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Trinity College Dublin

Ongoing Research Projects supported by TCHPC

TCHPC allocates resources to assist research in many different fields. Below is a list of current projects been undertaken with the help of TCHPC.
  • Computer Science
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    Prof Kurshid Ahmed
    Trinity College Dublin
    My work is looking at the effect financial news has on future market performance. Either as a proxy to investor sentiment or having a direct effect on the \'mood\' of the market. My current work is looking at the development of a system for improved criteria for term selection. Rather than relying on subjectively designed dictionaries I am to develop a means for developing custom dictionaries based on the index in a purely objective manner.
  • Physics
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    Dr. Peter Gallagher
    Trinity College Dublin
    Solar flares occur due to the sudden release of energy stored in active-region magnetic fields. To date, the pre-cursors to flaring are still not fully understood, although there is evidence that flaring is related to changes in the topology or complexity of a solar active regions magnetic field. The evolution of the magnetic field in a specific active region on the sun is being examined using data from a Japanese satellite called Hinode, over a period of 12 hours leading up to and after a small solar flare. A number of 2D magnetic-field properties have been analysed, finding significant changes in the field a few hours before the flare occurs, as well as straight after the flare. The changes observed before the flare on such short timescales may provide a physical basis for future flare forecasting efforts. However, 3D topology must be studied in order to fully understand the evolution of the field lines.
  • Engineering
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    Dr. Dermot Furlong
    Trinity College Dublin
    The fractal dimension (D) of waveforms has been shown to be useful in the automatic identification of musical in-struments [Gunasekaran & Revathy 2008] and for distin-guishing specific states of physiological function [Ragha-vendra & Dutt 2009]. It is proposed that an investigation will be carried out to determine an appropriate „Mixing Time‟ (tmixing) for Hybrid Reverberation for use in Virtual Acoustic Environments (VAEs) by examining the fractal dimensions of a range of room impulse responses.A number of different methods for calculating the fractal dimensions of the room impulse responses will be ex-amined. Values for tmixing for different room impulse res-ponses will be obtained through listening tests and these values compared to the results for the analysis of the frac-tal dimension of these impulses. Once this data is corre-lated, statistical analysis will examine any pattern between the two data sets. This information will then be used to calculate tmixing for a new set of room impulse responses and these values compared to the results obtained for tmixing from a second round of listening tests.
  • Life Sciences
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    Dr. Alice Witney
    Trinity College Dublin
    Ageing is known to lead to changes in behaviour that lead to a loss of functioning. With an increasingly ageing population it is important to develop a good experimental model of how neural changes relate to natural ageing, and how neural changes may be linked to observed behavioural decline. This understanding would help to optimise adaptation to the age related changes, and maximize quality of life over an individual’s lifespan. Insects are potentially important model systems to study age related changes. Compared with other animals, their life span is more appropriate for a longitudinal laboratory experiment - comparing the same animal over its natural lifespan. Further, despite their short life span, they remain complex animals, with large behavioural repertoires. The locust Schistocerca gregaria is particularly useful model for analysing changes in brain volumes through ageing. They have relatively large brains that have been characterized using histological methods, creating a standard locust brain, accessible to the research community. Further, some of the functions of locust brain areas have already been established through previous research. Recent developments in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enable high-resolution images of the locust brain that can reveal the different brain areas, and enable the brain volumes to be determined.The brain volumes of locusts of known age will be determined, and comparisons will be made with the known standard volumes.
  • Life Sciences
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    Dr. Andrew Harkin
    Trinity College Dublin
    High resolution anatomical images will be acquired for the determination of hippocampal volume in an animal model of depression. At the end of the experiment, perfused and post fixed brains will be cut into sections, processed and analysed for dendritic branch number according to a modified version of the rapid Golgi method. Neurobiological changes will be characterised by a reduction in hippocampal volume accompanied by neuronal atrophy and reduced dendritic aborisation. The ability of antidepressants to block these neuropathological changes will be determined.
  • Life Sciences
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    Prof Charles Normand
    Trinity College Dublin
    It is vital for expenditure forecasts and ultimately health policy to fully understand the relationship between age, death and health care expenditure (HCE). Studies frequently associate ageing with higher health care costs. The New Zealand population over 65 years of age is predicted to more than double by 2030 while those in the 15 to 39 age group decline by a quarter (Statistics New Zealand, 2009). Thus policy makers in New Zealand are concerned about a health care cost explosion to accompany the anticipated population shift. While age may be important to an extent, several studies have looked at other determinants of health care costs, notably proximity to death (PTD). Studies suggest that proximity to death is a more important driver of health care costs than age alone. But there are limited studies of prescription expenditures. This is particularly relevant to New Zealand where expenditures on prescription drugs have risen significantly in the last two decades. Gaining an understanding of what effects health care expenditure in this area will help policy makers to more accurately predict and control future spending. This study develops an economic model for forecasting future public expenditures on prescription drugs for the New Zealand population over 70 taking proximity to death into account.
  • Physics
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    Dr Paul Eastham
    Trinity College Dublin
    A theory describing the decoherence of two coupled microcavity polariton condensates is being developped. Cavity polaritons are quasi-particles arising from the strong interaction between photons and quanta of electronic excitations in semiconductors, i.e. excitons. These bosons have been shown to condense. The equation of motion for two coupled populations is derived in the density matrix notation using standard quantum pumping and decay models. It is then used to calculate the first order coherence function of one of the condensates. The effect of coupling is shown to broaden the individual linewidth of each mode. Further increments of the model will include scattering terms and expand the model to several condensates.
  • Life Sciences
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    Dr. Gary Donohoe
    Trinity College Dublin
    Compromised brain white matter integrity and connectivity is evident in schizophrenic patients as well as genetically high-risk and first-episode subjects. As schizophrenia is a highly heritable disease, genome wide association studies have identified different genetic variants that are associated with the disease and may increase risk of schizophrenia. The application of imaging genetics allows for the elucidation of the effects that these genetic variants may have on the brain. This project will involve the recruitment of schizophrenic patients and control subjects for diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) using a 3T MRI scanner. Subjects will also provide DNA samples for genotyping. White matter integrity will then be assessed and possible differences in white matter integrity between the genotype groups of the patients and control subjects will be investigated. It is hypothesised that subjects possessing the schizophrenia risk variants will display compromised brain white matter integrity in comparison to non-risk carriers.
  • Life Sciences
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    Dr. Ross McManus
    Trinity College Dublin
    Recently several new regions of the genome have been linked to the causation of coeliac disease. This study aims to investigate these associations with the aim of highlighting the genes or genetic variants which cause the association. We intend to use state of the art DNA sequencing technology to investigate gene expression in tissues of coeliac patients at a level of detail which was previously not possible. We will particularly concentrate on examining gene expression in T cells, from the peripheral blood and also from the intestines of affected individuals. We will also examine the function of transcription factors in these individuals and sequence genomic DNA. We will examine the function of some of the lesser well described genes by knocking down and increasing their expression in T cells using models of T cell function such as, migration and cytokine expression.
  • Life Sciences
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    Prof. Louise Gallagher
    Trinity College Dublin
    The purpose of this study is to investigate the neural correlates of reward processing among adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Data are being collected using both structural and functional neuroimaging techniques. Aproximately twenty participants with ASD and twenty age and IQ matched controls will be recruited overall. In terms of the functional data participants perform two fMRI tasks that are known to activate neural reward systems; the classic Monetary Incentive Delay Task (MID) and a newly developed Social Incentive Delay Task (SID). The structural integrity of the cortical-basal ganglia circuit (which subserves reward processing), will be evaluated using Voxel Based Morphometry, Tract Based Spatial Statistics and Tractography. In addition, measures of behavioural symptoms are being collected using the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R). These will be used to evaluate the neuroimaging findings in terms of behavioural symptoms.

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