Now showing items 1-20 of 3200

    • The temporal relationship between cardiolipin biosynthesis and remodeling enzymes and cardiolipin content during unloading atrophy in mouse soleus

      Elkes, Mario; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Skeletal muscle is a heterogeneous tissue that consists of individual fibers that differ in contractile and metabolic properties. Skeletal muscle is also dynamic in its ability to adapt to external stimuli through changes in cell size, number, and/or fiber type composition, which are matched by mitochondrial content. Mitochondria are central to skeletal muscle adaptations and mitochondrial energetic function is highly dependent on the membrane phospholipid composition, specifically the mitochondrially exclusive cardiolipin (CL). CL biosynthesis results in nascent CL which must be remodeled by tafazzin (Taz) to form the predominant CL species in mammals, tetralinoleoyl cardiolipin (TLCL). Previous research has shown that CL content and 18:2n6 composition decreased and Taz protein content increased in tenotomy-induced atrophied mouse soleus, suggesting the upregulation of Taz may play a role in slowing this process. Thus, the purpose of this thesis was to examine the temporal relationship between enzymes of CL biosynthesis and remodelling and CL content during unload induced atrophy. Fourteen days post tenotomy resulted in reduced expression of phosphatidyl glycerol phosphate synthase (PGS1) and Taz protein, as well as a reduction in CL content. PGS1 appeared to be reduced prior to changes to CL content, while Taz was reduced following changes to CL content, suggesting that CL content is mainly dependant on PGS1, and the reduction in total CL may have reduced the need for Taz. This is the first study to show a temporal relationship between CL, CL biosynthesis and remodeling enzymes during muscle atrophy. Our identification of the CL biosynthesis proteins which are impacted during muscle atrophy resulting in reduced CL content, may pave the path for future treatment strategies to preserve the function of these enzymes during atrophy, and maintain CL content.
    • The individual and combined effects of creatine monohydrate and lithium chloride supplementation on brain creatine uptake in male and female rats.

      Murphy, Jensen; Applied Health Sciences Program
      During ischemia and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), phosphocreatine (PCr) acts as a temporal energy buffer preventing rapid decreases in intracellular ATP concentrations. Though, the brain has limited stored creatine and it therefore relies heavily on exogenous substrates. Moreover, creatine monohydrate (CrM) supplementation can significantly increase brain total creatine concentration (TCr). Creatine’s ability to enter the brain is dependent on creatine transporters, and limited evidence suggests lithium (Li), through GSK3 inhibition, upregulates this transport. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to investigate the individual and combined influences of in vivo creatine monohydrate and lithium chloride on creatine concentrations in the rat brain. 64 Sprague-Dawley rats (32 males, 32 females), given ad libitum access to a pelleted 14% certified protein rodent maintenance diet, were randomized into four experimental groups: control (CON), creatine (Cr), lithium (Li), and creatine-lithium (Cr-Li). CrM at 5g/L (0.412g/kg/day) and lithium chloride (LiCl) at 0.2g/L (0.018g/kg/day) were supplemented in the reverse osmosis drinking water. Brain [TCr] was greater with LiCl (p=0.0002), irrespective of CrM, and greater with CrM (p<0.0001), irrespective of LiCl. For slc6a8 mRNA expression, there was a trend for increased expression with LiCl (p=0.12). The female Li group also had a trend greater (p=0.06) than the Cr group. Relative daily CrM consumption was higher without LiCl (p<0.0001) and higher in females (p=0.0001). Relative daily LiCl consumption was higher among females than males (p<0.0001). LiCl inhibited GSK3 activity through an increase in pGSK3a, pGSK3b, ratio of pGSK3a:GSK3a, and ratio of pGSK3b:GSK3b and there was a trend for reduced total GSK3 activity (p=0.11) with LiCl. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that CrM and LiCl supplementation alone and in combination similarly increased brain TCr, with no synergistic or additive effects when combined.
    • The Linkage of Yeast Metabolites, Produced Under Hyperosmotic Stress, to Cellular Cofactor Systems During Icewine Fermentation.

      Allie, Robert; Centre for Biotechnology
      Icewine is a dessert wine of critical importance to the Canadian wine industry. The Icewine grapes are frozen on the vine, creating ice crystals, and subsequently concentrating the solutes in the juice. Icewine juice places yeast under increased osmotic stress, resulting in altered metabolism. This includes increased glycerol production, an internal osmolyte, and higher acetic acid production as they are linked to the cytosolic NAD+ and NADP+ cofactor systems. The yeast glycerol transporter Stl1p allows for glycerol uptake, lowering the production of glycerol and therefore acetic acid. Here we compare two Saccharomyces cerevisiae wine yeast strains, K1-V1116 wild type and K1-V1116 Δstl1, with Saccharomyces uvarum CN1, and relate the differences in metabolite production to the cofactor systems. To that end, starter cultures of each strain were established Icewine juice with samples collected at fixed intervals and assayed for acetic acid, glycerol, ethanol, acetaldehyde, sugar, and the NAD+/NADH and NADP+/NADPH cofactor systems. K1-V1116 wild-type, K1-V1116 Δstl1 knockout, and CN1 showed different kinetics of glycerol and acetic acid production. Although glycerol production per unit time did not vary among the three yeast strains, per unit sugar consumed, K1V1116 Δstl1 produced the most glycerol followed by CN1 and then K1-V1116. K1-V1116 Δstl1 was found to produce the highest amount of acetic acid as a function of sugar consumed compared to the wildtype. CN1 produced the lowest amount of acetic acid as a function of sugar despite producing higher glycerol than the K1 V1116 wild-type. While there was no statistical difference in the NAD(H) redox system ratios between the three yeast to account for the differences in glycerol and acetic acid production, S. uvarum CN1 showed statistically lower amounts of oxidized NADP+ to total NADP(H) compared to both of the S. cerevisiae K1 strains. These findings provide further insight about yeast metabolism under hyperosmotic stress.
    • Effects of Image Temperature and Types of Messages on Advertisement and Product evaluations

      Feng, Junhui; Faculty of Business Programs
      This study examined the effects of images and messages in advertisement and product evaluations. The study categorized advertisements into two parts: images (warm and cold imagery) and messages (abstract and concrete messaging). It is expected that an advertisement with warm images and concrete messages, cold images and abstract messages is more effective in stimulating positive advertisement and product evaluations. The study also explored the mediating role of processing fluency toward advertisement and product evaluations. Results suggest that a warm image fits better with abstract messages, a cold image fits better with concrete messages, which could generate more positive advertisement and product evaluations. In addition, the effect of the “fit condition” of image and message on advertisement and product evaluations is mediated by viewers’ advertisement processing fluency.
    • Re-evaluation of analytical chemistry techniques in studying DNA structures

      Vanloon, Jesse; Department of Chemistry
      This work describes the use of analytical chemistry techniques to examine the structural changes that DNA adopts when subjected to a number of external/internal factors. A self-complementary sequence, d(CG)9, and a non-self-complementary sequence (mixed sequence) were used to study the conformational effects displayed by each type of oligonucleotide sequence. The structural changes adopted by DNA was examined using a variety of analytical techniques, such as: nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), ultra violet visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). 1) d(CG)9 and a mixed sequence in the B- and Z-DNA conformation was examined by CD and UV-Vis at a concentration of 1mM using a home-made cuvette called a Flexicell with a minimum pathlength of 0.129± 0.015 mm. The CD and UV-Vis spectra’s produced were found to be reliable when compared to commercial cuvettes with a pathlength of 1 cm and sample concentration of 10 µM. 2) d(CG)9 was lyophilized and reconstituted using either water or buffer to determine if d(CG)9 adopts a different structure when reconstituted using different conditions. It was determined that lyophilized d(CG)9 adopts a hairpin conformation when reconstituted with water, and a B-DNA duplex when reconstituted with a buffer containing NaCl. 3) d(CG)9 was thermally denatured using DSC to determine if DSC can be a viable method to study oligonucleotides. It was determined that d(CG)9 undergoes a two-state unfolding pathway. 4) Nuclear Overhauser Effect spectroscopy (NOESY) and correlation spectroscopy (COSY) were used to examine the conformational differences of 2’-deoxyadenosine when incubated in water. From the distance and torsion angle constraints obtained from NOESY and COSY respectively, and from existing crystal structures, it was found the structures that were determined by NMR spectroscopy were misleading because of spectral artifacts. 5) A mixed sequence was treated with organic modifying agents to determine the minimal condition required for DNA denaturation when different modifiers were used. It was determined that urea at a concentration of 8 M and at a pH of 12.5 is sufficient to denature the mixed sequence duplex.
    • Volitional muscle activation and its reliability in boys and men

      Maynard, James; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Background Maximal torque production largely depends on the ability to activate the available motor unit (MU) pool. Using the interpolated twitch technique (ITT), early studies reported lower volitional MU activation (VA) in children compared with adults, while several recent studies suggested no age-related differences. The reliability of VA determination has been studied to a limited extent in adults but has not been examined in children. Purpose To assess age-related VA difference and its reliability in boys and men. Methods Eleven boys (8‒12 years) and 12 men (18‒30 years) completed two identical test sessions (following habituation session) which included 10 x 5-s knee-extension MVCs, with 2-min rest intervals. Each contraction was immediately followed by an evoked twitch (Tc). A superimposed twitch (SiT) was applied only to the last five MVCs each day. Age-related VA differences were determined using a repeated measures ANOVA. ITT reliability (SiT, Tc, VA) was assessed in 7 boys and 12 men, using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), derived from a fully nested ANOVA model. Results Maximal knee extension torque was significantly lower in boys compared with men (84.4±18.5 vs. 267.8±67.6 N.m, respectively), even after correcting for body mass (2.3±0.5 vs. 3.3±0.6, respectively). VA was significantly lower in boys than in men (visit 2: 92.6±4.5 vs. 95.2±2.0 %, respectively; visit 3: 93.5±3.4 vs. 96.2±2.8%, respectively, group effect = 0.04), ii with no difference between visits nor group-by-visit interaction. A similar pattern was observed for the SiT and Tc. The ICC for VA was higher in men than in boys (ICC=0.80 vs. 0.33, respectively). In both groups, most of the variance in VA stemmed from inter-trial variability (58.2% and 59.7% of total variance for boys and men, respectively), indicating inconsistency in both groups. In boys, large day-to-day variance (32.5%) indicated poor stability. The SiT reliability was moderate in both groups (ICC=0.69 and 0.47 for boys and men, respectively). The Tc reliability was high for boys and men (r = 0.96 and 0.85, respectively). Conclusions In congruence with early previous findings, boys’ knee extensors VA was lower than that of the men. Contradictory reports of age-related differences in VA in the literature may be due to lack of reliability, and specifically, lack of trial-to-trial consistency using the ITT.
    • COVID-19 news announcements and the foreign exchange markets

      Gholi Panah, Pari; Faculty of Business Programs
      This thesis entails an empirical study investigating the intraday effects of corona-virus pandemic news announcements on FX market price diffusion components, return, and volatility. The study examines explicitly the major foreign exchange market response to the COVID-19 news release, including pandemic figures related to new confirmed cases, number of deaths, progress of vaccine development and administration, government intervention measures to mitigate virus spread, and the World Health Organization senior official speech about pandemic progress. In addition, this paper investigates the context-specific effects of macroeconomic news. In other words, it examines the effects of important macroeconomic news on currency price components prior to and during the pandemic period. The reason behind this is that the literature has reached a clear consensus about macroeconomic news’s significant effects over time. The findings of this research contribute to both the empirical finance literature and the financial industry because they include insights into the behavior of foreign exchange market participants and international finance portfolio managers when analyzing the effects of unprecedented health, social and economic crises. Previous literature shows that the stability of a country’s foreign trade and its external environments impacts the exchange rate return and volatility. COVID-19 made financial markets more volatile as the pandemic increased uncertainty in foreign trade and foreign investment and intensified financial market risks. To have a clear picture of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on FX markets, we incorporate all the essential COVID 19 announcements in this study. Our analysis documents that COVID-19 pandemic indicators and government response policies profoundly impact FX market volatility than a return. Also, regarding vaccine development news, there is strong evidence of FX market reaction to phase 3and emergency approval news related to COVID-19 vaccine development news. There is no evidence of market reaction to WHO official speeches about the COVID-19 pandemic in FX markets. The findings reveal that the FX market reacts to fewer macroeconomic news during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the market reaction to US macroeconomic news is still state-dependent.
    • Fabrication and Characterization of CoFe2O4-BiFeO3 Core Shell Nanocomposite and SrFe(12−2x)CoxRuxO19 Hexaferrites

      Monfared, Sara; Department of Physics
      This thesis consists of three parts. The first section is about CoFe2O4-BiFeO3 core-shell multiferroic nanocomposite synthesized via a two-step wet-chemical process. The presence of both spinel and perovskite constituents as well as the core-shell structure of nanocomposite have been identified using x-ray diffraction and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, respectively. Low temperature (5 K) magnetic measurement exhibited a significant exchange bias in the core-shell nanocomposite which confirms promising connectivity of the constituents in the interface. An enhancement in magneto-dielectric of the core-shell nanocomposite over the CoFe2O4-BiFeO3 (0-3)-type nanocomposites has been seen. Further study on the magneto-loss demonstrated the contribution of the magneto-electric and Maxwell-Wagner effects in magneto-dielectric of the core-shell nanocomposite. The second part of this thesis has focused on the bulk of SrFe(12−2x)CoxRuxO19 (x = 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4) which have been synthesized through the solid-state reaction process. DC magnetic measurement at room temperature exhibited a significant reduction in the coercive field of samples as the concentration of dopants increased. Contrary, an increase in the saturation magnetization was observed in the doped samples. Furthermore, a transition from conical to uniaxial anisotropy has been seen for the doped samples above x=0.3. Thin films of SrFe(12−2x)CoxRuxO19 / (111) SrTiO3 fabricated by a pulsed laser deposition technique, have been studied in the last part of this work. High-resolution parallel beam x-ray diffraction results have shown single orientations for all thin films except one. The thickness of thin films has been determined by the x-ray reflectivity measurement. A certain level of mosaicity has been detected in the prepared films using the rocking curve measurement. The strain and the epitaxial growth of thin films have been investigated utilizing the reciprocal space map technique. Finally, in-plane pole figure measurements revealed high textured films with three-fold and six-fold hexagonal symmetry. The formation of a perpendicular anisotropy in Co-Ru doped Sr-M thin films has been detected from room temperature magnetic measurement. The distribution of Co2+ and Ru4+ ions in different interstitial spaces, the thickness of films, and change in the magneto-anisotropy with a concentration of dopants have a significant effect on the magnetic characteristic of thin films.
    • 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.
    • Investigating the Effects of a Task-Specific Fatigue Protocol on Hand Tracking Performance Using a Wrist Robotic Device

      Fortaleza, Alvin; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The purpose of this work was to evaluate the effects of a dynamic submaximal fatigue protocol and forearm/hand anthropometrics on hand tracking performance. Participants traced a 2:3 Lissajous curve using a haptic wrist robotic device (WristBot). This same curve was traced before the fatigue (baseline), during the fatigue protocol, and after the fatigue protocol. Post fatigue trials were completed at 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 minutes after the cessation of the fatigue protocol. Overall tracking performance and movement smoothness decreased immediately. Directional biases in the normal and longitudinal component of tracking error were present after the fatigue protocol. Proximal forearm circumference and forearm length had a negative correlation with movement smoothness. Hand tracking performance decreased due to the submaximal fatigue protocol. Those with a larger proximal forearm circumference and longer forearm length had better movement smoothness performance which can be applied to the workplace where hand and wrist are predominately used.
    • The Role of Knowledge and Perceived Level of Self-Efficacy on Junior Division Teachers’ Implementation of Physical Literacy in Ontario

      Steven, Soroko; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The Ontario, Health and Physical Education, Grades 1-8 (HPE) curriculum policy document identifies physical literacy as a key component of the overall vision and goal of the subject. Teachers play a primary role with the implementation of the HPE curriculum policy document and as a result can significantly influence a student’s overall physical literacy journey. The release of the HPE curriculum policy document in 2010 provided a definition of physical literacy for elementary teachers in Ontario, which has remained consistent since that time. However, there is limited data on how school boards, schools, and teachers have implemented physical literacy within the context of the Ontario HPE curriculum. This research explored the role that junior division (Grades 4-6) teachers’ knowledge of physical literacy and perceived levels of self-efficacy for teaching HPE has on their implementation of physical literacy within their classroom. Using a mixed methods design, this study examined how junior division teachers’ (n = 35) perceived levels of self-efficacy and knowledge of physical literacy influenced their ability to implement physical literacy within the classroom program. Participants completed an online survey and eight individuals participated in individual interviews for this study. Two main findings related to implementation of physical literacy were that: (a) teachers indicated a need for resources/supports and accessed them from several sources; and, (b) teachers reported several barriers for both implementation of HPE along with others that were more specifically related to COVID-19 protocols. These results have implications for how teachers in schools can be supported with the implementation of physical literacy in order to provide quality learning opportunities that contribute to a student’s physical literacy journey.
    • Weighted Graph Compression using Genetic Algorithms

      Rutkowski, Emilia; Department of Computer Science
      Networks are a great way to present information. It is easy to see how different objects interact with one another, and the nature of their interaction. However, living in the technological era has led to a massive surge in data. Consequently, it is very common for networks/graphs to be large. When graphs get too large, the computational power and time to process these networks gets expensive and inefficient. This is common in areas such as bioinformatics, epidemic contact tracing, social networks, and many others. Graph compression is the process of merging nodes that are highly connected into one super-node, thus shrinking the graph. The goal of graph compression is to merge nodes while mitigating the amount of information lost during the compression process. Unweighted graphs are largely studied in this area. However, in this thesis, we extend the approaches to compress weighted graphs via genetic algorithms and analyse the compression from an epidemic point of view. It is seen that edge weights provide vital information for graph compression. Not only this, but having meaningful edge weights is important as different weights can lead to different results. Moreover, both the original edge weights and adjusted edge weights produce different results when compared to a widely used community detection algorithm, the Louvain Algorithm. However, the different results may be helpful to public health officials. Lastly, the NSGA-II algorithm was implemented. It was found that NSGA-II is more suitable as a pre-processing tool, in order to find a target compression that introduces a comfortable level of distortion, and then using the single-objective genetic algorithm to achieve an improved solution for the target.
    • Advancing a Youth-Centered Pedagogy that Fosters Physical Literacy by Working with Youth and YMCA Recreation Providers

      Petersen, Jennie; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Participation in sport and physical activity declines in children at approximately 11-14 years of age. Efforts to support long-term participation in physical activity have focused on the promotion of physical literacy, which offers a holistic view of the factors affecting youth participation. Limited research has explored pedagogical approaches that can support youth physical literacy and engagement in recreational sport and physical activity contexts. This dissertation investigates pedagogical approaches aimed at supporting youth physical literacy in a YMCA recreation context using action research. An important objective was to support change in YMCA organizational pedagogical practices. Practical implications for the implementation of physical literacy are discussed throughout. Interviews with 10 youth and eight coaches involved in YMCA recreational sport and physical activity programs were conducted in the first study of this dissertation. Factors that supported youth engagement included sense of enjoyment, learning and accomplishment, and comfort with peers in the program. Youth described feeling disengaged when they felt a low sense of autonomy, excluded, or if there was potential for embarrassment. Gender stereotypes were identified as a contributing factor leading to lower levels of participation and engagement in girls. Coaches who had previously taken physical literacy related training perceived improvements in their instructional ability to engage youth. In the second study, 31 youth participated in a series of focus group meetings exploring what approaches to physical literacy resonate amongst youth. During a wrap-up meeting with YMCA stakeholders, youth participants shared their ideas and courses of action. Findings demonstrated that the presence of a caring adult, interacting with peers of a similar age, opportunities to have input and co-create their programs, games-based approaches, and the flexibility of their program structures were important factors for enhancing youth involvement in sport and physical activity. In the last study, a youth-informed recreation instructors training was designed, developed, and co-created with six YMCA stakeholders over the course of seven focus group meetings. A key outcome was the development of a recreation instructor training, called Working ‘with’ Youth in Sport and Physical Activity. Findings provide insight on the challenges that recreation organizations face with implementing physical literacy concepts.
    • The Influence of Occupational Footwear on Slip Responses

      Yuan, Vanessa; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Falls in the workplace most often occur due to slips and unsuitable footwear. While industry standardized occupational footwear (OF) is required for the safety of occupational activities, little is known about how OF influences how individuals respond to an unexpected slip. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate how OF affects balance recovery strategies and slip outcome in response to an unexpected slip during walking. Twenty-five individuals (13 males, 12 females) completed a total of 12 walking trials at a self-selected pace in either barefoot (BF) or while wearing OF. The first five trials consisted of the no-slip condition, where individuals walked over a sheet of high friction aluminum foil. On the sixth trial and without the participant’s knowledge, the aluminum foil was replaced with a low friction hard plastic surface to induce an unexpected slip. The remaining six trials were conducted over the low friction surface while participants were aware of the low friction surface. For each walking trial, ground reaction forces, lower limb electromyography and kinematics were recorded. It was found that when individuals in both groups first experienced the unexpected slip, both groups responded with a macro-slip. However, the slip was less severe in the OF group, with a 13 cm shorter heel slip distance and a 0.6 m/s slower heel slip velocity, compared to the BF group. A less severe slip may have been due to differences found in normal walking, since the OF group applied 23% less shear force and had a 16% smaller co-efficient of friction utilized. Differences in slip severity may have also contributed to the ensuing slip response. The OF group, who experienced a less severe slip, demonstrated 35-49% less muscle activity in the left (slip limb) medial hamstrings and left tibialis anterior as well as 2˚ less plantar-flexion after encountering the slip. The OF group also activated their right (non-slip) tibialis anterior, medial gastrocnemius, and vastus lateralis to a lesser extent, by 66-78%, after the slip onset. Although walking in OF appears to lead to a decreased slip risk and a less severe slip outcome, more research is required to evaluate the effectiveness of these slip recovery responses in reducing workplace falls.
    • The Logo “Visual Thickness Effect”: When and Why It Boosts Brand Evaluation. Does It Relax the Logo Visual Asymmetry Side-effect?

      Eyni, Ardalan; Faculty of Business Programs
      Logos are one of the first elements of brands with which new consumers interact. Thus, the symbolic meanings that a logo implies by its visual characteristics, e.g., circularity vs angularity, symmetry vs asymmetry, etc., can form consumers’ early perception of personality of the associated brand. A considerable body of research studies the key visual elements of logos that influence consumers’ perceptions about the associated brands. The primary aim of this research is to contribute to this body of literature by documenting the logo “Visual Thickness Effect” (VTE) as an understudied but influential visual phenomenon. Using 4685 MTurk participants and 34 fictitious logos, across two pre-studies and five main studies, we find support for the logo Visual Thickness Effect, in that thick logo boosts perception of brand personality, as a result of boosting perception of brand power. Also, the perception of brand power induced by logo thickness is moderated by consumer’s level of perceived power of the self, in that consumers with higher sense of power are less influenced by thickness of logo, as a sign of brand power, when evaluating a brand. Further, the perception of brand power induced by logo thickness is moderated by consumer’s level of visuospatial capacity, meaning that people with higher visuospatial sketchpad are less influenced by thickness of logo, as an extraneous visual stimulus, while evaluating a brand. Also, results suggest that the logo Visual Thickness Effect is at play as long as consumers do not already possess complementary information about the associated brand. Furthermore, we try to contribute to the findings of prior research by suggesting perception of logo familiarity as the underlying mechanism why asymmetric logo attenuates the perception of brands sincerity, competence, and ruggedness. Results show that symmetrical logos can be perceived as more familiar than asymmetrical logos. Findings of this research imply that brands, especially new-to-market brands, might exploit thick logos. This research contributes to the literature for perception of visual elements, logo design, brand evaluation, perception of power, and sensory marketing.
    • More Than a Green Roof: An Analysis of Low Impact Development Policies and Practices

      Anyan, Edward; Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
      While the concept of green infrastructure is becoming increasingly popular, practitioners and institutions that implement it have varying perspectives on its meaning. This case study aimed to understand how a medium-sized municipality defines green infrastructure as a concept and incorporates it into official policies and related development plans to encourage green stormwater management strategies. It further sought to understand how the analyzed policies and related plans stimulate low impact development implementation in response to climate change adaptation efforts. A content analysis of eight official documents was conducted to determine how the City of St. Catharines, Ontario defines green infrastructure and includes it in its policies and plans. NVivo 12 was used to gather the meaning of green infrastructure and related terms qualitatively. The findings discuss how green infrastructure was defined and incorporated, as well as the consistency of its usage and meaning across the sampled official documents.
    • Emerging Market Indexes During the Pandemic Period

      Khan, Md Nafeesur Rahman; Faculty of Business Programs
      The thesis empirically examines and analyzes an unusual episode in the behavior of emerging indexes. Specifically, it investigates the sensitivity of high-frequency five-minute interval index price movements to COVID-19-related news announcements and macroeconomic news announcements during the pandemic. The author hypothesized that COVID-19 infection cases, deaths, vaccination counts, major vaccine development announcements, and government response measures related to COVID significantly impact the emerging equity markets’ returns and volatility, namely Argentine, Brazilian, Chilean, and Mexican equity indexes. They also hypothesized an asymmetric effect of macroeconomic news before and during the pandemic. Findings reveal that pandemic cases, vaccination, and death-related news announcements exhibit a statistically significant effect on intraday volatility but not so much on returns. At the same time, government response measures have a more pronounced and significant effect on return and volatility. Additionally, vaccine research & development and approval news increase intraday volatility. Findings also suggest that very few macroeconomic news indicators exhibit statistically significant asymmetric interaction before and during the pandemic, and fewer US macroeconomic news indicators are significant during the pandemic than before. The results support previous findings that US macroeconomic news announcements significantly impact Canadian and Mexican equity indexes, suggesting a linkage between them with US financial markets.
    • Integrating Behavioral Skills Training within an E-Learning Modality to Train Volunteers Working with Neurodiverse Populations

      Young, Kirsten; Center for Applied Disability Studies
      People supporting neurodiverse populations (often volunteers) must acquire adequate training on instructional strategies to ensure the safety of the people they support and those around them. While behavioral skills training (BST) is an empirically validated training framework, it has some resource constraints such as requiring an experienced trainer. Adapting a BST framework for an interactive mobile application (app) to train volunteers may increase their ability to accurately implement a set of pre-determined target behaviours with fewer resources needed. This evaluation included two studies. In Study 1 the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with volunteers with experience in an adaptive physical activity program to inform app training content. Experienced volunteers indicated three skills they wanted to receive training on to support neurodiverse people (visual schedules, modeling, and high-probability instructional sequence). In Study 2 a multiple probe design across behaviours was used to assess the efficacy of the app for teaching the three target skills to two novel volunteers. Direct observations were conducted virtually to determine the efficacy of the app for increasing volunteers’ performance accuracy on the pre-determined skills. Both participants demonstrated increased performance accuracy of each target skill following relatively brief interaction with the app. They also reported that they found the app to be acceptable and showed improvement on pre-and post- quizzes after using the app. These results suggest preliminary evidence of the efficacy and acceptability of providing training via an interactive technological platform (using BST) for volunteers working with neurodiverse populations.
    • 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.
    • Enhancing Online Faculty Development Programs During COVID-19 and Beyond: A Multiple Case Study of Faculty Members Teaching Online

      Saddik, Wessam; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This study explored how the development needs of faculty members teaching online can inform professional development (PD) programs in higher education (HE), especially after a year and a half of transition to fully online courses due to the pandemic. The research was conducted in a midsize university in Ontario and utilized a multiple case study approach that examined the cases of four faculty members through an emergent process of in-depth interviews. The main criterion used to select participants was an experience with online teaching of at least 1 year. Data were collected from interview responses as well as from documents representing research studies the faculty members wrote about their teaching experience. Multiple cases were constructed using an inductive coding analysis process, and a cross-case analysis was conducted to identify themes common across the cases. Inductive coding was used to analyze the data. Findings revealed that faculty PD programs should be diversified when it comes to program format, duration, regularity, and topics. Programs differentiated in these ways are essential to accommodate diverse PD needs as well as the different stages of online faculty members’ development of expertise. One-time PD events may not offer the best opportunity to develop faculty members. Informal learning opportunities such as learning communities, research publishing, and mentoring are the most preferred and should be prioritized. HE institutions play an important role in enhancing PD programs either directly through improving program design or indirectly through modifying institutional policies and budgets.