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.

Modelling wastewater spills and mapping areas most vulnerable to groundwater quality deterioration in northeast British Columbia

Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

This study utilized numerical modelling of spills and leaks of natural gas production wastewater into the shallow subsurface to identify areas most vulnerable to groundwater quality deterioration in Northeast British Columbia. Modelling was conducted using the flow and transport code TOUGH2. The models were designed to address three main factors identified from the DRASTIC method for vulnerability assessment: (1) Depth to water, (2) Impact of vadose zone, and (3) Conductivity of the aquifer materials. Models show that dense saline wastewater will migrate further and faster through highly permeable materials. Lower permeability materials attenuate the wastewater migration resulting in smaller plumes with locally higher brine concentrations. A sensitivity analysis reveals that the vadose zone permeability and depth to water table are significant controls on wastewater migration and footprint. Overall, the vulnerability in the region is relatively low, with some exceptions near river valleys, mountainous regions, and areas with shallow water tables.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dirk Kirste
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Revealers

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-20
Abstract: 

Revealers is a collection of artworks that centres on photographic logic and the way that it shapes light into images of the world. Through diverse processes of seeing, making and exposing, the exhibition showcases alternative visions of reality that have been enabled through engagements with light as both subject matter and material. Rooted in the idea of photographic exposure, each work separately examines how light interacts with thresholds, forms impressions, and gives shape to multiple and diverse visual worlds. Rather than considering the transference of light as having any kind of processual resolution, these works are formed under the leitmotif that light is a field and, as such, is constantly active — before, during, and after images are formed.

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

Indigenous Tourism: Policy as Reconciliation in the Canadian Domestic Market

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-16
Abstract: 

Indigenous tourism has been identified as a vehicle for addressing the many socio-economic disparities faced by Indigenous communities. This is supported by literature that have examined how tourism can have an economic impact. While previous studies on Indigenous tourism have largely focused on building capacity and sustainable development, little has been explored on its role in Canada’s reconciliation narrative. This narrative includes 1) government policies that support Indigenous tourism; 2) social, economic, political impacts that Indigenous tourism has on Indigenous communities; and 3) social impacts that Indigenous tourism has on tourists, both international and domestic. Through exposure to Indigenous tourism experiences, interactions with Indigenous cultures may challenge and change tourists’ preconceived ideas, perceptions, attitudes or expectations of Indigenous peoples. Currently, Indigenous tourism is largely supported by international tourists rather than domestic tourists. This capstone seeks to understand the domestic demand for Indigenous tourism in the Province of British Columbia (BC) because there is a lag in this particular market. Based on findings from descriptive statistics and case studies analyses, three policy options are introduced and evaluated for their efficacy in increasing domestic participation in Indigenous tourism. This is an important opportunity for government policies to encourage and support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians by developing the domestic market.

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

Characterizing a novel interaction between ecdysone receptor and the AP-1 transcription factor in the regulation of gene expression during Drosophila dorsal closure

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

Dorsal closure (DC) of the Drosophila embryo is a well-characterized model system for studying morphogenetic events in wound healing and other developmental fusions such as palate fusion and neural tube closure. Prior to DC, a hole occupied with an extraembryonic tissue called amnioserosa (AS) is naturally left at the dorsal side of the embryo. DC begins when the epithelial sheets migrate over a hole and fuse to form a continuous epidermis. A commonly used secretable signal is a member of the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) family, such as Dpp in Drosophila. During DC, the leading edge cells secrete Dpp into the AS cells to produce the steroid hormone, ecdysone (20E), which then drives AS morphogenesis by triggering gene expression. Here, we provide evidence that ecdysone-mediated gene expression is achieved through a novel interaction between the ecdysone receptor (EcR) and a subunit of the JNK-activated AP-1 transcription factor, Jun. While steroid hormone receptor interactions with AP-1 have been described in vertebrates, to our knowledge they have not been described in invertebrates and our work suggests that these interactions are ancient, predating the split between the vertebrate and invertebrate lineages.

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

The Path Less Travelled: Improving vocational education in BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-02-25
Abstract: 

Schools are the primary government institution that prepares youth for adulthood in BC. Whether youth move on to postsecondary education or employment after secondary school, it is expected that the school system prepare youth for the next stage of their lives. This study finds that a significant population of British Columbian youth struggle to find steady employment or complete a postsecondary education program after leaving secondary school. The secondary school system poorly prepares students for non-academic postsecondary education and employment. This study describes BC’s population that struggles to transition from secondary school into education or employment, and explores the social and educational factors that lead to strong employment outcomes in adulthood. The secondary school-based vocational educational system and youth employment outcomes of British Columbia are compared with those of Australia, Germany, and Switzerland. Four policy options are considered to expand connections between secondary schools, employers, and postsecondary institutions. It is recommended that British Columbia expand its current suite of vocational education programs through a grant to school districts, and that it expands the occupational fields with training certified by the Industry Training Authority. These options are determined to best connect youth to existing support structures and expand the types of occupational training youth may participate in while in secondary school.

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

The comparative impact of different forms of violence exposure in youth on long-term adult outcomes

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-02-27
Abstract: 

Violence exposure during childhood and adolescence is associated with a wide range of negative emotional and behavioural outcomes. Despite an extensive body of research, there are numerous problems with respect to how violence exposure has been operationalized and measured; design and methodology (i.e., cross-sectional or short-term longitudinal studies); limited outcome measures; and overall conflicting findings. Further, there is a paucity of research examining the effects of violence exposure during youth on long-term adult outcomes. Given the considerable individual variability that exists with respect to the effects of violence exposure, longitudinal research is needed to clarify the comparative impact of different types of violence exposure across locations. Using a large and racially diverse community sample (n = 753; male = 58%; Black = 46%), the current longitudinal study aimed to elucidate the comparative and cumulative effect of different types of violence exposure (witnessing versus victimization) across different locations (home, school, neighbourhood) occurring during youth (lifetime through grade 8) on long-term adult (age 25) outcomes of internalizing, externalizing, and attention problems; substance use; and intimate partner violence perpetration. Results indicated that victimization, but not witnessing violence, predicted all five adult outcomes. More specifically, being victimized in the home setting was associated with the widest range of negative outcomes (internalizing, externalizing, and attention problems), while school victimization was specifically associated with substance use problems in adulthood. The nature and severity of direct victimization may put youth at greater risk for developing emotional and behavioural dysregulation, and the home and school settings appear to be important contexts for adolescent development. Additionally, when youth experienced multiple types of violence across multiple locations (cumulative violence exposure), they experienced a broader and more diverse range of negative outcomes in adulthood. This study extended existing research on the effects of violence exposure during childhood and adolescence. Taking a life-course perspective, these findings demonstrate that violence exposure has long-term negative effects evident well into adulthood, with victimization at home and school as more robust predictors of negative adult outcomes than exposure to neighbourhood violence. Based on these findings, preventing and effectively addressing youth victimization, especially at home and school, must be a top research, practice, and policy priority.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert McMahon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Production of hiPSC-derived atrial cardiomyocytes to study the contribution of the KCNN3 variants to lone atrial fibrillation

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-05-28
Abstract: 

Atrial fibrillation (AF), is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide. AF increases the risk of stroke five-fold and heart failure three-fold. Over a quarter of AF patients suffer from lone AF which has been found to have a significant genetic component. Recently, a number of GWAS studies have found KCNN3, the gene expressing a Ca2+-activated K+ channel SK3, to be associated with lone AF. AF is a complex disease that is difficult to study with current experimental models. The advent of pluripotent stem cell (PSC) derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) has revolutionized the field of cardiac research. For the first time, we are able to study human disease in human models while avoiding the challenges of obtaining biopsy tissue. Additionally, we are able to study a patient’s disease in a personalized manner by the use the patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Current differentiation protocols result in a mixed cardiac population that consists of nodal, atrial, and ventricular cells. This makes the study of chamber-specific diseases, like atrial fibrillation (AF), difficult. As such, the development of atrial-specific differentiation protocols is vital. Using retinoic acid, we optimized a protocol to selectively differentiate hiPSC-derived atrial cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-aCMs). We found that the addition of retinoic acid from days 4 – 6 at a concentration of 0.75 µM resulted in a predominantly atrial phenotype at a transcript, protein, and functional level. We then used CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to insert an early stop codon into exon 7 of the KCNN3 gene to knockout its expression. In the future, we hope to differentiate these cells into hiPSC-aCMs to determine the contribution of SK3 to cardiac function and potentially AF.

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

Confocal microscopy for T centres in silicon

Date created: 
2020-04-07
Abstract: 

Spin defects in silicon boast long lifetimes and potential scalability with existing nanofabrication foundry processes. Paired with silicon photonics, optically active spin defects offer a path to scalable optically interfaced quantum technologies, such as quantum communication networks and optically coupled qubits. The T centre in silicon is a paramagnetic radiation damage centre that is optically active in the telecommunication O-band, making it a strong candidate for spin-photon interfaces. Certain single-photon based quantum technologies rely on the production of indistinguishable photons, a characteristic which may be found from an optical centre’s zero-phonon line. In this study we measure the zero-phonon line fraction of the T centre in silicon-28 at 4.2 K to be 22.9 ± 0.2%. Isolating optical defects in silicon is difficult due to the relatively low radiative efficiencies of silicon-based emitters and silicon’s large refractive index (n ≈ 3.5), trapping light by total internal reflection. Estimates using bound exciton ground state lifetime measurements from previous studies suggest isolation and measurement of single T centres is possible by confocal microscopy. We develop a confocal microscope system designed for measuring photoluminescence from cryogenically cooled silicon and characterize its resolution performance in reflection and above-band photoluminescence. Silicon photonic ‘micropuck’ structures were designed and fabricated to increase collection efficiency from single T centres into a microscope objective.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephanie Simmons
Department: 
Science: Department of Physics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Lobbying for democracy: Interest groups in Canada’s parliamentary system

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

Political scientists have long been interested in how interest groups influence policy—especially the information they provide to elected officials. In the American presidential system and in European consensus-parliamentary systems, information is increasingly understood as a subsidy from groups to their allies in the legislature. However, in majoritarian parliamentary systems (i.e. “Westminster” countries), such a perspective remains underdeveloped. The central motivation of this project is to understand how interest groups use information to intervene in the Westminster policy process. As an empirical case, I focus on a prominent majoritarian parliament: Canada. I generate quantitative evidence from three original datasets. First, I use aggregated Canadian lobbying registrations spanning fifteen policy areas from 1990-2009. Second, I use a dataset of 41,619 individual-level lobbying records from the House of Commons between 2010 and 2017. Third, I use a large dataset of committee utterances by Canadian parliamentarians and witnesses between 2006 and 2018, totalling 1.09M utterances. I present three major findings. First, lobbying from “cause” groups—representing diffuse interests like climate change—strengthens government responsiveness to public opinion. Lobbying from “sectional” groups—representing industry and professional associations— has no observable effect. Second, interest groups are more likely to communicate with government frontbenchers than with opposition or backbench members. This gap diminishes as agenda control diffuses to the opposition (i.e. during minority government). Third, interest groups—although nominally non-partisan—talk about policy issues in much the same way as partisan elected officials. Although we might expect legislative committees to help parliamentarians find common ground, the evidence suggests they often provide a venue for rival parties to learn about and develop competing issue frames.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Mark Pickup
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Modeling novel ionenes for electrochemical devices with first principles and machine learning methods

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

Polybenzimidazole-based ionenes are being developed for use in both alkaline anion-exchange membrane fuel cells and alkaline polymer electrolysers. The first part of this work explores the impact of the degree of methylation on the conformations and electronic structure properties of poly-(hexamethyl-p-terphenylbenzimidazolium) (HMT-PMBI), the materials of interest in this thesis. For this purpose, HMT-PMBI oligomers, from monomer to pentamer, are studied with density functional theory calculations. Next, molecular dynamics simulations are used to calculate the trajectory paths of all atoms of the fully methylated HMT-PMBI tetramer. Lastly, recurrent neural networks are explored as a means to accelerate the statistical sampling of molecular conformations of polymeric systems, thereby providing complementary tools for molecular dynamics simulations. It is demonstrated that these types of artificial neural networks can be learned from the distribution of the coordinates of atoms over molecular dynamics simulations. As shown, the trained multivariate time series model enables forecasting trajectory paths of atoms accurately and in much reduced time with over 96% accuracy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steven Holdcroft
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.