Skip to main content

ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Resource Type
Subject
Date Range
2010 2020


The highly-social plateau pika (Lagomorpha: Ochotona curzoniae) excavates vast burrow complexes in alpine meadows on the Tibetan Plateau. Colonies of over 300 individuals/ha have been reported. As an ecosystem engineer, their burrowing may positively impact ecosystem health by increasing plant species diversity, enhancing soil mixing, and boosting water infiltration. However, pikas are commonly regarded as pests, and are heavily poisoned throughout their range. The underlying assumption of eradication programs is that eliminating pikas will improve rangeland quality and decrease soil erosion. This dissertation explores the link between plateau pikas and the alpine meadow ecosystem in Qinghai Province, PRC. This research …

Contributors
Hogan, Brigitte Wieshofer, Smith, Andrew T., Anderies, J. Marty, et al.
Created Date
2010

This dissertation features a compilation of studies concerning the biophysics of multicellular systems. I explore eukaryotic systems across length scales of the cell cytoskeleton to macroscopic scales of tissues. I begin with a general overview of the natural phenomena of life and a philosophy of investigating developmental systems in biology. The topics covered throughout this dissertation require a background in eukaryotic cell physiology, viscoelasticity, and processes of embryonic tissue morphogenesis. Following a brief background on these topics, I present an overview of the Subcellular Element Model (ScEM). This is a modeling framework which allows one to compute the dynamics of …

Contributors
Sandersius, Sebastian Ambrose, Newman, Timothy J, Rez, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2011

Though it is a widespread adaptation in humans and many other animals, parental care comes in a variety of forms and its subtle physiological costs, benefits, and tradeoffs related to offspring are often unknown. Thus, I studied the hydric, respiratory, thermal, and fitness dynamics of maternal egg-brooding behavior in Children's pythons (Antaresia childreni). I demonstrated that tight coiling detrimentally creates a hypoxic developmental environment that is alleviated by periodic postural adjustments. Alternatively, maternal postural adjustments detrimentally elevate rates of egg water loss relative to tight coiling. Despite ventilating postural adjustments, the developmental environment becomes increasingly hypoxic near the end of …

Contributors
Stahlschmidt, Zachary, Denardo, Dale F, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2011

Division of labor, whereby different group members perform different functions, is a fundamental attribute of sociality. It appears across social systems, from simple cooperative groups to complex eusocial colonies. A core challenge in sociobiology is to explain how patterns of collective organization are generated. Theoretical models propose that division of labor self-organizes, or emerges, from interactions among group members and the environment; division of labor is also predicted to scale positively with group size. I empirically investigated the emergence and scaling of division of labor in evolutionarily incipient groups of sweat bees and in eusocial colonies of harvester ants. To …

Contributors
Holbrook, Carter Tate, Fewell, Jennifer H, Gadau, Jürgen, et al.
Created Date
2011

The cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 performs oxygenic photosynthesis. Light energy conversion in photosynthesis takes place in photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII) that contain chlorophyll, which absorbs light energy that is utilized as a driving force for photosynthesis. However, excess light energy may lead to formation of reactive oxygen species that cause damage to photosynthetic complexes, which subsequently need repair or replacement. To gain insight in the degradation/biogenesis dynamics of the photosystems, the lifetimes of photosynthetic proteins and chlorophyll were determined by a combined stable-isotope (15N) and mass spectrometry method. The lifetimes of PSII and PSI proteins ranged …

Contributors
Yao, Cheng I Daniel, Vermaas, Wim, Fromme, Petra, et al.
Created Date
2011

Social insect colonies exhibit striking diversity in social organization. Included in this overwhelming variation in structure are differences in colony queen number. The number of queens per colony varies both intra- and interspecifically and has major impacts on the social dynamics of a colony and the fitness of its members. To understand the evolutionary transition from single to multi-queen colonies, I examined a species which exhibits variation both in mode of colony founding and in the queen number of mature colonies. The California harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus exhibits both variation in the number of queens that begin a colony (metrosis) …

Contributors
Overson, Rick, Gadau, Jürgen, Fewell, Jennifer H, et al.
Created Date
2011

There is increasing evidence that ovarian status influcences behavioral phenotype in workers of the honey bee Apis mellifera. Honey bee workers demonstrate a complex division of labor. Young workers perform in-hive tasks (e.g. brood care), while older bees perform outside tasks (e.g. foraging for food). This age correlated division of labor is known as temporal polyethism. Foragers demonstrate further division of labor with some bees biasing collection towards protein (pollen) and others towards carbohydrates (nectar). The Reproductive Ground-plan Hypothesis proposes that the ovary plays a regulatory role in foraging division of labor. European honey bee workers that have been selectively …

Contributors
Siegel, Adam Joshua, Page, Jr., Robert E, Hamilton, Andrew L, et al.
Created Date
2011

Cognitive function is multidimensional and complex, and research indicates that it is impacted by age, lifetime experience, and ovarian hormone milieu. One particular domain of cognitive function that is susceptible to age-related decrements is spatial memory. Cognitive practice can affect spatial memory when aged in both males and females, and in females alone ovarian hormones have been found to alter spatial memory via modulating brain microstructure and function in many of the same brain areas affected by aging. The research in this dissertation has implications that promote an understanding of the effects of cognitive practice on aging memory, why males …

Contributors
Talboom, Joshua Siegfried, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather A, Conrad, Cheryl D, et al.
Created Date
2011

The repression of reproductive competition and the enforcement of altruism are key components to the success of animal societies. Eusocial insects are defined by having a reproductive division of labor, in which reproduction is relegated to one or few individuals while the rest of the group members maintain the colony and help raise offspring. However, workers have retained the ability to reproduce in most insect societies. In the social Hymenoptera, due to haplodiploidy, workers can lay unfertilized male destined eggs without mating. Potential conflict between workers and queens can arise over male production, and policing behaviors performed by nestmate workers …

Contributors
Smith, Adrian Alan, Liebig, Juergen, Hoelldobler, Bert, et al.
Created Date
2011

Anti-retroviral drugs and AIDS prevention programs have helped to decrease the rate of new HIV-1 infections in some communities, however, a prophylactic vaccine is still needed to control the epidemic world-wide. Despite over two decades of research, a vaccine against HIV-1 remains elusive, although recent clinical trials have shown promising results. Recent successes have focused on highly conserved, mucosally-targeted antigens within HIV-1 such as the membrane proximal external region (MPER) of the envelope protein, gp41. MPER has been shown to play critical roles in the viral mucosal transmission, though this peptide is not immunogenic on its own. Gag is a …

Contributors
Kessans, Sarah Adeline, Mor, Tsafrir S, Matoba, Nobuyuki, et al.
Created Date
2011

Conditions during development can shape the expression of traits at adulthood, a phenomenon called developmental plasticity. In this context, factors such as nutrition or health state during development can affect current and subsequent physiology, body size, brain structure, ornamentation, and behavior. However, many of the links between developmental and adult phenotype are poorly understood. I performed a series of experiments using a common molecular currency - carotenoid pigments - to track somatic and reproductive investments through development and into adulthood. Carotenoids are red, orange, or yellow pigments that: (a) animals must acquire from their diets, (b) can be physiologically beneficial, …

Contributors
Butler, Michael William, Mcgraw, Kevin J, Chang, Yung, et al.
Created Date
2012

Infectious diseases have emerged as a significant threat to wildlife. Environmental change is often implicated as an underlying factor driving this emergence. With this recent rise in disease emergence and the acceleration of environmental change, it is important to identify the environmental factors that alter host-pathogen dynamics and their underlying mechanisms. The emerging pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a clear example of the negative effects infectious diseases can have on wildlife. Bd is linked to global declines in amphibian diversity and abundance. However, there is considerable variation in population-level responses to Bd, with some hosts experiencing marked declines while others …

Contributors
Hyman, Oliver, Collins, James P, Davidson, Elizabeth W., et al.
Created Date
2012

A notable feature of advanced eusocial insect groups is a division of labor within the sterile worker caste. However, the physiological aspects underlying the differentiation of behavioral phenotypes are poorly understood in one of the most successful social taxa, the ants. By starting to understand the foundations on which social behaviors are built, it also becomes possible to better evaluate hypothetical explanations regarding the mechanisms behind the evolution of insect eusociality, such as the argument that the reproductive regulatory infrastructure of solitary ancestors was co-opted and modified to produce distinct castes. This dissertation provides new information regarding the internal factors …

Contributors
Dolezal, Adam G, Amdam, Gro V, Brent, Colin S., et al.
Created Date
2012

Fundamental hypotheses about the life history, complex cognition and social dynamics of humans are rooted in feeding ecology - particularly in the experiences of young animals as they grow. However, the few existing primate developmental data are limited to only a handful of species of monkeys and apes. Without comparative data from more basal primates, such as lemurs, we are limited in the scope of our understanding of how feeding has shaped the evolution of these extraordinary aspects of primate biology. I present a developmental view of feeding ecology in the ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) using a mixed longitudinal sample …

Contributors
O'Mara, Michael Teague, Nash, Leanne T, Reed, Kaye E, et al.
Created Date
2012

Differences between males and females can evolve through a variety of mechanisms, including sexual and ecological selection. Because coloration is evolutionarily labile, sexually dichromatic species are good models for understanding the evolution of sex differences. While many jumping spiders exhibit diverse and brilliant coloration, they have been notably absent from such studies. In the genus Habronattus, females are drab and cryptic while males are brilliantly colored, displaying some of these colors to females during elaborate courtship dances. Here I test multiple hypotheses for the control and function of male color. In the field, I found that Habronattus males indiscriminately court …

Contributors
Taylor, Lisa A., Mcgraw, Kevin J, Clark, David L, et al.
Created Date
2012

Corporations in biomedicine hold significant power and influence, in both political and personal spheres. The decisions these companies make about ethics are critically important, as they help determine what products are developed, how they are developed, how they are promoted, and potentially even how they are regulated. In the last fifteen years, for-profit private companies have been assembling bioethics committees to help resolve dilemmas that require informed deliberation about ethical, legal, scientific, and economic considerations. Private sector bioethics committees represent an important innovation in the governance of emerging technologies, with corporations taking a lead role in deciding what is ethically …

Contributors
Brian, Jennifer Elizabeth Dyck, Robert, Jason S, Maienschein, Jane, et al.
Created Date
2012

Over the past decade, several high-value proteins have been produced using plant-based transient expression systems. However, these studies exposed some limitations that must be overcome to allow plant expression systems to reach their full potential. These limitations are the low level of recombinant protein accumulation achieved in some cases, and lack of efficient co-expression vectors for the production of multi-protein complexes. This study report that tobacco Extensin (Ext) gene 3' untranslated region (UTR) can be broadly used to enhance recombinant protein expression in plants. Extensin is the hydroxyproline-rich glycoprotein that constitutes the major protein component of cell walls. Using transient …

Contributors
Rosenthal, Sun Hee, Mason, Hugh, Mor, Tsafrir, et al.
Created Date
2012

Land management practices such as domestic animal grazing can alter plant communities via changes in soil structure and chemistry, species composition, and plant nutrient content. These changes can affect the abundance and quality of plants consumed by insect herbivores with consequent changes in population dynamics. These population changes can translate to massive crop damage and pest control costs. My dissertation focused on Oedaleus asiaticus, a dominant Asian locust, and had three main objectives. First, I identified morphological, physiological, and behavioral characteristics of the migratory ("brown") and non-migratory ("green") phenotypes. I found that brown morphs had longer wings, larger thoraxes and …

Contributors
Cease, Arianne, Harrison, Jon, Elser, James, et al.
Created Date
2012

While exercising mammalian muscle increasingly relies on carbohydrates for fuel as aerobic exercise intensity rises above the moderate range, flying birds are extraordinary endurance athletes and fuel flight, a moderate-high intensity exercise, almost exclusively with lipid. In addition, Aves have long lifespans compared to weight-matched mammals. As skeletal muscle mitochondria account for the majority of oxygen consumption during aerobic exercise, the primary goal was to investigate differences in isolated muscle mitochondria between these species and to examine to what extent factors intrinsic to mitochondria may account for the behavior observed in the intact tissue and whole organism. First, maximal enzyme …

Contributors
Kuzmiak, Sarah, Willis, Wayne T, Mandarino, Lawrence, et al.
Created Date
2012

Colorful ornaments in animals often serve as sexually selected signals of quality. While pigment-based colors are well-studied in these regards, structural colors that result from the interaction of light with photonic nanostructures are comparatively understudied in terms of their consequences in social contexts, their costs of production, and even the best way to measure them. Iridescent colors are some of the most brilliant and conspicuous colors in nature, and I studied the measurement, condition-dependence, and signaling role of iridescence in Anna's hummingbirds (Calypte anna). While most animal colors are easily quantified using well-established spectrophotometric techniques, the unique characteristics of iridescent …

Contributors
Meadows, Melissa Grace, Mcgraw, Kevin J, Rutowski, Ronald L, et al.
Created Date
2012

In social insect colonies, as with individual animals, the rates of biological processes scale with body size. The remarkable explanatory power of metabolic allometry in ecology and evolutionary biology derives from the great diversity of life exhibiting a nonlinear scaling pattern in which metabolic rates are not proportional to mass, but rather exhibit a hypometric relationship with body size. While one theory suggests that the supply of energy is a major physiological constraint, an alternative theory is that the demand for energy is regulated by behavior. The central hypothesis of this dissertation research is that increases in colony size reduce …

Contributors
Waters, James Stephen, Harrison, Jon F, Quinlan, Michael C., et al.
Created Date
2012

In somatic cells, the mitotic spindle apparatus is centrosomal and several isoforms of Protein Kinase C (PKC) have been associated with the mitotic spindle, but their role in stabilizing the mitotic spindle is unclear. Other protein kinases such as, Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3â (GSK3â) also have been shown to be associated with the mitotic spindle. In the study in chapter 2, we show the enrichment of active (phosphorylated) PKCæ at the centrosomal region of the spindle apparatus in metaphase stage of 3T3 cells. In order to understand whether the two kinases, PKC and GSK3â are associated with the mitotic spindle, …

Contributors
Chakravadhanula, Madhavi, Capco, David G., Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2012

At the heart of every eusocial insect colony is a reproductive division of labor. This division can emerge through dominance interactions at the adult stage or through the production of distinct queen and worker castes at the larval stage. In both cases, this division depends on plasticity within an individual to develop reproductive characteristics or serve as a worker. In order to gain insight into the evolution of reproductive plasticity in the social insects, I investigated caste determination and dominance in the ant Harpegnathos saltator, a species that retains a number of ancestral characteristics. Treatment of worker larvae with a …

Contributors
Penick, Clint Andrew, Liebig, Jürgen, Brent, Colin, et al.
Created Date
2012

Sensory gating is a process by which the nervous system preferentially admits stimuli that are important for the organism while filtering out those that may be meaningless. An optimal sensory gate cannot be static or inflexible, but rather plastic and informed by past experiences. Learning enables sensory gates to recognize stimuli that are emotionally salient and potentially predictive of positive or negative outcomes essential to survival. Olfaction is the only sensory modality in mammals where sensory inputs bypass conventional thalamic gating before entering higher emotional or cognitive brain regions. Thus, olfactory bulb circuits may have a heavier burden of sensory …

Contributors
Li, Monica Mo, Tyler, William J, Smith, Brian H, et al.
Created Date
2012

This work is an assemblage of three applied projects that address the institutional and spatial constraints to managing threatened and endangered (T & E) terrestrial species. The first project looks at the role of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in protecting wildlife and whether banning non–conservation activities on multi-use federal lands is socially optimal. A bioeconomic model is used to identify scenarios where ESA–imposed regulations emerge as optimal strategies and to facilitate discussion on feasible long–term strategies in light of the ongoing public land–use debate. Results suggest that banning harmful activities is a preferred strategy when valued species are in …

Contributors
Salau, Kehinde Rilwan, Janssen, Marco A, Fenichel, Eli P, et al.
Created Date
2013

Speciation is the fundamental process that has generated the vast diversity of life on earth. The hallmark of speciation is the evolution of barriers to gene flow. These barriers may reduce gene flow either by keeping incipient species from hybridizing at all (pre-zygotic), or by reducing the fitness of hybrids (post-zygotic). To understand the genetic architecture of these barriers and how they evolve, I studied a genus of wasps that exhibits barriers to gene flow that act both pre- and post-zygotically. Nasonia is a genus of four species of parasitoid wasps that can be hybridized in the laboratory. When two …

Contributors
Gibson, Joshua D, Gadau, Jürgen, Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2013

To address the need of scientists and engineers in the United States workforce and ensure that students in higher education become scientifically literate, research and policy has called for improvements in undergraduate education in the sciences. One particular pathway for improving undergraduate education in the science fields is to reform undergraduate teaching. Only a limited number of studies have explored the pedagogical content knowledge of postsecondary level teachers. This study was conducted to characterize the PCK of biology faculty and explore the factors influencing their PCK. Data included semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, documents, and instructional artifacts. A qualitative inquiry was …

Contributors
Hill, Kathleen M., Luft, Julie A., Baker, Dale, et al.
Created Date
2013

The academic literature on science communication widely acknowledges a problem: science communication between experts and lay audiences is important, but it is not done well. General audience popular science books, however, carry a reputation for clear science communication and are understudied in the academic literature. For this doctoral dissertation, I utilize Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape, a general audience science book on the particularly thorny topic of neuroscientific approaches to morality, as a case-study to explore the possibility of using general audience science books as models for science communication more broadly. I conduct a literary analysis of the text that …

Contributors
Johnson, Nathan, Robert, Jason S, Creath, Richard, et al.
Created Date
2013

Once perceived as an unimportant occurrence in living organisms, cell degeneration was reconfigured as an important biological phenomenon in development, aging, health, and diseases in the twentieth century. This dissertation tells a twentieth-century history of scientific investigations on cell degeneration, including cell death and aging. By describing four central developments in cell degeneration research with the four major chapters, I trace the emergence of the degenerating cell as a scientific object, describe the generations of a variety of concepts, interpretations and usages associated with cell death and aging, and analyze the transforming influences of the rising cell degeneration research. Particularly, …

Contributors
Jiang, Lijing, Maienschein, Jane, Laubichler, Manfred, et al.
Created Date
2013

Infertility has become an increasing problem in developed countries and in many cases can be attributed to compromised sperm quality. Assessment of male fertility typically utilizes semen analysis which mainly examines sperm morphology, however many males whose sperm appear normal are sub- or infertile, suggesting that sperm from these males may be deficient in a protein or suite of proteins. To date, very little is known about the composition of sperm or the complex maturation process that confers motility and fertilization competency to sperm. Chapter 1 discusses the use of whole cell mass spectrometry to identify 1247 proteins comprising the …

Contributors
Skerget, Sheri Jo, Karr, Timothy L, Lake, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2013

As an evolutionary force, hybridization outcomes include introgression, admixture, speciation, and reproductive isolation. While hybridization has been studied in several primates, the marmoset genus Callithrix is an important, but little studied example of Neotropical hybridization. Varying degrees of reproductive isolation exist between Callithrix species, and hybridization occurs at species borders or regions containing introduced and native species. Interbreeding between Callithrix species carries important implications for biodiversity and genetic integrity within the genus. However, species origins and levels of genetic admixture in marmoset hybrid zones are generally unknown, and few population genetic studies of individual Callithrix species exist. Using the mitochondrial …

Contributors
Malukiewicz, Joanna, Stone, Anne C., Nash, Leanne, et al.
Created Date
2013

Mathematical modeling of infectious diseases can help public health officials to make decisions related to the mitigation of epidemic outbreaks. However, over or under estimations of the morbidity of any infectious disease can be problematic. Therefore, public health officials can always make use of better models to study the potential implication of their decisions and strategies prior to their implementation. Previous work focuses on the mechanisms underlying the different epidemic waves observed in Mexico during the novel swine origin influenza H1N1 pandemic of 2009 and showed extensions of classical models in epidemiology by adding temporal variations in different parameters that …

Contributors
Cruz-Aponte, Maytee, Wirkus, Stephen A., Castillo-Chavez, Carlos, et al.
Created Date
2014

Consideration of both biological and human-use dynamics in coupled social-ecological systems is essential for the success of interventions such as marine reserves. As purely human institutions, marine reserves have no direct effects on ecological systems. Consequently, the success of a marine reserve depends on managers` ability to alter human behavior in the direction and magnitude that supports reserve objectives. Further, a marine reserve is just one component in a larger coupled social-ecological system. The social, economic, political, and biological landscape all determine the social acceptability of a reserve, conflicts that arise, how the reserve interacts with existing fisheries management, accuracy …

Contributors
Fujitani, Marie, Abbott, Joshua, Fenichel, Eli, et al.
Created Date
2014

Foraging has complex effects on whole-organism homeostasis, and there is considerable evidence that foraging behavior is influenced by both environmental factors (e.g., food availability, predation risk) and the physiological condition of an organism. The optimization of foraging behavior to balance costs and benefits is termed state-dependent foraging (SDF) while behavior that seeks to protect assets of fitness is termed the asset protection principle (APP). A majority of studies examining SDF have focused on the role that energy balance has on the foraging of organisms with high metabolism and high energy demands ("high-energy systems" such as endotherms). In contrast, limited work …

Contributors
Wright, Christian D., Denardo, Dale F., Harrison, Jon, et al.
Created Date
2014

The explicit role of soil organisms in shaping soil health, rates of pedogenesis, and resistance to erosion has only just recently begun to be explored in the last century. However, much of the research regarding soil biota and soil processes is centered on maintaining soil fertility (e.g., plant nutrient availability) and soil structure in mesic- and agro- ecosystems. Despite the empirical and theoretical strides made in soil ecology over the last few decades, questions regarding ecosystem function and soil processes remain, especially for arid areas. Arid areas have unique ecosystem biogeochemistry, decomposition processes, and soil microbial responses to moisture inputs …

Contributors
Wyant, Karl Arthur, Sabo, John L, Elser, James J, et al.
Created Date
2014

The advent of new high throughput technology allows for increasingly detailed characterization of the immune system in healthy, disease, and age states. The immune system is composed of two main branches: the innate and adaptive immune system, though the border between these two states is appearing less distinct. The adaptive immune system is further split into two main categories: humoral and cellular immunity. The humoral immune response produces antibodies against specific targets, and these antibodies can be used to learn about disease and normal states. In this document, I use antibodies to characterize the immune system in two ways: 1. …

Contributors
Whittemore, Kurt, Sykes, Kathryn, Johnston, Stephen A, et al.
Created Date
2014

The coordination of group behavior in the social insects is representative of a broader phenomenon in nature, emergent biological complexity. In such systems, it is believed that large-scale patterns result from the interaction of relatively simple subunits. This dissertation involved the study of one such system: the social foraging of the ant Temnothorax rugatulus. Physically tiny with small population sizes, these cavity-dwelling ants provide a good model system to explore the mechanisms and ultimate origins of collective behavior in insect societies. My studies showed that colonies robustly exploit sugar water. Given a choice between feeders unequal in quality, colonies allocate …

Contributors
Shaffer, Zachary Joseph, Pratt, Stephen C, Hölldobler, Bert, et al.
Created Date
2014

There has been important progress in understanding ecological dynamics through the development of the theory of ecological stoichiometry. This fast growing theory provides new constraints and mechanisms that can be formulated into mathematical models. Stoichiometric models incorporate the effects of both food quantity and food quality into a single framework that produce rich dynamics. While the effects of nutrient deficiency on consumer growth are well understood, recent discoveries in ecological stoichiometry suggest that consumer dynamics are not only affected by insufficient food nutrient content (low phosphorus (P): carbon (C) ratio) but also by excess food nutrient content (high P:C). This …

Contributors
Peace, Angela Lynn, Kuang, Yang, Elser, James J, et al.
Created Date
2014

Proper cell growth and differentiation requires the integration of multiple signaling pathways that are maintained by various post-translational modifications. Many proteins in signal transduction pathways are conserved between humans and model organisms. My dissertation characterizes four previously unknown manners of regulation in the Drosophila Decapentaplegic (Dpp) pathway, a pathway within TGF-beta family. First, I present data that the Dpp signal transducer, Mothers Against Dpp (Mad), is phosphorylated by Zeste-white 3 (Zw3), a kinase involved in the Wingless pathway. This phosphorylation event occurs independently of canonical phosphorylation of Mad by the Dpp receptor. Using ectopic expression of different alleles of Mad, …

Contributors
Quijano, Janine Clare, Newfeld, Stuart J, Goldstein, Elliott, et al.
Created Date
2014

Facial projection--i.e., the position of the upper face relative to the anterior cranial fossa--is an important component of craniofacial architecture in primates. Study of its variation is therefore important to understanding the bases of primate craniofacial form. Such research is relevant to studies of human evolution because the condition in Homo sapiens--in which facial projection is highly reduced, with the facial skeleton located primarily inferior (rather than anterior) to the braincase--is derived vis-à-vis other primates species, including others in the genus Homo. Previous research suggested that variation in facial projection is explained by: (1) cranial base angulation; (2) upper facial …

Contributors
Ritzman, Terrence Bradley, Schwartz, Gary T, Kimbel, William H, et al.
Created Date
2014

This dissertation consists of three substantive chapters. The first substantive chapter investigates the premature harvesting problem in fisheries. Traditionally, yield-per-recruit analysis has been used to both assess and address the premature harvesting of fish stocks. However, the fact that fish size often affects the unit price suggests that this approach may be inadequate. In this chapter, I first synthesize the conventional yield-per-recruit analysis, and then extend this conventional approach by incorporating a size-price function for a revenue-per-recruit analysis. An optimal control approach is then used to derive a general bioeconomic solution for the optimal harvesting of a short-lived single cohort. …

Contributors
Huang, Biao, Abbott, Joshua K, Perrings, Charles, et al.
Created Date
2014

The healthcare system in this country is currently unacceptable. New technologies may contribute to reducing cost and improving outcomes. Early diagnosis and treatment represents the least risky option for addressing this issue. Such a technology needs to be inexpensive, highly sensitive, highly specific, and amenable to adoption in a clinic. This thesis explores an immunodiagnostic technology based on highly scalable, non-natural sequence peptide microarrays designed to profile the humoral immune response and address the healthcare problem. The primary aim of this thesis is to explore the ability of these arrays to map continuous (linear) epitopes. I discovered that using a …

Contributors
Richer, Joshua A., Johnston, Stephen A, Woodbury, Neal, et al.
Created Date
2014

Engineered nanoparticles (NP; 10-9 m) have found use in a variety of consumer goods and medical devices because of the unique changes in material properties that occur when synthesized on the nanoscale. Although many definitions for nanoparticle exist, from the perspective of size, nanoparticle is defined as particles with diameters less than 100 nm in any external dimension. Examples of their use include titanium dioxide added as a pigment in products intended to be ingested by humans, silicon dioxide NPs are used in foods as an anticaking agent, and gold or iron oxide NPs can be used as vectors for …

Contributors
Faust, James Jude, Capco, David G., Ugarova, Tatiana, et al.
Created Date
2014

For animals that experience annual cycles of gonad development, the seasonal timing (phenology) of gonad growth is a major adaptation to local environmental conditions. To optimally time seasonal gonad growth, animals use environmental cues that forecast future conditions. The availability of food is one such environmental cue. Although the importance of food availability has been appreciated for decades, the physiological mechanisms underlying the modulation of seasonal gonad growth by this environmental factor remain poorly understood. Urbanization is characterized by profound environmental changes, and urban animals must adjust to an environment vastly different from that of their non-urban conspecifics. Evidence suggests …

Contributors
Davies, Scott, Deviche, Pierre, Sweazea, Karen, et al.
Created Date
2014

In 1968, phycologist M.R. Droop published his famous discovery on the functional relationship between growth rate and internal nutrient status of algae in chemostat culture. The simple notion that growth is directly dependent on intracellular nutrient concentration is useful for understanding the dynamics in many ecological systems. The cell quota in particular lends itself to ecological stoichiometry, which is a powerful framework for mathematical ecology. Three models are developed based on the cell quota principal in order to demonstrate its applications beyond chemostat culture. First, a data-driven model is derived for neutral lipid synthesis in green microalgae with respect to …

Contributors
Packer, Aaron, Kuang, Yang, Nagy, John, et al.
Created Date
2014

The NLR family, pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is essential for the innate immune response to danger signals. Importantly, the NLRP3 inflammasome responds to structurally and functionally dissimilar stimuli. It is currently unknown how the NLRP3 inflammasome responds to such diverse triggers. This dissertation investigates the role of ion flux in regulating the NLRP3 inflammasome. Project 1 explores the relationship between potassium efflux and Syk tyrosine kinase. The results reveal that Syk activity is upstream of mitochondrial oxidative signaling and is crucial for inflammasome assembly, pro-inflammatory cytokine processing, and caspase-1-dependent pyroptotic cell death. Dynamic potassium imaging and molecular analysis revealed …

Contributors
Yaron, Jordan Robin, Meldrum, Deirdre R, Blattman, Joseph N, et al.
Created Date
2015

The phycologist, M. R. Droop, studied vitamin B12 limitation in the flagellate Monochrysis lutheri and concluded that its specific growth rate depended on the concentration of the vitamin within the cell; i.e. the cell quota of the vitamin B12. The Droop model provides a mathematical expression to link growth rate to the intracellular concentration of a limiting nutrient. Although the Droop model has been an important modeling tool in ecology, it has only recently been applied to study cancer biology. Cancer cells live in an ecological setting, interacting and competing with normal and other cancerous cells for nutrients and space, …

Contributors
Everett, Rebecca Anne, Kuang, Yang, Nagy, John, et al.
Created Date
2015

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by progressive autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells. Genetic, immunological and environmental factors contribute to T1D development. The focus of this dissertation is to track the humoral immune response in T1D by profiling autoantibodies (AAbs) and anti-viral antibodies using an innovative protein array platform called Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Array (NAPPA). AAbs provide value in identifying individuals at risk, stratifying patients with different clinical courses, improving our understanding of autoimmune destructions, identifying antigens for cellular immune response and providing candidates for prevention trials in T1D. A two-stage serological AAb screening …

Contributors
Bian, Xiaofang, LaBaer, Joshua, Mandarino, Lawrence, et al.
Created Date
2015

Currently in the US, many patients with cancer do not benefit from the population-based screening, due to challenges associated with the existing cancer screening scheme. Blood-based diagnostic assays have the potential to detect diseases in a non-invasive way. Proteins released from small early tumors may only be present intermittently and get diluted to tiny concentrations in the blood, making them difficult to use as biomarkers. However, they can induce autoantibody (AAb) responses, which can amplify the signal and persist in the blood even if the antigen is gone. Circulating autoantibodies is a promising class of molecules that have potential to …

Contributors
Wang, Jie, LaBaer, Joshua, Anderson, Karen S, et al.
Created Date
2015

The distinguishing feature of the filamentous fungi is the hyphae - tube-like microscopic cells that exhibit polarized growth via apical extension and allow the fungus to interact with its environment. Fungi elongate at the hyphal apex, through the localized construction of new plasma membrane and cell wall through the exocytosis of secretory vesicles. One population of these vesicles have been identified as chitosomes, containing chitin synthase isoenzymes, which are responsible for the polymerization of N-acetylglucosamine from UDP N-acetylglucosamine into chitin, the primary fibrillar component of the fungal cell wall. The chitosomes, in addition to other vesicles, can be observed aggregating …

Contributors
Fisher, Karen, Roberson, Robert W, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2015