150 results for VUW ResearchArchive, Masters, 2017

  • Investigating the Effects of Oocytes on Proliferation Rate and Gene Expression of Mouse Ovarian Surface Epithelium-Derived Cancer Lines

    Armstrong, Gina (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The origin of the most common form of ovarian cancer (OC), epithelial OC (EOC), remains a contentious issue. Due to disease heterogeneity, EOC is unlikely to originate from a single progenitor. This research explores an alternative hypothesis for the origin of EOC. During ovarian development, granulosa cells (GC) recruited from the ovarian surface epithelium (OSE) associate with oocytes. During follicular growth, oocyte-secreted growth factors (OSF) facilitate GC phenotype and function. Thus, if oocytes are lost prematurely from non-growing follicles, naïve GC remain. These cells, devoid of their germ cell regulator, may proliferate leading to neoplastic transformation and heterogeneous tumour phenotypes. This study aimed to elucidate the effects of OSF on (i) proliferation of, and (ii) candidate gene expression in, two mouse OSE-derived cancer cell lines, namely mOSE T2 (p53-/-/Akt/c-myc) and BR (p53-/-/Brca1-/-/Akt/c-myc). The OSF tested were oocyte-secreted media (OSM) containing rat OSF, as well recombinant (rec) porcine (p) BMP15 and pGDF9. Tritiated-thymidine uptake was used as a measure of cell proliferation and quantitative PCR was performed to measure gene expression levels of Cdh1 (epithelial marker), Foxl2 (granulosa cell marker), Dab2 and Muc16 (cancer markers). Exposure of mOSE T2 cells to OSM, but not rec pBMP15+pGDF9, resulted in decreased (P<0.02) in Muc16 mRNA levels was observed only in the T2 cell line incubated with OSM, but not rec pBMP15+pGDF9 and the BR cell line remained unaffected. Interestingly, Muc16 and Bmpr2 mRNA levels were lower overall in the mOSE BR, compared to the T2, cell line. In summary, both proliferation rate and expression levels of the tumourigenesis marker Muc16 were reduced in the mOSE T2 cell line after the addition of OSF. This supports the alternative hypothesis that proliferation of naïve OSE-derived GC is kept in check by OSF however, upon premature loss of oocytes or more specifically in the absence of OSF, these cells may proliferate and develop into EOC. Importantly, OSF were unable to suppress proliferation rate and Muc16 mRNA levels in cancer cells with a Brac1 mutation.

    View record details
  • How can the Oculus Rift enrich the interactive storytelling experience?

    Ali, Mohsin (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The technology of today, such as the Oculus Rift, can provide immersion in ways that were unachievable in the past. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that allows the user to see the three-dimensional world without the use of a traditional monitor. Unlike television, computer and mobile screens, a virtual reality headset digitally transports the user into the environment. Functionality such as depth tracking and rotational head tracking provides immersion unlike anything experienced to date. My interest is to investigate interactive storytelling in combination with the Oculus Rift, to determine if virtual reality headsets can enrich storytelling experiences. This will be achieved by developing an application where interactive storytelling is compatible with the Oculus Rift, and testing that application with participants. Finally, a conclusion will be drawn from the data collected by participants. Alongside the written thesis, a digital application will be produced in Unreal Engine 4 (Video game engine). The application will be an Oculus Rift driven experience, meaning that users can only experience it through an Oculus Rift. The application will have an interactive plot, which allows the user to influence the storyline. The design will be iterative and will be refined after each user testing session. The application hopes to strengthen the theories and concepts found in the written section of the thesis.

    View record details
  • Butoh: Granting Art Status to an Indefinable Form

    Caldwell, Shane (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Butoh is a kind of art, but exactly what kind of art is not so easy to see. While traditionally considered a type of dance, there are a number of butoh works that are not readily identifiable as dance works, if in fact they count as dance at all. Through the use of Noël Carroll’s narrative theory of art, I will show how butoh comes to be thought of as art even if it fails to match up exactly with any one pre-existing art form. I will show how the context in which butoh came into being is sufficient for granting butoh art status due to its relation to existing art forms. I compare butoh to its two most similar analogues, dance and performance art, and examine how it resembles and differs from each of them. I also show how the reason categorising butoh as only one kind of art form is problematic due to its being part of a non- Western aesthetic tradition that does not break the world up into such easily separable pieces.

    View record details
  • A Great Wall? Migration, Political Socialisation and Political Participation among Chinese in New Zealand

    Clayton, Ameera (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Chinese political participation is low by comparison with other migrant and ethnic groups despite high socioeconomic status. This suggests that other barriers to participation are present among this group. This study examines how pre- and post-migration political socialisation affect the electoral participation of Chinese in New Zealand. Fifteen one-on-one, in-depth interviews allowed me to consider the relationship between both length of residence and socialisation in a democratic versus non-democratic regime and electoral participation among this sample. In this case, analysis of each participant’s migration and political participation experiences revealed no correlation between either length of residence and socialisation in a democratic versus non-democratic regime and electoral participation, although it highlighted the significance of demographic factors such as age and life-cycle, and social capital and political interest for electoral participation. Few studies have focused on Chinese migrant political participation specifically in New Zealand and even fewer on the subject of Chinese electoral participation. However, understanding what drives and inhibits electoral participation among this group is both important for the development of New Zealand’s Asia-Pacific identity and ultimately as an indicator of the health of democracy in New Zealand.

    View record details
  • Women Album Makers from the Canterbury Region of New Zealand, 1890-1910, and Their Photographic Practices

    Hearnshaw, Victoria Annabel (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis examines the photograph albums created by fifteen women born during the reign of Queen Victoria living in the Canterbury region of New Zealand between the years 1890-1910. It will investigate how it was that these women, often working in close association with other members of their family, became involved in photography as an amateur recreational pastime. It will pursue this investigation within the conceptual and structural framework in which these women’s photographs were produced, collected or processed, and organized into albums, arguing that the making of such albums was as much a cultural and social practice as a representational one. Photograph albums are often considered to be generic objects. However this study will treat albums as distinctive and unique documents, comparable to other more-widely consulted primary sources such as letters and diaries. In particular, it will explore the capacity of the album to be a pictorial artefact that provides its own conditions for viewing images over time and space and contribute to a growing body of literature that insists that the photograph album is an important object of study within social history, and indeed within the history of photography in general. In drawing attention to the album making as a gendered pastime I am acknowledging the significance of this activity for women from within the upper and middle classes as a significant aspect of feminine cultural production at this period in our colonial history. As cameras became easier to operate towards the end of the nineteenth century these improvements saw women begin to take their own photographs, and also to print and distribute them within their extended families and beyond. This reflects the extent to which the practices of photography and album-making had become integrated practices by this date. Thus, the role of the album compiler working in the domestic sphere was effectively transformed from a passive consumer (collecting photographs) into an active producer of photographs. However, the extent to which the practice of photography was undertaken by women within colonial New Zealand is only now beginning to be realized. To date, the published evidence for this has been slight. This thesis endeavours to shed light on the contribution of these women working within the domestic sphere, but also those of their number who subsequently ventured to use this knowledge outside this limited sphere, and on their visual legacy at this formative period in New Zealand’s history.

    View record details
  • Can a gut helminth parasite influence Th2 inflammatory responses in the skin?

    Meijlink, Kimberley Jayne (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Helminth parasites are one of the most common infectious agents of humans and cause significant health and economic burdens in the countries they are endemic in, making elimination an important goal. However, epidemiological studies have suggested an inverse correlation between the incidences of infections by helminth parasites in humans and autoimmune and allergic disease prevalence worldwide; it is thought the eradication of parasites in more affluent countries through improved hygiene is an important factor for the increasing incidence of autoimmune and allergic diseases encountered in the Western world. A Th2 immune response is central in providing immunity against helminth parasites, while suppressing T helper (Th) 1/Th17-mediated inflammation and inducing wound repair mechanisms. Helminths have developed strategies to directly regulate the immune response against them to ensure their own survival. Experimental evidence has demonstrated helminths are also able to dampen inflammatory bystander immune responses in their host, via induction of regulatory mechanisms such as regulatory T cells. These studies have focused primarily on the suppression of food and airway allergies in mouse models and there is limited data on the effect of helminth parasites on skin allergy e.g. atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic/chronically relapsing Th2 inflammatory skin condition, characterized by skin lesions, dry itchy skin and impaired skin barrier function. This is believed to allow the entrance of other allergens into the body more easily, leading to sensitization and initiation of other allergies later in life, a process termed the ‘Allergic March’. With the increased incidence of allergy in the Western world, it is desirable to find new therapies to suppress AD and the onset of the allergic march. During my Masters, I have investigated whether the gut-dwelling mouse parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus was able to suppress Th2 responses induced in skin tissue using two different allergy models: 1) intradermal injection (ID) of whole mashed-up house dust mite (HDM), which induces Th2 inflammatory responses, and 2) topical application of the chemical hapten dibutyl phthalate-fluorescein isothiocyanate (DBP-FITC), mimicking allergic responses seen in AD. The results show that H. polygyrus induces interleukin (IL)-4 production in tissues distal to the gut, including the ear skin tissue, mainly from cluster of differentiation (CD) 4⁺ T cells. Furthermore, helminth infection was able to suppress Th2-mediated inflammation in the skin in both house dust mite and DBP-FITC models, coinciding with an increase in the proportions of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in skin-associated lymph nodes (LNs). This research further demonstrates the potential use of helminth parasites, or their products, as a therapy for allergic diseases, including those of the skin.

    View record details
  • Secondary Sexting: A Restorative Framework for Understanding and Addressing the Harms of Sexting Behaviour among Secondary School Students

    Wicks, Emma (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In New Zealand there is a growing concern over the engagement of teenagers in sexting, especially so-called ‘secondary sexting’, the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. This thesis aims to analyse the behaviour of sexting through a restorative lens and to outline the role of restorative responses can make in a New Zealand context. It combines a review of international literature on the subject with a pilot study of senior students at a New Zealand secondary school, a school that has deemed itself to be a “restorative school”. The empirical study employs a mixed-methods approach. The quantitative phase involved students (n=125) in Year 11 -13 completing a survey to ascertain the prevalence of sexing and their attitudes towards criminalization of different types of sexting. The qualitative phase involved focus groups with students (n=13), one-on-one interviews with staff (n=7) and parents (n=17) discussing how they would respond to a hypothetical scenario of secondary sexting. The study finds that although only a small percentage of students engaged in secondary sexting, secondary sexting is the cause of significant harm and there is need for an effective response. This thesis argues that restorative response has the most promise at addressing these harms. It also shows that applying a restorative framework to the analysis of the practice enables us to identify and challenge victim blaming tendencies in both popular opinion and official responses. It proposes that for New Zealand to adequately respond to sexting there needs to be a shift away from viewing secondary sexting as a result of poor choices to one that focuses on respectful relationships and the obligations that go with them.

    View record details
  • Spending Time: An investigation of the relationship between emotions, time and spending

    Liebenberg, Brett (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The significance of exchange within our daily lives encompasses not only the economic exchange of physical commodities but more abstract entities such as knowledge, skills and beliefs. This research investigation developed from a desire to understand my personal engagement with money and the design of money, through the exploration of shopping and spending habits. The activity of spending and everyday provisioning is one which has come to form a large component of our everyday lives and is partly informed by the non-economic aspects of exchange described above. This has led researchers, such as Daniel Miller (1998), to investigate the cultural phenomenon of consumerism. As our ability to consume has expanded to an almost unlimited wealth of products to choose from, a consumer has been able to form an imagined relationship with their purchases and may even regard it as a physical manifestation of various emotions. This level of constant spending and provisioning demands further examination, as the systems designed to enable us to consume are the same which have capitalised on our emotions. By making use of ethnographic methods of investigation (specifically interviews and qualitative survey tools), this research explores how an increased level of monetary literacy could be developed towards a consumers everyday spending. Through the design of a research tool, The Spending Map, a process of critical reflection is encouraged where it is possible to exhibit a dialogue that can capture, catalogue and critique the emotional engagement a consumer has towards their spending.

    View record details
  • Using Structural Geology and Cosmogenic Nuclide Dating to Infer the Slip Rate and Frictional Strength of the Active Mai’iu Low-Angle Normal Fault, Eastern Papua New Guinea

    Webber, Samuel (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Low-angle normal faults (LANFs) have induced debate due to their apparent non -Andersonian behaviour and lack of significant seismicity associated with slip. Dipping 21°/N, the Mai’iu Fault, located in the Woodlark Rift, Eastern Papua New Guinea is an active LANF that occupies a position at the transition between continental extension and seafloor spreading. Surface geomorphology indicates that the Mai’iu Fault scarp is not significantly eroded despite high rainfall and ~2900 m of relief. Based on modelling of regional campaign GPS data (Wallace et al., 2014) the Mai’iu Fault is thought to accommodate rapid (7–9 mm/yr) horizontal extension; however the slip rate of the Mai’iu Fault has not been directly validated. I use a range of methodologies, including field mapping, cosmogenic exposure dating, cosmogenic burial dating, and Mohr-Coulomb modelling, in order to provide new constraints on LANF strength and slip behaviour. I analyse the structure of conglomeratic strata within a back -rotated rider block atop the Mai’iu Fault surface. The Gwoira rider block is a large fault-bounded sedimentary rock slice comprising the Gwoira Conglomerate, located within a large synformal megamullion in the Mai’iu Fault surface. The Gwoira Conglomerate was originally deposited on the Mai’iu Fault hanging wall concurrent with extension, and has since been buried to a maximum depth of ~2 km (evidenced by modelling of vitrinite reflectance data, and structural analysis), back-tilted, and synformally folded. The Mai’iu Fault is also overlain by a large fault slice (the Gwoira rider block), that has been transferred from the previous LANF hanging wall to the current footwall by the initiation of the younger Gwoira Fault. Both the Gwoira Conglomerate (former hanging wall) and mylonitic foliation (footwall) of the Mai’iu Fault have been shortened ~E-W, perpendicular to the extension direction. I show that N-S trending synformal folding of the Gwoira Conglomerate was concurrent with on-going sedimentation and extension on the Mai’iu Fault. Structurally shallower Gwoira Conglomerate strata are folded less than deeper strata, indicating that folding was progressively accrued concurrent with ~N -S extension. I also show that abandonment of the inactive strand of the Mai’iu Fault in favour of the Gwoira Fault, which resulted in formation of the Gwoira rider block, occurred in response to progressive megamullion amplification and resultant misorientation of the inactive strand of the Mai’iu Fault. I attribute N-S trending synformal folding to extension-perpendicular constriction. This is consistent with numerous observations of outcrop-scale conjugate strike-slip faults that deform the footwall and hanging wall of the Mai’iu Fault (Little et al., 2015), and accommodate E-W shortening. Constrictional folding remains active in the near-surface as evidenced by synformal tilting of inferred Late Quaternary fluvial terraces atop the Gwoira rider block. In order to date this sequence of progressive constrictional folding, I have processed ten ²⁶Al/¹⁰Be terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide burial samples obtained from the Gwoira Conglomerate; unfortunately these data were not yet available at the time of printing, due to reasons outside of my control. I also present terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) exposure ages for ten rock samples obtained from the lowermost Mai’iu Fault scarp at Biniguni Falls, in order to determine the Holocene slip-rate and style using cosmogenic ¹⁰Be in quartz. I model exposure age data after the approach of Schlagenhauf et al. (2011), using a Monte-Carlo simulation in which fault slip rate, the period of last slip on the fault, and local erosion rate are allowed to vary. Modelling evidences that the Mai’iu Fault at Biniguni Falls is active and slipping at 13.9±4.0 mm/yr (1σ), resolved over the last 13.2±2.7 ka (1σ). Modelling constrains the time of last slip to 2.9±1.4 ka (1σ); this is consistent with a seismic event at that time, followed by non-slip on the Mai’iu Fault until the present day. Finally, because rider block formation records abandonment of the uppermost part of a LANF, Coulomb fault mechanical analysis can be applied to field observations to provide an upper limit on LANF frictional strength (µf). Calculations are made in terms of Mohr-Coulomb mechanics, after the framework of Choi and Buck (2012). The lock-up (abandonment) orientation at any particular position on the Mai’iu Fault is principally a function of fault friction (µf), crustal friction (µc), fault cohesion (Cf), crustal cohesion (Cc), depth, fault orientation, fluid pressure, and the orientation of the greatest principle stress. Model results suggest that fault friction for the active Gwoira-Mai’iu Fault surface is 0.128≤μf≤0.265 for Cf<1.8 MPa. This suggests that past slip on the inactive Mai’iu Fault, and continued slip on the active Gwoira-Mai’iu Fault, were enabled by low fault frictional strength. I also model the strength of the active Mai’iu Fault at Biniguni Falls; results suggest greater LANF friction (μf≥0.32) than the Gwoira-Mai’iu Fault surface, and inactive Mai’iu Fault. In order to explain active slip on the LANF at Biniguni Falls concurrent with widespread field observations of outcrop-scale faulting of the LANF footwall, I suggest a process whereby overall the LANF remains viable and active, but locally stress conditions exceed the LANF abandonment criteria; this results in highly localised and temporary ‘footwall damage’ where the LANF footwall is locally dissected by outcrop-scale faulting.

    View record details
  • AniSketch: Alternative Aesthetics For Computer Animation Tools 

    Loh, Ian Jun Yeen (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The aesthetics of computer animation inherently draw from old modes of traditional animation production. AniSketch is an animation system that uses visual composition and sketching to produce animations, built in reaction to these established aesthetics of computer animation. Provocation through alternative tools is needed in order to incite the creation new aesthetics, tools and processes. The relationship between animation and technology is often marked by conflict that ultimately leads to the catalyst creative change. As digital media and digital tools become increasingly part of the lingua franca of the animation process, it is our empathetic understanding for the computer, its affordances and its relationship to the artist that will allow us to not only fully utilise, but also help us to continually provoke the status quo of the medium.

    View record details
  • Program Verification with Separation Logic and Rely Guarantee

    Tabilog, Allan (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis explores two kinds of program logics that have become important for modern program verification - separation logic, for reasoning about programs that use pointers to build mutable data structures, and rely guarantee reasoning, for reasoning about shared variable concurrent programs. We look more closely into the motivations for merging these two kinds of logics into a single formalism that exploits the benefits of both approaches - local, modular, and explicit reasoning about interference between threads in a shared memory concurrent program. We discuss in detail two such formalisms - RGSep and Local Rely Guarantee (LRG), in particular we analyse how each formalism models program state and treats the distinction between global state (shared by all threads) and local state (private to a given thread) and how each logic models actions performed by threads on shared state, and look into the proof rules specifically for reasoning about atomic blocks of code. We present full examples of proofs in each logic and discuss their differences. This thesis also illustrates how a weakest precondition semantics for separation logic can be used to carry out calculational proofs. We also note how in essence these proofs are data abstraction proofs showing that a data structure implements some abstract data type, and relate this idea to a classic data abstraction technique by Hoare. Finally, as part of the thesis we also present a survey of tools that are currently available for doing manual or semi-automated proofs as well as program analyses with separation logic and rely guarantee.

    View record details
  • Factors and consumer attitudes that affect the sustainable management of used mobile phones: A repertory grid analysis

    Coffey, Philip (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Used mobile phones with their small size but vast numbers, create a unique problem when it comes to managing the part they play in the creation of electronic waste (E-waste). Whilst previous studies have identified what consumers appear to be doing with their used mobile phones, there is also a need to better understand why they are doing it. This study investigated what factors appear to influence consumer attitudes towards adopting a more sustainable approach when dealing with their used mobile phones. A reuse, refurbish and recycle strategy was used as a lens to examine the current literature from which an initial model was developed. Using the repertory grid interview technique a group of participants was interviewed to try to determine their core beliefs when it came to managing their used mobile phones. Analysis of the interviews was completed using several analysis techniques including word clouds, percentage similarity analysis, and Honey’s content analysis. The results of the study indicate that consumers care about the effect of used mobile phones on the environment although the degree of concern appears to vary across individuals. In addition, it was identified that in general, consumers perceive reuse, refurbishing, and recycling all as positive ways to sustainably manage used mobile phones, whilst environmental awareness appears to play a significant role in engaging people with recycling and being a rational for storing used mobile phones. Finally, the study suggests that telecommunication providers when trying to improve engagement with takeback schemes should focus more on consumers’ environmental concerns and social norms, rather than financial incentives or promoting easy engagement.

    View record details
  • Investigating Nordic Noir

    Alexi, Sofia (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Scandinavian crime films and television series have become popular in recent years. This thesis explores some of the key texts in ‘Nordic noir’ through a discussion of detectives, the environment, and visual style. The emphasis in the project is on textual analysis. The first chapter examines the figures of Wallander and Lund in Wallander and Forbrydelsen respectively. I argue that the conflicts Nordic detectives often have between work and the domestic sphere are an indication of how gender stereotypes are challenged in the Scandinavian crime genre. The second chapter considers the role of the natural and built environments in Nordic noir. Features such as forests and water play a crucial role in Forbrydelsen because of the ways in which they create uncertainty, anticipation, and suspense. The urban spaces of Bron/Broen develop a sense of anonymity that recalls the function of the city in classic film noir. Rather than developing links between Sweden and Denmark, the series suggests that the Øresund bridge that spans the two countries is ultimately a disconnecting, centrifugal force that functions as what Marc Augé would call a ‘non-place’. The final chapter considers the role of colour and light in the films Insomnia and Jar City. My analysis demonstrates that Nordic noir encompasses more than naturalism and realism. Like classic and neo-noir, it includes a range of expressive aesthetic strategies that serve both narrative and thematic functions.

    View record details
  • The effects of oocytes on Smad signaling pathways in granulosa cells

    Christoforou, Efthimia (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    It is well established that two oocyte-secreted growth factors (OSF), namely growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) and bone morphogenetic protein 15 (BMP15) regulate the growth of ovarian follicles and ovulation rate. Moreover, it has been reported that the gene expression ratio of Gdf9:Bmp15 varies between species and may, at least in part, influence litter size in mammals. Generally, poly-ovulatory and mono-ovulatory species express a high and low ratio of Gdf9:Bmp15, respectively. Intriguingly pigs, a poly-ovulatory species, have a low GDF9: BMP15 ratio and are the exception to this rule. To further our understanding of species differences in oocyte-secreted growth factors (OSF), and how this impacts follicular growth, oocytes and follicular cells (granulosa cells; GC) from a range of species that differ in litter size were cultured together. The aims of this study were to perform same- and cross-species co-incubations of oocytes with GCs to elucidate species-specific effects of OSF on (i) GC proliferation rate, (ii) expression levels of GC type I and type II receptors and (ii) activation of Smad signaling pathways in rats, sheep, pigs and red deer. The methodologies utilised were tritiated thymidine incorporation assays, qPCR and Western blotting, respectively. The co-incubation studies revealed in general, that rat GC are more proliferative than GCs from any other species tested, especially with time in culture. Moreover deer oocytes, which express negligible GDF9 mRNA, are unable to stimulate proliferation in rat GCs to the same extent as oocytes from the other species. This supports previous studies that suggest that rat GC only require GDF9 to proliferate, whilst both BMP15 and GDF9 are able to stimulate the GCs of sheep. This may illustrate that these two OSF play divergent roles in folliculogenesis dependant on the species. Interestingly, deer oocytes decreased Bmpr1b mRNA expression in rat GC but increased BMPR1B mRNA expression in pig GC. This may suggest that whilst the rat and pig are both poly-ovulatory species, their GCs respond in different ways to negligible amounts of GDF9, compared to BMP15. Although deer oocytes differentially affected receptor expression levels in GCs of various species, they were able to increase Smad 1/5/8 levels in both rat and deer GCs, illustrating that the BMP15 secreted by deer oocytes utilise this signaling pathway. The cross-species incubations of rat GCs with either rat, sheep or pig oocytes stimulated proliferation to a high extent. However, sheep oocytes concomitantly increased Tgfβr1 expression, and increased Smad 2/3 in rat GCs, whilst rat and pig oocytes did not. This suggests that OSF from different species may elicit proliferation by utilising different type I receptors and signaling pathways. In summary, this study illustrated that GCs of rat were different to that of the other species tested due to their suspected inability to respond to the proliferative actions of BMP15. Moreover, species-specific differences exist in the ability of OSFs to stimulate GC proliferation and activate downstream signaling pathways.

    View record details
  • Dry sedimentation processes in the high-elevation McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: A case study in University Valley

    Trinh-Le, Cassandra Anh (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The hyper-arid, cryotic, wind-dominated conditions in the high-elevation McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are among Earth’s most extreme environments and represent the closest terrestrial analog to the surface of Mars. These unique conditions result in complex surface processes that occur in the overall absence of liquid water. However, since water is typically believed to be required for these processes to occur, the mechanisms responsible for how these processes can persist in this environment are poorly understood. Previous studies that focused on individual processes of sedimentation in the Dry Valleys leave questions regarding the role of water in dry cryotic sedimentation as well as the rates at which these processes occur. This thesis addresses these questions by combining Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating, meteoric Beryllium-10 (10Be) measurements, soil geochemistry analysis, and petrographic microscopy analysis on ice-cemented permafrost cores taken from University Valley, one of the high-elevation Dry Valleys, where the availability and effects of liquid water are minimal. These analyses were used to explore four main sedimentation processes that occur in the Dry Valleys: chemical weathering, fine particle translocation, eolian transport, and physical weathering. Analyzed together, findings from these analyses comprehensively describe the complex processes involved in dry cryotic sedimentation and determine the roles of different phases of water in this environment. Sediments in University Valley have accumulated at a rate of approximately 2.1 mm/ka for the last 200 ka, as dated by OSL, from erosion of the valley walls and deposition of windblown dust. Sediment accumulation is influenced by topography of the valley floor, depth of the ice table, aspect of the valley walls, wind direction, and mechanical breakdown of rocks due to solar heating. While persistent winds constantly remobilize fine particles and dust in the upper few cm of the dry ground, sediment grains that are sand-sized or larger do not undergo significant remobilization, and sediments in the ice-cemented ground are unaffected by remobilization and translocation processes. Rare clay bridges seen in thin section show that small, infrequent, transient surface wetting events have occurred over the last 200 ka. High anion concentrations associated with high surface meteoric 10Be measurements and clay bridges indicate that the source of these wetting events is the melting of wind-blown snow from coastal regions. Patterns in meteoric Be measurements show that these small transient wetting events are not sufficient to translocate fine particles through the soil profile, which suggests that the role of liquid water as a transporting agent is negligible in this environment. Chemical weathering in University Valley appears to be controlled by two main components: dolerite content of the sediments, and exposure to the atmosphere at the ground surface where condensation of water vapor onto grain surfaces readily leaches ions from dolerite grains under the oxidizing conditions of the Dry Valleys. In the absence of liquid water, chemical processes that occur in this environment rely on water vapor. Together, these results indicate that surfaces in University Valley are remarkably young and sedimentologically active. Because University Valley represents one of the closest terrestrial analogs to the surface of Mars, findings from this thesis may be applicable to understanding the timescales and the processes that control anhydrous sedimentation on the surface of Mars.

    View record details
  • Internationally Qualified Nurses’ Perceptions of Patient Safety: New Zealand Case Studies

    Kane, Annie (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Twenty five percent of the current New Zealand nursing workforce comprises internationally qualified nurses (IQNs). For a significant proportion of IQNs, English is an additional language and the social, cultural and historical context of the health systems from their country of origin differs significantly to that of New Zealand. International studies have found that despite many of these IQNs having extensive nursing experience prior to entering a new country, the challenges involved with transition can have implications for patient safety. This study aimed to investigate IQNs’ perceptions of the competencies that pertain to patient safety. The study was informed by an interpretive-constructivist approach that acknowledges these perceptions are constructed within a social, cultural, and historical context. A qualitative multiple case study design was used with the Communities of Practice (CoP) theory as the conceptual framework. The primary data source was semi-structured interviews with four IQNs while they attended a Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) to obtain New Zealand nursing registration. The IQNs’ email reflections and programme documents were used as additional data. Thematic analysis of the individual cases followed by cross-case analysis revealed similar perceptions concerning patient safety across the four cases. Exposure to Nursing Council of New Zealand’s (NCNZ) competencies for safe nursing practice during the CAP course did not notably change the participants’ initial perceptions. The most significant finding of this study was that the social, cultural, and historical context of the health system and nursing role mediates how maintaining patient safety will be perceived and enacted in practice. The findings also highlighted the importance of engaging with participant perspectives in order to identify specific areas required for learning and transfer of information. These findings had important implications for further development of educational and healthcare agency support for IQN transition.

    View record details
  • Navigating the tensions of flexible work: An exploration of the individual strategies employed by flexibly working parents

    Andrejic, Natalija (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The demand for workplace flexibility is growing in New Zealand. The increasing and fragmented employment participation of women has given rise to growing complexity within family lives and higher demand for flexible work. Flexible work arrangements (FWAs) are intended to assist parents in managing care responsibilities, while discouraging unemployment among women in particular. Evidence linking FWA usage with positive work outcomes and reduced work-family conflict has grown in recent years. However, research also suggests a darker side to FWAs. For some, research shows that FWAs may exacerbate work-life balance (WLB) issues and negatively affect career advancement, with indications that attempts to promote WLB can come at the expense of positive work outcomes, and vice versa. As a result, less is known about the factors that shape outcomes for flexibly working parents, or indeed, the individual strategies that parents employ to promote positive outcomes while working flexibly. The complex way in which FWAs can either promote or hinder positive employee outcomes necessitates concurrent examination of the tensions between WLB and career outlooks for users of FWAs. Drawing on the experiences of 21 professional, flexibly working parents across public service organisations, this thesis finds parents navigate the tensions of flexible work using a variety of WLB, work organisation, and career-promoting strategies, with varying effects. Work intensification and efficiency strategies are shown to be commonly used by flexibly working parents for promoting positive work outcomes. However, while work efficiency appears to also promote WLB, work intensification is seen to negatively impact WLB. This research provides valuable insight into flexibly working employee strategies, hitherto largely neglected within the literature, and highlights the need for applying the life course perspective to FWA research.

    View record details
  • ‘Journey to musicking’: Resourcing people to music outside the therapy room

    Boom, Katie (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This action research study investigates resourcing people to engage in musicking outside the therapy room. Both the practice and research took place within a residential hospital for people with neurological conditions, situated in Aotearoa New Zealand. Music-centred music therapy, community music therapy, resource-oriented music therapy and the ecological model of music influenced this research. Following three action cycles, the qualitative data collected throughout was thematically analysed. This analysis revealed a framework referred to as the ‘journey to musicking’, which identifies six resources people needed to engage in music: opportunity; motivation; confidence; skills; practical needs; and a problem-solving toolkit. The role of the music therapist in resourcing people in these areas is framed as the role of a tuakana, drawing on an indigenous Māori model predominantly used in education and mentoring programmes: ‘tuakana-teina’. ‘Tuakana-teina’ in this study is defined as a music therapist-participant relationship that is empowering, collaborative and inclusive of the possibility of reciprocity. The personal resources (kete) needed by the tuakana music therapist are also explored, while empowerment and sustainability are highlighted as foundational principles to resourcing people. These principles, especially empowerment, are linked to the Māori concept of restoring rangatiratanga. This research provides a rich qualitative account of practicing music therapy in an empowering, ecological way in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    View record details
  • Perceptions, Attitudes and Behaviour around Climate Change Risks on Livelihood Activities: A Case Study of a Community in Takeo Province, Cambodia

    Chean, Ratanakvisal (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis investigates the Takeo community’s perception of climate change risks and their response strategies. It examines risks occurring in the regions and their impacts on the community. The thesis also explores how the perception of risks frames the community’s adaptation and mitigation strategies as well as how those perceptions influence climate change policies. This research draws on a range of risk perception theories. Employing a qualitative approach, this study uses semi-structured interviews, document analysis and participant observation as its research methods. Interviews were conducted individually with agricultural practitioners, mothers, community leaders, a local government officer and a government official from the Ministry of Environment. The thesis found that the Takeo’s community has a good perception of the issue and its impacts on their community. Droughts are the major concern for the majority of respondents, because these have become more severe and have the most direct impact on farmers’ lives, livelihoods and food security. The study reflects the view maintained by past and current theory, that individual perceptions of risks vary, and the perception of risk is influenced by media and peers. This study adds that farmers’ direct experience of climate change affects their consideration of such risks as an issue of great personal concern. Perception of climate change influences the community’s responses. Farmers employ a wide range of adaptation strategies such as increasing water storage and improving agricultural techniques. However, adaptation approaches are not enough to provide a long-term solution to the fast changing climate, because the community has limited knowledge of adaptation strategies, resources, and limited support from the government. The community, thus, needs to improve its water management by building more dams and sufficient irrigation that can store enough water for consumption and agriculture in the prolonged dry season. The government should provide more support and services to poor rural communities that rely on agriculture.

    View record details
  • Investigating the analgesic properties of Kurkinorin, a novel mu-opioid receptor analogue of Salvinorin A

    Shivaperumal, Nirajmohan (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Background: The mu-opioid receptor (MOPr) activating drugs such as morphine, fentanyl, etorphine and methadone are used to treat moderate to severe pain. However, their long-term use produces serious adverse effects such as respiratory depression, sedation, tolerance, nausea, dependence, and constipation and this signifies the search for an alternate pain therapeutic agent. Here we report the investigation of antinociceptive and side effect profiles of a structurally unique MOPr-activating drug, kurkinorin from Salvinorin A (Sal A) that was compared with morphine and herkinorin. Methods: Adult male B6-SJL mice (22-29 g) were used to investigate the antinociceptive effects of kurkinorin, herkinorin and morphine utilising the 50° C warm-water tail-withdrawal assay. The 2% intra-dermal formalin assay was used to evaluate acute nociceptive and inflammatory pain and paw oedema. The side effect profiles were evaluated by measuring core-body temperature and utilising behavioural tests of motor co-ordination (accelerating rotarod test). Kurkinorin’s rewarding properties were assessed using the conditioned place preference (CPP) assay in male Sprague-Dawley rats (240-350 g). Results: Kurkinorin produced significant antinociceptive effects in the tail-withdrawal assay at both 5 (p<0.05). Morphine produced significant motor incoordination effects from 15-60 min post injection whereas kurkinorin produced no significant motor impairment. Kurkinorin and herkinorin (5 mg/kg, i.p) did not produce rewarding effects, whereas morphine produced a significant, rewarding effect in the CPP assay. Kurkinorin produced no change in the core body temperature while morphine significantly reduced the body temperature. Conclusions: Kurkinorin is central acting and is as potent as morphine in attenuating acute nociceptive and inflammatory pain. It produced no significant sedative and rewarding effects. Therefore, kurkinorin has been identified as a structurally new class of mu-opioid analgesic, displaying improvements compared to morphine.

    View record details