Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

The Gardener, The Actor, and The Educator: Six Lessons Towards Creating and Cultivating Spaces of Vulnerability Between Theatre for Young Audiences and Education

Date created: 
2017-09-22
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the intersection of, or space between. theatre and education, as observed through the co-creation, rehearsal, and performance of an original play: The Edge Project. The project brings together artists from a professional theatre company and students/teachers from four secondary school drama classes. Conversations with TEACHER, ARTIST and CREATURE, lead me to consider topics including: individual and collective roles in meaning-making, process and product-based theatre creation/education, and to unpack concepts such as: trust, empathy, and vulnerability. I invite the reader to follow me, and the participants, down a garden path where we search for ways to cultivate and nurture authentic and mutualistic relationships on the stage and in the classroom. In tribute to Boleslavsky’s work on actor training, I imagine what “The First Six Lessons” of The Edge Project might be, and hope to inform further research into the gifts of Theatre for Young Audiences and theatre education.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lynn Fels
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Causes and consequences of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) deep spawning behavior

Date created: 
2017-08-31
Abstract: 

Shifts in the reproductive strategies of marine species can result from ecological disturbance and often lead to either harmful or adaptive population−level effects. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) can exhibit remarkable plasticity in spawn density and spatial distribution, shifting in response to both climatic and anthropogenic pressure. To test alternative factors leading to recently observed and previously uninvestigated deep spawning events (−30 m, 8 x the preceding 25-year mean), we surveyed spawn sites varying in motorized boat traffic, predator density, and sea surface temperature, and conducted a field experiment to test depth effects (at −3, −15, and −30 meters) on the survival rates of herring eggs exposed and protected from predation. We found herring spawn to −44 m, and strong evidence for a positive relationship between depth of suitable habitat and maximum spawning depth (with a possible link to surface temperatures), which was magnified when spawner density was high. This result is consistent with historical records of fisheries independent survey data collected from 1989 to 2015, showing an increase in maximum spawning depth with greater biomass of spawners. Finally, experimental evidence indicated that egg survival decreased, on average, by 20 % at −30 m relative to −3 m depths. If declining trends in spawning distribution continue as sea temperatures rise, the prevalence of deep spawning events may expand as herring become further concentrated into deep fjords and smaller geographic areas, adding further risk to already declining stocks.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Anne Salomon
Dr. Dan Okamoto, Dr. Alejandro Frid
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.R.M.

Computational Discovery of Splicing Events from High-Throughput Omics Data

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-18
Abstract: 

The splicing mechanism, the process of forming mature messenger RNA (mRNA) by only concatenating exons and removing introns, is an essential step in gene expression. It allows a single gene to have multiple RNA isoforms which potentially code different proteins. In addition, aberrant transcripts generated from non-canonical splicing events (e.g. gene fusions) are believed to be potential drivers in many tumor types and human diseases. Thus, identification and quantification of expressed RNAs from RNA-Seq data become fundamental steps in many clinical studies. For that reason, number of methods have been developed. Most popular computational methods designed for these high-throughput omics data start by analyzing the datasets based on existing gene annotations. However, these tools (i) do not detect novel RNA isoforms and low abundance transcripts; (ii) do not incorporate multi-mapping reads in their read counting strategies in quantifications; (iii) are sensitive to sequencing artifacts. In this thesis, we will address these computational problems for analyzing splicing events from high-throughput omics data. For identification and quantification of expressed RNAs from RNA-Seq data, we introduce CLIIQ, a unified framework to solve these two problems simultaneously. This framework also supports data from multiple samples to improve accuracy. To better incorporate multi-mapping reads into the framework, we design ORMAN, a combinatorial optimization formulation to resolve their mapping ambiguity by assigning single best location for each read. For aberrant transcript detections, we present a computational strategy ProTIE to integratively analyze proteomics and transcriptomic data from the same individual. This strategy provides proteome-level evidence for aberrant transcripts that can be used to eliminate false positives reported solely based on sequencing data.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Cenk Sahinalp
Martin Ester
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Islamophobia: A Comparative, Multilevel Analysis of Western Europe

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-05-22
Abstract: 

This study examines the ways in which state policies recognize, accommodate and legitimize immigrant cultures, and analyzes the extent to which state accommodation leads to acceptance and tolerance toward immigrants. The study brings together social psychological and institutionalist perspectives, and argues that state recognition and accommodation of immigrant cultures normalize new practices and traditions by making them a part of the country's cultural landscape. This state-led process blurs group lines, and reduces the likelihood of prejudice against immigrants. In contrast, when a state ignores or actively excludes an immigrant culture, it frames those associated with it as outsiders or lesser-citizens, and makes tolerance toward them less likely. To test that hypothesis, the study focuses on the Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, since their case involves a salient (real or perceived) cultural distance to the host societies. The study employs a mixed-methods research. It first examines the Belgian, British and German cases, and traces the process from state accommodation to tolerance with a special focus on the legitimization of cultural elements by state recognition. Then, it conducts a systematic analysis that covers nineteen countries in Western Europe. Individual-level data for the analysis come from the fourth wave of the European Values Study. On the country-level, the study builds what it calls the Accommodation of Islam (AOI) index to measure the extent to which Western European countries accommodate Islam in a variety of realms. Then, it specifies a multilevel regression model that controls for all major alternative explanations. On the individual level, the findings reveal multiple dimensions of religiosity that have divergent influences on anti-Muslim prejudice. On the country level, they indicate that the individuals in countries that do not accommodate Islam are more likely to be prejudiced against Muslims.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Laurent Dobuzinskis
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Estimating conditional intensity conditional function of a neural spike train by particle Markov chain Monte Carlo and smoothing

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-14
Abstract: 

Understanding neural activities is fundamental and challenging in decoding how the brain processes information. An essential part of the problem is to define a meaningful and quantitative characterization of neural activities when they are represented by a sequence of action potentials or a neural spike train. The thesis approaches to use a point process to represent a neural spike train, and such representation provides a conditional intensity function (CIF) to describe neural activities. The estimation procedure for CIF, including particle Markov Chain Monte Carlo (PMCMC) and smoothing, is introduced and applied to a real data set. From the CIF and its derivative of a neural spike train, we can successfully observe adaption behavior. Simulation study verifies that the estimation procedure provides reliable estimate of CIF. This framework provides a definite quantification of neural activities and facilitates further investigation of understanding the brain from neurological perspective.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jiguo Cao
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

Understanding our past, reclaiming our culture: Conceptualizing Métis culture and mental health in British Columbia

Date created: 
2017-08-03
Abstract: 

Despite reported disparities in mental health for the Métis population, as well as the historic and contemporary challenges that many Métis people face in maintaining cultural connectedness, cultural continuity research with Métis communities remains largely ignored. To address this gap, this research sought to explore the meaning of cultural continuity and mental health for Métis people in British Columbia (BC). This thesis includes a meta-synthesis of relevant, original research with Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the United States, and a grounded theory study that explores Métis participants’ experiences and conceptualizations of mental health and cultural continuity. Through the development of a Métis cultural continuity framework and evidence that associates cultural continuity as a Métis determinant of health, the findings point to the need for conducting community-driven quantitative research, in addition to supporting cultural practices, language revitalization, and Elder-youth engagement opportunities for increased cultural continuity for Métis people in BC.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John O'Neil
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Feature-based Comparison of Flow Cytometry Data

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

Flow cytometry (FCM) bioinformatics is a sub-field of bioinformatics, aimed at developing effective and efficient computational tools to store, organize, and analyze high-throughput/dimensional FCM data. Flow cytometers are capable of analyzing thousands of cells per second for up to 40 features. These features primarily signal the presence of different proteins on cells in the bloodstream. Hence contributing large amounts of data towards the big biological data paradigm. The data that a flow cytometer outputs from a biological sample, is called a FCS file.The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC) is a collaboration between 23 international institutions and funding organizations. Its aim is to decipher the function of 20,000 mouse genes. IMPC is doing so by breeding mice with a certain gene knocked out (KO), cancelling the function of that gene. In turn, FCM is used to measure the immunological changes correlated to this knockout. Many tools exist to classify FCS files. However, there is a lack of tools to conduct unsupervised clustering of FCS files. One goal of IMPC is to compare and contrast KO genes, hence IMPC becomes a prime motivation for this problem. As such, this thesis outlines a data processing pipeline used to isolate features for each FCS file. We then test the different types of features extracted on a benchmark data set from the FlowCAP-II challenge, containing data from healthy persons and patients with AML (acute myeloid leukemia). We then evaluate how well these features separate out FCS files of different origin (i.e. healthy vs AML).

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Cedric Chauve
Ryan Brinkman
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Exploring the Rise and Decline of Anti- State Terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): A multi-sphere based explanation

Date created: 
2017-08-02
Abstract: 

The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has become a main hub for global, as well as domestic, terrorist activity. Many of the groups committing terrorist attacks originate from, andare situated in, this region. Thus, it is essential to understand the particular social, economic, political, structural and historic factors predominant in the region that create such fertile groundfor the establishment and survival of terrorist movements. In this longitudinal study, a comprehensive anti- state terrorism model was utilized to examine the relationship between the rise and decline of terrorist activity and social, economic, political, structural, as well as historic factors. Furthermore, an interrupted time series design was applied to explore the region’ssusceptibility to global, as well as regional, change. The results of this study provide an in-depth understanding of the specific factors contributing to the rise and decline of anti-state terrorism inthe MENA region, as well as suggest policy recommendations on effective ways to respond to the terrorist threat.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Garth Davies
Raymond Corrado
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Mathematical Tool Fluency: Learning Mathematics via Touch-based Technology

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-08
Abstract: 

Recent advances in the study of mathematics embodiment have given rise to renewed interest in how mathematical learning relates to our bodily actions and the sensorimotor system. In this dissertation, I explore the embodiment of mathematics learning with a particular focus on the relationship among gestures, hand and finger movements, and the use of mathematical tools. The theoretical lens of perceptuomotor integration enabled me to articulate mathematics learning through the development of tool fluency within a non-dualistic view of mathematical tools. The dissertation is structured as three stand-alone descriptive case studies that adopt Husserl’s phenomenological attitude in analysing participants’ lived experience while using mathematical tools. Drawing on the work of Nemirovsky, one of the main intentions is to provide a thick description of learners’ perceptual and motor activities, which may result in the emergence of perceptuomotor integration in Husserlian experiential time. The results provide evidence for a high degree of gestural and bodily engagement while learning, communicating, and playing with mathematical tools. For example, in the first study, we discuss the process of learning cardinality for a young child in the context of mathematical explorations with a multimodal iPad application named TouchCounts. We identifying the development of ‘finger-touching’ action while the child is playing with it. In the second study, I present and discuss the notions of ‘active sensation’ and ‘tactile perception,’ in the context of a blind undergraduate student explaining the behaviour of a rational function. In the third study, which involves a prospective teacher identifying types of geometric transformation in a touchscreen geometry software (Geometer's Sketchpad (GSP) on iPad), I identify new modes of Arzarello’s active interactions. Identifying, analysing, and exploring different modes of interactions with touchscreen-based mathematical tools leads me to propose a new methodological approach for analysing video data. This methodological approach enabled me to catalogue interactions in order to monitor and assess the emergence of mathematics expertise while the learner interacted with the mathematical tool.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Stephen Campbell
Dr. Nathalie Sinclair
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Kidney Transplant Outcomes for Prolonged Cold Ischemic Times in the Context of Kidney Paired Donation

Date created: 
2017-07-21
Abstract: 

The need for kidneys outweighs the current organ supply. This study examines the impact of longer cold ischemic time (CIT) on graft outcomes to help expand living donor transplantation in kidney paired donation (KPD). In a retrospective cohort study of 48,498 living donor (LD) recipients in the United States between 2005-15, multivariate survival analyses reveal no association between CIT <16 hours for all-cause graft loss, or death-censored graft loss (hazard ratios for CIT 8.0-16.0 hours (0.97; 95% CI 0.74-1.26) and (1.09; 95% CI 0.81-1.48) respectively, compared to CIT 0.1-2.0 hours). These results were robust in LD >50 years and in KPD and non-KPD transplants. While there was a higher incidence of delayed graft function (DGF) in groups with longer CIT, the overall incidence of DGF was low. Multivariate regression analyses show increased odds of DGF only in CIT 8.1-16 hours compared to 0.1-2.0 hours (odds ratio: 1.47; 95% CI 1.05-2.05).

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Malcolm Steinberg
Department: 
Health Sciences: Faculty of Health Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.P.H.