12,484 results for Doctoral

  • A critical analysis of the trade union movement in the Nepalese tourism industry

    Basnyat, Sandeep (2018)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    This research examines factors that influence trade union movements in the Nepalese tourism industry. In contrast to global trends, the last twenty-five years have seen a remarkable growth in the power and influence of trade unions in the Nepalese tourism industry. With a tremendous increase in the number of trade unions, collective bargaining, strike action, and participation in and organising of demonstrations have become prevalent across all sectors of the tourism industry in Nepal. In spite of the fact that the trade union movements in Nepal exhibits an anomalous trend when compared to trade union movements across the world, nothing in the existing literature identifies factors driving this anomaly in the tourism industry, let alone outlines its contours in the specific context of Nepal. This research aims to fill this gap. Focusing on hotels and airlines in Kathmandu, Nepal, the data on which this research is based were collected from April 2015 to February 2016 through unstructured interviews with fifty-one participants including trade union officials and members, employees who were not a member of trade unions, current employers with trade unions in their hotels or airlines, former employers who have had experience with the trade unions, and government employees responsible for regulating and monitoring tourism and employment. The research identifies that the interplay of limited improvements in the working environment in the tourism industry and some dynamic changes in the political environment in Nepal have shaped and influenced the trade union movements. Limited improvements in the working environment were primarily the result of employers' attitudes, and concomitant poor income and employment conditions in the tourism industry, together with an unsupportive (for labour) regulatory environment prevailing in the country. This dearth of progress has acted as an internal driving force for Nepalese tourism industry workers to organise trade unions in order to protect their rights and interests. In contrast, dynamic transformations in the political environment of Nepal have been experienced in four noteworthy periods since early 1990, particularly the rise of the Maoist movements, which has acted as an external driving force that has provided strength to the trade unions in their struggle against a generally poor working environment. The study demonstrates the fragility of industrial relations within the tourism industry in Nepal. It also contributes to our understanding of the poorly understood and researched phenomenon of trade union movements in the tourism industry in general, and in the Asian context in particular.

    View record details
  • What happens at work goes home: Investigating secondary traumatic stress and social support among the partners of New Zealand's Police, Fire, Ambulance and Defence Personnel

    Alrutz, Anna Stowe (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Police, fire, ambulance and defence force personnel (responders) risk experiencing dangerous activities, traumatic events and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. In turn, spouses/partners (partners) of these responders risk developing secondary traumatic stress (STS) as they are exposed vicariously to the trauma through communication with their responders. The research aimed to address the question: How do the partners of NZ defence and emergency responders respond to work stress experienced by their responder? The study used six research questions and six hypotheses to identify resources and barriers towards effective management of STS. A mixed methods approach assessed the experience of STS among the partners of New Zealand???s (NZ) responders. Using this approach the researchers interviewed participants prior to survey data collection and again after the survey to facilitate interpretation and incorporate feedback. After pilot-testing, the anonymous online survey was made available nationwide. The survey measured STS in partners, perceived stigma towards help-seeking, partner resilience and relationship satisfaction. The survey asked if the defence and emergency responder???s organisation invited partners to events, offered inductions, or offered informational resources to manage stress. Partners were asked who they turned to when dealing with stressful situations experienced by their responder. The survey concluded with open-ended questions about organisational engagement with the partners and responders. Themes were identified from analysis of the qualitative responses given by the 835 partners of NZ responders. A hypothesised model was produced and tested using multiple regression (n=664) which led to the creation of a structural equation model (SEM) (n=547) to describe interactions between resources and barriers. The study found that 20???35% of partners experience significant symptoms of STS and almost half feel unsupported when managing stressful issues experienced by their responders. Positive organisational communication benefits partners and reduces psychosocial risks. The thematic analyses endorsed increasing partner self-efficacy and encourages organisations to identify partner accessible resources. Triangulating the results obtained from these mixed methods highlights challenges faced by partners of defence and emergency responders and suggest how direct organisational engagement with the partners of their employees could reduce risks associated with secondary exposure to trauma.

    View record details
  • Chemical genetic analyses of compounds derived from feijoa fruit

    Mokhtari, Mona (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Nature has been a rich source of pharmaceutical compounds, producing 80% of our currently prescribed drugs. The feijoa plant, Acca sellowiana, is classified in the family Myrtaceae, native to South America, and currently grown worldwide to produce feijoa fruit. Compounds with anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal activities have been isolated from feijoa; however, the diversity of these compounds is not known nor is the mechanism of action of any of these compounds. I hypothesized that identifying compounds in novel feijoa cultivars would improve our understanding of the chemical diversity of antifungal compounds in feijoa and determining the antifungal mechanism of action of feijoa compounds would provide insight into the pharmaceutical potential of these compounds. First, GC-MS analyses were used to obtain an unbiased profile of 151 compounds from 16 cultivars of feijoa, of which six were novel cultivars. Multivariate analysis distinguished 18 compounds that were significantly and positively correlated to antifungal activity based on growth inhibition of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, of which seven had not previously been described from feijoa. Two novel cultivars were identified as the most bioactive cultivars, and the compound 4-cyclopentene-1,3-dione found in a couple of cultivars was potently antifungal against human pathogenic isolates of four Candida species. Second, chemical genetic analyses were used to investigate the mechanism of action of estragole, an antifungal compound previously isolated from feijoa. The chemical genetic profile of estragole was distinct from that of other known antifungal compounds, suggesting the mechanism of action of estragole has a novel antifungal mechanism. Third, chemical genetic analyses were used to investigate the mechanism of action of an ethanol adduct of vescalagin (EtOH-vescalagin) isolated from feijoa. We showed EtOH-vescalagin is antifungal against human pathogenic strains. Genome-wide chemical genetic analyses of EtOH-vescalagin indicated antifungal activity is mediated by disruptions of iron homeostasis, zinc homeostasis and retromer recycling through iron chelation. Overall, these results indicate the chemical and biological value of feijoa as a source of antifungal drugs.

    View record details
  • Sponge bioerosion and habitat degradation on Indonesian coral reefs

    Marlow, Joseph (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, yet they are also sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances that can degrade these systems. On many degraded reefs, large increases in bioeroding sponge abundance have occurred. On healthy reefs these sponges contribute to species diversity and habitat complexity, however there is growing concern that their proliferation on degraded reefs could lead to a state of net-erosion. In the Southeast Asian Indo-Pacific, the ecology of bioeroding sponges in relation to coral degradation has been poorly studied compared to other coral reef regions. This thesis aims to increase our understanding of the ecology of these sponges in the Wakatobi region of Indonesia, and their likely trajectory if reefs continue to degrade in the region. My first research chapter aimed to identify the common bioeroding sponge species of the Wakatobi. This was achieved through in-water surveys, and subsequent spicule and phylogenetic analysis. This resulted in the identification of eight commonly occurring Wakatobi bioeroding sponge species, two of which are described for the first time. The assemblage composition was distinctly different from the only other bioeroding sponge study in Indonesian waters (Calcinai et al. 2005), highlighting the need for more clionaid taxonomic information from the region. Having identified the common bioeroding sponge species in the region, my second chapter assessed the major environmental drivers of the abundance and assemblage composition of these sponges. Abundance surveys were conducted at 11 reef sites characterised by different environmental conditions and states of reef health. Bioeroding sponges occupied 8.9% of suitable substrate, and differences in abundance and assemblage composition were primarily attributed to differences in the availability of dead substrate. However, abundance was lowest at a sedimented and turbid reef, despite abundant dead substrate availability. This indicates a limited resilience in some species to conditions associated with terrestrial run-off and that not all forms of reef degradation are beneficial for bioeroding sponges. The capacity to increase spatial occupation of degraded reefs is also dependent upon larval recruitment and my third chapter was a two year recruitment study using in situ experimental calcareous blocks. Recruitment occurred rapidly and consistently with bioeroding sponges recruiting to approximately 70% of experimental blocks and exhibiting a preference for settlement on uncolonised dead calcareous substrates. The importance of substrate settlement cues and extent of larval dispersal appeared to differ between species, indicative of different recruitment mechanisms. Any significant increase in the availability of exposed calcareous substrate (e.g. following a mass coral bleaching event) is therefore likely to result in widespread increases in bioeroding sponge recruitment. Surveys conducted in my second research chapter revealed that two of the three locally abundant zooxanthellate bioeroding species were absent from a highly turbid reef, Sampela. My fourth research chapter investigated whether this was due to light limitation by examining the photoacclimatory capabilities of the Symbiodinium photosymbionts of Cliona aff. viridis n. sp. A. PAM chlorophyll fluorometry was employed in a 25 day shading experiment and Symbiodinium of C. aff. viridis n. sp. A demonstrated an ability to photoacclimate to extreme light reduction and recover quickly when conditions returned to normal. My results demonstrate that the absence of this species at Sampela is not due to light limitation but possibly due to other stressors associated with turbidity, e.g. suspended sediment. My final chapter was an assessment of the environmental drivers of rates of bioerosion in Spheciospongia cf. vagabunda, a common species in the Wakatobi. Erosion rates were determined from changes in dry-weight of calcareous substrates with attached grafts of S. cf. vagabunda after a year deployment across seven reef sites. The average bioerosion rate was 12.0 kg m⁻² sponge tissue yr⁻¹ (± 0.87 SE), but differed between sites and was negatively correlated with settled sediment depth. Bioerosion by this species can play a significant part in the carbonate budget on reefs where it is abundant (up to 20% of available substrate on some reefs in the Wakatobi) but is likely reduced on highly sedimented reefs. In summary, the Wakatobi bioeroding sponge assemblage is diverse and overall, both adult abundance and recruitment are primarily driven by the availability of dead calcareous substrates. Therefore, further coral mortality and a subsequent rise in the availability of dead substrate in the region is likely to result in increased abundance of bioeroding sponges. However, not all forms of reef degradation will benefit these sponges; turbid and sedimented reefs will likely constitute stressful habitats for some bioeroding sponge species and assemblages in these environments will be comprised of fewer more resilient species.

    View record details
  • A longitudinal investigation of non-suicidal self-injury and perfectionism in a sample of New Zealand adolescents

    Brocklesby, Madeleine (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) is defined as the intentional, direct injury to body tissue, undertaken without suicidal intent, and for a purpose that is not socially or culturally sanctioned (International Society for the Study of Self-Injury, 2007; Klonsky & Muehlenkamp, 2007; Muehlenkamp, 2014). NSSI is prevalent in adolescent samples worldwide (Muehlenkamp, Claes, Havertape, & Plener, 2012; Swannell, Martin, Page, Hasking, & St John, 2014) and is typically considered a marker of wider distress. NSSI in adolescents has been associated with numerous poor mental health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, and attempted and completed suicide (Asarnow et al., 2011; Brunner et al., 2014; Claes, Soenens, Vansteenkiste, & Vandereycken, 2012; Fox et al., 2015; Glenn & Klonsky, 2011; Jacobson & Gould, 2007). In addition, research has demonstrated that perfectionism, defined as the setting of excessively high standards of performance (Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990), is also commonly associated with substantial distress. Unfortunately, perfectionism in adolescents is thought to be on the rise (see Flett & Hewitt, 2014; Portesova & Urbanek, 2013) with many adolescents reporting multi-sourced and relentless pressure to perform highly and adhere to societal ideals. As such, individuals are setting excessively high goals for themselves, and increasingly worrying about the consequences of less than perfect performance. Similar to the research pertaining to NSSI, perfectionism has been shown to also be associated with a raft of poor outcomes including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and general psychological distress (e.g., Boone, Braet, Vandereycken, & Claes, 2013; Claes et al., 2012; DiBartolo et al., 2007; Lombardo, Mallia, Battagliese, Grano, & Violani, 2013; Vartanian & Grisham, 2011). Research has shown an association between NSSI and perfectionism (e.g., Hoff & Muehlenkamp, 2009; O’Connor, Rasmussen, & Hawton, 2010). However, this literature is currently very limited and the relationship between NSSI and perfectionism is not well understood. In light of this, I set out to thoroughly explore if, and how, NSSI and perfectionism are related in New Zealand adolescents. Moreover, I aimed to gain insight into the mechanisms that could underpin such relationships. Of the four studies conducted, the first and second studies established a foundation for my research. Specifically, Study 1 meta-analyses synthesised data from 118 studies investigating the relationship between perfectionism and adaptive and maladaptive outcomes. These analyses demonstrated a robust relationship between negative perfectionism and maladaptive outcomes. More specifically, they revealed a significant, positive summary correlation for the relationship between negative perfectionism and self-injurious thoughts and behaviours. Study 2 aimed to define the most appropriate conceptualisation of perfectionism for research with New Zealand adolescents. This involved investigating the psychometric properties and factor structure of the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (Frost et al., 1990) in 930 adolescents with a mean age of 14 years old. A hierarchical structure with two overarching components (positive perfectionism, negative perfectionism), comprised of four second-level components (concerns and doubts, parental pressure, personal standards, and organisation) was identified and adopted for all following research. Studies 3 and 4 investigated the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between NSSI and perfectionism. Study 3a specifically aimed to ascertain whether negative and positive perfectionism are associated with NSSI in New Zealand adolescents, based on survey data from 930 adolescents in their second year of high school. As expected, negative perfectionism was significantly associated with NSSI in females, however this relationship did not hold for males. On the other hand, positive perfectionism was associated with less engagement in NSSI in both males and females. This suggested that negative perfectionism may represent a risk factor for NSSI, while positive perfectionism may buffer against risk of NSSI. In addition, Study 3b investigated the relationships between perfectionism and the functions of NSSI, indicating that self-punishment functions are particularly relevant for perfectionistic adolescents. As the final component of the cross-sectional analyses, Study 3c illustrated that the association between perfectionism and NSSI is more accurately captured when the interaction between positive and negative perfectionism is also considered. Study 4 involved the examination of this relationship over time. To do so, another wave of data was collected, resulting in data matched across two times points for 608 adolescents. Longitudinal analyses demonstrated that negative perfectionism prospectively predicted NSSI one year later in females only. Moreover, again for only females, positive perfectionism predicted an increase in negative perfectionism over time. No significant longitudinal relationships were demonstrated for male adolescents. The ultimate aim of this research was to provide clinicians, school staff and parents with the information required to effectively identify at-risk adolescents, and thereby prevent the onset of NSSI and its vast associated negative outcomes. This research suggests that perfectionism is one such risk factor to be aware of. As such, it is argued that targeted prevention and intervention strategies for perfectionism will help prevent the onset and maintenance of NSSI in females, and are also likely to be of benefit to the wider mental wellbeing of New Zealand adolescents.

    View record details
  • Assessing the Potential for Agonistic Engagement Among Accountants: A quasi-experimental repeated Q study of social and environmental reporting

    Sorola, Matthew (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    A number of writers have recently criticised a perceived narrowness in accountants’ understanding of their profession. In particular, they claim that the predominant focus on shareholders and capital markets may be at the expense of wider public interests that accounting should serve. As accountants engage increasingly with a variety of complex and politically contentious issues, there is cause for concern regarding their capacity to represent and engage with non-financial interests. Some of these concerns are reflected in ongoing debates regarding social and environmental reporting (SER). Accountants are important players in the SER field. They have high-profile roles as self-proclaimed ‘thought leaders’ in areas such as sustainability and integrated reporting, and are increasingly involved in developing SER concepts and practices, discussion papers and best practice guidance. These technologies increasingly rely on, and are legitimised by, their incorporation of a plurality of perspectives. However, both academics and civil society groups have raised concerns that professional accounting bodies are too closely aligned with business interests, and prioritise ‘business case’ (BC) understandings of concepts such as SER, which favour shareholder-oriented perspectives. As in other areas of policy controversy, the capacity to engage with a plurality of perspectives is important because of its impact on, inter alia, the issues that are recognised, how problems are conceived and responded to, and which or whose perspectives are prioritised. While prior research has explored management and stakeholder perspectives, there has been very little research to date on accountants’ perspectives on SER. Relatedly, relatively little is known about accountants’ abilities to incorporate a multiplicity of views when attempting to engage with complex issues. This study seeks to fill this gap. My research was designed as a quasi-experimental investigation that uses Constructive Conflict Methodology (CCM) and Q methodology (QM) to examine divergent perspectives of SER among three groups of accountants: academics, practitioners, and students. In particular, my research explores the use of CCM as a framework, which when implemented via QM, can help operationalise the theoretical developments of an agonistic approach to critical dialogic accounting (CDA). Drawing on applications of CCM and QM in political theory and policy analysis, my research design is divided into two distinct phases. Phase One focuses on identifying and understanding the range of perspectives among participants regarding SER. Informed by this understanding, Phase Two develops a workshop, the SER Dialogue, to bring together participants who are representative of the diverse perspectives identified. In Phase One, 34 participants’ perspectives of SER were explored through a mix of semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and QM. The participants evidenced a range of diverse understandings of SER, with three general approaches identified from participants’ Q data: the Critical (F1(CR)), Business Case (F2(BC)) and Incremental Change (F3(INC)) approaches. These general categorisations helped identify differences, inconsistencies and contradictions in the participants’ ideological orientations and illustrated the contested discursive landscape within which SER is conceptualised. Participants’ alignment with each general category also identified possible constraints in their capacity to recognise and understand divergent perspectives. Informed by these insights, Phase Two focused on developing a discursive space for agonistic pluralist engagement (the SER Dialogue) with a group of participants, representing the three diverse perspectives. Ultimately, these participants had both a larger number and magnitude of shifts in their perspective of SER compared to a control group. There was also a general increase in alignment with F1(CR), with many participants demonstrating the development of critically pluralist and reflexive understandings. These findings illustrate the potential for agonistic pluralist engagement to develop accountants’ capacity for pluralist engagement with perspectives surrounding complex and politically contentious issues, while also enabling resistance to the hegemony of BC perspectives within the field of accounting.

    View record details
  • Gendered Academic Careers: A Comparison of Indonesia and New Zealand

    Toyibah, Dzuriyatun (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This thesis aims to describe and better understand the gender gap in academic careers in Jakarta (Indonesia) and Auckland (New Zealand). The thesis is intended to measure and explain the operation of the gender gap, while also interrogating the construction of such indices as essentially Western in their assumptions. For example, The Global Gender Gap Report (World Economic Forum, 2015), rates New Zealand 10/145 and Indonesia, 92/145 of countries surveyed. A review of the global rankings shows a patterning of Western and non-Western countries and clearly invites deficit-based explanations in terms of development, culture, religion. As an Indonesian woman, such patterning also invites unease and disquiet. While I have experienced the everyday processes that produce the gender gap in academia and societally, I am also aware of the complexities and countervailing elements that reports like The Global Gender Gap Report might miss. One result of unease with a simple notion of the gender gap index, is to enrich research through the use of mixed methods, combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. This thesis explores and contextualises issues around the gender gap in academic careers, by using mixed methods across institutional cases based in Jakarta and Auckland. The methods used include: (i) secondary research, including analysis of promotion policies; (ii) an autoethnographic account, in which I discuss issues of gender, marriage, religion, patriarchy, motherhood, class, and social status; (iii) a quantitative analysis of differing datasets drawn from Indonesian and New Zealand institutions, using descriptive statistics, binary and ordinal regression; (iv) the non-comparability of datasets and of quantitative analysis reinforced my decision to include qualitative approaches in the mix of methods. Accordingly, I interviewed 30 academics in Auckland and Jakarta. The main findings of the research are: (i) It confirms the literature that male domination in academia is hidden and female academics who are mothers are marginalised. For academics who are also mothers, there is a collective understanding that the barriers are significant; (ii) Racial discrimination exists, but is largely invisible. Participants of colour acknowledged it and indeed had experienced it, though other participants, in the same universities, believed that it no longer occurred. Arguably, gender and race are rendered invisible in academic careers under a neo-liberal system, especially when using statistical analysis, as such elements are considered non-meritocratic factors; (iii) Understanding the academic gender gap in Indonesia is better framed by considering the fact that career progression follows civil servant regulation, and is not perceived as very prestigious in terms of income. Rather, being an academic, according to some Indonesian academics, is about a ???calling??? and devotion to knowledge development; (iv) On the other hand, studies in liberal, Western countries emphasise that family life, children, and domestic work are serious problems for female academics. To be single or childfree is considered to enhancefemale academic careeradvancement. In conclusion, comparing the scale of the gender gap index between liberal countries such as New Zealand and non-liberal countries such as Indonesia is very challenging due to cultural and structural differences. My research underscores that it is important to measure women???s conditions beside indicators developed in the Gender Gap Index (economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment). It is necessary to include indicators which are accepted in all cultures and nations, such as the index of happiness, life satisfaction; indicators must align with desires and hopes for the future. Critique is essential to create the conditions for transformative change but that change should align with individual and collective aspirations.

    View record details
  • Examining the Roles of Residuals Under an Adaptation Level Theory Model for Tinnitus Perception

    Durai, M (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Background: Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of sound in the environment (1-4). The precise mechanisms giving rise to tinnitus perception and distress are still not fully known. The Adaptation Level Theory (ALT) model of tinnitus (5, 6) is an ecological framework which takes a holistic approach to understanding tinnitus and its complexity, in which tinnitus magnitude estimates are based on interactions between the focal component (tinnitus), contextual component (any background noise or applied sounds), and residual components (individual cognitive and behavioural characteristics). Aim: To empirically explore the influence and strength of individual residual factors under a novel Adaptation Level Theory (ALT) model of tinnitus perception. Personality traits, emotion and prediction/anticipation of sounds were residuals examined. Methods: Seven studies were undertaken as part of this doctoral thesis: 1) A scoping review investigated key personality traits relevant to tinnitus, and the relationship between affective disorders and tinnitus. 2) A web-based survey was administered to 154 individuals with tinnitus and 61 age, gender and hearing level-matched non-tinnitus controls. The survey measured four key self-reported personality traits (social closeness, stress reaction, alienation and self-control), tinnitus characteristics and hearing handicap. 3) A behavioural experiment (N=22) introduced short-term emotional stimuli, differing along valence and arousal dimensions, and measured tinnitus loudness and annoyance characteristics. Stimuli were presented in two modalities: auditory and visual. 4) A comprehensive narrative synthesis of current research assessed the feasibility of a relationship between auditory memory, predictive coding and tinnitus generation. 5) A short-term adaptation experiment (N=23) and two-week feasibility trial (N=7) compared the effect of predictable and unpredictable amplitude-modulated computer surf sound on tinnitus loudness and annoyance characteristics. 6) An electroencephalography (EEG) study that compared mean ERP amplitudes and oscillatory band activity in response to tone deviants and tone omissions (at the pitch of tinnitus) between individuals with tinnitus (N=16) and hearing-level matched controls (N=14). 7) A randomized tinnitus sound therapy clinical trial (N=18) was conducted comparing the effectiveness of nature sounds with neutral broadband noise. Multiple experimental outcomes relating to tinnitus, emotion, attention and psychological state were measured at three time points: at sound fitting, 4 weeks after administration and 8 weeks after administration. Results: 1) The scoping review concluded personality traits to have a consistent association with the distress experienced by adult tinnitus help-seekers, and help-seekers were also more likely to experience anxiety and depression symptoms and/or disorders. Limitations present in current research were lack of appropriately controlled comparisons when assessing personality trait profiles of tinnitus sufferers and non-tinnitus individuals. 2) Tinnitus sufferers displayed higher levels of stress reaction, lower social closeness, lower self-control and higher alienation than the control group in the web-based survey. 3) In the behavioural emotion experiment, low valence (unpleasant) auditory stimuli led to higher subjective tinnitus loudness ratings in males and females and higher subjective distress ratings in males only. Visual emotional stimuli did not have an effect on tinnitus characteristics. 4) The narrative review provided theoretical support and indirect electrophysiological evidence for continuous prediction errors generated within the auditory system driving tinnitus perception and distress, as well as eliciting global disruptions to attention and working memory. 5) Both short-term Unpredictable and Predictable sound administration led to a decrease in tinnitus loudness in the adaptation experiment, however, only Unpredictable sound lowered tinnitus distress ratings. 6) A larger N1c waveform was elicited in the absence of any tone deviation within the left primary auditory cortex of tinnitus participants for the EEG study. Abnormal N1c waveform growth was present across levels of deviant conditions for the tinnitus group. There was limited evidence to support the Thalamocortical Dysrhythmia hypothesis of greater theta and gamma activity present among individuals with tinnitus. A role for attention and auditory scene analysis in driving tinnitus perception and salience was supported. No differences were present between groups for tone omissions. Different levels of activity between tinnitus and control groups were observed in regions corresponding to attentional as well as limbic networks. 7) The administration of sound therapy led to significant reduction in tinnitus impact over 8 weeks; this effect was largely due to BBN sound therapy which resulted in significantly greater reduction of tinnitus impact compared to nature sounds. The positive effect of sound on tinnitus was supported by secondary tinnitus and psychologicalrelated outcome measures, but not interviews. BBN sound resulted in an increase in loudness level matches needed to match tinnitus; there was minimal change in loudness level matches for nature sounds. There were indications of individual preferences and individual outcome effects observed. The presence of tinnitus subgroups was apparent in terms of which sound was most favoured, which sound had the most benefit, as well as in how sound-tinnitus interactions occurred as time progressed. Conclusions: Personality traits, emotion and prediction all play a significant role as residual factors under the ALT model to shape final tinnitus perception and experience as well as in influencing response of tinnitus to introduction of external sound introduction. Overall, tinnitus magnitude appears to increase with high stress reaction, low social closeness, low self-control and high alienation personality trait levels, as well as by the introduction of unpleasant auditory stimuli. In contrast, the presence of sound therapy stimuli decreases tinnitus magnitude and demonstrates psychological benefit over time. This thesis provides some empirical support for the ALT model of tinnitus. Further research is needed to examine attention as a weighting factor, develop clinically useful indicators of ideal sound therapy levels under the ALT framework, as well as customize therapeutic sound to tailor for individual residual levels, needs and preferences over time. Development of computational models based on the ALT which integrate residual factors, weighting factors and tinnitusexternal sound interactions may be useful for delineating subgroups and predicting how an individual might respond to potential treatments. The findings from this thesis can form a basic computational template to build-on.

    View record details
  • Perspectives of Muslim husbands' roles in women's health and cancer in Indonesia

    Widiasih, Restuning (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In developing countries such as Indonesia, women face many health issues, including cancer. Social, cultural and economic factors are known barriers to women accessing health services and achieving a good health. Studies in Indonesia suggest that husbands’ support may influence women’s health behaviour, including women in breast and cervical screening and treatments. However, little is known in Indonesia about husbands’ roles in women’s health, including illness prevention, early detection, and treatment of women’s cancer. The main objectives of this study were to uncover Muslim husbands’ roles and perspectives regarding women’s health and women’s cancer, and to establish whether there were different perspectives of husbands’ roles related to geographical location, age or other social, health or cultural characteristics. This study used an Islamic ontological approach. The Basic Model of Religiosity and Health, the Health Belief Model, and the Help-Seeking Behaviour and Influencing Factors Framework theories informed data collection. A descriptive exploratory methodology was used. Methods included focus groups with 11 groups (n=73) of married Muslim men, and interviews with married Muslim women (n=20) and health professionals (n=10) from rural and urban areas of West Java province, Indonesia. Data were analysed using two techniques: the Comparative Analysis for Focus Group and the Comparative Analysis for Interviews. The findings revealed that Islamic teaching has an extremely significant position for Muslims husbands in guiding them in their family’s roles. Muslim husbands were very involved in women’s health and cancer. These roles were influenced by internal and external factors. Husbands’ significant roles in women’s health include maintaining women’s health and facilitating health treatments. However, they have a limited role in disease prevention, and early detection of women’s cancer. Muslim husbands’ limited health literacy of women’s cancer was a significant barrier in rural and downtown areas. This study’s findings contribute to a new perspective on religion as a vital influence and driver of health and health behaviour in nursing theory. There is a need for Indonesian nursing practice to incorporate a cultural safety approach to caring for Muslim husbands and wives, and for nurses to ensure men are more fully informed about women’s health. This study identified the need for improvements in health services and a reform of the health system especially in improving husbands’ knowledge and awareness of women’s cancer, and the dissemination of information about women’s cancer services, especially in rural and downtown areas. Additional health education programmes including some that target men’s health literacy are required alongside improvements in health services, especially women’s cancer services.

    View record details
  • "It's been a roller coaster of emotions": A phenomenological study of the lived experience of couples' first-time parenting and the mothers' return to employment. A New Zealand and Malaysian study

    Syed Hussien, Sh Fatimah (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The purpose of this study is to examine New Zealand and Malaysian couples’ lived experience of first-time parenting and women’s experience of returning to work. Although each member of the family has different individual experiences of a particular event, families make decisions about parenting, employment, and childcare collectively. First-time motherhood and fatherhood have been researched separately, and motherhood, extensively from a variety of disciplines. However, the holistic study of the lived experience of first-time parenthood and employment from a couple’s shared narrative is still sparse. This research explores the shared experience of both parents after the arrival of a first-born, thereby adding a new perspective to the existing literature. In this thesis, I utilise an original synthesis of transcendental and interpretive phenomenology, guided by the works of contemporary phenomenologists Max Van Manen and Clark Moustakas. This phenomenological framework and methods aim to unpack the shared experience into two components; the essence and the peripheries. The essence of the experience is shared by all the participants, whereas the peripheries are socially and culturally dependent. Transcendental phenomenology serves to filter out the essence, and interpretive phenomenology investigates the peripheries. As part of the phenomenological analysis, I adopt epoché or bracketing through a written personal narrative. In addition, twenty-four longitudinal dyadic interviews were conducted with eight first-time parent couples from Malaysia and New Zealand. Each couple was interviewed three times to capture the experience before, during, and after the mothers’ return to employment. Following this, focus group interviews with three separate groups of eleven mothers were conducted to validate the analysis. The thesis findings show that the lived reality of first-time parenthood for twenty-first-century couples in Malaysia and New Zealand, including breastfeeding and return to work, is an adventure into the unpredictable and the unknown, and a constant learning and emotional experience. The overall experience for the participants was a negotiation between the dissonance of the ideation and idealisation of parenthood, and the lived reality of parenthood. The landscape of parenting beliefs surrounding the family affects the families’ expectations and experience in a significant way because families make employment, childcare, and feeding arrangements pre-birth based on these beliefs and expectations. A series of recommendations is generated based on the thesis findings. Among the recommendations of the thesis is further exploration into shared couple narratives for a better understanding of familial life experience for first-time parents.

    View record details
  • Development of novel nanoparticulate delivery system for oral delivery of gemcitabine to treat breast cancer

    Chen, Guanyu (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Background and Aim: In New Zealand women, breast cancer has a highest rate of incidence of any cancer. In 2015, there were approximate 60,300 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed globally, which is second most common cancer overall. To address breast cancer, chemotherapy is typically administered parenterally. However, this is an unpleasant and inconvenient administration route, and often leads to high peak levels of drug in the systemic circulation above the maximum tolerated concentration (MTC) resulting in a multitude of side effects. Oral chemotherapy is attractive with better patient acceptability, good therapeutic efficacy, and low cost. However, there are many obstacles to achieve oral drug delivery including physical and biochemical barriers, such as the epithelial barrier of the small intestine, degradation through the acidic environment of the stomach and digestive enzymes throughout the gastrointestinal tract, as well as efflux pumps which limit oral drug absorption. Gemcitabine is a promising drug candidate with proven activity against breast cancer, however, it has an oral bioavailability of less than 10%, due to its high hydrophilicity and low permeability through intestinal epithelium. Therefore, the aim of this project was to develop a novel nanoparticulate drug delivery system for oral delivery of gemcitabine, to improve its oral bioavailability. Methods: Two different polymeric nanoparticulate delivery systems were designed suitable for the oral delivery of gemcitabine. The first was gemcitabine-loaded TMC modified PLGATPGS nanoparticles (NPs) prepared through a modified solvent evaporation technique. The PLGA-TPGS random copolymer was synthesized prior to the fabrication of NPs. A central composite design (CCD) was applied to optimize the formulation parameters. The second delivery system of gemcitabine loaded TMC-CSK NP was fabricated via an ionic gelation method. The TMC polymer was synthesized by using a new two-step methylation method prior to preparing the TMC based NPs. The physical and chemical properties of both nanoparticulate delivery systems were determined including particles size, zeta potential, entrapment efficiency, in-vitro drug release and ex-vivo drug permeation over the porcine epithelial membrane, and the optimal formulations were selected. A co-cultured Caco-2 and HT29-MTX-E12 cell model was set up to determine cytotoxicity, cellular uptake and transport studies of the drug solution and optimal drug loaded NPs. Finally, the pharmacokinetic parameters associated with different formulation were determined using a Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat model. The tumour growth rate associated with the drug solution and the drug loaded NPs were investigated using a BALB/c nude mouse model. Results and discussion: The optimal formulations of drug loaded TMC modified PLGATPGS NPs and drug loaded TMC-CSK NPs showed particle size of 243.21 ?? 21.72 nm, and 173.60 ?? 6.82 nm, zeta potential of +14.70 ?? 1.31 mV, and +18.50 ?? 0.22 mV, entrapment efficiency of 76.43 ?? 0.21%, and 66.43 ?? 0.13%, respectively. Particles of less than 500 nm show significantly higher absorption than larger particles across intestinal epithelium, thus the particle sizes of both NPs are suitable for oral absorption. NPs with zeta potentials more positive than +15 mV or more negative than -15 mV are considered stable, thus the two NPs are considered having good steric stability. In addition, the positive charged NPs promote mucoadhesion with the negatively charged intestinal mucosa, through electrostatic interaction. The high entrapment efficiency results were promising and are higher than most polymeric NPs delivery systems reported. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed the TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs were spherical with a smooth particle surface, while the TMC-CSK NPs had more irregular shape with a craggy particle surface. They both showed sustain drug release profiles during in vitro drug release studies, and greater drug permeation compared to drug solution over porcine epithelial membrane in the ex-vivo drug permeation studies. Moreover, both optimal drug loaded NPs exhibited good stability in terms of particle size and drug entrapment over 3 months stored at 4??C. The cytotoxicity of gemcitabine solution, gemcitabine loaded TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs, and gemcitabine loaded TMC-CSK NPs on Caco-2/HT29-MTX-E12 cells showed dose dependence and with IC50s of 529.4 ?? 67.2 ??g.mL-1, 1881.4 ?? 51.5 ??g.mL-1 and 1682.4 ?? 27.9 ??g.mL-1 respectively, indicating the drug loaded NPs were less toxic to the intestinal epithelial cells compared to the drug solution. The rate of cellular uptake of both optimal drug loaded NPs was time-, temperature-, and concentration- dependant. Cellular uptake for the gemcitabine loaded TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs undergo active transport involving adsorptive mediated endocytosis and caveloae mediated endocytosis, while the gemcitabine loaded TMC-CSK NPs was through active transport associate with adsorptive mediated, clathrin and caveolae mediated endocytosis. In cellular transport studies, both drug loaded NPs had greater drug transport capability compared to drug solution over the Caco-2/HT29- MTX-E12 cell membrane. For the transport mechanism studies, both NP formulations showed electrostatic interaction with the intestinal epithelial cells. P glycoprotein (P-gp) efflux affected the cellular transport for both NPs. By blocking the P-gp efflux pump, more drug loaded NPs were transported through the cell membrane. The multiple resistance protein-2 (MRP2) only affected TMC-CSK NPs to some extent. Interestingly, for the TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs, the addition of the MRP2 inhibitor resulted in a reduction in the efflux of gemcitabine suggesting that the role of MRP2 in the efflux of gemcitabine loaded TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs can be neglected. Moreover, EDTA is able to activate the cellular protein kinase C (PKC) by depletion of extracellular calcium via chelation, resulting in tight junction opening. The addition of EDTA significantly enhanced the cellular transport for both drug loaded NPs, facilitating the transport of the NPs via the paracellular route. In the in vivo pharmacokinetic studies, the half-life (t1/2) and oral bioavailability of gemcitabine were significantly improved in drug loaded NPs compared to drug solution group. The t1/2 of gemcitabine loaded TMC-CSK NPs and gemcitabine loaded TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs were of 77.16 ?? 24.20 hr and 69.98 ?? 20.50 hr, respectively, compared with 9.40 ?? 2.13 hr for the gemcitabine solution. The absolute oral bioavailability of gemcitabine loaded TMC-CSK NPs (55.20%), was 1.1-fold and 6.1-fold higher than that of gemcitabine loaded TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs (49.92%) and gemcitabine solution (9.86%), respectively. In pharmacodynamics studies, the drug loaded NPs had greater inhibition of tumour growth rate compared with the drug solution (p < 0.01). The gemcitabine loaded TMC-CSK NPs group had the greatest inhibition of tumour growth, with 3.12-fold and 1.78-fold reduction compared to saline control group and gemcitabine solution group, respectively. This result corresponds to the pharmacokinetic studies with greater oral bioavailability and longer plasma half-life of gemcitabine loaded TMC-CSK NPs group compared to all other groups. Conclusion: This project has demonstrated that TMC modified PLGA-TPGS NPs and TMCCSK NPs can be utilised as controlled release drug delivery systems for the oral delivery of gemcitabine. Encapsulated gemcitabine is able to overcome the physical and biochemical barriers in GIT, to enhance the drug absorption over the intestinal epithelial membrane, therefore improving the oral bioavailability of gemcitabine, and promoting the anticancer therapeutic efficacy. The promising results confirmed the two developed NPs are promising platforms for developing future oral chemotherapy products loaded with gemcitabine.

    View record details
  • A study of the role of universities in shaping perceptions of class in Thailand.

    Chinudomsub, Pradit (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis seeks to better understand the concept of middle class by focusing on the way students’ experiences in university shape their class perceptions. In this study, we hypothesized that university reputation and the entrance process divide students into class fractions. Also, university environment, including its reputation, facilities, surrounding areas, lecturers, and student peers, is essential for producing class perceptions for students and Thai society. This thesis focuses on three main areas: university environment (including its facilities, reputation, and surrounding areas), lecturers (including their background and courses), and student peer groups. To understand the middle class in Thailand, 7 universities nationwide were selected for this study based on the three criteria; reputation, location, and type of university (public, private and open universities). This thesis used mixed methods including observation, questionnaires, focus group discussions, and interviews of both lecturers and students. In this thesis, we found that students are divided into different types of university based on their backgrounds. Moreover, the university environment plays a major role in shaping students’ class perceptions, although each environment influenced students differently. In addition, we found that the middle class is not a single unit, but there are several fractions within it. In particular, we found that the middle class is strongly divided into rural and urban components, with little mobility between the two during the tertiary education process. The data demonstrate that the fractions are united in attitudes to the lower class but divided within. Additionally, middle class consciousness seems to be partly shaped by traditional culture and its hierarchies since the knowledge from higher education has less influence on students’ class perceptions.

    View record details
  • "The myth of inability" : exploring children's capability and belonging at primary school through narrative assessment.

    McIlroy, Anne-Marie (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This research is about teaching, learning and assessment. It is about the belonging of disabled children at school. In New Zealand schools, the term ‘inclusive education’ is associated with the idea of disability. This research moves away from using the term ‘inclusive education’, towards the term ‘belonging’. The intention is to direct focus on all children and on community. The national New Zealand Curriculum guides all teaching and learning decisions and requires that every child receives quality learning experiences that enable them to achieve (Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 39). New Zealand education policies and documents place children at the centre of assessment processes, where it is intended that their learning progress is recognised and ongoing learning trajectories planned (Ministry of Education, 2011a, 2014, 2016a). Assessment is understood to be critical to quality teaching and learning (Ministry of Education, 2011b). Quality teaching is challenged by assessment practices that fail to account for the learning and progress of some disabled children who are invisible in assessment data. Children may become marginalised within the rich curriculum available to their peers if their learning potential is unrecognised and unsupported (Florian, 2014b; Morton, 2012; Slee, 2011). This qualitative research project explores the potential of narrative assessment to recognise the capability and learning potential of every child and their belonging in the curriculum and their school community. Narrative assessments incorporate multiple voices to capture and document teaching and learning in authentic contexts, combining observation, recording, interpretation and analysis (Carr & Lee, 2012; Gunn & de Vocht van Alphen, 2010; Ministry of Education, 2009c). They are used formatively to support ongoing praxis, and are personalised to celebrate each child’s strengths and motivations (Wiliam, 2011a). The research aims to inform education policy and teaching practice so all children are recognised as capable learners within collaborative and equitable assessment processes. The project took place in a primary school in urban New Zealand, involving children, families and educators. A Disability Studies in Education (DSE) framework is used to explain disability as socially, politically and culturally constructed (Gabel, 2005; Mills & Morton, 2013). Critical ethnography was selected as the qualitative approach for this work, as it supported bringing marginalised voices to the fore to unmask discriminatory and repressive practice, and is a means of invoking social consciousness and educational change within broader structures of social power and control (Thomas, 1993). Storytelling is a feature of narrative assessment and is recognised as an effective approach to teaching and learning which can provoke change at a personal and systemic level (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). The routine inclusion of photographs, artwork, pictures and symbols as well as written text within narrative assessments links to broader concepts of literacy and aligns with the theory of visual ethnography (Kliewer, 2008b; Pink, 2007; Rose, 2012). This research challenged “the myth of inability”, bringing teams together to show that a formative approach to narrative assessment recognised the capability and learning success of every child by incorporating the voices of children and those who know them well in responsive, effective classroom pedagogy (Lundy, 2007; Skidmore, 2002; Smith, 2015; Wansart, 1995, p. 175). Narrative assessment enables teachers as caring and professional leaders of classroom learning to support children’s belonging within the vision, values, principles and learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (Monchinski, 2010; Noddings, 1995).

    View record details
  • Mirroring and Indeterminacy : towards indeterminate mind-brain identity.

    Deng, Zhuo-Ran (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    In this dissertation I offer my objections to three famous arguments concerning the mindbody problem. The first argument is Saul Kripke’s (1980) modal argument against psychophysical identity theory. Kripke argues that if pain is identical to C-fibre firing then this identity must be necessary. However he points out that the identity is, if true, also a posteriori, and he argues that this alleged a posteriori identity cannot be accounted for in the way that scientific a posteriori identities are accounted for. He concludes on this basis that pain cannot be identical to C-fibre firing, and, more generally, that alleged psychophysical identities are false. The second argument is David Chalmers’ (1996) ‘zombie’ argument against materialism. Chalmers argues that zombies are conceivable, that the conceivability of zombies entails the possibility of zombies, and that the possibility of zombies is inconsistent with the truth of materialism. He concludes that materialism is false. I show that these arguments both share the same logical form—a form distinctive of what I call a ‘conceivability argument’. I show that for any such conceivability argument, C, there is a corresponding ‘mirror argument’ that is deductively valid and has a conclusion contradicting C’s conclusion. I show that a proponent of C can challenge the premises of the mirror argument only at the cost of undermining C’s premises. I conclude on this basis that conceivability arguments are fallacious in general, and, more particularly, that both Kripke’s modal argument and Chalmers’ zombie argument are unsound. This critique of these two arguments constitutes the first part of the dissertation. The second part is devoted to Hillary Putnam’s (1967) multiple realisability argument against identity theory. Putnam argues that if human pain is a neural firing pattern in the brain, then octopus pain will likewise be identical to some physical state of the octopus— say, an excitation pattern in the jelly-ish tissue of the octopus brain. But while human pain and octopus pain feel alike, neural firing and jelly excitation are not alike. It follows from standard logic that human pain is not identical to neural firing patterns. In reply, I attempt to reconcile identity theory with multiple realisability by advocating a semantics in which identity statements involving vague terms such as ‘pain’ are indeterminate. I develop a non-classical axiomatic theory of indeterminate identity relations, which implies that indeterminate identities are non-transitive. I also show that the principle of the transitivity of identity is a vital inference rule in Putnam’s argument. If my analysis is correct then Putnam’s argument is invalid.

    View record details
  • Beeby – the brains behind the blackboard : a philosophical biography.

    Couch, Michael Peter (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis is a philosophical study of Clarence Beeby, New Zealand’s Director of Education from 1940 to 1960, with particular regard to the New Zealand education system. Of particular interest is his vague idea of equality. Many historians consider Beeby to have infused the education system with a strong egalitarian spirit. I argue that Beeby’s true contribution was his egalitarian myth which concealed the fundamentally utilitarian system that he bequeathed New Zealand in 1960. As a young man Beeby was strongly influenced by competitive education, psychology and religion. Meanwhile, the history of the Department of Education reflects a battle between liberal and conservative ideologies. Beeby’s Directorship was strongly influenced by both his history and that of the Department. During his first six years in the Department Beeby focused on consolidating his authority and exerting his influence through a series of publications in the name of the Minister. Between 1945 and 1950 Beeby’s administration became more authoritarian and paternalistic as he implemented wide sweeping reforms. During the 1950s his philosophy shifted towards egalitarian utilitarianism under more conservative leadership. At this time efficiency strongly influenced his thinking. Beeby’s theory of Educational Myths helps to explain how egalitarian reforms did not happen during the rest of the twentieth century. A series of graphs based on ministry data will support the hypothesis that Beeby left the education system in a state of inequality. It is shown that the disparity that minority groups face in the education system today can be traced back at least as far as Beeby’s Directorship, showing he failed to fundamentally reorient the education system during his twenty-year Directorship. Overall it is made evident that the traditional assertion that Beeby established New Zealand’s egalitarian education system is flawed.

    View record details
  • Children with Disabilities and Disaster Risk Reduction in New Zealand

    Ronoh, Steve (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    The global rise in the number of disasters is largely due to the interplay between environmental and human factors. Children and especially children with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by disasters, with an estimated seven million children affected worldwide annually. Children with disabilities can have increased vulnerabilities because of mobility difficulties, pre-existing medical conditions, existing socio-economic barriers and policies that fail to recognise the diverse needs of this group. Indeed, researchers and practitioners have historically overlooked the experiences and needs of children, particularly so for those with disabilities, who are disproportionately affected by natural hazards and disasters. Their capacities, needs, and, importantly, potential roles in disaster risk reduction (DRR) have received little consideration from researchers and policy makers. This thesis draws on the findings of a multi-case study of three New Zealand schools working with children having diverse disabilities. The schools are in the regions of Canterbury, Hawke???s Bay and Auckland. It aims to generate new information to help inform DRR and give direction, and provide a holistic framework towards the development of an inclusive approach to DRR. This orientation aims to specifically integrate the experiences, perspectives and needs of children with disabilities. Although grounded in disaster studies, this thesis frequently draws upon the wider scholarship related to children, participatory approaches and disability. The central goal of the study is to assess and interpret the experiences of children with disabilities in dealing with natural hazards, and to identify their actual and potential contribution to DRR. It presents the use of flexible participatory tools which support a sustained continuum of engagement among children with diverse disabilities, skills, and experiences. Crucially, this work offers a bridge and conceptual framework that recognises communication as a two-way process between adults and children by requiring adults to learn how children express their views, thus according participants a voice in DRR research. The case studies reveal considerable variation on how children with disabilities access available resources, and how they perceive, face and cope with natural hazards. The research also identifies constraints and complexities towards achieving disability-inclusive DRR and shows that ideas about DRR are shaped and influenced by socio-economic structures. Based on the participants??? existing variation of potential vulnerabilities and capacities (individual and group) and their potential contribution in DRR, the thesis offers suggestions for policy and practice of a more inclusive approach to DRR. It emphasises the need to direct resources and programmes that facilitate and strengthen effective communication between adults and children to encourage sustained participation along children???s spectrum of abilities. Finally, the thesis recommends a framework incorporating a shift in attitude to children with disabilities as integral and active participants in DRR.

    View record details
  • Investigating the application of human induced neural precursor cells for generating dopamine neurons in vitro

    Playne, RG (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Parkinson???s disease (PD) is a common neurological disease characterised by progressive degeneration of substantia nigra dopamine neurons and the deposition of intracellular proteinacious aggregates called Lewy bodies. Reprogramming technology holds great promise for the study and treatment of PD, as patient-specific ventral midbrain dopamine (vmDA) neurons can be generated in a dish. This should facilitate the investigation of early changes occurring during PD pathogenesis, allowing for the identification of new drug targets and providing a platform for drug screening. To date, most research using reprogramming technology to study PD has been conducted on induced pluripotent stem cells. Research into PD using direct reprogramming has been limited, primarily due to an inability to generate high yields of authentic human vmDA neurons. Nevertheless, direct reprogramming offers a number of advantages, and development of this technology is warranted. A method to directly reprogram adult human dermal fibroblasts into induced neural precursors (iNPs) by non-viral SOX2/PAX6 transfection was developed in our laboratory. This thesis aimed to investigate if vmDA neurons could be generated from iNPs. First, the regional identity of iNPs was investigated by examining temporal changes in gene expression through quantitative real-time PCR and immunocytochemistry. Overall, iNPs showed a mixed regional identity, with widespread expression of the anterior neuroepithelial markers SOX1, PAX6 and FOXG1. There was limited expression of most of the vmDA markers examined, however some late markers were expressed, including NURR1 and PITX3. Next, iNPs were differentiated to a neuronal fate with or without exposure to the patterning molecules SHH/FGF8, and it was found that established iNPs did not respond to patterning cues. Subsequently, a series of experiments was performed to investigate if temporal exposure to a range of patterning factors during the reprogramming process, and/or exposure to vmDA-related transgenes, could induce a vmDA iNP fate. Ultimately, these strategies did not prove effective at inducing an authentic vmDA iNP fate. Nevertheless, this thesis reports for the first time that iNPs, which have been reprogrammed from adult human cells using non-viral expression of lineagespecific factors, can give rise to dopamine neuronal-like cells that express TH, AADC, VMAT2, DAT and GIRK2.

    View record details
  • Genetic studies of obesity in New Zealand: A Children of SCOPE study

    Krishnan, Mohanraj (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Childhood obesity is a global health problem and is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease and premature mortality. The prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity is rising in New Zealand with the most recent health survey estimating 10% of all children (aged 2-14) are obese (2014/2015 New Zealand Health Survey). However, obesity varies with ethnicity, with the M??ori (14.8%) and the Pacific Island (29.7%) children exhibiting higher rates of obesity when compared to the Asian (7.2%) and European/Other (7.7%) children. Although this obesity trend is underpinned by the presence of an ???obesogenic??? environment, it is facilitated by the individual???s genetic susceptibility to excessive weight gain. This helps to explain some of the individual phenotypic variations in development. Further characterisation of these obesity related gene variants would assist with unravelling the molecular mechanism of an affliction that affects approximately 10% of New Zealand children, opening up new avenues in the management of a disease for which no effective treatment currently exists. The aim of this thesis was to characterise the relative contributions between 80 putative genetic variations and obesity traits (BMI z-scores and Percentage Body Fat) in the Auckland Children of SCOPE cohort; a follow-up cross sectional survey of six year old children whose mothers were participants of the landmark SCOPE study. In addition, we investigated the interplay between genetic and modifiable environmental influences (???healthy??? dietary pattern, physical activity levels and average sleep duration) on the predisposition to childhood obesity. Recently, a genome wide study in the Samoan population has identified a protein-altering variant (p.Arg475Gln) in CREBRF as being associated with discordant risks of BMI and T2D. We have tested for the presence and association of CREBRF ???rs373863828 using the ???Genetics of Gout, Diabetes and Kidney Disease in Aotearoa??? case-control study recruited by the University of Otago. This study has shown that genetic variants identified in adult studies, were also associated with obesity traits in six year old New Zealand European children. This would suggest that gene variants that influence weight gain in adults, may direct growth patterns and adiposity from childhood. We have also captured additional loci (not previously detected in our earlier genetic association analysis) from the gene-by-environmental interaction analyses. From this research, we propose that there is a role for these gene variants to control body weight through satiety, energy extraction from diet and dissipation of energy as heat, and therefore act as the underlying cause behind the increased weight gain in children. We have also confirmed the presence of the CREBRF ???rs373863828 variant in the broader Polynesian population residing in Aotearoa New Zealand and replicated the association with increased BMI and reduced odds of T2D. This emphasises a need for obesity genetic research away from European dominant studies. This study offers a unique opportunity to advance our understanding of the complex relationship between genetic influences, and environmental factors, in relation to childhood obesity. The health importance for New Zealand is from identifying potentially modifiable risk factors for childhood obesity, which can then be evaluated in future intervention studies. Factors identified early in the life cycle may be more amenable to interventions compared with strategies which target children who are already overweight or obese.

    View record details
  • Towards an integrated multi-scale zero energy building framework for residential buildings

    Nsaliwa, Dekhani Juvenalis Dukakis (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In most developed economies, buildings are directly and indirectly accountable for at least 40% of the final energy use. Consequently, most world cities are increasingly surpassing sensitive environmental boundaries and continue to reach critical biophysical thresholds. Climate change is one of the biggest threats humanity faces today and there is an urgent need to reduce energy use and CO₂ emissions globally to zero or to less than zero, to address climate change. This often leads to the assumption that buildings must reduce energy demand and emit radically less CO₂ during construction and occupation periods. Certainly, this is often implemented through delivering ‘zero energy buildings’. The deployment of residential buildings which meet the zero energy criteria thereby allowing neighbourhoods and cities to convert to semi-autonomous energy systems is seen to have a promising potential for reducing and even eliminating energy demand and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. However, most current zero energy building approaches focus solely on operational energy overlooking other energy uses such as embodied energy and user transport energy. Embodied energy constitutes all energy requirements for manufacturing building materials, construction and replacement. Transport energy comprises the amount of energy required to provide mobility services to building users. Zero energy building design decisions based on partial evaluation and quantification approaches might result in an increased energy demand at different or multiple scales of the built environment. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated that embodied and transport energy demands account for more than half of the total annual energy demand of residential buildings built based on zero energy criteria. Current zero energy building frameworks, tools and policies therefore may overlook more than ~80% of the total net energy balance annually. The original contribution of this thesis is an integrated multi-scale zero energy building framework which has the capacity to gauge the relative effectiveness towards the deployment of zero energy residential buildings and neighbourhoods. This framework takes into account energy requirements and CO₂ emissions at the building scale, i.e. the embodied energy and operation energy demands, and at the city scale, i.e. the embodied energy of related transport modes including infrastructure and the transport operational energy demand of its users. This framework is implemented through the development of a quantification methodology which allows the analysis and evaluation of energy demand and CO₂ emissions pertaining to the deployment of zero energy residential buildings and districts. A case study, located in Auckland, New Zealand is used to verify, validate and investigate the potential of the developed framework. Results confirm that each of the building (embodied and operational) and transport (embodied and operational) energy requirements represent a very significant share of the annual overall energy demand and associated CO₂ emissions of zero energy buildings. Consequently, rather than the respect of achieving a net zero energy building balance at the building scale, the research has revealed that it is more important, above all, to minimise building user-related and transportation energy demand at the city scale and maximise renewable energy production coupled with efficiency improvements at grid level. The application of the developed evaluation framework will enable building designers, urban planners, researchers and policy makers to deliver effective multi-scale zero energy building strategies which will ultimately contribute to reducing the overall environmental impact of the built environment today.

    View record details
  • “I wouldn’t mind having some friends. But I don’t mind being alone”: Social Anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Baxter, Jennifer Michelle (2018)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    This doctoral research explores the experience, assessment, and potential treatment of social anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by social difficulties, repetitive behaviours, and limited areas of interest. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is fear of negative judgement which causes distress in, and avoidance of social situations. Changes to the diagnostic criteria of ASD have only recently allowed concurrent diagnoses of these conditions. Therefore, there is a paucity of literature regarding SAD in the ASD population. In Study 1 a popular social anxiety measure (the LSAS-CA) was utilised to assess for SAD in the ASD population. Adolescents with ASD, and parents of adolescents with ASD completed an online survey. Results suggest that the LSAS-CA is inappropriate for use with the ASD population, and leads to overscoring. The findings also demonstrated that participants perceived social anxiety to be both prevalent and experienced at high level of severity by this population. Study 2a, Study 2b and Study 3 sought to explore the social cure as a potential approach to intervention for SAD. Research conducted using this framework has demonstrated that social identities provide various benefits to both physical and mental health. To date, however, no research has investigated the effects of social identities on social anxiety. In an attempt to rectify this, Study 2a and Study 2b sought to investigate the relationship between social identity and social anxiety amongst neurotypical populations. Findings suggested that social identity is associated with lower levels of social anxiety. Furthermore, statistical analysis revealed that it is through increased perceptions of personal control and decreases in negative attribution style that social identity benefits are apparent. Study 3 manipulated the salience of social identity in order to assess whether this would lead to lower social anxiety in a subsequent social performance task. No significant effects emerged, indicating increasing the salience of a pre-existing social identity was insufficient to reduce social anxiety. Study 4 conducted semi-structured interviews with adolescents with ASD to investigate how social identities might impact this population. Transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Participants spoke about effects of both ASD, and ASD identity. The young people strongly valued their membership in the ASD group, which was found to be one of few, or their only group memberships. Findings also demonstrated that individuals with ASD use various methods to maintain positive self-esteem, personal and social identities. Overall, the thesis provided novel and valuable findings regarding how individuals with ASD experience social anxiety. SAD appears to be commonly experienced in this population, but there is a need for assessment tools designed specific to this purpose. Social identity and the social cure provide a novel approach to protecting against and reducing social anxiety. It seems that within the ASD population, where individuals have few group memberships, ASD provides a sense of belonging and a valued identity. As a result social identity may contribute to reduced social anxiety and isolation, and therefore provide opportunities to increase social skills and form new friendships.

    View record details