Now showing items 1-20 of 21510

    • CNS Drug Delivery in Stroke: Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptide (Oatp)-Mediated Delivery of Atorvastatin is a Requirement for Neuroprotection

      Ronaldson, Patrick T.; Williams, Erica Iris; Davis, Thomas P.; Doyle, Kristian; Vanderah, Todd; Lochhead, Jeff (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Stroke is the 5th most common cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. Drug development for ischemic stroke is challenging as evidenced by the lack of therapeutics that have advanced beyond a phase III clinical trial. There are many reasons for this lack of clinical translation including factors related to the experimental design of preclinical stroke studies. Often overlooked in therapeutic development for ischemic stroke is the requirement of effective drug delivery to the brain, which is critical for neuroprotective efficacy of several small and large molecule drugs. Advancing central nervous system (CNS) drug delivery technologies implies a need for detailed comprehension of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and neurovascular unit (NVU). Such knowledge will permit the innate biology of the BBB/NVU to be leveraged for improved bench-to-bedside translation of novel stroke therapeutics. At present, FDA-approved drug treatments for ischemic stroke are limited to recombinant-tissue plasminogen activator (r- tPA; Alteplase, Activase®), which is not available to many patients due to its short therapeutic window (i.e., 4.5 h) and clinically significant risk of bleeding complications. Although recanalization in infarcted brain tissue is critical, the adverse events associated with r-tPA treatment are not trivial and can promote neurologic and vascular injury, thus exacerbating post-stroke neurological deficits. Indeed, stroke patients still suffer from debilitating neurocognitive deficits despite the advent of reperfusion therapies. This indicates a need for discovery of stroke therapeutics and/or development of new pharmacological strategies for neuroprotection that are both safe and effective; however, the clinical utility of such compounds is highly dependent upon efficient transport from systemic circulation into ischemic brain tissue. Indeed, the BBB possess several endogenous transporters that can be targeted to promote delivery of neuroprotective agents into the CNS. It is noteworthy that most studies on BBB transporters in stroke that have been published to date have primarily focused on transport of solutes involved in stroke pathogenesis such as ions and glucose. The next frontier of transporter biology will be to discern functional properties of transport proteins at the BBB that can be targeted to optimize CNS drug delivery. Examples of such uptake transporters include organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATPs in humans; Oatps in rodents). Of note, small molecule drugs that have neuroprotective properties and are known substrates for OATPs/Oatps include 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (i.e., statins). Data from preclinical and clinical stroke studies suggest that statins possess properties that render them effective as stroke therapeutics. Future development of neuroprotective treatment strategies for stroke with statins will depend upon an improved understanding of discrete BBB transport mechanisms that enable these drugs to achieve effective brain concentrations. Information derived from BBB transport studies can be extended to inform discovery of new drugs developed specifically for ischemic stroke treatment. An examination of the chemical properties of statins that enable these drugs to be specifically transported by OATPs/Oatps can inform structure-based drug design of such novel therapeutics. Identification of therapeutics that both confer beneficial effects in stroke and are substrates for endogenous BBB transporters presents a translational opportunity to advance stroke pharmacotherapy. Overall, endogenous transporters at the brain microvascular endothelium must be studied in detail to discern the optimal time course and the most effective routes of administration for neuroprotective drugs. Furthermore, a consideration of biological variables (i.e., age, sex, comorbid conditions such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, etc.) that affect stroke outcomes should be incorporated into future experimentation to develop a better understanding of BBB transport mechanisms and, ultimately, improved stroke treatment paradigms.
    • Three-Dimensional Imaging Techniques for Biomedical Applications

      Liang, Rongguang; Li, Shaobai; Kang, Dongkyun; Sawyer, Travis (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      The pursuit of extended depth, higher resolution, and three-dimensional (3D) imaging capabilities has been a driving force in the field of biomedical imaging and clinical applications. By providing detailed volumetric representations of biological structures, 3D imaging modalities offer significant advantages over traditional 2D imaging methods, enabling unprecedented insights into the complex three-dimensional architecture and dynamics of biological systems. Chromatic confocal microscopy and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) stand out as two techniques offering high-resolution, non-invasive 3D visualization of living tissues and organisms. Chromatic confocal microscopy utilizes longitudinal chromatic aberration to conduct depth scans, facilitating high-resolution 3D imaging of specimens. On the other hand, OCT, a non-invasive interferometric technique, relies on low-coherence interferometry to capture high-resolution depth images of tissues. OCT provides detailed 3D representations of tissue microstructures, making it a valuable tool in clinical disciplines such as ophthalmology, cardiology, and dermatology. In this dissertation, we concentrate on Chromatic confocal microscopy and Swept source OCT these two techniques and their applications. We first present two digital scanningchromatic confocal microscopes: DMD-based and MicroLED-based chromatic confocal microscopes that eliminate the need for mechanical scanning. Furthermore, we discuss system enhancements achieved through custom optical design, including the integration of freeform prism pairs and hyperchromatic objectives. These advancements enable higher resolution, extended depth imaging, and multifunctional imaging. In terms of SS-OCT, we demonstrate the development of a multimodal intraoral screening system for oral cancer. This system integrates bright field imaging, autofluorescence imaging, and Swept-source OCT, enabling multi-modalities of intraoral imaging. The optical design, mechanical design, and software architecture of this system are comprehensively discussed. The final integrated system and preliminary results will be presented.
    • “Remember, you’re a master teacher”: Counternarratives of Implementation Fidelity

      Vega, Desiree; Downs, Kade; Yoon, Jina; Kayi-Aydar, Hayriye (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      The current implementation fidelity narrative in education is one written in federal legislation(e.g., ESSA, 2015; IDEA, 2004) and peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Chu et al., 2020; Noell et al., 2014). While teachers represent a significant force for the implementation of evidence-based practices in schools, their experiences and wisdom are often excluded from the narrative — widening the gap between researchers and policymakers on one side and practitioners on the other. One way to close the gap is to begin including teacher voices in the narrative. In this qualitative dissertation I used a constructivist framework built on narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2004) and positioning theory (Davies & Harré, 1999) to generate counternarratives of implementation fidelity in school settings with five general education teachers in the United States. The lived experiences of these teachers reflect several systemic barriers that limit their ability to respond to student needs in a culturally responsive and timely manner, and represent several ways implementation fidelity as a process could be improved for teachers as well as students.
    • The Well-Prepared Marimba: An Exploration of Extended Techniques and Instrument Preparations in Marimba Repertoire

      Palter, Morris S.; Denham, Corey Daniel; Traut, Don; Rosenblatt, Jay (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Concert marimba repertoire is a musical innovation of the 20th Century. Though most of this repertoire uses standardized performance techniques, there is a distinct category calling for extended techniques and instrument preparations. This lecture-recital document will describe how extended techniques and preparations have shaped composition aesthetics of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Musical analysis will also be used to contextualize how composers have integrated extended techniques and preparations in marimba composition. The following works will be used to demonstrate a breadth of possibilities, Voice of Matsuri Drums by Keiko Abe, Blue Skin of the Sea by Tonia Ko, Scherzo by Lukas Ligeti, and Sketches for Eyes and Ridges by Gina Ryan.
    • We Hope You Are Well: The Co-Creation of Wellbeing by Individuals in Organizations

      Hilligoss, Brian; Wong, Elena Maria; Sawyer, Katina B.; Schilke, Oliver (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Organizations and individuals invest resources in supporting employee wellbeing, a trend that has intensified in recent years. Despite this increased emphasis on enhancing wellbeing, employees continue to vary in terms of the state of their wellbeing. To gain insight into how and why employee wellbeing statuses vary, I adopted an inductive approach to explore the diverse contributors to employee wellbeing outcomes. This exploration involved interviews with 57 employees at a single organization and uncovered a wide array of wellbeing facilitators, factors that support employee wellbeing, and wellbeing inhibitors, factors that are detrimental to employee wellbeing. I examined what employees identified as contributors to the state of their wellbeing and developed a theoretical framework outlining archetypes of employees that relate to high and low levels of wellbeing. Drawing on the interviews with participants who reported low and high wellbeing statuses, I examined contextual factors that contributed to employee wellbeing. Contributing to the body of work that examines how contextual factors impact employee wellbeing, I elucidated the role of historical comparison, finding that employees make comparisons between their current context to their historical contexts to validate their present state of wellbeing. In highlighting the role of the past to the present, I revealed how employees support themselves by trying to leverage coping skills developed in the past. As a result, existing skills act as reinforcing, compensatory, or ineffective contributors to their wellbeing. In highlighting the role of employee comparisons between their past context and their present, and the ways that coping skills may or may not support their wellbeing, I uncovered findings that may shape future research and organizational endeavors to support employee wellbeing.
    • Monetized Masters: Early Modern Japanese Literati and the Economy of Cultural Networks

      Schlachet, Joshua; Li, Jingyi; Miura, Takashi; Gregory, Scott; Hedberg, William (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      This dissertation studies the economic roles of early modern Japanese literati (Jpn. bunjin) in the nineteenth century and the historical interpretation of these literati in the early twentieth century through their engagement in popular cultural production, particularly centering calligraphy and painting gatherings (Jpn. shogakai). I argue that shogakai was a space of temporary freedom for early modern Japan’s popular cultural producers and consumers. During a time of class separation by the four-class structure of aristocrats-samurai-peasants-merchants in the Tokugawa period (1600-1868), shogakai was one of the few occasions where a performing master’s social status was overpowered by their cultural influence while a patron’s cash investment could determine new trends in cultural production. Everyone participating in the on-the-spot creation was remembered in popular fiction and playbills as a literatus. Yet after the gatherings ended, everyone returned to their assigned social role where the cultural producer’s autonomy was again confined by the symbolic power of the four-class system.Ultimately, through examples from shogakai and the popular cultural network, I argue that Japan’s literati were neither romantic figures of eremitism nor despicable creators of vulgar content. They grappled with negotiating their own identity in hierarchies of social class, knowledge, and cultural production in the turbulence of the nineteenth century, but eventually were turned into an elitized and romanticized concept to be used for Japan’s modern construction of cultural and national identity in an age of rising fascism.
    • Ground-based and Airborne Aerosol Studies Over Arid and Marine Regions

      Sorooshian, Armin; Ramírez-Andreotta, Mónica; Zeider, Kira Therese; Arellano, Avelino F., Jr.; Sáez, Avelino E.; Sullivan, Sylvia (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Aerosol particles have significant effects throughout the troposphere: they affect human health and safety primarily in the lower levels of the atmosphere and affect the Earth’s radiation balance and cloud formation at higher altitudes. There is a suite of methods to characterize horizontal and vertical compositions of aerosols across the globe, including surface monitoring, airborne data collected via aircraft field campaigns, spaceborne remote-sensors, and reanalysis models. This work focuses first on ground-based methodology of aerosol characterization, specifically through the use of community-engaged research, and second on the combination of airborne research methods to better understand aerosol-cloud-meteorology interactions. The first study used co-created community science data from a legacy industry-adjacent community in Arizona to determine the efficacy of plant leaves (foliar surfaces) to sample aerosol pollutants in ambient air, and by proxy, to serve as low-cost air quality monitors. Using spatial concentration characterization, enrichment factor calculations, and statistical and regression analyses, it was determined that foliar collection is a viable indicator of aerosol contamination with respect to outdoor settled dust, with sampling efficacy comparative to an accepted deposition sampling method. Dust particles laden with toxic elements/contaminants such as arsenic, lead, and cadmium, that have previously been found discharged into nearby soils, waterways, and the atmosphere near fence-line communities, were found in high concentrations compared to naturally occurring levels, which provided support for the research and implementation of low-cost air quality monitors for concerned communities. The second study continued the work from the previous co-created community science study, but was conducted across several Arizona communities, ascertaining the influence of plant family, leaf surface area, and sampling location on foliar collection efficacy. Statistical analyses using the Kruskal-Wallis test led to the conclusion that leaf surface area was the most influential factor for dust deposition sampling compared to the other factors considered. It was also determined that elements toxic to humans at high dosages and from repeated exposure, such as manganese, barium, and aluminum, that were observed in backyard soils were likely to have been transported from long-range sources rather than from local sources. The third study utilized in-situ data, such as aerosol and cloud droplet number concentrations (Na and Nd, respectively) and cloud water (CW) speciation, from six airborne missions carried out between July 2011 and September 2020 and based out of Marina, California, as well as data from space-borne remote sensors and global models. The goal of this study was to better understand the aerosol and cloud characteristics along the California coast during unusual periods of low troposphere southerly wind direction as compared to the region’s typical northerly flow pattern. Submicron Na and CW species representative of fine aerosol pollution (NO3- and non-sea salt (nss) SO42-) and shipping/continental emissions (V, oxalate, NH4+, Ni, and organic and elemental carbon, OC and EC, respectively) were found elevated during periods of southerly flow. Further, clouds were found to have elevated values of Nd and cloud optical thickness (COT), and reduced cloud droplet effective radius (re) during southerly flow conditions. The fourth and final study also utilized airborne in-situ data, on the coast opposite of the U.S. compared to the previous study, as part of the Aerosol Cloud meTeorology Interactions oVer western ATlantic Experiment (ACTIVATE). Important factors for aerosol and cloud characterization, particularly for low clouds, include the degree of coupling between the ocean’s surface and sub-cloud base of the atmospheric marine boundary layer (MBL). While previous studies had quantified coupling threshold values for liquid water potential temperature (θℓ) and water vapor mixing ratio (qt), these were with respect to subtropical subsidence regions home to major stratocumulus cloud decks, like off the U.S. west coast. For the east coast, where there is a variety of marine clouds, this study provided updated coupling thresholds for the northwest Atlantic using vertical profiles of θℓ and qt from 2020-2022 and validated through cloud water species concentrations and aerosol and atmospheric properties. The studies presented in this work illustrate the importance of varied research approaches in the pursuit of protecting human health and safety with respect to air quality. The first two studies utilized co-created community science research to build capacity and empower environmental justice communities in Arizona to address their environmental health concerns using phytotechnologies. The last two studies emphasized the complexities and challenges regarding aerosol-cloud interactions, specifically on both the east and west US coasts, with airborne field experiments. Despite the differences in subject matter and research methodology, the research in this work highlights the usefulness of partnering government-supported research campaigns with community-based research to create better solutions to air quality concerns.
    • Beyond Eating Behavior: Decoding the Role of Central Extended Amygdala PKC-delta Neurons in Energy Balance and Activity-Based Anorexia

      Cai, Haijiang; Schnapp, Wesley Ilana; Cowen, Stephen; Gothard, Katalin; Hoit, Jeannette; Teske, Jennifer (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a psychiatric disease characterized by abnormal eating behavior, self-starvation, intense fear of weight gain, and is often associated with excessive exercise. Despite extensive research, significant gaps persist in elucidating the precise neural mechanisms underlying development of AN. This dissertation addresses this gap by focusing on the role of protein kinase-C delta (PKC-) neurons within the central extended amygdala (EAc) in the development of activity-based anorexia (ABA), a common animal model for AN. Through a series of experiments employing multidisciplinary approaches, including behavioral assays, genetically-targeted manipulation, in vivo calcium imaging, neuronal tracing, and immunohistology, this dissertation reveals involvement of EAcPKC- neurons in ABA development and associated behaviors. Ablation of PKC- neurons in two nuclei of the EAc, the central amygdala nucleus (CeA) and bed nucleus of the stria terminals (BNST), in mice prevents the development of ABA, suggesting a critical role in the pathological progression of AN. Importantly, simultaneous ablation of PKC- neurons in both nuclei are required for consistent prevention, implying synergistic or additive dynamics for their function in regulating ABA. Furthermore, while presentation of food is associated with increased activity of these neurons as mice develop ABA, indicating a role in modulating the disrupted eating behavior phenotype, acutely silencing their activity with chemogenetic methods does not impede development of ABA or mitigate any phenotypes, suggesting a more nuanced mechanism. Additional experiments reveal other functions of EAcPKC- neurons in energy balance, beyond their previously established role in eating behavior and anorexigenic (i.e., appetite suppressing) signaling, shedding light on their potential contribution to modulating other metabolic behaviors. Specifically, acute activation of CeAPKC- increases locomotor behavior, demonstrating a role in energy expenditure. Furthermore, the ABA experiments and results from immunohistochemistry investigation point to a potential link between EAcPKC- neurons and circadian-based eating behavior. Ultimately, the findings in this dissertation not only deepen our understanding of AN’s neural circuit basis but also offer insights into novel functions of EAcPKC- neurons in energy homeostasis and mechanisms as to how they regulate phenotypical behaviors associated with AN, opening avenues for further exploration in the field of both ABA and EAc neural circuitry.
    • L2 Phonetic Detail in L1 Lexical Processing

      Simonet, Miquel; Forst, Hadley; Wedel, Andrew B.; Ussishkin, Adam (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      The present dissertation explores how Spanish-English bilinguals process Spanish words with English-like phonetic detail (English-accented Spanish). Previous work shows that mismatched phonetic detail and unfamiliar accents cause delayed and disrupted lexical access during spoken word recognition, but that these effects are gradient and attenuated by factors including the degree of mismatch and listener experience (Andruski et al., 1994; Bent & Bradlow, 2003; Bradlow & Bent, 2008; Floccia et al., 2006; McMurray et al., 2008; Porretta et al., 2016; Sumner, 2011; Sumner & Samuel, 2009; Weber et al., 2011; Witteman et al., 2013). Two experimental paradigms were used to examine to what extent L1 Spanish L2 English listeners would experience lexical processing delays for Spanish words featuring English-like phonetic detail: auditory lexical decision, and lexical decision with cross-modal priming (auditory – visual). Two types of auditory stimuli were used in each task: controlled stimuli with resynthesized VOT (voice onset time) in word onset, and naturally produced English-accented Spanish. L1 Spanish L2 English bilinguals are neither producers nor frequent overhearers of English-accented Spanish, so it was hypothesized that they would show evidence of processing delays for L1 Spanish words featuring unfamiliar L2 (English-like) phonetic detail in both experimental paradigms and with both stimulus types. However, results indicated that L1 Spanish L2 English bilinguals responded differently to L2 phonetic detail in each task. In auditory lexical decision, when attentional demands were low, these listeners were very intolerant of L2 English phonetic detail in L1 Spanish words, as seen in delayed responses and low acceptance rates. In contrast, when attentional demands were elevated in the cross-modal priming task, the same listeners showed no evidence of processing delay or disruption. Instead, L1 Spanish bilinguals were highly tolerant of unfamiliar phonetic variation in both stimulus types, and English-accented Spanish identity primes facilitated responses to visually presented targets as effectively as Spanish-accented primes. This suggests a change in processing strategies in response to task demands, and supports the view that the role of phonetic detail in auditory speech processing is variable: listeners appear to use phonetic detail differently depending on factors related to the listener (i.e. linguistic experience) as well as the task (i.e. attentional demands). These factors appear to modulate the strictness of the similarity criterion used for matching the incoming speech signal to lexical representations during spoken word recognition.
    • Social Influences on Consumption Decisions

      Ghosh, Anastasiya P.; Kim, Pureum; Warren, Caleb; Savary, Jennifer; Schneider, Gustavo (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Despite an increasing interest in the topic of marketing and politics, scholars have paid scant attention to a growing citizen stakeholders’ behavior: small donor contributions to political campaigns. We examine how the different formats of contribution (i.e., monetary donations and the purchase of political merchandise) influence donors’ other political behaviors. The paper makes several contributions: (1) while prior work has examined how political behavior (such as support for a political party) affects consumer purchase decisions, we are the first to examine how political consumption affects political behavior; (2) we demonstrate how purchasing political merchandise (vs. making an equivalent monetary donation) reduces the likelihood of engagement in subsequent political behaviors, such as voting; (3) we offer insights for political operatives and public policy advocates on how to increase citizens’ political engagement through the donation format. To examine this unique phenomenon, we focus on four distinct election cycles and use a multi-methods approach: analysis of an archival dataset, a longitudinal survey of actual donors, and a set of experiments, including actual consumption of political merchandise.
    • Hinterkaifeck

      Asia, Daniel; Vince, Michael John; Decker, Pamela; He, Yuanyuan (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      The chamber opera Hinterkaifeck was created to explore the nature of true crime stories through the lens of music. The source material is based on the 1922 murder of the Gruber-Gabriel family in Bavaria, Germany. The factual events were changed for two primary reasons: 1.) Some elements of the story were so serendipitous that they risked being unbelievable, and 2.) several dramatic considerations required alterations to the material. The compositional approach for the opera was heavily inspired by Wozzeck by Alban Berg, Salomè by Richard Strauss, and Pelléas et Mélisande by Claude Debussy. Hinterkaifeck's structure takes cues from Wozzeck and draws on examples of thematic development found in Salomè. Pelléas et Mélisande provides a template for the motivic setting of character names. The libretto was created first as a script for a play, with extraneous dialogue exploring how the characters might interact. This text was then whittled down to more concise statements that could be set to the vocal lines more effectively. Hinterkaifeck's score requires nine principal vocalists and additional chorus members. The principal singers also join the chorus in certain scenes. Multiple vocal techniques were employed to craft the sung material, including open-vowel singing, nasal humming, and improvised pitch selection. The latter is primarily featured in the score's recitative, allowing the singers to choose from a specific set of pitches to form unique melodic lines. Other instances of recitative involve singing on a single pitch with free rhythm and, in rare cases, spoken dialogue. The accompaniment chosen for the work is a string quartet with live electronics. The string players enact contrasting textures, such as strumming and harmonics, while the electronics provide manipulated sound effects and musical support. The result is an opera score full of changing timbres, unexpected sounds, and heightened drama.
    • Experimental Studies in Group Behavior

      Noussair, Charles; Li, Tianyi; Fishback, Price; Reynolds, Stanley (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      This dissertation investigates into the multifaceted interactions between individual behavior and economic phenomena. My broad research interests span the areas of experimental economics, behavioral economics, anddecision-making. Inspired by real-world events, I utilize novel experimental methods to explore individual or group behavior in different contexts. In Chapter 1, I provide evidence that individuals don’t vary their patterns of contribution behavior in differentgroup sizes. In a laboratory experiment, I apply the strategy method to elicit how participants’ willingness to contribute to a public good depends on other group members’ decisions. This within-subject design evaluates and compares participants’ contribution behavior in different-sized groups. Two main findings emerge. First, the share of players who are conditional cooperators is consistent across group sizes. Second, the strategies chosen imply that conditional cooperators hold a correct belief that others are more cooperative in a larger than in a smaller group. Getting a deep understanding of conditional cooperation helps to address the contribution of social dilemmas and promote the contribution in the real world. In the second chapter, I examine imposter syndrome and its relationship to overconfidence. The feeling that one is less qualified than one's peers, known as imposter syndrome, is very common. To investigate the cause of this phenomenon, I conduct a novel experiment in which individuals are asked to predict the probability that they perform better than the person that they are paired with. The strategy method employed in this experiment allows meto elicit different beliefs in various scenarios. If they properly condition the rule that sorts participants into pairs, they would predict a probability of 50\% of being the better performer in their pair. The results show that participants do condition on how their opponent has been sorted but do not sufficiently condition on their own sorting. This experiment provides evidence that such a bias can give rise to imposter syndrome, as individuals are less optimistic about outperforming a similarly selected peer when they are in a higher-performing group. Furthermore, this effect co-exists with a general pattern of overconfidence, a belief that one has a greater than 50\% chance of outperforming a peer with a similar qualification. Through understanding and exploring the cause of imposter syndrome, organizations, and educational institutions can develop strategies to support individuals and mitigate the negative effects of imposter syndrome. Moreover, this research helps scientist to develop behavioral nudges and interventions. In the third chapter ``Which institutions matter for economic growth? An experiment'', I demonstrate, using a laboratory experiment, that inclusive political institutions can be a driver of economic growth. The idea of the impact of institutions on economic growth is not new in the theory and empirical literature, but it is challenging to isolate the impact of institutions with non-experimental data. Using experimental methods, I observechanges in consumption and investment behavior under inclusive and extractive institutions, and how these institutions steer economic growth in different directions. As a result, extractive political and economic institutions impede economic growth. The combination of an inclusive political institution and an extractive economic institution is more likely to lead the economy to a high- income high-welfare steady state than the combination of extractive political institution and inclusive economic institution. This result emphasizes the essential role of inclusive political institutions, which can help to identify potential areas for improvement and provide insights for policymakers and practitioners on how to promote economic development. In sum, this dissertation contributes to a deeper understanding of how individual perceptions, economic incentives, and group dynamics interact to shape behaviors in economic contexts. The findings across the three chapters emphasize the importance of considering group dynamics in the analysis of economic phenomena, offering valuable implications for policy-making, organizational strategies, and individual decision-making processes.
    • The Pan-Indian Problem: Relationality Within and Beyond Colonialism

      Gómez, Reid; Beckmann, Sydney Ann; McComb Sanchez, Andrea; Sakiestewa Gilbert, Matthew; Kelley, Dennis (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Though the term is used to refer to various geographic regions, time periods, movements, and ideologies, there is little contemporary research on pan-Indianism itself. Much of contemporary discourse focuses on whether the term refers to the inappropriate homogenization of Indigenous peoples and cultures or whether it refers to the historical intertribal coalitions that developed to fight colonial oppression. Rather than debate the different meanings of the term, this research project explores how and why the concept was created. The term was first introduced and defined in a subfield of Anthropology in the 1950s known as Acculturation Studies. By examining the origins of the concept in this subfield, this project argues that Acculturation scholars manipulated the concept of pan-Indianism to promote assimilationist ideologies and to prove that American Indians were assimilating into dominant American society. Pan-Indianism continues to function contemporarily as a grammar of colonialism which perpetuates these ideologies. Given its ties to this problematic area of scholarship, this project calls into question the use of pan-Indianism as a framework to interpret history and Indigenous people’s experiences, focusing on how the term is used to describe the Society of American Indians and Indigenous people in urban spaces. The project’s goal is to eliminate the use of pan-Indianism to promote assimilative ideologies and, instead, to highlight the history of Indigenous resistance to colonial efforts of assimilation.
    • Maintaining Values Through Performance in Daily Organizational Work

      Hilligoss, Brian; Larson, Jeffrey; Sawyer, Katina; Broschak, Joseph (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      A small but growing volume of research identifies values work as the activities through which values are performed in organizations. Despite contributing to overall knowledge about values in organizations, this budding stream of values work literature has yet to offer insight into how collectives such as workplace organizations maintain, or consistently enact, important but abstract values through the concrete, shared daily work of members. The ability to maintain multiple important values has performance implications for employees, organizations and the communities served by organizations. To better understand how organizations (i.e., collectives of individuals working together towards shared outcomes in the workplace), maintain multiple important values in concrete daily work, I conducted a seven-month ethnographic case study of a radiation oncology center as its team members created individual treatment plans for cancer patients. I found that in most cases organizations maintain core values by engaging in the values work of framing work projects as standard and delegating them to a set of standard means that habitually enact core values with little additional work or effort. However, in some cases, salient concerns result in framing concerning project work as an exception to the standard. In these instances organizations effortfully enact adjusted means to resolve the concern and protect core values or accommodate additional, important but non-core values.
    • Artificial Intelligence-Enabled Vulnerability Analysis and Management for IT Infrastructure: A Computational Design Science Approach

      Chen, Hsinchun; Ullman, Steven; Nunamaker, Jay F., Jr.; Brown, Susan A. (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Modern Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and open-source software (OSS) have revolutionized our ability to access and process data, enabling us to tackle increasingly complex problems and challenges. While these technologies provide substantial benefits, they often expose users to vulnerabilities that can severely damage individuals and organizations. To combat these risks, cybersecurity teams routinely conduct vulnerability scans and assessments to identify, assess, prioritize, remediate, and mitigate vulnerabilities afflicting their IT assets. However, cybersecurity analysts are often inundated by the sheer volume of vulnerability data stemming from thousands of vulnerabilities across an expansive array of IT assets. Moreover, emerging vulnerabilities are publicly disclosed at an unprecedented rate, scaling to tens of thousands of vulnerabilities discovered annually. The diverse types of IT assets and massive scale of vulnerabilities create a complex vulnerability landscape that necessitates an automated approach.This dissertation comprises three essays that adopt the computational design science paradigm to create novel deep learning-based IT artifacts that enhance vulnerability analysis and management in IT infrastructure. Essay I develops a novel attention-based multi-view autoencoder to automatically identify and prioritize vulnerable IT assets in IT infrastructure. Essay II leverages neural information retrieval and contrastive self-supervised learning to develop a novel transformer that links vulnerability scans with disclosed vulnerabilities containing remediation strategies. Essay III utilizes graph contrastive learning and graph transformers to secure software deployments in IT infrastructure by replacing vulnerable software with secure alternatives. Each essay offers valuable practical implications for cybersecurity analysts, IT auditors, and application security engineers. Collectively, this dissertation contributes numerous design principles to the Information Systems (IS) knowledge base to facilitate future research.
    • Implications of Transforming Growth Factor Beta Activating Kinase I (TAK1) Induced Phosphorylation on Organelle Remodeling in Human Pathologies

      Lee, Nam; Cruz Flores, Paola; Langlais, Paul; Charest, Pascale; Cordes, Matthew (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Transforming growth factor β, (TGF-β) signaling is a broadly studied field and affects every aspect of mammalian physiology starting from embryogenesis to adult homeostasis. Most TGF-β effector are believed to be transcriptional in nature, however, their direct effects on cellular functions remain to be understood. This dissertation reports my work on the identification of novel partners for TAK1, the TGF-β activating kinase I, exploring the mechanistic implications of TAK1’s targeted phosphorylation on organelle remodeling, with possible implications in cancer and metabolic diseases. In summary, this work reports that TAK1, a kinase responsive to numerous growth factors and cytokines including TGF-β and TNF-α, triggers ER tubulation by activating αTAT1, a MT-acetylating enzyme that enhances ER-sliding. We show that this TAK1/αTAT1-dependent ER remodeling promotes cell survival by actively downregulating BOK, an ER membrane-associated proapoptotic effector. While BOK is normally protected from degradation when complexed with IP3R, it is rapidly degraded upon their dissociation during the ER sheets-to-tubules conversion. These findings demonstrate a distinct mechanism of ligand-induced ER remodeling and suggest that the TAK1/αTAT1 pathway may be a key target in ER stress and dysfunction. Additionally, my work reports TAK1 as a direct regulator of mitochondrial fusion, as its activation induces rapid fragmentation through Mfn2 (Mitofusion 2) inactivation. TAK1 phosphorylates Mfn2 at Ser249, which inhibits the binding of GTP required for Mfn trans-dimerization and mitochondrial membrane fusion. Accordingly, expression of Mfn2-S249 phosphomimetics (Mfn2-E/D) constitutively promote fission whereas alanine mutant (Mfn2-A) yields hyperfused mitochondria and increased bioenergetics in cells. In mice, Mfn2-E knock-in yields embryonic lethality in homozygotes whereas heterozygotes are viable but exhibit increased visceral fat accumulation despite normal body weight and cognitive/motor functions compared to wildtype and Mfn2-A mice. Mature white adipocytes isolated from mutant mice reveal cell-autonomous TAK1-related effects on mitochondrial remodeling and lipid metabolism. These results identify Mfn2-S249 as a dynamic phosphoregulatory switch of mitochondrial fusion during development and energy homeostasis.
    • Perioperative Education on the Utilization of Dexmedetomidine for Surgical Patients

      Torabi, Sarah; Mena, Raiza Stephanie; McMahon, Kelly; Hoch, Kristie (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Purpose. This quality improvement (QI) project aimed to enhance anesthesia practitioners’knowledge of the application of dexmedetomidine (DEX), focusing on maximizing patient care during general anesthesia or procedural sedation. Background. The analgesic, sedative, and anxiolytic qualities of DEX, a selective alpha-2 adrenergic agonist, provide exceptional benefits in postoperative treatment without causing significant respiratory depression. However, anesthesia providers should have in-depth expertise to optimize its utilization. Method. This QI project employed a quantitative approach, with the primary educational intervention being a live PowerPoint presentation. The presentation examined the doses, administration routes, onset times, and mechanism of action of DEX. Pre- and post-education surveys assessed participants’ knowledge and present DEX usage. The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle guides the project’s iterative implementation and changes. Results. A recruitment email was sent to 24 anesthesia providers at the facility. There were 14 anesthesia providers (58% recruited) who attended the presentation and a total number of 11 participants (78.5% response rate) who completed the survey. Most participants, 81.3% (n=9), were Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). Following an educational intervention, 91% (n = 10) of the participants demonstrated improved knowledge and willingness to implement protocols related to DEX. The project findings shed light on education’s impact on practice and DEX attitudes among anesthesia providers. Conclusion. The project findings indicate that targeted educational interventions can significantly improve anesthesia providers’ knowledge and willingness to implement protocols 11 related to DEX use in surgical patients. The results indicate that continuous education and training programs are essential for enhancing the practice of anesthesia providers.
    • Evidenced-Based Education on Safe Medication Administration in the Residential Treatment Setting

      Young, Janay R.; Yazzie, Kimberly; Kahn-John, Michelle; Edmund, Sara J. (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Purpose. This quality improvement (QI) project aimed to address the education of unlicensed assistive personnel at recovery housing facilities in proper medication administration practices in Phoenix, Arizona. This project aimed to develop and distribute an educational intervention through an asynchronous PowerPoint presentation that could effectively educate unlicensed personnel, reduce medication errors, and enhance motivation. Background. Medication errors are prevalent issues in healthcare, particularly when non-licensed individuals are administering medication. Studies indicate that utilizing unlicensed assistive personnel for medication distribution resulted in an estimated 20% occurrence of medication errors (Woods et al., 2010). Preliminary research suggests a need for interventions to improve education to reduce medical errors in non-medical, community-based settings. Methods. Participants were recruited through convenience sampling. The educational intervention consisted of an online-accessible pre-recorded PowerPoint presentation with a pre-and post-survey. Two types of survey questions were used: a Likert scale to measure attitude and motivation and multiple-choice questions to measure knowledge. Statistical analysis was performed using paired t-tests to determine the significance of the results before and after the intervention. Results. Five participants (N=5) completed the pre-survey, educational presentation, and post-survey. Outcomes indicated no statistically significant difference in knowledge, attitude, and motivation post-intervention. It was noted a small increase in confidence levels. Conclusions. The outcomes of this QI project did not demonstrate statistical significance, indicating a lack of measurable effects on the targeted outcomes. A potential factor could be the small sample size, comprising only five participants, which could limit the project's statistical power to detect meaningful changes. Thus, caution is advised in interpreting the absence of statistical significance, acknowledging the limitations imposed by the sample size.
    • Into Space Film-Book: Public Memory in New Mexico’s Central Mining District

      Shivers-NcNair, Ann; Lycke Donate, Kelli; Bricca, Jacob; Mapes, Aimee; Ramirez, Cristina D. (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Today, Santa Rita, New Mexico, may be described as a one-mile wide, 300,000 feet deep hole in the ground, but it once thrived as a town. In 1960, Kennecott Copper Corporation, the mining company who owned the land surrounding the town, issued a removal notice for the entire population: “all houses must be cleared.” The town is now completely gone, swallowed by the expanding mine. Into Space Film-book: Public Memory in New Mexico’s Central Mining District is a digital project. While this dissertation is written as a traditional manuscript, the entire project can be found at the website The website hosts a series of short documentary films that combine reenactments and archival materials with oral history interviews. Using a feminist theoretical framework, the project is collaborative in nature, featuring reenactments from local volunteer actors and highlighting the firsthand accounts of people who lived in Santa Rita. As a memory studies project, Into Space: film-book illuminates complex social dynamics around memory and belonging. Findings from this study suggest collective memory manifests as participatory, pluralistic and collective rhetorical acts. For this reason, I argue multimodality and hybrid texts are perhaps the best method for documenting embodied, material, ceremonial and land-based memory practices.
    • Almost Unimaginable: An Application of Imaginative Design Informed by Crip Time, Intersectionality, ANT, and Other Theories at the Intersection of Disability Studies and Rhetoric and Composition

      Ramirez, Cristina D.; Bose, Dev K.; Hoggatt-Abader, Kristen; Mapes, Aimee C.; Rodrigo, Rochelle; Seglin, Jeffrey L. (The University of Arizona., 2024)
      Almost Unimaginable is a story about friendship and interdependence that exemplifies a new theory, Imaginative Design, which builds off the theories of Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning by using a mixed media approach. In addition, it is informed by and exemplifies theories at the intersection of rhetoric and composition and disability studies. The dissertation is foregrounded by a theoretical chapter that introduces and traces the literature surrounding theories and themes from these disciplines, such as critical race theory, intersectionality theory, actor network theory, crip time, disabled person abuse, and disability and sex. Immediately following the theoretical chapter is the novel, Almost Unimaginable, which is a story that follows Kay, a middle aged woman who was in an accident 20 years prior that resulted in the deaths of her friends and a traumatic brain injury. The heart of the story lies in her friendship with Ben, a quadriplegic with muscular dystrophy and a top engineer with Raytheon. Together they eat out, smoke pot, drive backwards through drive-thrus, and engage in the antics of close friendship. In this mixed-media novel, using third person narrative, memoir excerpts, journal entries and newspaper columns, the reader witnesses Kay’s journey through joy and abuse, wonder and loneliness, life and death, and even psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. The reader witnesses her life, which is almost unimaginable.