of OM in Polar regions. Although there is a large number of studies using physical soil fractionation for temperate soils, there are only scarce information on the distribution of OM in possibly differently stabilized fractions of permafrost affected soils. By combining bulk analytical methods (e.g., C and N analyses, NMR spectroscopy) with state of the art spectromicroscopic techniques (SEM, NanoSIMS) it is possible to unravel processes stabilizing OM reaching from the formation of organo-mineral associations to soil aggregation. Although climatic stabilization due to reduced microbial decay at low temperatures is the most important factor in permafrost soils at the moment, in a warmer future this may change to other mechanisms, likely OM stabilization in aggregated soil structures and organo-mineral associations.
prof. Julian Petersen (Medical University, Vienna, AUSTRIA)
Defining the diversity of neural crest cells with single cell transcriptomics approach
Neural crest cells are the embryonic progenitors often called 4th germ layer because of their utmost importance in embryo development and their key role in human health.
The formation of a face, chambered heart, appearance of teeth and jaws for example are all neural crest cells derived.
The molecular switches and the intracellular processes responsible for fate selection and multipotency of neural crest are not understood because neural crest cells are heterogeneous and migratory cells at the same time.
prof. Lutz Nasdala (University of Vienna, AUSTRIA)
New advances in micro-spectroscopy
Gem materials in mineralogical research
February 2018prof. Yi-Kang Pu (Tsinghua University, Beijing, CHINA)
Our experiences on OES diagnostics for low temperature argon discharges
Optical diagnostics approach of electron density determination in discharges in pure argon will be introduced. The main energy transfer channels will be identified from the general scheme of collision-radiative model, which play a decisive role in population of selected energy levels of argon atom. The fundamental problems of cross-section data for selected reactions will be critically discussed. The applicability of the resulting simplified approaches will be critically discussed.
Three stories on plasma diagnostics
As an introduction some general comments on plasma diagnostics will be given. Especially about the fundamentals of collecting data and their interpretation. It will be shown how complex it is (or can be) to obtain the plasma parameters from the collected data with sufficient certainty. Following cases will be discussed: low pressure discharge mass spectrometry, Langmuir probe: getting electron density, electron temperature, electron energy distribution, plasma potential from the measured I‐V curve (approach of Valery Godyak), microwave based diagnostics including the phase shift, shift in resonance frequency, etc.
prof. Des R. Richardson (Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA)
Iron and Cancer: Can we build a New Type of Anti-Cancer Drug?
How do Cytotoxic Macrophages Kill Tumour Cells? NO is Involved!
Friedreich’s Ataxia: Iron, Oxidative Stress and Nrf2 – Can we Develop a Therapy?
Cancer is a disease that is a "moving target", since as the condition progresses, the molecular targets change and evolve. Moreover, due to clonal selection, a specific anti-cancer drug with one molecular target may only be effective for a limited time period before drug resistance results and the agent becomes ineffective. Hence, the concept of an anti-tumor therapeutic exhibiting poly-pharmacology can be highly advantageous, rather than a therapeutic obstacle.
A novel class of agents possessing these desirable properties are the di-2-pyridylketone thiosemicarbazones, which bind iron and copper to affect a variety of critical molecular targets in tumors. These compounds possess multiple properties that enable them to overcome the "triad of death" in cancer, namely: primary tumor growth, drug resistance and metastasis.
At the molecular level, their potent anti-oncogenic activity includes: up-regulation of the metastasis suppressor, N-myc downstream regulated gene 1; up-regulation of the tumor suppressor, PTEN; down-regulation of the proto-oncogene, cyclin D1; inhibition of the rate-limiting step in DNA synthesis catalyzed by ribonucleotide reductase; and the inhibition of multiple oncogenic signaling pathways, e.g., Ras/MAPK signaling, protein kinase B (AKT)/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase, ROCK/pMLC2, etc.
An intriguing aspect of the poly-pharmacology of the di-2-pyridylketone thiosemicarbazones is their ability to overcome multi-drug resistance mediated by P-glycoprotein in vitro and in vivo. The mechanism responsible for overcoming resistance involves the ability of these agents to target intracellular P-glycoprotein in lysosomes.
prof. Jutta Schneider (University of Hamburg, GERMANY)
Sexual cannibalism and sexual conflict in spiders
Sexual cannibalism is a well-known example for sexual conflict and has many facets that determine the costs and benefits for the cannibal and the victim. Sexual cannibalism can be a male strategy to maximize paternity and a female strategy to prevent paternity monopolization by any or a particular male. Considerable variation exists between species in the potential of males to monopolize females, and in the success of females in preventing monopolization by males. This opens up exciting future possibilities to investigate sexually antagonistic coevolution in a largely unstudied mating system.
Discussion of topics with visiting scientits
Předmět je dovoleno ukončit i mimo zkouškové období.
Předmět je vyučován každý semestr.
Výuka probíhá blokově.