Bachelor with Honours Dissertations - open access

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The "Bachelor with Honours Dissertations - open access" collection contains digital copies of AUT University B(Hons) dissertations approved for open access. B(Hons) dissertations are required to be open access from April 2022. Past students may contact the Tuwhera team ( if they wish to make their B(Hons) open access.


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Now showing 1 - 5 of 71
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    Violent and Unpredictable: Perceptions of Victims of Crime Who Are Living With a Mental Health Problem
    (Auckland University of Technology, 2024) Andersen, Joshua
    Public perceptions of mental illness are largely derived from stigmas and social norms that perpetuate punitive and discriminative rhetoric. In regard to illnesses like schizophrenia, these perceptions are overwhelmingly associated with violence and the threat of harm. Recent academic literature has questioned this notion. Our study explored how varying stigmas can influence perceptions of mock newspaper articles that depict a violent assault of which the victim has a mental illness. Members of the public (n = 106) were randomly assigned to one of six newspaper depictions of a violent assault, of which the victim was reported to have a mental illness (schizophrenia, depression, no mental illness). To test for the influence of substance use comorbidity, the presence of methamphetamine was also a variable in each mental illness condition. After reading the mock newspaper articles, participants then responded to the Social Distance Scale (Link et al., 1987) to assess participants desired social distance from the victim in the newspaper vignette. Participants also responded to several covariate measures that helped us better understand the judgements made in relation to the vignette. The results of our study suggest that mental illness alone did not substantially alter participant perceptions of mental illness. However, when factoring for methamphetamine presence, participants in the schizophrenia conditions reported significantly lower levels of desired social distance and subsequent stigma than those in control conditions. Future research could seek to better explore the interaction between mental illness and crime victimisation. As such, the implications of research in this domain work to resolve the prevalence of discriminative social stigma both within academic and public spheres.
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    Do Social Norms Predict Equestrians' Likelihood of Using Safety Equipment?
    (Auckland University of Technology, 2024) Hathaway, Alexandra
    Equestrian sports carry a high risk of injury. Despite the well known risks carried by these activities, there are still many riders who choose to not utilise safety equipment when working with horses. The current study examined whether social norms or differences in personality traits influenced riders’ decision to use various types of safety equipment. An online questionnaire (N = 115) was used to investigate whether agreeance with descriptive norms, injunctive norms, or differences in sensation seeking and conscientiousness predicted the use of helmets, protective vests, or safety stirrups. Consistent with prior research, the study found descriptive norms and injunctive norms both influenced the proportion of use of various safety equipment. More specifically, descriptive norms predicted the proportion of helmet and safety stirrup use, while personal and peer injunctive norms predicted the proportion of safety vest use. Sensation seeking was only found to be a predictor of helmet use and did not correlate to the proportion of safety vest or safety stirrup use. Conscientiousness was not found to be a predictor of any variable. The findings are significant within the equestrian community as they contribute to the understanding of what influences safety equipment use, allowing for more informed interventions to increase safe practices within equestrian sport.
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    Synthesis of Enzyme Inspired Immobilized Catalysts
    (Auckland University of Technology, 2023) Malingin, Marc
    The primary objective of this study is to develop an immobilized catalyst for transphosphorylation, drawing inspiration from enzymatic processes. To accomplish this goal, a set of key objectives were set. Firstly, the synthesis of TACN (A) and guanidinium (B) ligands is paramount. Then, the next objective is to immobilize these ligands onto a solid resin, establishing a bioactive site through a copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) "click reaction." Lastly, the study aims to evaluate the catalytic activity of these supported catalysts using the model substrate HPNPP. This assessment seeks to identify optimal conditions for catalytic activation and to elucidate potential cooperativity in the catalytic process. The focus of this project lies in investigating the catalytic properties of the selected ligands when immobilized on solid resin as an alternative to gold nanoparticles. The investigation includes the characterization of molecules, monitoring reactions through NMR and IR spectroscopy, and evaluating catalytic activity using UV-vis spectroscopy. TACN (A) was initially synthesized using a protective group, Boc, and this was employed to selectively perform a substitution reaction at the desired site. Subsequently, "click chemistry" was utilized to attach it to the resin. Finally, the protective group was cleaved under acidic conditions. The synthesis of Guanidinium (B) was approached through three distinct routes. The first route involved a standard substitution reaction, followed by a Staudinger reduction reaction, ending in guanylation. In the second route, with the aim of enhancing efficiency and effectiveness, a different starting material was used and tosylation was performed before following the aforementioned steps. The third route employed a completely different route, employing Gabriel synthesis to obtain the amine, which was eventually subjected to guanylation. Similar to the TACN synthesis, the "click reaction" was employed to immobilize the ligands, and deprotection was achieved through acidic conditions. We successfully showcased the immobilization of different functional groups onto the Merrifield resin's surface, resulting in the creation of a highly efficient transphosphodiesterase. This achievement holds promise for applications in synthesizing artificial enzymes characterized by great stability compared to their biological counterparts, along with the convenience of recovery and reusability. Our future research endeavors will focus on further enhancing this technology by exploring combinations of the two existing ligands and potentially introducing additional ligands in varying proportions, with the aim of developing artificial enzymes boasting even greater catalytic activities.
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    A Qualitative Study Examining the Opinions and Experiences of New Zealand Participants Regarding Beliefs of Sugar as an Addictive Substance
    (Auckland University of Technology, 2023) Rosser, Alexandra
    The present study aims to examine New Zealand participants’ perceptions of sugar as an addictive substance. The concept of sugar addiction is not new and there has already been some research around this, however due to ethical implications in human research, most studies have used animal experiments. Despite the myriad of health concerns caused by sugar overindulgence, including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, tooth decay and other issues, we do not yet have a conclusive answer as to the validity of sugar addiction. This study asked participants to draw from their understanding and experiences of sugar to explain whether they believed it should be classified as addictive. Qualitative content analysis was used to draw meaning and context from the rationale described by participants. Both inductive and deductive methods were used to determine whether perceptions and experiences by individuals in this study aligned with established scientific criteria surrounding substance dependence. For a considerable majority, signs and symptoms relating to excessive sugar intake conformed to current understandings of addiction. Conversely, those who did not believe sugar was addictive referenced how various biopsychosocial influences may contribute to sugar overindulgence, highlighting the complex nature of sugar consumption. While relying exclusively on subjective measures has inherent limitations, understanding individual experiences with sugar is essential in comprehending how a range of factors may shape indulgence. Given the consistency between participant experiences of sugar addiction and scientific literature concerning substance dependence, further measures should be implemented in evaluating the credibility of sugar as an addictive substance.
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    Synthesis and Antibiotic Activity of Vitamin B12-Vancomycin Conjugates
    (Auckland University of Technology, 2023) Stackpole, Ben
    Vitamin B12 has the potential to be used as a “Trojan horse” for drug delivery applications, with previously reported examples including anti-cancer drugs and antimicrobial drugs. As B12 is too large to cross cellular membranes by diffusion, humans and bacteria uptake it via active transport processes mediated by a series of proteins. Conjugating therapeutic molecules to B12 allows this process to be hijacked to transport cargo into cells. Because B12 is an essential nutrient and many species of bacteria cannot synthesise it themselves, this is a promising method for transporting antibiotics into bacteria. This may be especially useful in the case of Gram-negative bacteria, which possess an additional outer membrane that prevents many antibiotics from entering the cell. In this research project, we investigated the antibiotic activity of B12-vancomycin conjugates. Vancomycin is a glycopeptide antibiotic which inihibits bacterial cell wall synthesis. Due to its large size, it cannot diffuse across bacterial membranes and so it is only effective against Gram-positive bacteria. By conjugating vancomycin to B¬12, we hypothesised that it could be transported across the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and inhibit their growth. Four different B12-vancomycin conjugates were successfully synthesised, differing in the linker used and the site of conjugation to B12. The conjugates were tested for antibiotic activity against Escherichia coli. None of the conjugates displayed antibiotic activity.
Dissertations are protected by the Copyright Act 1994 (New Zealand). The dissertation may be consulted by you, provided you comply with the provisions of the Act and the following conditions of use:
  • Any use you make of these documents or images must be for research or private study purposes only, and you may not make them available to any other person.
  • Authors control the copyright of their dissertation. You will recognise the author’s right to be identified as the author of the dissertation, and due acknowledgement will be made to the author where appropriate.
  • You will obtain the author’s permission before publishing any material from the dissertation.