Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • A MINUS-GAMETE-SPECIFIC GENE IN FUSION-DEFECTIVE CHLAMYDOMONAS MUTANTS AND ANALYSIS OF BIOSYNTHETIC PATHWAYS UPREGULATED DURING GAMETOGENESIS

    Author:
    Dmitry Brogun
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Biology
    Advisor:
    Charlene Forest
    Abstract:

    To gain insight into the mechanism of gamete fusion during fertilization, it is crucial to identify molecular, metabolic and genetic factors required for this process. Gamete fusion in C. reinhardtii cells proceeds via four genetically defined stages: 1) flagella recognition 2) signaling 3) mating structure adhesion and 4) fusion with subsequent zygote formation. During this study we used insertional and temperature sensitive conditional mutants that do not proceed to stage 4, but can agglutinate and adhere to each other via their mating structure. A homolog of the sex-restricted HAP2/GCS1 gene has been shown to prevent gamete fusion in C. reinhardtii. A SiteFinding-PCR search was conducted on the fusion-defective Chlamydomonas insertional mutants that could not be complemented with the wild type copy of the HAP2/GCS1 gene. We confirmed that mutant clone 5 had an insert in a copia-family retrotransposon on chromosome 13. We collaborated to discover that a gene, located 3 &rsqou; to the retrotransposon is a minus-gamete specific gene (MGS). We hypothesized that MGS might be a second gene required for gamete fusion. Our main objective was to identify whether there is a defect in the DNA sequence in MGS in any of our fusion-defective mutants. We performed a chromosome walk on coding, promoter and 5 &rsqou; upstream and 3 &rsqou; downstream regulatory regions (UTR) of MGS via PCR. PCR products then where sequenced and aligned. We used qRT-PCR to determine MGS expression levels in the control and fusion defective mutants. Analysis of the sequencing and expressional results showed no defect in the MGS gene. For the systematics study we used comparative genomic and phylogenetic approaches enabling us to study metabolic pathways that are upregulated in gametes of Chlamydomonas. Congruent experimental results show that the nuclear-encoded and chloroplast localized MEP pathway leading to the biosynthesis of the isoprenoid precursor molecules is upregulated in Chlamydomonas gametes. It is expected, that the results from these studies will provide further insights into regulatory mechanisms occurring during gametogenesis, some of which might be necessary for gamete fusion in algae as well as in higher eukaryotic organisms.

  • Francisco Sanchez y el redescubrimiento de la duda en el Renacimiento

    Author:
    Marcelo Broitman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Isaias Lerner
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to explore philosophical skepticism from its origins in Greece to its resurgence in the European Renaissance, in particular in the work of Francisco Sanchez, the Hispanic medical doctor and thinker of the XVI and XVII centuries. In order to provide the background to Sanchez' book, Quod nihil scitur (That nothing is known), which called in question any possibility of knowledge, an analysis of the various stages of skeptical thought was conducted. Special attention was paid to the work of three ancient philosophers: Pyrrho of Elis, the legendary founder of the skeptical school who left no written work behind, but whose life, as told mainly by Diogenes Laertius, was a model for his followers; Arcesilaus, who helped to steer Plato's Academy towards skepticism during the period of that school that is known as the Middle Academy, and Carneades, who headed the so called New Academy. In the Middle Ages, skeptic doubt was displaced by dogmatic certainty, based mainly on the authority of Aristotle and the Church. With very few exceptions, such as those found in some texts by Henry of Ghent, dogmatism reigned during this period. This dissertation also deals with some characteristics of medieval dialectic. In this regard, it presents the translation of two important critical texts, one by Francesco Petrarca and the other by Juan Luis Vives, anticipating the criticism of Francisco Sanchez. This work also considers the role that two religious reformers, Girolamo Savonarola and Martin Luther, could have played in the revival of skepticism during their time. The last section of this study is devoted to Francisco Sanchez, and analyzes two of his works, Carmen de cometa anni M.D.LXXVII, and Quod nihil scitur. The latter was instrumental in the rediscovery of critical thinking, and was well known and highly appreciated, or defamed, in its time. It is the work that placed Sanchez in the history of Western thought.

  • The Effect of Using Art Activities in Home Literacy Bags

    Author:
    Heather brookman kadish
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Educational Psychology
    Advisor:
    Helen Johnson
    Abstract:

    The present study examined the impact of including art activities in family literacy materials on parents' beliefs about reading and their self-efficacy beliefs about their ability to teach reading to their young children. The study took place over five weeks in a private day school in New York City with middle to upper-class population. The 70 student participants (i.e., across kindergarten through second grade) were randomly assigned to either treatment (i.e., literacy bags with art experience) or control (i.e., no art), with assignment done separately for males and females. Multi-item measures were used that assessed demographics, home literacy environment, family involvement in school, children's interest in literacy, and parental efficacy and reading beliefs. Though not statistically significant, parents' self-efficacy scores in the experimental group improved and their enjoyment scores increased over time while the parents' scores in the control group fluctuated randomly across the four weeks with marginally significant differences between the two groups found during the last week. A modest statistically significant correlation was found between parents' self-efficacy and parental involvement. The students in the experimental group reported that they enjoyed the artwork. The current study suggested that offering a broader range of literacy activities can enhance and increase the impact of parent involvement initiatives in children's literacy learning. The findings suggest a relationship between parental self-efficacy and parental involvement, and that art activities affect both of these factors. Results raised the possibility that there is value in exploring ways to extend the benefit of art activities. Limitations of the study included the variable aspects of self-reporting for data collection, potential incongruence between books used and students' particular interests and skills, limited and homogenous population sample, and limited family background information. Future research should further explore the effect of incorporating art on parents' self-efficacy and reading beliefs.

  • PARADIGMS FOR FREEDOM: HALE WOODRUFF, THE NEW NEGRO AGENDA AND LANDSCAPE

    Author:
    LeRonn Brooks
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Katherine Manthorne
    Abstract:

    During the 1920s and 1930s, the painter Hale Woodruff practiced New Negro portraiture and landscape painter. Would he be a "race man" or an individualist that followed his interest in modern landscape, and not a racial art? This dissertation follows Woodruff's career (from 1900 to 1940) as he negotiated the influence of his early mentors (Alain Locke and W.E.B. Du Bois) in his search for an authentic identity.

  • Paradigms for Freedom: Hale Woodruff, The New Negro Agenda and Landscape

    Author:
    LeRonn Brooks
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Katherine Manthorne
    Abstract:

    The painter Hale Woodruff was the product of New Negro communities in Nashville, Tennessee, and Indianapolis, Indiana. During the 1920s and 1930s, the artist created portraits of New Negro architypes. After visiting France (1927-1927), the artist took a serious interest in painting modernist landscapes. This dissertation examines the artist's navigation of the New Negro ideals of his early mentors (Alain Locke, W.E.B. Du Bois and Walter White) and his painterly interest in landscape and non-figuration as well as his tenure at Atlana University.

  • The Role of Homophobia and Gender Role Beliefs in Judgments of Same-Sex Intimate Partner Violence

    Author:
    Michael Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Jennifer Groscup
    Abstract:

    The primary purpose of this study was to examine whether straight and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals differ in their perceptions of same-sex and opposite-sex IPV, and whether gender-role beliefs and homophobia can help explain any differences. We were also interested in whether factors such as the type of violence depicted and participants' gender moderated perceptions of intimate partner violence. Using a 2 (type of violence: situational couple violence vs. intimate terrorism) x 2 (gender of batterer: male vs. female) x 2 (gender of victim: male vs. female) between-groups design, 240 straight and 240 LGBT participants were randomly assigned to an experimental condition and asked to read a vignette of a domestic altercation. Participants completed a questionnaire designed to assess how they perceived the batterer's and victim's responsibility for the situation, the seriousness of the situation, how likely the abusive behavior was to reoccur, and how likely the abusive behavior would get worse over time. Participants also completed a demographics survey and measures of gender role beliefs and homophobia / internalized homophobia. Overall, both straight and LGBT participants attributed less blame to batterers and more blame to victims, and perceived the abuse as less serious, when the scenario involved a same-sex couple. However, contrary to our hypotheses, participants' gender role beliefs and homophobia / internalized homophobia did not fully account for these findings. Participants' gender and the type of violence depicted were significant moderators for several of the relationships examined; however, these effects were relatively small and inconsistent. Social, clinical and legal implications of these findings are discussed - along with directions for future research.

  • Identification of Paleopathological Conditions in a Non-Adult Population from Roman Age Sirmium Serbia: A Bioarchaeological and Life History Approach

    Author:
    Matthew Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Anthropology
    Advisor:
    Thomas McGovern
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this dissertation is to assess the status of child health within the context of Late Roman Sirmium, Serbia (ca. 1st - 6th Century CE) through the evaluation of multiple indicators of skeletal stress (porotic hyperostosis, enamel hyperplasia, and infectious disease). Children and other non-adults (infants and adolescents), for a number of reasons, have been "marginalized" within the fields of archaeology and bioarchaeology. Differential preservation, burial bias, incorrect identification children and non-adult bones and culturally focused definitions of children are among some of the reasons often cited for the lack of research specifically targeting these populations. This dissertation attempts to address this issue of marginalization and that of child morbidity and mortality during the Late Roman Period, recognizing that children and other non-adult cohorts represent important segments of archaeological skeletal populations that can add significant information on past human behavior. The research employed by this thesis will take a holistic bioarchaeological approach by incorporating data from a variety of fields and methodologies, including archaeology, historical records, and environmental science. The primary data, however, will come directly from the analysis of non-adult skeletal material recovered from the Late Roman Period Cemetery, St. Sineros on the northeast border of Sirmium. This dissertation will use both qualitative, looking at the life histories of individuals, and quantitative data to reconstruct patterns of health and disease, in addition to Roman cultural practices (i.e. breastfeeding) that often dictated behaviors that directly influence the non-adult the late Roman Period in Sirmium.

  • Financial Reporting Differences and Debt Contracting

    Author:
    Anna Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Business
    Advisor:
    Donal Byard
    Abstract:

    I examine the relationship between contracting parties' familiarity with one another's accounting information and the terms and structure of debt contracts. I use the differences in generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) among contracting parties domiciled in different countries as a proxy for how familiar a lending bank will be with a borrower's accounting information. I find that a larger difference between the GAAP of the lender and the GAAP of the borrower is associated with a higher credit spread and higher fees. I also find that a larger difference between the GAAP of the lender and the GAAP of the borrower is associated with a more concentrated loan syndicate, suggesting a closer monitoring relationship between the borrower and the lender. Finally, I find that when there is a larger difference between the GAAP of the lender and the GAAP of the borrower, banks rely less on financial covenants as a contracting tool. Moreover, banks tend to alter the types of covenants they write, relying more on capital-based financial covenants and less on earnings-based covenants. My results are consistent with banks experiencing information problems when contracting with parties whose accounting information they find to be unfamiliar. These results provide new evidence on the importance of financial reporting for debt contracting.

  • Collective Memory, Women's Identity and the Church

    Author:
    Jo Ana Brown
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Sociology
    Advisor:
    Cynthia Epstein
    Abstract:

    Christianity, Judaism and Islam share a deliberative subjugation of women through ideologies, hierarchical structures and performative practices that effectively relegate women to an inferior position. The Christian tradition has one of the longest-standing and most consistent iconographies with regard to the characterization and status of women in society. The Christian church is prototypical of a religious institution iterating an ideology of women's inferiority through various mechanisms that lodge and preserve it in societal collective memory. This study examines three mechanisms used by the Church to preserve collective memory about women's inferior status in society: doctrine, liturgical practices and visual images related to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Through structured interviews with 40 women raised in the Roman Catholic tradition and educated in Roman Catholic schools, this study examines how collective memory about women's identity transferred through these mechanisms become lodged in individual memory through socialization and education, and influence their attitudes, behaviors and self-identity. The study expands the examination from the realm of the individual and family to how doctrine, liturgical practices and visual images of Mary exert influence far beyond the confines of the church itself and its participants. The institutional church, and Roman Catholicism in particular, exerts global influence through reputational entrepreneurs who are power holders in society. The study considers whether collective memory about women's place in society, set forth and maintained by the Church, can be reconstructed and, if so, how it might be accomplished.  

  • We don't give birth to thugs; we give birth to children: The emotional journeys of African-American mothers raising sons under American racism

    Author:
    Robyn Brown-Manning
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Social Welfare
    Advisor:
    Willie Tolliver
    Abstract:

    ABSTRACT We don't give birth to thugs; we give birth to children: The Emotional Journeys of African-American Mothers Raising Sons under American Racism by Robyn Brown-Manning The emotions of African-American mothers of sons are an understudied area in social work research. Given the disproportionate representation of Black male youth on social service caseloads, a more in-depth understanding of their mothers' experiences while raising them is very important. Using group storytelling formats, this qualitative study examines the emotional content of a small cohort of African-American mothers in New York City and Westchester County, New York, with sons ranging in age from infancy through 30. Viewed through the theoretical frames of Africana womanism and nonfinite loss, the study finds that African-American mothers of sons are emotionally fatigued. They fear for their sons' safety in the presence of police. They worry about a variety of factors that affect their sons' well-being. The mothers feel guilty about choices they have made in life, particularly regarding husbands. They often feel abandoned, and long for stronger connections with other African-American mothers of sons. Throughout everything, they love their sons and are very proud of them. Practice implications include reframing challenging emotional expressions and behaviors as indicators of emotional fatigue; forming alliances with African-American mothers of sons to address oppressive practices in law enforcement and schools; and co-creating culturally grounded support groups with African-American mothers of sons.