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.

On the Neuro-Turn in Education: From Inside Out

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-30
Abstract: 

On the Neuro-Turn in Education gives a lived account of my exploration of quantitative research in education at the intersections of neuroscience, cognitive science, and cognitive psychology. I argue that existing quantitative studies fall short of meeting all (if any) of transdisciplinarity’s multiple dimensions, and I assert that such research is, in essence and methodology, an expression of the neuro-turn in education. This turn has reinforced a view of education, even if largely implicit, as a closed and mechanistic system—a perspective that so far has prevailed in our society over the view of education as a living process.I have met with transhumanists gravitating toward the outer edge of the neuroscience of learning, in the stratosphere of artificial intelligence, where the prospect of becoming smarter overshadows the wish to become wiser. In that respect, neuroethics - the most recent subdiscipline of applied ethics - rises from the paraxial fact that neurotechnologies are generating ethical challenges while at the same time promoting a neuroscientific understanding of ethics. I argue that ethical questions related to “my brain” are not distinct from ethical questions about “my self” in relation to others, a fact that a subdiscipline risks missing because it focuses on the particulars of the biological explanation of ethics, at the cost of the bigger picture: the complexity of the societal constructs involved in elaborating our moral judgments. I reclaim the richness of my embodied phenomenological being across an inside–out continuum from self to others, and from human to non-human others; and I explore intersubjectivity as resonance at both the philosophical and the organic levels. Finally, I reflect on how, as a philosopher of education, I can be an active participant in sharing with educators and all stakeholders a redefinition of the purpose and aims of education. Central to such dialogue is an urgent need to shed light on toxic metaphors that turn humans into data. By illuminating such issues, I hope to initiate our homecoming to a posthumanity embedded in the fabric of the world.

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

Design and synthesis of a photoaffinity labelling analogue of ivacaftor to probe its putative binding site on mutant CFTR

Date created: 
2017-03-06
Abstract: 

The cystic fibrosis (CF) therapeutic, ivacaftor, restores activity to certain cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulating protein (CFTR) mutations; however, the nature of ivacaftor's interaction with mutant CFTR is still under investigation. This study aimed to generate photoaffinity labelling (PAL) probes that will be used to elucidate putative ivacaftor binding sites on mutant CFTR. Structure activity relationship studies indicated retention of ivacaftor's potentiating activity despite deletion of either of the t-butyl groups from the ivacaftor structure. These results initiated a synthesis program to prepare PAL probes incorporating a carbene-generating diazirine moiety in place of a t-butyl group on the ivacaftor scaffold. Initial synthetic approaches towards creating the diazirine PAL probe were devised with the ability to afford diversification at a late stage in the synthesis to allow incorporation of reporter tags into the PAL probe. While these approaches were unsuccessful, ultimately a linear synthetic approach successfully afforded the target diazirine PAL probe.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Robert Young
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Identification and characterization of Francisella tularensis proteins required for invasion and escape into non-phagocytic epithelial cells

Date created: 
2017-03-31
Abstract: 

The potential bioterror agent Francisella tularensis subspecies tularensis (F. tularensis) is an intracellular human pathogen and the causative agent of tularemia. As an invasive pathogen, Francisella invades host cells; occupies and escapes membrane bound vacuoles; replicates in the host cytosol; then initiates their release to infect other cells. Tularemia begins when bacteria invade the phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells of the host. While non-phagocytic cell colonization contributes significantly to disease, the process is poorly understood. In this thesis, I identify and characterize key proteins in the invasion and vacuole escape stages of the non-phagocytic cell infection process. In chapter 2, I evaluated Francisella in vitro cell culture infection models present in the literature side-by-side with the model our lab developed using the murine surrogate of F. tularensis, F. tularensis subspecies novicida (F. novicida) and murine cultured hepatocytes. I found compared to other models, our model most accurately reflected colonization levels seen in vivo. In chapter 3 and chapter 4, I investigated bacterial proteins involved in invasion and vacuole escape. I screened a F. novicida transposon mutant library using our infection model for microbes deficient in bacterial replication. Using bioinformatics, I searched for invasion-deficient transposon mutants inactivated in Francisella surface proteins to screen for proteins that could interact with the host cell surface. I then tested their ability to cause tularemia-induced mortality in mice. I showed that bacteria inactivated in two genes caused no disease in mice and protected mice as live-vaccines against a wild-type F. novicida challenge. One gene I identified as Francisella infectivity potentiator A (FipA). I presented evidence that FipA enables bacteria to escape the vacuole using both florescence and electron microscopy. The next gene I identified, characterized, and named Francisella virulence factor A (FvfA). I demonstrated that FvfA is a bacterial surface-exposed ligand that exploits host clathrin-mediated endocytosis for entry using functional assays and dot blots. Lastly, I crystallized FvfA and compared FvfA to its structural homolog, E. coli RcsF. Taken together, I described two virulence factors, FipA and FvfA, that are critical for the initial stages of the Francisella non-phagocytic cell infection process and consequently, tularemia-effected death.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Julian Guttman
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Networks of memory: Vernacular photography, (new) media, and meaning making

Date created: 
2017-01-25
Abstract: 

Vernacular photography can be broadly defined as “ordinary photographs, the ones made or bought (or sometimes bought and then made-over) by everyday folk from 1839 until now” (Batchen, 2001, p.57). At first glance, with digital media and online communication technologies that allow us to send and receive countless images on a daily basis, contemporary social conventions associated with vernacular photography appear vastly different than they did in the mid-nineteenth century. What persists in the use (and reuse) of vernacular photographs is how they are called upon in meaning-making activities to help understand the past in and for the present. In this dissertation I examine meaning-making activities linked to recalling and reflecting on the past in specific ways: how historical exhibitions of vernacular photographs have influenced current practices of online exhibition; and how vernacular photographs are remediated and taken up in memory practices involving two particular projects, Collected Visions and Dear Photograph, that display crowd-sourced vernacular photographs in both gallery and online spaces. My research is informed by Actor-network theory (ANT) approaches that emphasize how action takes place in nodes where different actors meet and influence one another (Latour, 2005). Vernacular photographs and their exhibitions are the result of complex interactions between people, media, and technologies where information and meaning making is transformed, translated, and modified (Latour, 2005, p. 39). Research for this dissertation included visits to museums and archives and interviews with artists and curators who work with vernacular photographs. The variety of methods employed complement one another and allow for a type of ‘process-tracing’ where a variety of different data from different sources are examined to consider “the links between possible causes and observed outcomes” (George & Bennett, 2004, p. 6). Through analytical ‘origin stories,’ I present narratives of Collected Visions and Dear Photograph tracing how vernacular photographs are used, remediated, and displayed in ways that allow for the possibility of online spaces of exchange. I then offer ‘microstories’ that describe encounters with specific images and texts in Collected Visions and Dear Photograph in an effort to document memory work processes that emerged during my research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jan Marontate
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Towards Learning of a Joint Geometry-Structure Manifold for Shape Exploration

Date created: 
2017-12-23
Abstract: 

We present a first attempt at producing a continuous generative model of 3D objects from a joint representation that incorporates the discrete structural variability as well as the continuous geometric variability that are often present in collections of man-made shapes. Starting from a set of compatibly segmented shapes, our main contribution consists in demonstrating the construction of the joint representation. Then, by using Gaussian Process learning to produce a predictive manifold from the joint representation, we investigate its capabilities and limitations for reproducing and synthesizing new shapes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Hao Zhang
Hui Huang
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Investigation and management of sudden unexpected death in the young in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-20
Abstract: 

Sudden unexpected death in the young, SUDY, is devastating for families, their communities and health care professionals. When no cause of death is identified after a thorough autopsy and other ancillary tests, “autopsy-negative” SUDY, it leaves families without answers as to why their loved one died. At least one third of autopsy-negative SUDY cases are attributed to an inherited cardiac disorder. Therefore, surviving relatives may be at risk of another tragic death if they are not referred for expert clinical assessment. The main focus of this dissertation was to explore the investigation and management of SUDY and SUDY-affected families in Canada with the end goal of developing guidelines for coroners and medical examiners to standardize their investigative practices. To achieve this goal, three studies were conducted. The first study determined the current practices of SUDY investigation by coroners and medical examiners by surveying Canadian death investigation agencies and cardiac electrophysiologists – clinicians with expertise in inherited cardiac disorders that can predispose individuals to SUDY. The findings revealed heterogeneous practices, particularly around post mortem tissue retention at autopsy and molecular genetic testing, supporting the need for SUDY investigation protocols, tissue retention, cause/manner of death classification and written recommendations for SUDY-affected relatives to undergo clinical assessment. The second study involved genetic testing of post mortem tissue retained from autopsy from a child SUD cohort in collaboration with the Manitoba Medical Examiner’s Office. We successfully identified variants that may assist in the diagnosis of 15% of autopsy-negative child SUD cases. We reported our findings to the medical examiner who informed the families of our cohort and recommended that they be clinically assessed to reduce the risk of future SUDY. In the final study, the findings from the first two studies, both limitations and successes, were combined with a systematic scoping review of published and grey literature on SUDY investigation guidelines. Seven recommendations were developed for Canadian death investigation agencies to standardize their approaches to SUDY investigation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Glen Tibbits
Department: 
Science: Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Learning Person Trajectory Features for Sports Video Analysis

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-01-09
Abstract: 

We propose a generic deep model to learn features describing person trajectories. This network uses layers of 1D temporal convolutions over person location inputs. The network can model the patterns of motion exhibited by people when performing different activities. These trajectory features are used in a two-stream deep model that takes as input both visual data and person trajectories for sports video analysis. Our model utilizes one stream to learn the visual temporal dynamics from video clips and the other stream to learn the space-time dependencies from trajectories. We evaluate our trajectory feature learning model on data from NBA basketball games. We also utilize a dataset from NHL hockey games, which contains broadcast videos and uses state of the art automatic camera calibration, human detection, and tracking algorithms to estimate player positions in world coordinates. Experiments show that person trajectories can provide strong spatio-temporal cues, which improve performance over baselines that do not incorporate trajectory data.

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

Shiro - A language to represent alternatives

Date created: 
2016-12-21
Abstract: 

When people solve problems they explore a variety of potential solutions. Parametric systems have been added to the interaction models of design tools to make it easier to change a design. Just as a cell is changed in a spreadsheet, when a parameter is changed all parts of the design that depend on that parameter update. While tools with parametric systems are powerful, users are limited to single state solutions and are forced to use workarounds like using layers and file naming conventions. These improvisations are caused by tools whose user interface and document models only support a single state. Single-state document models are only designed to represent a single artifact. In this work, I describe Shiro, a declarative, dataflow language for expressing alternatives in parametric systems. It provides a multi-state document model for parametric systems. To make this possible, I introduce the concept of subjunctive nodes, nodes that contain options. Options allow users to vary property values and computations. I demonstrate Shiro with a variety of examples from the designs of design and data analysis. Finally, I discuss what I learned while designing and implementing the language and provide a set of recommendations for future research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Chris Shaw
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Effectiveness of mobile virtual reality as a means for pain distraction

Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) has been shown to work as a non-pharmacological analgesic by enabling cognitive distraction in acute pain patients, including burn patients, dental patients, and chemotherapy patients. However, little research literature exists on the effectiveness of VR for chronic pain patients who suffer from longer-term pain. This thesis aims at contributing to this research gap regarding VR and chronic pain by examining the viability of Cardboard VR– a Mobile VR device. We have conducted two research studies to understand the effectiveness of Cardboard VR in the management of pain. First, we studied how Cardboard affords immersion and its underlying factors compared to a high-end traditional head-mounted display (HMD) – the Oculus Rift DK2, and, the results showed a lot of promise because the difference between the two HMDs was not significant. Next, we conducted a randomized crossover study in a clinical setting with thirty chronic pain patients to understand Cardboard’s effectiveness in pain distraction. We asked the patients to play a VR game on both Cardboard and Oculus Rift. The study results showed that Cardboard VR, coupled with a smartphone, is capable of reducing the patients’ perceived pain intensity significantly compared to the control (pre-VR) condition. However, despite the early findings from the previous studies, Oculus Rift was found to be considerably more effective with pain patients than both the Cardboard and the control condition. The results of this study encourage future research inquiries of Mobile VR in the management of chronic pain. Mobile VR, because of its affordability and ease of use, shows the potential to become an effective tool for pain management for the patients.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Diane Gromala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Growth and Characterization of Lead Zirconate-Titanate (PbZr1-xTixO3)-Based Novel Piezo-/Ferroelectric Single Crystals

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-18
Abstract: 

Piezo-/ferroelectric materials form an important class of functional materials that can transduce mechanical energy to electrical energy and vice versa. PbZr1-xTixO3 (PZT) ceramics are the most extensively used piezoelectric materials owing to their good piezoelectric and electromechanical properties near the morphotropic phase boundary (MPB). However, the microstructures of this class of materials and the atomistic phenomena that cause the outstanding performance have not been thoroughly understood yet. Therefore, it is of particular interest to grow single crystals of PZT, which are not only necessary for thorough characterization of the anisotropic properties of this system, but also are expected to exhibit superior piezo-/ferroelectric performance over their ceramic counterparts. In this work, PZT single crystals with compositions of x = 0.54 and 0.45 were grown successfully by a top-seeded solution growth (TSSG) method, and characterized by X-ray diffraction, polarized light microscopy (PLM), piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM), and dielectric, ferroelectric, and piezoelectric measurements. On the other hand, given that PZT ceramics used in industry are always chemically modified to obtain desired and enhanced properties for specific applications, we extended our work to grow donor (La3+ and Bi3+)- and acceptor (Mg2+ and Mn2+)-doped PZT single crystals and to investigate the effects of the doping on the structure and properties. The compositions and homogeneity of the as-grown doped PZT single crystals were investigated by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). The dielectric, ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties of these single crystals were investigated. These very first set of data on doped PZT single crystals not only provide a better understanding of structure-property relationship of PZT-based single crystals and their doping mechanisms, but also points to the possible applications of doped PZT single crystals as a new high-TC, high-performance piezo-/ferroelectric material. Moreover, there have been pressing demands for lead-free or lead-reduced replacement materials because of the environment concerns arising from the potential toxicity of the lead in high-performance piezo-/ferroelectric material such as PZT. In our search for high-temperature, lead-reduced piezoelectric materials, novel ferroelectric single crystals of complex perovskite ternary solid solution Bi(Zn0.5Ti0.5)O3-PbZrO3-PbTiO3 (BZT-PZ-PT) have been grown for the first time. The structure and properties of these crytals suggest that the BZT-PZ-PT ternary single crystals constitute a new family of high-TC ferroelectric materials, which are promising for various applications such as high-power electromechanical transducers that can operate in a wide temperature range.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Zuo-Guang Ye
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.