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Coming dissertations at Uppsala university

  • Dwelling on Substandard Housing : A multi-site contextualisation of housing deprivation among Romanian Roma Author: Dominic Teodorescu Link: Publication date: 2019-09-06 10:22

    This thesis explores the housing situation of Romanian Roma in recent times. Many Romanian Roma are relegated to inadequate living condi­tions, and this thesis seeks to further our knowledge of the spaces this group inhabits. This is done by focusing on postsocialist urban segrega­tion, institutional intervention inertia, and local efforts made and strate­gies deployed by Roma to appropriate decent living conditions.

    Paper I examines the postsocialist relegation of poor Bucharesters to the impoverished southern parts of Ferentari, a neighbourhood in Roma­nia’s capital. The paper proposes a theoretical understanding of Roma­nia’s postsocialist production of urban space by drawing on the housing trajectories of residents of various housing types, ranging from small apartments to newly built slums.

    Paper II brings the perspective of Bucharest’s local officials to the fore, analysing institutional dynamics and policymaking in Bucharest’s poorest administrative division, where Ferentari is situated. In this article, political inertia is highlighted as comprising a problematic pairing of political disregard of welfare provision and racialised understandings of Ferentari’s citizens. As a result, no concrete and rigorous efforts are made to address the neighbourhood’s obvious problems.

    Paper III examines the narratives of Romanian Roma who travel to Sweden to earn more income, but where they are also exposed to an un­welcoming context and homelessness. The study helps clarify how certain groups in Europe can be both homeowners and homeless at the same time. This article disputes the assumption that homeownership is a more stable tenure form than for example decommodified rental housing.

    Paper IV examines two different and highly mobile housing and earn­ing strategies of two related Boyash-Roma communities in two countries: Argentina and Romania. The Argentine case concerns Romanian-speak­ing Roma involved in street-vending throughout Argentina. The Roma­nian case concerns Rudari from Vâlcea County, who travel to Sweden primarily to beg. The cases illustrate how two groups have managed to improve their housing condi­tions in post-crisis and xenophobic contexts.

    In combination, this multi-site research advances our understand­ing of the problems Roma face in finding adequate housing. Although continuously marginalised and excluded, Roma still find ways to cope with their situation and even improve their housing.

  • Anion redox processes in novel battery cathode materials investigated by soft X-ray spectroscopy Author: Felix Massel Link: Publication date: 2019-09-06 08:14

    This thesis presents experimental investigations of the electronic structure of emerging and novel cathode materials used in lithium- and sodium-ion batteries. The investigated materials include a range of oxide materials containing the elements nickel and manganese. Central goals are to find fundamental explanations for favorable, respectively, unfavorable electrochemical cycling behavior and to arrive at a better understanding of the roles that the different elemental constituents of the compounds play. The experiments are based on the application of X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) and Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering (RIXS) in the soft X-ray region and have been performed at synchrotron radiation facilities such as The Advanced Light Source (USA), The Swiss Light Source (Switzerland) and SPring-8 (Japan).

     XAS and RIXS of spinel LiNi0.44Mn1.56O4 at the O K-edge as well as the Ni and Mn L-edges were measured for two different crystal structures, namely, transition-metal-ordered and -disordered, respectively. The results show that both Ni and O contribute strongly as redox centers for the charge compensation during electrochemical cycling. The Ni L-RIXS spectra show evidence of a more stable Ni--O bond in the disordered material.

     In the layered manganese oxide materials Li[Li0.2Ni0.2Mn0.6]O2, Na0.67[Mg0.28Mn0.72]O2, and Na0.78[Li0.25Mn0.75]O2, as well as the disordered Li1.9Mn0.95O2.05F0.95 one observes that reversible O redox leads to two distinct features in O K-RIXS. Both features resonate in a narrow incident energy range suggesting that localized O hole states are formed, one close to the elastic peak and the other as a strong emission peak at an energy loss of about 8 eV. These features appear reversibly on the voltage plateau of the charge-discharge curve and can be used to identify a certain type of O redox reactions.

    The work also includes investigations that compare two different compositions of the structurally related material Li2MnO3 grown epitaxially as thin films. Evidence is found for anionic activity during the initial cycle that is of a different kind than the above as no evidence for localized O holes is found. Instead, excess Li in the transition metal layer is shown to lead to a more rapid loss of covalency in the Mn--O bonds.

    In short, this work presents some of the first explorations into the role of different types of anionic redox centers in cathodes, by means of XAS and RIXS thereby also demonstrating the utility and power of synchrotron based techniques for gaining atomic-level understanding of battery electrode materials.

  • Pharmacometric Evaluation of Biomarkers to Improve Treatment in Oncology Author: Ida Netterberg Link: Publication date: 2019-09-05 10:57

    Cancer is a family of many different diseases with substantial heterogeneity also within the same cancer type. In the era of personalized medicine, it is desirable to identify an early response to treatment (i.e., a biomarker) that can predict the long-term outcome with respect to both safety and efficacy. It is however not uncommon to categorize continuous data, e.g., using tumor size data to classify patients as responders or non-responders, resulting in loss of valuable information. Pharmacometric modeling offers a way of analyzing longitudinal time-courses of different variables (e.g., biomarker and tumor size), and therefore minimizing information loss.

    Neutropenia is the most common dose-limiting toxicity for chemotherapeutic drugs and manifests by a low absolute neutrophil count (ANC). This thesis explored the potential of using model-based predictions together with frequent monitoring of the ANC to identify patients at risk of severe neutropenia and potential dose delay. Neutropenia may develop into febrile neutropenia (FN), a potentially life-threatening condition. Interleukin 6, an immune-related biomarker, was identified as an on-treatment predictor of FN in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. C-reactive protein, another immune-related biomarker, rather demonstrated confirmatory value to support FN diagnosis.

    Cancer immunotherapy is the most recent advance in anticancer treatment, with immune checkpoint inhibitors, e.g., atezolizumab, leading the breakthrough. In a pharmacometric modeling framework, the area under the curve of atezolizumab was related to tumor size changes in non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with atezolizumab. The relative change from baseline of Interleukin 18 at 21 days after start of treatment added predictive value on top of the drug effect. The tumor size time-course predicted overall survival (OS) in the same population.

    Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are tumor cells that have shed from a tumor and circulate in the blood. CTCs may cause distant metastases, which is related to a poor prognosis. A novel modeling framework was developed in which the relationship between tumor size and CTC count was quantified in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with chemotherapy and targeted therapy. It was also demonstrated that the CTC count was a superior predictor of OS in comparison to tumor size changes.

    In summary, IL-6 predicted FN, IL-18 predicted tumor size changes and tumor size changes and CTC counts predicted OS. The results in this thesis were obtained by using pharmacometrics to evaluate biomarkers to improve treatment in oncology.