1,465 results for Thesis, 2011

  • Te Hiima : Reverend A. J. Seamer and his Māori mission

    Cervin, Georgia R (2011)

    Honours Dissertation thesis
    University of Otago

    Description: vi, 59 leaves : ill., ports. ; 30 cm. Notes: Cover title. "October 2011". University of Otago department: History. Thesis (B.A. (Hons.))--University of Otago, 2011. Includes bibliographical references.

    View record details
  • Cross-language phonetic priming in bilinguals.

    Sun, Keyi (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis looks at cross-language phonetic priming effects on late L1-dominant bilinguals, with different degrees of proficiency within the group. The participants in the study are 14 Chinese-English late bilinguals, whose production of vowels and consonants in different priming language contexts was analysed. The 14 speakers were divided into two groups based on their language proficiency. Information collected from questionnaires in two different languages was used to divide them into the two groups. They were required to participate in the experiment in two different sessions. On one occasion the interviewer spoke English to them and this was followed by their English reading and Chinese reading; whereas on the other occasion the interviewer spoke Chinese and the subjects did the opposite reading order from the first condition. Significant results of the analyses show that non-early, L1-dominant bilinguals do not differ in proficiency across priming conditions. Both groups show significant changes as the result of language priming for exactly the same vowels and the same consonants. Significant changes in the production of the sounds reveal interference between certain L2 sounds and their L1 counterparts. However, near significant results also show an unexpected direction of changes in production in L2, which may have been caused by experimenter identity. Furthermore, transfer effects of L1 on L2 found only among high proficiency speakers suggest that inhibitory control is dependent on L2 proficiency.

    View record details
  • Novel Organic Carbon Monoxide Releasing Molecules as a Potential Treatment for Triple Negative Breast Cancer

    Gunatunga, Kishan (2011)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    Carbon monoxide (CO) plays a role in many physiological and pathophysiological processes as a second messenger. Emerging evidence reveals the potential CO has as a therapeutic agent as it has been implicated in the modulation in a range of intracellular functions including apoptosis and proliferation. In the case of cancer, specifically triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), there is very little information regarding the effects of this molecule. Here we hypothesize that the targeted delivery of CO to a tumour will result in an anti-cancer effect in TNBC. The current study examines a novel class of compounds termed organic CO releasing molecules (CORMs) (CO-1 – CO-8) and previously published metal containing CORMs (CORM-2), as potential treatments for TNBC. Firstly a wide range of synthesised novel organic CORMs were screened for toxicity in MDA-MB-231 cells, a model for TNBC, and the lead compound CO-1 was identified from a range of 8 potential candidates (CO-1 – CO-8). Analysis of cell viability data revealed that CO-1 (1 – 200 μM) resulted in significant reductions in cell viability with an IC75 value of around 5 μM in the MDA-MB-231 TNBC cell line, while the by-product of CO-1, BP-1, demonstrated no residual cytotoxic effects. Time course and gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) studies revealed that the compound released CO at a slow rate with a half-life in vitro between 9 and 24 hours. The ability of CO-1 and CORM-2 to modulate cell death via the induction of apoptosis was demonstrated using Annexin V conjugated to fluorescein (FITC) and propidium iodide (PI) staining followed by FACS analysis. CO-1 was able to induce apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells at both low (10 μM) and high (200 μM) concentrations (6% and 6% respectively) with no apoptotic or necrotic effects being observed when cells were treated with the by-product of CO-1, BP-1. The transition metal containing CORM-2 (200 μM) did not increase apoptotic markers compared to control, however treatment of cells with its “inactive” counterpart iCORM-2 (200 μM) resulted in a significant increase (7%) in apoptosis. In addition high (200 μM) but not low (5 and 10 μM) concentrations of CO-1 and CORM-2 produced a significant increase in the percentage of cells with a damaged mitochondrial membrane (3% and 5% for CO-1 and CORM-2 respectively), indicating that CO may have some concentration specific effects in vitro. High (200 μM) concentrations of both CO-1 and CORM-2 were also shown to induce mitochondrial damage in the MDA-MB-231 cell line and further to the potential anti-cancer effects of the novel compound CO-1, we have shown that low (10 μM) concentrations of the molecule causes a 1.2-fold and 1.4-fold increase in caspase 3 and p53 expression and a 1.2-fold increase in caspase 3 activation. The safety of both organic and transition metal CORMs were also assessed in the renal epithelial MDCK cell line. In MDCK cells treated with CO-1 (10 and 200 μM), COM-2 and iCORM-2 (20 and 100 μM) showed histopathological changes indicative of cell death were observed. These changes were not present in cells treated with the by-product of CO-1, BP-1. Interestingly the changes in histological architecture in MDCK cells treated with iCORM-2 appeared more extensive and severe that in cells treated with the active form of the compound CORM-2. Furthermore treatment of MDCK cells with low (10 μM) concentrations of CO-1, 20 and 200 μM CORM-2 and 200 μM iCORM-2 resulted in G2/M cell cycle arrest in the MDCK cell line. The current study proved CO-1, to be a safe and efficacious pharmacological agent with the ability to induce a cytotoxic and cytostatic effect in the MDA-MB-231 and MDCK cell line with no residual toxic effects resulting from treatment of cell with the by-product of CO-1 (BP-1). Our findings cast doubt over the notion that existing transition metal CORMs in their “inactive” form are not without biological effects. Therefore the current study has shown that novel organic CORMs have a combination of properties that translate into a desirable and potential treatment for TNBC.

    View record details
  • The black monk and the blue mystic : the writings and monochromatic paintings of Ad Reinhardt and Yves Klein

    Leiby, Bora Kim (2011)

    Other thesis
    University of Otago

    This dissertation is an examination of the monochromatic paintings and associated writings of Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) and Yves Klein (1928-1962). Since its inception in 1918, the modern monochromatic painting has continued to fascinate, puzzle, and even upset viewers. Despite this, artists continue to explore this form. It would be unrealistic to assume that there is one artistic ideology that motivates all monochromatic painters. Trying to uncover all varying ideologies would be too difficult and require research based on the subjective writings of critics and historians. In an attempt to understand the monochrome from the artist's perspective I have analysed texts written by the artists regarding their own artwork. Not only did Reinhardt and Klein paint monochromatic images at the same time in history, but both documented their creative processes in writing. I have examined two edited collections of texts by these artists: Art-as-Art: The Selected Writings of Ad Reinhardt (1975) and the English translation of Overcoming the Problematics of Art: The Writings of Yves Klein (2007). The body of this dissertation uncovers similarities and differences in regards to formal aspects, functional roles, and sources of inspiration associated with these paintings. These include artistic rules regarding colour and line, the intended function of art in life, and a shared affinity for Eastern philosophy and aesthetics. While far from uncovering any universal monochromatic ideology, this examination provides some background on and appreciation for the creative process of monochromatic painting and a basic understanding of the reaction to the form.

    View record details
  • The impact of an infant sleep education programme on breastfeeding rates

    Newlands, Alana Marie (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Concerns have been expressed that infant sleep education programmes which aim to promote good sleep habits in the first six months of life may have negative effects on breastfeeding because altering infant sleep may decrease breastfeeding opportunities. To date, the effect of an infant sleep education programme on breastfeeding exclusivity and duration, and maternal breastfeeding satisfaction has not been investigated. The objectives of the present study were to determine in a sample of Dunedin, New Zealand infants whether: an educational programme to prevent the development of infant sleep problems in the first six months postpartum was associated with differences in the duration of exclusive or “any” breastfeeding, or maternal breastfeeding satisfaction, when delivered without (objective 1) or with (objective 2) a lactation consultant. If there was an effect of the infant sleep education programme (without or with a lactation consultant) on breastfeeding outcomes, the secondary objective was to determine: the characteristics of the infant sleep education programme that may explain the potential differences in the duration of exclusive or “any” breastfeeding, or maternal breastfeeding satisfaction (objective 3). The present study was an observational longitudinal analysis following 150 infants from birth until six months of age, randomised to the Control (n=50), Sleep education (n=50) or Combination (sleep education and lactation consultant) (n=50) groups of the Prevention of Overweight in Infancy (POI) study. Sleep education was given antenatally, at three weeks postpartum, and was available upon request. Lactation consultant support was given antenatally, at one week and four months postpartum, and was available on request. Questionnaire data were collected monthly to determine the duration of exclusive or “any’ breastfeeding to the nearest week, breastfeeding patterns, and maternal breastfeeding satisfaction (measured by the Maternal Breastfeeding Evaluation Scale). A 24 hour infant sleep diary was administered at three, 19 and 26 weeks postpartum to collect infant sleep and breastfeeding duration and frequency data. Exclusive breastfeeding was defined as the infant having only received breast milk and prescribed medications from birth. “Any” breastfeeding was defined as the infant receiving at least some breast milk in the previous week. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to determine if the infant sleep education programme, delivered without (Sleep group) or with (Combination group) a lactation consultant, was associated with differences in the duration of exclusive or “any” breastfeeding up to six months postpartum. Multiple linear regression was conducted to determine if the infant sleep education programme, delivered without or with a lactation consultant, was associated with differences in maternal breastfeeding satisfaction. In this interim analysis of data from the POI study, p-values less than 0.014 were considered to indicate statistical significance. There was no evidence that the infant sleep education programme, delivered without (Sleep group) or with (Combination group) a lactation consultant, had a significant effect on the duration of exclusive (p=0.26) or “any” (p=0.87) breastfeeding, or on maternal breastfeeding satisfaction (p=0.20) compared to the Control group (objective 1 and 2). Because there was no evidence of an effect of the infant sleep education programme on breastfeeding duration, or maternal breastfeeding satisfaction, the characteristics of the sleep education programme explaining differences in these outcomes were not investigated (objective 3). This study did not find evidence that the infant sleep education programme was associated with differences in breastfeeding duration, or maternal breastfeeding satisfaction. However, due to the small sample size, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the results of this present analysis and clinical or practical differences in breastfeeding outcomes between the study groups cannot be ruled out. Further analysis with a larger study sample is required to determine whether infant sleep education programmes influence the duration of exclusive or “any” breastfeeding, or maternal breastfeeding satisfaction.

    View record details
  • The effects of joint flight attendant and flight crew CRM training programmes on intergroup teamwork and communication

    Ford, Jane Rosemary (2011)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    The aim of this research is to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of Crew Resource Management (CRM) training programmes for enhancing teamwork and cooperation between flight attendants and pilots. CRM programmes have been defined as the use of all available resources to achieve a safe flight (Helmreich, Merritt & Wilhelm, 1999). CRM programmes were developed for pilots following a series of accidents in the United States in the 1970s which were attributed to ineffective (or non-existent) communication within the flight decks. CRM programmes were extended to flight attendants in the 1990s after accident investigations had determined that some crashes could have been averted if flight attendants had passed on safety critical information to the pilots (e.g., the 1989 British Midlands crash at Kegworth). Human error is attributed to 60-80% of air accidents (Shappell and Wiegmann, 2004; von Thaden, 2008). Studies 1 and 2 involved a 36-item questionnaire for flight attendants which was administered before and after the introduction of the new CRM training programme for flight attendants at a South Pacific airline. The participating airline is a major air carrier so it was possible to obtain large samples (500+) for each of these quantitative studies. The results showed that there had been a significant attitude change in the positive direction. Multivariate analyses also revealed that there were significant differences between fleet type flown, crew position flown and length of service (seniority). As predicted crews with a greater length of service displayed safer attitudes as measured by the FSAQ (Flight Attendants) Crews on the narrow-bodied A320 and B737 showed safer attitudes than their colleagues on the wide-bodied long-haul aircraft. Flight attendants in senior positions (ISD, ISC, and Purser) also displayed safer attitudes. Study 3 followed up on the significant positive attitude changes through a series of seventeen focus groups which involved 100 flight attendants. The purpose was to obtain high quality qualitative data on perceived barriers (and solutions) to communication between pilots and flight attendants. The major barrier identified was the locked flight deck door which meant that flight attendants could not see periods of high workload on the flight deck and there was difficulty in communicating safety critical information over the interphone due to noise and the lack of face-to face contact. Flight attendants suggested that one possible solution would be to install CCVT cameras so that the pilots could see that it was safe to unlock the door or see the flight attendants face. Another barrier was seen to be the lack of a whole pre-flight briefing on long-haul aircraft as flight attendants rarely had the opportunity to even see the pilots on the large B747 aircraft. A solution would be to have the whole team assemble in the area nearest to the flight deck for a quick two-minute briefing. The full briefing would still be between the Captain and the lead flight attendant who would then brief the flight attendant team. These data were then used to develop Study 4 which consisted of a 14-item questionnaire (FSAQ-Pilots) which provided data on the ways pilots viewed the barriers (and solutions) to intergroup communication. The results from this study showed that pilots safety attitudes varied according to fleet type flown, length of service, and crew position flown. Captains, pilots on narrow-bodied aircraft and pilots with a greater length of service all displayed safer attitudes than their colleagues. The qualitative data displayed the same solutions to barriers as the flight attendants had shown. The major barrier was once more the locked flight deck door and the installation of CCTV cameras was recommended. A whole team pre-flight briefing was also recommended. Study 5 followed up on these data by developing a CD Rom which contained five scenarios presented in video clip format. These short video clips involved a landing gear malfunction, drunken passengers, a medical emergency and an explosive decompression followed by an emergency landing. All these provided opportunities for both pilots and flight attendants to identify how they would show intergroup communication and cooperative teamwork. Pilots and flight attendants identified very similar patterns of communication which showed effective intergroup teamwork. Pilots and flight attendants with seven or more years experience; those in leadership roles (Captains, lead flight attendants ); and crews on B737 , B767, and A320 fleets showed significantly lower perceived ratings of danger, volatility, complexity, the role of the captain,, flight attendants and communication in the majority of the five video clips (as described in Chapter 7). Study 6 was an experimental intervention based on the social identity and social categorization theories which formed the theoretical framework for this thesis. According to these theories flight attendants would be more willing to engage in cooperative teamwork behaviours when their social (as opposed to personal) identities had been primed. Three subscales were identified through factor analysis. The subscale labeled intergroup cooperation showed significant differences between the groups when social (as opposed to personal) had been primed. Flight attendants in the social priming condition indicated that they would be more willing to engage in intergroup teamwork. The results supported the main hypothesis. Social identity theory has not been applied to flight crew teamwork previously. These data showed that joint CRM training is valued by both flight attendants and pilots, especially when joint training sessions enabled both groups to meet and hence break down barriers to communication; a major aim of CRM programmes.

    View record details
  • Reframing perceptions of anthropomorphism in wildlife film and documentary

    Adcroft, Jane (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The influence of anthropomorphism in wildlife film and documentary is often misconstrued and underestimated. Critics of anthropomorphic techniques simplify them as pandering to an audience’s cultural ideologies and expectations. Anthropomorphism, including personification, characterisation and narrative structure, are nevertheless inseparable from the wildlife filmmaking process. Inherently subjective, nature on screen is depicted as per the production and post-production choices of the wildlife filmmaker. Furthermore, film, as a medium for entertainment, has ensured that representations of animals reflect those that are popular and will provide entertaining viewing for a particular audience. This anthropomorphism has great importance and potential influence in increasing audience numbers and has the potential to inspire conservation action through greater awareness and science communication. Understandings of anthropomorphism need to move away from criticism of its validity as a filmmaking technique and be reframed towards its potential to inspire audiences.

    View record details
  • The fishery trend and feeding capacity of the New Zealand Littleneck Clam, Austrovenus stutchburyi, in a southern New Zealand inlet.

    Kainamu, Ani (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Austrovenus stutchburyi is one of the dominant bivalves of New Zealand’s soft shore sheltered habitats (Morton and Miller, 1968; McArdle and Blackwell, 1989). The total inlet biomass level of A. stutchburyi has not differed since the initial survey within Papanui and Waitati Inlets; however, the size class biomass level has differed over time. Most important to the future of the fishery is the juvenile clam biomass that has depleted in both Inlets and remained low with no evidence to predict future recruitment. The laboratory study showed that the population factors of size class and density of clams affect the clam filtration rates of phytoplankton, with faster clearance rates by large sized clams at high density. The laboratory and field data were combined and showed that the total inlet filter capacity was 20.8 mg per day and 3.0 mg per day of chlorophyll a is filtered by medium and large clams respectively. This fishery that is harvested by non-commercial and commercial harvesters shows uncertainty in the pattern of recruitment of juvenile clams. The commercial operation needs to consider methods of restocking the population to restore the level of biomass in this fishery. This information provides a baseline assessment for monitoring the health of an inlet, and further monitoring of this dominant species should be continued to ensure the maintenance of its role in this system. Since this current study is based on the latest survey of 2004 and 2007 within Papanui and Waitati Inlet respectively, the improvement in management and the restoration of this population is urgent.

    View record details
  • Shared spaces in New Zealand urban areas

    Shearer, David (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The concept of shared spaces is gaining popularity around the world as an innovative approach to streetscape design. Shared spaces are streets which have very little separation between road users; meaning pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles literally share the road space. Traffic control infrastructure is often removed from shared spaces to introduce a degree of uncertainty to urban streets, necessitating a more careful and courteous style of driving with the aim of increasing safety for all road users. Shared spaces are beginning to appear in New Zealand cities. This thesis provides a context of this introduction of shared spaces into New Zealand’s urban areas and the issues that may affect the success of shared space in New Zealand. This includes examining what shared spaces currently exist and how well they are functioning, as well as any proposed shared spaces. Local authorities were contacted to evaluate the position of local government with regard to the shared space concept. Also, the purported advantages and disadvantages of shared spaces are investigated in a New Zealand-specific context to gauge the appropriateness of the concept for the country. It was found that well designed shared spaces could enhance New Zealand’s urban areas by balancing the needs of all road users and creating more pedestrian friendly public spaces. However, more research needs to be undertaken to investigate the effect that shared spaces will have in New Zealand, and also to find ways to aid blind and visually impaired people in navigating the spaces. Three types of shared space have been suggested and case studies have been used to apply these suggestions in public spaces in Dunedin and Oamaru.

    View record details
  • The influence of exotic salmonids on native host-parasite dynamics

    Paterson, Rachel Anne (2011)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Native parasite acquisition provides introduced species with the potential to modify native host-parasite dynamics by acting as parasite reservoirs (with the ‘spillback’ of infection increasing the parasite burdens of native hosts) or sinks (with the ‘dilution’ of infection decreasing the parasite burdens of native hosts) of infection. Exotic salmonids are frequently shown to acquire native parasites; however, as research into the threats posed by exotic salmonids has largely focused on predation and competition, threats posed by shared native parasites are poorly understood. I used a multiple-pronged approach combining field observations, experimental infections and dynamic population modelling to investigate whether native parasite acquisition by exotic salmonids alters host-parasite dynamics in native fish populations from streams and lakes in New Zealand and Argentina. I also used a meta-analysis approach to investigate which trait(s) influence native parasite acquisition by exotic freshwater fish. My research demonstrated that two key factors strongly influence whether the dynamics of native parasites will be affected by exotic fish. On one hand, the competency of exotic fish for native parasites is an important determinant of whether native parasite populations are likely to increase or decrease. On the other hand, the relative abundance of the exotic species determines whether its competency for a native parasite will actually translate into altered native host-parasite dynamics, with highly abundant exotic species more likely to induce changes in native parasite dynamics. I also demonstrated how exotic species may be able to override the influence of low host abundance, or competency by altering native host behaviour. The meta-analysis suggested that traits known to influence parasite richness in native fish or invasion success of exotic species are not reliable predictors of native parasite acquisition by exotic fish. Instead, it is more likely that complex interactions between a variety of biological, geographical and historical factors govern parasite acquisition by exotic species, making it difficult to predict whether native parasites will be acquired.

    View record details
  • The Pursuit of Happiness

    Reid, Katherine Anne (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Is the frequent monitoring of happiness in daily life actually detrimental to happiness? Current psychological literature suggests that explicit focus on happiness may actually be self-defeating (Schooler, Ariely, & Lowestein, 2003). The current thesis investigated the psychological effects of frequent self-monitoring of happiness outside the laboratory in daily life. A total of 223 young adults (92 men) from the University of Otago were randomly assigned to one of four experimental groups. Commercially available SMS text message software was used to send participants either one, three or six text messages per day for 13 days inquiring about their current level of happiness. A fourth control group also received six text messages per day inquiring about non-mood related experiences. Findings showed no differences in changes in momentary or trait happiness between the three experimental groups, suggesting no reactivity as a result of monitoring happiness overall. Conversely, group differences in changes in momentary happiness were moderated by personality variables self-esteem and dysphoria. Findings suggested that increased monitoring of happiness among those with low self-esteem and high dysphoria leads to a decrease in happiness over time. Interestingly, there was also some evidence that frequent reporting of non-emotional states led to a decrease in trait happiness among those low in self-esteem. Taken together, these findings suggest that the heightened focus on happiness throughout western society today may actually be detrimental to the happiness of those with greater vulnerability to lower mood – i.e. those with low self-esteem or high dysphoria.

    View record details
  • Neuropsychological Function of Children and Adolescents With ADHD: Group and Individual Change Four Years After Diagnosis

    Robinson, Thomas (2011)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    The present study compared the intellectual, academic, and neuropsychological performance of 55 children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with that of an age and gender matched control 4 years after initial diagnosis. The performance of the ADHD group at initial-assessment and at four years follow-up was also compared at both the group and individual levels of analysis. Cross-sectional comparisons indicated the ADHD sample performed less well than controls on measures of intellectual function, academic achievement, and on some neuropsychological measures. Subgroup analyses suggested participants whose symptoms had remitted were less impaired relative to controls. Longitudinal group comparisons found little evidence of change over the course of the study. However, higher than expected proportions of reliable change at an individual level were observed for intellectual function and especially for academic achievement.

    View record details
  • The effects of daytime naps on false memory in the DRM paradigm

    Adams, Samantha (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Recent studies show that sleep influences the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) false memory effect. However most of these studies used a procedure in which participants sleep over night or are awake during the day, thus introducing a time-of-day confound. For this reason the experiments in this thesis investigated how daytime naps influence the DRM false memory effect. Moreover, since the wake group in a nap study typically engages in a more passive retention interval task (e.g., watching television) than the wake group in a sleep study (e.g., everyday activity), we investigated the effect of different types of retention interval tasks on the DRM effect. In two experiments we employed the DRM paradigm under recognition testing conditions, with four groups of participants in each. The groups differed in the task the participant engaged in during the retention interval. In the first experiment, a 0 –minute control, 20-minute game playing, 20-minute TV watching was compared to a 20 minute nap. The probability of false recognition of critical lures was higher in the TV-watching and Nap groups than in the control and game-playing groups but the differences were not statistically significant. There were, however, significant differences in accuracy with the Nap group achieving higher corrected hit rates than the other groups. In the second experiment the effects of watching TV or playing a game for 60 minutes were compared to either game playing or TV watching for 20 minutes followed by a 40-minute nap. The findings from Experiment 2 indicate that overall, participants in nap conditions falsely recognized less critical lures than the participants in wake conditions. These results indicate napping may enhance the accuracy of memories in comparison to an equivalent period of wakefulness. The findings from Experiment 2 also indicate that overall, participants in game conditions falsely recognized more critical lures than participants in watch conditions. Moreover, participants in the Watch60 group falsely recognized more critical lures than participants in the Game60 group. These results indicate that false memory rates can depend on the task the participants engage in during the retention interval.

    View record details
  • Belief-Based Exemptions: Are Religious Beliefs Special?

    Cornelissen, Gemma Sarah (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Religious beliefs are often singled out for special treatment in secular liberal societies. Yet if a legal exemption is granted for a belief with a religious foundation, the question arises whether a similar, but non-religious belief must also be granted an exemption. This thesis examines the comparative status of religious and non-religious exemption claims. The aim is to determine whether or not the present tendency to favour the petitions of religious claimants over their secular counterparts is morally justifiable. Three distinct sets of arguments which are commonly used to validate the practice of awarding religious exemptions are analysed. The first chapter focuses upon psychological harm approaches, which concern the role of religious beliefs in the lives of their holders. The second chapter examines the substantive content of religious beliefs. Finally, the third chapter considers the place of these beliefs within secular liberal democracies. Each set of arguments gives rise to a strong justification for awarding religious exemptions. However, the arguments each fail to provide a convincing moral case for drawing a distinction favouring religious beliefs over analogous non-religious beliefs. This thesis contends that belief-based exemptions ought therefore to be awarded equally to all claimants who meet the moral criteria for special treatment. This conclusion applies regardless of whether the relevant belief is founded in religion or not.

    View record details
  • Self gelling microemulsion systems for vaccine delivery

    Singh, Rinku (2011)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Purpose: The increasing interest in new generation vaccines is based upon utilising highly purified proteins and peptides as antigens. However, a disadvantage of these subunit vaccines is that they are often poorly immunogenic. Therefore there is a need to develop new formulation strategies which can generate the desired immune responses and are both safe and efficacious. One important formulation strategy involves incorporating antigens in polymeric nanoparticles, while another formulation strategy involves the dispersion of antigens in a sustained release carrier with the aim of increasing the size of the immune response generated and perhaps avoiding the need for multiple immunisations. In this thesis the aim was to combine these two approaches by dispersion of polymeric nanoparticles loaded with the antigen into a sustained release delivery systems (a self gelling microemulsion). Two polymeric nanoparticles (poly(ethylcyanoacrylate), PECA and chitosan nanoparticles, CNP) were dispersed in self gelling microemulsion (ME) templates. Ovalbumin (Ova) and Quil A were used as model antigen and adjuvant respectively. Biocompatible microemulsions were developed by establishing pseudoternary phase diagrams and these were then characterised at 37 ˚C. Lamellar liquid crystalline gel regions were found adjacent to the microemulsion regions in the phase diagrams. Upon addition of water or body fluids a phase transition from microemulsions to liquid crystalline systems may occur, which may make these systems suitable for sustained antigen delivery, as the rate of diffusion within the liquid crystalline phase is slower as compared to liquid vehicles. The study investigated the influence of the oil and water composition of the microemulsions on viscosity and release of antigen dispersed in the microemulsion in molecular form and incorporated into nanoparticles from the microemulsions and liquid crystalline gels. The ability of these formulations to generate immune responses towards Ova was also investigated in vivo. Methods: The ME components consisted of isopropyl myristate, lecithin, ethanol, water and either decyl glucoside (DG) or capryl-caprylyl glucoside (CCG). The selected microemulsions had a surfactant: water (S:W) ratio of 9:1 and a surfactant: oil (S:O) ratio of 5.2: 4.8. Formulations were loaded with fluorescently labelled Ova (FITC-Ova) and used as polymerisation templates for the preparation of PECA nanoparticles by interfacial polymerisation. CNP were prepared separately by a precipitation/coacervation method facilitated by sodium sulphate. The viscosity of one phase and two phase liquid crystalline gels (with and without nanoparticles incorporated) was determined using a cone and plate rheometer. A fluorometric assay was used to determine entrapment and in vitro release of FITC-Ova. An HPLC method was used to determine entrapment of Quil A in PECA nanoparticles and CNP. Self-gelling microemulsion templates containing Ova and Quil A either free or incorporated in nanoparticles were subsequently investigated in an in vivo mouse model with respect to their ability to induce a sustained immune response in comparison to nanoparticles in aqueous dispersions. Result and discussions: Biocompatible pseudoternary phase diagrams were established and characterised at 37 ˚C. Lamellar liquid crystalline gel regions and two phase turbid gel regions were found adjacent to a microemulsion region. This raised the possibility to formulate microemulsion templates converting into one phase and two phase liquid crystalline gels upon aqueous dilution. The appearance of a birefringent texture, characteristic for lamellar liquid crystals, after injection of the microemulsions into HPMC gels supported the hypothesis of an in situ phase transition. The average size of the PECA nanoparticles containing FITC-Ova was found to be in the range of 244-339 nm. The size of the nanoparticles was found to be larger in DG based microemulsions than CCG based microemulsions. The viscosity of microemulsions and liquid crystalline gels was found to show Newtonian and pseudoplastic flow behaviour, respectively. The viscosity of the microemulsion templates did not show any significant differences with increasing oil or water content, either in the presence or absence of nanoparticles. Further, the viscosity of one phase liquid crystalline gels was found to increase with increases in water content and to decrease with increases in oil content, both in the presence and absence of nanoparticles. In contrast, the viscosities of two phase liquid crystalline gels decreased with increases in water content and increased with increases in oil content. When the viscosity of one phase and two phase liquid crystalline gels were compared for systems formulated with the two different types of surfactants, the viscosity was found to be higher for DG based systems as compared to CCG based systems. The release of FITC-Ova from the selected microemulsion templates did not show any statistical differences due to the non-significant differences in their viscosity. The release of FITC-Ova from both DG and CCG based microemulsion templates was slow for the first 18 h with a rapid increase to 24 h, after which they attained a constant profile. In contrast, FITC-Ova release from one phase and two phase liquid crystalline gels was sustained for both antigen encapsulated in the nanoparticles and for free FITC-Ova. When the release from microemulsions, one phase and two phase liquid crystalline gels was compared for systems formulated with the two different types of surfactants used, release was found to be similar from microemulsion templates but was higher from CCG based one phase and two phase gels as compared to DG based gels. This was due to the lower viscosity of CCG based gels as compared to DG based gels. The entrapment of FITC-Ova in PECA nanoparticles was found to be in the range of 37.3% to 54.6% determined by a direct assay and 41.3% to 58.9% determined by an indirect assay, respectively. FITC-Ova entrapment determined by both methods was thus found to be in fairly good agreement. FITC-Ova entrapment in PECA nanoparticles however, did not follow any detectable trend with increasing oil or water content in the various formulations. The DG containing microemulsions and liquid crystalline gel formulations from the in vitro characterisation studies were selected and used to examine their ability to stimulate an effective immune response in an in vivo study. In vitro characterisation of the selected formulation was again carried out in terms of entrapment and in vitro FITC-Ova release. Additionally, entrapment of Quil A in PECA nanoparticles dispersed in the formulation was determined and found to be 46%. For comparison, a CNP dispersion in the same microemulsion formulation was prepared and entrapment of Quil A and FITC-Ova was found to be 27% and 56% repectively. The release of free FITC-Ova from the formulations was found to be faster than for encapsulated FITC-Ova for both PECA and CNP containing microemulsions. Surprisingly, a reduced T cell expansion and T cell proliferation were seen in lymph nodes and spleen after subcutaneous administration of microemulsions containing particulate formulations compared to aqueous nanoparticle dispersions. Cytokine levels, especially IFN-γ, were found either lower or comparable in mice immunised with sustained release microemulsion vaccine formulations as compared to nanoparticle dispersions. Ova specific IgG antibody titres however, showed lower antibody responses in mice immunised with particulate vaccines as compared to microemulsion based formulations, but this result cannot be further interpreted as higher response were also obtained with antigen dissolved in PBS and in the presence of alum (i.e. the control groups). Of major importance however was that the microemulsion formulations induced significant injection site reactions curtailing further animal experiments. Conclusions: Microemulsion formulations were successfully prepared and modified to incorporate FITC-Ova into PECA nanoparticles. The microemulsions demonstrated phase transition capability to liquid crystalline gels upon absorption of small amounts of water. The nanoparticles containing microemulsions can thus be used as in situ gelling slow release formulation for antigen, encapsulated in nanoparticles as a sustained release formulation to deliver antigen for a prolonged period of time. However, an advantage of these systems to stimulate higher immune responses, compared to aqueous antigen containing nanoparticle dispersions, was not found, as the latter showed better immune responses as compared to particle containing microemulsions. The reasons for this may be that the release of encapsulated antigen from the in situ forming liquid crystal is too slow due to the slow diffusion of the nanoparticles and that the release of free antigen is also slow due to extensive protein-gel binding.

    View record details
  • The Effect of Active Living and Physical Activity on Post-prandial IL-6 and CRP

    Bone, Julia Lizet (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Aims: Post-prandial increases in inflammatory markers IL-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP) have been observed following high fat and high carbohydrate meals. Inflammation is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer. In addition, sedentary behaviour is also associated with negative health outcomes. Meanwhile, elevated IL-6 and CRP have been associated with a negative mood. The study aim was to compare the effects of continuous physical activity to breaks in sedentary behaviour on post-prandial IL-6 and CRP. The secondary aim was to compare the impact of these patterns (as detailed above) on measures of mood states. Methods: Twenty four healthy sedentary participants (15 female, nine male, mean ± SD, age 25.8 ± 5.8 yr, BMI, 23.6 ± 5.0 kg/m2) completed three, 9 h testing days. These were: sedentary (SE), participants remained seated for 9 h; physical activity (PA), participants performed 30 min of exercise at a speed and incline to elicit 60% VO2max prior to the first meal replacement beverage and were then seated for the remainder of the 9 h; active living (AL), participants walked for 1 min 40s every 30 min throughout the day (this equals 30 min of physical activity spread out over 9 h) at the same speed and incline as the PA condition. For each condition participants received three meal replacement beverages at 1, 4 and 7 h. Each meal provided 0.46 g fat/kg BW, 0.54 g protein/kg BW and 1.12 g CHO/kg BW. Venous blood samples were collected at baseline, 4 and 8 h to measure IL-6 and CRP. Mood was assessed using the Brunel University Mood Scale at 0 and 9 h. Results: In the SE and PA conditions there was a post-prandial increase in IL-6 at 4 and 8 h compared to baseline (SE p<0.05). There was no change in CRP from baseline, nor was there a difference between conditions. No correlation existed between mood and CRP. Increases in IL-6 correlated with a more depressed mood. Both PA and SE conditions decreased tension. There was no effect of AL on mood. Conclusions: Interleukin-6 increased 4 and 8 h post-prandially when sedentary. Thirty min of moderate continuous physical activity following an overnight fast and prior to a meal does not decrease the post-prandial IL-6 response. Breaking sedentary behaviour by as little as 1 min 40 s every 30 min attenuates the post-prandial IL-6 response and thereby, may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Practical applications from these findings include the use of computer prompts or television advertising to promote standing and walking in individuals with desk jobs or when watching television for long periods of time.

    View record details
  • An Epigenetic Analysis of the Human Placenta

    Macaulay, Erin Cuffe (2011)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    The human placenta is a highly specialized organ that is responsible for the survival of pregnancy. During its development, placental trophoblast cells invade into the uterine wall to establish a blood supply for the growing fetus. Previous studies have suggested similarities between the invasive phenotypes of trophoblasts and tumour cells; however, a key difference is that trophoblast invasion is under strict control. Given that epigenetic mechanisms have been linked with the silencing of key regulatory genes in cancer, we hypothesized that the epigenetic regulation of first-trimester placental trophoblasts may provide a mechanistic relationship between placental and cancer growth. Further, although the hypomethylated environment within the pseudo-malignant placenta is unique, its role in facilitating placental function is poorly understood. We sought to document placental-specific epigenetic modifications, taking into account that the origin of the placenta is determined during the earliest stages of embryonic development, when the inner-cell mass is first distinguished from the trophectoderm, and when the inner-cell mass further differentiates into the primitive endoderm and the epiblast. A genome-wide methylation analysis was performed using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) combined with hybridisation to promoter microarrays to identify differentially methylated gene promoters between first-trimester human placenta and peripheral blood DNA. The promoter methylation of 29 candidate genes was then quantified using Sequenom MassARRAY®. Differential methylation patterns were detected in placental tissues compared to both fetal and adult somatic tissues. The relationship between promoter methylation and gene expression was then assessed using real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. The promoter methylation of one gene, KCNH5, was found to be lineage-specific: low in all tissues derived from the extra-embryonic lineages (trophectoderm and primitive endoderm) and very high in tissues derived from the embryonic (epiblast) lineage. The dichotomous promoter methylation of KCNH5 was found to regulate the lineage-specific expression of alternative gene transcripts. Interestingly, the KCNH5 promoter that is used in tissues derived from the extra-embryonic lineages, and which shows dichotomous methylation, has recently evolved from a SINE retrotransposon that is present in only humans, old world monkeys and apes. To our knowledge, this the first example of a human transcript derived from the insertion of a SINE element. Finally, the lineage origin of the extra-embryonic mesenchyme has been a topic of longstanding debate. The combined epigenetic and expression profiles of KCNH5 in placental villous stroma provide compelling evidence that the extra-embryonic mesenchyme is derived from the primitive endoderm. Retrotransposons are normally silenced by methylation to prevent genome dysfunction. However, the placenta is becoming increasingly known as a tissue in which retrotransposons are actively transcribed. We observed that the absence of retrotransposon-silencing by methylation permitted the emergence of a placental-specific transcript by allowing the retrotransposon to serve as an alternative promoter for KCNH5. Examination of additional retrotransposon-derived genes in the placenta (INSL4 and ERVWE1) confirmed that dichotomous methylation between embryonic and extra-embryonic lineages is a feature of early development. The finding that the retro-elements in these genes have escaped the normal silencing mechanism suggests that they may have functional roles that are unique to the invasive placentas of humans and recent primates.

    View record details
  • Role of NK cells in DC-based immunotherapy of melanoma

    Bouwer, Anthea Lynne (2011)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Natural killer (NK) cells were first identified by their ability to kill tumour or virally infected cells without prior sensitization. In spite of this, the actual role of NK cells in tumour immunotherapy remains controversial. This study therefore set out to investigate the potential of Streptococcus salivarius K12, a gram-positive bacterium that has a history of commercial application as a probiotic in New Zealand, for use as a NK cell adjuvant, applying the therapy using B16.OVA melanoma as a model. To confirm that S. salivarius K12 was able to induce efficient activation of NK cells, I first screened a number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria for their ability to induce IFNγ release from NK cells. Using ELISA and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) I found that gram-positive bacteria stimulated a rapid release ( through interaction with self MHC during development. Therefore having a setting where the addition of S. salivarius K12 activates NK cells, I investigated whether these NK cells were recruited to the draining lymph nodes where they could potentially influence the adaptive immune response. A range of adjuvant-activated and S. salivarius K12-activated DC were injected subcutaneously into the flanks of mice and tested their ability to recruit NK cells to the draining lymph node. The adjuvants differed markedly in their ability to recruit NK cells with S. salivarius K12 being the most effective. To determine if activated NK cells would be of benefit in tumour immunotherapy, I investigated the ability of bacterially activated DCs to elicit anti-tumour responses in a B16.OVA melanoma model. Utilizing a therapeutic tumour model where treatment was started three days following tumour inoculation, I found a significant delay of tumour growth in mice that were immunized with ovalbumin-pulsed DC that had been treated for 4 hours with S. salivarius K12 as opposed to other adjuvants tested. I also determined that in vivo depletion of NK cells completely abolished the benefit of DC immunotherapy. A therapeutic tumour experiment where DC were primed in the presence or absence of tumour antigen showed that while NK cells were critical for the antigen-dependent anti-tumour response they did not appear to exert an effector function. To investigate the role of NK cells in priming the anti-tumour response I next utilized a prophylactic setting, where mice were challenged with tumours sixty days after DC immunization. By depleting CD4+/CD8+ T cells and NK cells before time of priming or challenge, I tentatively showed that all three subsets of cells play a role in the anti-tumour response, although NK cells may play a greater role at time of challenge.

    View record details
  • The Yellow-eyed Penguin: A Review of Research and Policy

    Leichter, Jill Holtzman (2011)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The latest research on penguin evolution and yellow-eyed penguin genetics is presented and makes the case for unique conservation initiatives. A thorough count of the population in the sub-Antarctic islands has not taken place for twenty years and a top priority for the yellow-eyed penguin is an accurate count of the total population. In light of communication breakdowns and disjoints with science, yellow-eyed penguin conservation documents from the Department of Conservation are re-evaluated and the efficacy of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s habitat restoration efforts is critiqued. More intensive management of yellow-eyed penguins is recommended and suggestions for a more integrative, responsive, big-picture approach to future management of the yellow-eyed penguin are presented. The theoretical component informed the two creative components of this thesis. The first is a yearlong blog called Penguin Hospital (penguinhospital.com) that focused on the ecology and intensive management of Katiki Point on the north Otago Coast. The blog includes photographs and stories about nature, ecology and the penguin hospital at Katiki Point. The second project is a children’s book called Penguin Hospital for older primary school children. Using a calendar approach to a year at Katiki Point and photographs to illustrate monthly stories, the book describes the life cycle of the yellow-eyed penguin, the ecology of the Otago coast, and ongoing activities at the penguin hospital at Katiki Point.

    View record details
  • Raising the comprehension skills of Thai tertiary readers of English through strategies-based instruction

    Akkakoson, Songyut (2011)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    This quasi-experimental study researches the efficacy of strategies-based instruction on the L2 and L1 reading proficiency and reading strategy use of Thai students. The subjects were 164 tertiary students of scientific and technological domains at King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB), Thailand. A programme of strategy training was introduced to an experimental cohort of 82 students while another 82 students were taught in a control condition using traditional, teacher-fronted methods. A mixed research approach using both quantitative and qualitative procedures was adopted. A standardised test of English reading comprehension, a test of Thai reading comprehension, and a strategy use questionnaire were administered to all subjects as pre-post measures. A post-lesson interview was conducted with three students from each cohort during the course. A concept interview was conducted with all students from both cohorts to form a post-course survey. As out-of-class assignments, all students were required to produce portfolio entries giving their retrospective accounts of strategy use for 11 weeks. The quantitative findings revealed a significantly higher gain in English and Thai reading abilities in favour of the experimental cohort. Both cohorts reported more frequent strategy use after the course, but there were no statistically-significant differences on the post-survey between the two cohorts. The findings indicated a significant correlation between strategy use and English reading proficiency as well as between English and Thai reading proficiency. The qualitative results indicated that the experimental cohort developed more strategic awareness, and appeared to use a wider range of strategies when reading in other situations. The results also show that, in the process of learning to use reading strategies, EFL learners with higher reading proficiency are more efficient at manipulating strategies than those with lower reading proficiency. Overall, the results of this study support the effectiveness of activating metacognitive awareness and of explicit instruction in reading strategy use.

    View record details