Barry C. Lembersky Undergraduate Research Award

2018 Recipient

Renee Boucher

Iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) fractionation as an indicator of sex in domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

This project investigates heavy isotope (Fe, Cu) fractionation in the bone and teeth of male and female non-human primates and ungulates. The object is to improve understanding of the evolutionary basis of trace metal metabolism, specifically its validity as a reliable indicator of sex and menopause in the fossil record.

2017 Recipients

Margaret Barrett

Sex differences in developing social relationships in infant chacma baboons (Papio ursinus)

This research aims to determine if male and female infant chacma baboons differ in their social behavior and if such differences have potential to contribute to the development of sex differences in dominance relationships later in life. By studying captive chacma baboons at a sanctuary in South Africa, Meg Barrett is able to investigate these questions under conditions that control for maternal influences.

John P. Calcitrai

Stress and Sociality in Wild Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii)

Orangutans are unusual among anthropoid primates for their relatively solitary life styles. This research is examining a possible mechanism for that social outcome: are social interactions with conspecifics stressful for orangutans? JP Calcitrai is analyzing stress hormones in urine samples and determining if variation in those hormones is correlated with variation in social association rates among the orangutans.

2016 Recipient

Daniel Naumenko

Linking dietary ecology and oxidative stress in Wild Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii)

The purpose of this study is to determine whether orangutan dietary ecology leads to oxidative stress. In most organisms, a balance exists between the accumulation of free radicals and defense mechanisms.  When free radical levels exceed defense mechanisms, the organism becomes oxidatively stressed. Oxidative stress has been shown to cause damage to the genome, including telomere shortening. Telomere shortening and cellular senescence have been linked to aging and age-related conditions.