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Schwann cells generated from neonatal skin-derived precursors or neonatal peripheral nerve improve functional recovery after acute transplantation into the partially injured cervical spinal cord of the rat
The transplantation of Schwann cells (SCs) holds considerable promise as a therapy for spinal cord injury, but the optimal source of these cells and the best timing for intervention remains debatable. Previously, we demonstrated that delayed transplantation of SCs generated from neonatal mouse skin-derived precursors (SKP-SCs) promoted repair and functional recovery in rats with thoracic contusions. Here, we conducted two experiments using neonatal rat cells and an incomplete cervical injury model to examine the efficacy of acute SKP-SC transplantation versus media control (Experiment 1) and versus nerve-derived SC or dermal fibroblast (Fibro) transplantation (Experiment 2). Despite limited graft survival, by 10 weeks after injury, rats that received SCs from either source showed improved functional recovery compared with media- or fibroblast-treated animals. Compared with media treatment, SKP-SC-transplanted rats showed enhanced rubrospinal tract (RST) sparing/plasticity in the gray matter (GM) rostral to injury, particularly in the absence of immunosuppression. The functional benefits of SC transplantations over fibroblast treatment correlated with the enhanced preservation of host tissue, reduced RST atrophy, and/or increased RST sparing/plasticity in the GM. In summary, our results indicate that: (1) early transplantation of neonatal SCs generated from skin or nerve promotes repair and functional recovery after incomplete cervical crush injury; (2) either of these cell types is preferable to Fibros for these purposes; and (3) age-matched SCs from these two sources do not differ in terms of their reparative effects or functional efficacy after transplantation into the injured cervical spinal cord., Peer-reviewed article, Published.Received March 17, 2014; revised March 18, 2015; accepted March 21, 2015.
Seasonal indoor humidity levels of apartment suites in a mild coastal climate
It is essential to design and operate buildings with good indoor air quality because people spend most of their time indoors, and their productivity, comfort, and health depend on the quality of the indoor air. In addition to other indoor-air-quality parameters, the indoor humidity and temperature need to be controlled and maintained within acceptable ranges. Elevated indoor humidity creates favorable conditions for mold growth and building-envelope damage. To minimize such problems, it is important that designers have insight into the level of indoor humidity that will be expected in a building operating under a set of conditions and weather variation. In this paper, the results of monitoring the indoor temperature and humidity of four apartment suites with different occupancy levels are reported. Along with the indoor-air conditions, the local outdoor temperature and relative humidity were continuously measured for 17 months. The indoor humidities in the suites were correlated with the outdoor air temperature and humidity and compared with the European indoor climate class model. Moreover, the indoor-temperature and relative-humidity ranges in the four suites during the winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons and the temperature and humidity distributions within the suites are reported., Technical papers, Published. Received: September 22, 2014. Accepted: February 03, 2015. Published online: April 21, 2015.
Sensitive homes
Conference proceedings from ASHRAE IAQ 2013: Environmental Health in Low Energy Buildings, October 15 - 18, 2013 in Vancouver, BC, Canada., Peer reviewed, Conference proceeding
Shaped 3D singular spectrum analysis for quantifying gene expression, with application to the early zebrafish embryo
Recent progress in microscopy technologies, biological markers, and automated processing methods is making possible the development of gene expression atlases at cellular-level resolution over whole embryos. Raw data on gene expression is usually very noisy. This noise comes from both experimental (technical/methodological) and true biological sources (from stochastic biochemical processes). In addition, the cells or nuclei being imaged are irregularly arranged in 3D space. This makes the processing, extraction, and study of expression signals and intrinsic biological noise a serious challenge for 3D data, requiring new computational approaches. Here, we present a new approach for studying gene expression in nuclei located in a thick layer around a spherical surface. The method includes depth equalization on the sphere, flattening, interpolation to a regular grid, pattern extraction by Shaped 3D singular spectrum analysis (SSA), and interpolation back to original nuclear positions. The approach is demonstrated on several examples of gene expression in the zebrafish egg (a model system in vertebrate development). The method is tested on several different data geometries (e.g., nuclear positions) and different forms of gene expression patterns. Fully 3D datasets for developmental gene expression are becoming increasingly available; we discuss the prospects of applying 3D-SSA to data processing and analysis in this growing field., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 8 February 2015; Accepted 1 May 2015.
Shaped singular spectrum analysis for quantifying gene expression, with application to the early drosophila embryo
In recent years, with the development of automated microscopy technologies, the volume and complexity of image data on gene expression have increased tremendously. The only way to analyze quantitatively and comprehensively such biological data is by developing and applying new sophisticated mathematical approaches. Here, we present extensions of 2D singular spectrum analysis (2D-SSA) for application to 2D and 3D datasets of embryo images. These extensions, circular and shaped 2D-SSA, are applied to gene expression in the nuclear layer just under the surface of the Drosophila (fruit fly) embryo. We consider the commonly used cylindrical projection of the ellipsoidal Drosophila embryo. We demonstrate how circular and shaped versions of 2D-SSA help to decompose expression data into identifiable components (such as trend and noise), as well as separating signals from different genes. Detection and improvement of under- and overcorrection in multichannel imaging is addressed, as well as the extraction and analysis of 3D features in 3D gene expression patterns., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 4 July 2014; Revised 10 September 2014; Accepted 10 September 2014.
Sharp borders from fuzzy gradients
Critical boundaries in the early Drosophila embryo are set by morphogenetic gradients. A new quantitative study shows that the placement of one such boundary is more accurate than the gradient thought to set it. Genetic analysis of the accuracy of the process implicates a gene not previously thought to be involved., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
Single-laboratory validation of a method for the detection and/or quantification of select alkaloids in goldenseal supplements and raw materials by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography
Quality of botanical products and raw materials is important to manufacturers, regulators, researchers, and consumers. Many modern botanical quality-assurance schemes set specifications for select phytochemicals and measure against those specifications as one determinant of quality. While numerous publications describe procedures for determining compounds of interest in plant species, few methods have been systematically evaluated for accuracy, precision, or reliability, and often the analysis of finished products is not within the scope of the method. Hydrastis canadensis L., commonly referred to as Goldenseal, is an economically important North American medicinal plant that has been subject to adulteration in commerce. The phytochemicals of interest in the plant are the alkaloids hydrastine, berberine, and canadine. Of interest is also palmatine, an alkaloid found in potential adulterant species but not in goldenseal. In this study, goldenseal materials in raw, capsule, and tablet form, including an Echinacea/ Goldenseal combination product, were extracted with acidified water and acetonitrile and their hydrastine, berberine, canadine, and palmitine content determined by HPLC. The analytical method was optimized and evaluated in a single-laboratory validation study. Calibration curves for hydrastine and berberine were linear from 10 to 150 μ g/mL. The limits of detection for palmatine and canadine were determined to be 0.5 μ g/mL, which translates to detection of levels of 0.004% w/w in test samples. Chromatographic resolution was achieved for all analytes in an isocratic 12.5-min chromatographic run employing a binary mobile phase. Triplicate determinations performed on 10 test materials by two analysts on 3 days resulted in relative standard deviations ranging from 0.9% to 3.4%., Peer-reviewed article, Published.
Smart grid adaptive energy conservation and optimization engine utilizing Particle Swarm Optimization and Fuzzification
This paper aims to present a novel smart grid adaptive energy conservation and optimization engine for smart distribution networks. The optimization engine presented in this paper tries to minimize distribution network loss, improve voltage profile of the system and minimize the operating cost of reactive power injection by switchable shunt Capacitor Banks using Advanced Metering Infrastructure data. Moreover, it performs Conservation Voltage Reduction (CVR) and minimizes transformer loss. To accurately weight the optimization engine objective function sub-parts, Fuzzification technique is employed in this paper. Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) is applied as Volt-VAR Optimization (VVO) algorithm. Substantial benefits of the proposed energy conservation and optimization engine include but not limited to: adequate accuracy and speed, comprehensive objective function, capability of using AMI data as inputs, and ability to determine weighting factors according to the cost of each objective sub-part. To precisely test the applicability of proposed engine, 33-node distribution feeder is used as case study. The result analysis shows that the proposed approach could lead distribution grids to achieve higher levels of optimization and efficiency compared with conventional techniques., Article, Published. Received 27 November 2015, Revised 13 April 2016, Accepted 16 April 2016, Available online 26 April 2016.
Smart grid adaptive volt-VAR optimization
In recent years, smart grid technologies such as Distribution Management Systems (DMS) and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) have created remarkable opportunities for distribution grids in terms of operation, control and optimization. The advent of AMI has created considerable amount of data that can be used in optimization applications. Other smart grid functionalities could increase the performance of energy conservation and optimization solutions. As such, this paper aims to review the main requirements of two important smart grid adaptive energy conservation and optimization solutions called Volt-VAR Optimization and Conservation Voltage Reduction, in terms of control, measurement, communication and standards for grids., Article, Published. Received 13 May 2016, Revised 13 September 2016, Accepted 22 September 2016, Available online 3 October 2016.
Smart Grid and ICT's role in its evolution
While there is debate around the real causes of Climate Change, Green House Gas (GHG) emissions as a result of widespread use of fossil-based fuels by major economies around the world has been thought of playing a significant role in perpetuating the negative impacts of the phenomenon known as Climate Change. Regardless of whether GHG emissions is the sole culprit of the unusual, and often devastating changes in the climate patterns around the world, the global understanding has been sought over mitigating further dependence on fossil fuels by the developed countries. What further accentuates that desire, is not only the political and social instability of the regions which have traditionally supplied such fuels, but the fact that such fuel are finite in nature and due to be substantially exhausted in the not too distant future. It is interesting to note that the political and social turmoil associated with traditional sources of fossil fuels has given rise to the justification for many special interest groups in the developed world to call for "drilling closer to home". This view often ignores the fact that fossil fuel in the developed world often lies in "difficult to reach" and technologically challenging areas, which do not lend themselves to relatively risk-free exploration and exploitation. Recent environmental disasters, such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a clear and undisputable indication of the dangers associated with "drilling closer to home". Consequently, to get out of our energy conundrum, it seems that our societies have no choice but to review and question the way our economies generate and utilize energy. Most studies of this nature reveal the wasteful and unsustainable processes and approaches which we have so far used in energy production and use. Conversion of one form of energy into another, transmission of energy from one place to another, distribution of energy through our urban and rural communities, and management of energy resources have all been imperfect, to say the least. Such wasteful approaches to energy use have been the hallmark of the last century, which has now come back to haunt us in terms of devastating consequences associated with Climate Change. It is in that light that Smart Grid has been inadvertently positioned as the silver bullet to address the Climate Change and Energy Independence issues. Smart Grid is expected to enable unprecedented degrees of conservation, efficiencies and utilization of alternative sources of energy, thus substantially reducing this century's dependence on fossil fuels. It is notable that regardless of which development category they belong to, the developed countries, as well as the developing countries, have put together ambitious plans for the development of next generation electric grid, also called Smart Grid, as the main engine for the development of their economies and the well-being of their population. However, the fact remains that Smart Grid is still a collection of concepts and ideas, whose full impact cannot be realized until a rich portfolio of innovative technologies, system architectures, integration solutions and social-economic components are available cost-effectively and in concert to address the energy supply and demand issues which individual countries across the world are grappling with. And as such, energy independence should be perceived by the world community as a global problem longing for global solutions. As will be demonstrated in the rest of this chapter, Information and Communication Technologies are poised to play a critical role in bringing about the full spectrum of functionalities which Smart Grid promises. After all, Smart Grid is all about pervasive monitoring and control, which could not be realized without a comprehensive blanket of communication technologies, encompassing all utility assets, and enabling the intelligence implanted in each node to contribute to the overall system capabilities and functionalities which Smart Grid is expected to provide., book chapter, Book published
Smart microgrids
The utility sector's transition to renewable energy and the smart grid has already begun. The first step towards smart grid is microgrid, which is a smaller electricity grid with access to all the essential assets of a larger grid. This book provides a glimpse into an actual microgrid project. It supplies a system-level approach to the design of smart Microgrids, covering the entire design process-from roadmap to realization. Detailing lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid in Microgrid technology, the book provides an interdisciplinary approach to design and problem solving for smart microgrids., Book, Published.
The Smartphone Peer Physical Activity Counseling (SPPAC) program for manual wheelchair users
Physical activity (PA) must be performed regularly to accrue health benefits. However, the majority of manual wheelchair users do not meet PA recommendations. Existing community-based PA programs for manual wheelchair users appear to work, but effect sizes are small and retention is low. Existing PA programs may not fully implement some psychosocial factors that are strongly linked with PA (eg, autonomy). The use of peers and mobile phone technology in the Smartphone Peer PA Counseling (SPPAC) program represents a novel approach to cultivating a PA-supportive environment for manual wheelchair users., Peer-reviewed article, Published.

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