• Formative Assessment: Documenting Motor Vehicle Crashes and Local Perceptions with the Hualapai Tribe to Inform Injury Prevention Recommendations

      Mahal, Zeenat (The University of Arizona., 2020)
      Background: This research was designed to understand factors influencing Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVCs) on or near the Hualapai Tribe’s reservation in northwestern Arizona. The goal is to enable the Tribe to develop and implement a locally relevant MVC intervention program. The specific aims were to: i) compile and analyze 2010-2016 MVC data from Hualapai and federal sources to assess distributions of frequency, rates, high risk-locales, causes, days, times, age and sex of the drivers, in addition to assessing related conditions; ii) document local perceptions of environmental, social, and behavioral barriers to safe driving practices, and knowledge of MVC risk factors and existing tribal laws; and iii) provide evidence-based recommendations using the results from quantitative and qualitative data analyses. Approach/Methods: The research process applied a Community-Based Participatory Research approach and mixed methods using: a) secondary data analyses of records from six tribal programs and Indian Health Service (IHS), and b) qualitative analyses of data from two focus groups and field documents. Sensitivity analyses were conducted of IHS and Tribal Driving Under the Influence (DUI) data, using the 2010 U.S. Census as the denominator after adjusting for an undercount of up to 25%. Descriptive statistics, Fisher’s Exact Test, and linear and logistic regressions were used to examine significance. MVCs per 10 miles per year were estimated for State Route 66 and Diamond Bar Road/Grand Canyon West on or near the reservation due to higher numbers of crashes. Statistical process control charts, especially g-charts monitoring time between events, were plotted to examine the stability in the number of MVCs over time for each road. NVivo11Pro© was used to code and analyze the focus group data, guided by both inductive and deductive theories. Results: Driver’s seatbelt use in the Hualapai community increased from 2010 to 2012 (p < .0005), and reported DUIs decreased from 2010 to 2016 (p = .027). Similarly, car/booster seat use improved from 2014 to 2015 (p < .0005). Two hundred and fifty (N = 250) MVC-related injuries were registered at IHS facilities for Hualapai community members between 2006 and 2015. The highest rate, 22.4%, was observed in 15- to 24-year-olds, followed by 21.6% in 55- to 64-year-olds. For several combinations of numerators and denominators, sensitivity analysis of the IHS data shows a clear disparity between the Tribe’s MVC rate compared to the 2008 U.S. rate of 771.4 nonfatal injuries per 100,000 persons and the national goal for Healthy People 2020 (694.3 nonfatal injuries/100,000 persons). The major themes emerged from qualitative analyses of the focus groups were: i) unsafe traffic infrastructures, ii) DUI, iii) repeated DUI offenders driving on the reservation, and iv) a perception of lenient tribal traffic laws and enforcement on the reservation. Using study results, five Public Service Announcements were co-developed to inspire community-members to continue the trends noted from 2010-2016 and be aware of continued risks. Conclusions: MVCs are a multidimensional issue needing communitywide awareness of the range of risk factors. An intervention that addresses human and structural risks requires an alliance of tribal programs and external partners (e.g., IHS, university, federal, and state). Recommendations: Local recommendations include providing school- and institution-based education about alcohol/alcoholism and DUI consequences, and ongoing culturally and locally relevant communitywide education through the local newsletter and radio station.
    • The Estimation of Selected Physicochemical Properties of Organic Compounds

      Al-Antary, Doaa Tawfiq (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Thermodynamic relationships are used to predict several physicochemical properties of organic compounds. As described in chapter one, the UPPER model (Unified Physicochemical Property Estimation Relationships) has been used to predict nine essential physicochemical properties of pure compounds. It was developed almost 25 years ago and has been validated by the Yalkowsky group for almost 2000 aliphatic, aromatic, and polyhalogenated hydrocarbons. UPPER is based on a group of additive and nonadditive descriptors along with a series of well-accepted thermodynamic relationships. In this model, the two-dimensional chemical structure is the only input needed. Chapter (1) extends the applicability of UPPER to hydrogen bonding and non-hydrogen bonding aromatic compounds with several functional groups such as alcohol, aldehyde, ketone, carboxylic acid, carbonate, carbamate, amine, amide, nitrile as well as aceto, and nitro compounds. The total data set includes almost 3000 compounds. Aside from the enthalpies and entropies of melting and boiling, no training set is used for the calculation of the properties. The results show that UPPER enables a reasonable estimation of all the considered properties. Chapter (2) uses modification of the van't Hoff equation to predict the solubility of organic compounds in dry octanol as explained in chapter two. The equation represents a linear relationship between the logarithm of the solubility of a solute in octanol to its melting temperature. More than 620 experimentally measured octanol solubilities, collected from the literature, are used to validate the equation without using any regression or fitting. The average absolute error of the prediction is 0.66 log units. Chapter (3) compares the use of a statistic based model for the prediction of aqueous solubility to the existing general solubility equation (GSE).
    • Cattle in the Garden: An Environmental and Archaeological History of Ranching at Rancho Refugio - Wilder Ranch

      Curry, Benjamin Asher Flammang (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      This dissertation addresses the ecological changes that occurred in 19th century California due to Spanish Colonial and Mexican Period cattle ranching. Grasslands in particular are often depicted as having been rapidly invaded by exotic Old World grasses. In addition, cattle ranching and ecological change are thought to be a factor in the decision making of Native Californians to enter the Spanish missions. Wilder Ranch California State Park, formerly known as Rancho Refugio, is used as a case study to explore these issues. Originally established as a rancho of Mission Santa Cruz, Wilder Ranch remained an operating ranch until the 1970s, and thus provides an excellent venue to explore the long- term effects of cattle ranching. To analyze the rate and intensity of grassland change at Wilder Ranch, a combination of zooarchaeological analysis, archaeobotanical analysis, historical records, and agent based modeling is used. These lines of evidence together indicate that grasslands were altered by exotic grasses, but not at the rate and intensity that is often suggested. In addition, analysis of baptismal records from nearby Mission Santa Cruz indicate that most local Native Californians had joined the mission before cattle herds had grown much in size, and before extensive ecological change is expected to have occurred. Instead, a combination of drought and social network collapse seem more influential in the decision of local Native Californians to join the mission.
    • Sustainable, Robust, and Resilient Water Resources Planning and Management

      Hwang, Hwee (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Sustainable, robust, and resilient water resources planning and management (WRPM) has emerged as a major concern, not only for decision makers and water utilities but also for academic researchers. A water resources system is very complex since its enormous number and diverse components are connected and interrelated. To establish effective management and planning for the water resources system, decision makers and planners can disaggregate large water resources systems into multiple scales based on geographical boundaries and the management and planning goals. Arizona’s water resources system can be divided into basin, state, planning area, and local planning area scales. Each scale requires a different approach and models depending on the WRPM goals. This dissertation takes a comprehensive view of sustainable, robust, and resilient WRPM for multi-scale Arizona water resources systems (state, planning area, and local planning area scales). This dissertation is composed of three studies with four journal articles that address sustainable, robust, and resilient WRPM. First, for the state and planning area scale, a large food-energy-water system model is developed for Arizona using a system dynamic modeling approach. Using the model, effectiveness of potential alternatives including graywater reuse, rainwater harvesting, demand reduction, and groundwater importation that promise sustainable water use are evaluated. Second, at the regional planning area scale, impacts of various strategies on the robustness and resilience of regional water supply system (RWSS) during major component failure for a region in southwest Tucson, AZ are assessed. The strategies include (1) restricting water demand, (2) constructing pipelines as alternative water supply pathways, (3) building water tanks as backup water storages, and (4) maintaining the Central wellfield as a backup source. Finally, the impact of network topology within water distribution system (WDS)/water distribution network (WDN) on (1) the accuracy of the first-order second-moment (FOSM) approximation when it is employed as a nodal pressure head uncertainty estimation method and (2) WDN robustness and resiliency. To that end, a quantitative WDS classification scheme that classify a WDS based on its function and network topology are developed. Using the classification scheme, network topology within WDS is identified and used for the analyses.
    • A Re-Os Geochronology and Multi Stable Isotope (C, N, S, Sr, Pb) Systematics of Source Rocks and Crude Oils from the Sonda de Campeche Petroleum System, Mexico

      Salgado Souto, Sergio Adrian (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      In this work, I present a multi-isotopic study (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, strontium and lead) and Re-Os geochronology in rocks and crude oils of the Sonda de Campeche Petroleum System (SCPS). Since crude oils are complicated chemical systems easily disturbed, the Re-Os isotopic system could be affected if secondary processes perturb crude oils. Therefore, the multi stable isotopic study allows the identification of the presence and grade of these secondary processes in crude oils. The δ13C values of crude oils from the SCPS distinguish between: 1) crude oils with the fingerprint of source rocks of hydrocarbons (-28.3 to -26.7 ‰), and 2) crude oils with the fingerprint of the reservoir rocks (-25.5 to -24.9 ‰). Similarly, the δ15N values reveal that crude oils, during migration or trapping processes mimic the isotopic composition of the reservoir rocks of the Ek-Balam Formation. Furthermore, the δ34S values of crude oils from the SCPS (-8.0 to -2.5 ‰) show an absence of a thermal sulfate reduction (TSR) signature, which likely means that the use of Re-Os systematics in crude oils and rocks in the SCPS is appropriate. Strontium and lead measurements show crude oils have an isotopic composition different from rocks from the Edzna Formation but similar to rocks of the Akimpech and Ek-Balam formations, indicating that crude oils received Sr and Pb from the trapping rocks during migration or trapping processes, producing a isotopic mixing trend with rocks of these formations. Specifically, the lead isotope composition allows the identification of a source of lead never recorded before, the Guichicovi Complex. The isotopic data suggest that this Grenville Complex has been feeding with detrital material to the sedimentary rocks from Bacab, Ek-Balam and Akimpech formations in the SCPS, and in consequence contributing to the final isotopic composition of crude oils as well. Re-Os geochronology of rocks from the Edzna and Akimpech formations (152 ± 4 Ma; and 158.6 ± 5.5 Ma, respectively) provides precise ages of deposition that coincide with the ages proposed in previous studies based on the fossil record. Re-Os geochronology in crude oils yield ages with low uncertainty and moderate MSWD values, reflecting a rapid formation and migration process that occurred during evolution of the SCPS. The age of crude oils (28.3 ± 5.5 Ma) broadly agrees with petroleum generation models proposed by PEMEX.
    • Robust Intelligent Agents for Wireless Communications: Design and Development of Metacognitive Radio Engines

      Asadi, Hamed (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Improving the efficiency of spectrum access and utilization under the umbrella of cognitive radio (CR) is one of the most crucial research areas for nearly two decades. The results have been algorithms called cognitive radio engines which use machine learning (ML) to learn and adapt the communication's link based on the operating scenarios. While a number of algorithms for cognitive engine design have been identified, it is widely understood that significant room remains to grow the capabilities of the cognitive engines, and substantially better spectrum utilization and higher throughput can be achieved if cognitive engines are improved. This requires working through some difficult challenges and takes an innovative look at the problem. A tenet of the existing cognitive engine designs is that they are usually designed around one primary ML algorithm or framework. In this dissertation, we discover that it is entirely possible for an algorithm to perform better in one operating scenario (combination of channel conditions, available energy, and operational objectives such as max throughput, and max energy efficiency) while performing less effectively in other operating scenarios. This arises due to the unique behavior of an individual ML algorithm regardless of its operating conditions. Therefore, there is no individual algorithm or parameter sets that have superiority in performance over all other algorithms or parameter sets in all operating scenarios. Using the same algorithm at all times may present a performance that is acceptable, yet may not be the best possible performance under all operating scenarios we are faced with over time. Ideally, the system should be able to adapt its behavior by switching between various ML algorithms or adjusting the operating ML algorithm for the prevailing operating conditions and goal. In this dissertation, we introduce a novel architecture for cognitive radio engines, with the goal of better cognitive engines for improved link adaptation in order to enhance spectrum utilization. This architecture is capable of meta-reasoning and metacognition and the algorithms developed based on this architecture are called metacognitive engines (meta-CE). Meta-reasoning and metacognitive abilities provide for self-assessment, self-awareness, and inherent use and adaptation of multiple methods for link adaptation and utilization. In this work, we provide four different implementation instances of the proposed meta-CE architecture. First, a meta-CE which is equipped with a classification algorithm to find the most appropriate individual cognitive engine algorithm for each operating scenario. The meta-CE switches between the individual cognitive engine algorithms to decrease the training period of the learning algorithms and not only find the most optimal communication configuration in the fastest possible time but also provide the acceptable performance during its training period. Second, we provide different knowledge indicators for estimating the experience level of cognitive engine algorithms. We introduce a meta-CE equipped with these knowledge indicators extracted from metacognitive knowledge component. This meta-CE adjusts the exploration factors of learning algorithms to gain higher performance and decrease training time. The third implementation of meta-CE is based on the robust training algorithm (RoTA) which switches and adjusts the individual cognitive engine algorithms to guarantee a minimum performance level during the training phase. This meta-CE is also equipped with forgetting factor to deal with non-stationary channel scenarios. The last implementation of meta-CE enables the individual cognitive engine algorithms to handle delayed feedback scenarios. We analyze the impact of delayed feedback on cognitive radio engines' performances in two cases of constant and varying delay. Then we propose two meta-CEs to address the delayed feedback problem in cognitive engine algorithms. Our experimental results show that the meta-CE approach, when utilized for a CRS engine performed about 20 percent better (total throughput) than the second best performing algorithm, because of its ability to learn about its own learning and adaptation. In effect, the meta-CE is able to deliver about 70% more data than the CE with the fixed exploration rate in the 1000 decision steps. Moreover, the knowledge indicator (KI) autocorrelation plots show that the proposed KIs can predict the performance of the CEs as early as 100 time steps in advance. In non-stationary environments, the proposed RoTA based meta-CE guarantees the minimum required performance of a CRS while it’s searching for the optimal communication configurations. The RoTA based meta-CE delivers at least about 45% more data than the other algorithms in non-stationary scenarios when the channel conditions are often fluctuating. Furthermore, in delayed feedback scenarios, our results show that the proposed meta-CE algorithms are able to mitigate the adverse impact of delay in low latency scenarios and relieve the effects in high latency situations. The proposed algorithms show a minimum of 15% improvement in their performance compared to the other available delayed feedback strategies in literature. We also empirically tested the algorithms introduced in this dissertation and verified the results therein by designing an over the air (OTA) radio setup. For our experiments, we used GNU Radio and LiquidDSP as free software development toolkits that provide signal processing blocks to implement software-defined radios and signal-processing systems such as modulation, pulse-shaping, frame detection, equalization, and others. We also used two USRP N200 with WBX daughterboards, one as a transmitter and the other as a receiver. In these experiments, we monitored the packet success rate (PSR), throughput, and total data transferred as our key performance indicators (KPI). Then, we tested different proposed meta-CE algorithms in this dissertation to verify the productivity of the proposed algorithms in an OTA real-time radio setup. We showed that the experiments’ outputs support our simulations results as well.
    • Quasi-Optical Spherical Balloon Telescopes

      O'Dougherty, Stefan (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Astronomy constantly pushes the limits of technology in order to decipher the workings of the Universe. There is a constant need for higher resolution observations across a wide range of wavelengths, at preferably a minimal cost. The terahertz regime (lambda=100 um to lambda=1000 um) covers a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that is blocked by Earth's atmosphere, which limits observations to high altitude plane and balloon telescopes and space telescopes. These current options limit the resolution achievable due to the size of telescopes that can be launched. This dissertation investigates a new approach, the Large Balloon Reflector (LBR), where a 20 meter diameter spherical balloon can be inflated and used as a 10 meter telescope inside a larger carrier balloon. Detailed in this dissertation are design considerations for the terahertz regime and a series of scaled versions of this balloon concept where I work to develop on-axis spherical corrector designs. Chapters 1 through 6 focus on the LBR designs and their variants, including investigations for a 3 meter rooftop proof of concept model, a 5 meter test flight model, and the final 20 meter LBR. The successful modeling and proof of concepts from the LBR studies then prompted an investigation into a Terahertz Space Telescope (TST), a proposed 20 meter inflatable telescope adapted from the LBR technology. Starting with Chapter7, this dissertation explores the application of using 1 meter diameter inflatable balloons as rapidly deployable communications satellites from standard CubeSats. The concept, design and test results of an electronically steerable line feed antenna array are presented which allows for instantaneous, non mechanical pointing of a 10 GHz signal within a 500 km ground footprint. Alternative uses of the 1 meter inflatable balloon CubeSat are also discussed, such as low cost astronomical galactic plane surveys.
    • Geocomputational Approaches to Improve Problem Solution in Spatial Optimization: A Case Study of the p-Median Problem

      Mu, Wangshu (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      The p-Median problem (PMP) is one of the most widely applied location problems in urban and regional planning to support spatial decision-making. As an NP-hard problem, the PMP remains challenging to solve optimally, especially for large-sized problems. This research focuses on developing geocomputational approaches to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of solving the PMP. This research also examines existing PMP methods applied to choropleth mapping and proposes a new approach to address issues associated with uncertainty. Chapter 2 introduces a new algorithm that solves the PMP more effectively. In this chapter, a method called the spatial-knowledge enhanced Teitz and Bart heuristic (STB) is proposed to improve the classic Teitz and Bart (TB) heuristic.. The STB heuristic prioritizes candidate facility sites to be examined in the solution set based on the spatial distribution of demand and candidate facility sites. Tests based on a range of PMPs demonstrate the effectiveness of the STB heuristic. Chapter 3 provides a high performance computing (HPC) based heuristic, Random Sampling and Spatial Voting (RSSV), to solve large PMPs. Instead of solving a large-sized PMP directly, RSSV solves multiple sub-PMPs with each sub-PMP containing a subset of facility and demand sites. Combining all the sub-PMP solutions, a spatial voting strategy is introduced to select candidate facility sites to construct a PMP for obtaining the final problem solution. The RSSV algorithm is well-suited to the parallel structure of the HPC platform. Tests with the BIRCH dataset show that RSSV provides high-quality solutions and reduces computing time significantly. Tests also demonstrate the dynamic scalability of the algorithm; it can start with a small amount of computing resources and scale up or down when the availability of computing resources changes. Chapter 4 provides a new classification scheme to draw choropleth maps when data contain uncertainty. Considering that units in the same class on a choropleth map are assigned the same color or pattern, the new approach assumes the existence of a representative value for each class. A maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) based approach is developed to determine class breaks so that the overall within-class deviation is minimized while considering uncertainty. Different methods, including mixed integer programming, dynamic programming, and an interchange heuristic, are developed to solve the new classification problem. The proposed mapping approach is then applied to map two American Community Survey datasets. The effectiveness of the new approach is demonstrated, and the linkage of the approach with the PMP method and the Jenks Natural Breaks is discussed.
    • Inhalational Delivery of a JAK3 Inhibitor for the Novel Treatment of Asthma and the Investigation of Pharmaceutical Salts in HFA Propellant Systems

      Younis, Usir (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Asthma is a significant lung disease involving chronic inflammation and remodeling of the airways, resulting in reduced quality of life for those who suffer from the condition. Current therapeutic guidelines suggest the use of inhaled corticosteroids for long-term anti-inflammatory relief to manage moderate to severe chronic asthma; however, inhaled corticosteroids fail to provide prophylactic or reversal treatment of damaged airways incurred by chronic asthma as well as exhibiting adverse side effects (skeletal complications, diabetes, and weight gain).Therefore, there is a need for a new type of drug therapy to address these gaps in the treatment of chronic asthma. There is growing interest aimed towards the inhibition of the Janus Kinase and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (JAK-STAT) pathway for the treatment of asthma. Despite the promising opportunity to investigate this new pathway towards this clinical application, no published work is available using an established and characterized JAK 1/3 inhibitor for the treatment of chronic asthma delivered via inhalation. This work investigated tofacitinib citrate, a selective JAK 3 inhibitor, and its potential to be delivered locally to the lungs for the treatment of chronic asthma. Several preformulation studies were conducted to determine the basic physical and chemical properties of the compound and its free base, tofacitinib, for proper inhalational formulation development. The drug was delivered to BALB/c mice challenged with house dust mite (HDM) allergen via nebulization utilizing a nose-only chamber. After a three week dosing schedule, mice treated with tofacitinib citrate exhibited an increase in monocyte cell numbers with a simultaneous decrease in eosinophil cell count, gathered from BAL fluid. Further, the experimental groups treated with tofacitinib citrate had a decrease in total protein concentrations in comparison to the experimental groups that were only challenged with HDM or were both exposed to HDM and vehicle. These findings demonstrated that the proper formulation was developed for nebulized delivery of tofacitinib citrate, and that the compound was capable of reducing total protein concentrations and eosinophil cell recruitment, both recognized as biomarkers for an asthmatic response. Although significant work is still needed to be done, these data hold promise for the potential of a locally delivered JAK 3 inhibitor as a treatment for chronic asthma. Further, the solubility of tofacitinib citrate and five other pharmaceutical salts were determined in HFA 134a, HFA 227, and DFP with varying cosolvent content (0-20% v/v ethanol). The experimental solubilities of the free acid and base compounds were larger than the solubilities of their respective salts in all three systems for tofacitinib, albuterol, and salicylic acid. Warfarin, phenytoin, and ciprofloxacin had similar solubilities with their respective salt forms. Solubilities also increased with increasing cosolvent concentration for all compounds investigated. The model propellant, DFP, provided a slightly stronger correlation of solubility values with HFA 134a in comparison to HFA 227. The observed solubility values were also compared to calculated values obtained from the ideal solubility model, where it was determined that the observed solubility was indeed also dependent on its surrounding solvent interactions and not solely on its ideal solubility (melting point). While some physical changes were observed for the pharmaceutical salts in HFA 134a and 227, more quantitative studies are needed for a larger database of compounds to better understand the factors that contribute to the solubility of pharmaceutical salts (and their correlation to DFP), in HFA-based systems. This information could potentially contribute to a predictive model, saving time and money during the process of pMDI formulation development.
    • Design and Synthesis of Triazabutadiene-based Fluorogenic Probes for Tyrosine Specific Labeling of Proteins

      Shadmehr, Mehrdad (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Chemical labeling is an important tool for understanding protein structure and function. Biological research often requires the use of molecular labels that are covalently attached to facilitate detection or purification of the labeled protein and its binding partners. Although the number of probes have been developed for labeling of specific residues of proteins is substantial, there is still a need for new reagents with better reactivity, and selectivity. Moreover, these chemical probes should be able to label the protein of interest under mild biologically relevant conditions. Aryl diazonium salts have been utilized for selective modification of tyrosine residues. However, most diazonium compounds need to be generated in situ under strongly acidic conditions due to their instability1. Our group has previously shown that triazabutadienes can be used as precursors that can generate diazonium under mild acidification2 or photo-irradiation3. Current reported systems for bioconjugation of tyrosine require an additional step for fluorescent labeling4. To address this issue and reduce background fluorescence that is associated with fluorescent labeling, coumarin triazabutadiene-based fluorogenic probes were synthesized and tested for tyrosine specific labeling of proteins under mild acidic condition or photo-irradiation. Furthermore, a coumarin triazabutadiene-based cross-linker was synthesized with an azide functionality that can be used to attached the coumarin triazabutadiene warhead onto the surface of a protein. Upon the activation of the triazabutadiene group, by light or lowering the pH, this system can generate a coumarin diazonium salt on the surface of the protein. Such a system can find application in the study of protein-protein interactions and virus-protein interactions. A cyclooctyne triazabutadiene was synthesized to attach a cyclooctyne group on the tyrosine residues of proteins in biologically relevant pH, and 3-azido 7-hydroxy coumarin was made as a fluorogenic partner of the cyclooctyne triazabutadiene. It was demonstrated that this system can label tyrosine residue followed by a copper-free click reaction with the azido coumarin fluorophore. This system has been tested on model proteins and can be consider as one the first fluorogenic triazabutadiene systems that can be utilized for labeling of tyrosine under mild conditions. In conclusion, this dissertation demonstrates progress in developing fluorescent and fluorogenic triazabutadienes systems for labeling of tyrosine residues of proteins as well as fluorophore triazabutadiene cross-linker that can be used for studying protein-protein interaction, and virus-protein interactions. These systems offer a convenient tool to those wishing to study proteins, protein-protein interactions, and virus-protein interactions.
    • Evaluation of a Medically Supervised, Multidisciplinary Obesity Management Program on Community Hospital Staff

      Celaya, Melisa P. (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Obesity is presently one of the leading preventable causes of mortality and is an increasing issue that affects the workplace. This pilot study investigates the effects of a multidisciplinary obesity management program on employees within a community hospital setting. The purpose of this study is to assess the outcome factors of the intervention and to detect an association between the participants’ biological factors, psychological status, eating behaviors, and lifestyle components to that of their current body weight status. Methods. An evaluation of a tailored obesity management program was conducted in a corporate setting with employees of a large community hospital. The evaluation sought to determine if this program could be efficiently and effectively implemented in this corporate setting. This program also allowed an exploration of those sociological, biological, and behavioral factors that were associated with weight loss. An employee health outcomes assessment visit was used to identify, recruit and enroll overweight employees into a quasi-experimental study designed to evaluate potential impacts of a tailored weight management program. The 6-month intervention included medical assessments, nutritional coaching, activity counseling, and behavioral therapy. The following specific aims were proposed for this dissertation research: Specific Aim 1 sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the multidisciplinary weight loss program to change a series of modifiable health risk factors, body composition, clinical indicators, and biological markers from baseline to 6 months for overweight participants. Specific Aim 2 evaluated factors associated with achieving weight loss and patterns of attrition from the program. Weight and lifestyle factors included onset of obesity, family history, weight loss history, weight loss goals, self-perceptions, physical activity factors, and eating habits/patterns. Within Specific Aim 3, we determined if body composition measurements [body mass index (BMI), weight, basal metabolic rate, fat mass, percent fat, fat free mass, and total body water] correlated with standing or supine measurements of waist, hip, or thigh circumferences. We also investigated if there was a significant difference between recording measurements made in both positions. This aim sought to determine if both sets of position measurements needed to be included for subsequent weight management studies. Results. Forty-six (46) employees, with a mean age of 48.6 +/- 10.9 years and predominately female (91.3%), consented to participate in the pilot intervention, with 26 participants completing the 6 months (response = 50.9%). Statistically significant changes from baseline were seen at 6 months in the 44 participants that continued in the study after enrollment. In the intent to treat analysis, the participants, regardless of completion status, had a clinically significant (p<.0001) mean percent weight loss of 4.1% and a total weight loss of 9.3 pounds, with a corresponding 5.6% mean weight loss in those participants that completed the program. When analyzing predictors of attrition from the program, models indicated significant associations between overall program attrition and an increase in baseline systolic blood pressure (p=0.02), along with decreased compliance with eating three meals per day (p=0.04). Primary attrition (dropout < 3 months) was statistically associated with an increase in baseline systolic blood pressure (p=0.02) and decreased compliance with eating three meals per day (p=0.01). Secondary attrition (dropout between 3-6 months) was associated with decreased compliance with eating three meals per day (p=0.05) and an increase in weight loss expectations during the intervention (p=0.05). The mean absolute difference between the two techniques (standing vs. supine) was 4.14 inches for waist, hip, and thigh measurements combined. An increase in body mass index was associated with a greater magnitude of discrepancy in the measurement between the two techniques for waist circumference (p=0.02). Conclusions. The changes seen following this multidisciplinary intervention were clinically significant and advantageous for the participants. These substantial results suggest that the use of multidisciplinary weight management programs merits further investigation in larger, randomized, controlled trials.
    • The Evolution and Comparative Genomics of the Reproductive Manipulator Cardinium hertigii

      Stouthamer, Corinne Marie (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Many insects and other arthropods have symbiotic microorganisms that may influence key facets of their biology. Cardinium hertigii is an intracellular bacterial symbiont, (phylum Bacteroidetes) of arthropods and nematodes. This versatile symbiont has been shown to cause three of four reproductive manipulations of their arthropod hosts known to be caused by symbionts: parthenogenesis induction (PI), where genetic males are converted into genetic females; feminization, where genetic males become functional females; and cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), the symbiont-induced death of offspring from matings of infected males and uninfected females. Here, I explored the evolution of this symbiont and its reproductive manipulations, and found that closely related Cardinium strains have a tendency to associate with closely related hosts and the reproductive manipulations do not display a clear phylogenetic signal. To further understand the possible genes underlying these reproductive manipulations, I sequenced four Cardinium genomes and compared these with the two genomes analyzed in the literature. In these comparisons, I found that, although closely related Cardinium strains tend to reside in closely related hosts, there is no evidence for a suite of genes associated with host specificity, as few differences separate two strains residing in different host orders, suggesting that ecological opportunity for horizontal transmission may be more limiting to Cardinium than genomic capability. I additionally identify some genes that may be associated with the Cardinium’s ability to induce PI and CI in its wasp host. Overall, this dissertation has led to a better understanding of Cardinium and its effects on its hosts.
    • Factors That Contribute to Mental Health in Combat Injured Military Women

      Dye, Judy Lynn (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Background: As military women enter roles directly related to combat, they will have greater risk of injury. The present study examined the prevalence of mental health conditions among female service members one year postinjury, and analyzed factors which may place women at risk for mental health concerns and lower quality of life (QOL). Methods: A total of 1,012 U.S. servicewomen who sustained combat-related injury in Iraq and Afghanistan were identified from the Expeditionary Medical Encounter Database (EMED). Injury severity was calculated and QOL scores were collected from a subset of the women. Injury severity, military occupation, branch of service, age, rank, marital status, number of deployments, initial treatment facility, and environment of care were collected as predictor variables. The Military Health System Data Repository was queried for mental health International Classification of Diseases, 9th and 10th Revision codes occurring within one year postinjury. Results: Within the first year postinjury, 404 women (40%) were diagnosed with mental health conditions. The most common were posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), (n = 203, 20%), depressive disorders (n = 123, 12.1%), adjustment disorders (n = 92, 9.0%), and anxiety disorders (n = 81, 8.0%). Logistic regression identified that women with minor or moderate injuries had lower odds of mental health diagnoses. Occupation categories of combat support and communications predicted fewer mental health issues. Enlisted women had increased risk of mental health issues. Linear regression showed that officers had higher QOL compared with enlisted women 0.055 (95% CI, 0.005-0.183), p<.05. Women serving in the Air Force had higher QOL postinjury 0.119 (95% CI, .055-.183), p<.000. An independent samples t-test showed that women with mental health diagnoses postinjury (M = 0.46, SD = 0.12) had significantly lower QOL scores (range 0-1) compared to those without mental health diagnoses (M = 0.52, SD = 0.13), t(3.46), p <.05. Conclusions: These findings showed that PTSD, depression, adjustment disorder, and anxiety comprise the most prevalent mental health diagnoses in this population. QOL is significantly lower in injured women with mental health issues after injury. Further research is needed to discover strategies for maintaining optimum health in this population.
    • The Meckhart Confession: Moderate Religion in an Age of Militancy

      Hough, Adam Glen (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      This dissertation explores the formation and evolution of religious identities in the latter half of the sixteenth century, particularly as they developed in the bi-confessional imperial free city of Augsburg. Taking as its primary focus the city’s evangelical ministers, it argues that the agency of these local clerics—in both promoting and resisting the social, political, and cultural effects of confessionalization—has been underappreciated. By exploring manuscript city chronicles, interrogation transcripts, contemporary public histories, and, above all, these clerics’ own written works, this dissertation will shed light on the systemic “adversarialism” of early modern confessional identities and ideologies, as well as on those local clergy who recognized the inherent danger of allowing their society to by riven by two competing identities. The proponents of “moderation” referenced in the title of this work were those clerics who tried to keep their religion nominally ambiguous, eschewing polarizing confessional identities. In contrast, the “militants” were those who reduced complex theological and liturgical systems to the level of identity-politics. They took tragedies like war, famine, and plague, and redirected blame for these tribulations on rhetorically-constructed enemies of the faith. Principally, I have elected to focus this analysis on a family of preachers whose service to the city over three generations spans a period of nearly six decades (1528-1586)—the Meckharts. Insofar as my sources allow, I use these three men—Johann, Georg, and Johann Baptist—to provide a narrative anchor for my analysis of developments within the city respecting religious culture, community, and identity. Within this one family, we see clearly the push and pull of conflict and concord as both communities and individuals struggled to reconcile the Reformation with the emergence of confessions. In short, I argue that the real drama of confessionalization was not simply that which played out between princes and theologians, or even, for that matter, between religions; rather, it lay in the daily struggle of clerics in the proverbial trenches of their ministry, who were increasingly pressured to choose for themselves and for their congregations between doctrinal purity and civil peace.
    • Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Neurologically-Relevant Molecules

      Smith, Catherine L. (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      The analysis and quantitation of neurologically-relevant molecules requires detection methods that are sensitive, selective, and applicable to a wide range of molecules. Targeted analysis using tandem mass spectrometry allows for the detection of molecules from complex matrices with an added level of selectivity. Mass spectrometry is on the leading edge of technological advances and improvements in our understanding of the intricate workings of the brain, allowing us to develop better models and better therapeutic approaches. In this thesis, I use tandem mass spectrometry to investigate two classes of neurochemicals: classical neurotransmitters, and potential therapeutic drugs based on endogenous neuropeptides. Chapter 1 will introduce existing sampling techniques and detection schemes for small molecule neurotransmitters and small peptides. We will also introduce two key concepts: insect models for understanding human neurotransmission, and the role of the blood-brain barrier in developing CNS-active pharmaceuticals. In Chapter 2 we develop a method to quantify small molecule neurotransmitters in tissue homogenate for the purpose of understanding how the bulk content of an insect brain can change under differing circumstances. Our approach allows for the analysis of a wider range of compounds with improved throughput compared to existing methods. Chapter 3 expands this method for the quantitation of five biogenic amines in Apis mellifera, to investigate the effect of infection by the microsporidian Nosema ceranae. Chapter 4 explores the role of glycosylation on the stability and blood-brain barrier permeability of peptide-based drugs. Chapter 5 expands this work to a series of Angiotensin 1-7 derivatives, for a study of the effect of different structural modifications to peptide-based drugs, with the goal of driving drug development toward more effective pharmaceuticals. Chapter 6 concludes this work and outlines the future directions of the research.
    • Coupling Agent-Based Models with Bayesian Belief Networks in Social-Ecological Systems Modeling: The Role of Uncertainty in the Resilience of Semi-Arid Riparian Corridors in the Sonoran Desert

      Pope, Aloah (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Resiliency, or the ability of ecosystems to absorb change, is a particularly challenging goal for systems with a high interconnectivity of their social and ecological sub-systems, dubbed social-ecological systems. Exploring potential effects of policy decisions and/or changes in climate are difficult to study under traditional research methods; however, social-ecological system modeling approaches have overcome many of these difficulties. Uncertainty, particularly in regards to human decision-making, remains a challenge. I developed a series of models to test the use of Bayesian modeling techniques in addressing human-based sources of uncertainty. The models were developed in two semi-arid river basins in the Sonoran Desert to represent model social-ecological systems with three sub-systems: social – urban and agricultural water demand, hydrological – pumping groundwater from the aquifer, and ecological – changes in riparian vegetation communities. The rancher decision-model, developed in the Rio San Miguel basin, used cognitive mapping and Bayesian modeling to express key decisions as a series of probabilities under a variety of environmental conditions. The social-ecological system model of the Rio San Miguel basin, which utilized the rancher decision-model to incorporate real-world uncertainty of the human decision-making process, exposed trade-offs between scenarios that benefited riparian vegetation versus rancher well-being. The Upper San Pedro River Watershed social-ecological system model tested the effects of policy decision-making, specifically on population growth and water conservation, on the spatial distribution of riparian vegetation. The model predicted degradation of the riparian corridor under all population growth/water conservation scenarios, particularly for marsh vegetation and in a specific stretch of the river. Additionally, the model demonstrated how changing the likelihood of adopting new water conservation programs could alter the probability distribution of varying levels of deterioration in the riparian corridor. Since many of the social-ecological systems models are created to aid in decision-making for natural resource managers, we believe that the outputs from models that incorporate Bayesian techniques will have a more accurate representation of the range of possible outcomes of management decisions.
    • Electronic and Optical Properties of Twisted Bilayer Graphene

      Huang, Shengqiang (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      The ability to isolate single atomic layers of van der Waals materials has led to renewed interest in the electronic and optical properties of these materials as they can be fundamentally different at the monolayer limit. Moreover, these 2D crystals can be assembled together layer by layer, with controllable sequence and orientation, to form artificial materials that exhibit new features that are not found in monolayers nor bulk. Twisted bilayer graphene is one such prototype system formed by two monolayer graphene layers placed on top of each other with a twist angle between their lattices, whose electronic band structure depends on the twist angle. This thesis presents the efforts to explore the electronic and optical properties of twisted bilayer graphene by Raman spectroscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy measurements. We first synthesize twisted bilayer graphene with various twist angles via chemical vapor deposition. Using a combination of scanning tunneling microscopy and Raman spectroscopy, the twist angles are determined. The strength of the Raman G peak is sensitive to the electronic band structure of twisted bilayer graphene and therefore we use this peak to monitor changes upon doping. Our results demonstrate the ability to modify the electronic and optical properties of twisted bilayer graphene with doping. We also fabricate twisted bilayer graphene by controllable stacking of two graphene monolayers with a dry transfer technique. For twist angles smaller than one degree, many body interactions play an important role. It requires eight electrons per moire unit cell to fill up each band instead of four electrons in the case of a larger twist angle. For twist angles smaller than 0.4 degree, a network of domain walls separating AB and BA stacking regions forms, which are predicted to host topologically protected helical states. Using scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy, these states are confirmed to appear on the domain walls when inversion symmetry is broken with an external electric field. We observe a double-line profile of these states on the domain walls, only occurring when the AB and BA regions are gaped. These states give rise to channels that could transport charge in a dissipationless manner making twisted bilayer graphene a promising platform to realize controllable topological networks for future applications.
    • Assessment of School Nurse-Provider Communication of Changes in Student Condition

      Huffaker, Luke Gregor (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      The landscape of the United States public school system was greatly improved upon with the creation of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). This act established a standard that allowed all school aged children living with chronic illnesses to integrate into public school systems. This mandate currently impacts over 12 million children living with chronic illness including and not limited to asthma, seizure disorders, developmental delay, cystic fibrosis, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety and cancer. IDEA 2004 extended healthcare into public school systems and as a result, increased the average acuity of students that school nurses (SNs) care for. It is estimated that 15% of school-aged children miss 11 or more school days per year because of illness or injury demonstrating evidence of increased student acuity and a need to provide more appropriate care for these students in order to increase their time spent in the academic setting. Adequate SN and primary care provider (PCP) communication is essential to reduce absenteeism for this population and to ensure that students are safe during their time spent away from home and healthcare clinics. From this quality improvement project, more is understood pertaining to the communication patterns between SNs and PCPs and recommendations are provided in order to increase effective SN and PCP communication.
    • Transnational Partnerships and Dual Degrees: Entrepreneurial Strategies for Internationalization

      LaFleur, Dale (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      This study explored the motivations, desired outcomes, and strategies used when developing and implementing international joint/dual degree programs in the US. Twenty-three administrators involved with the development international joint/dual degree programs, primarily at public doctoral-granting institutions of higher education in the US, were interviewed to learn more about current practices. Findings indicated that the primary motivations for developing international joint/dual degree programs include: recruitment, extending an existing partnership, and that it was part of an institutional strategic plan. The desired outcomes include: growth in both student participation and number of programs. To achieve these desired outcomes seven strategies being utilized by the institutions represented in this study are presented. The lack of formal assessment of programs and student experiences was a chronic challenge relayed by participants. By integrating these findings, this study introduces the notion of transnational partnerships as part of a network that enhances the ability for individual institutions to share resources and expertise in order to pursue new opportunities globally. In this way the tension between the traditional educational mission of the institutions and new entrepreneurial interests can be balanced.
    • Ecology and Conservation of Endangered Territorial Species Under Invasion

      Derbridge, Jonathan (The University of Arizona., 2018)
      Biological invasions threaten biodiversity globally, and degraded ecosystems increase the potential for invaders to compete with threatened native populations. In natural systems, niche partitioning minimizes interspecific competition, but introduced species may alter expected outcomes by competing with ecologically similar species for scarce resources. Where food production is highly variable, coexistence of native and invasive competitors may depend on dietary niche flexibility. Territorial species under invasion face additional challenges to maintain economically defendable territories. From 2011-2016, we conducted removal and behavior experiments to determine effects of non-territorial introduced Abert’s squirrels (Sciurus aberti) on diet, space use, and territoriality of endangered Mount Graham red squirrels (MGRS; Tamiasciurus fremonti grahamensis) in their declining habitat in the Pinaleño Mountains, Arizona. We collected comparative data from Arizona sites of natural syntopy between Abert’s and Fremont’s squirrels (T. fremonti). Stable isotope analysis revealed similar dietary partitioning among populations. Experimental removals did not appear to affect MGRS diet. Space use by MGRS responded inconsistently to removals; territory sizes increased after the first removal, but did not change following the second removal. Territory sizes and body mass of MGRS were sensitive to conspecific population density and food production. Behavioral experiments showed MGRS were more aggressive than other Fremont’s squirrels (hereafter, red squirrels). Dietary flexibility of Abert’s squirrels may have facilitated coexistence with MGRS, possibly due to coevolved resource partitioning with red squirrels. However, aggressive territoriality toward Abert’s squirrels may incur fitness costs for MGRS especially during poor food production years. Climate change may reduce the advantage of ecological specialist species globally, and where introduced species are better-adapted to novel environmental conditions, native species may ultimately be replaced.