Study Design: Secure, web-based survey. Objectives: Obtain information from the spinal cord injured (SCI) population regarding sexual dysfunctions, with the aim of developing new basic science and clinical research and eventual therapies targeting these issues. Setting: Worldwide web. Methods: Individuals 18 years or older living with SCI. Participants obtained a pass-code to enter a secure website and answered survey questions. A total of 286 subjects completed the survey. Results: The majority of participants stated that their SCI altered their sexual sense of self and that improving their sexual function would improve their quality of life (QoL). The primary reason for pursuing sexual activity was for intimacy need, not fertility. Bladder and bowel concerns during sexual activity were not strong enough to deter the majority of the population from engaging in sexual activity. However, in the subset of individuals concerned about bladder and/or bowel incontinence during sexual activity, this was a highly significant issue. In addition, the occurrence of autonomic dysreflexia (AD) during typical bladder or bowel care was a significant variable predicting the occurrence and distress of AD during sexual activity. Conclusion: Sexual function and its resultant impact on QoL is a major issue to an overwhelming majority of people living with SCI. This certainly constitutes the need for expanding research in multiple aspects to develop future therapeutic interventions for sexual health and SCI., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
This study compared dynamic-response feet to SACH feet with respect to factors influencing unilateral transtibial amputee balance and ability to adapt to variable terrains. This was done by measuring ground reaction forces for 30% perturbations of step length during level walking. These perturbations resulted in either a lengthening or a shortening of one step length by 30% of the normal step length. Subjects walked along a 12 metre walkway and across two flush mounter force platforms while forces were recorded for both feet. Three experimental conditions were completed with each foot type: normal step length, short step length (reduced by 30% from normal), and long step length (increased by 30% from normal)., Research report, Published.
The American Herbal Products Association estimates that there as many as 3000 plant species in commerce. The FDA estimates that there are about 85,000 dietary supplement products in the marketplace. The pace of product innovation far exceeds that of analytical methods development and validation, with new ingredients, matrixes, and combinations resulting in an analytical community that has been unable to keep up. This has led to a lack of validated analytical methods for dietary supplements and to inappropriate method selection where methods do exist. Only after rigorous validation procedures to ensure that methods are fit for purpose should they be used in a routine setting to verify product authenticity and quality. By following systematic procedures and establishing performance requirements for analytical methods before method development and validation, methods can be developed that are both valid and fit for purpose. This review summarizes advances in method selection, development, and validation regarding herbal supplement analysis and provides several documented examples of inappropriate method selection and application., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
In many mechanical systems, the tendency of sliding components to intermittently stick and slip leads to undesirable performance, vibration, and control behaviors. Computer simulations of mechanical systems with friction are difficult because of the strongly nonlinear behavior of the friction force near zero sliding velocity. In this paper, two improved friction models are proposed. One model is based on the force-balance method and the other model uses a spring-damper during sticking. The models are tested on hundreds of lumped mass-spring-damper systems with time-varying excitation and normal contact forces for both one-dimensional and two-dimensional stick-slip motions on a planar surface. Piece-wise continuous analytical solutions are compared with solutions using other published force-balance and spring-damper friction models. A method has been developed to set the size of the velocity window for Karnopp’s friction model. The extensive test results show that the new force-balance algorithm gives much lower sticking velocity errors compared to the original method and that the new spring-damper algorithm exhibits no spikes at the beginning of sticking. Weibull distributions of the sticking velocity errors enable maximum errors to be estimated a priori., Technical papers, Published. Received February 03, 2000; Revised August 17, 2000.
Proceedings from the 23rd Annual ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education. Computer science and technology education should provide not only a strong theoretical foundation, but also problem solving, and communication and teamwork skills to prepare the students for careers. Including projects in curricula is a norm in many disciplines. However, projects are generally individual or based on small teams (two to five members). This paper presents my approach to teaching a capstone undergraduate computer technology course at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in the Computer System Technology (CST) Program in which a large class of students (maximum 22), organized into small teams work together and apply Agile software development practices to design, implement, integrate and test a large project. This model provides students with unique learning opportunities and experiences, as well as improving their soft skills, engagement and motivation., Peer reviewed, Conference paper, Published.
Gene recruitment or cooption occurs when a gene, which may be part of an existing gene regulatory network (GRN), comes under the control of a new regulatory system. Such re-arrangement of pre-existing networks is likely more common for increasing genomic complexity than the creation of new genes. Using evolutionary computations (EC), we investigate how cooption affects the evolvability, outgrowth and robustness of GRNs. We use a data-driven model of insect segmentation, for the fruit fly Drosophila, and evaluate fitness by robustness to maternal variability—a major constraint in biological development. We compare two mechanisms of gene cooption: a simpler one with gene Introduction and Withdrawal operators; and one in which GRN elements can be altered by transposon infection. Starting from a minimal 2-gene network, insufficient for fitting the Drosophila gene expression patterns, we find a general trend of coopting available genes into the GRN, in order to better fit the data. With the transposon mechanism, we find co-evolutionary oscillations between genes and their transposons. These oscillations may offer a new technique in EC for overcoming premature convergence. Finally, we comment on how a differential equations (in contrast to Boolean) approach is necessary for addressing realistic continuous variation in biochemical parameters., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 29 September 2012; Accepted 13 November 2012.
Biological development depends on the coordinated expression of genes in time and space. Developmental genes have extensive cis-regulatory regions which control their expression. These regions are organized in a modular manner, with different modules controlling expression at different times and locations. Both how modularity evolved and what function it serves are open questions. We present a computational model for the cis-regulation of the hunchback (hb) gene in the fruit fly (Drosophila). We simulate evolution (using an evolutionary computation approach from computer science) to find the optimal cis-regulatory arrangements for fitting experimental hb expression patterns. We find that the cis-regulatory region tends to readily evolve modularity. These cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) do not tend to control single spatial domains, but show a multi-CRM/multi-domain correspondence. We find that the CRM-domain correspondence seen in Drosophila evolves with a high probability in our model, supporting the biological relevance of the approach. The partial redundancy resulting from multi-CRM control may confer some biological robustness against corruption of regulatory sequences. The technique developed on hb could readily be applied to other multi-CRM developmental genes., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
To improve the efficiency of enzymatic hemicellulose removal from bamboo pre-hydrolysis kraft pulp, mechanical refining was conducted prior to enzyme treatment. Refining significantly improved the subsequent hemicellulose removal efficiency by xylanase treatment. Results showed that when PFI refining was followed by 3 h xylanase treatment, the xylan content of the bamboo pre-hydrolysis kraft pulp (after first stage oxygen delignification) could be decreased to 2.72% (w/w). After bleaching of enzyme treated pulp, the alpha-cellulose content was 93.4% (w/w) while the xylan content was only 2.38%. The effect of refining on fibre properties was investigated in terms of freeness, water retention value, fibre length and fibrillation characteristics. The brightness, reactivity and viscosity were also determined to characterize the quality of final pulp. Results demonstrated the feasibility of combining refining and xylanase treatment to produce high quality bamboo dissolving pulp., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 1 September 2016; Revised 9 October 2016; Accepted 12 October 2016; Available online 24 October 2016.
9th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation & Energy Conservation (IAQVEC), October 23-26, 2016, Songdo, South Korea. This project studied the relative humidity and indoor temperature variations in three houses in the pacific coastal climates. The houses have been monitored for one month in each four different seasons under different size of occupants, temperature variation and living conditions. These three houses represent different air tightness, number of occupants and floor size. The temperature and RH data loggers are used in every room in each house to better understand which rooms in a certain living conditions are more susceptible to moisture related problems. In addition, three existing models (European Indoor Class Model, ASHRAE 160P simple and intermediate models) are used to generate the indoor humidity level and the calculated values are compared to the measured field data., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Annual Conference 2011. The FreeWheel™ wheelchair attachment was developed to overcome the burden that front casters pose to manual wheelchairs., Conference paper, Published.
Background: During pretreatment, hemicellulose is removed from biomass via proton-catalyzed hydrolysis to produce soluble poly- and mono-saccharides. Many kinetic models have been proposed but the dependence of rate on proton concentration is not well-defined; autohydrolysis and dilute-acid hydrolysis models apply very different treatments despite having similar chemistries. In this work, evolution of proton concentration is examined during both autohydrolysis and dilute-acid hydrolysis of hemicellulose from green bamboo. An approximate mathematical model, or “toy model”, to describe proton concentration based upon conservation of mass and charge during deacetylation and ash neutralization coupled with a number of competing equilibria, was derived. The model was qualitatively compared to experiments where pH was measured as a function of time, temperature, and initial acid level. Proton evolution was also examined at room temperature to decouple the effect of ash neutralization from deacetylation.
Results: The toy model predicts the existence of a steady-state proton concentration dictated by equilibrium constants, initial acetyl groups, and initial added acid. At room temperature, it was found that pH remains essentially constant both at low initial pH and autohydrolysis conditions. Acid is likely in excess of the neutralization potential of the ash, in the former case, and the kinetics of neutralization become exceedingly small in the latter case due to the low proton concentration. Finally, when the hydrolysis reaction proceeded at elevated temperatures, one case of non-monotonic behavior in which the pH initially increased, and then decreased at longer times, was found. This is likely due to the difference in rates between neutralization and deacetylation.
Conclusions: The model and experimental work demonstrate that the evolution of proton concentration during hydrolysis follows complex behavior that depends upon the acetyl group and ash content of biomass, initial acid levels and temperature. In the limit of excess added acid, pH varies very weakly with time. Below this limit, complex schemes are found primarily related to the selectivity of deacetylation in comparison to neutralization. These findings indicate that a more rigorous approach to models of hemicellulose hydrolysis is needed. Improved models will lead to more efficient acid utilization and facilitate process scale-up., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received: 23 July 2016 ; Accepted: 22 September 2016 ; Published: 21 October 2016.