• Half-sandwich Complexes of Ruthenium Supported by N-Heterocyclic Carbene Ligands: Synthesis and Application to Catalysis

      Mai, Van Hung; Department of Chemistry
      This thesis presents the preparation and catalytic reactivity of novel half-sandwich ruthenium complexes supported by N-Heterocyclic Carbene (NHC) ligands. The cationic half-sandwich ruthenium complexes [Cp(IPr)Ru(CH3CN)2]+ show interesting reactivities toward the transfer hydrogenation of different unsaturated substrates, such as ketones, olefins, N-heterocycles, and nitriles. Kinetic studies disclose that a neutral trishydride ruthenium complex is actually involved in the catalytic cycle, playing the role as a resting state. Further investigations on the sub-class of trishydride ruthenium complexes bearing NHC ligands (Cp'(NHC)RuH3) reveal that these complexes have an unusual and great catalytic performance toward the hydrodefluorination (HDF) of fluorinated aromatic and aliphatic compounds. The combined kinetic studies, cross-over experiments and rate law analysis suggest an unusual mechanistic pathway for the Cp*(IPr)RuH3 catalyzed HDF. This study is one of the rare examples where isopropanol is employed as a reducing agent for the metal-mediated HDF reaction. A class of silyl dihydride ruthenium complexes, derived from Cp(IPr)RuH3 are prepared. These silyl hydrido derivatives are great compounds for the study of the inter ligand hypervalent interaction (IHI), an interesting phenomenon for many non-classical silane complexes. This study also suggests that the replacement of phosphines by their isolobally analogous NHC ligands result in stronger IHI interactions in the corresponding compounds. Another type of non-classical interaction was systematically scrutinized in a ii series of new cationic and neutral silane sigma complexes of ruthenium bearing different silyl moieties. These new NHC-supported ruthenium complexes allow for direct comparation with the known phosphine analogues, which reveals interplay of steric and electronic factors on the extent of Si-H complexation to metal and the extent of additional interligand interactions between Ru-Cl and chlorosilane ligand. Finally, new trishydride ruthenium complexes bearing NHC ligands (Cp'(NHC)RuH3) catalyze the H/D exchange reaction of various N-heterocycle substrates; their catalytic performance can be considered as one of the mildest, and most efficient approaches.
    • Half-sandwich Complexes of Ruthenium; Synthesis and Application to Catalysis

      Lee, Sun Hwa; Department of Chemistry (Brock University, 2014-09-15)
      This thesis describes syntheses and catalytic reactivity of several half-sandwich complexes of ruthenium. The neutral ruthenium trihydride complex, Cp(PPri3)RuH3(1), can efficiently catalyse the H/D exchange reaction between various organic substrates and deuterium sources, such as benzene-d6. Moreover, the H/D exchange reactions of polar substrates were also observed in D2O, which is the most attractive deuterium source due to its low cost and low toxicity. Importantly, the H/D exchange under catalytic conditions was achieved not only in aromatic compounds but also in substituted liphatic compounds. Interestingly, in the case of alkanes and alkyl chains, highly selective deuterium incorporation in the terminal methyl positions was observed. It was discovered that the methylene units are engaged in exchange only if the molecule contains a donating functional group, such as O-and N-donors, C=C double bonds, arenes and CH3. The cationic half-sandwich ruthenium complex [Cp(PPri3)Ru(CH3CN)2]+(2) catalyses the chemoselective mono-addition of HSiMe2Ph to pyridine derivatives to selectively give the 1,4-regiospecific, N-silylated products. An ionic hydrosilylation mechanismis suggested based on the experiments. To support this mechanistic proposal, kinetic studies under catalytic conditions were performed. Also, the 1,4-regioselective mono-hydrosilylation of nitrogen containing compounds such as phenanthroline, quinoline and acridine can be achieved with the related Cp*complex [Cp*(phen)Ru(CH3CN)]+(3) (phen = 1,10-phenanthroline) and HSiMe2Ph under mild conditions. The cationic ruthenium complex 2 can also be used as an efficient catalyst for transfer hydrogenation of various organic substrates including carbonyls, imines, nitriles and esters. Secondary alcohols, amines, N-isopropylidene amines and ether compounds can be obtained in moderate to high yields. In addition, other ruthenium complexes, 1,3 and [Cp*(PPri3)Ru(CH3CN)2]+(4), can catalyse transfer hydrogenation of carbonyls although the reactions were sluggish compared to the ones of 2. The possible intermediate, Cp(PPri3)Ru(CH3CN)(H), was characterized by NMR at low temperature and the kinetic studies for the transfer hydrogenation of acetophenone were performed. Recently, chemoselective reduction of acid chlorides to aldehydes catalysed by the complex 2 was reported. To extend the catalytic reactivity of 2, reduction of iminoyl chlorides, which can be readily obtained from secondary amides, to the corresponding imines and aldehydes was investigated. Various substituted iminoyl chlorides were converted into the imines and aldehydes under mild conditions and several products were isolated with moderate yields.
    • Half-sandwich silane complexes of ruthenium and iron : synthesis, structure and application to catalysis

      Gutsulyak, Dmitry V.; Department of Chemistry (Brock University, 2012-04-04)
      The present thesis describes syntheses, structural studies, and catalytic reactivity of new non-classical silane complexes of ruthenium and iron. The ruthenium complexes CpRu(PPri3)CI(T]2-HSiR3) (1) (SiR3 = SiCh (a), SiClzMe (b), SiCIMe2 (c), SiH2Ph (d), SiMe2Ph (e» were prepared by reactions of the new unsaturated complex CpRu(PPri3)CI with silanes. According to NMR studies and X-ray analyses, the complexes la-c exhibit unusual simultaneous Si··· H and Si··· CI-Ru interactions. The complex CpRu(PPri3)CI was also used for the preparation of the first examples of late transition metal agostic silylamido complexes CpRu(PPri3)(N(T]2-HSiMe2)R) (2) (R= Ar or But), which were characterized by NMR spectroscopy. The iron complexes CpFe(PMePri2)H2(SiR3) (3) (SiR3 = SiCh (a), SiClzMe (b), SiCIMe2 (c), SiH2Ph (d), SiMe2Ph (e» were synthesized by the reaction of the new borohydride iron complex CpFe(PMePri2)(B~) with silanes in the presence NEt3. The complexes 3 exhibit unprecedented two simultaneous and equivalent Si··· H interactions, which was confirmed by X-ray analyses and DFT calculations. A series of cationic ruthenium complexes [CpRu(PR3)(CH3CN)(112-HSiR'3)]BAF (PR3 = PPri 3 (4), PPh3 (5); SiR'3 = SiCh (a), SiClzMe (b), SiClMe2 (c), SiH2Ph (d), SiMe2Ph (e» was obtained by substitution of one of the labile acetonitrile ligands in [CpRu(PR3)(CH3CNh]BAF with sHanes. Analogous complexes [TpRu(PR3)(CH3CN)(T]2 -HSiR' 3)]BAF (5) were obtained by the reaction of TpRu(PR3)(CH3CN)CI with LiBAF in the presence of silanes. The complexes 4-5 were characterized by NMR spectroscopy, and the observed coupling constants J(Si-H) allowed us to estimate the extent of Si-H bond activation in these compounds. The catalytic activity in hydrosilylation reactions of all of the above complexes was examined. The most promising results were achieved with the cationic ruthenium precatalyst [CpRu(PPri3)(CH3CN)2t (6). Complex 6 shows good to excellent catalytic activity in the hydrosilylation of carbonyls, dehydrogenative coupling of silanes with alcohols, amines, acids, and reduction of acid chlorides. We also discovered very selective reduction of nitriles and pyridines into the corresponding N-silyl imines and l,4-dihydropyridines, respectively, at room temperature with the possibility of catalyst recycling. These chemoselective catalytic methods have no analogues in the literature. The reactions were proposed to proceed via an ionic mechanism with intermediate formation of the silane a-complexes 4.
    • "(Having?) Doing it All”: A Narrative Exploration of Self-Care and Well-being for Generation X Women at Midlife

      Petty, Lisa; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Inspired by my own experiences as a woman moving through midlife, the purpose of this research was to better understand the lived experience of Generation X women. Specifically, the study investigated the relationship between self-care and well-being as the women navigate their changing bodies and negotiate, resist and/or reproduce social role expectations. Using a critical constructivist perspective and guided by the Life Course framework, this narrative study involved two reflexive, dyadic interviews with 21 Generation X women (born between 1965-1980). As part of the study, women took photographs that represented their experiences, and the images and narratives were included in the data. Use of Reissman’s (2008) narrative thematic analysis revealed four major thematic areas: (a) The Multiple Meanings of Self-Care: It’s Whatever is Important to You, (b) The Big Lie: Having Doing it All, (c) Who is she? What is this?: Changing Bodies, and (d) Navigating Self-Care: Something has to Give. Each thematic area is comprised of several subthemes that narrate the women’s experiences. Thematic areas are first presented in pastiche form, which is a representation much like a quilt that provides a weave of participants’ co-existing meanings (Ely, Vinz, Downing, & Anzul, 1997). The pastiche is then followed by written thematic analysis of the findings using verbatim quotations from participants, as well as my own personal reflections. Taken together, the findings highlight the myriad ways the social backdrop of ‘having it all’ has influenced the life experiences and well-being of these women. More precisely, findings show how the women reproduce and resist social role expectations placed on them in the practise of their self-care, and introduces the concepts of mindful connection, self-care shaming and the archetypal Crone to the self-care literature. As the experiences of Generation X women have largely been ignored in research across disciplines, this research provides important contributions to the self-care literature and its connections to well-being for women.
    • HEXACO Personality Investigation into Parenting: Evolutionary Investment Decisions, Punishment and Real-Time Parenting Behavior

      Franklin-Luther, Prarthana; Department of Child and Youth Studies
      Parenting is an important and variable job, with a wide range in parents’ behavior and decisions. An important part of this variance comes from the parent themselves. Individuals differences in parenting, such as personality traits, may explain a large portion of the variance in parents’ behavior and decisions. Personality traits may also explain how parenting is related to different child characteristics and behavior. Using evolutionary theories of parenting and personality traits, my dissertation investigated the influence of HEXACO personality traits, in combination with children’s characteristics/behavior, across three parenting contexts. Study 1 examined the personality associations with parental investment versus other investment efforts, at the perceptual and behavioral level using infant images as stimuli to motivate parenting appeal and engagement. Study 2 examined personality links with adults’ punishment toward child misbehavior based on children’s age and intentionality. Study 3 observed the associations between personality and real-time parenting behavior. and how these links fit with children’s personality and behavior on a playground. My results showed that higher Emotionality (emotional attachment toward others), as per its theorized role as the strongest HEXACO trait with parenting, was associated with parenting and sensitivity to certain child characteristics across all three studies. Other HEXACO traits were also associated with more positive as well as harsh parenting behavior and responses that were context specific. Overall, my results depict that personality-related predispositions are flexible to child characteristics and delineate important parenting decisions across various contexts.
    • High-Nuclearity Lanthanide(III) Complexes as Single-Molecule Magnets and Luminescent Materials

      Mazarakioti, Eleni; Department of Chemistry
      The employment of the bridging/chelating Schiff base ligands, N-salicylidene-o-aminophenol (saphH2), N-salicylidene-o-aminocyclohexanol (sachH2) and N-salicylidene-2-amino-5-chlorobenzoic acid (sacbH2), in lanthanide (LnIII) cluster chemistry has afforded four families of polynuclear and dinuclear complexes with new structural motifs, and interesting magnetic and optical properties. Chapter 1 deals with most of the fundamental aspects within the areas of polynuclear metal complexes, molecular magnetism and optics as these are applied to 4f-metal based systems, while the research results are reported in Chapters 2, 3 and 4. In the first project (Chapter 2), the coordination chemistry of the organic chelating/bridging ligand, N-salicylidene-o-aminophenol (saphH2) in lanthanide cluster chemistry was investigated. The general LnIII/X-/saphH2/base reaction system has led to a family of (NHEt3)[Ln7(OH)2(saph)10(Me2CO)2] (Ln = Gd (1); Tb (2); Dy (3)) clusters with a new core topology that comprises two {Ln4} butterflies sharing a common metal vertex. The {DyIII7} analogue exhibits slow magnetization relaxation, whereas all heptanuclear compounds show ligand-centered blue-green emissions. The second project of this thesis, which is discussed in Chapter 3, comprises the first use of the Schiff base ligand N-salicylidene-2-aminocyclohexanol (sachH2; mixture of cis- and trans-analogue) in metal cluster chemistry which has afforded a new family of [Ln7(OH)6(CO3)3(sach)3(sachH)3(MeOH)6] (Ln = Gd (4); Tb (5); Dy (6)) clusters with ideal D3h point group symmetry and metal-centered trigonal prismatic topology. Solid-state and solution studies revealed single-molecule magnetism (SMM) and photoluminescence behaviors. Moreover, in order to investigate the steric and stereoisomerism effects of the ligand on the chemical and structural identity of the {Ln7} clusters, the pure trans-analogue of the sachH2 ligand was utilized. As a result, a new family of octanuclear [Ln8(OH)4(CO3)2(trans-sach)8(EtOH)4] (Ln = Gd (7); Tb (8); Dy (9); Eu (10)) clusters were obtained, while the solid-state studies revealed SMM behavior and lanthanide-centered emissions. In the last chapter of this thesis (Chapter 4), the Schiff base ligand N-salicylidene-2-amino-5-chlorobenzoic acid (sacbH2) was introduced for a first time in lanthanide cluster chemistry. This has afforded a family of dinuclear [Ln2(NO3)4(sacbH)2(H2O)2(MeCN)2] compounds (Ln = Gd (11); Tb (12); Dy (13)) with the Dy-analogue exhibiting SMM behaviour with a high-energy barrier for the magnetization reversal and interesting magnetization dynamics. All research-based Chapters (Chapters 2-4) are divided into subsections in order to facilitate the understanding of the research concepts by the familiar and non-familiar readers and contextualize the messages, goals and conclusions of each individual project. I felt it prudent to always begin with a short preface of the work that summarizes the most important aspects of the specific project, followed by the complete experimental part and discussion of the results, and finishing up with conclusions and some future perspectives.
    • High-Nuclearity Metal Complexes and Single-Molecule Magnets from the Employment of Oximato- and Alkoxido-based Ligands

      Giannopoulos, Dimosthenis; Department of Chemistry
      The employment of 2-pyrrolyloximes, pyridine-2,6-diketones and 3-hydroxy-2-naphthohydroxamic acid in homometallic 3d- and heterometallic 3d/4f-metal cluster chemistry has yielded new families of Fe, Mn and Mn/Dy clusters. These complexes were shown to possess interesting structural motifs and single-molecule magnetism (SMM) behaviour. The introductory chapter discusses the fundamentals of molecular magnetism, polynuclear metal complexes, as well as the approaches used for the synthesis of new polynuclear metal complexes and the selection criteria for the chelating/bridging ligands. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 report the results of the current thesis. In Chapter 2, the synthesis and characterization of a family of complexes resulting from the employment of 2-pyrrolyloximes in high-nuclearity transition metal cluster chemistry is reported. Complexes {Fe10} (1) and {Fe12} (2) are two of the highest nuclearity iron clusters containing an oximate ligand, while complex 3 is a barrel-like {Mn25Na} complex that exhibits SMM behaviour. Although there are previously reported examples of discrete {Mn25} barrel-like SMMs, complex 3 is the highest nuclearity Mn cluster organized into a 1D polymer through chelation with diamagnetic metal centers. Chapter 3 includes the synthesis and characterization of new Mn complexes featuring ligands that result from the metal-assisted reactivity of pyridyl- and pyrazine-based diketones. Complexes {Mn6} (4) and {Mn10} (5) are the highest nuclearity Mn clusters containing any form of the ligand 2,6-di-(2-pyridylcarbonyl)pyridine [(py)CO(py)CO(py)]. Despite the large number of {Mn6} and {Mn10} complexes reported in the literature, both complexes 4 and 5 possess unique topologies in their respective oxidation state levels. Complex {Mn3Na2} (6) possesses a iii unique metal stoichiometry and is the only compound containing any form of the ligand pyridine-2,6-diylbis(pyrazine-2-ylmethanone) [(pz)CO(py)CO(pz)]. More interestingly, complex 6 contains the first {MnIII3(μ3-O2−)}7+ triangular core where the Mn centers are solely bridged by an oxido group, essentially being a unique ‘edge-naked’ equilateral triangle. In Chapter 4, the synthesis and characterization of complexes bearing the ligand 3-hydroxy-2-naphthohydroxamic acid are presented. The {Mn10} complexes 7 and 8 are the highest nuclearity 3d-metal and the first homometallic Mn clusters containing the hydroxime form of the ligand. Both compounds possess unique metal topologies, which are affected by the nature of the carboxylate ligand present in the reaction mixture, and they behave as SMMs. The use of 3-hydroxy-2-naphthohydroxamic acid in Mn/Dy cluster chemistry has afforded the {Mn4Dy} complexes 9 and 10, as well as a family of {Mn8Dy2} complexes (11 and 12). These compounds are the first Mn/Dy complexes containing this particular hydroxime ligand and they also possess unique metal stoichiometries and topologies. The reported heterometallic products resulted from our efforts to deliberately replace the divalent Mn atoms located in 7 and 8 with DyIII as a means of enhancing the magnetic properties of the former. Complexes 11 and 12 were found to be single-molecule magnets.
    • HUMAN GENOME VARIATIONS AND EVOLUTION WITH A FOCUS ON THE ANALYSIS OF TRANSPOSABLE ELEMENTS

      Ahmed, Musaddeque; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2014-02-19)
      Genome sequence varies in numerous ways among individuals although the gross architecture is fixed for all humans. Retrotransposons create one of the most abundant structural variants in the human genome and are divided in many families, with certain members in some families, e.g., L1, Alu, SVA, and HERV-K, remaining active for transposition. Along with other types of genomic variants, retrotransponson-derived variants contribute to the whole spectrum of genome variants in humans. With the advancement of sequencing techniques, many human genomes are being sequenced at the individual level, fueling the comparative research on these variants among individuals. In this thesis, the evolution and functional impact of structural variations is examined primarily focusing on retrotransposons in the context of human evolution. The thesis comprises of three different studies on the topics that are presented in three data chapters. First, the recent evolution of all human specific AluYb members, representing the second most active subfamily of Alus, was tracked to identify their source/master copy using a novel approach. All human-specific AluYb elements from the reference genome were extracted, aligned with one another to construct clusters of similar copies and each cluster was analyzed to generate the evolutionary relationship between the members of the cluster. The approach resulted in identification of one major driver copy of all human specific Yb8 and the source copy of the Yb9 lineage. Three new subfamilies within the AluYb family – Yb8a1, Yb10 and Yb11 were also identified, with Yb11 being the youngest and most polymorphic. Second, an attempt to construct a relation between transposable elements (TEs) and tandem repeats (TRs) was made at a genome-wide scale for the first time. Upon sequence comparison, positional cross-checking and other relevant analyses, it was observed that over 20% of all TRs are derived from TEs. This result established the first connection between these two types of repetitive elements, and extends our appreciation for the impact of TEs on genomes. Furthermore, only 6% of these TE-derived TRs follow the already postulated initiation and expansion mechanisms, suggesting that the others are likely to follow a yet-unidentified mechanism. Third, by taking a combination of multiple computational approaches involving all types of genetic variations published so far including transposable elements, the first whole genome sequence of the most recent common ancestor of all modern human populations that diverged into different populations around 125,000-100,000 years ago was constructed. The study shows that the current reference genome sequence is 8.89 million base pairs larger than our common ancestor’s genome, contributed by a whole spectrum of genetic mechanisms. The use of this ancestral reference genome to facilitate the analysis of personal genomes was demonstrated using an example genome and more insightful recent evolutionary analyses involving the Neanderthal genome. The three data chapters presented in this thesis conclude that the tandem repeats and transposable elements are not two entirely distinctly isolated elements as over 20% TRs are actually derived from TEs. Certain subfamilies of TEs themselves are still evolving with the generation of newer subfamilies. The evolutionary analyses of all TEs along with other genomic variants helped to construct the genome sequence of the most recent common ancestor to all modern human populations which provides a better alternative to human reference genome and can be a useful resource for the study of personal genomics, population genetics, human and primate evolution.
    • Hydrosilylation and hydroboration catalyzed by imido-hydride complexes of molybdenum (IV)

      Shirobokov, Oleg G.; Department of Chemistry (Brock University, 2012-04-04)
      This thesis describes the synthesis, structural studies, stoichiometric and catalytic reactivity of novel Mo(IV) imido hydride complexes (Cp)(ArN)Mo(H)(PMe3) (1) and (Tp )(ArN)Mo(H)(PMe3) (2). Both 1 and 2 catalyze hydrosilylation of a variety of carbonyls. Detailed kinetic and DFT studies found that 1 reacts by an unexpected associative mechanism, which does not involve Si-H addition either to the imido group or the metal. Despite 1 being a d2 complex, its reaction with PhSiH3 proceeds via a a-bond metathesis mechanism giving the silyl derivative (Cp )(ArN)Mo(SiH2Ph)(PMe3). In the presence of BPh3 reaction of 1 with PhSiH3 results in formation of (Cp)(ArN)Mo(SiH2Ph)(H)2 and (Cp)(ArN)Mo(SiH2Ph)2(H), the first examples ofMo(VI) silyl hydrides. AI: 1 : 1 reaction between 2, PhSiD3 and carbonyl substrate established that hydrosilylation is not accompanied by deuterium incorporation into the hydride position of the catalyst, thus ruling out the conventional mechanism based on carbonyl insertion carbonyl. As 2 is nomeactive to both the silane and ketone, the only mechanistic alternative we are left with is that the metal center activates the carbonyl as a Lewis acid. The analogous nonhydride mechanism was observed for the catalysis by (ArN)Mo(H)(CI)(PMe3), (Ph3P)2(I)(O)Re(H)(OSiMe2Ph) and (PPh3CuH)6. Complex 2 also catalyzes hydroboration of carbonyls and nitriles. We report the first case of metal-catalyzed hydroboration of nitriles as well as hydroboration of carbonyls at very mild conditions. Conversion of carbonyl functions can be performed with high selectivities in the presence of nitrile groups. This thesis also reports the first case of the HlH exchange between H2 and Si-H of silanes mediated by Lewis acids such as Mo(IV) , Re(V) , Cu(I) , Zn(II) complexes, B(C6Fs)3 and BPh3.
    • I must walk through the gate : an ontological necessity

      Brown, Hilary; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2010-10-26)
      This research is a self-study into my life as an athlete, elementary school teacher, leamer, and as a teacher educator/academic. Throughout the inquiry, I explore how my beliefs and values infused my lived experiences and ultimately influenced my constructivist, humanist, and ultimately my holistic teaching and learning practice which at times disrupted the status quo. I have written a collection of narratives (data generation) which embodied my identity as an unintelligent student/leamer, a teacher/learner, an experiential learner, a tenacious participant, and a change agent to name a few. As I unpack my stories and hermeneutically reconstruct their intent, I question their meaning as I explore how I can improve my teaching and learning practice and potentially effect positive change when instructing beginning teacher candidates at a Faculty of Education. At the outset I situate my story and provide the necessary political, social, and cultural background information to ground my research. I follow this with an in depth look at the elements that interconnect the theoretical framework of this self-study by presenting the notion of writing at the boundaries through auto ethnography (Ellis, 2000; Ellis & Bochner, 2004) and writing as a method of inquiry (Richardson, 2000). The emergent themes of experiential learning, identity, and embodied knowing surfaced during the data generation phase. I use the Probyn' s (1990) .. metaphor of locatedness to unpack these themes and ponder the question, Where is experience located? I deepen the exploration by layering Drake's (2007) KnowlDo/Be framework alongside locatedness and offer descriptions of learning moments grounded in pedagogical theories. In the final phase, I introduce thirdspace theory (Bhabha, 1994; Soja, 1996) as a space that allowed me to puzzle educational dilemmas and begin to reconcile the binaries that existed in my life both personally, and professionally. I end where I began by revisiting the questions that drove this study. In addition, Ireflect upon the writing process and the challenges that I encountered while immersed in this approach and contemplate the relevance of conducting a self-study. I leave the reader with what is waiting for me on the other side of the gate, for as Henry James suggested, "Experience is never limited, and it is never complete."
    • Identification and characterization of a Catharanthus roseus mutant altered in monoterpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthesis

      Thamm, Antje MK; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2014-09-09)
      The Madagascar periwinkle [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don] is a commercially important horticultural flower species and is the only source for several pharmaceutically valuable monoterpenoid indole alkaloids (MIAs), including the powerful antihypertensive ajmalicine and the antineoplastic agents vincristine and vinblastine. While biosynthesis of MIA precursors has been elucidated, conversion of the common MIA precursor strictosidine to MIAs of different families, for example ajmalicine, catharanthine or vindoline, remains uncharacterized. Deglycosylation of strictosidine by the key enzyme Strictosidine beta-glucosidase (SGD) leads to a pool of uncharacterized reaction products that are diverted into the different MIA families, but the downstream reactions are uncharacterized. Screening of 3600 EMS (ethyl methane sulfonate) mutagenized C. roseus plants to identify mutants with altered MIA profiles yielded one plant with high ajmalicine, and low catharanthine and vindoline content. RNA sequencing and comparative bioinformatics of mutant and wildtype plants showed up-regulation of SGD and the transcriptional repressor Zinc finger Catharanthus transcription factor (ZCT1) in the mutant line. The increased SGD activity in mutants seems to yield a larger pool of uncharacterized SGD reaction products that are channeled away from catharanthine and vindoline towards biosynthesis of ajmalicine when compared to the wildtype. Further bioinformatic analyses, and crossings between mutant and wildtype suggest a transcription factor upstream of SGD and ZCT1 to be mutated, leading to up-regulation of Sgd and Zct1. The crossing experiments further show that biosynthesis of the different MIA families is differentially regulated and highly complex. Three new transcription factors were identified by bioinformatics that seem to be involved in the regulation of Zct1 and Sgd expression, leading to the high ajmalicine phenotype. Increased cathenamine reductase activity in the mutant converts the pool of SGD reaction products into ajmalicine and its stereoisomer tetrahydroalstonine. The stereochemistry of ajmalicine and tetrahydroalstonine biosynthesis in vivo and in vitro was further characterized. In addition, a new clade of perakine reductase-like enzymes was identified that reduces the SGD reaction product vallesiachotamine in a stereo-specific manner, characterizing one of the many reactions immediately downstream of SGD that determine the different MIA families. This study establishes that RNA sequencing and comparative bioinformatics, in combination with molecular and biochemical characterization, are valuable tools to determine the genetic basis for mutations that trigger phenotypes, and this approach can also be used for identification of new enzymes and transcription factors.
    • Identification and characterization of retinoic acid-induced morphological and electrophysiological changes in an invertebrate nervous system

      Vesprini, Nicholas; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2012-07-31)
      The vitamin A metabolite, retinoic acid (RA) is known to play an important role in the development, patterning and regeneration of nervous tissue, both in the embryo and in the adult. Classically, RA is known to mediate the transcription of target genes through the binding and activation ofits nuclear receptors: the retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Recently, mounting evidence from many animal models has implicated a number of RA-mediated effects operating independently of gene transcription, and thus highlights nove~ nongenornic actions of RA. For example, recent work utilizing cultured neurons from the pond snaa Lymnaea stagnalis, has shown that RA can elicit a regenerative response, growth cone turning, independently of "classical" transcriptional activation While this work illustrates a novel regeneration-inducing effect in culture, it is currently -unknown whether RA also induces regeneration in situ. This study has sought to determine RA's regenerative effucts at the morphological and molecular levels by utilizing an in situ approach focusing on a single identified dopaminergic neuron which possesses a known "mapped" morphology within the CNS. These studies show, for the first time in an invertebrate, that RA can increase neurite outgrowth of dopaminergic cells that have undergone a nerve-crush injury. Utilizing Western blot analysis, it was shown that this effect appears to be independent of any changes in whole CNS expression levels of either the RAR or RXR. Additionally, utilizing immunohistochemistry, to examine protein localization, there does not appear to be any obvious changes in the RXR expression level at the crush site. Changes in cell morphology such as neurity extension are known to be modulated by changes in neuronal firing activity. It has been previously shown that exposure to RA over many days can lead to changes in the electrophysiological properties of cultured Lymnaea neurons; however, no studies have investigated whether short-term exposure to RA can elicit electrophysiological changes and/or changes in firing pattern of neurons in Lymnaea or any other species. The studies performed here show, for the first time in any species, that short-tenn treatment with RA can elicit significant changes in the firing properties of both identified dopaminergic neurons and peptidergic neurons. This effect appears to be independent of protein synthesis, activation of protein kinase A or phospholipase C, and calcium influx but is both dose-dependent and isomer-dependent. These studies provide evidence that the RXR, but not RAR, may be involved, and that intracellular calcium concentrations decrease upon RAexposure with a time course, dose-dependency and isomer-dependency that coincide with the RA-induced electrophysiological changes. Taken together, these studies provide important evidence highlighting RA as a multifunctional molecule, inducing morphological, molecular and electrophysiological changes within the CNS, and highlight the many pathways through which RA may operate to elicit its effects.
    • Identification of novel retinoid receptors and their roles in vertebrate and invertebrate nervous systems

      Charter, Christopher J; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2012-07-30)
      In vertebrates, signaling by retinoic acid (RA) is known to play an important role in embryonic development, as well as organ homeostasis in the adult. In organisms such as adult axolotls and newts, RA is also important for regeneration of the CNS, limb, tail, and many other organ systems. RA mediates many of its effects in development and regeneration through nuclear receptors, known as retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). This study provides evidence for an important role of the RA receptor, RAR~2, in ,( '. regeneration ofthe spinal cord and tail of the adult newt. It has previously been proposed that the ability of the nervous system to regenerate might depend on the presence or absence of this RAR~2 isoform. Here, I show for the very first time, that the regenerating spinal cord of the adult newt expresses this ~2 receptor isoform, and inhibition of retinoid signaling through this specific receptor with a selective antagonist inhibits tail and spinal cord regeneration. This provides the first evidence for a role of this receptor in this process. Another species capable of CNS ~~generation in the adult is the invertebrate, " Lymnaea stagnalis. Although RA has been detected in a small number of invertebrates (including Lymnaea), the existence and functional roles of the retinoid receptors in most invertebrate non-chordates, have not been previously studied. It has been widely believed, however, that invertebrate non-chordates only possess the RXR class of retinoid receptors, but not the RARs. In this study, a full-length RXR cDNA has been cloned, which was the first retinoid receptor to be discovered in Lymnaea. I then went on to clone the very first full-length RAR eDNA from any non-chordate, invertebrate species. The functional role of these receptors was examined, and it was shown that normal molluscan development was altered, to varying degrees, by the presence of various RXR and RAR agonists or antagonists. The resulting disruptions in embryogenesis ranged from eye and shell defects, to complete lysis of the early embryo. These studies strongly suggest an important role for both the RXR and RAR in non-chordate development. The molluscan RXR and RAR were also shown to be expressed in the adult, nonregenerating eNS, as well as in individual motor neurons regenerating in culture. More specifically, their expression displayed a non-nuclear distfibution, suggesting a possible non-genomic role for these 'nuclear' receptors. It was shown that immunoreactivity for the RXR was present in almost all regenerating growth cones, and (together with N. Farrar) it was shown that this RXR played a novel, non-genomic role in mediating growth cone turning toward retinoic acid. Immunoreactivity for the novel invertebrate RAR was also found in the regenerating growth cones, but future work will be required to determine its functional role in nerve cell regeneration. Taken together, these data provide evidence for the importance of these novel '. retinoid receptors in development and regeneration, particularly in the adult nervous system, and the conservation of their effects in mediating RA signaling from invertebrates to vertebrates.
    • Identifying language needs of ESL students in a Canadian university based intensive English language program

      Nakaprasit, Thinan; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2010-10-25)
      This study investigated the needs of adult ESL learners intending to pursue higher education in Canada. Its chief purpose was to enable educators and administrators to design ESL programs that would prepare students to function at optimal levels in academic and social settings during their university studies. The study adopted a mixed research method that was predominantly qualitative in its orientation and narrative in its implementation. It focused on an Intensive English Language Program (IELP) offered at an Ontario university. Using a holistic approach, the study sought to represent the various perspectives of all the participants in the program: the students, the instructors, and the administrators. Analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data gathered from 17 students, 6 instructors, and 1 administrator in the IELP showed that to a large extent the academic needs ofESL learners in the IELP were generally not being met. Most notably, the study found that learners were not receiving sufficient training in speaking and listening skills, a factor that contributed to their sense of insecurity and lack of confidence in their ability to communicate successfully in academic and social settings. The study also revealed that the solutions to many of the problems it identified lay not in the classroom but in the way the ESL program was structured administratively. One major recommendation to come out of the study is that programs like the IELP should be restructured so as to give them greater flexibility in meeting individual needs. While the study labored under certain limitations and did not achieve all of its goals, it did succeed in creating awareness ofthe problems and in establishing a methodological approach that can serve as a framework within which future research may be conducted in this somewhat neglected area.
    • Impact And Effects Of Learning Outcome-Oriented Program Review Policy Changes in Ontario Universities

      Borin, Paola; Borin, Paola; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This multiple-case, mixed methods study characterized the effects, and outcomes perceived by key participants involved in the program review process at four universities, five years after the introduction of a common learning-outcomes oriented quality assurance review process across the province of Ontario in 2011. Purposeful and criterion sampling was applied to identify key informants from four universities, with specialized knowledge and experience from five levels of involvement in recently conducted cyclical program reviews employing the new framework. This included, faculty members, department chairs, teaching and learning centre support staff, quality assurance support staff, and senior administrators. Data were collected using in-depth interviews comprised of structured and unstructured questions. Analysis applied variable and case oriented strategies, thematic and content analysis, and matrix displays. This research found three orientations to the review influenced perceptions and outcomes, including a standard accountability, control and compliance, and an enhancement orientation. Nearly half the changes participants identified as triggered by the review process are likely to have a long-term impact. Perceived negative changes included increased oversight, bureaucracy, and workload. Objectives and accountability of the cyclical review were confounded with ongoing budgetary reviews, institutional goal setting, and measures of the fiscal sustainability. Perceived positive changes included longer-term effects such as increased alignment of curriculum to student outcomes, increased departmental discussion about curriculum, and more consistent provision of program relevant data across the university. Participants described a shift from a focus on teaching students, to a focus on bringing about learning.
    • Impact of different irrigation strategies on grapes and wine quality of four grapevine cultivars (Vitis sp.) in cool climate conditions. An investigation into the relationships among ABA, water status, grape cultivar and wine quality

      Balint, Gabriel; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2012-04-04)
      Niagara Peninsula of Ontario is the largest viticultural area in Canada. Although it is considered to be a cool and wet region, in the last decade many water stress events occurred during the growing seasons with negative effects on grape and wine quality. This study was initiated to understand and develop the best strategies for water management in vineyards and those that might contribute to grape maturity advancement. The irrigation trials investigated the impact of time of initiation (fruit set, lag phase and veraison), water replacement level based on theoretical loss through crop evapotranspiration (ETc; 100,50 and 25%) and different irrigation strategies [partial root zone drying (PRD) versus regulated deficit irrigation (RD!)] on grape composition and wine sensory profiles. The irrigation experiments were conducted in a commercial vineyard (Lambert Vineyards Inc.) located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, from 2005 through 2009. The two experiments that tested the combination of different water regimes and irrigation time initiation were set up in a randomized block design as follows: Baco noir - three replicates x 10 treatments [(25%, 50% and 100% of ETc) x (initiation at fruit set, lag phase and veraison) + control]; Chardonnay - three replicates x seven treatments [(25%, 50% and 100% of ETc) x (initiation at fruit set and veraison) + control]. The experiments that tested different irrigation strategies were set up on two cultivars as follows: Sauvignon blanc - four replicates x four treatments [control, fully irrigated (100% ETc), PRD (100% ETc) and RDI (25% ETc)]; Cabemet Sauvignon - four replicates x five treatments [control, fully irrigated (100% ETc), PRD (100% ETc), RDI (50% ETc) and RDI (25% ETc)]. The controls in each experiment were nonirrigated. The irrigation treatments were compared for many variables related to soil water status, vine physiology, berry composition, wine sensory profile, and hormone composition [(abscisic acid (ABA) and its catabolites]. Soil moisture profile was mostly affected by irrigation treatments between 20 and 60 em depth depending on the grapevine cultivar and the regime of water applied. Overall soil moisture was consistently higher throughout the season in 100 and 50% ETc compare to the control. Transpiration rates and leaf temperature as well as shoot growth rate were the most sensitive variables to soil water status. Drip irrigation associated with RDI treatments (50% ETc and 25% ETc) had the most beneficial effects on vine physiology, fruit composition and wine varietal typicity, mainly by maintaining a balance between vegetative and reproductive parts of the vine. Neither the control nor the 100 ETc had overall a positive effect on grape composition and wine sensory typicity. The time of irrigation initiation affected the vine physiology and grape quality, the most positive effect was found in treatments initiated at lag phase and veraison. RDI treatments were overall more consistent in their positive effect on grape composition and wine varietal typicity comparing to PRD treatment. The greatest difference between non-irrigated and irrigated vines in most of the variables studied was found in 2007, the driest and hottest season of the experimental period. Soil water status had a greater and more consistent effect on red grapevine cultivars rather than on white winegrape cultivars. To understand the relationships among soil and plant water status, plant physiology and the hormonal profiles associated with it, abscisic acid (ABA) and its catabolites [phaseic acid (PA), dihydrophaseic acid (DPA), 7-hydroxy-ABA (TOH-ABA), 8' -hydroxy-ABA, neophaseic acid and abscisic acid glucose ester (ABA-GE)] were analyzed in leaves and berries from the Baco noir and Chardonnay irrigation trials over two growing seasons. ABA and some of its catabolites accurately described the water status in the vines. Endogenous ABA and some of its catabolites were strongly affected in Baco noir and Chardonnay by both the water regime (i.e. ET level) and timing of irrigation initiation. Chardonnay grapevines produced less ABA in both leaves and berries compared to Baco noir, which indicated that ABA synthesis is also cultivar dependant. ABA-GE was the main catabolite in treatments with high water deficits, while PA and DPA were higher in treatments with high water status, suggesting that the vine produced more ABA-GE under water deficits to maintain rapid control of the stomata. These differences between irrigation treatments with respect to ABA and catabolites were particularly noticeable in the dry 2007 season. Two trials using exogenous ABA investigated the effect of different concentrations of ABA and organs targeted for spraying, on grape maturation and berry composition of Cabemet Sauvignon grapevines, in two cool and wet seasons (2008-2009). The fIrst experiment consisted of three replicates x three treatments [(150 and 300 mg/L, both applications only on clusters) + untreated control] while the second experiment consisted in three replicates x four treatments [(full canopy, only clusters, and only leaves sprayed with 300 ppm ABA) + untreated control]. Exogenous ABA was effective in hastening veraison, and improving the composition of Cabemet Sauvignon. Ability of ABA to control the timing of grape berry maturation was dependant on both solution concentration and the target organ. ABA affected not only fruit composition but also yield components. Berries treated with ABA had lower weight and higher skin dry mass, which constitutes qualitative aspects desired in the wine grapes. Temporal advancement of ripening through hormonal control can lead to earlier fruit maturation, which is a distinct advantage in cooler areas or areas with a high risk of early frost occurrence. Exogenous ABA could provide considerable benefits to wine industry in terms of grape composition, wine style and schedule activities in the winery, particularly in wet and cool years. These trials provide the ftrst comprehensive data in eastern North America on the response of important hybrid and Vitis vinifera winegrape cultivars to irrigation management. Results from this study additionally might be a forward step in understanding the ABA metabolism, and its relationship with water status. Future research should be focused on ftnding the ABA threshold required to trigger the ripening process, and how this process could be controlled in cool climates.
    • An In-depth Examination of Personality and Aggression Across Different Contexts

      MacDonell, Elliott; Department of Psychology
      Acts of aggression are associated with a variety of negative outcomes. Accordingly, research has aimed to identify the personality traits that give rise to different forms of aggressive behaviour. Recent work has indicated that the factor of Honesty-Humility is associated with a variety of deviant behaviours, including aggression towards others; however, the nuances of these relationships require further investigation. This dissertation aimed to address several gaps in this literature through three main studies. In Study 1, we extended previous findings to younger populations, examining the associations between Honesty-Humility and aggression longitudinally in a large sample of children and youth. These findings demonstrated a bidirectional relationship between Honesty-Humility and aggression over time, such that low levels of Honesty-Humility resulted in higher levels of aggression and vice versa. In Study 2, we explored the specific facets of Honesty-Humility to determine if they differentially predict proactive and reactive aggression. Despite the theoretical link between Modesty and reactive aggression, we found limited support for this association, especially when controlling for proactive aggression. Overall, the Sincerity and Fairness facets were found to strongly predict both forms of aggression. Lastly, Study 3 explored the associations between Honesty-Humility and deviance, aggression, exploitation, and victimization in a workplace context. Robust relationships were found between Honesty-Humility and several deviant behaviours, further emphasizing the importance of this trait. In particular, when provided with the opportunity to aggress, individuals low in Honesty-Humility were more likely to do so, regardless of their level of power in the situation. Collectively, these findings indicate that Honesty-Humility is the strongest predictor of aggressive and deviant behaviour among the broad factors of personality. However, this dissertation extends previous findings by demonstrating the applicability of Honesty-Humility across different contexts and by providing a nuanced understanding of the components responsible for this relationship.
    • Indices and Implications of Emotional Underarousal for Persons with a History of Head Trauma

      Baker, Julie; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2014-12-12)
      We examined the role of altered emotional functioning across the spectrum of injury severity (mild head injury [MHI], moderate/severe traumatic brain injury [TBI]), its implications for social behaviours, and the effect of modifying arousal and its relation to cognitive performance. In the first study (N = 230), students with self-reported MHI endorsed engaging in socially unacceptable and erratic behaviours significantly more often than did those with no MHI. We did not find significant differences between the groups in the measure of emotional intelligence (EI); however, for students who reported a MHI, scores on the EI measure significantly predicted reports of socially unacceptable behaviours such that lower scores predicted poorer social functioning, accounting for approximately 20% of the variance. Also, the experience of postconcussive symptoms was found to be significantly greater for students with MHI relative to their peers. In the second study (N = 85), we further examined emotional underarousal in terms of physiological (i.e., electrodermal activation [EDA]) and self-reported responsivity to emotionally-evocative picture stimuli. Although the valence ratings of the stimuli did not differ between students with and without MHI as we had expected, we found evidence of reduced and/or indiscriminate emotional responding to the stimuli for those with MHI which mimics that observed in other studies for persons with moderate/severe TBI. We also found that emotional underarousal followed a gradient of injury severity despite reporting a pattern of experiencing more life stressors. In the third study (N = 81), we replicated our findings of emotional underarousal for those with head trauma and also uniquely explored neuroendocrine aspects (salivary cortisol; cortisol awakening response [CAR]) and autonomic indices (EDA) of emotional dysregulation in terms of stress responsivity across the spectrum of injury severity (MHI [n = 32], moderate/severe TBI [n = 9], and age and education matched controls [n = 40]). Although the manipulation was effective in modifying arousal state in terms of autonomic and self-reported indices, we did not support our hypothesis that increased arousal would be related to improved performance on cognitive measures for those with prior injury. To our knowledge, this is the only study to examine the CAR with this population. Repeated measure analysis revealed that, upon awakening, students with no reported head trauma illustrated the typical CAR increase 45 minutes after waking, whereas, students who had a history of either mild head trauma or moderate/severe TBI demonstrated a blunted CAR. Thus, across the three studies we have provided evidence of emotional underarousal, its potential implications for social interactions, and also have identified potentially useful indices of dysregulated stress responsivity regardless of injury severity.
    • Individual Differences in Global/Local Processing Bias and the Attentional Blink

      Dale, Gillian; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2014-01-27)
      When the second of two targets (T2) is presented temporally close to the first target (T1) in rapid serial visual presentation, accuracy to detect/identify T2 is markedly reduced as compared to longer target separations. This is known as the attentional blink (AB), and is thought to reflect a limitation of selective attention. While most individuals show an AB, research has demonstrated that individuals are variously susceptible to this effect. To explain these differences, Dale and Arnell (2010) examined whether dispositional differences in attentional breadth, as measured by the Navon letter task, could predict individual AB magnitude. They found that individuals who showed a natural bias toward the broad, global level of Navon letter stimuli were less susceptible to the AB as compared to individuals who showed a natural bias toward the detailed, local aspects of Navon letter stimuli. This suggests that individuals who naturally broaden their attention can overcome the AB. However, it was unclear how stable these individual differences were over time, and whether a variety of global/local tasks could predict AB performance. As such, the purpose of this dissertation was to investigate, through four empirical studies, the nature of individual differences in both global/local bias and the AB, and how these differences in attentional breadth can modulate AB performance. Study 1 was designed to examine the stability of dispositional global/local biases over time, as well as the relationships among three different global/local processing measures. Study 2 examined the stability of individual differences in the AB, as well as the relationship among two distinct AB tasks. Study 3 examined whether the three distinct global/local tasks used in Study 1 could predict performance on the two AB tasks from Study 2. Finally, Study 4 explored whether individual differences in global/local bias could be manipulated by exposing participants to high/low spatial frequencies and Navon stimuli. In Study 1, I showed that dispositional differences in global/local bias were reliable over a period of at least a week, demonstrating that these individual biases may be trait-like. However, the three tasks that purportedly measure global/local bias were unrelated to each other, suggesting that they measure unique aspects of global/local processing. In Study 2, I found that individual variation in AB performance was also reliable over a period of at least a week, and that the two AB task versions were correlated. Study 3 showed that dispositional global/local biases, as measured by the three tasks from Study 1, predicted AB magnitude, such that individuals who were naturally globally biased had smaller ABs. Finally, in Study 4 I demonstrated that these dispositional global/local biases are resistant to both spatial frequency and Navon letter manipulations, indicating that these differences are robust and intractable. Overall, the results of the four studies in this dissertation help clarify the role of individual differences in attentional breadth in selective attention.
    • Influence of adolescent social instability stress on the intake of ethanol and sucrose in a rodent model

      de Lima Marcolin, Marina; Department of Biological Sciences
      Adolescence is a sensitive period in which the effects of stress and alcohol can have long-lasting impacts. Social instability stress in adolescent rats (SS; postnatal day 30-45, daily 1 hour isolation + new cage partner) alters behavioural responses to psychostimulants and increases anxiety-like behaviour, but differences in voluntary consumption of natural and drug rewards are unknown. The main goal of my thesis was to investigate the effects of adolescent social instability stress (SS) on immediate and long-lasting changes on reward-related behaviours in male rats using voluntary alcohol intake paradigms. Another goal was to investigate the influence of social context on the propensity to drink alcohol, as well as the influence of these factors on sucrose intake. In chapter 2, I found that adolescent SS increased alcohol intake irrespective of social context, and adolescents drank more alcohol than adults. The intake of sucrose was not altered by stress, except during context of competition. In chapter 3, I found that history of alcohol drinking reduced synaptic plasticity markers in the dorsal hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, and this reduction was sometimes further reduced by SS. The propensity to drink alcohol was found not to differ between SS and CTL rats in the first experiment, and reduced among SS rats in the second experiment. After nine days of alcohol absence, the propensity to drink alcohol was not increased by previous alcohol access, and SS increased intake only in alcohol-naïve rats. History of alcohol drinking reduced anxiety-like behaviours and blunted SS-induced reduction in social interactions. Both SS and alcohol decreased corticosterone levels at baseline and after fear recall without changing freezing behaviour. My findings indicate that using a model of mild social stressor can have great impact on adolescent rats, but moderate effects in adult rats. The behavioural changes caused by stress can be enhanced later in life by history of alcohol drinking, but that does not necessarily cause an increase in the propensity to drink during adulthood, as other studies have shown. Adolescent stressed rats drink more alcohol than other groups, but they don’t seem to continue drinking more when they reach adulthood. These results indicate that the effects of social instability stress are transient in regards to propensity to drink, and can be the basis for alterations caused by both alcohol and stress.