UNT Theses and Dissertations - 25 Matching Results

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Ab Initio and Density Functional Investigation of the Conformer Manifold of Melatonin and a Proposal for a Simple Dft-based Diagnostic for Nondynamical Correlation

Description: In this work we address two problems in computational chemistry relevant to biomolecular modeling. In the first project, we consider the conformer space of melatonin as a a representative example of “real-life” flexible biomolecules. Geometries for all 52 unique conformers are optimized using spin-component scaled MP2, and then relative energies are obtained at the CCSD (T) level near the complete basis set limit. These are then used to validate a variety of DFT methods with and without empirical dispersion corrections, as well as some lower-level ab initio methods. Basis set convergence is found to be relatively slow due to internal C-H…O and C-H…N contacts. Absent dispersion corrections, many DFT functionals will transpose the two lowest conformers. Dispersion corrections resolve the problem for most functionals. Double hybrids yield particularly good performance, as does MP2.5. In the second project, we propose a simple DFT-based diagnostic for nondynamical correlation effects. Aλ= (1-TAE [ΧλC]/TAE[XC])/λ where TAE is the total atomization energy, XC the “pure” DFT exchange-correlation functional, and ΧλC the corresponding hybrid with 100λ% HF-type exchange. The diagnostic is a good predictor for sensitivity of energetics to the level of theory, unlike most of the wavefunction-based diagnostics. For GGA functionals, Aλ values approaching unity indicate severe non-dynamical correlation. The diagnostic is only weakly sensitive to the basis set (beyond polarized double zeta) and can be applied to problems beyond practical reach of wavefunction ab-initio methods required for other diagnostics.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Fogueri, Uma
Partner: UNT Libraries

American Indian Worldviews, Risk Perceptions and Disaster Planning: an Exploratory Study

Description: It is commonly assumed that when confronted with an imminent hazard that people will react rationally, and prepare for, or at least attempt to avoid, danger from pending disasters. However, this conventional wisdom is not as evident as it appears. People prepare for, react to, or take social action to avoid hazards when they perceive the risk of danger to be threatening enough to warrant action, providing one has the will, insight and resources to do so. However, not all people perceive risks similarly. Risk is perceived differently by different people which affects risk perception and responses to hazards. This dissertation explores the relationships between American Indian worldviews, risk perceptions and disaster planning. To carry out this research 28 American Indians were interviewed. The sample consists of 14 American Indians residing in a rural are on the northern plains and 14 urban American Indians. The results only partially support that worldview is linked to risk perception and subsequent disaster planning. Other factors found to relate to risk perception and disaster planning for this non-representative sample of American Indians include various forms of social vulnerability.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Bales, Rodney A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Boosting for Learning From Imbalanced, Multiclass Data Sets

Description: In many real-world applications, it is common to have uneven number of examples among multiple classes. The data imbalance, however, usually complicates the learning process, especially for the minority classes, and results in deteriorated performance. Boosting methods were proposed to handle the imbalance problem. These methods need elongated training time and require diversity among the classifiers of the ensemble to achieve improved performance. Additionally, extending the boosting method to handle multi-class data sets is not straightforward. Examples of applications that suffer from imbalanced multi-class data can be found in face recognition, where tens of classes exist, and in capsule endoscopy, which suffers massive imbalance between the classes. This dissertation introduces RegBoost, a new boosting framework to address the imbalanced, multi-class problems. This method applies a weighted stratified sampling technique and incorporates a regularization term that accommodates multi-class data sets and automatically determines the error bound of each base classifier. The regularization parameter penalizes the classifier when it misclassifies instances that were correctly classified in the previous iteration. The parameter additionally reduces the bias towards majority classes. Experiments are conducted using 12 diverse data sets with moderate to high imbalance ratios. The results demonstrate superior performance of the proposed method compared to several state-of-the-art algorithms for imbalanced, multi-class classification problems. More importantly, the sensitivity improvement of the minority classes using RegBoost is accompanied with the improvement of the overall accuracy for all classes. With unpredictability regularization, a diverse group of classifiers are created and the maximum accuracy improvement reaches above 24%. Using stratified undersampling, RegBoost exhibits the best efficiency. The reduction in computational cost is significant reaching above 50%. As the volume of training data increase, the gain of efficiency with the proposed method becomes more significant.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Abouelenien, Mohamed
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Comprehensive Modeling Framework for Airborne Mobility

Description: Mobility models serve as the foundation for evaluating and designing airborne networks. Due to the significant impact of mobility models on the network performance, mobility models for airborne networks (ANs) must realistically capture the attributes of ANs. In this paper, I develop a comprehensive modeling framework for ANs. The work I have done is concluded as the following three parts. First, I perform a comprehensive and comparative analysis of AN mobility models and evaluate the models based on several metrics: 1) networking performance, 2) ability to capture the mobility attributes of ANs, 3) randomness levels and 4) associated applications. Second, I develop two 3D mobility models and realistic boundary models. The mobility models follow physical laws behind aircraft maneuvering and therefore capture the characteristics of aircraft trajectories. Third, I suggest an estimation procedure to extract parameters in one of the models that I developed from real flight test data. The good match between the estimated trajectories and real flight trajectories also validate the suitability of the model. The mobility models and the estimation procedure lead to the creation of “realistic” simulation and evaluation environment for airborne networks.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Xie, Junfei
Partner: UNT Libraries

Designing Tools to Probe the Calcium-dependent Function of Arabidopsis Tonneau2

Description: Plants possess unique features in many aspects of development. One of these features is seen in cell wall placement during cytokinesis, which is determined by the position of the preprophase band (PPB) and the subsequent expansion of the phragmoplast that deposits the new cell wall. During phragmoplast expansion, the phragmoplast tracks to the cortical division site, which was delineated by the PPB. Thus the position of the PPB determines the orientation of the division plane. In Arabidopsis thaliana, TONNEAU2 (TON2) is required for PPB formation and has been shown to interact with a type A subunit of the PP2A phosphatase in the yeast two-hybrid system. In Arabidopsis tonneau2 (ton2) mutants, abnormalities of the cortical microtubule cytoskeleton, such as disorganization of the interphase microtubule array and lack of PPB formation before mitosis markedly affects cell shape and arrangement as well as overall plant morphology. Loss of dcd1/add1, the maize ton2 homologues gives rise to a similar phenotype in Zea mays. The TON2 protein has two EF hand domains which are calcium-binding sites. Since calcium has been known to play key roles in several areas of plant functioning, the following question was raised: “Does calcium binding contribute to the localization and function of TONNEAU at the PPB?” To address this question, a series of constructs were generated to determine if TON2 binds calcium. Additionally, Ca2+ binding sites were mutated in constructs containing the TON2 gene fused to GFP or YPF. These constructs were then transformed into ton2 mutant plants and the localization of TON2 fusion protein and whether the construct is capable of rescuing the mutant phenotype were observed. Although, localization of TON2 to the PPB was not observed, the presence of the constructs were confirmed in the transformed plants using selection markers and by observing fluorescence under a confocal microscope.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Oremade, Oladapo O.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effect of Retting on Surface Chemistry and Mechanical Performance Interactions in Natural Fibers for High Performance Polymer Composites

Description: Sustainability through replacement of non-renewable fibers with renewable fibers is an ecological need. Impact of transportation costs from South-east Asia on the life cycle analysis of the composite is detrimental. Kenaf is an easily grown crop in America. Farm based processing involves placing the harvested crop in rivers and ponds, where retting of the fibers from the plant (separation into fibers) can take 2 weeks or more. The objective of this thesis is to analyze industrially viable processes for generating fibers and examine their synergistic impact on mechanical performance, surface topography and chemistry for functional composites. Comparison has been made with commercial and conventional retting process, including alkali retting, enzymatic retting, retting in river and pond water (retting occurs by natural microbial population) with controlled microbial retting. The resulting kenaf fibers were characterized by dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), Raman spectroscopy (FT-Raman), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), polarized optical microscopy (POM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) optical fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and carbohydrate analysis. DMA results showed that pectinase and microbe treated fibers have superior viscoelastic properties compared to alkali retting. XPS, Raman, FT-IR and biochemical analysis indicated that the controlled microbial and pectinase retting was effective in removing pectin, hemicellulose and lignin. SEM, optical microscopy and AFM analysis showed the surface morphology and cross sectional architecture were preserved in pectinase retting. Experimental results showed that enzymatic retting at 48 hours and controlled microbial retting at 72 hours yield uniform and superior quality fibers compared to alkali and natural retting process. Controlled microbial retting is an inexpensive way to produce quality fibers for polymer composite reinforcement.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Ramesh, Dinesh
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Quantum Coherence and Interference

Description: Quantum coherence and interference (QCI) is a phenomenon that takes place in all multi-level atomic systems interacting with multiple lasers. In this work QCI is used to create several interesting effects like lasing without inversion (LWI), controlling group velocity of light to extreme values, controlling the direction of propagation through non-linear phase matching condition and for controlling the correlations in field fluctuations. Controlling group velocity of light is very interesting because of many novel applications it can offer. One of the unsolved problems in this area is to achieve a slow and fast light which can be tuned continuously as a function of frequency. We describe a method for creation of tunable slow and fast light by controlling intensity of incident laser fields using QCI effects. Lasers are not new to the modern world but an extreme ultra-violet laser or a x-ray laser is definitely one of the most desirable technologies today. Using QCI, we describe a method to realize lasing at high frequencies by creating lasing without inversion. Role of QCI in creating correlations and anti-correlations, which are generated by vacuum fluctuations, in a three level lambda system coupled to two strong fields is discussed.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Davuluri, Subrahmanya Bhima Sankar
Partner: UNT Libraries

Electrochemically Deposited Metal Alloy-silicate Nanocomposite Corrosion Resistant Materials

Description: Zinc-nickel ?-phase silicate and copper-nickel silicate corrosion resistant coatings have been prepared via electrochemical methods to improve currently available corrosion resistant materials in the oil and gas industry. A layered silicate, montmorillonite, has been incorporated into the coatings for increased corrosion protection. For the zinc nickel silicate coatings, optimal plating conditions were determined to be a working pH range of 9.3 -9.5 with a borate based electrolyte solution, resulting in more uniform deposits and better corrosion protection of the basis metal as compared to acidic conditions. Quality, strongly adhering deposits were obtained quickly with strong, even overall coverage of the metal substrate. The corrosion current of the zinc-nickel-silicate coating is Icorr = 3.33E-6 for a borate based bath as compared to a zinc-nickel bath without silicate incorporation (Icorr = 3.52E-5). Step potential and direct potential methods were examined, showing a morphological advantage to step potential deposition. The effect of borate addition was examined in relation to zinc, nickel and zinc-nickel alloy deposition. Borate was found to affect the onset of hydrogen evolution and was examined for absorption onto the electrode surface. For copper-nickel silicate coatings, optimal conditions were determined to be a citrate based electrolytic bath, with pH = 6. The solutions were stable over time and strong adhering, compact particle deposits were obtained. The corrosion current of the copper-nickel-silicate coatings is Icorr = 3.86E-6 (copper-nickel coatings without silicate, Icorr = 1.78E-4). The large decrease in the corrosion current as the silicate is incorporated into the coating demonstrates the increase in corrosion resistance of the coatings with the incorporation of silicates.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Conrad, Heidi Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ethnogenesis and Captivity: Structuring Transatlantic Difference in the Early Republic, 1776-1823

Description: This study seeks to understand the development of early American ideas of race, religion, and gender as reflected in Indian and Barbary captivity narratives (tales of individuals taken captive by privateers in North Africa) and in plays that take American captives as their subject. Writers of both Indian and Barbary captivity narratives used racial and religious language – references to Indians and North Africans as demonic, physically monstrous, and animal – simultaneously to delineate Native American and North African otherness. The narrative writers reserved particular scorn for the figure of the Renegade – the willful cultural convert who chose to live among the Native Americans or adopt Islam and live among his North African captors. The narratives, too, reflect Early American gendered norms by defining the role of men as heads of household and women’s protectors, and by defining women by their status as dutiful wives and mothers. Furthermore, the narratives carefully treat the figure of the female captive with particular care – resisting implications of captive rape, even while describing graphic scenes of physical torture, and denying the possibility of willful transcultural sexual relationships.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Siddiqi, M. Omar
Partner: UNT Libraries

Expression of G-protein Coupled Receptors in Young and Mature Thrombocytes and Knockdown of Gpr18 in Zebrafish

Description: In this study, a novel method based on biotinylated antibodies and streptavidin coated magnetic beads was used to separate the thrombocyte subpopulations from zebrafish whole blood. DiI-C18, a lipophilic dye, labels only young thrombocytes when used at low concentrations. Commercially available biotinylated anti-Cy3 antibody was used to label the chromophore of DiI-C18 on the young thrombocytes and streptavidin coated magnetic beads were added subsequently, to separate young thrombocytes. The remaining blood cells were probed with custom-made biotinylated anti-GPIIb antibody and streptavidin magnetic beads to separate them from other cells. Further, thrombocytes are equivalents of mammalian platelets. Platelets play a crucial role in thrombus formation. The G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) present on the platelet surface are involved during platelet activation and aggregation processes. So, thrombocytes were studied for the presence of GPCRs. The GPCR mRNA transcripts expressed in the young and mature thrombocytes were subjected to densitometry analysis and pixel intensities of the bands were compared using one way ANOVA. This analysis did not show significant differences between the young and mature GPCR mRNA transcripts but identified a novel GPCR, GPR18 that was not reported in platelets earlier. To study the function of this GPCR, it was knocked down using GPR18 specific antisense morpholino and vivo morpholino. The immunofluorescence experiment indicated the presence of GPR18 on thrombocytes. The results of the assays, such as, time to occlusion (TTO) and time to aggregation (TTA) in response to N-arachidonyl glycine (NAG) as an agonist, showed prolongation of time in GPR18 larval and adult morphants respectively, suggesting that GPR18 plays a role in thrombus formation in zebrafish. In conclusion, our results indicate that GPR18 may be present in zebrafish thrombocytes, it may be involved in thrombus formation and that NAG may be an agonist at GPR18 on thrombocytes.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Potbhare, Vrinda Nikhil
Partner: UNT Libraries

Functional Characterization of Mtnip/latd’s Biochemical and Biological Function

Description: Symbiotic nitrogen fixation occurs in plants harboring nitrogen-fixing bacteria within the plant tissue. The most widely studied association is between the legumes and rhizobia. In this relationship the plant (legumes) provides the bacteria (rhizobia) with reduced carbon derived from photosynthesis in exchange for reduced atmospheric nitrogen. This allows the plant to survive in soil, which is low in available of nitrogen. Rhizobia infect and enter plant root and reside in organs known as nodules. In the nodules the bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen. The association between the legume, Medicago truncatula and the bacteria Sinorhizobium meliloti, has been studied in detail. Medicago mutants that have defects in nodulation help us understand the process of nitrogen fixation better. One such mutant is the Mtnip-1. Mtnip-1 plants respond to S. meliloti by producing abnormal nodules in which numerous aberrant infection threads are produced, with very rare rhizobial release into host plant cells. The mutant plant Mtnip-1 has an abnormal defense-like response in root nodules as well as defects in lateral root development. Three alleles of the Mtnip/latd mutants, Mtnip-1, Mtlatd and Mtnip-3 show different degrees of severity in their phenotype. Phylogenetic analysis showed that MtNIP/LATD encodes a protein belonging to the NRT1(PTR) family of nitrate, peptide, dicarboxylate and phytohprmone transporters. Experiments with Mtnip/latd mutants demonstrats a defective nitrate response associated with low (250 μM) external nitrate concentration rather than high (5 mM) nitrate concentration. This suggests that the mutants have defective nitrate transport. To test if MtNIP/LATD was a nitrate transporter, Xenopus laevis oocytes and Arabidopsis thaliana mutant plants Atchl1-5, defective in a major nitrate transporter AtNRT1.1(CHL1), were used as surrogate expression systems. Heterologous expression of MtNIP/LATD in X. laevis oocytes and Atchl1-5 mutant plants conferred on them the ability to take up nitrate from external media with high affinity, thus demonstrating that MtNIP/LATD ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Bagchi, Rammyani
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Girl Disappeared: the Prostitute of La Isla De Santa Flora

Description: The novella, The Girl Disappeared, focuses on the life of Emalia, a street kid from Mexico. She is taken from the streets of Veracruz and forced into a life of prostitution on the fictitious island of La Isla de Santa Flora. The primary conflict that drives the action of the story is her pending choice between escaping her life of slavery and saving another young woman who is on the verge of being forced into a life of prostitution as well. The novella, as a literary piece, dwells on the question of character agency and explores the multilayered nature of code switching. Language for these women becomes a tool in their struggle against their captives and a means of self-preservation, or sanctuary, as they use their growing bilingualism to foment a limited agency, to act in their own defense.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Winston, Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Immunohistochemistry of the Gills of the Channel Catfish Ictalurus Punctatus: Cells and Neurochemicals That May Be Involved in the Control of Cardioventilatory Reflexes

Description: In teleost fishes the neurochemicals involved in sensing and responding to hypoxia are unresolved. Serotonergic branchial neuroepithelial cells (NECs) are putative O2 chemoreceptors believed to be homologous to the neural crest (NC) derived APUD (amine-precursor uptake and decarboxylation) pulmonary NECs and carotid body type-1 glomus cells. Branchial NECs contain serotonin (5-HT), thought to be central to the induction of the hypoxic cardioventilatory reflexes. However, application of 5-HT in vivo does not elicit cardioventilatory reflexes similar to those elicited by hypoxia. But previous in vitro neural recordings from glossopharyngeal (IX) afferents innervating O2 chemoreceptors in the trout gill show the same discharge response to hypoxic conditions as does that of acetylcholine (ACh) application. This evidence strongly supports the cholinergic hypothesis of chemoreceptor impulse origin rather than a serotonergic-induced impulse origin model. We therefore hypothesized that NECs contain ACh among other neurochemicals in cells belonging to the APUD series. Although serotonergic branchial NECs did not colocalize with ACh using immunohistochemical methods, several populations of ACh and/or tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) (catecholaminergic) positive, dopamine (DA) negative, cells were found throughout the second gill arch of the channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus. In addition, the NC derivation marker zn-12 labelled the HNK-1-like epitope (Human natural killer) expressed by lamellar pillar cells’ collagen column-associated pillar cell adhesion molecules (CC-PCAMs), evidence confirming their hypothesized NC origin.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Oden, David S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Interspecimen Study of Bone to Relate Macromechanical, Nanomechanical and Compositional Changes Across the Femoral Cortex of Bone

Description: Mechanics of bone is widely studied and researched, mainly for the study of fracture. This has been done mostly on a macro scale. In this work hierarchical nature of bone has been explored to investigate bone mechanics in more detail. Flexural test were done to classify the bones according to their strength and deflection. Raman spectroscopy analysis was done to map the mineralization, collagen crosslinking changes across the thickness of the bone. Nanoindentation was done to map indentation hardness and indentation modulus across femoral cortex of the bone. The results indicate that the composition of the bone changes across the thickness of the femoral cortex. The hypothesis is confirmed as increase in mineralization, carbonate to phosphate ratio and collagen crosslinking shows the effect as increased indentation hardness and modulus and decreased deflection.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Nar, Mangesh
Partner: UNT Libraries

Investigating Postpartum Depression in Southern Rural Egypt and Effects of Sertraline on Fsh and Lh Gene Expression on Fathead Minnows Using Rt-pcr

Description: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major health problem that affects many women worldwide. In Egypt, PPD is neglected despite the expected high prevalence rate among women during the transition period after the Egyptian revolution. This research investigated the prevalence, risk factors, and interventions of postpartum depression in southern rural Egypt. Interviews were conducted with 57 participants recruited from public and private hospitals. Questionnaires and the Arabic version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale were administered. The prevalence of PPD is 73.7%. PPD is associated with low income and age at childbirth. Most participants regarded screening mothers after childbirth for PPD as effective; in comparison to, antidepressants that were regarded by most participants as ineffective. Women in southern rural Egypt prefer high number of pregnancies, so investigating the influence of sertraline, an antidepressant medication, on female hormones becomes important. In this research, fathead minnows were exposed to 3 and 10 ppb sertraline for 7 days. Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction was used to detect the change in gene expression of the Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Results showed that a down regulation at the 10 ppb was evident on the LH and to a lesser extent on FSH. Our results increased levels of sertraline inhibited GnRH which influenced expression of LH and FSH.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Mohamed, Hagar Abdo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Molecular and Functional Characterization of Medicago Truncatula Npf17 Gene

Description: Legumes are unique among plants for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen with the help of soil bacteria rhizobia. Medicago truncatula is used as a model legume to study different aspects of symbiotic nitrogen fixation. M. truncatula, in association with its symbiotic partner Sinorhizobium meliloti, fix atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which the plant uses for amino acid biosynthesis and the bacteria get reduced photosynthate in return. M. truncatula NPF1.7 previously called MtNIP/LATD is required for symbiotic nitrogen fixing root nodule development and for normal root architecture. Mutations in MtNPF1.7 have defects in these processes. MtNPF1.7 encodes a member of the NPF family of transporters. Experimental results showing that MtNPF1.7 functioning as a high-affinity nitrate transporter are its expression restoring chlorate susceptibility to the Arabidopsis chl1-5 mutant and high nitrate transport in Xenopus laevis oocyte system. However, the weakest Mtnip-3 mutant allele also displays high-affinity nitrate transport in X. laevis oocytes and chlorate susceptibility to the Atchl1-5 mutant, suggesting that MtNPF1.7 might have another biochemical function. Experimental evidence shows that MtNPF1.7 also functions in hormone signaling. Constitutive expression of MtNPF1.7 in several species including M. truncatula results in plants with a robust growth phenotype. Using a synthetic auxin reporter, the presence of higher auxin in both the Mtnip-1 mutant and in M. truncatula plants constitutively expressing MtNPF1.7 was observed. Previous experiments showed MtNPF1.7 expression is hormone regulated and the MtNPF1.7 promoter is active in root and nodule meristems and in the vasculature. Two potential binding sites for an auxin response factors (ARFs) were found in the MtNPF1.7 promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-qRT-PCR confirmed MtARF1 binding these sites. Mutating the MtARF1 binding sites increases MtNPF1.7 expression, suggesting a mechanism for auxin repression of MtNPF1.7. Consistent with these results, constitutive expression of an ARF in wild-type plants partially phenocopies Mtnip-1 mutants’ phenotypes.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Salehin, Mohammad
Partner: UNT Libraries

My Crown Is in My Heart, Not on My Head: Heart Burial in England, France, and the Holy Roman Empire From Medieval Times to the Present

Description: Heart burial is a funerary practice that has been performed since the early medieval period. However, relatively little scholarship has been published on it in English. Heart burial began as a pragmatic way to preserve a body, but it became a meaningful tradition in Western Europe during the medieval and early modern periods. In an anthropological context, the ritual served the needs of elites and the societies they governed. Elites used heart burial not only to preserve their bodies, but to express devotion, stabilize the social order and advocate legitimacy, and even gain heaven. Heart burial assisted in the elite Christian, his or her family, and society pass through the liminal period of death. Over the centuries, heart burial evolved to remain relevant. The practice is extant to the present day, though the motivations behind it are very different from those of the medieval and early modern periods.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Duch, Anna M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Novel Role of Trypsin in Zebrafish

Description: It has been shown previously in our laboratory that zebrafish produce trypsin from their gills when they are under stress, and this trypsin is involved in thrombocyte activation via PAR2 during gill bleeding. In this study, I investigated another role of the trypsin that is secreted from zebrafish. This investigation has demonstrated a novel role of trypsin in zebrafish. Not only did this investigation demonstrate the role of trypsin in zebrafish behavior, but also it showed that PAR2 might be the receptor that is involved in trypsin-mediated behavioral response. In addition, we have shown that Gq and ERK inhibitors are able to block the trypsin pathway and prevent the escaping behavior. Finally, the results of this investigation suggest that the cells that respond to trypsin are surface cells, which have an appearance similar to that of neuromast cells.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Alsrhani, Abdullah Falleh
Partner: UNT Libraries

Origin and Role of Factor Viia

Description: Factor VII, the initiator of the extrinsic coagulation cascade, circulates in human plasma mainly in its zymogen form, Factor VII and in small amounts in its activated form, Factor VIIa. However, the mechanism of initial generation of Factor VIIa is not known despite intensive research using currently available model systems. Earlier findings suggested serine proteases Factor VII activating protease, and hepsin play a role in activating Factor VII, however, it has remained controversial. In this work I estimated the levels of Factor VIIa and Factor VII for the first time in adult zebrafish plasma and also reevaluated the role of the above two serine proteases in activating Factor VII in vivo using zebrafish as a model system. Knockdown of factor VII activating protease did not reduce Factor VIIa levels while hepsin knockdown reduced Factor VIIa levels. After identifying role of hepsin in Factor VII activation in zebrafish, I wanted to identify novel serine proteases playing a role in Factor VII activation. However, a large scale knockdown of all serine proteases in zebrafish genome using available knockdown techniques is prohibitively expensive. Hence, I developed an inexpensive gene knockdown method which was validated with IIb gene knockdown, and knockdown all serine proteases in zebrafish genome. On performing the genetic screen I identified 2 novel genes, hepatocytes growth factor like and prostasin involved in Factor VII activation.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Khandekar, Gauri
Partner: UNT Libraries

Photochemical and Photophysical Properties of Mononuclear and Multinuclear Closed Shell D10 Coinage Metal Complexes and Their Metallo-organometallic Adducts

Description: This dissertation covers the studies of two major topics: the photochemistry of mononuclear and multinuclear gold(I) complexes and synthetic approaches to tailor photophysical properties of cyclic trinuclear d10 complexes. First a detailed photochemical examination into the photoreactivity of neutral mononuclear and multinuclear gold(I) complexes is discussed, with the aim of gold nanoparticle size and shape control for biomedical and catalysis applications. Next is a comprehensive systematic synthetic approach to tailor the photophysical properties of cyclic trinuclear d10 complexes. This synthetic approach includes an investigation of structure-luminescence relationships between cyclic trinuclear complexes, an examination into their π-acid/π-base reactivity with heavy metal cations and an exploration into the photophysical properties of new heterobimetallic cyclic trinuclear complexes. These photophysical properties inspections are used to screen materials for their employment in molecular electronic devices such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and thin film transistors (OTFTs).
Date: December 2013
Creator: McDougald, Roy N., Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Primary Cilia in the Oligodendrocyte Lineage

Description: oligodendrocytes migrate from the corpus callosum into the overlying cortex. The incidence of cilia did not change markedly across age groups, and did not vary consistently with the number of processes per cell, which was used as an indication of the maturation stage of OPCs and young OLs. The mean percent of Olig1 immunopositive (Olig1+) cells having cilia across ages was 33.1% + 16.5%, with all ages combined. In O4+ cells of these mice, 56.7 + 3.6% had primary cilia. If it is the case that adult OLs do not have cilia, the point in the lineage when primary cilia are lost is still unknown. Adult mice that had been injected with cyclopamine to block cilia-dependent Shh signaling were examined to determine whether the rate of generating new OPCs was influenced. In the CC of control mice, the numerical density of Olig1+/BrdU+ cells was 1.29 + 0.07/mm2 was reduced to 0.68 + 0.38/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group, and the numerical density of all BrdU+ cells (including both Olig1+ and Olig1- cells) of 4.55 + 1.50/mm2 in the control group was reduced to 3.14 + 1.27/mm2 in the cyclopamine-injected group. However, there were only 2 mice in each group and the differences were not statistically significant.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Hao, Yung-Chia
Partner: UNT Libraries

Tribological Behavior of Spark Plasma Sintered Tic/graphite/nickel Composites and Cobalt Alloys

Description: Monolithic composites are needed that combine low friction and wear, high mechanical hardness, and high fracture toughness. Thin films and coatings are often unable to meet this engineering challenge as they can delaminate and fracture during operation ceasing to provide beneficial properties during service life. Two material systems were synthesized by spark plasma sintering (SPS) and were studied for their ability to meet these criteria. A dual hybrid composite was fabricated and consisted of a nickel matrix for fracture toughness, TiC for hardness and graphite for solid/self‐lubrication. An in‐situ reaction during processing resulted in the formation of TiC from elemental Ti and C powders. The composition was varied to determine its effects on tribological behavior. Stellite 21, a cobalt‐chrome‐molybdenum alloy, was also produced by SPS. Stellite 21 has low stacking fault energy and a hexagonal phase which forms during sliding that both contribute to low interfacial shear and friction. Samples were investigated by x‐ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x‐ray spectroscopy (EDS), and electron back‐scattered diffraction (EBSD). Tribological properties were characterized by pin on disc tribometry and wear rates were determined by profilometry and abrasion testing. Solid/self‐lubrication in the TiC/C/Ni system was investigated by Raman and Auger mapping. A tribofilm, which undergoes a stress‐induced phase transformation from polycrystalline graphite to amorphous carbon, was formed during sliding in the TiC/C/Ni system that is responsible for low friction and wear. TiC additions help to further decrease wear. Stellite 21 was also found to exhibit acceptably low friction and wear properties arising from the presence of Cr23C6 in the matrix and work hardening of the cobalt and chromium during sliding.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Kinkenon, Douglas
Partner: UNT Libraries

Warrior Women in Early Modern Literature

Description: Fantasies about warrior women circulated in many forms of writing in early modern England: travel narratives such as Sir Walter Ralegh's The Discoverie of Guiana (1595) portray Amazon encounters in the New World; poems like Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1596) depict women's skill with a spear; and the plays of Shakespeare, John Fletcher, and others stage the adventurous feats of women on the battlefield. In this dissertation, I analyze the social anxieties that emerge when warrior women threaten gender hierarchies in the patriarchal society of early modern England. The battlefield has traditionally been a site for men to prove their masculinity against other men, so when male characters find themselves submitting to a sword-wielding woman, they are forced to reimagine their own masculine identities as they become the objects acted upon by women. In their experience of subjectivity, these literary warrior women often allude to the historical Queen Elizabeth I, whose reign destabilized ideas about gender and power in the period. Negative evaluations of warrior women often indicate anxiety about Elizabeth as an Amazon-like queen. Thus, portrayals of warrior women often end with a celebration of patriarchal dominance once the male characters have successfully contained the threat of the warrior woman through marriage or death. I argue that these depictions of containment indicate a common desire to maintain patriarchal superiority during and after Elizabeth's reign.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Oxendine, Jessica Grace
Partner: UNT Libraries

Witchcraft: a Targeted Societal Discrimination Against Women in Northern Ghana

Description: A combination of aging and poverty is becoming dominant in African society today, at a time when African countries are expected to be recovering from poverty, and are projected to house the economic growth of the next century. The emergence of aging in African context and the aging of the world population will expose the weakness of the current mechanisms used for older people around the world. As economies grow around the world, the distribution gap between the affluent and the poor widens, and the constant struggles for wealth, power, and social status, amidst scarce resources, continue to be sustained. To remain in charge of economic resources, the powerful few devise means to disenfranchise the weak, and witchcraft accusation is one of such tools used in Northern Ghana today. A new wave of witchcraft accusation has caught the attention of many in Northern Ghana. These victims with certain socioeconomic characteristics appear helpless and without defense against such accusations. As a result, they suffer untold hardships and are often compelled to leave their homes and to reside in camps reserved for witches. This study was undertaken to identify those sociodemographic characteristics, which are commonly shared by witchcraft accusation victims. These sociodemographic characteristics can be used to predict those who are most likely to be discriminated against using accusations of witchcraft in Northern Ghana. As age places more strain on existing systems and as more people survive into old age with inadequate healthcare, more accusations may be predicted to occur against the elderly, unless enough government intervention is used to address the present redistribution of income in third world countries.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Atumah, Oscar Nwagbo
Partner: UNT Libraries