• A Rhetorical Model of Autism: a Pop Culture Personification of Masculinity in Crisis

      Matthews, Malcolm; Interdisciplinary Humanities Program
      ABSTRACT In my dissertation, I argue that significant rhetorical mechanisms are at work in the production and consumption of portrayals of autism in literature, TV, and film. My project is driven by a central question: In what ways do portrayals of autism function as a visual rhetorical reconfiguration of masculinity that reimagines and repurposes disability in the service of the promotion of Humanist notions of white male hegemony in a technocentric era? I begin with Hans Asperger’s 1944 claim that autism is “a variant of male intelligence.” I connect that originary declaration with contemporary observations by Stuart Murray that autism is a form of “metaphorized hypermasculinity” and with Simon Baron-Cohen’s controversial insistence that autism represents a version of “The Extreme Male Brain.” Such testimonials, coupled with results from my own analysis and taxonomy of autistic characters throughout emerging popular culture manifestations, has led me to hypothesize that autism in portrayal serves as a survival guide for the white Western male in an era that threatens to be post-racial, post-ableist, post-phallocentric, and even post-anthropocentric. Fictional adolescent autists (e.g.: Christopher Boone, Nathanial Clark, and Colin Fischer), living autists (e.g.: David Paravicini, Daniel Tammet, and Temple Grandin), autistic “techno-savants” (e.g.: Spock, Rain Man, Sheldon Cooper), and speculatively diagnosed historical figures (e.g.: Alan Turing, Andy Warhol, and Bobby Fischer), advance a distinct “autism aesthetic” and function as rhetorical texts whose readings expose an unexplored intersection of disability, masculinity, ethnicity, and digital technology. Such characters illustrate in visual rhetorical terms how certain traits of autism are being romanticized in a digital era to equate ethnic whiteness with intellect and with a re-branded form of techno-masculinity. By providing a Rhetorical Model of autism as a link between autism as a clinical condition and as a cultural construct, I aim to form a more complete picture of autism and of its role in popular consciousness. As an interdisciplinary project, my dissertation draws upon the vocabularies and methodologies of gender, disability, and media studies. Under the unifying umbrella of visual rhetoric, I explore ethnicity, sexuality, and symbol-manipulation on the autism spectrum as they relate to Western man’s hope for a unifying techno-human singularity and his anxiety over the possible obsolescence of conventional constructions of masculinity. At stake are notions of hegemonic masculinity and of autism as a rhetorical artifact with real world implications.
    • Riffing on a Theme: Faculty Experiences With Service-Learning in a Food Security Research Network in Ontario

      Harrison, Barbara; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2013-04-10)
      While service-learning is often said to be beneficial for all those involved—students, community members, higher education institutions, and faculty members—there are relatively few studies of the attraction to, and effect of, service-learning on faculty members. Existing studies have tended to use a survey design, and to be based in the United States. There is a lack of information on faculty experiences with service-learning in Ontario or Canada. This qualitative case study of faculty experiences with service-learning was framed through an Appreciative Inquiry social constructionist approach. The data were drawn from interviews with 18 faculty members who belong to a Food Security Research Network (FSRN) at a university in northern Ontario, reports submitted by the network, and personal observation of a selection of network-related events. This dissertation study revealed how involvement with service-learning created opportunities for faculty learning and growth. The focus on food security and a commitment to the sustainability of local food production was found to be an ongoing attraction to service-learning and a means to engage in and integrate research and teaching on matters of personal and professional importance to these faculty members. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the FSRN’s model and the perceived value of a themed, transdisciplinary approach to service-learning. This study highlights promising practices for involving faculty in service-learning and, in keeping with an Appreciative Inquiry approach, depicts a view of faculty work at its best.
    • Role Differences in the Perception of Injustice

      Gosse, Leanne L.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2012-07-30)
      The current dissertation examined role differences in the perception of injustice; specifically, differences in how victims and offenders respond to a situation that they both agree is unfair. Past research has demonstrated that role affects reactions to transgressions and injustice, including recall of transgressions, and attributions of blame and responsibility (e.g., Baumeister, Stillwell, & Wotman, 1990; Mikula, Athenstaedt, Heschgl, & Heimgartner, 1998). However, to date, little work has examined role differences in perceptions of why an event is perceived as unfair (i.e., how an injustice is framed) or how justice should be restored. These were the perceptions I focused on in the present thesis. I also examined potential concerns that may motivate victims' and offenders' justice reactions, as well as the potential interaction between role and relationship quality in predicting justice reactions. In Studies 1 and 2, several of the predicted role differences in concerns were found; however, these did not lead to the expected differences in framing and restoration. In Study 1, using a vignette methodology, I found differences primarily in how victims and offenders believed justice should be restored. Overall, the significant role effects showed an accommodating response pattern (e.g., offenders proposed punishment more than did victims and neutral observers, whereas victims recommended minimal compensation more than did offenders and neutral observers), inconsistent with previous research and my hypotheses. Study 2, which employed a sample of romantic couples, substantiated the accommodating pattern found in Study 1. Study 3, which sampled a broader range of relationships, also showed i \ examples of accommodating reactions. In addition, Study 3 provided some support for the hypothesized interaction between role and relationship quality, such that responses were more accommodating as relationship quality increased. For example, offenders more strongly endorsed methods of restoration such as offender apology and recognition of the relationship with increasing relationship quality. Overall, the results from this dissertation support the general notion that victims and offenders respond to injustice differently, and, in-line with previous research on other justice-related responses (e.g., Mikula et at, 1998), suggest that victims and offenders show an other-serving, accommodating tendency in justice reactions when relationship quality is high.
    • The Role of CRISPR-Mediated Phage Resistance in the Development of Phage-Based Biocontrol for Erwinia amylovora

      Parcey, Michael; Centre for Biotechnology
      In the post-antibiotic era, resistance in pathogenic bacteria is projected to significantly hinder crop production and become one of the leading causes of death. This has necessitated the development of therapies to address antibiotic resistant microbes and prolong the period for which antibiotics remain a viable treatment option. A prominent alternative technology that has recently re-emerged is the use of bacterial viruses known as phages. Phages selectively lyse their bacterial hosts during the replication process but must avoid phage resistance mechanisms to eliminate a bacterial population. In this dissertation, the impact of phage resistance on biocontrol efficacy is examined using the phytopathogen Erwinia amylovora. The primary source of acquired phage immunity in bacteria is the CRISPR-Cas system. However, the absence of methodologies to study Erwinia phages, and a lack of genomic data for E. amylovora, has previously hindered this avenue of research. Quantitative real time PCR assays were developed to simultaneously monitor both the E. amylovora and phage populations. The individual steps of the phage lytic cycle during infection were characterized by further modification of this methodology. Through this, phage candidates ΦEa46-1-A1 and ΦEa21-4, that previously demonstrated high biocontrol potential, were shown to produce a large number of progenies over a short period of time. A comparative genomic analysis using 127 sequenced isolates of E. amylovora was then completed. This study proposed three primary clades of E. amylovora which infect apples in North America. A novel bioinformatic pipeline was subsequently developed to analyse the CRISPR regions of E. amylovora and the activity of the CRISPR-Cas system was then confirmed. While each clade of E. amylovora exhibited a unique CRISPR arrays, none of the identified CRISPR spacers provided inherent protection against any biocontrol candidate. CRISPR-mediated phage resistance was confirmed in E. amylovora against biocontrol candidate ΦEa21-4 but only in isolates with primed CRISPR-Cas systems. Still, phage resistance to ΦEa21-4 was observed through an unknown resistance mechanism in wild-type isolates. Overall, this work demonstrates new techniques to improve trial outcome prediction and lays the foundation for further investigation into the phage resistance mechanisms of E. amylovora.
    • The Role of Experience in the Organization and Refinement of Face Space

      Short, Lindsey; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2014-09-12)
      Adults code faces in reference to category-specific norms that represent the different face categories encountered in the environment (e.g., race, age). Reliance on such norm-based coding appears to aid recognition, but few studies have examined the development of separable prototypes and the way in which experience influences the refinement of the coding dimensions associated with different face categories. The present dissertation was thus designed to investigate the organization and refinement of face space and the role of experience in shaping sensitivity to its underlying dimensions. In Study 1, I demonstrated that face space is organized with regard to norms that reflect face categories that are both visually and socially distinct. These results provide an indication of the types of category-specific prototypes that can conceivably exist in face space. Study 2 was designed to investigate whether children rely on category-specific prototypes and the extent to which experience facilitates the development of separable norms. I demonstrated that unlike adults and older children, 5-year-olds rely on a relatively undifferentiated face space, even for categories with which they receive ample experience. These results suggest that the dimensions of face space undergo significant refinement throughout childhood; 5 years of experience with a face category is not sufficient to facilitate the development of separable norms. In Studies 3 through 5, I examined how early and continuous exposure to young adult faces may optimize the face processing system for the dimensions of young relative to older adult faces. In Study 3, I found evidence for a young adult bias in attentional allocation among young and older adults. However, whereas young adults showed an own-age recognition advantage, older adults exhibited comparable recognition for young and older faces. These results suggest that despite the significant experience that older adults have with older faces, the early and continuous exposure they received with young faces continues to influence their recognition, perhaps because face space is optimized for young faces. In Studies 4 and 5, I examined whether sensitivity to deviations from the norm is superior for young relative to older adult faces. I used normality/attractiveness judgments as a measure of this sensitivity; to examine whether biases were specific to norm-based coding, I asked participants to discriminate between the same faces. Both young and older adults were more accurate when tested with young relative to older faces—but only when judging normality. Like adults, 3- and 7-year-olds were more accurate in judging the attractiveness of young faces; however, unlike adults, this bias extended to the discrimination task. Thus by 3 years of age children are more sensitive to differences among young relative to older faces, suggesting that young children's perceptual system is more finely tuned for young than older adult faces. Collectively, the results of this dissertation help elucidate the development of category-specific norms and clarify the role of experience in shaping sensitivity to the dimensions of face space.
    • The role of microRNAs and retinoid signaling during spinal cord regeneration in the adult newt.

      Lepp, Amanda; Department of Biological Sciences
      The molecular events after spinal cord injury that lead to the establishment of a permissive environment and epimorphic regeneration remain unclear. Two molecular pathway regulators that may converge to create a spinal cord regeneration-permissive environment in the urodele are retinoic acid (RA) and microRNAs (miRNAs). Recent evidence suggests that RARβ-mediated signaling is necessary for tail and caudal spinal cord regeneration in the adult newt. MicroRNAs are attractive candidates as mediators of retinoid signaling during regeneration, as their pleiotropic effects are vital in situations where global changes in gene expression are required. Thus, the overall aim of this thesis was to determine if miRNAs are involved in tail and caudal spinal cord regeneration in the adult newt, and if they act as regulators and/or effectors of retinoid signaling during this process. I have demonstrated here, for the first time, that multiple miRNAs are dysregulated in response to spinal cord injury in the adult newt, as well as in response to inhibition of retinoid signaling. Two of these miRNAs, miR-133a and miR-1, appear to target RARβ2 transcripts both in vivo and in vitro. Inhibition of RA signaling via RARβ with a selective antagonist, LE135, alters the pattern of expression of these miRNAs, which leads to an inhibition of tail regeneration. These data are indicative of a negative feed back loop, albeit potentially an indirect one. I also aimed to examine which miRNAs are affected by inhibiting RA synthesis during regeneration, and provided a long list of miRNAs that are dysregulated. These data provide the foundation for future studies on the putative roles of these miRNAs, as well as their function in retinoid signaling. Overall, these studies provide the first evidence for a role for miRNAs as mediators of retinoid signaling during caudal spinal cord regeneration in any system.
    • The role of mobile elements in recent primate genomes

      Tang, Wanxiangfu; Department of Biological Sciences
      Mobile elements (MEs), which constitute ~50% of the primate genomes, have contributed to both genome evolution and gene function as demonstrated by ample evidence discovered over the last few decades. The three studies in this thesis aims to provide a better understanding of the evolutionary profile and function of MEs in the primate genomes by taking a computational comparative genomics approach. The first study represents a comprehensive analysis of the differential ME transposition among primates via identification of species-specific MEs (SS-MEs) in eight primate genomes from the families of Hominidae and Cercopithecidae using a comparative genomics approach. In total, 230,855 SS-MEs are identified, which reveal striking differences in retrotransposition level in the eight primate genomes. The second study represents a more focused analysis for the identification of a new type of MEs, which we term “retro-DNA” for non-LTR retrotransposons derived from DNA transposons, in the recent primate genomes. By investigating biallelic DNA transposons that have both the insertion and pre-integration alleles in ten primate genomes, a total of 1,750 retro-DNA elements representing 750 unique insertion events are reported for the first time. The third study provides an analysis of the mechanism underlying the differential SINE transposition in the primate genomes. In this study, Alu profiles are compared and the Alu master copies are identified in six primate genomes in the Hominidae and Cercopithecidae groups. The results show that each lineage of the primates and each species owns a unique Alu profile exclusively defined by the AluY transposition activity, which is determined by the number of Alu master copies and their relative activity. Overall, work in this thesis provides new insights about MEs and their impact on the recent primate genomes by revealing differential ME transposition as an important mechanism in generating genome diversity among primate lineages and species through discovering a new type of MEs and preliminary analysis of the mechanism underlying the differential ME transposition among primates. Furthermore, taking advantage of the recently available primate genomes and transcriptomes data, the work in this thesis demonstrates the great potential of the comparative genomic approach in studying MEs in primate genomes.
    • The Role of Protein Following Intense Exercise in Competitive Youth Athletes

      McKinlay, Brandon; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The overall purpose of this thesis was to examine the role of post-exercise dairy protein consumption (isolated and whole-food) on recovery indices (performance and muscle damage) and inflammation following intense exercise within the context of different ecologically valid sporting environments, i.e., acute competition and a short-term period of intensified training, in competitive youth athletes. For this, two studies were conducted. Study 1 (Chapter 3) investigated the effect of whey protein consumption following a high-intensity interval swim session (HIIS) among adolescent swimmers on subsequent performance, muscle soreness, plasma creatine kinase and inflammatory cytokines, compared with isoenergetic carbohydrate and flavoured water in the acute (0–8 h) and short-term (8–24 h) recovery periods. Study 2 (Chapter 4) examined the effects of increased protein consumption, via plain Greek yogurt, compared with an isoenergetic carbohydrate control on performance recovery, inflammation, and muscle damage, during a 5-day simulated soccer training camp in competitive adolescent female soccer players. The collective findings indicate that during both acute and short-term periods of intensified exercise, the provision of dairy protein regardless of form (isolated or whole food), provided no added benefit at enhancing performance recovery or ameliorating muscle damage above that of energy matched carbohydrates. However, it does appear that the consumption of calories, regardless of type (e.g., carbohydrates or dairy protein), when rapid recovery is required, offers greater performance retainment than water. Therefore, during periods of intensified exercise that may be accompanied by inadequate recovery, the replenishment of energy should be the primary focus. Further, in both studies the consumption of dairy protein following exercise leads to an augmented anti-inflammatory response (i.e., increased IL10), not observed in the control conditions (i.e., water or energy-matched carbohydrates). Thus, it is possible that dairy protein consumption post-exercise may benefit the acute immune response. This possibility requires further study.
    • The role of retinoic acid in long-term memory formation and synaptic plasticity in the mollusc Lymnaea stagnalis

      Rothwell, Cailin; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2015-02-04)
      The active metabolite of vitamin A, retinoic acid (RA), is involved in memory formation and hippocampal plasticity in vertebrates. A similar role for retinoid signaling in learning and memory formation has not previously been examined in an invertebrate species. However, the conservation of retinoid signaling between vertebrates and invertebrates is supported by the presence of retinoid signaling machinery in invertebrates. For example, in the mollusc Lymnaea stagnalis the metabolic enzymes and retinoid receptors have been cloned from the CNS. In this study I demonstrated that impairing retinoid signaling in Lymnaea by either inhibiting RALDH activity or using retinoid receptor antagonists, prevented the formation of long-term memory (LTM). However, learning and intermediate-term memory were not affected. An additional finding was that exposure to constant darkness (due to the light-sensitive nature of RA) itself enhanced memory formation. This memory-promoting effect of darkness was sufficient to overcome the inhibitory effects of RALDH inhibition, but not that of a retinoid receptor antagonist, suggesting that environmental light conditions may influence retinoid signaling. Since RA also influences synaptic plasticity underlying hippocampal-dependent memory formation, I also examined whether RA would act in a trophic manner to influence synapse formation and/or synaptic transmission between invertebrate neurons. However, I found no evidence to support an effect of RA on post-tetanic potentiation of a chemical synapse. Retinoic acid did, however, reduce transmission at electrical synapses in a cell-specific manner. Overall, these studies provide the first evidence for a role of RA in the formation of implicit long-term memories in an invertebrate species and suggest that the role of retinoid signaling in memory formation has an ancient origin.
    • The role of skeletal muscle PLIN proteins at rest and following lipolytic stimulation

      MacPherson, Rebecca EK; Applied Health Sciences Program (Brock University, 2013-12-16)
      This thesis investigated the subcellular location of skeletal muscle PLIN proteins (PLIN2, PLIN3, and PLIN5) as well as protein interactions with ATGL and HSL at rest and following lipolytic stimulation. In addition, the serine phosphorylation state of PLIN2, PLIN3, and PLIN5 was determined at rest and following lipolytic stimulation. An isolated whole muscle technique was used to study the effects of contraction and epinephrine-induced lipolysis. This method allowed for the examination of the effects of contraction and epinephrine alone and in combination. Further, the soleus was chosen for investigating the role of PLIN proteins in skeletal muscle lipolysis due to its suitability for isolated incubation, and the fact that it is primarily oxidative in nature (~80% type I fibres). It has also been previously shown to have the greatest reliance on lipid metabolism and for this reason is ideal for investigating the role of PLIN proteins in lipolysis. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that skeletal muscle lipid droplets are partially co-localized to both PLIN2 and PLIN5 and that contraction does not affect the amount of colocalization, indicating that PLIN5 is not recruited to lipid droplets with contraction (PLIN2 ~65%; PLIN5 ~56%). Results from the immunoprecipitation studies revealed that with lipolysis in skeletal muscle the interaction between ATGL and CGI-58 is increased (study 2: 128% with contraction, p<0.05; study 3: 50% with contraction, 25% epinephrine, 80% contraction + epinephrine, p>0.05). Further PLIN2, PLIN3, and PLIN5 all interact with ATGL and HSL, while only PLIN3 and PLIN5 interact with CGI-58. Among these interactions, the association between PLIN2 and ATGL decreases with lipolytic stimulation (study 2: 21% with contraction, p<0.05). Finally our results demonstrate that PLIN3 and PLIN5 are serine phosphorylated at rest and that the level of phosphorylation remains unchanged in the face of either contractile or adrenergic stimulation. In summary, the regulation of skeletal muscle lipolysis is a complex process involving multiple proteins and enzymes. The skeletal muscle PLIN proteins likely play a role in skeletal muscle lipid droplet dynamics, and the data from this thesis indicate that these proteins may work together in regulating lipolysis by interaction with both ATGL and HSL.
    • Sclerostin influences body composition adaptations to exercise training

      Kurgan, Nigel; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Sclerostin is a secreted glycoprotein mainly produced by the osteocyte, which inhibits the canonical Wnt/ß-catenin signalling pathway. In mice, genetic deletion, or inhibition of sclerostin with a neutralizing antibody increases bone mass while also improving insulin sensitivity and lipid homeostasis. Despite sclerostin not being expressed by adipose tissue (AT), reductions in white AT (WAT) mass and adipocyte cross-sectional area can also be observed with sclerostin inhibition, ultimately conferring resistance to a high-fat diet. Resting circulating sclerostin has also been shown to decrease following exercise training. This dissertation includes six studies examining the hypothesis that sclerostin influences adaptations in fat mass in response to exercise training. Study 1 did not identify serum sclerostin’s response to acute exercise with a top-down proteomic analysis. Study 2 of this thesis utilized a targeted approach and found sclerostin increases in the circulation transiently following acute exercise in adolescents with excess adiposity while those with normal weight have a blunted response. Study 3 utilized a longitudinal study design and found a diet and exercise intervention that leads to a reduction in fat mass attenuates sclerostin’s post-exercise increase in adolescents with excess adiposity. Study 4 identified sclerostin was present in human AT and decreased following exercise training in adults with excess adiposity. Study 5 characterized sclerostin’s response to acute exercise within serum and WAT depots of a mouse model and showed that serum sclerostin is elevated during recovery only in obese mice compared to lean mice and the monomeric form of sclerostin is reduced in scWAT during recovery from acute exercise and is abolished in visceral WAT in response to an obesogenic diet. Study 6 showed that prevention in the reduction in sclerostin seen with exercise with daily injections of recombinant sclerostin also prevents the reduction in scWAT mass and adipocyte cell size and increased lean mass seen with exercise training. These changes may be related to a shift in fuel utilization. Taken together, this thesis provides evidence that sclerostin is influenced by adiposity and exercise training and fluctuations in sclerostin content can regulate adaptations in fat mass and lean mass, which may be mediated by changes in metabolism.
    • Sclerostin Response to Exercise: Association with Bone Turnover, Oxidative Stress and Inflammation

      Kouvelioti, Rozalia; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The purpose of this thesis was to compare the response of sclerostin, a bone-specific glycoprotein that downregulates bone formation, to two modes (high impact vs non-impact) of high intensity interval exercise and to examine its relationship to potential exercise-induced changes in bone turnover (Study 1), oxidative stress (Study 2) and inflammation (Study 3). For the three studies included in this thesis, 40 healthy, young (18-25 years old) female and male adults performed two high intensity interval exercise trials in random order. Trials consisted of eight repetitions of 1 min high intensity running or cycling (mean heart rate 90% of maximum), separated by 1 min passive recovery intervals between repetitions. Blood samples were collected pre-exercise, and 5 min, 1h, 24h and 48h post-exercise. Sclerostin, bone turnover markers (cross linked telopeptide of type Ⅰ collagen [CTXI], procollagen type I amino-terminal propeptide [PINP]), oxidative stress markers (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances [TBARS], protein carbonyls [PC]) and inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β [IL-1β], -10 [IL-10], -6 [IL-6], and tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α]) were measured in serum. In the first two studies, sclerostin showed a significant time effect, but no significant exercise mode effect or interaction in both females (study 1) and males (study 2). In study 3, sclerostin showed a significant main effect for sex and a significant sex-by-time interaction. Specifically, sclerostin significantly increased from pre- to 5 min post-exercise and returned to baseline levels within 1h post-exercise with greater increase in males than females (47% vs. 34%, respectively). Furthermore, there were no correlations between sclerostin’s exercise-induced increase and the corresponding changes in bone turnover and oxidative stress markers. In contrast, sclerostin’s increase 5 min post-exercise was significantly correlated with the corresponding increase in the inflammatory cytokines, especially TNF-α, which along with sex, significantly explained 34% of the variance in its post-exercise elevation. In conclusion, in both young females and males, one session of high intensity interval exercise leads to an increase in sclerostin immediately post-exercise, and this increase is of similar magnitude following high impact and no impact exercise. Furthermore, the increase in sclerostin 5 min post-exercise seems to be associated with the exercise-induced inflammation.
    • Self-Care as a Pedagogical Ontology in the Professional Care Practice of Others and with Others: A Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Self-Care in Nursing Education

      Docherty-Skippen, Susan Maureen; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Healthcare practitioners work in reciprocally dynamic roles in which their health and well-being directly impact their professional competence. This interplay is often understated in ways that regulatory colleges influence training and education programs. In Ontario, for example, we see this in nursing. Although the College of Nurses of Ontario stipulates nursing professional competencies, it does not provide explicit performance expectations related to nursing self-care (i.e., the intentional way one takes care of one’s self). Accordingly, not all Ontario nursing education programs teach self-care. Different from research that deliberates nursing as a discipline or body of knowledge, this research examined how self-care is articulated, prioritized, taught, and assessed in nursing education. As such, the scholarly contribution it offers in the context of education is a pedagogy supporting self-care as a professional competency. Eight nursing faculty shared their lived experiences (through one-on-one interviews) surrounding the notion and phenomenon of self-care in nursing. Through a reiterative hermeneutic interchange that focused on whose voice is missing, an art-informed method that paralleled knowledge creation metaphorically according to the depth and breadth of “delving beneath the surface,” transformed participants spoken words into interpretive texts. Study conclusions suggest that self-care in nursing may be understood and taught through emotionally engaged self-reflection, not as a prescribed set of behaviours or individual task-based activities, but instead, as a pedagogical ontology in the professional care practice of others and with others. To foster successful self-care practice in nursing, educators should consider using arts-based methods to help learners enter and navigate spaces for emotionally engaged self-reflection. Given the urgent need for innovative and rigorous curriculum to support successful self-care practices as part of a healthcare practitioner’s professional role, this research is both timely and relevant.
    • Sex differences in the neural control of muscle

      Inglis, J Greig; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Sex-differences in muscle strength have been linked to differences in muscle size, involved limb, and daily activities. Early work has shown that sex-differences are greater in the upper compared to lower limb, making the upper limb an ideal model to investigate the best statistical approaches for sex comparison. Large differences in the upper limb reveals how biomechanical factors may impact neural control. Since males and females are more comparable with respect to strength in the lower limb, it allows for a determination of whether potential sex-differences in neural control exist without large differences in biomechanics. Understanding sex-differences allows for prescription of rehabilitation and training modalities, taking into account potential specificities in sex-related neuromuscular and musculoskeletal factors. The overall purpose was to examine neural and biomechanical differences that would account for sex-differences in neural control of muscle. Manuscript 1 examined normalization versus an ANCOVA to assess sex-differences. Sex-differences were seen in elbow flexor strength and rate of force development (RFD). Normalization by either maximum strength or neural factors couldn’t account for all sex-differences in RFD, resulting in an ambiguous interpretation. In contrast, both variables were able to be incorporated in an ANCOVA to determine their relative contribution. Manuscript 2 examined the effect of task familiarization and the contribution of maximum strength, twitch contraction time, muscle fiber condition velocity, and rate of muscle activation to sex-differences in the RFD during dorsiflexion. There were no significant differences between the sexes in muscle properties, but there were differences in neural control. Additionally, across days females exhibited a neural adaptation leading to an improvement in the RFD. Manuscript 3 directly assessed potential sex-differences in neural control during force gradation by recording motor unit activity during maximal and submaximal contractions. Females had less force steadiness (FS), which may have resulted from neural compensation for a less optimal pennation angle or a tendency towards greater joint laxity. Higher motor unit discharge rates and incidence of doublets may increase twitch force summation leading to a reduction in FS. Thus, biomechanical, not inherent sex-differences in neural drive led to neural compensation strategies manifesting as a difference in FS.
    • Show me, help me, let me : supporting teachers' changing conceptions of reading assessment and reading instruction

      Grierson, Arlene L.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2009-01-28)
      This qualitative inquiry used case study methodology to explore the change processes of 3 primary-grade teachers throughout their participation in 7 -month professional learning initiative focused on reading assessment and instruction. Participants took part in semimonthly inquiry-based professional learning community sessions, as well as concurrent individualized classroom-based literacy coaching. Each participant's experiences were first analyzed as a single case study, followed by cross-case analyses. While their patterns of professional growth differed, findings documented how all participants altered their understandings of the roles and relevancy of individual components of reading instruction (e.g., comprehension, decoding) and instructional approaches to scaffold students' growth (e.g., levelled text, strategy instruction), and experienced some form of conceptual change. Factors identified as affecting their change processes included; motivation, professional knowledge, professional beliefs (self-efficacy and theoretical orientation), resources (e.g., time, support), differentiated professional learning with associated goal-setting, and uncontrollable influences, with the affect of each factor compounded by interaction with the others. Comparison of participants' experiences to the Cognitive-Affective Model of Conceptual Change (CAMCC) and the Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth (IMTPG) demonstrated the applicability of using both conceptual models, with the IMTPG providing macrolevel insights over time and the CAMCC microlevel insights at each change intervaL Recommendations include the provision of differentiated teacher professional learning opportunities, as well as research documenting the effects of teacher mentorship programs and the professional growth of teacher educators. ii
    • Single-Molecule Magnets and Multifunctional Molecular Magnetic Materials Based on Polynuclear Metal Complexes

      Alexandropoulos, Dimitrios; Department of Chemistry
      Our work on single molecule magnets and multifunctional magnetic materials is presented in four projects. In the first project we show for first time that heteroatomic-type pseudohalides, such as OCN-, can be employed as structure-directing ligands and ferromagnetic couplers in higher oxidation state metal cluster chemistry. The initial use of cyanato groups in Mn cluster chemistry has afforded structurally interesting MnII/III14 (1) and MnII/III/IV16 (2) clusters in which the end-on bridging cyanates show a preference in binding through their O-atom. The Mn14 compound shows entirely visible out-of-phase alternating currect signals below 5 K and large hysteresis loops below 2 K. Furthermore, the amalgamation of azido groups with the triethanolamine tripodal ligand in manganese carboxylate cluster chemistry has led to the isolation of a new ferromagnetic, high-nuclearity and mixed-valence MnII/III15Na2 (3) cluster with a large ground-state spin value of S = 14. In the second project we demonstrate a new synthetic route to purely inorganic-bridged, transition metal-azido clusters [CoII7 (4) and NiII7 (5)] and coordination polymers [{FeII/III2}n (6)] which exhibit strong ferromagnetic, SMM and long-range magnetic ordering behaviors. We also show that access to such a unique ferromagnetic class of inorganic, N-rich and O-free materials is feasible through the use of Me3SiN3 as the azido-ligand precursor without requiring the addition of any organic chelating/bridging ligand. In the last projects we have tried to bring together molecular magnetism and optics via the synthesis of multifunctional magnetic materials based on 3d- or 4f-metal ions. We decided to approach such challenge from two different directions: firstly, in our third project, by the deliberate replacement of non-emissive carboxylato ligands in known 3d-SMMs with their fluorescent analogues, without perturbing the metal-core structure and SMM properties (complexes 7, 8, and 9). The second route (last project) involves the use of naphthalene or pyridine-based polyalcohol bridging ligands for the synthesis of new polynuclear LnIII metal clusters (Ln = lanthanide) with novel topologies, SMM behaviors and luminescent properties arising from the increased efficiency of the “antenna” organic group. This approach has led us to the isolation of two new families of LnIII8 (complexes 10-13) and LnIII4 (complexes 14-20) clusters.
    • Sleep and information processing in individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury

      Milner, Catherine; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2011-05-17)
      Individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) often complain of t roubl e sleeping and daytime fatigue but little is known about the neurophysiological underpinnings of the s e sleep difficulties. The fragile sleep of thos e with a TBI was predicted to be characterized by impairments in gating, hyperarousal and a breakdown in sleep homeostatic mechanisms. To test these hypotheses, 20 individuals with a TBI (18- 64 years old, 10 men) and 20 age-matched controls (18-61 years old, 9 men) took part in a comprehensive investigation of their sleep. While TBI participants were not recruited based on sleep complaint, the fmal sample was comprised of individuals with a variety of sleep complaints, across a range of injury severities. Rigorous screening procedures were used to reduce potential confounds (e.g., medication). Sleep and waking data were recorded with a 20-channel montage on three consecutive nights. Results showed dysregulation in sleep/wake mechanisms. The sleep of individuals with a TBI was less efficient than that of controls, as measured by sleep architecture variables. There was a clear breakdown in both spontaneous and evoked K-complexes in those with a TBI. Greater injury severities were associated with reductions in spindle density, though sleep spindles in slow wave sleep were longer for individuals with TBI than controls. Quantitative EEG revealed an impairment in sleep homeostatic mechanisms during sleep in the TBI group. As well, results showed the presence of hyper arousal based on quantitative EEG during sleep. In wakefulness, quantitative EEG showed a clear dissociation in arousal level between TBls with complaints of insomnia and TBls with daytime fatigue. In addition, ERPs indicated that the experience of hyper arousal in persons with a TBI was supported by neural evidence, particularly in wakefulness and Stage 2 sleep, and especially for those with insomnia symptoms. ERPs during sleep suggested that individuals with a TBI experienced impairments in information processing and sensory gating. Whereas neuropsychological testing and subjective data confirmed predicted deficits in the waking function of those with a TBI, particularly for those with more severe injuries, there were few group differences on laboratory computer-based tasks. Finally, the use of correlation analyses confirmed distinct sleep-wake relationships for each group. In sum, the mechanisms contributing to sleep disruption in TBI are particular to this condition, and unique neurobiological mechanisms predict the experience of insomnia versus daytime fatigue following a TBI. An understanding of how sleep becomes disrupted after a TBI is important to directing future research and neurorehabilitation.
    • Social Anxiety and Psychosocial Functioning: Investigating Relations Across Emerging Adulthood

      Brook, Christina; Department of Psychology
      The social, emotional and academic tasks associated with emerging adulthood are particularly challenging for those with social anxiety, a behavior defined as fear of negative evaluation, distress with social interactions, and/or avoidance of new or all social situations. The goal of this dissertation was to research the longitudinal effects of social anxiety on psychosocial functioning in university students, looking at various behaviors key to this developmental stage of life. In my first study, I examined the relation between social anxiety, social ties, and academic achievement in an autoregressive cross-lagged analysis across three years of university. There were two major findings: the symptoms of social anxiety directly linked to academic achievement, and social ties appeared to play a pivot role through their reciprocal negative and positive relation with social anxiety and academic achievement, respectively. Study two examined social anxiety with respect to alcohol use over three years of university through latent class growth analysis. Five classes were identified, two with social anxiety that differed in levels of alcohol use, and three with low social anxiety and varying levels of alcohol use. The heterogeneity in social anxiety was related to psychosocial functioning. While both social anxiety groups reported similar social anxiety symptomology, only the group linked to higher alcohol use exhibited a greater vulnerability to other at-risk behaviors in year one (e.g., self injury). The third study followed the previously identified five groups through latent growth analysis for a total of seven years, to determine whether there was stability or change in psychosocial functioning over the long term. The results indicated that there was stability within and among groups across time in psychosocial functioning. Notably, the differences detected between the two social anxiety groups in year one continued over the long term, indicating that the at-risk behaviors associated with the social anxiety group reporting higher alcohol use persisted. Overall, this program of research revealed that those with social anxiety in university struggled more than their peers in a variety of domains. From a developmental perspective, the findings of stability in behavior suggested it might be important for intervention and prevention programs to target younger populations with strategies that are continued in a cohesive manner across university, a time when students are exposed to the pressures of achieving in competing developmental tasks.
    • Social neuroendocrinology of competition

      Carré, Justin M.; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2010-10-26)
      The relationship between testosterone concentrations and aggressive behaviour in studies of people has produced very inconsistent findings. However, one consistent fmding that has emerged is that competitive and aggressive interactions potentiate testosterone release in both human and non-human species. It has been argued that socially-induced alterations in testosterone concentrations may function to influence ongoing and/or future social behaviour. Nonetheless, few studies have empirically tested this hypothesis. The current series of experiments was designed to address the extent to which competitioninduced fluctuations in testosterone concentrations were associated with ongoing and/or subsequent social behaviour. In Study 1, men (n = 38) provided saliva samples prior to, and at the conclusion of, the Point Subtraction Aggression Paradigm (PSAP). Although baseline testosterone concentrations were not related to aggressive behaviour, there was a positive correlation between change in testosterone and aggressive behaviour such that men who were most aggressive on the PSAP demonstrated the largest increase in testosterone concentrations. Furthermore, a rise in testosterone during the PSAP predicted willingness to choose a subsequent competitive task. In Study 2, men and women provided saliva samples prior to and after competing against a same-sex opponent on the Number Tracing Task (NTT). The outcome of the competition was rigged such that half of the individuals won most of the races, while the other half lost most of the races, thus experimentally creating a winner and loser in the laboratory. Following the competitive interaction, men and women played the PSAP with their same-sex partner. Results indicated that men selected the aggressive response (but not reward or protection responses), more frequently than women. For men assigned to the loss condition, an increase in testosterone concentrations in response to the NTT predicted subsequent aggressive behaviour. For men assigned to the win condition, an increase in testosterone concentrations in response to the NTT predicted subsequent aggressive behaviour, but only among those men who scored high on trait dominance. Change in testosterone and trait dominance did not predict aggressive behaviour in women. In Study 3, men provided saliva samples prior to, during, and at the end of the PSAP. They were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions that differed in the extent to which they were provoked and whether they received reward for behaving aggressively (i.e., stealing points). Results indicated that baseline testosterone concentrations did not correlate with aggression in any of the experimental conditions. Consistent with Study 1, there was a positive correlation between change in testosterone and aggressive behaviour among men who were provoked, but did not receive reward for aggression (i.e., reactive condition). Men who were provoked but did not receive reward for aggression enjoyed the task the most and were more likely to choose the competitive versus non-competitive task relative to men assigned to the other experimental conditions. Also, individual differences in aggressive behaviour among these men were positively correlated with the extent to which they enjoyed the task. Together, these studies indicate that testosterone dynamics within the context of competition influence subsequent competitive and aggressive behaviours in humans and that testosterone may be a marker of the intrinsically rewarding nature of costly aggressive behaviour.
    • South Asian Immigrant Women Conceptualizing Gender Roles in the Context of Family and Society in Southwestern Ontario

      Ahmed, Ghazala; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      Perceptions of gender roles vary in different cultures, influenced by social location and time. Migration to countries that promote liberal values can impact how men and women perceive their gender roles, their interpersonal relationships with family members, and their day to day activities. Informed by a postcolonial-feminist theoretical perspective, this qualitative study aimed to understand South Asian immigrant women’s perceptions about gender roles in the context of family and society, prior to migration, and after immigration to Canada. A unique aspect of this study is that it explored how participants negotiated their gender roles and identity and exercised their agency prior to migration and post immigration. Four major themes emerged in response to the interview questions: 1) immigration and resettlement challenges; 2) gender roles and a patriarchal society in the native country; 3) perceptions of gender role/women’s role in the Canadian society; and 4) negotiating of gender roles, agency and empowerment. The results of the study indicate that immigration experiences were diverse and should be analyzed through many intersecting lenses including gender, class, social status, and education level to highlight unique challenges experienced by women as opposed to a monolithic representation of women from the East. The study contributes to the literature on South Asian immigrant women by using an interpretation that is based on the knowledge produced by the participants, and by acknowledging their voices as a central focus. Women in this study show that they are agents of change and are not weak and voiceless as depicted through Western discourses.