News: Corona related to Chalmers University of TechnologyFri, 09 Dec 2022 16:08:29 +0100 commuting may be hindered by lack of equipment<p><b>​Companies that manufacture and sell bicycle products could play a key role in increasing the number of people who use bikes for everyday transport. A study from Chalmers shows that access to the right equipment can be crucial for successful year-round cycling, and that it´s difficult to find suitable products when the bike is a vehicle rather than a sports tool.</b></p><div>​The Transport Area of Advance has funded a group of “Covid projects”, where researchers have studied how various parts of the transport system have been affected by the pandemic (see list at the bottom).</div> <div> </div> <div>One of the projects – <em>Everyday cycling in unusual times</em> – is an interview study with twelve participants in Gothenburg, who had changed their daily mode of transport to cycling to avoid public transport. Chalmers researchers Helena Strömberg and Pontus Wallgren, at the Divison of Design &amp; Human Factors, saw the opportunity to map these &quot;new&quot; year-round cyclists' overall experiences of using their bikes for both work commuting and other transports.</div> <div> </div> <div>The participants' stories entail many ideas for how different actors can contribute to climate change mitigation by making cycling more attractive in various ways – after the pandemic as well. One theme that stands out, and which so far has not received much attention, is difficulties in finding suitable products that are needed for the bicycle to function as an everyday vehicle. For example, clothes to stay dry and warm (but not too warm), trolleys or watertight bags for all the necessities that must be transported, and safety gear such as helmets and winter tires.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/_bilder-utan-fast-format/Helena%20Strömberg%20porträtt.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Photo of Helena Strömberg" style="margin:5px" /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“The study shows that equipment is very important for successful year-round cycling, and this factor has previously been rarely discussed”, says Helena Strömberg. “The participants managed to overcome several different types of barriers by finding the right equipment. But it was an unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming process for them, and we believe that there is a lot to work with in this area to reduce barriers to cycling.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Reluctantly dressed in neon colours and lycra</h2> <div>All the participants in the study had gone through a process of buying, trying and rejecting a lot of different equipment in order to end up with something that was compatible with their needs. They had struggled to find gear that was suitable for everyday cycling – most products were adapted for sport biking. And this was both a functional and an aesthetic problem.</div> <div> </div> <div>The participants didn’t want to look like “die-hard” or “sports” cyclists, and didn’t want cycling to be part of their identity. They wanted to find equipment and clothes that look normal, and that are functional for ordinary people who just get around by bike in all weathers. But in many cases they had had to accept the neon and lycra aesthetics, because that was what was available, and it was difficult enough to find products with the right functionality.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/_bilder-utan-fast-format/Pontus%20Wallgren%20porträtt.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Photo of Pontus Wallgren" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /></div> “Here we see a great opportunity for industry to develop clothing and other equipment that support cycling equally well as the speciality gear, but with a more varied and inclusive aesthetic”, says Pontus Wallgren. <div> </div> <div>But just finding out what products are available and where to find them was a hurdle for the participants. They searched with the help of informal networks, such as colleagues they met at the bike rack at work. The ferry across the river in Gothenburg proved to be a good help for those who commuted that way. There they got the opportunity to check out which equipment other cyclists had, and also to chat to them for tips and advice.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Better opportunities to try equipment out can make a difference</h2> <div>The researchers therefore believe that increasing the trialability and overview of products for everyday biking is a great opportunity for the bicycle industry, as well as for the public sector. For example, companies could offer a hire and buy scheme, and also offer better sales processes with tailored recommendations based on the particular cyclist's needs. The public sector could make contributions such as libraries for gear, and arenas where inexperienced bike commuters could learn about everything from equipment to the best route for them.<br /></div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/350x305/Vardagscykling_sidbild_350x305px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Photo of a cyclist" style="margin:5px" /><br />“Cycling all year round for all purposes in a Nordic climate is quite a skill to learn”, says Helena Strömberg. “All the participants in the study described a learning process, where they actively sought out various solutions to make cycling work in their daily life.” <div> </div> <div>The challenges for cyclists are similar in many Swedish cities. However, Gothenburg is also a very hilly city, and most of the participants had found out that a traditional bike was not compatible with the requirements of everyday cycling. They had bought a new bicycle as part of the process when they discovered their own needs – either an e-bike or a light, sporty bike with multiple gears.</div> <div> </div> <div>“In high-cycling countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands, it is often said that the only thing you need is a standard bike with an upright riding position”, says Pontus Wallgren. “But many people have a rather flat biking route there, and this is an example of the importance of finding solutions for local and individual barriers to cycling as well.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Easier and more fun than expected despite the challenges</h2> <div>After all, the participants in the study had expected that it would be even more difficult to become a year-round cyclist than it actually turned out to be. And their stories contain many positive effects of biking.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/350x305/Vardagscykling_sidbild2_350x305px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Photo of a cyclist" style="margin:5px" /><br /></div> <div>“One thing that really stands out in our results is the participants' experiences of joy, freedom and empowerment when cycling”, says Pontus Wallgren. “They had been cycling for about a year when they were interviewed, and almost all of them said they intended to continue after the pandemic as well.”</div> <div> </div> <div>But the study was specifically about people who had managed to maintain their cycling, and thus had overcome the various hurdles they had faced. They also told about colleagues who had tried to change their mode of transport to biking during the pandemic, but had given up because it was too hard.</div> <div> </div> <div>It could be small things that together made the cons outweigh the pros. Poor support for bike commuting at the workplace or home was one of them. For example, one got tired of crossing a giant car parking every day to get to a small bicycle parking where it wasn´t even possible to lock the bike to something – or of pushing wet outerwear into a locker, and then putting on the still wet clothes at the end of the working day.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Our results, as well as previous research, show that employers and house owners can also do a lot to reduce barriers to cycling”, says Helena Strömberg. “For example, by offering secure indoor bike storage and facilities for showering, drying wet clothes and recharging batteries.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Lack of priority and capacity can only be partially compensated</h2> <div>The results are also in line with previous research regarding a third important factor for how many people choose to cycle: how much priority and space that are allocated to cycling in the city. Thus it comes down to urban development and policy, but also to usage and maintenance of the already existing bike lanes.</div> <div> </div> <div>Some problematic examples from the participants' stories were dangerous road sections where aggressive motorists demonstrated their perceived right to the road, sections where there were indeed cycle lanes – but very frequent stops were required for various reasons, and cycle lanes with potholes, patchy asphalt and late snow removal.</div> <div> </div> <div>Gothenburg is one of many cities that have a long way to go to reach their cycling goals, even though the mode of transport has increased during the pandemic. And overall, the participants in the study felt that biking is not a prioritised mode of transport in Gothenburg. “I almost always feel that the cars are at advantage when you go out, so I cannot think of it as a cycling city”, was one of the statements.</div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Transport/_puffbilder/Vardagscykling_350x220px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Photo of a bicycle bell" style="margin:5px" />The consequences of this were also something they tried to compensate for with equipment. Lots of reflectors. Shock absorbers for bumpy bike lanes. And then the perfect bicycle bell, with just the right loudness, so that pedestrians on the bike lanes will hear it but not get scared or angry. It has named the scientific paper about the results of the study that was recently published: <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Finding that elusive bell and other issues - experiences from starting to cycle during a pandemic.</em></a></div> <div> </div> <div>But of course there are limits to what biking gear can achieve.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Although our study indicates that equipment is a factor which needs more attention, that doesn´t mean that urban development and policy become less important”, says Pontus Wallgren. “If more people are to choose the bike for daily transport, everyday cycling absolutely needs to be prioritised in cities. That is necessary for the bike routes to be safe and efficient, but also for them to be nice environments where people enjoy cycling. All of this contributes to increasing the relative advantage of cycling over other modes of transport.”</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Johanna Wilde</div> <div><strong>Photo:</strong> Chalmers; Helena Strömberg and Pontus Wallgren. Pixabay; the rest of the photos – the people in these images did not participate in the study.</div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">The Covid projects funded by the Transport Area of Advance</h3> <ul><li><em>Exploratory analysis of new data sources to assess the impact of Covid-19 on urban mobility</em>. Jorge Gil, Chalmers, Anders Larsson, University of Gothenburg. </li> <li><em>The role of liner shipping for robust supply chains.</em> Contact person; Johan Woxenius, University of Gothenburg. </li> <li><em>Long-term impacts of Covid-19 on the sustainability of online clothing retailing.</em> Patricia van Loon, Chalmers, Sharon Cullinane, Magnus Jansson, Michael Browne, University of Gothenburg. </li> <li><em>The interdependence between freight and passenger transport services.</em> Contact person; Jonas Flodén, University of Gothenburg. </li> <li><em>Everyday cycling in unusual times.</em> Helena Strömberg, Pontus Wallgren, Chalmers. </li> <li><em>Urban deliveries pre and during Covid-19</em>. Ivan Sanchez-Diaz, Juan Pablo Castrellon, Chalmers. </li> <li><em>The psychology behind hoarding during Covid-19</em>. John Magnus Roos, Jonas Flodén, Johan Woxenius, University of Gothenburg. </li> <li><em>Western Swedes' travel habits before and during Covid-19.</em> John Magnus Roos, University of Gothenburg, Frances Sprei, Chalmers. </li> <li><em>Procurement, firm resilience, and effectiveness of response to disruptions: insights from Covid-19</em>. Ala Arvidsson, Patrik Jonsson, Riikka Kaipia, Chalmers.</li></ul> <div> </div> Mon, 07 Mar 2022 07:00:00 +0100 Covid research: Face masks play a crucial role<p><b>​An international research team from universities including Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, the University of Padua and the University of Udine in Italy, and the University of Vienna, Austria, has developed a new theoretical model to better assess the risks of spreading viruses such as Covid-19 – with and without a face mask. The results show how the standard ‘safe’ distance of two meters does not always apply but varies greatly depending on a range of environmental factors, and that face masks can indeed play a crucial role. ​</b></p><span style="background-color:initial">The current recommendations and understanding around the transmission of respiratory infectious diseases are often based on a diagram developed by the American scientist William Firth Wells in 1934.. But this model is very simplified and does not account for the true complexity of transmission. <br /><br /></span><div>Now, in the new study <a href="">“Modelling the direct virus exposure risk associated with respiratory events”</a>, the researchers developed a more advanced model to show that it is possible to more efficiently calculate the direct risk of spreading Covid infection by including a number of factors, such as interpersonal distance, temperature, humidity levels, viral load and type of exhalation. They also managed to demonstrate how these risks change with and without a face mask.<br /><br /></div> <div>The study revealed, for example, that a person talking without a face mask can spread infected droplets one meter away. Should the same person cough, the drops can be spread up to three meters and if the person sneezes, the spread distance can be up to seven meters. But using a face mask, the risk of spreading the infection decreases significantly.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/M2/Nyheter/gaetanosardina_jpg.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:200px" /><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">“If you wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask*, the risk of infection is reduced to such an extent that it is </span><span style="background-color:initial">practically negligible – even if you’re only standing one meter away from an infected person,” explains Gaetano Sardina, Associate Professor of Fluid Mechanics at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology, who is one of the researchers behind the study.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>In the study, published in the &quot;Journal of the Royal Society Interface&quot;, the researchers tested the new model using data from recent numerical experiments on droplet emissions. This allowed them to take several factors into account and quantify the risk of infection, with and without a face mask.<br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Size a factor in droplet behavior </h2> <div>Viruses, such as SARS-COV-2, are spread from an infected individual to other susceptible individuals through virus-filled droplets that are released when talking, coughing, or sneezing. Droplets emitted from the salivary glands are sprayed out through the exhaled air. Once out of the mouth, these drops can either evaporate, settle or remain floating. Larger and heavier droplets tend to fall in a ballistic motion before evaporating, while smaller droplets behave like aerosols that spray and remain airborne. <br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/M2/Nyheter/Droplet%20behaviour.png" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:400px;height:279px" /><br /><br /><br /></div> <div>The results show that a surgical face mask and, to an even greater extent, an FFP2 mask provide excellent protection that significantly reduces the risk of infection. Provided that the face mask is worn correctly, the risk of infection is negligible even at distances as short as one meter, regardless of environmental conditions and if the person is talking, coughing or sneezing. <br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Next step – a study on airborne spread </h2> <div>With this study complete, the research team is now already working on a new study aiming to explore the airborne spread of the disease. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The published study addresses direct droplet transmission of Covid – another important transmission path is the indirect and airborne route in poorly ventilated rooms. We are currently working on this aspect and our preliminary results show the effectiveness of face masks is also preventing the airborne spread of the disease”, says Gaetano Sardina.<br /><br /></div> <div>The international study was led by the University of Padua, Italy, and conducted in collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Udine, Italy, and the University of Vienna, Austria.<br /><br /></div> <div>Read the study <a href="">Modelling the direct virus exposure risk associated with respiratory events ​</a>published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.<br /><br /></div> <div>*​FFP stands for “filtering face piece” and is a European standard for mask efficiency, ranging from 1, the lowest grade, to 3, the highest. These disposable masks have several layers of different fabrics, including a polypropylene filter, that can trap the even the smallest airborne particles. ​<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information, contact: </strong></div> <div>Gaetano Sardina<span style="white-space:pre"> </span></div> <div>Associate Professor, Division of Fluid Dynamics, Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden</div> <div></div> <div>+46 31 772 1417</div> ​<div>Text: Lovisa Håkansson and Mia Halleröd Palmgren</div>Fri, 04 Mar 2022 07:00:00 +0100 hits hardest against vulnerable groups – in Gothenburg and worldwide<p><b>​A new scientific article from Chalmers researchers compares Gothenburg City’s response to the pandemic with other cities worldwide, including Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Manchester, Shimla in India, and Kisumu in Kenya. The researchers conclude that in all the countries, the most vulnerable groups have been hardest hit by Covid-19.  </b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The study compared the different cities' responses and governance relating to the pandemic. In addition to national recommendations and bans, cities have introduced their own restrictions and efforts to lessen the effects of the pandemic.</span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>In Gothenburg, for example, this has included how the upper secondary schools adapted to remote education, and bans were put in place on visits to nursing homes – but also temporary relaxations, for measures such as keeping outdoor serving spaces open, widening cycle and walking paths and having lower parking fees.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Sweden's handling of the pandemic has received great international attention for its efforts to keep society as open as possible. The restrictions in Sweden have been less harsh than in many other countries and the state has sharply increased the general state subsidies to the country's districts to attempt to lessen the effects of the pandemic.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Yet we also see evidence that more and more people have applied to the City Mission and similar organisations, and the police have reported increases in the number of domestic violence incidents,” says  Jan Riise. <span style="background-color:initial">Jan Riise was part of the research program Mistra Urban Futures and is one of the authors of the new scientific article, published in the journal City. Co-authors include Chalmers researchers Sandra Valencia and Sara Pettersson at the Stadsledningskontoret in Gothenburg. Professor David Simon, former Head of Mistra Urban Futures, was the article's lead author and editor.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Cities and vulnerable groups most affected</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The mo</span><span style="background-color:initial">st important conclusion of the research is that the pandemic has reflected and reinforced existing inequalities in society. The most vulnerable groups were consistently hardest hit. People in these groups have been more exposed to the virus than others, become more seriously ill, and been at greater risk of dying. The pattern is consistent in cities and outlying areas in all the countries looked at.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>The effects of the virus were neither uniform nor random, but rather due to environmental and social conditions that were common across many vulnerable groups. Frontline healthcare workers and other jobs involving close contact with the public, and groups with poorer access to open spaces and recreation have been overrepresented.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In Gothenburg, these differences have existed between the different districts, though this levelled off somewhat during the latter part of 2020. The experience from Gothenburg can perhaps be most closely compared with the situation in Greater Manchester, which is a ‘city region’ with a certain degree of independence from the otherwise fairly centralised United Kingdom. As in many places, vulnerable groups have been hardest hit and growing inequalities have only exacerbated the situation of the most disadvantaged. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Elsewhere in the article, the authors emphasise the importance of also seeing the pandemic as a catalyst for working against existing inequalities, rather than allowing them to increase even more.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Many of the measures taken have highlighted walking, cycling and a reduction in car traffic, which has led to less air pollution. The increased distance work has also opened up opportunities to convert commercial areas in inner cities into homes.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The big challenge now is to 'build back better', not only with warning systems and other forms of preparedness, but also to seriously address the growing gaps and to work and plan for equality and sustainability,” says Professor David Simon., who has also written a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post for the British Campaign for Social Science relating to the article.</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></a> <a href="" target="_blank"><div style="display:inline !important">Read the full article “Cities coping with Covid-19” in the journal City </div></a><div></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>For more information or to interview one of the authors, contact</strong></div> <div>Jan Riise, Project Developer at GMV, Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development</div> <div></div> <div>070-823 3377<br /><br /></div> <div>David Simon, Professor Royal Holloway University of London, former Head of Mistra Urban Futures</div> <div>+44 (0) 1784 443651</div> <div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Sandra Valencia, researcher at GMV, Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development</div> <div></div></div> ​Fri, 02 Jul 2021 00:00:00 +0200'-special-visor-prototype-tested-by-doctors.aspx'-special-visor-prototype-tested-by-doctors.aspxNew visor prototype tested by doctors<p><b>​​When doctors examine patients' ears, throat or nasal cavity, they use a headlight that is placed with a bracket around the head. With covid-19 came a sharp increase in the need for protective visors and these needed to be combined with the headlights. However, the visor, which was developed quickly, has not worked completely satisfactorily. Students in the Industrial Design Engineering programme at Chalmers were therefore contacted to make improvements, and they succeeded so well that the visor is now tested in healthcare.​</b></p><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/IMS/Slutkoncept%20fäste%20vid%20sladd_750px.jpg" alt="Prototype visir" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:0px 10px;width:265px;height:178px" />There have previously been some attempts to improve the protective visor so that they fit with the headlights, but the results have not been completely satisfactory. meet user requirements. The project was done within the framework of the students' bachelor thesis and a the project is part of the education. The theses are done in the third year and are often related to real problems in society and industry.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;The project has been based on a current need that has become apparent in healthcare during the pandemic. It became very clear that this a way of working where the needs are in focus is important to reach a good solution. We are very satisfied with the way the students have approached the project and look forward to being able to test the concept further, says Åsa Lenberg doctor at NÄL Hospital in Trollhättan.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div><a href="">The project has also been awarded by the Swedish Ergonomi and Human Factors Society (EHSS). </a><br /></div> <div><p class="chalmersElement-P">and <a href=";utm_medium=member_desktop">the Nordic Ergonomics &amp; Human Factors Society.</a> </p></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">A different solution lead to an unexpectedly good result</h2> <div> </div> <div><strong>How did you develop this protective visor?</strong></div> <div>&quot;First, we did a solid user study to get a clear picture of the problem. Then there are several requirements that the client wants to be met. For example, the visor must provide good splash protection, but also have good comfort and be easy to use. Then we had a process where we presented lots of different ideas and developed prototypes based on this, says Alvina Ståhl.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;The basic idea with our solution, unlike the previous solutions, where the visor is either inside or outside the headlight, is that the visor is attached to the headlight. It eliminates scratches on the visor and creates good space for mouth guards and glasses if needed. It also minimizes the occurrence of fog, says Gustav Brogren.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;The headlights themselves are very expensive and the visor must also be able to be changed in a easy way by the doctors themselves. We have developed laser-cut PET visors with holes that can be threaded on the existing headlight. This is then held together with a ring of flexible polymer. We also have hard moldings on both the upper and lower side for stability and fit, says Maja Kristensson.&quot;  </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/IMS/Slutkoncept%20sned%20vy%20(Storz)_500px.jpg" alt="Prototype visir" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:25px 5px;width:325px;height:325px" /><br /> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/IMS/Slutkoncept%20sned%20vy%20(CUDA)_500px.jpg" alt="Prototype visir" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px;width:325px;height:325px" /><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><em>Visors on two different headlight fabricates. </em><br /><em>Photo: Adam Udén</em><br /></p> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong>How did you come up with this solution?</strong></div> <div>&quot;That the headlight would be outside of the visor was not obvious from the beginning. The idea was one of many and was kept at first just because it was different. And it didn’t even receive particularly high scores based on the evaluation matrices we set up, but that was partly due to incorrect assumptions on our part. When we tried to build a simple prototype by drilling a hole in the visor and putting it on the headlight, it worked great, says Marcus Lidman.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;Yes, we probably all felt almost immediately that we had found a good solution then. We also did user tests that confirmed that we were on the right track. All doctors we have been in contact with thought that our visor has felt better, more stable, and safer than all the solutions tested before, says Jens Junkers.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>What was it like working with a real problem?</strong></div> <div>&quot;Great! We have felt that it has been for real because the doctors have been very committed. It is also very fun to contribute something that helps them in their work. Region Västra Götaland, who engaged us in the project, also seems to have been very satisfied with the results and it has been fun to work with them. We believe that protective visors will continue to be used even after the pandemic. It seems that the view of protective equipment has changed a lot during this time. It feels great to be a part of developing a real product that gets so popular that it is adopted in real life in this way, says Adam Udèn.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>Everyone in the group have felt that it has worked well to work together even though they have not been able to meet each other in the same way as before. They all mean this is largely due to a good class community and that they know each other very well.</div> <div> </div> <div><span><span><em>Text: Marcus Folino</em></span><span style="display:inline-block"></span><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More about the project</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The concept the students at <a href="/sv/utbildning/program-pa-grundniva/Sidor/Teknisk-design.aspx" title="Link to programme">Industrial design engineering ​</a>at Chalmers have developed is based on a visor with holes being threaded on the existing lamp. The solution consists of four parts. A visor, a flexible ring and two hard curved strips. The solution does not affect existing equipment and the visor can be mounted in less than 30 seconds. The concept can be easily adapted to different types of headlamps by changing the shape of the flexible ring. The curved strips are universal and work in combination with several models of headlamps.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The primary users of the product have been ear-nose-throat doctors, but the product could also be applied in, for example, surgery using similar equipment. The study was conducted at NÄL Hospital in Trollhättan.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank" title="Link to thesis "><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Link to the thesis (in Swedish only)​</a><a href=""></a><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Contact</h3> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/andreas-dagman.aspx">Andreas Dagman</a>, programme director for Industrial design engineering at Chalmers<br />Elin Ståhl, Innovationsplattformen, Västra Götalandsregionen<br /></div>Tue, 22 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +0200' Robot Scientist ready for drug discovery<p><b>The robot scientist Eve has been assembled and is now operating at Chalmers University of Technology. Eve’s f​irst mission is to identify and test drugs against covid-19.​</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<span>A robot scientist is a laboratory system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate scientific research. It autonomously forms hypothesis, plans experiments, executes the experiments using laboratory automation equipment, analyses the results, and repeats the cycle. </span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/RossKing_191003_02_350x305px.jpg" alt="Professor Ross King" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="width:250px;height:218px" />AI systems now have superhuman scientific skills that are complementary to human scientists.</p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">​Human scientists free to make creative leaps</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“My vision when developing robot scientists  is not to replace human scientists, but rather to make them orders of magnitude more productive through collaborating with AI systems,” says <strong>Ross King</strong>, Professor of Machine Intelligence at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, continuing: </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“This will free human scientist to make the high-level creative leaps at which they excel, and thus contribute to solving societal challenges.” </p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">The first machine to discover scientific knowledge</h2> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">His first robot scientist, Adam, was the first machine to autonomously discover scientific knowledge. Eve was developed for automatic early-stage drug development and has previously discovered novel drugs against several tropical diseases including malaria. </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Moving Eve from the University of Manchester to the Division of Systems and Synthetic Biology at Chalmers has enabled Ross King to collaborate with Per Sunnerhagen, Professor at Gothenburg University, to search for drugs against covid-19. </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“It is deeply shocking how little effort large pharmaceutical companies have put into finding drugs against covid-19. If such drugs were available now, they would save many lives in places such as India,” says Ross King.</p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">New robot scientist under development​</h2> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The new robot scientist Genesis, which is under development,  is funded by the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program. It is designed to better understand how human cells work.​<br /><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Text:</strong> Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br /><strong>Photo of Ross King: </strong>Johan Bodell<br /><strong>Photo of Eve and researcher </strong><strong>Ievgeniia Tiukova (below): </strong>Martina Butorac</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/robotscientist_750.jpg" alt="Chalmers' Robot Scientist ready for drug discovery" style="margin:5px;width:650px;height:379px" /><br /></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong><br /></strong></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>About Eve</strong></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <ul><li>Eve is a laboratory automation work cell with equipment for liquid handling, drug maintenance, yeast growth profiling brough together by robotic arms. </li> <li>Eve has vacuum sealed mechanics of robotic arms which can operate in six axis orientation and were designed for continuous use under heavy loads for months at a time. </li> <li>Eve has an intelligent drug discovery mode using algorithms of active machine learning to untangle quantitative structure/activity relationship. </li> <li>Eve enables ultra-precise, reproducible, and high-throughput experimentation to facilitate early drug discovery and assists researchers with repetitive tasks.</li> <li>Watch <a href="" style="background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255)">Eve at work</a></li></ul> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Read more:</strong></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <ul><li><a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/I-want-to-transform-the-way-science-is-done.aspx"><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;I want to transform the way science is done”</span>​</a><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/news/Pages/43-Chalmers-researchers-receive-funding-for-more-research.aspx">43 Chalmers researchers receive funding for more research​</a><br /></span></li></ul> <div> <strong></strong></div> <p></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">   </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> ​</p>Thu, 03 Jun 2021 11:00:00 +0200 pandemic models still helped understanding<p><b>​Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, several models have been developed to predict the spread of the virus, the number of deaths, and the load on the medical care system in Sweden. Researchers have now summarised and evaluated the models of Covid-19 for the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The report shows that the pandemic models helped us to understand the development of the pandemic, but at the same time it illuminates some deficiencies.​​</b></p>When a new virus with the potential to spread all over the world is discovered, things need to happen quickly. The period from the discovery of the virus to it having spread across large parts of the world and affecting huge numbers of people in a pandemic can be as short as two months. Several epidemiological models were used in Sweden during 2020 to help planning in healthcare regions and decision-making on the national level.<div> <div>Researchers at Linköping University and Lund University have been commissioned by the Public Health Agency of Sweden to draw up the report: “Sammanställning och utvärdering av modeller för pandemiprediktion i Sverige under 2020&quot; (English title: “Summary and evaluation of models for pandemic prediction in Sweden during 2020”). Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg have also participated. </div> <div>In the report, the researchers examine the models used to predict the spread of Covid-19 and the load on the medical care system in Sweden. They have evaluated 22 models developed by Swedish and international researchers, the Public Health Agency of Sweden, and other Swedish bodies.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Models are useful in the planning of measures</h2> <div>“Prediction models attempt to predict how something, in this case a pandemic, will probably develop, based on the information available at a certain point in time. The idea is that the models can be used as a basis on which different actors can decide which measures to take to avoid negative consequences”, says Toomas Timpka, professor at Linköping University and consultant for Region Östergötland. <br />The authors of the report conclude that several of the prediction models helped to understand how the pandemic developed. These models were useful in planning the measures to take, and showed that the spread of infection would probably differ significantly between different parts of the country. Further, models of various scenarios showed that changes in patterns of social contact would affect the rate of the spread of infection.<br /> However, the report found consistent deficiencies in many of the models.<br /> “One deficiency was that in several cases it was not clear which data had been used, and what the true intention had been of the information. It’s important for the recipient that this is unambiguous, such that decisions can be taken based on the model to the extent that this is possible”, says Anna Jöud, docent at Lund University. </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Important to evaluate the models</h2> <div>Only a few of the published models had been evaluated to determine how well the prediction agreed with reality. The report lists recommendations for how work with epidemiological models can be improved.<br /> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/philipgerlee200x250.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Philip Gerlee" style="margin:5px" />“Our evaluation shows that it is necessary to standardise documentation and communication of the models and their predictions. It is also important that the assumptions on which the model rests are clearly stated”, says Philip Gerlee, docent at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div>It is important to evaluate the quality and practicality of prediction models, such that they can contribute to preparing society for future pandemics.<br /> “The COVID-19 Forecast Hub in the US is a good example. This allows predictions of the pandemic development to be shared as they are made, such that other analysts and researchers can later evaluate how well the prediction agreed with the outcome. This will help us to find out which methods work well. It would be a good idea to set up a similar programme in Europe”, says Toomas Timpka.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> The report (in Swedish)</h2> <div>”Sammanställning och utvärdering av modeller för pandemiprediktion i Sverige under 2020” (English title: “Summary and evaluation of models for pandemic prediction in Sweden during 2020”), by Anna Jöud, Philip Gerlee, Armin Spreco, Toomas Timpka, 2021. <br />Link: <a href=";dswid=-8812">;dswid=-8812</a> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> Contact</h2> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/gerlee.aspx">Philip Gerlee, associate professor,</a> Mathematical Sciences.</div> <div><a href="">Toomas Timpka, professor​</a>, Linköping University</div> ​</div> ​Wed, 26 May 2021 00:00:00 +0200's-IVA-list.aspx's-IVA-list.aspxFast, sensitive and reliable test of viral infections on this year's IVA-list<p><b>A super-fast influenza test that provides reliable results within an hour. The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) is now turning the spotlight on a portable small device that is predicted to become an important tool in the fight against pandemics. The technology is developed through a research collaboration between Chalmers, Uppsala University, RISE, KI and SciLifeLab and is coordinated by Dag Winkler at the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2, at Chalmers.  ​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Today, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineers presented their 2021 100-list of research projects from Swedish universities that have the potential to change the world. With the aim of building bridges between the business community and academia, and thus translating research into actual use, just under a hundred projects have been nominated and selected on this year's theme: emergency preparedness. </span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div>One of the projects making it to the list this year is <a href="">FLU-ID​</a>, a research project fina that has developed a portable small device that enables fast and super sensitive diagnostics of infectious diseases. A near-patient diagnostic tool that provides reliable test results within an hour, enabling on-site analysis instead of via centralized laboratories. <br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The technology is based on a research collaboration between Chalmers, Uppsala University, RISE, KI and SciLifeLab and is coordinated by Dag Winkler at the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2, at Chalmers. </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20210101-20210631/Dag%20Winkler_305.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px 10px;width:180px;height:157px" />&quot;The goal is to be able to diagnose influenza and other viral infections quickly, easily and at low cost, in health centres or, for example, airports and workplaces. You’ll get the test results just in an hour or so, rather than after several days, which often is the case today. This is of great importance in preventing the spread of diseases. And treatment can also be initiated more quickly, which in some infections can be a matter of life or death&quot;, says Dag Winkler.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The need for fast, simple and safe diagnosis of infectious diseases has become increasingly urgent during the Corona pandemic. And although the project primarily focuses on flu diagnostics, the method can also be used to detect other diseases, such as malaria, SARS or Covid-19. The technique is based on magnetic analysis of samples from nasal mucosa, blood or urine and enables testing of several different diseases at the same time. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The research project has been ongoing for six years during which the sensitivity of the technology has been improved to the extent that patents are now being sought and conditions for commercialization of the product are being investigated. As part of the initiative, the spin-off company <a href="">Videm</a> has been formed by students Maria Barklund and Petter Barreng from Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Together with our business developers, we are now looking for potential partners and investors for further product development and validation, with the goal of streamlining the flow of care and preventing the spread of infection,&quot; says Dag Winkler.<span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div></div>Mon, 10 May 2021 16:00:00 +0200 patterns can predict care needs during the pandemic<p><b>​By measuring how much people travel on a regional level, Philip Gerlee et al. have developed a model that can be used to predict the number of patients with covid-19 who need to be hospitalised.</b></p><p>​The transmission of covid-19 is dependent on the number of physical encounters between people, the rate of which has varied during the course of the pandemic due to mandated and voluntary social distancing. One way to measure and predict this transmission is to study our mobility, assuming that the more we move, the more people we encounter.</p> <p>Philip Gerlee and Torbjörn Lundh, Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, have together with several other researchers at universities and university hospitals in Gothenburg, Linköping and Lund compared the number of hospitalised covid-19 patients with mobility data in terms of public transport utilisation and mobile phone usage. This model has been shown to capture the timing of both the first and the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic.</p> <h2>Travel data from regional public transport companies</h2> <p>The comparison with mobile phone data was made for all regions in Sweden and the model turned out to perform somewhat better for larger regions than for smaller, where random effects may have a greater effect. The researchers also received travel data from the regional public transport companies Västtrafik and Skånetrafiken and were able to show that this data provided an even better agreement between model and data.</p> <p>Since there is a time lag between an increased number of infections and hospital admissions, this model can predict the need for hospital care at a regional level three weeks in advance through the access to local traffic data. The preprint “<a href="">Predicting regional COVID-19 hospital admissions in Sweden using mobility data</a>” can be accessed via the web site arXiv.<br /><br /><a href="/en/departments/math/news/Pages/They-predict-the-need-for-care-for-covid-19-patients.aspx">Interview with Philip Gerlee in August about predicting the care need for covid-19 patients &gt;&gt;</a></p> <p>Contact information for <a href="/sv/personal/redigera/Sidor/gerlee.aspx">Philip Gerlee</a> and <a href="/sv/personal/redigera/Sidor/torbjorn-lundh.aspx">Torbjörn Lundh</a> &gt;&gt;<br /><br /><strong>Text</strong>: Setta Aspström</p>Tue, 05 Jan 2021 10:35:00 +0100 predict the need for care for covid-19 patients<p><b>​Healthcare has a great interest in being able to plan the need for care for patients with covid-19. Two projects at the Department of Mathematical Sciences use different mathematical models and different input data to help with this.</b></p><h2>​How large is the need for care over time?</h2> <p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Philip Gerlee" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/philipgerlee200x250.jpg" style="margin:5px" />Through various contacts Philip Gerlee, Associate Professor in Biomathematics, was contacted by the Logistics Group at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in the end of March. They asked if he could help with predictions about whether the expected care need for covid-19 patients would increase or decrease over time, when the peak would come and when the number of cases would subside. Philip brought his colleague, Professor Torbjörn Lundh, and together with the logisticians Ingrid Fritzell and Julia Karlsson at Sahlgrenska, they sketched on a model which could answer when the peak would come and how high it would be.</p> <p>– At first, the model was simple. With data from Wuhan and Lombardy, we assumed that 0.2 percent of the population would be admitted to in-patient care. The question was, when? We assumed a normal distribution, but realised that this model perhaps was too rough. In parallel, we also used an infection model (SIR). The prognoses then became somewhat different, and Sahlgrenska used both these and other sources to form a balanced prognosis.</p> <h2>Measurements of infectivity</h2> <p>Now when the peak of the hospital admissions has passed and the need for care need seems to be on the way down, another model is needed. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has used an extended infection model, SEIR, which also includes the phase when a person is infected but not yet infectious, and fit the model for the Stockholm area. During late spring, Philip and Torbjörn used the same model for Gothenburg. In June, they received funding from Chalmers Areas of Advance to continue the development of the model and to develop new methods for measuring the infectivity in the population, which depends on both how many contacts people have each day and the probability that they infect through contact. The idea is that the disease transmission is high in the beginning of the pandemic but decreases when different restrictions causes people to have fewer contacts.</p> <p>Several indicators will be used to estimate the number of contacts. One of them is the number of passengers using the local transport company Västtrafik, since the infectivity in the model of the Public Health Agency matches the decline in travel well. The proportion of positive test results is another, and data from the telephone health care counselling 1177 a third. A study in Östergötland led by Armin Spreco showed that the number of calls to 1177 concerning breathing difficulties for adults could be correlated with the number of hospitalised covid-19 patients 15 days later. The goal is to be able to make better predictions of the need for care. There will also be a follow-up of the prognoses issued in spring in order to see what worked best, to continue to develop this before next pandemic.</p> <h2>Individual data – how serious will it be for the patient?</h2> <p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Marina Axelson-Fisk" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/marinaaxelsonfisk200x250.jpg" style="margin:5px" />Marina Axelson-Fisk, Professor in Mathematical Statistics, had previously collaborated with Robert Feldt, Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Lars-Erik Magnusson, chief physician at the infection clinical department of the Östra Hospital. Then it was a matter of being able to distinguish early between blood poisoning (sepsis) and winter vomiting flu (norovirus). The two diseases may have a similar onset with fever, vomiting and dizziness, but sepsis is a serious condition that is important to detect early and not misdiagnose.</p> <p>A master’s degree project about this with Marina as supervisor began in January, and patient data was to be provided by the Östra Hospital. But then, the corona pandemic broke out and everything was put on hold. Would it be possible to work with input data from patients with covid-19 instead? The issue then became whether the patient has covid-19 or not, but also how early in the process the disease can be discovered and whether it is possible to tell how serious it will become for the patient, preferably a week before the patient needs to be admitted to hospital.</p> <h2>Lots of raw data</h2> <p>The master’s degree projects had to be about the theoretical models for the computations instead, so the basis is ready. Marina applied for and received funding from Chalmers Areas of Advance together with Robert and Richard Torkar, also a Professor at Computer Science and Engineering, so now the work of producing a software that works in reality begins. Lots of raw data has arrived and will now be handled and processed. Marina’s part of the work is to optimise the theoretical models, which are based on so-called Markov Decision Processes and are computionally complex. As they are heavy to handle, it takes approximations and all sorts of computer science “tricks” for healthcare personnel to be able to use it and get results within a reasonable time limit, and this is the main task for the computer scientists.</p> <p>– It would of course be good to have this ready quite soon, many people believe that the need for care may increase again. We therefore take some shortcuts now in the beginning, to build a more complete model in the long run. Even if the work does not have time to make such  big difference for the corona pandemic this autumn, healthcare will benefit greatly from the work in the future in other contexts – but of course we hope to come up with something that is possible to use soon.<br /><br /><strong>Texts and photos</strong>: Setta Aspström</p>Thu, 27 Aug 2020 18:05:00 +0200 investigates face masks<p><b>​How do particles spread when we cough in a face mask? That will be investigated in a new research project. The goal is to be able to provide guidelines for the use of face masks to prevent the spread of the virus that cause Covid-19.</b></p>​The work is both theoretical and experimental and involves a network of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Luleå University of Technology, the Royal Institute of Technology and Lund Technical University. Through the project, the network of researchers wants to contribute to the knowledge about face masks and the spread of infection. <div><br /></div> <div>“We will conduct experiments and simulations to investigate basic mechanisms that are crucial for setting up guidelines for the use of face masks during airborne pandemics” says Srdjan Sasic who is a professor of fluid dynamics at Chalmers. </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Will describe how mucus and saliva flow from the nose and mouth</h3> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The purpose of the research at Chalmers is to be able to describe how mucus and saliva flow from the nose and mouth during coughing and sneezing. Using simulations, the researchers will study how mucus and saliva get stuck in different types of face masks and how the fluids flow around face masks depending on the thickness and flow rate of the mucus and saliva. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">“We will perform numerical simulations with pathogen drops in different types of face masks. How effective the face mask is will be described by measuring the ratio between infected droplet volumes upstream and downstream of the mask and the amount of air that the mask lets through” says Srdjan Sasic. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">By examining how particles of different sizes move when coughing and sneezing, depending on whether a face mask is used or not, they hope to manage to describe the effect of wearing a face mask. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The research project will run until the autumn of 2021 and has been granted SEK 1.8 million from the Swedish Research Council.</span><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3"><span>Read more</span></h3> <div><span><a href="/en/research/efforts-and-expertise-corona/Pages/default.aspx">Efforts and expertise concerning corona/covid-19​</a><br /></span></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/srdjan.aspx">Srdjan Sasic​</a></div> <div></div>Tue, 11 Aug 2020 08:30:00 +0200 the survival of Covid-19 in air<p><b>​When a person infected with Covid-19 coughs, sneezes or talks small particles flow out that can infect a new individual. Researchers at Chalmers will now investigate how long these particles survive outside the body under different environmental conditions.</b></p>​The current recommendations and understanding of the transmission in respiratory infectious diseases are based on a simple model developed ninety years ago to understand the transmission of tuberculosis. <div><br /></div> <div>“I hope that our study can lead to more up-to-date guidelines that can be used by policymakers to more effectively slow down the diffusion of Covid-19 and future respiratory infections” says Gaetano Sardina, assistant professor in Fluid mechanics at Chalmers University of Technology. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The results of the project could, for example, lead to more secure assumptions about the distance that should be kept between individuals, as well as regulations and proposals for humidity in public environments that accelerate the evaporation of the pathogen-bearing droplets. Hopefully, the research can also improve the current epidemiological mathematical models targeting in estimating the diffusion of the pandemic. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Longevity is affected by the surrounding environment​</h3></div> <div>In the project, the researchers will study how the lifetime of pathogen-bearing droplets is affected by whether the person sneezes, coughs, talks or breathes, droplet size and various environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature and air turbulence. The study will use detailed, high-resolution numerical simulations and a new stochastic method to calculate a random drip path. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“From a scientific point of view, we know quite a lot about the spread of the virus, but there is a lack of detailed knowledge about the mechanisms that cause the respiratory droplets from a sick person to reach other individuals. The goal of the study is to close that knowledge gap” says Gaetano Sardina. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The project is funded with computational time from the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe and funds from the Swedish Research Council and Chalmers Area of Advance Information and Communication Technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Read more</h3> <div><a href="/en/research/efforts-and-expertise-corona/Pages/default.aspx">Efforts and expertise concerning corona/covid-19​</a><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/sardina.aspx">Gaetano Sardina</a></div>Thu, 06 Aug 2020 10:30:00 +0200 material to protect us from various pandemics<p><b>​A new material that can kill bacteria has now shown early promise in de-activation of viruses, including certain coronaviruses. The material, developed by researchers at Chalmers, is now being evaluated against SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19. </b></p><div>​The novel material, recently presented in a doctoral thesis, has proven to be very effective in killing common infection causing bacteria, including those that are resistant to antibiotics such as MRSA and a E. coli superbugs.<br /></div> <div>The basis of the research is a unique and patented technology where microbe-killing peptides are combined with a nanostructured material. So far, it has been targeted towards bacteria, but with the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the researchers started a study to <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Amferia/porträtt_martin_320%20x%20400.jpg" alt="" style="height:229px;width:180px;margin:5px" />understand if the material would work against the virus. <br /><br />“Similar peptides that we work with have previously shown to be effective against various other coronaviruses, including those that have caused the outbreaks of SARS and MERS. Our premise is that the antimicrobial effect of our peptides seen on bacteria can be also be used to inactivate the coronavirus, says Martin Andersson”, research leader and professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.<br /> </div> <div>Tests with the new material on another human coronavirus has shown promising early results where the material deactivated 99.9 percent of the virus. The researchers now see great potential for it to work on SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. They have initiated collaboration with researchers, based in Gothenburg University/ Sahlgrenska Academy, with access to the SARS-Cov-2.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Can be produced in various forms - mimics the body's immune system</h2> <div>The material can be produced in many different forms such as surface treatments and as small particles. When microbes such as bacteria and viruses come in contact with the material surface, they are rapidly killed, and further spread is prevented. The material can easily be adapted for use in personal protective equipment such as face masks and medical devices including respirators and intubation tubes. This way, the material may offer reliable protection against the current and future pandemics. The researchers see it as valuable technology for our efforts towards pandemic preparedness.<br />   </div> <div>“A surface layer of our new material on face masks would not only stop the passage of the virus but also reduce the risk that it can be transported further, for example when the mask is removed and thus reduce the spread of infection”, explains Martin Andersson.<br />  </div> <div>The strategy is to imitate how the body's immune system fights infectious microbes. Immune cells in our body produce different types of peptides that selectively damage the outer shell of bacteria and viruses. The mechanism is similar to the effect that soap and water has on bacteria and viruses, although, the peptides have higher selectivity and are efficient while totally harmless to human cells. A major advantage is that the way the material works provides a high flexibility and gives it a low sensitivity to mutations. Unlike vaccines, the peptides continue to inactivate the virus even if it mutates. The idea behind the research is to make us less vulnerable and better prepared when the next pandemic comes.</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Connection between the ongoing pandemic and antibiotic resistance</h2> <div>As covid-19 unfolds, another healthcare threat, what many call the “silent pandemic” caused by antibiotic resistance has been ongoing for decades. According to WHO, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to humanity. Without drastic action, estimates show that more people are likely to die of bacterial infections than cancer by 2050. Unfortunately, there is a worrying link between the ongoing pandemic and antibiotic resistance. Many covid-19 patients develop secondary bacterial infections which must be treated with antibiotics. According to the researchers, the new material may prove efficient for preventing both the viral and bacterial infections. </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Meant to protect health care personnel and individuals</h2> <div>To enable societal benefit from the new technology, the researchers started a company, Amferia AB, with support from Chalmers Innovation Office and Chalmers Ventures. Amferia is based at Astrazeneca BioVentureHub in Mölndal, Sweden.</div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Amferia/porträtt_saba_320%20x%20400.jpg" width="320" height="400" alt="" style="height:244px;width:190px;margin:5px" /><br />Earlier this year, Saba Atefyekta defended her PhD at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers. She presented the new material in her doctoral thesis titled &quot;Antibacterial Surfaces for Biomedical Applications&quot;. Saba is one of the founders of Amferia and the company's research manager<br />   </div> <div>“If we are not going to meet a dark future, we must prevent infections from happening. We believe that the materials we develop can help prevent future infections and thus reduce the use of antibiotics, so that we can continue to use these life-protecting medicines in the future”, says Saba Atefyekta</div> <div> </div> <div>When the antiviral effect of the material on the SARS-CoV-2 is confirmed, the next step is to make it rapidly available to protect both healthcare professionals and the general public.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Text: Jenny Jernberg</div> <div>Portrait photo  Saba Atefyekta: Mats Hulander<span style="display:inline-block"></span></div> <br /></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Complementary fresh news about Amferia</h2> <div>Tuseday 30 June it was announced that Amferia has been selected as a “one to watch” in this year’s Spinoff Prize, which is organized by Nature Research and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.</div> <div> </div></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div>Mon, 29 Jun 2020 00:00:00 +0200 rapid change of direction to cope with Covid<p><b>​All planned on-site exams cancelled. All change to exams on home PCs, full access to aids and zero checks. And, at the same time, distance learning off to a flying start. Since mid-March, not much has stayed the same for the university’s students and teachers.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The first exams of the spring semester were only 36 hours away when Chalmers’ Executive Committee for Education realised that the situation was untenable. A meeting was called at short notice. It was a marathon sitting, and one result was a decision that students would take all exams in the imminent exam period on their PCs at home. This was on Thursday, 12 March, five days before the Swedish Government urged higher education institutions and upper secondary schools to provide all further teaching remotely. However, it was already clear that the coronavirus pandemic would have far-reaching consequences.</span><div><div>“We realised what was likely to come, as several of our partner universities started to shut down, including Politecnico in Milan and DTU near Copenhagen,” says Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson, Vice President of Education and Lifelong Learning at Chalmers.<br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20200101-20200701/Anna-Karlsson-Bengtsson_I0A3713_256x344px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson, Vice President of Education and Lifelong Learning at Chalmers" style="margin:5px 10px" /><br /></div> <div>There were also clear internal signals that radical decisions needed to be made. The most pressing matter was the imminent exams.</div> <div>“A number of students got in touch and wondered whether they should really take their exams, despite having suspected coronavirus symptoms. Some also expressed general doubts about sitting in a large room with other people. And the invigilators started to say they couldn’t attend. Many of them are over 70.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The Executive Committee for Education therefore decided to switch all planned on-site exams to remote exams taken at home. This had rarely been tried at Chalmers before. Teachers were forced to quickly try and adapt the exam questions to the new circumstances. Students had to adapt just as quickly to a different type of exam task than they had prepared for. Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson describes the first examination period as “a bit of a shock for everyone concerned”. However, thanks to the new learning platform Canvas, most of the technical arrangements for home exams were already in place. But remote exams also meant difficult decisions:</div> <div>“It would have been silly to prohibit aids as we had no way of checking. Consequently, we permitted textbooks, the internet and all other aids instead,” she explains.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>However, even with this change it was impossible to check whether anyone was cheating.</div> <div>“We simply had to trust the students. What we can see from the answers is that some students obviously worked together, although that was not allowed.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Ahead of the examination period before Easter, the remote exam arrangements were modified, and checks were made stricter. And for the remote exams after the Walpurgis weekend, checks were made even stricter, involving surveillance via webcam. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Although exams were the issue that was most urgent, it was far from the only one that required action. At virtually the same time, all undergraduate education for the rest of the semester had to be switched over to distance learning.</div> <div>“We had around 300 courses in study period 4. So we asked all the teachers, Assistant Heads of Department and examiners how many of them we could switch to distance learning,” says Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson.</div> <div>“The answer was all of them. We didn’t need to cancel a single course.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>However, she says that this required a huge amount of work, primarily by Chalmers’ teachers.</div> <div>“I can’t even begin to estimate how many extra hours of work went into this. With no preparation at all, they had to handle their own teaching and also develop new working methods for distance learning. I am moved by the effort everyone made.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Perhaps the most important precondition for the transformation to distance learning can be expressed in one word: Zoom. According to Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson, use of this IT platform for video communication, which was previously used very little at Chalmers, has increased almost explosively. It is used not only for teaching but also as an alternative to physical meetings and other get-togethers.</div> <div>“Sunet, which administers Zoom use for all Swedish higher education institutions, increased the number of licences from 20,000 to 250,000 within three or four days, a truly dramatic increase in access to the app.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson thinks that, with a few exceptions, the switch to distance learning has worked extremely well. However, she also points out:</div> <div>“We could, of course, implement distance learning in a more advanced manner than we do at present. A two-hour lecture via Zoom is more like a computerised version of it and probably not the very best way of making use of the options.”</div> <div>“At the same time, it is clear that teachers, both here at Chalmers and throughout academia, are currently take giant steps towards more digital teaching.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Is there a risk of students suffering and of the quality of their education decreasing because teachers have not yet mastered this new way of teaching?</div> <div>“That may be the case. We will try to monitor developments by talking to both teachers and students.”</div> <div> </div> <div>The many practical features of some programmes are what is mainly at risk.</div> <div>“Being able to be in a lab and do experiments. I am a chemist myself and I am aware that this has been lost for the moment. I hope that the replacement features we have implemented for a while will be adequate.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In the midst of the major switchover to distance learning, the Swedish Government indicated a dramatic increase in the number of places at Swedish higher education institutions. How welcome was this proposal on top of everything else?</div> <div>“We took a deep breath, of course... But the discussion soon turned to <em>how </em>rather than<em> if</em>.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The results of the discussions between the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research and Chalmers were partly to expand the programme of summer courses and partly to more than double the number of places for the engineering preparatory year from 300 now to 670 in the next academic year. The increase, which also means that undergraduate education has 200 additional places from the following year, will largely be implemented in the form of distance learning. Perhaps also with more creative use of the potential of digitisation. Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson thinks that faster development in this direction may be one positive consequence of the coronavirus crisis:</div> <div>“Advanced learning, integrating digital models with standard campus learning. That’s what I believe in for the future.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Students missing social life</h2> <div>Additional work for teachers and great self-discipline from students have been two of the consequences of distance learning – and it works. On the plus side, there is greater focus on studying. Tamara-Lea Adzic came to Chalmers from Sydney in the autumn to study for a Master’s in Entrepreneurship and Business Design.</div> <div>“I’m glad I had one and a half semesters of normal student life before all this happened. It would have been so much harder to meet and get to know people if I had come in January.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>She thinks that studying via Zoom has largely worked well, although the dynamics in the dialogue between teachers and students are lost to some extent. She also has more free time now that she does not need to travel to lectures in person. But there is a downside to studying at home of course:</div> <div>“Concentration. I am easily distracted and have to make a real effort not to watch YouTube for four hours.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>To avoid this trap, she has spent much of her time studying in the city library. Exams at home, with full access to the internet and old exams, were something of an eye-opener.</div> <div>“I was lulled into the belief that I didn’t need to revise as much. I didn’t realise that the teachers and examiners would be much tougher in their assessments.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The restrictions have meant particular challenges for programmes with more practical examination formats. Veronica Olesen is a senior lecturer and is head of the Mechatronics bachelor programme. Her first-year students would normally design and build a system for controlling a lift at the end of this spring semester. How is this organised now that physical contact in the lab between teachers and students have to be avoided?</div> <div>“We solved it by letting students work remotely on lifts in a simulated environment,” she explains.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>However, to create a link to reality and check that the students understood what they were doing, the physical lift equipment was also rigged up in the lab. The students then instructed the teacher on how to connect it all up via Zoom. And in most cases, they were also able to see that the control systems actually worked. This arrangement caused a lot of problems and many additional hours of work for Veronica and her colleagues:</div> <div>“We definitely worked twice as much as usual in those weeks,” she estimates.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Lorenzo Björck, a third-year student of industrial economics specialising in IT, is spending a great deal of time on his bachelor’s thesis at the end of the spring semester. He and his colleagues managed to conduct most of their interviews before the restrictions took effect. Consequently, the work was not affected too badly by the pandemic. He sees the cancelled ‘cortège’ (a student parade) and all the other cancelled social activities as a big negative in student life, but still thinks that his studies are going well:</div> <div>“The Zoom lectures work well, the course material is available...” “I’m probably doing more work than I would usually. There’s not much else to do.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>From Chalmers Magasin no. 1 2020</div> <div>Text: Björn Forsman</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em>Chalmers is constantly monitoring the development of the Covid-19 outbreak and is following the recommendations and decisions of Swedish public authorities. Up-to-date information is available at </em><a href="/en/news/corona-virus/Pages/default.aspx"><em></em></a><em>.</em></div></div>Thu, 18 Jun 2020 11:00:00 +0200 spray could deliver vaccine against COVID-19<p><b>​In the the global struggle against the coronavirus, scientists in a new pilot project led by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have started a project to explore design principles for nasal immunization. If successful it might be useful in future vaccine developments versus viral infections including SARS-CoV-2. Through a broad collaboration between universities and external partners, the researchers are trying to find a new way to tackle both SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses that attack our cells.​</b></p><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/coronavaccin_pilotprojekt_Karin_labb_350x305.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin-top:5px;margin-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;height:249px;width:280px" /><div>“There are several benefits to administering a vaccine directly into the nasal mucosa. It mimics how many viruses often enter the body and can therefore more effectively trigger the immune defence at the point of entry,” says researcher Karin Norling at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Karin Norling recently defended her<a href="/en/centres/gpc/calendar/Pages/Disputation-Karin-Norling-200221.aspx"> PhD thesis in bioscience</a>, and is now in the process of coordinating and preparing the laboratory work for the new pilot project.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>By combining several promising concepts developed at Chalmers, the University of Gothenburg, AstraZeneca and internationally, the researchers hope to be able to test a unique vaccination concept against COVID-19. </div> <div>​<br /></div> </div></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">A harmless particle that deceives the body's immune cells</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"><div>The researchers aim to design a biomimetic​ nanoparticle that deceives the body's immune cells to act as if they had encountered a true virus. In fact, they encounter something known as an mRNA, which is a precursor to a harmless element of the virus. In addition, the artificial particle has been provided with both immune enhancers and a targeting protein, which acts almost as a set of directions – allowing the vaccine to reach only a certain type of immune cell. When activated, the body will hopefully learn to recognise and defend itself against the virus in the future.</div></span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/350x305_Fredrik_Hook.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:132px;width:150px" /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"><div><br /></div></span><span style="background-color:initial"><div>&quot;We hope that this multidisciplinary approach will inform how future vaccine platforms for nasal mRNA delivery can be designed,&quot;  says Fredrik Höök, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and Project Coordinator of the centre <a href="/en/centres/FoRmulaEx/Pages/default.aspx">Formulaex​</a>, where AstraZeneca is the leading industrial partner.</div></span></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span><span>&quot;</span></span>It will take years to develop a vaccine<span style="font-family:inherit;background-color:initial">&quot;</span></h2></div> <div><div><span style="background-color:initial"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Karin_Norling_280x.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:177px" /><div>During the pilot project, the researchers will evaluate the prerequisites for a longer and more extensive project to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in nasal spray form. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“It will take years to develop a vaccine but hopefully after this project we will be able to say whether the concept of a targeted nasal spray vaccine is promising enough to warrant further work,” says Karin Norling.​</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="">When the scientific journal Nature recently described different types of vaccine concepts being tested, mRNA technology was included in the list.​</a></div> <div><br /></div></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>More on the interdisciplinary pilot project</span></h2></div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/coronavaccin_pilotprojekt_provror350x305.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:157px;width:180px" /><div><span></span><div>The new research collaboration also involves Elin Esbjörner Winters and Pernilla Wittung Stafshede from Chalmers, Nils Lycke from the Sahlgrenska Academy, the University of Gothenburg and Lennart Lindfors from AstraZeneca.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The project is funded by the Chalmers Innovation Office, Chalmers Area of Advance Health Engineering, The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, SSF, and the Swedish Research Council (VR). The project is partly performed within the framework of the SSF-funded Formulaex research center.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Fredrik Höök is also a Profile Leader of <a href="/en/areas-of-advance/health/about/Pages/default.aspx">Chalmers’ new Area of Advance within Health Engineering​</a>, which addresses societal challenges by providing innovative technologies and solutions to the medical and health area in collaboration with regional, national and international partners.</div></div> <span></span><div><br /></div> <div><strong style="background-color:initial">Text and photo:</strong><span style="background-color:initial"> Mia Halleröd Palmgren, </span><a href=""></a> and Joshua Worth, <a href="">​</a><br /></div> <div><b>Portrait photos: </b>Helén Rosenfeldt (Karin Norling) and Johan Bodell (Fredrik Höök)</div> <div>​<br /></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>For more information, contact: </span></h2></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Doctor <a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/karinno.aspx">Karin Norling​</a>, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 73 045 03 60, </span><a href=""></a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Professor <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Fredrik-Höök.aspx">Fredrik Höök​</a>, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 61 30, <a href=""></a></div>Thu, 28 May 2020 06:00:00 +0200 opportunities to study at Chalmers<p><b>As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Chalmers will offer summer courses in both English and Swedish this year.</b></p><div>Chalmers, with support of the government, takes its social responsibility and will offer more chances to be able to study this summer. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We know there will be an urge for something meaningful <span style="background-color:initial">to</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">do</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">during the</span><span style="background-color:initial"> summer</span><span style="background-color:initial"> for people who have not found a summer job or have been laid off. A summer course to complement your education or to get knowledge in a whole new field can be very valuable. And since we are able to, we definitely want to contribute to that”, says Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson, Vice President of Education and Lifelong Learning at Chalmers.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><span style="font-weight:700">Summer courses</span> – We will offer digital, summer courses in fields such as project management and real estate finance. Keep up to date when we open for registration for summer courses via the link below.</div> <a href="/en/education/continuing-education/Pages/Summer-courses.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" /></a><div style="display:inline !important"><a href="/en/education/continuing-education/Pages/Summer-courses.aspx">Read more about our summer courses</a></div> <br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Vedrana Sivac / Helena Österling af Wåhlberg</div>Fri, 15 May 2020 08:00:00 +0200