484 Works

PRODUCING POSSIBILITIES

Tammy Clemons
This dissertation, based on anthropological research between 2015 and 2020, focuses on young people in different yet interconnected social contexts in Central Appalachia and how they envision, construct, and act upon possibilities for themselves and the region through multimodal cultural production processes like visual art, performance, and multisensory media. The research question focusing this project was: How do the social contexts of young Appalachians’ engagement in media consumption and production practices shape the possibilities they...

Wisdom From the Collard Field

Robert Gorum
This dissertation surveys agrarian literature written by American writers since World War II. It compares the Southern Agrarians of Vanderbilt University and New Agrarians such as Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Gene Logsdon to examine their understanding of place and home. I begin my inquiry with a personal frame story of time I have spent in and around the sustainable agriculture movement. Drawing on various forms of literature, including memoirs, cookbooks, novels, reportage, and other...

Topics in Quantum Quench and Entanglement

Sinong Liu
The dissertation includes two parts. In Part I, we study non-equilibrium phenomena in various models associated with global quantum quench. It is known that local quantities, when subjected to global quantum quench across or approaching critical points, exhibit a variety of universal scaling behaviors at various quench rates. To investigate if similar scaling holds for non-local quantities, we consider the scaling behavior of circuit complexity under quantum quench across the critical massless point in Majorana...

Novel Machine Learning and Wearable Sensor Based Solutions for Smart Healthcare Monitoring

Rajdeep Kumar Nath
The advent of IoT has enabled the design of connected and integrated smart health monitoring systems. These health monitoring systems can be utilized for monitoring the mental and physical wellbeing of a person. Stress, anxiety, and hypertension are the major elements responsible for the plethora of physical and mental illnesses. In this context, the older population demands special attention because of the several age-related complications that exacerbate the effects of stress, anxiety, and hypertension. Monitoring...

PLASMON ENHANCED SINGLE MOLECULE FLUORESCENCE IN ZERO MODE WAVEGUIDES (ZMWS)

Abdullah Masud
Plasmonic nanostructures are an extensive research focus due to their ability to modify the photophysical properties of nearby fluorophores. Surface plasmons (SP), defined as the collective oscillation of delocalized electrons, are the fundamental characteristic primarily responsible for altering those photophysical properties. Studying fluorophores at the single-molecule level has received significant attention since more specific information can be extracted from single molecule-based studies, which otherwise could be obscured in ensemble studies. However, single-molecule studies are inherently...

\"IT'S ABOUT MORE THAN JUST ANIMALS\"

Dayton D. Starnes
This research explores the influences of diverse environmental politics in shaping zoo-adjacent conservation activities in the United States. Based upon 13 months of multi-sited ethnographic research, conducted with conservation actors across six states, the researcher investigates and documents how conservation professionals—operating in contexts adjacent to zoological institutions—experience and respond to the socio-environmental implications associated with the cascading effects of global environmental change. In the face of current challenges and uncertain environmental futures—shaped by habitat alterations,...

Solubility of Additive Forms over Local Fields

Drew Duncan
Michael Knapp, in a previous work, conjectured that every additive sextic form over $\mathbb{Q}_2(\sqrt{-1})$ and $\mathbb{Q}_2(\sqrt{-5})$ in seven variables has a nontrivial zero. In this dissertation, I show that this conjecture is true, establishing that $$\Gamma^*(6, \mathbb{Q}_2(\sqrt{-1})) = \Gamma^*(6, \mathbb{Q}_2(\sqrt{-5})) = 7.$$ I then determine the minimal number of variables $\Gamma^*(d, K)$ which guarantees a nontrivial solution for every additive form of degree $d=2m$, $m$ odd, $m \ge 3$ over the six ramified quadratic extensions...

TWO ESSAYS ON FOOD ENVIRONMENT, NUTRITION, AND FOOD INSECURITY

Suliman Almojel
A healthy food environment is fundamental to good health. It contributes to the reduction of obesity and the development of healthy eating habits. In spite of this, many people in the United States (US) have been hypnotized to become obese due to the current food environment. Recently, the US has consistently ranked high in the world in terms of obesity. The rising rate is symptomatic of consuming unhealthy diets. Besides, the double-edged crisis of the...

\"HOW SWEET THAT I AM THE ONE TO WHISPER THESE THINGS”

Laura Manning
The motivation for this study came from a need to construct student-centered pedagogical practices to enhance learning and teaching of the Latin language in K-12 schools in the USA. This study aimed to advance a conceptual understanding of how active Latin teaching and learning occurs and to investigate the potential benefits of applying historical pedagogical frameworks for active Latin teaching practiced during the Renaissance, when Latin was both a lingua franca and a dead language....

THE GESTATION OF HEALTH

Brittany Rice
Diabetes remains a leading cause of death nationwide despite pharmacological advances. Recent etiological investigations of the disease detail the role of perinatal exposure to environmental contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), in enhancing disease susceptibility. Polychlorinated biphenyl 126, a coplanar PCB, elicits its toxic effects through the aryl-hydrocarbon receptor and the disruption of endocrine signaling. The goal of this dissertation was to focus on delineating the differences in the developmental windows of diabetes susceptibility respective...

INCREASING SOCIAL INCLUSION FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN FAITH-BASED SETTINGS

Valerie Miller
The aim of this dissertation is to increase the body of research in occupational therapy about how to increase the social inclusion of children with disabilities in faith-based settings. Even since the advent of important legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act, which paved the way for community participation for individuals with disabilities, individuals with disabilities continue to face barriers to participating in society. Decreased inclusion for individuals with disabilities is seen throughout all sectors...

FACTORS IN THE SUCCESS OF FEMALE COMPUTING MAJORS IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Melanie Williamson
Historically, the role of women in computing changes over time as does their presence in the field. In 1985, 37% of computer science bachelor’s degree recipients were women, but in recent years, that number has decreased and currently holds at, around, 18%. Using a mixed methods approach, the study looked at the success of women enrolled in a computing degree program at a community college and the impact that self-efficacy, involvement in academic support opportunities,...

Impact of Feeding Foods Containing Industrial Hemp-Derived Cannabidiol on Canine Health and Well-Being

Elizabeth Morris
Anecdotal evidence of beneficial behavioral and health effects of cannabidiol (CBD) use in companion animals has amplified the need to elucidate safety and potential impacts of CBD use. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the impact of industrial hemp-derived CBD administration on canine health and well-being. We hypothesized that CBD would produce beneficial effects on canine behavior without negatively impacting animal health. Dog treats were formulated to include CBD and shown to be...

LEVERAGING CHEMICAL AND COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY TO PROBE THE CELLULOSE SYNTHASE COMPLEX

Kirtley Amos
Cellular expansion in plants is a complex process driven by the constraint of internal cellular turgor pressure by an expansible cell wall. The main structural element of the cell wall is cellulose. Cellulose is vital to plant fitness and the protein complex that creates it is an excellent target for small molecule inhibition to create herbicides. In the following thesis many small molecules (SMs) from a diverse library were screened in search of new cellulose...

Multi-stream Longitudinal Data Analysis using Deep Learning

Sajjad Fouladvand
Longitudinal healthcare data encompasses all tasks where patients information are collected at multiple follow-up times. Analyzing this data is critical in addressing many real world problems in healthcare such as disease prediction and prevention. In this thesis, technical challenges in analyzing longitudinal administrative claims data are addressed and novel deep learning based models are proposed for multi-stream data analysis and disease prediction tasks. These algorithms and frameworks are assessed mainly on substance use disorders prediction...

Robust RNA Integrity-to-Neuronal Gene Expression Association in Autopsy Brain Tissue Not Explained by Post-Mortem Variables; and Acute Behavioral Stress Does Not Alter RNA Quality, While Progesterone Protects Against Effects of Stress Exposure

Eleanor Johnson
Transcriptional profiling (TP) is a common tool to determine RNA expression levels. It allows for thousands of genes to be analyzed simultaneously, and determines differences in gene expression levels due to various pathologies. RNA quality also impacts the reported expression level. One of the most common approaches for assessing RNA quality is Agilent Technology’s RNA integrity number (RIN). The use of RINs allowed scientists to standardize the assessment and reporting of RNA quality by predominantly...

Metabolic and Electrophysiological Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 19 in the Dorsal Vagal Complex

Jordan Wean
The dorsal vagal complex (DVC) is an important homeostatic regulatory center located in the hindbrain that alters vagal parasympathetic activity in response to central, viscerosensory, and humoral cues. Within the DVC, second-order sensory neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) integrate ascending vagal sensory input with descending regulatory inputs from higher brain areas and respond to circulating hormones and glucose. In turn, the NTS projects to the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV) which...

THE INFLUENCE OF FORMAL MENTORING ON TEACHER BELIEFS OF K-12 CLASSROOM TECHNOLOGY USE DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

Anthony Arbisi
This dissertation explores the influence and transfer of knowledge related to instructional technology that occurs in the formal teacher mentoring relationship of seven mentoring dyads in a suburban Missouri public school district. This multiple case study was performed during the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-2021 school year. The unit of analysis in this study was a mentoring dyad that consisted of an experienced mentor teacher and a novice teacher. A multiple case study method was...

A Computational Fluid-Structure Interaction Method for Simulating Supersonic Parachute Inflation

Jonathan Boustani
Following the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on the Martian surface in 2012, NASA/JPL conducted the low-density supersonic decelerator (LDSD) missions to develop large diameter parachutes to land the increasingly heavier payloads being sent to the Martian surface. Unexpectedly, both of the tested parachutes failed far below their design loads. It became clear that there was an inability to model and predict loads that occur during supersonic parachute inflation. In this dissertation, a new...

The Development of Structural Hollow Carbon Fibers from a Multifilament Segmented Arc Spinneret

Elizabeth Morris
Carbon fiber is an ideal material for structural applications requiring high strength and stiffness and low weight. Yet it has seen only incremental improvements in properties over the last few decades. Carbon fibers remain limited in attaining their theoretical tensile strength and modulus, largely due to defects in their structure, some of which stem from the fiber production process itself. Through the mitigation of defect formation as well as approaches to decrease fiber linear density,...

Metaphor and the Struggle between Populism and Liberal Democracy

Daniel Cole
Populist movements have emerged the world over, appearing even in countries in which it had long been assumed that liberal democracy was unassailable. Scholars have been grappling with the concept of populism for decades, but as populists have won victories close to home, the research has taken on a heightened sense of urgency. Two of the common theses that have appeared in the recent literature are, (a) populism is opposed to liberal democracy, and (b)...

INVESTIGATION OF THE BIOSYNTHESIS OF THE NUCLEOSIDE ANTIBIOTIC SPHAERIMICIN

Jonathan Overbay
Antibiotic-resistance has become a widespread problem in the United States and across the globe. Meanwhile, new antibiotics are entering the clinic at an alarmingly low rate. Highly-modified nucleosides, a class of natural products often produced by actinobacteria, target MraY bacterial translocase I. MraY is a clinically unexploited enzyme target that is ubiquitous and essential to peptidoglycan cell wall biosynthesis. The nucleoside antibiotics known vary in efficacy and the functionalities contributing to improved activity is poorly...

Electric Power Systems and Components for Electric Aircraft

Damien Lawhorn
Electric aircraft have gained increasing attention in recent years due to their potential for environmental and economic benefits over conventional airplanes. In order to offer competitive flight times and payload capabilities, electric aircraft power systems (EAPS) must exhibit extremely high efficiencies and power densities. While advancements in enabling technologies have progressed the development of high performance EAPS, further research is required. One challenge in the design of EAPS is determining the best topology to be...

THE ANTITHESIS OF ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’

Chelsea Cutright
Youth in Tanzania make up the majority of the current growing population and therefore are increasingly a focus of local and international development concern, specifically as the rates of urban growth and unemployment are also increasing. This research builds upon existing anthropological literature, which largely addresses contemporary and urban African youths as “problems” in dire need of governmental intervention and international solutions. Through explorations of the ways in which Tanzanian youth are actively and creatively...

Neural Representations of Concepts and Texts for Biomedical Information Retrieval

Jiho Noh
Information retrieval (IR) methods are an indispensable tool in the current landscape of exponentially increasing textual data, especially on the Web. A typical IR task involves fetching and ranking a set of documents (from a large corpus) in terms of relevance to a user's query, which is often expressed as a short phrase. IR methods are the backbone of modern search engines where additional system-level aspects including fault tolerance, scale, user interfaces, and session maintenance...

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