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.

Curriculum, pedagogy, and the practical: From Waves to Quantum Physics

Date created: 
2022-04-27
Abstract: 

This study initiated with the recent changes and challenges of the global pandemic in our life and education. While discussing the reasons for adapting to the so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution,’ the current and future needs for teaching and learning contemporary scientific knowledge and skills are explored. This thesis is an exploratory study of science education for middle or junior high school students that gives reasons for developing a wave-quantum-curriculum to support their physics learning in early adolescence (Grades 8–9). Situated in the context of an extracurricular after-school program, the study discusses and illustrates how a teacher develops such a curriculum and utilizes technology and pedagogical tools to engage and encourage young students, particularly girls, to learn mathematical sciences connected to their everyday lives and lived experiences. To this end, I combine theories of various curriculum scholars, the challenging times of the pandemic, and my lived experiences in teaching and learning to create an updated and adapted curriculum and pedagogy of physics from waves principles to quantum mechanics fundamentals. I argue that an early initiation to big ideas and basic concepts in physics not only can develop youths’ initiation in science, but can also inspire further physics learning and continuing interest over time. Broadening girls’ participation and increasing their self-confidence in physics and other STEM-related disciplines are significant aspects of this early initiation. The study includes a demonstration of the effectiveness of simulation-based inquiry learning and the use of technological and pedagogical approaches in teaching quantum physics.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Allan MacKinnon
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

ZeroSPACE

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-09-23
Abstract: 

ZeroSPACE : Is an immersive sonic installation and performance. Composed in real-time in collaboration with the listener’s biofeedback and vocal contributions, the work is an invitation to stillness, your sound, and your inner rhythms. Using a cyclic audio score which is audible through headphones to the listener, the ZeroSPACE sound chamber installation encourages audience participation which effect parameters within the score. Tuned to the patterns of the individual, the utilisation of sound capturing devices alter the audience’s voice, while the heart-rate of the listener alters the tempo of the piece, and the vocalisation are transformed in real-time. These varied parameters are based on particular standing waves and harmonics, which have been historically used in ritualistic healing contexts around the world. ZeroSPACE attempts to create an immersive spaciousness through structures found in ancient acoustic spaces which inform a deep listening experience. Inspired by recent notions of extended isolation, this work creates a kinaesthetic environment that brings awareness of one’s inner/outer rhythms, and variable relationships with time in isolation.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Rob Kitsos
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Resonance supression of high Q particle accelerometer

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-03
Abstract: 

The noise floor of high-performance accelerometers is conditioned by the vacuum pressure inside the sensor package. However, less than atmospheric pressure introduces a lower level of damping to the sensor's mechanical structure, resulting in a large static displacement at resonance. Consequently, this thesis aims to develop a closed-loop system to suppress the displacement of an underdamped accelerometer developed at Intelligent Sensing Laboratory (ISL) and prevent mechanical and electrical failure. This research proposed two controllers, negative derivative feedback (NDF) and positive position feedback (PPF), which offer high gain exclusively at resonance frequency to establish a closed-loop system. Then, controllers are implemented and tested at various vacuum levels to validate their effectiveness. When NDF was employed in the closed-loop, static displacement of the proof mass was reduced by 85 percent, compared to the highest 63 percent reduction when PPF was used. Another issue addressed in this work is the actuator effort. The ISL accelerometer has a substantial mass, which sets it apart from other accelerometers on the market in terms of performance metrics. However, controlling a high inertia-based system would necessitate higher energy. A novel system architecture based on electrode function switching is also presented to address this issue.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Behraad Bahreyni
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.

Deep networks for weakly-supervised localization and visual grounding

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-26
Abstract: 

The success of machine learning relies heavily on the data, thus is also limited by the data when no sufficient annotation can be provided for a standard supervised training pipeline. Weakly-supervised learning aims to tackle the absence of training data by relaxing the requirement of annotation to a weaker level than the desired output. We study the problem of weakly-supervised localization and grounding of actions and objects to enable the training of corresponding machine learning models without groundtruth location annotations. We propose to exploit the structure information in the weakly-supervised data to facilitate the learning of corresponding weakly-supervised models and propose three novel approaches to the above tasks. In the first work we explore the temporal structures in videos and design an attention-based loss function to help the learning of action localization focus on distinctive moments for better robustness and performance under the weakly-supervised setting. In the second work we utilize the contextual structures between visual and textual data and propose an iterative context-aware refinement for the textual and visual representations in the weakly-supervised visual grounding task, allowing flexibility of the semantic embeddings to resolve the ambiguity and adapt to different grounding scenarios. In the third work we take advantage of higher level relational structure across data to extend a previous interpretability method to embedding networks for localization which at the same time serves as visual explanation to interpret this particular type of neural network.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Greg Mori
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Disentangling The Vaccination Narrative: Vaccination stories and health policy in B.C.

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-17
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I show how a ubiquitous narrative of vaccination has gained traction in contemporary public discourse, affecting public health practices and our identities more broadly. Drawing on ethnographic evidence, I describe how a particular narrative of vaccination is conveyed to me through scientific reports, media, and memes. This narrative contains a specific set of representations of both non-vaccinating people and vaccination itself, and has become intimately enmeshed with many other hopes, ideals, and aspirations. This hegemonic narrative is problematized by examining a local vaccination controversy: the B.C. Influenza Prevention Policy. Different actors in this debate have rhetorically positioned their stances in light of this broader narrative surrounding vaccination. By depicting how myriad factors are entangled within stories about vaccination, I expose how this reality is socially constructed. Being cognizant of this process and the values embedded within it can help us address future vaccination controversies with greater sophistication.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dany Lacombe
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Axonal transport of lysosomes in glucocerebrosidase-deficient iPSC-derived neurons

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-12
Abstract: 

Lysosomes are acidic organelles that traffic throughout neurons delivering catabolic enzymes to distal regions of the cell and maintaining degradative demands. Loss of function mutations in the lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GBA) cause the lysosomal storage disorder Gaucher’s Disease and are a risk factor for synucleinopathies like Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies. GBA degrades the membrane lipid glucosylceramide, but mutations in GBA, or its catalytic inhibition, cause the accumulation of glucosylceramide and disturb the composition of the lysosomal membrane. Because the lysosomal membrane serves as the platform to which intracellular trafficking complexes are recruited and activated, I investigated if inhibition of GCase activity with Conduritol B Epoxide (CBE) interfered with lysosomal trafficking in axons. In human iPSC-derived neurons treated with CBE, lysosomal transport dynamics, lysosomal rupture, and exocytosis, were unaffected. These results suggest the loss of GCase activity does not contribute to neurodegenerative disease by disrupting these lysosomal processes.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
Michael Silverman
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

An examination of sustainable trauma registry development in resource-constrained settings

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-18
Abstract: 

Injury is a major health problem worldwide, yet the distribution weighs heavily towards LMICs, where over 70% of all deaths due to injury occur. Systematizing trauma care has been used for decades to address the complex organizational problem of injury on the local, regional, and national scale. Trauma registries, which are databases that document information related to the injury event, process of care, and outcome of injured patients, are a critical first step in the development of these trauma systems and vital to informed decision-making across the entire continuum of trauma care. However, the implementation and operation of trauma registries requires a substantial investment of time, money, and effort that many hospitals in LMICs or other resource-constrained areas do not have. Those that were able to develop trauma registries despite resource limitations have often found the process challenging, riddled not only with barriers during the process of establishment, but also during registry operation and data analysis and dissemination. The research presented in this dissertation aims to do address three overarching objectives: 1) to better understand where and how trauma registries are being operated in LMICs, 2) to identify and propose solutions to the challenges that inhibit their full functionality, and 3) to identify the different barriers and facilitators to trauma registry implementation and operation and investigate how these affect long-term sustainability. Four papers contribute to the makeup of this dissertation. In the first paper, a scoping review of trauma registry implementation and operation in LMICs is carried out to determine the geographical distribution of trauma registries and improve our understanding of the variation in operation across contexts. In the second paper, an overview is presented of the challenges that stand in the way to maximizing the full potential of trauma registries in LMICs. The third and fourth papers examine barriers and facilitators to trauma registry implementation and operation in resource-constrained settings through a questionnaire and case study research. Overall, this dissertation contributes to an improved understanding of trauma registries in both LMICs and similarly resource-constrained settings, and— even more critically—the factors that impede or encourage trauma registry sustainability.

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

Sequence stratigraphy of the Viking Formation in central Alberta

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-03-29
Abstract: 

The late Albian Viking Formation was deposited in a foreland basin depositional setting in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. The Viking Formation is currently defined on the basis of lithostratigraphic and allostratigraphic nomenclature. Both models reside at too broad of a hierarchal scale to facilitate within-field correlations, resulting in an over generalized framework for a significant hydrocarbon producing unit in Alberta. This study proposes a sequence stratigraphic framework for the Viking Formation that utilizes the 4-systems tract nomenclature for the deposits in central Alberta. A high-resolution approach to mapping facies distributions that comprise systems tracts has been undertaken in order to create a regionally consistent model. The result of this work is the identification of four sequences of Viking deposition, with the majority of the work focusing on Sequence 2 due to is stratigraphic and structural complexities. The Viking Formation is mapped at two hierarchal levels that are independent of the scale of study. Low-frequency genetic stratigraphic sequences and high-frequency genetic stratigraphic sequences are both documented in the study area, with the higher-frequency expressions forming the overall stacking patterns of the lower-frequency expressions. By mapping at such a resolution, it was possible to discern two unique stratigraphic architectures preserved in the Viking: i) over-thickened units related to tectonic activity; and ii) coeval deposition of transgressive and regressive units. This thesis discusses the integral role that tectonic activity had on the architecture of the systems tracts deposited during Viking time. Only by recognizing the effect that tectonic activity had on deposition can one accurately map the orientation and distribution of systems tracts in the Viking Formation.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
James MacEachern
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Ancient DNA analysis of archaeological fish remains: Methods and applications

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-16
Abstract: 

Despite their cultural importance, relatively few ancient DNA (aDNA) studies have focused on fish. Consequently, the methods available for the aDNA analysis of fish remains are underdeveloped relative to those available for other fauna, particularly mammals. This thesis addresses this methodological gap through a series of three projects focused on developing and applying new DNA-based methods for analysis of archaeological fish remains. The first project presents a DNA-based method for the sex identification of archaeological Pacific salmonid (Oncorhynchus spp.) remains. In this method, two PCR assays that each co-amplify fragments of the Y-linked sexually dimorphic on the Y chromosome (sdY) gene and an internal positive control (clock1a or D-loop) are used to assign sex identities to samples. This method’s reliability, sensitivity, and efficiency was evaluated by applying it to 72 modern Pacific salmonids from five species and 75 archaeological remains from six species. The results of these tests indicate this method is a reliable and efficient method for the sex identification of Pacific salmonid remains. Building on the first project, the second project modified the sex identification method developed for Pacific salmonids to make it applicable to archaeological Atlantic salmonid (Salmo spp.) and char (Salvelinus spp.) remains. This method was subsequently applied to 61 Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) remains from the 13th century CE Antrex site (AjGv-38) in southern Ontario, Canada. Using this method, we successfully assigned sex identities to 51 of these remains (83.61% success rate), highlighting the method’s sensitivity and efficacy. In the third project, a new two-tiered approach to the DNA-based species identification of archaeological fish remains was developed. In this approach, novel universal primers are first used to amplify a short fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I DNA barcode region, which is used to assign an initial taxonomic identification to samples. This initial identification is then used to guide the selection of taxon-specific primers targeting a secondary marker capable of refining the initial identification to the species-level. Application of this method whole or in part to 33 modern fish samples and 89 archaeological fish remains suggests it is an efficient species identification method.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dongya Yang
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Planning for education and training in digital agricultural technology in British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-09
Abstract: 

British Columbia’s food system is experiencing a trend in digital agriculture which will impact agricultural activities and land use in the province. This model of agriculture requires computing and big data analysis skills. However, it remains unclear whether current food-focused academic institutions are approaching digital agriculture, and if so, whether concerns around equity, privacy, accessibility, and the barriers to digital agriculture adoption are considered. To better understand the status of education and training in digital agriculture, key informant interviews were conducted with 12 participants, including educators, policymakers, and private training consultants in the food and agricultural sector in British Columbia. While this study identified potentials around improving sustainability and collaboration through open access platforms, concerns were raised that digital agriculture is more likely to favour multi-national corporations and large-scale farms. Hence, educators should adopt an equity lens by considering the concerns of small and marginalized farmers in digital agriculture training.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tammara Soma
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)