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.

Sialic acid metabolism in the opportunistic fungal pathogen, Aspergillus fumigatus

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-11-23
Abstract: 

My research investigated sialic acid metabolism in the opportunistic fungal pathogen, Aspergillus fumigatus. The sialic acid, N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac), is a sugar found on fungal spore cell surface that mediates adhesion to host proteins and phagocytes. The aims of the thesis were to characterize a novel A. fumigatus exo-sialidase (AfS), and to clone and characterize putative A. fumigatus nucleotide sugar transporters (AfNSTs) to identify CMP-Neu5Ac or UDP-galactose transporters. The A. fumigatus sialidase gene was expressed in E. coli and crystallized; the crystal structure and Michaelis – Menten kinetic analysis revealed that the glycoside of another sialic acid, 2-keto-3-deoxynononic acid (KDN), was a better substrate for the enzyme than glycosides of Neu5Ac. This enzyme represents the first sialidase characterized from the Kingdom Fungi. To better understand why KDN is a better substrate for AfS than Neu5Ac, using the enzyme structure as a guide in conjunction with known sialidase structures, a point-mutation (R151L) was introduced in the substrate binding pocket to better accommodate glycans with terminal Neu5Ac. Activity of the R151L mutant was slightly enhanced toward Neu5Ac. Moreover, amino acid sequence comparisons revealed that this amino acid may be a hallmark of KDNases. In addition, I attempted to identify a CMP-sialic acid transporter in A. fumigatus, a type of nucleotide sugar transporter (NST). NSTs mediate nucleotide sugar transport into the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex for subsequent addition to glycoproteins and glycolipids. STD-NMR analysis and 14C-transport assays were conducted to examine the substrate specificity of four putative A. fumigatus NSTs expressed in yeast. Two transporters (AfNST1 and AfNST5) bound UDP-glucose and UDP-galactose, and transported 14C-UDP-galactose. Epitope maps showed that the UDP-moiety anchored the nucleotide sugar and that sugar structure conferred specificity because not all UDP-sugars bound to the NSTs. No CMP-sialic acid transport was detected. Despite similarities in substrate preference between AfNST1 and AfNST5, growth and morphology of the corresponding knock-out mutants differed; only the Af∆NST5KO was compromised when grown on media containing cell wall stressors. Using lectins and flow cytometry, I found that the level of cell surface galactose was significantly reduced in both knockout strains as compared to the wild type; however, sialic acid density on conidia was significantly reduced only in the Af∆NST5KO mutant. This research demonstrates for the first time that NSTs are important for the integrity of the fungal cell and may represent novel targets for antifungal agents.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Margo Moore
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Horse Latitudes, Tokyo Longitudes : A Fictional Marriage of Imagination and Experience

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1999
Abstract: 

Horse Latitudes/Tokyo Longitudes is a work of fiction that explores the creative process. During the process of writing, I was interested in the interplay between memory and imagination. The characters are based on the people of my life; the events are based both on occurrences in my life and in the lives of my friends. The characters described, however, are not the people who experienced the events. With the exception of the narrator, none of the individuals characterized in the story is acquainted with any of the others. The events are real, the reactions of the characters are drawn from the imagination. Horse Latitudes/Tokyo Longitudes is not simply the result of 'copying down' my life.

While on a Trans-Pacific flight, the central character begins the story by reflecting on his life. He is dissatisfied with the choices he has made and realizes that he must change direction. Through the narrator's actions and those who surround him, the issue of Western romantic love, the passion that guides much of our actions, is explored. The narrator opts to seek that 'One Perfect Love' to recover from his rudderless existence. Romantic love, however, is a path with no final destination.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Grazia Merler
Department: 
Liberal Studies
Thesis type: 
M.A. Project

Modular content: a new publishing strategy at the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia

Date created: 
2017-02-01
Abstract: 

This report is a case study of a new publishing model entitled structured modular content,adopted by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia in order to upgrade theiroutdated production system that did not allow for easy reuse of content. In order to implementthis new publishing concept, the Society initiated a project entitled Content Strategy, with theobjective to publish material in independent modules that can be easily recycled. Through thisproject, the Society had to convert all of their content to XML DITA, an open standardfor structuring, developing, managing, and publishing content, with the help of DITA CMS, acomponent management system. This report studies what structured modular content is and howit works, the challenges that the Society encountered while converting their content and how theyovercame them and the new possibilities that structured modular content provides: new products.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Maxwell
Juan Pablo Alperin
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project Report) M.Pub.

From the Aldine Press to Aldus@SFU: Showcasing Simon Fraser University Library’s Aldines Online

Date created: 
2017-01-25
Abstract: 

This report stems from a joint commemoration in 2015 of the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Simon Fraser University and the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of pioneering Renaissance publisher and scholar Aldus Manutius. To mark these occasions, Publishing@SFU and SFU Library Special Collections joined forces to create a web-based resource comprising an outstanding selection of Aldines from the Wosk–McDonald collection, one of the largest such in North America. This report details the creation of Aldus@SFU, a prototype digital exhibition of the collection intended to be as widely accessible as possible on the Internet through ubiquitous technologies. Adopting a syncretic approach that emphasizes the continuous relationship between innovation and tradition, this report outlines and explores the key intersections between Aldus’ plan to popularize classical literature and the core mission of our project: to contribute to public knowledge by making SFU Aldines conveniently and freely available online via a flexible, mobile-optimized user interface. With original contributions from both scholars and popular media figures complementing the digitized volumes, Aldus@SFU is more than a mere companion website to a library collection. Instead, it is intended as a larger crossover digital platform: an inclusive, collaborative scholarly environment and a visually appealing educational resource whose audience includes not only scholars but also a wider interested public.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John W. Maxwell
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project Report) M.Pub.

Three Studies on Hedge Fund Risk Taking and Herding

Date created: 
2016-10-05
Abstract: 

This dissertation consists of three studies on hedge fund risk taking and herding. The first paper documents the risk taking of hedge funds in the last three years prior to liquidation using the measures of return volatility. I find that the risk reduction is the greatest for the liquidated sample during the last two and three years as the fund performance drops. Moreover, the volatility-hazard regression shows that the risk taking of funds reduces during the last year prior to fund liquidation as the predicted hazard rates in the previous year increase. The evidence indicates that the liquidation is forced when the performance of the portfolios drops below the liquidation barrier. The second paper investigates the risk taking choices of hedge funds following redemption requests. I find that hedge funds with longer restriction periods tend to take lower risk if there are no significant redemption requests. Second, hedge funds with short restriction periods tend to increase risks following redemption requests. The increase in risk is larger for large redemptions than for small redemptions. However, if there are large redemptions during market crisis, hedge funds tend to take higher post risk even when the restriction periods are longer. The third paper examines hedge funds herding in response to macroeconomic uncertainty during periods of high volatility with extreme market returns. I find that hedge funds that follow directional strategies herd towards the consensus during periods of high macroeconomic uncertainty. The degree of herding towards the consensus becomes greater during periods of economic downturn. I also find that the degree of herding for live funds following directional strategies is greater during periods of high macroeconomic uncertainty in down markets. This suggests that the similar trading manners of the directional fund managers in times of macroeconomic uncertainty could be beneficial for fund survival.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Klein
Department: 
Beedie School of Business Faculty: Segal Graduate School
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

shamanic historical consciousness: retu(r)ning to the Ellemental as an indigenous education

Date created: 
2017-01-19
Abstract: 

In Canada, as in much of the western world, history has traditionally been seen as the rational pursuit of knowledge of the past. More recently, however, historians have taken a historical consciousness (HC) approach, which emphasizes the significance of memory. Scholars of HC pursue their work in different ways—typically described as cognitive HC and critical HC. For the purposes of this thesis, I was especially interested in the intersubjective relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people—how we were relating to each other both past and present, and how the past impacts how the present is being negotiated. As a scholar of French and Mohawk ancestry, I view history, or histoire in French, as synonymous with story, or better yet, someone’s story to which I am related. Thus, I questioned if the two current HC approaches provided a sufficient understanding of history, if the attention was not on those whose history it was we were disseminating, particularly, when the other was obfuscated, obscured, or omitted altogether from the historical narrative and/or landscape. Drawing on Thomas King’s idea that if you want a different ethic, tell a different story, I propose a shamanic historical consciousness as a way of expanding upon the two former HC strands, and in a way that falls outside many academic conventions with its emphasis on creating alliances with and not for those who have passed before us. Shamanic historical consciousness moves away from a dependence solely on rationalist principles (where reason, and not experience, is viewed as the root of knowledge); it looks to wampum belts—mnemonic devices that recorded history—as a way of knowing/seeing/reading the world. Shamanic historical consciousness dwells in the spaces of obscurity, affording the world of the apparition, the shadow, the reverse of reality. It requires a decentring of the I (or ego), and introduces a proto-ethical o/Other relationality, as a means for (re)thinking Canadian history and Indigenous education. But most of all, my thesis asks that you allow yourself to sway in the breeze like the tall grass in the field, that you allow the winds to unclutter centuries of colonial thought, and allow the wind to whisper ancestral stories that have laid dormant for too long.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ann Chinnery
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Automatic Building Damage Assessment Using Deep Learning and Ground-Level Image Data

Date created: 
2017-01-20
Abstract: 

We propose a novel damage assessment deep model for buildings. Common damage assessment approaches require both pre-event and post-event data, which are not available in many cases, to classify damaged areas based on the severity of destruction. In this work, we focus on assessing damage to buildings using only post-disaster data in a continuous fashion. Our model utilizes three different neural networks, one network for pre-processing the input data and two networks for extracting deep features from the input source. Combinations of these networks are distributed among three separate feature streams. A regressor summarizes extracted features into a single continuous value denoting the destruction level. To evaluate the model, we collected a small dataset of ground-level image data of damaged buildings. Experimental results demonstrate that models taking advantage of hierarchical rich features outperform baseline methods.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Greg Mori
Anoop Sarkar
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

An evaluation of a program supporting Indigenous youth through their FASD assessment

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-16
Abstract: 

This dissertation was a program evaluation of a three-year program focusing on the intersection of health, justice and child welfare in relation to FASD where holistic, culturally-informed support services are provided to justice-involved Indigenous youth before, during, and after FASD assessments. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe the resulting neurodevelopmental impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure. Not only is FASD a health concern, but FASD is also a concern within justice and child welfare. There are several areas where an individual living with FASD may experience difficulties navigating the justice system and advocating for themselves. Children living with FASD are also more likely to be wards of child welfare agencies. At the heart of this Program, the focus is on exploring, revitalizing, and nurturing cultural connections and Indigenous identity. The scope of this evaluation focused on a formative and process evaluation which aimed to garner information for program improvement. A total of six Program staff and management and three Program advisory committee members participated in evaluation interviews developed by the evaluator, and 65 Program stakeholders participated in a program needs assessment survey. Evaluation data collection tools were developed in a participatory manner with the Program manager and staff. Qualitative data were hand-coded using thematic analyses. Findings from the evaluation showed the strengths of Indigenous youth living with FASD are plenty, yet also underscored the many challenges they face in accessing services and being supported. Several needs emerged from the evaluation, including needs around brain-based services, public awareness and education, culturally-informed services and professionals, holistic support, and access and exposure to culture and identity. Evaluation findings showed that the Program is reaching the right youth and the holistic design was perceived to be effective. While the Program rolled out differently than designed, adaptations were necessary to address the needs of those being served. Findings also highlighted that the Program is contributing to community level changes in stigma, and increases in cultural connections and identity among youth. Findings from this evaluation are informative for the Program in moving forward as several recommendations for program improvement were developed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ronald Roesch
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The Shaping of German-Canadian Family Memory of World War II and the Holocaust

Date created: 
2017-01-12
Abstract: 

This thesis examines how German-Canadian immigrant families have addressed and remembered the Holocaust. Using a generational perspective, it is based on interviews with ten second- and third-generation German-Canadians who were born between 1950-1975. Their families emigrated from Germany in the first two decades after World War II. The questions this thesis seeks to explore are: How were memories of perpetration, the Nazi past and the Holocaust communicated within families? What information was or was not talked about? Did growing up in Canada shape how families remember their German past? How are the patterns in the stories of second- and third-generation German-Canadians similar to or different from Germans in Germany? Thematic narrative analysis was employed and demonstrated patterns in victim discourse, silence and avoidance in the interviewees’ narratives. The findings from this research project can be used to inform Holocaust and genocide education curricula and psychological interventions with German-Canadians.

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

Contribution of Neighbourhood Parks to Physical Activity: A Case Study of Sunrise Park, East Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-01
Abstract: 

This research is focused on the type of usage of Sunrise Park, located in a lower income neighbourhood in East Vancouver, for physical activity. This study focuses on the factors that influence the usage of Sunrise Park such as: park features, park conditions, safety concerns, the weather, the time, and gender considerations. The methodology of this study has been a mixed method approach, including a residential survey, park user interviews, park observations, and interviews with Vancouver Park Board key planners and commissioners. Results demonstrate that weather conditions and time of day affect the usage and the level of physical activity in this park. It seems that open areas, scenic views, and seating areas are more influential on the usage of this park. Males were more frequent users and also more involved in vigorous physical activity than females. The usage of this park for physical activity can be encouraged by providing walking paths and fitness equipment.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Meg Holden
Patrick J Smith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.Urb.