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.

Vers une pédagogie queer : analyse des perceptions et des discours d’élèves de 12e année du secondaire au sujet de la diversité sexuelle et de genre

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-02-10
Abstract: 

En 2016, le ministère de l’Éducation de la Colombie-Britannique a développé SOGI 1 2 3 (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity), une ressource qui aide les enseignants à créer des espaces sécuritaires et inclusifs pour tous les jeunes. Malgré le soutien que ce programme a reçu des responsables scolaires, il existe encore aujourd’hui en 2020 un silence assourdissant autour des questions LGBTQIA2+ dans le curriculum. L’objectif de cette thèse est donc d’étudier les perceptions et les discours d’élèves du secondaire en ce qui concerne la diversité sexuelle et de genre. Les participants (n = 24) provenant d’une classe de Français langue immersion 12 dans le Grand Vancouver ont pris part à trois ateliers portant sur la sexualité, l’identité de genre et l’expression de genre. Ils ont répondu à des questions basées sur des œuvres francophones écrites et visuelles traitant des enjeux liés à la sexualité et au genre. Les données ont été recueillies au moyen d’un questionnaire, d’enregistrements sonores de discussions en petits et en grands groupes réalisées en classe, de journaux de bord, et de huit entretiens individuels semi-dirigés. Bien que les élèves semblent comprendre et accepter la diversité sexuelle et de genre, l’analyse critique de leurs discours que nous avons faite a révélé que leurs perceptions avaient tendance à réaffirmer des visions du monde hétéronormatives, cisgenres et essentialistes, à normaliser et à réduire la diversité sexuelle et de genre, et à minimiser l’influence et l’impact des idéologies actuelles homophobes et transphobes en tant que formes sociales de discrimination systémique. Les participants garçons étaient également plus susceptibles de défendre des conceptions binaires et biologiques du genre, et de mégenrer les personnes trans, suggérant ainsi un lien entre la performance sociale de la transphobie et la construction de la masculinité cishétéronormative. Ces résultats ont ensuite servi à orienter, à l’aide d’une série d’axiomes, le développement d’une pratique pédagogique queer qui aurait pour but de remettre en cause les préjugés des élèves sur le genre et la sexualité, et de contribuer par conséquent à la création de salles de classe véritablement équitables, inclusives et critiques. Il ressort également que la formation des enseignants est importante, car ces derniers doivent jouer un rôle central dans ce processus de lutte contre toutes les formes de discrimination systémique dans la salle de classe et dans les institutions scolaires.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jorge Calderón
Department: 
: Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Functional impairment following axonal injury

Date created: 
2021-01-18
Abstract: 

Following trauma or other neurological disorders, a series of events happen that cause axonal dysfunction or ultimately lead to axonal death. Computational modeling of the nervous system facilitates systematic study of the effects of each injury parameter on the output. The overall goal of this research was to develop a new method of simulating axon damage in a biophysical model and quantify the effects of structural damage on signal conduction. To achieve this, three objectives were addressed 1) quantify the effects of normal morphological variation and demyelination on axonal conduction characteristics, 2) develop a new computationally efficient method for modeling damage in axons, and 3) characterize the structure changes observed in human axons and quantify the relationship between these observed changes and axonal function. Biophysical computational models developed in NEURON were employed to characterize morphological changes in damaged axons and study the effects of some of the most common axonal injuries such as myelin damage and spheroid formation on signal propagation in axons with different calibers. To facilitate efficient computational simulation, a new approach for increasing geometrical resolution in NEURON was developed and assessed. To investigate the effects of axonal swelling on action potential conduction in myelinated axons, the morphological properties of axonal spheroids were characterized by analyzing a series of confocal images captured from post-mortem human brain samples of patients with MS and infarction. Our results indicate that subtle abnormalities in nodal, paranodal and juxtaparanodal regions may have sizable effects on action potential amplitude and velocity and more targeted treatments need to be developed that focus on these regions. In addition, the results of our histopathological and computational studies suggest that axons with different diameters may respond differently to injuries and diseases. Therefore, it is important to perform experimental injury models across a wide range of axons to get a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between axonal morphological features, injury parameters and functional responses. We expect this research to lay the quantitative foundation for finding new potential functional markers of white matter tissue damage and provide further insights into how myelin damage and axonal spheroids may affect function.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Carolyn Sparrey
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Mechanisms for directed transport and organization at subcellular scales

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-18
Abstract: 

The timely and faithful segregation of genetic material is an essential cellular function that relies on the transport and stable positioning of subcellular components despite the disruptive influence of thermal fluctuations. In prokaryotes, a two-protein system (known as ParABS) has been identified as being responsible for the positioning of low-copy number plasmids and chromosomes prior to cell division. Multiple experimental observations, in vitro reconstitutions and computational modelling efforts support the idea that this system is powered by the ‘burnt-bridge’ Brownian ratchet mechanism. In this thesis we provide computational models that complement these studies to understand how this mechanism generates and sustains directional transport through the transduction of chemical energy into mechanical motion. In particular we study the effects of chemical kinetics, inter-protein interaction strength, system size and availability of proteins that drive this mechanism with an application to the rich protein dynamics observed in vivo. Finally, we simulate a coarse-grained model for a highly polyvalent ‘burnt-bridges’ Brownian ratchet capable of translocating either by rotation or translation and detail the system parameters that govern the transitions between these two distinct modes of motion. The models presented in this thesis provide key insights and make experimentally testable predictions which can be used for the engineering of novel synthetic motor systems.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Eldon Emberly
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Advances in soundscape and music emotion recognition

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-02
Abstract: 

A soundscape is an acoustic environment perceived in context by human beings. A soundscape recording is a recording of the sound present at a given location at a given time, obtained with one or more fixed or moving microphones. Soundscape recordings play essential roles in the experience of video games, virtual reality and film. Artificial soundscapes created by professional sound designers can evoke a specific emotion in target audiences to better immerse them in multimedia content. The research in soundscape emotion recognition (SER) investigates computational systems that recognize the perceived emotion of soundscape recordings. Similarly, music emotion recognition is building computational systems that recognize the perceived emotion of music recordings.We concentrate on using novel artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze soundscape recordings and music recordings from the perspective of affective computing. The contributions of this thesis are as follows: First, we conduct empirical studies to demonstrate that listeners agree with each other regarding the perceived emotion of soundscape and music, and that it is possible to build a human-competitive model to predict the emotion perceived. Second, we curate and collect a soundscape dataset and multiple music datasets annotated with perceived emotion using crowdsourcing techniques. Third, we experiment with SER algorithms based on deep learning techniques. An evaluation of our SER models demonstrates that they perform better than each listener and state-of-the-art models. Fourth, we investigate quantifiable trends in the effect of mixing on the perceived emotion of soundscape recordings. Fifth, we build a music emotion recognition model for experimental music to investigate the ranking-based emotion recognition task. Finally, we utilize models built for SER and sound event detection to analyze and compare Chinese and Western classical music. Certain similarities between Chinese classical music and soundscape recordings permit transferability between deep learning models. These contributions present methods for automating the soundscape and music emotion recognition tasks.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Decoding nutrient sensing and metabolic regulation in the Drosophila Hipk tumor model

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-29
Abstract: 

Sustaining proliferative signals and deregulating cellular energetics are two hallmarks of cancer. However, how oncogenic signals respond to nutrients and coordinate with metabolic states remains poorly understood. Here, using Drosophila melanogaster as a genetic model organism, we establish an in vivo tumor model with elevation of oncogenic fly Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (Hipk). This tumor model features cell hyperproliferation, tumor invasion, and cellular changes reminiscent of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, including induction of matrix metalloproteinases and loss of E-cadherin. The tumor phenotypes arise from the redundant and/or synergistic effects of more than one perturbed oncogenic signaling pathway caused by elevated Hipk, underlying the need for targeting multiple signaling molecules to reduce tumor growth. To search for simpler therapeutic strategies, we examine the metabolic requirements of Hipk tumor growth.We find that high sugar potentiates the tumorigenic potential of Hipk. Mechanistically, nutrient sensors O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) in the hexosamine signaling pathway and salt-inducible kinase 2 (SIK2) in the insulin signaling pathway physically bind to Hipk and induce covalent post-translational modifications of Hipk, namely O-GlcNAcylation and phosphorylation, respectively. Both nutrient sensors are required for Hipk protein expression and synergize with Hipk to drive tumor progression. Our works demonstrate two modes of nutritional regulation of Hipk, which can accelerate Hipk tumor growth in nutrient-rich conditions like diabetes. We further characterize the metabolic profile of the Hipk tumor model. The tumor cells display the oncogene Myc-induced aerobic glycolysis, which in turn functions to perpetuate Myc accumulation post-transcriptionally, forming a positive feedback loop. Disruption of the loop abrogates Hipk tumor growth. Downstream of the loop, the tumor cells harbor an accumulation of highly fused, functional mitochondria. Targeted inhibition of a Pd subunit of the respiratory complex I blocks the tumor growth. Our works reveal that both aerobic glycolysis and active mitochondrial metabolism are required to promote Hipk tumor growth.Taken together, using the Drosophila Hipk tumor model, we functionally characterize the nutrient sensing and metabolic crosstalk with cell signaling, and reveal potential metabolic vulnerabilities that could be exploited in cancer treatment.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Esther Verheyen
Department: 
Science: Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Characterizing and engineering a dengue refractory phenotype in Aedes aegypti

Date created: 
2019-06-25
Abstract: 

Dengue viruses infect ~400 million people annually and are transmitted principally by Aedes aegypti. Severe dengue (dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome) can be fatal, and there are no efficient drugs or vaccines to prevent the disease. Not all Ae. aegypti transmit dengue viruses; in Cali, Colombia, approximately 30% of feral populations are naturally refractory to all four viral serotypes through midgut mechanisms (Cali-MIB), while the remaining 70% are susceptible (Cali-S) and transmit the viruses. We used a combination of molecular biology and bioinformatic methods to identify differences between the refractory and susceptible strains. RNA sequencing, 16S rRNA bacterial profiling, and a genome wide association study (GWAS) were used to identify a subset of genes thought to contribute to the Cali-MIB and Cali-S phenotypes. Genes from this subset that were able to ‘flip’ the phenotype from susceptible to refractory through RNAi based knockdowns were further tested with gene-editing technology to knock-out these genes using clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR) – CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) guide RNA complexes. This research identified multiple genes we believe contribute to vector competence, created a DNA based assay for identifying Cali-MIB and Cali-S mosquitoes, and edited the germ-line of Ae. aegypti. This information could allow us to create lines of permanently refractory mosquitoes to dampen dengue transmission.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Carl Lowenberger
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Matters of the womb: Muslim women's narratives of fertility, family, and the Indian State

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-23
Abstract: 

India’s population control policy has long narrowly focused on curtailing reproduction, even after it was rebranded in the late 1990s as family planning. It continues to prioritize a target-oriented approach limiting birth rates instead of promoting the well-being of families. In particular, deep-seated class prejudices against the low-income Muslim community have led to academic debates and policy interventions to curtail what is considered to be the high fertility rate of Muslims across the nation. Against this backdrop, my dissertation examines the ways that low-income Muslim women imagine, embody, and negotiate family planning in the context of their everyday lives. Drawing on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Delhi, I explore how women limit fertility and build families. Their narratives provide a critique of the neoliberal framework of choice that celebrates freedom, autonomy, and individual rights in the pursuit of reproductive goals. In contrast, women’s decision making reveals how reproductive choice is embedded within the context of social, familial, and kinship relations, gendered dynamics inside and outside the household, neighborhood and migration histories, and state-imposed programs. Through a feminist analysis, I foreground the relational and contextual aspects of family building practices. I argue that women challenge the state’s classed, gendered, and prejudiced discourses through their pragmatic family building rationales, which they commonly refer to as samajhdari ki yojana, or wise planning, especially within the context of scarce resources and infrastructural constraints. Women cultivate an ethos of judiciousness and responsibility; they understand their own physiological and mental health to be intrinsically connected to the well-being of their families. Thus, women navigate state and familial institutions while negotiating the use of both invasive and non-invasive contraceptive technologies such as sterilization, intrauterine devices, and oral pills. In this regard, I illustrate how their willingness to use IUDs is intertwined with their hopes for the safe delivery and immunization of their infants; how familial, medical, and social anxieties compel them to seek different contraceptive pathways to avoid failures and side effects; and how contingent circumstances and relations with community health volunteers motivate them to adopt or evade sterilization. This dissertation contributes to an understanding of women’s challenges and contradictory and ambivalent negotiations with care arrangements within both familial and institutional settings. It also contributes to an understanding of how social ties and the dynamics of neighborhood building shape the parameters of intergenerational family building.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Stacy Leigh Pigg
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The ground of radical fantasy: Imagining a critical theory of fantastic literature

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-15
Abstract: 

To what extent can fantasy offer a radical critique of society? What does it take to imagine genuine alternate possibilities in modernity, while we remain under the hegemony of technocratic rationalization? This is not simply a question of what we think; it is a question of how we think, and in that context, fantasy may offer surprising insights. Ideas for a critical theory of fantasy should be concerned with how we imagine and how we can re-imagine ourselves in the world, constituting an approach toward possibility and potentiality. This thesis argues that radical fantasy is a way of looking to the past, to the margins of society, and to the human imaginative capacity to conceive of that which is not possible under the horizon of late capitalism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Samir Gandesha
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Humanities
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Permission to be loud: Struggling with urban development contradictions in the Vancouver Music Strategy

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-22
Abstract: 

The Vancouver Music Strategy seeks to prescribe a framework for supporting the local music ecosystem. A top priority is to increase the accessibility and affordability of publicly and privately owned spaces for those historically underrepresented in the city’s commercial music industry. The strategy also focuses on how music complements tech- and innovation-focused redevelopment projects in neighbourhoods with affordable rehearsal, studio and performance spaces. This research was guided by the question, how does the Vancouver Music Strategy seek to reconcile the apparent contradictions of urban economic development and spatial justice that are embedded within it? Findings highlight a persistent disconnection between broader development goals and residents experiencing the disappearance of the city’s musical backbone. Urban economic development and spatial justice are not sufficiently reconciled, despite a righteous appeal to social equity and planned City-sanctioned spaces. For many, a sense of belonging, socio-economic diversity, and the sound of Vancouver is at stake.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Eugene McCann
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Cripping accommodation and inclusion: A critical discourse analysis of accommodations policies and inclusion discourses at BC’s three largest post-secondary institutions

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-06
Abstract: 

Though advancements have been made in including disabled people into social institutions, ableism remains an active systemic form of oppression excluding disabled individuals from participation in all aspects of society. There is a dearth of research on disability, how their manifestations are understood in academic contexts, or on how diverse disability identities experience education. The existing research fails to account for the wide, complex range of disability, or how specific diversities fare within higher education. This study analyzes institutional accommodation policies and discourses as they relate to students with disabilities in higher education in British Columbia. The study looks to a more expansive scope of access for students in higher education who experience ableism and asks what access might look like under a different lens of disability thought. It examines public-facing policy documents on disability accommodation at the three largest public universities in BC using a critical discourse analysis approach to critical disability studies.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Özlem Sensoy
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.