Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023

A special issue of Sci (ISSN 2413-4155).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 103167

Special Issue Editors

Division of Bioorganic Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Saarland University, D-66123 Saarbruecken, Germany
Interests: bioorganic chemistry; catalytic sensor/effector agents; epistemology; intracellular diagnostics; nanotechnology; natural products; reactive sulfur and selenium species; redox regulation via the cellular thiolstat
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Guest Editor Assistant
Division of Bioorganic Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Saarland University, D-66123 Saarbruecken, Germany
Interests: philosophy of science; history of science; scientific communication; philosophy of chemistry; pharmacy; history of pharmacy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our fourth Special Issue of the annual Feature Papers Collection series. This year, we again intend to focus on interdisciplinarity. We aim to develop Sci to become more inclusive in terms of content and audiences. Sci aims to bridge the traditional gaps between different scientific disciplines, and encourages collaborations tackling the main challenges facing us today, such as energy, food, water, climate, and health. Furthermore, we would like to introduce the “What’s it about?” initiative, in which authors provide a concise summary of their contribution rendered towards non-specialists and the more general public.

In 2023, the aim of our Special Issue is to publish original articles and reviews on topics considered by our editors as being highly significant to their field, environment, and society. We invite you as an authority in your field of research to contribute a keynote publication aimed especially (though not exclusively) at interdisciplinary scientific problem solving. These Feature Papers will be collected as part of the annual overview of activities in the areas relevant to Sci, and will be published in book format after the Special Issue has been completed.

As always, we welcome high-quality contributions falling within the scope of our journal and its various fields of scientific activity. Submitted manuscripts in these areas will gain immediate visibility on Preprints, receive the possibility of undergoing public peer review, and will feature prominently on the Sci website.

Prof. Dr. Claus Jacob
Guest Editor

Ahmad Yaman Abdin
Guest Editor Assistant

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sci is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 1293 KiB  
Article
Early-Wood vs. Late-Wood in Scots Pine: Finding Stable Relationships in Elemental Distribution
Sci 2024, 6(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci6010004 - 28 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
This study explored whether consistent differences can be found between early-wood and late-wood in terms of elemental content of tree rings. The species to study was Pinus sylvestris L. growing within an even-aged stand planted during the early 1970s in eastern Siberia. The [...] Read more.
This study explored whether consistent differences can be found between early-wood and late-wood in terms of elemental content of tree rings. The species to study was Pinus sylvestris L. growing within an even-aged stand planted during the early 1970s in eastern Siberia. The wood specimens were extracted from the north and south sides of trees and subsequently scanned through an X-ray fluorescent facility Itrax Multiscanner. A sequence of relatively wide tree-rings was chosen for the analysis. The scanning data on a number of elements (Al, Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Sr, and Hg) were split into early-wood and late-wood data for each year of growth. The early- and late-wood data in the same ring were analyzed for basic statistics against each other as well as against available meteorological data. In the northern direction, the elements Al, Si, P, Cl, Cu, and Zn are always more abundant in the late-wood, while Ca, Fe, and Sr are always more abundant in the early-wood. What is important is how the differences for P, Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn, and Sr were always significant. The calcium content in the early-wood was the most consistently reflective regarding the meteorological data for the early summer (June). In some trees, the late-wood K content was well correlated with the Vysotskii–Ivanov climatic index. In the southern direction, Cu and Zn were always more abundant in the late-wood, while Sr was more abundant in the early-wood. The differences for all three elements were always significant. The cases of consistent relationships, though rare, help to develop a research program in the area of dendrochemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023)
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16 pages, 270 KiB  
Article
The Perceptions of Generation Z University Students about Their Futures: A Qualitative Study
Sci 2023, 5(4), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci5040045 - 08 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1217
Abstract
This study explored the future-oriented perceptions of Generation Z students in a foundation university. This study was conducted using qualitative research and a phenomenological design. The study sample consisted of 11 university students over the age of 18 who agreed to participate in [...] Read more.
This study explored the future-oriented perceptions of Generation Z students in a foundation university. This study was conducted using qualitative research and a phenomenological design. The study sample consisted of 11 university students over the age of 18 who agreed to participate in the study. Data were collected online through individual interviews in Türkiye. Colaizzi’s phenomenological analysis method was used in the data analysis. The content analysis determined three main themes and eleven sub-themes. The first theme was the students’ knowledge acquisition about the “current situation of the country.” Under this theme were four sub-themes: economic problems, the immigrant situation, the education and justice system, and the country’s agenda. In the second theme, students shared their opinions about “being a student in the country.” This theme included economic impossibilities, their participation in limited social activities, and housing problems. In the last theme, “future anxiety,” the sub-themes of the students were found to include experiences hopelessness versus hope. Uncertainty caused anxiety, as did going abroad, finding a job, and improving themselves. It was determined that the participants were worried about the current situation in the countries they lived in during this period due to economic problems; while some were hopeful about the future, some were hopeless and would go abroad. This study might contribute to the literature on determining the future-oriented perceptions, possible stressors and hope levels of Generation Z university students in Türkiye. Additionally, intervention programs can be developed for the management these stressors to protect the mental health of Generation Z university students. On the other hand, it is necessary to protect the mental health of young people, who are the adults of the future, and to create policies for the youth of this country where social opportunities are maintained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023)
15 pages, 3950 KiB  
Article
Development of Tannic Acid Coated Polyvinylidene Fluoride Membrane for Filtration of River Water Containing High Natural Organic Matter
Sci 2023, 5(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci5040042 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1180
Abstract
River water can be used as a source of drinking water. However, it is vital to consider the existence of natural organic matter (NOM) and its possible influence on water quality (low turbidity, high color). The level of NOM in river water significantly [...] Read more.
River water can be used as a source of drinking water. However, it is vital to consider the existence of natural organic matter (NOM) and its possible influence on water quality (low turbidity, high color). The level of NOM in river water significantly impacts the ecosystem’s health and the water’s quality, and needs to be removed. A membrane-based approach is attractive for treating NOM successfully, but is still hindered by the membrane fouling problem. This study aims to develop polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)-based membranes customized for NOM removal from river water. The anti-fouling property was imposed by a coating of tannic acid (TA) and Fe3+ on the pre-prepared PVDF membrane. The results show that the TA–Fe coatings were effective, as demonstrated by the FTIR spectra, SEM, and EDS data. The coatings made the membrane more hydrophilic, with smaller pore size and lower clean water permeability. Such properties offer enhanced NOM rejections (up to 100%) and remarkably higher fouling recovery (up to 23%), desirable for maintaining a long-term filtration performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023)
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14 pages, 12463 KiB  
Article
In Silico Study of Potential Small Molecule TIPE2 Inhibitors for the Treatment of Cancer
Sci 2023, 5(4), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci5040039 - 07 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Context: Chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer since the 19th century. Tumor growth is supported by the proangiogenic factors that chronic inflammation requires. Polarized leukocytes initiate these angiogenic and tumorigenic factors. TIPE2, a transport protein, manages the cytoskeletal rearrangement that gives a [...] Read more.
Context: Chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer since the 19th century. Tumor growth is supported by the proangiogenic factors that chronic inflammation requires. Polarized leukocytes initiate these angiogenic and tumorigenic factors. TIPE2, a transport protein, manages the cytoskeletal rearrangement that gives a polarized leukocyte its motility. Inhibition of this protein could lead to a therapeutic option for solid tumor cancers; however, no such inhibitors have been developed so far due to the large cavity size of the TIPE2 protein. Here we have examined possible small molecule inhibitors by combining structure-based and fragment-based drug design approaches. The highest binding ligands were complexed with the protein, and fragment libraries were docked with the complex with the intention of linking the hit compounds and fragments to design a more potent ligand. Three hit compounds were identified by in silico structure-based screening and a linked compound, C2F14, of excellent binding affinity, was identified by linking fragments to the hit compounds. C2F14 demonstrates good binding stability in molecular dynamic simulations and great predicted ADME properties. Methods: High throughput molecular docking calculations of mass libraries were performed using AutoDock Vina 1.1.2. Molecular docking of individual ligands was performed using AutoDock Vina with PyRx. Ligand libraries were prepared using OpenBabel, linked ligands were prepared using Avogadro. The protein was prepared using AutoDockTools-1.5.6. Protein-ligand complexes were visualized with PyMOL. Two- and three-dimensional representations of protein–ligand interactions were plotted with BIOVIA Discovery Studio Visualizer. In silico absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) properties were calculated using SwissADME. Molecular dynamics simulations were conducted with GROMACS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023)
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33 pages, 7565 KiB  
Article
On Hens, Eggs, Temperatures and CO2: Causal Links in Earth’s Atmosphere
Sci 2023, 5(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci5030035 - 13 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 92351
Abstract
The scientific and wider interest in the relationship between atmospheric temperature (T) and concentration of carbon dioxide ([CO2]) has been enormous. According to the commonly assumed causality link, increased [CO2] causes a rise in T. However, [...] Read more.
The scientific and wider interest in the relationship between atmospheric temperature (T) and concentration of carbon dioxide ([CO2]) has been enormous. According to the commonly assumed causality link, increased [CO2] causes a rise in T. However, recent developments cast doubts on this assumption by showing that this relationship is of the hen-or-egg type, or even unidirectional but opposite in direction to the commonly assumed one. These developments include an advanced theoretical framework for testing causality based on the stochastic evaluation of a potentially causal link between two processes via the notion of the impulse response function. Using, on the one hand, this framework and further expanding it and, on the other hand, the longest available modern time series of globally averaged T and [CO2], we shed light on the potential causality between these two processes. All evidence resulting from the analyses suggests a unidirectional, potentially causal link with T as the cause and [CO2] as the effect. That link is not represented in climate models, whose outputs are also examined using the same framework, resulting in a link opposite the one found when the real measurements are used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023)
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Review

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13 pages, 254 KiB  
Review
The Impacts of the African Growth Opportunity Act on the Economic Performances of Sub-Saharan African Countries: A Comprehensive Review
Sci 2024, 6(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci6010014 - 01 Mar 2024
Viewed by 228
Abstract
The African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been a crucial trade and development initiative, offering preferential access to qualified Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to the United States market since its enactment in 2000. This paper presents a comprehensive review of scholarly articles and [...] Read more.
The African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been a crucial trade and development initiative, offering preferential access to qualified Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to the United States market since its enactment in 2000. This paper presents a comprehensive review of scholarly articles and policy reports that analyze the impact of AGOA on the economic performance of SSA countries. Employing various econometric methods and data analysis techniques, researchers have investigated the effects of AGOA on trade flows, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, employment, economic growth, and poverty levels. The findings reveal that AGOA has positively affected the region’s trade, particularly in apparel, textiles, and agriculture. However, its influence on promoting export diversification and attracting FDI is nuanced, with substantial heterogeneity among the beneficiary countries and industries within each country. While some SSA countries have experienced substantial export growth and FDI inflows, others have not fully leveraged the benefits of AGOA due to absorptive capacity constraints and governance challenges. AGOA’s effectiveness in promoting broad-based employment, GDP growth, and poverty reduction remains an active area of inquiry, necessitating further research to understand the policy’s sustained impact and inform future trade policy designs for SSA countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023)
16 pages, 1868 KiB  
Review
Privacy and Security of Blockchain in Healthcare: Applications, Challenges, and Future Perspectives
Sci 2023, 5(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/sci5040041 - 30 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3361
Abstract
Blockchain offers a cutting-edge solution for storing medical data, carrying out medical transactions, and establishing trust for medical data integration and exchange in a decentralized open healthcare network setting. While blockchain in healthcare has garnered considerable attention, privacy and security concerns remain at [...] Read more.
Blockchain offers a cutting-edge solution for storing medical data, carrying out medical transactions, and establishing trust for medical data integration and exchange in a decentralized open healthcare network setting. While blockchain in healthcare has garnered considerable attention, privacy and security concerns remain at the center of the debate when adopting blockchain for information exchange in healthcare. This paper presents research on the subject of blockchain’s privacy and security in healthcare from 2017 to 2022. In light of the existing literature, this critical evaluation assesses the current state of affairs, with a particular emphasis on papers that deal with practical applications and difficulties. By providing a critical evaluation, this review provides insight into prospective future study directions and advances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers—Multidisciplinary Sciences 2023)
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