Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

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 motivations and operational realities of mixed model developments in the Province of B.C.

Date created: 
2020-04-09
Abstract: 

This thesis analyzes four housing developments in the Province of B.C. that involve mixed rental rates, uses and, in some instances, tenures (oftentimes referred to as mixed model developments in this document) to understand the political, economic and social motivations that lead to this form of housing development and their operational benefits and challenges. The main theme—through interviews, analysis of each project’s publicly available planning documentation and the project’s economic model—are that while these developments may have been desired from a social perspective, there are also large economic and political motivations driving them forward. It is often suggested that mixed income development attempts to counteract the negative effects associated with highly concentrated inner-city poverty, however, the true social outcomes of mixed income development on lower income individuals is unclear. What is generally accepted is that mixed income development is an economically and politically feasible urban redevelopment strategy. This study finds that while economics and politics were motivating factors of these projects, community building was also an important aspect of the four case studies; however, it wasn’t indicated by interviewees as being because of mixes of income levels within the developments. It was because there was a belief that building community with your neighbors was important to social well being. Furthermore, operationally, adequate amenity space and appropriate commercial space with facilitated programming to all tenants was noted by interviewees as being important to community building and social mixing in these developments. In most instances, when there was limited amenity/commercial space and limited facilitated programming, social mixing wasn’t occurring according to the housing providers interviewed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter V. Hall
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Urb.

Morphological and functional characterization of host proteins during infections by actin-hijacking bacterial pathogens

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-14
Abstract: 

Cells, much like mammals, possess an internal skeleton. This cellular skeleton (called the cytoskeleton) provides structure to cells, enables their movement within the environment and promotes the internalization of extracellular cargo (endocytosis). Many pathogens have devised strategies to hijack the cytoskeleton and other crucial sub-cellular processes for their disease processes. The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) utilizes the clathrin endocytic machinery to invade cells, and later, the actin polymerization machinery to generate actin-rich comet/rocket tails to move within and amongst host cells. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) and Shigella flexneri (S. flexneri) generate actin-rich membrane ruffles at the cell surface to enter cells. Once inside, S. Typhimurium occupies a long-lived vacuole, whereas S. flexneri generates comet/rocket tails. Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) on the other hand remain extracellular and co-opt clathrin and actin to form motile pedestals directly beneath the site of bacterial adherence. In this thesis, I explored the involvement of several host actin- and/or endocytic-associated proteins during bacterial infections and simultaneously used these infections to gain insight into novel roles of the proteins studied. In chapter 2, I discovered that L. monocytogenes co-opts the actin-associated protein palladin during its entry and intracellular motility. Importantly, I revealed that palladin can functionally replace the Arp2/3 complex during bacterial actin-based motility. In chapter 3, I uncovered that the internalization strategy used by L. monocytogenes to transfer between host cells exploits caveolin-mediated endocytosis. In chapter 4, I investigated the host enzyme cyclophilin A (CypA) and found that it is crucial for maintaining the structural integrity of L. monocytogenes membrane protrusions generated during bacterial dissemination events. In chapter 5, I determined that CypA restricts S. Typhimurium invasion but is dispensable for EPEC pedestal formation. Finally, in chapters 6 and 7, I examined the receptor of CypA, CD147, and found that this membrane protein, like CypA, is crucial for the proper formation and function of L. monocytogenes membrane protrusions. In conclusion, my research has 2 major implications: 1) I have uncovered new insight into the mechanisms behind how actin-hijacking pathogens cause disease and 2) I have demonstrated novel cellular functions for host actin-associated proteins.

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

Under Fire: Improving Wildfire Prevention in BC’s Wildland-Urban Interface

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-03-11
Abstract: 

The province of BC has experienced a rapid increase in wildfires, causing forest ecosystems to lose resiliency and requiring human intervention to restore affected landscapes. One area that is particularly prone to the destructive effects of wildfires in BC is the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is the transition zone between wildland and human development. In the WUI, many communities are exposed to excessive wildfire risks and are underprepared for the threat of increasing wildfires. To understand the approach to wildfire prevention taken in WUI communities in BC, this paper uses a survey research methodology that collects opinions and perspectives on the barriers to taking preventative action. Following this, three policy options are identified that address the improvement of wildfire prevention and mitigation initiatives at the community level. Policy options are then analyzed using a set of evaluation criteria that propose a policy package as the recommended course of action.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Doug McArthur
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.

Statistical analysis of data from opioid use disorder study

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-24
Abstract: 

This project presents statistical analyses of data from a population based opioid use disorder research program. The primary interest is in estimating the association of a range of demographic, clinical and provider-related characteristics on retention in treatment for opioid use disorders. This focus was motivated by the province’s efforts to respond to the opioid overdose crisis, and the methodological challenges inherent in analyzing the recurrent nature of opioid use disorder and the treatment episodes. We start with executing a network analysis to clarify the influence of provider-related characteristics, including individual-, case-mix and prescriber network-related characteristics on treatment retention. We observe that the network characteristics have a statistically significant impact on OAT retention. Then we use a Cox proportional hazards model with a gamma frailty, while also considering how the ending of the previous episode will impact the future ones to start our investigation into the importance of the episode endings. Moreover, we consider three different analyses under multiple scenarios to reach our final goal of analyzing the multi-type events. The OAT episode counts of the study subjects throughout the follow-ups are analyzed using Poisson regression models. Logistic regression analyses of the records of the OAT episode types are conducted with mixed effects. Lastly, we analyze the OAT episode duration times marginally via an estimating function approach. The robust variance estimator is identified for the estimator of the model parameters. In addition, we conduct a simulation study to verify the findings of the data analysis. The outcomes of the analyses indicate that the OAT episode counts and duration times are significantly associated with a few covariates, such as gender and birth era, and the relationships are varying according to the OAT episode types.

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

C. briggsae genome annotation and comparative analysis with C. elegans using RNA-Seq data

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

Complete genome annotations are essential for comparative genomics. Currently, the C. briggsae genome annotation is incomplete that limits its utility as a comparative platform for C. elegans. Using RNA-Seq data, we have generated a more complete C. briggsae genome annotation. We identified 20,660 novel introns, 35,635 novel exons, and 5,654 novel protein-coding transcripts, and generated improved databases consisting of 123,974 introns, 150,690 exons, and 28,129 protein-coding transcripts, respectively. The improved C. briggsae annotation together with comparative analyses revealed 132 novel ortholog relationships (between C. briggsae and C. elegans) and 2 novel C. elegans protein-coding genes. This has shown that despite limited data available for C. briggsae, the improved annotation has enhanced the utility of C. briggsae as a comparative platform for C. elegans. As more RNA-Seq data becomes available, this method can be used to further refine not only C. briggsae annotation but also C. elegans annotation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jack Chen
Department: 
Science: Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Quantifying Blue Carbon for the largest salt marsh in southern British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-03-12
Abstract: 

Salt marshes are highly valuable ecosystems that have recently been recognized for the climate change mitigation potential of their soil carbon sequestration. This ‘blue carbon’ is sequestered annually and can be stored for more than a century, but their storage potential has not been well studied on the Pacific coast of North America. This study collected sediment cores from high and low marsh zones in the western portion of Boundary Bay, Delta, British Columbia (BC), to assess carbon storage and carbon accumulation rates (CARs). Carbon stocks in the high marsh were significantly higher compared to low marsh, averaging 84.2 ± 30.9 Mg C/ha and 39.3 ± 24.2 Mg C/ha, respectively. CARs ranged from 19.5 to 454 g C/m2yr, with an average of 137 ± 162 g C/m2yr and a median of 70.1 g C/m2yr. Our CARs indicate that the marsh exhibits substantial variability. Both carbon stocks and accumulation rates were at least 45% lower than global estimates but were similar to other studies on the Pacific coast of North America. By controlling for marsh environment and dating method, we provide a new 210Pb estimate of CAR of 88 ± 20 g C/m2yr for the Pacific coast of North America. Our low carbon stock and accumulation rates in comparison to global estimates are likely due to the shallow depth of the marsh and the dominant type of vegetation. Despite historical modifications and disturbances to the marsh, our study suggests that the western portion of Boundary Bay marsh has been growing in areal extent since at least 1930. Current legislation in the province of BC does not adequately protect salt marshes. This study provides the first quantification of carbon stocks and CARs, which is an important step towards leveraging the co-benefit of salt marshes for improved management, restoration, and preservation for these ecologically and culturally important ecosystems. This study outlines subsequent steps and research needed for Boundary Bay marsh, or other salt marshes in BC, to be included in a voluntary carbon market in British Columbia.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Karen Kohfeld
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Magnetic composite polymer membrane actuators with applications to microfluidic devices

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-08
Abstract: 

This thesis demonstrates new materials and microfabrication techniques for integrating membrane-type magnetic composite polymer (M-CP) actuators into microfluidic devices and systems. A membrane actuator with a powerful stroke volume that displaces 7.4 µL of water under a 110mT external magnetic field is developed and demonstrated in a hybrid M-CP/thermoplastic microfluidic device and in an all-PDMS microfluidic device. To achieve injection mouldable M-CP devices, a new M-CP is developed that consists of an injection mouldable off-thiol-ene-epxoy (OSTE+) polymer resin that is embedded with 25 weight-% rare earth magnet particles to be permanently magnetized. To support the rapid prototyping of PDMS and OSTE+ polymer microfluidic devices, a new type of micromould is developed that uses laser ablation of tape to deliver low cost, ultra-rapid moulds. These developments facilitate future commercial mass production through integration with thermoplastic polymers favored by the microfluidics industry in a scalable, “design-to-manufacture” scheme.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bonnie Gray
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Engineering Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.

Mathematical modelling of electrokinetic phenomona in soft nanopores

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

In and around porous systems with at least one characteristic dimension below 100 nm, solid/liquid interfaces play a key role in surface-charge-governed transport, separation processes and energy storage devices. Nanopores with well-defined geometry and chemical characteristics have emerged as valuable tools to unravel interactions between external and induced electric fields and the underlying transport, in the presence of embedded charges. In this thesis, theoretical and numerical investigations of electrokinetic effects in soft cylindrical nanochannels with uniformly distributed surface charges are carried out within continuum mean-field approximations. The aim is to provide a theoretical framework through which one can access a comprehensive understanding of the coupling between electrokinetic transport, double-layer charging and wall deformations in nanochannels embedded in soft polymeric membranes. In the first part of the thesis, numerical calculations using the coupled continuum mean-field equations are conducted to quantify ion and fluid transport in a finite, cylindrical and rigid nanochannel connected to cylindrical electrolytic reservoirs. Results of these calculations, verified by experiments, serve as a guide for theoretical investigations in later components of the thesis. Subsequently, the transport of protons and water in a long, negatively charged channel is studied from a theoretical point of view. A theoretical model is developed that describes nonlinear coupling between wall deformation and water and proton flows in a charged, eformable nanochannel whose viscoelasticity is governed by the linear Kelvin-Voigt model. In addition to focusing on transport phenomena in an open nanochannel, we direct attention to the equilibrium structure of the electric double layers. This was achieved by considering a physical situation where the charged channel is finite and sealed at both ends by metal electrodes under external voltage bias. Size-modified mean-field equations were used to account for finite ion sizes, subject to a self-consistent electroneutrality condition which demands that the net amount of charge on both electrode surfaces balances. Equilibrium ion distributions and differential capacitance curves are presented and analysed. Motivated by electroactuators, the last part of the thesis added deformations of the channel walls to the closed-channel system modelling.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Malcolm Kennett
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Toward an understanding of dreams as mythological and cultural-political communication

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

The central argument of this dissertation is that the significance of both myths and dreams, as framed by cultural politics, is not reducible to polarities of truth or falsehood, or superstition in opposition to science. It is the socio-political webs that myths and dreams often weave that this dissertation explores. Along the way, it addresses an absence of literature that unburdens myths and dreams of the conventional requirement of being true. The dissertation ultimately contributes to a more complete comprehension of the capacity of these phenomena to act as largely unconscious catalysts for cultural political developments. To support my argument, I tell a story about the relationships between dreams and myth as they affect cultural politics. This story can be told in many different ways; in fact I found that multiple iterations were required to demonstrate the connection. The narrative also needs supporting elements to tell it coherently. In this spirit, the introduction and opening chapter sketch historical approaches to the study of dreams and myth, before providing an overview of these phenomena as they affected people living in Berlin during the Nazi seizure of power. Also included are adumbrations of psychological frameworks required to make sense of this process. With the table thus set, the method of telling the story involves several steps. The first is to show a relationship between dreams and cultural politics. Chapter Two does this from the perspectives of Holy Grail literature, shamanism, Nazism, and psychoanalysis. The next step requires demonstrations of cultural political connections to myth; Chapter Three accomplishes this in its examination of the Thousand Year Reich, Voodoo, and digital technology. The diversity of these examples is deliberate, setting the stage for Chapter Four, which shows that, even in the opposing keys of religion and science, dreams have connected to myth and this connection has, in turn, influenced cultural politics. Having established the link between dreams, myth and cultural politics, the last portion of the dissertation details the apparently prognostic dreams of Germans living under Nazi oppression, connecting their visions to Nazi myth and subsequent political developments. I then refer these dreams to the psychological frameworks introduced in the first chapter as a means of analyzing the visions, and of answering the question of the dreams’ ability to prognosticate. The dissertation concludes with a review of evidence and establishes the value of understanding dreams and myths in upholding prevailing culture patterns.

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

Relationship-building on unceded lands: An examination and assessment of the Musqueam–YVR Sustainability and Friendship Agreement

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-15
Abstract: 

Musqueam Indian Band and the Vancouver Airport Authority signed a ‘Sustainability and Friendship Agreement’ on June 21, 2017, following decades of Musqueam assertions of rights and title over the airport lands. While not an explicit recognition of Musqueam rights and title, the Agreement implicitly acknowledges that Musqueam community can benefit from its territorial lands and should have a say in how the Airport develops. The Agreement commits the Airport to providing various community benefits, including scholarships, employment, training, contracting, and business partnership opportunities. It commits the parties to engaging with one another on a regular basis about Airport plans and developments. It also commits Musqueam Band to supporting the Airport’s ongoing operations, regardless of title recognition. Two years in, the outcomes are supporting various Musqueam community planning objectives. The relationship now reflects several principles of reconciliation; however, it does not guarantee Musqueam’s right to determine uses of its territorial lands.

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