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.

Procedural justice and the police's use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-07-20
Abstract: 

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in new responsibilities for police while also introducing new accoutrements by way of personal protective equipment (PPE). This thesis examines the effects of such changes and the role of procedural justice as it relates to public assessments of police and willingness to cooperate with police during the pandemic. As part of the thesis, participants rated images of a police officer using different items of PPE on the dimensions of procedural justice and then answered survey questions about the police more broadly. The findings indicate that participants’ perceptions of procedural justice are positively related to their assessments of police and willingness to cooperate with police. The findings also indicate that participants’ perceptions of procedural justice can be impacted by the police’s use of PPE. The thesis discusses the important practical implications of such findings for police who must continue to manage public perceptions while providing service.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Rylan Simpson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Examining the effects of activator compounds on hERG cardiac potassium channel protective currents conducted in response to premature stimulations

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-05
Abstract: 

The human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) encodes the rapid delayed rectifier cardiac potassium channel. Vital for repolarization of the myocardium and termination of the cardiac action potential, loss of function in hERG K+ channels can result in Long QT Syndrome Type II (LQTS2). Additionally, hERG channels have been shown to mediate robust repolarizing currents in response to premature depolarizations, reflective of channels remaining in the open state into the refractory period. Thought to be protective against afterdepolarizations, loss of function in this regard may leave individuals susceptible to arrhythmia. Recently, several small molecule activators of hERG have been discovered. The effects of these compounds on the protective currents mediated by hERG channels have yet to be studied. The work presented in this thesis examines the effects of both Type I and II hERG channel activators on protective currents mediated by hERG channels, in the context of an inherited mutation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tom Claydon
Department: 
Science: Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Audio beacon technologies, surveillance and social order

Date created: 
2021-07-22
Abstract: 

This thesis explores audio beacon technology with the aim of elucidating the implications of this technology for the individual in contemporary society. Audio beacons are hidden inside digital devices. They emit and receive high frequency audio signals which are inaudible to the human ear, thereby generating and transmitting data without our knowledge. The motivation for this research is to raise awareness of the prevalence of audio beacon technologies and to explore their implications for contemporary society. The research takes an interdisciplinary approach involving – 1) a survey of audio beacon technology, 2) a contextualization in terms of contemporary theories of surveillance and control and 3) an interpretation in terms of 20th century dystopian literature. The hidden surveillance and privacy of this technology is examined mainly through the humanistic perspective of George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four. The general conclusion formed is that audio beacon technologies can serve as a surveillance method enhancing authoritarian and exploitative regimes. To mitigate the negative impacts of audio beacons, this research proposes two types of solutions – 1) individual actions that will have an immediate effect and 2) governmental legislation that can improve privacy in the longer term. Both of these solutions cannot happen without a raised public awareness, towards which this research hopes to make a contribution. Finally, this research introduces the notion of a 'digital paradox' in which the dystopian worlds of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley are brought together in order to characterize surveillance and control in contemporary society.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Niranjan Rajah
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Development of chemical tools for the study of intracellular glycosylation

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-06-04
Abstract: 

Intracellular protein O-glycosylation is an important post-translational modification in mammalian cells with critical regulatory functions relating to transcription, stress response, cell signalling, and cell cycle control. This process is controlled by two enzymes: O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), which catalyzes the addition of a single O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) to serine and threonine residues of proteins, and O-GlcNAcase (OGA), which hydrolyzes the glycosidic linkage on proteins. While notable progress has been made in the design and application of chemical tools for the study of OGA, methods and tool compounds to detect and modulate the activity of OGT remain limited. In this thesis, I describe the development of a fluorescent glycosyl donor analogue which is tolerated by OGT and transferred to peptides and proteins. This substrate was exploited to develop a convenient and direct in vitro activity assay, enabling the study of OGT catalysis in the presence of various substrates and inhibitors. After optimizing the assay for high-throughput screening, a collection of small molecule libraries encompassing approximately 64,000 compounds was screened, leading to the identification of a novel and selective inhibitor of OGT. This assay was further applied to the functional analysis of peptide-based inhibitors of OGT that were discovered through phage display and in vitro mRNA display technologies. These efforts enabled the development of chemical tools with potent nanomolar affinity for OGT. The in vitro assay was also used for the study of novel glycosylation activity by OGT towards cysteine-containing acceptor substrates, permitting a detailed kinetic analysis of this recently discovered phenomenon. Finally, I describe the biochemical characterization of human Hexosaminidase D (HexD), an intracellular glycoside hydrolase of unknown physiological function, and use this information in the design of potential selective inhibitors. The methods, results, and insights gained from this research should prove useful in advancing our understanding of intracellular glycosylation and for furthering the application of this knowledge for translational therapeutic benefit.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
David Vocadlo
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Control system development for energy-efficient lighting in greenhouses

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-20
Abstract: 

This thesis focuses on the development and implementation of feedback control with application to an energy-efficient lighting system for potential application in a greenhouse environment. The proposed control system was developed and implemented in four stages. First, the lighting model for the red and blue lights was identified separately to ensure uniform light distribution at plant canopies. Subsequently, a daylight environment was constructed using the MATLAB/Simulink environment. The performance of the system was evaluated on a proof of concept system through a series of simulations to verify the control performance. In the second stage, the proposed concept was implemented to regulate the intensity of dimmable multi-spectrum LED fixtures for achieving desired spectral irradiance levels and color ratios while utilizing daylight harvesting to enhance energy-efficiency. To ensure the stability and performance, a Smith predictor was utilized to compensate for the delay introduced into the system by the communication hardware. Implementation of the proposed system with a smooth transient response ensured lower energy consumption for the LED panels. In the third stage, a testbed with environment monitoring and intelligent LED lighting control system was implemented with potential utilization in an Internet of Things (IoT) smart greenhouse environment. The performance of the LED control system was verified through conducting plant experiments in the proposed testbed. It was shown that the proposed testbed is capable of achieving the desired light requirement for the tested plant while maintaining satisfactory plant growth results. Finally, in the fourth stage, the proposed concept was extended to a small-scale plant growth and implemented on a Raspbian operating system with the IoT technology. The system was utilized to implement lighting control and environmental monitoring applications for greenhouses in remote areas. Results show potential for prominent energy savings when the proposed lighting system is utilized to grow kale microgreens, which further resulted in improved plant quality due to uniform lighting conditions achieved through feedback control.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Mehrdad Moallem
Jason Wang
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Social media and GIScience: Collection, analysis, and visualization of user-generated spatial data

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-21
Abstract: 

Over the last decade, social media platforms have eclipsed the height of popular culture and communication technology, which, in combination with widespread access to GIS-enabled hardware (i.e. mobile phones), has resulted in the continuous creation of massive amounts of user-generated spatial data. This thesis explores how social media data have been utilized in GIS research and provides a commentary on the impacts of this next iteration of technological change with respect to GIScience. First, the roots of GIS technology are traced to set the stage for the examination of social media as a technological catalyst for change in GIScience. Next, a scoping review is conducted to gather and synthesize a summary of methods used to collect, analyze, and visualize this data. Finally, a case study exploring the spatio-temporality of crowdfunding behaviours in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic is presented to demonstrate the utility of social media data in spatial research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nadine Schuurman
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

There is no going back: The case for starting over with conditional sentences

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-28
Abstract: 

The life of conditional sentences of imprisonment in Canada has been, to say the least, turbulent. Introduced in 1996, it was not long before restrictions were placed on their use—first in 2007 and then again in 2012. To add insult to injury, the sanction was found to have essentially failed in meeting its primary objective (of prison reduction) in two studies released in 2019. In many people’s minds, this less-than-stellar performance as a prison alternative signaled the inevitable end to this sentencing option. Yet, despite the many challenges, recent (2021) developments suggest that predictions of its imminent death may have been premature. Indeed, a resurrection of sorts may be on the horizon, brought about either through jurisprudence (Sharma) or legislation (Bill C-22). Having said this, any hope of long-term salvation will require serious analysis of its failings and deep reflection of workable remedies. This study proposes to carry out this task. To this end, it employs a mixed-methods design (quantitative court and survey data as well as qualitative interviews with judges) to explore the use of conditional sentences in British Columbia, the province that appears to have had the least success in terms of using the sanction as a true prison alternative. The many challenges of conditional sentencing (e.g., flawed statutory construction, lack of public education, inadequate funding, etc.), are highlighted through a thematic analysis of the data. The phenomena of net-widening and circumvention are each explored as possible explanations for the apparent stability of imprisonment rates over the decades, notwithstanding dramatic swings in Canadian penal policy. Most notably, the application of conditional sentences to offenders who would not otherwise have been facing jail is linked to a rejection of the sanction as a term of imprisonment and/or its appeal as a form of “robust probation.” The future of conditional sentencing in Canada is considered and an argument is made that simply removing the restrictions introduced in 2012 fails to acknowledge or address the sanction’s many flaws. Indeed, if the challenges of conditional sentencing are not resolved, there may be little reason to believe that the sanction will fare any better than it did in its earlier (pre-2007/2012) life.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
David MacAlister
Cheryl Webster
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Accessibility and Aldus@SFU: Exploring multiple avenues of access for digital exhibits and academic research

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-10
Abstract: 

This report analyzes four different avenues of accessibility as they pertain to digital exhibits and academic research. Using Simon Fraser University’s Aldus@SFU Digitized Collection as a case study, this report looks at accessibility through the avenues of digitization, openness, publicness, and functionality to break down the current and future needs of diverse audiences. While accessibility is a complex topic, this report breaks down the needs of several different user groups and outlines what can be done to fulfill those needs and create content that is universally available and accessible.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Hannah McGregor
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

Seeking Iranian national identity: An examination of the photography exhibition, Looking at Persepolis: the Camera in Iran, 1850-1930

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-05-26
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates Looking at Persepolis displayed at The Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver. This study examines how the exhibition reproduces an Orientalist lens and their stereotypical representations of Iran by showcasing selected photographs. Additionally, it considers their meaning in the contemporary context of Vancouver’s Iranian diaspora. Based on the three levels of Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 1995), this thesis examines the exhibition at a macro, meso and micro level. The macro-level examines the discourse of Iranian national identity in relation to the socio-cultural practices that facilitated the nation-building project of Naser al-Din Shah (1848-1896). As the thesis argues, Persepolis signified “Persian-ness” (Dabashi, 2007) in the construction of the nation’s “collective imagination” (Anderson, 1983). Subsequently, the thesis examines the discursive practices of early photography in Iran, particularly European photography, in the context of colonialism and the Shah’s photography institutions at a meso-level. It explores the institutional and political practices that influenced the production and consumption of photographs of the four European photographers highlighted in the exhibition. The micro-level examines The Polygon’s use of these photographs to signify Persian-ness. I argue that the exhibition presents an ideal ancient civilization that encompasses a “nostalgic culture” of Iranian nationalists, especially in the diasporic community (Naficy, 2001). By juxtaposing the portrait of the Naser al-Din Shah with the photographs of Persepolis, the exhibition becomes infused with a form of Iranian nationalism that is problematically tied to longing for Iran’s monarchial system. I conclude while there was an attempt to distance the image of the Iranian diasporic community from negative Western media images of the Middle East by showing photographs of the ancient site of Persepolis, the use of European photographs in the exhibition facilitates the reproduction of the same power relations between the Orient and the Occident that this thesis critically examines.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kirsten McAllister
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Seattle Consent Decree: Excessive or effective force in police reform?

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-16
Abstract: 

The main objective of this research project was to evaluate and critically analyze the United States Department of Justice’s (USDOJ) effort to reform the Seattle Police Department through the use of a “Consent Decree,” pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. Section 14141. By examining the history, origin and use of Section 14141 with respect to other jurisdictions in general and Seattle in particular, an understanding of the effectiveness of this externally mandated reform effort emerged. Data compiled from interviews, court filings, public reports and media accounts support the conclusion that substantive, sustainable reform has been achieved as a result of the adoption of the federal Consent Decree between the City of Seattle and the USDOJ, at least as it relates to updated policies and practices involving police use-of-force, “stop and frisks,” and biased policing, as well as investigations of uses-of-force and reviews of those incidents. However, questions remain as to the long-term effectiveness of the reform effort on the culture of the Seattle Police Department and its ability to sustain the reform efforts into the future. Further, the data support that there is great potential for future DOJ externally-imposed reform efforts to be successful if the USDOJ enhances its efforts to engage in a holistic approach to police reform and if the DOJ uses police use-of-force theory in its application and enforcement of Section 14141 investigations, findings and litigation efforts. The research also indicates benefits to USDOJ reform efforts through the creation of a new “Police Reform Section” within the Civil Rights Division to replace the USDOJ’s reliance on its Special Litigation Section to enforce Constitutional policing on a systemic level within the United States.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
David MacAlister
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.