Coulomb dissociation reactions on molybdenum isotopes for astrophysics applications
- Within the present work, photodissociation reactions on 100Mo, 93Mo and 92Mo isotopes were studied by means of the Coulomb dissociation method at the LAND setup at GSI. Experimental data on these isotopes are important to explain the problem of the underproduction of the lighter p-nuclei - 92; 94Mo - within the models of the p-process nucleosynthesis. The reaction rates used in the nucleosynthesis calculations are usually obtained within the framework of the statistical model. In order to verify the model predictions and reduce the uncertainties, experimental measurements of the reaction cross sections are required. In particular, the data on (γ,n) reactions are of interest, since these reactions were shown to dominate the p-process flow in the molybdenum mass region.
As a result of the analysis of the present experiment, integrated Coulomb excitation cross sections of the 100Mo(γ,n), 100Mo(γ,2n), 93Mo(γ,n) and 92Mo(γ,n) reactions were determined. The measurement of the 93Mo isotope is particularly important, since this nucleus is unstable, and the corresponding cross section has not been measured before.
It should be emphasized that Coulomb dissociation is a unique tool to study photoninduced reactions on unstable nuclei, which is especially relevant in the context of nucleosynthesis network calculations. However, because of to the complexity of the data analysis procedure and a number of model assumptions that are required in order to extract the Coulomb excitation cross section from the data, one of the main aspects of this thesis was to verify the method by comparing the results with the previously published data obtained with real photon beams. Integrated cross sections of the 100Mo(γ,n) and 100Mo(γ,2n) reactions were directly compared to the data by Beil et al., obtained at Saclay with photons from positron annihilation, while an indirect comparison could be performed with a recent photoactivation measurement by Erhard and co-workers. A reasonable agreement was observed for the 1n channel: a scaling factor of 0.8 ± 0.1 between our result and Beil et al. data is consistent with the scaling factor of 0.89±0.09 reported by Erhard et al. between their data and Beil et al. data. Both results are in agreement with the scaling factor of 0.85 ± 0.03 recommended by Berman et al. for the data measured at Saclay on nuclei in the respective mass region. A somewhat lower factor of 0.61 ± 0.09 between the present data and Beil et al. data was obtained for the 2n channel. The discrepancy might be explained by both the substantial efficiency correction that has to be applied to the LAND data in the two-neutron case, as well as by an insufficiently accurate assumption that the Saclay neutron detector efficiency is energy- and multiplicity- independent.
A second important topic of the present thesis is the investigation of the efficiency of the CsI gamma detector. The calorimetric information that it delivers is essential to reconstruct the energy-differential cross section from the present measurement. The data taken with the gamma calibration sources shortly after the experiment were used for the investigation. In addition, a test experiment in refined conditions was conducted within the framework of this thesis. Numerous GEANT3 simulations of the detector were performed in order to understand various aspects of its performance. As a result, the efficiency of the detector was determined to be approximately a factor of 2 lower than the efficiency expected from the simulation. This result is consistent with several independent investigations, which were performed using different methods. At the same time, a remarkable agreement between the simulated and experimental data was achieved under assumption that the inefficiency of the detector is explained by the loss of data from a number of crystals, which are randomly chosen in each event according to their averaged performance ratio (the ”on-off” effect). The reasons for the observed malfunction are yet not fully clear. Regardless of the exact reason, in the present conditions a deconvolution of the measured data from the CsI response is not possible. Consequently, within the framework of this thesis, the results are presented in terms of integrated cross sections. A search for alternative methods of data interpretation, allowing to extract energy-differential information out of the available data, in currently ongoing.
In the more recent experiments at the LAND setup, where the Crystal Ball gamma detector was used as a calorimeter, the reconstruction of the energy-differential cross section with a reasonable resolution was already shown to be feasible. It means that, even considering the uncertainties of the present experiment of the order of 10%, the uncertainties of the statistical model predictions, which are on average estimated to be within a factor of 1.5-2, can already be constrained.
The analysis of the present experiment is still in progress. As a next step, Coulomb excitation cross section for 94Mo will be obtained. The 94Mo(γ,n) reaction cannot be studied by photoactivation, since the life time of the daughter nucleus is too long (4000 y). At the same time, this reaction plays a key role in the p-process nucleosynthesis.
The future of the LAND setup - the R3B setup1 at FAIR2 - will take advantage of a three orders of magnitude higher intensity of the radioactive beams , as well as of a completely new detector system. High-resolution measurements of the energy-differential cross sections will be possible for exotic nuclei, which were never accessible in the laboratory before. Such measurements will open great opportunities for nuclear astrophysics, allowing to obtain high-quality experimental data even for regions of the nuclear chart where the statistical model calculations are not applicable.
Mathematical modeling of Arabidopsis thaliana with focus on network decomposition and reduction
- Systems biology has become an important research field during the last decade. It focusses on the understanding of the systems which emit the measured data. An important part of this research field is the network analysis, investigating biological networks. An essential point of the inspection of these network models is their validation, i.e., the successful comparison of predicted properties to measured data. Here especially Petri nets have shown their usefulness as modeling technique, coming with sound analysis methods and an intuitive representation of biological network data.
A very important tool for network validation is the analysis of the Transition-invariants (TI), which represent possible steady-state pathways, and the investigation of the liveness property. The computational complexity of the determination of both, TI and liveness property, often hamper their investigation.
To investigate this issue, a metabolic network model is created. It describes the core metabolism of Arabidopsis thaliana, and it is solely based on data from the literature. The model is too complex to determine the TI and the liveness property.
Several strategies are followed to enable an analysis and validation of the network. A network decomposition is utilized in two different ways: manually, motivated by idea to preserve the integrity of biological pathways, and automatically, motivated by the idea to minimize the number of crossing edges. As a decomposition may not be preserving important properties like the coveredness, a network reduction approach is suggested, which is mathematically proven to conserve these important properties. To deal with the large amount of data coming from the TI analysis, new organizational structures are proposed. The liveness property is investigated by reducing the complexity of the calculation method and adapting it to biological networks.
The results obtained by these approaches suggest a valid network model. In conclusion, the proposed approaches and strategies can be used in combination to allow the validation and analysis of highly complex biological networks.
Reprogramming of tumor cells : signaling events and phenotypes
Chul Min Yang
- Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth and the capacity to disseminate to distant organs. The properties of cancers are caused by genetic and epigenetic alterations when compared to their normal counterparts. Genetic mutations occur in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and are the initial drivers of cellular transformation (Lengauer et al., 1998; Vogelstein and Kinzler, 2004). In addition, epigenetic alterations, which influence the expression of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes independently from sequence alterations, are also involved in the transformation process (Esteller and Herman, 2001; Sharma et al., 2010). Genetic alterations and epigenetic regulatory signals cooperate in tumor etiology. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a frequent and aggressive malignant brain tumor in humans. The median survival of GBM patients is about 15 months after diagnosis. Like in other cancers, genetic and epigenetic alterations can be detected in GBM. Genetic alterations in GBM affect cell growth, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and invasion; however, epigenetic alterations in GBM also affect the expression of oncogenes or tumor suppresser genes that increase tumor malignancy (Nagarajan and Costello, 2009).
Reprogramming is a cellular process in which somatic cells can be induced to assume the properties of less differentiated stem cells. This process can be mediated through epigenetic modifications of the genome of somatic cells by the action of four defined transcription factors (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and Myc) or by the action of the miR 302/367 cluster (Anokye-Danso et al., 2011; Takahashi and Yamanaka, 2006; Takahashi et al., 2007) and result in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Reprogramming of somatic cells by the miR 302/367 cluster can generate nontumorigenic iPS cells through the inhibition of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), cell cycle regulatory genes and epigenetic modifiers (Lin and Ying, 2013).
Characterization of mouse NOA1 : subcellular localizaion, G-Quadruplex binding and proteolysis
- Mitochondria contain their own protein synthesis machinery with mitoribosomes that are similar to prokaryotic ribosomes. The thirteen proteins encoded in the mitochondrial genome are members of the respiratory chain complexes that generate a proton gradient, which is the electromotoric force for ATP synthesis.
NOA1 (Nitric Oxide Associated Protein-1) is a nuclear encoded GTPase that positively influences mitochondrial respiration and ATP production. Although a role in mitoribosome assembly was assigned to NOA1 the underlying molecular mechanism is poorly understood. This work shows that the multi-domain protein NOA1 serves multiple purposes for the function of mitochondria. NOA1 is a dual localized protein that makes a detour through the nucleus before mitochondrial import. The nuclear shuttling is mediated by a nuclear localization signal and the now identified nuclear export signal. SELEX (Systemic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment) analysis revealed a G-quadruplex binding motif that characterizes NOA1 as ribonucleoprotein (RNP). G-quadruplex binding was coupled to the GTPase activity and increased the GTP hydrolysis rate. The sequence of localization events and the identification of NOA1 being a RNP lead to the discussion of an alternative import pathway for RNPs into mitochondria. The short-lived NOA1 contains ClpX recognition motifs and is specifically degraded by the mitochondrial matrix protease ClpXP. NOA1 is the first reported substrate of ClpXP in higher eukaryotes and augments the contribution of the ClpXP protease for mitochondrial metabolism. To assess the direct action of NOA1 on the mitoribosome co-sedimentation assays were performed. They showed that the interaction of NOA1 and the mitoribosome is dependent on the GTPase function and the nascent peptide chain. In vitro, NOA1 facilitated the membrane insertion of newly translated and isotope labeled mitochondrial translation products into inverted mitochondrial inner membrane vesicles. In conclusion, NOA1 is a G-quadruplex-RNP that acts as mitochondrial membrane insertion factor for mtDNA-encoded proteins.
This thesis provides a comprehensive model of the molecular function of NOA1 and is the basis for future research. The identification of NOA1 as ClpXP substrate is a major contribution to the field of mitochondrial research.
Partial symmetries of solutions to nonlinear elliptic and parabolic problems in bounded radial domains
Alberto Saldaña De Fuentes
- We consider a class of nonautonomous nonlinear competitive parabolic systems on bounded radial domains under Neumann or Dirichlet boundary conditions. We show that, if the initial profiles satisfy a reflection inequality with respect to a hyperplane, then bounded positive solutions are asymptotically (in time) foliated Schwarz symmetric with respect to antipodal points. Additionally, a related result for (positive and sign changing solutions) of scalar equations with Neumann or Dirichlet boundary conditions is given. The asymptotic shape of solutions to cooperative systems is also discussed.
Design of the micro vertex detector of the CBM experiment : development of a detector response model and feasibility studies of open charm measurement
Christina Anna Deveaux
- The PhD addresses the feasibility of reconstructing open charm mesons with the Compressed Baryonic Matter experiment, which will be installed at the FAIR accelerator complex at Darmstadt/Germany. The measurements will be carried out by means of a dedicated Micro Vertex Detector (MVD), which will be equipped with CMOS Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (MAPS). The feasibility of reconstructing the particles with a proposed detector setup was studied.
To obtain conclusive results, the properties of a MAPS prototype were measured in a beam test at the CERN-SPS accelerator. Based on the results achieved, a dedicated simulation software for the sensors was developed and implemented into the software framework of CBM (CBMRoot). Simulations on the reconstruction of D0-mesons were carried out. It is concluded that the reconstruction of those particles is possible.
The PhD introduces the physics motivation of doing open charm measurements, represents the results of the measurements of MAPS and introduces the innovative simulation model for those sensors as much as the concept and results of simulations of the D0 reconstruction.
A multiple filter test for the detection of rate changes in renewal processes with varying variance
On development, feasibility, and limits of highly efficient CPU and GPU programs in several fields
- With processor clock speeds having stagnated, parallel computing architectures have achieved a breakthrough in recent years. Emerging many-core processors like graphics cards run hundreds of threads in parallel and vector instructions are experiencing a revival. Parallel processors with many independent but simple arithmetical logical units fail executing serial tasks efficiently. However, their sheer parallel processing power makes them predestined for parallel applications while the simple construction of their cores makes them unbeatably power efficient. Unfortunately, old programs cannot profit by simple recompilation. Adaptation often requires rethinking and modifying algorithms to make use of parallel execution. Many applications have some serial subroutines which are very hard to parallelize, hence contemporary compute clusters are often homogeneous, offering fast processors for serial tasks and parallel processors for parallel tasks. In order not to waste the available compute power, highly efficient programs are mandatory.
This thesis is about the development of fast algorithms and their implementations on modern CPUs and GPUs, about the maximum achievable efficiency with respect to peak performance and to power consumption respectively, and about feasibility and limits of programs for CPUs, GPUs, and heterogeneous systems. Three totally different applications from distinct fields, which were developed in the extent of this thesis, are presented.
The ALICE experiment at the LHC particle collider at CERN studies heavy-ion collisions at high rates of several hundred Hz, while every collision produces thousands of particles, whose trajectories must be reconstructed. For this purpose, ALICE track reconstruction and ALICE track merging have been adapted for GPUs and deployed on 64 GPU-enabled compute-nodes at CERN.
After a testing phase, the tracker ran in nonstop operation during 2012 providing full real-time track reconstruction. The tracker employs a multithreaded pipeline as well as asynchronous data transfer to ensure continuous GPU utilization and outperforms the fastest available CPUs by about a factor three.
The Linpack benchmark is the standard tool for ranking compute clusters. It solves a dense system of linear equations using primarily matrix multiplication facilitated by a routine called DGEMM. A heterogeneous GPU-enabled version of DGEMM and Linpack has been developed, which can utilize the CAL, CUDA, and OpenCL APIs as backend. Employing this implementation, the LOEWE-CSC cluster ranked place 22 in the November 2010 Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers, and the Sanam cluster achieved the second place in the November 2012 Green500 list of the most power efficient supercomputers. An elaborate lookahead algorithm, a pipeline, and asynchronous data transfer hide the serial CPU-bound tasks of Linpack behind DGEMM execution on the GPU reaching the highest efficiency on GPU-accelerated clusters.
Failure erasure codes enable failure tolerant storage of data and real-time failover, ensuring that in case of a hardware defect servers and even complete data centers remain operational. It is an absolute necessity for present-day computer infrastructure. The mathematical theory behind the codes involves matrix-computations in finite fields, which are not natively supported by modern processors and hence computationally very expensive. This thesis presents a novel scheme for fast encoding matrix generation and demonstrates a fast implementation for the encoding itself, which uses exclusively either integer or logical vector instructions. Depending on the scenario, it is always hitting different hard limits of the hardware: either the maximum attainable memory bandwidth, or the peak instruction throughput, or the PCI Express bandwidth limit when GPUs or FPGAs are used.
The thesis demonstrates that in most cases with respect to the available peak performance, GPU implementations can be as efficient as their CPU counterparts.
With respect to costs or power consumption, they are much more efficient. For this purpose, complex tasks must be split in serial as well as parallel parts and the execution must be pipelined such that the CPU bound tasks are hidden behind GPU execution. Few cases are identified where this is not possible due to PCI Express limitations or not reasonable because practical GPU languages are missing.
The reconstruction of evolutionary patterns from daphnia resting egg banks
- In this study I analysed past and recent Daphnia populations from Lake Constance and Greifensee. Herefore, I first established a set of microsatellite markers applicable to European Hyalodaphnia species (chapter 1). Primers were also identified for species specific fragment lengths. 32 markers were then available to characterize the resting egg banks of Daphnia galeata and D. hyalina. Chapter 2 presents the reconstruction of the taxonomic composition in these two ecologically different lakes. This part of my work shows that the eutrophication that occurred in both lakes in the mid of the last century has strongly influenced the Daphnia populations. In both lakes Daphnia galeata established and hybridized with the indigenous D. hyalina. Interspecific hybridization resulted in introgression on the mitochondrial and nuclear level. In chapter 3 resting eggs from the sediments of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were characterized with microsatellite markers. The aim was to specify the extent of interspecific hybridization and nuclear introgression assuming that the genetic exchange between both species has an impact on their adaptation to their habitat. In life history experiments D. galeata and D. galeata x hyalina clones hatched from different time periods showed significant differential responses to food quality. Therefore, the question had to be answered how the Daphnia resting egg bank and the planktonic population are connected. In chapter 4 hatching experiments were conducted to bridge this gap of scientific knowledge in the life cycle of cyclic parthenogenetic waterfleas. Only D. galeata individuals were able to establish a clonal lineage after maturity. All observed recombinant individuals did not reproduce at all or firstly went through another sexual phase of reproduction i.e. produced resting eggs. In order to compare the findings of chapter 4 with the taxon composition of the recent planktonic population of Daphnia in Lake Constance, samples were taken over one season (between May 2005 and September 2006). During the season, the taxonomic composition of Daphnia changes severely with D. galeata being most abundant during the warm season and D. hyalina in the cold season. Moreover, some individuals were detected, that did not follow this pattern. With mitochondrial analysis those individuals were identified as mitochondrial introgressants and processed to life history experiments. Significant differences in the somatic growth rate under different temperatures (5°C, 12.5°C and 20°C) were related to the origin of the mitochondrial genome rather than the nuclear taxonomic assignment of the individual.
The findings of this study show that all organisms exposed to rapid ecological changes and their microevolutionary reaction to those.
Cell-free expression of GPCRs: the endothelin system
- The human endothelin receptors, ETA and ETB, are two members of the G-protein coupled receptors family (GPCRs) and they are key players in cardiovascular regulation. The characterization of their functionality in vitro has been limited by the possibility to obtain high quality samples using conventional expression systems. The Cell-Free expression system is an alternative technique for the production of membrane protein as well as GPCRs and can overcome some of the limitations that are commonly encountered using an in vivo approach. Cell-Free expression protocols for the two receptors ETA and ETB have been optimized by implementing post- and co-translational association to lipid bilayers. The efficiency of the reconstitution or association to liposomes and nanodiscs has systematically been studied and the ligand binding properties of the two receptors have been analyzed using a set of different complementary techniques. In several different conditions a high affinity binding of the peptide ligand ET-1 to both endothelin receptors could be obtained and the highest activity values were detected in sample prepared using a co-translational approach in presence of nanodiscs. Furthermore, the characteristic differential binding pattern of selected agonists and antagonists to the two receptors was confirmed. In samples obtained from several Cell-Free expression conditions, two intrinsic properties of the functionally folded ETB receptor, such as the proteolytic processing based on conformational recognition as well as the formation of SDS-resistant complexes with the peptide ligand ET-1, were detected. ETA and ETB are able to induce in vivo the activation of hetrotrimeric G proteins upon stimulation with an agonist, leading to the dissociation of the heterotrimeric complex and the exchange of GDP to GTP in the Galpha subunit. The Cell-Free expression system was chosen for the production of two G alpha subunit, Galpha s and Galpha q. Soluble expression of the two proteins was achieved and the production of active Galpha s was confirmed using fluorescent as well as radioactive assays. In conclusion, the obtained results document a new process for the production of ligand binding competent endothelin receptors, as well as Galpha proteins, using a Cell-Free expression system. The combination of this expression system and the nanodiscs technology appears to be a promising tool for the further characterization of membrane proteins as well as GPCRs.