Zelnick Award

The Zelnick Family Research Fund, an endowment established by the Zelnick-Belzberg Charitable Trust, provides funding each year for the research of an exemplary CHES graduate affiliate in his or her second year in the PhD program.

2021 Recipient

Kyra Johnson

The Effects of Wildfires on Archaeological Materials.

Fire has played an essential role in human evolution, but identifying whether a fire was anthropogenic or natural in the archaeological record has proven difficult. There has been surprisingly little experimental investigation of the effects of natural fires on archaeological context. In collaboration with a team from the Rutgers Pine Barrens Research Station in southern New Jersey, Ms. Johnson will pursue this line of inquiry through carefully controlled burns. The resulting data will allow her to develop a program for her dissertation analysis of archaeological (bone) samples from sites where there is evidence of fire usage.

2019 Recipients

Denise Mercado

Coalitional Psychology, Social Networks, and Health in Ifugao, Philippines.

This study investigates how coalitional psychology and social prominence (defined as position in a social network) is related to health and general well-being among people living in Ifuago, Philippines. This pilot research will contribute to developing Denise's dissertation research focusing on the relationship between religion as a meaning making system and the evolution of cooperation.

Dominique Raboin

Feeding Efficiency, Growth, and Energetics in Juvenile Olive Baboons

This research seeks to clarify why the juvenile period of life is so long in primates, relative to most other mammals. The research involves observation of behavior and noninvasive collection of physiological and growth data from the juveniles in the olive baboon study groups of CHES faculty Ryne Palombit's field project.

2018 Recipient

Tibisay Navarro-Mañá

Microarchaeology of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Transition in the Levant at Skhul and Tabun Caves (Mount Carmel, Israel)

This research focuses on the micro-botanical archaeological record left behind by Neanderthals and Modern humans in the sediments of Tabun and Skhul caves in the Mount Carmel region, Israel, to better understand their fire technology and social life.

2017 Recipient

Rebecca Brittain

Gut Microbes and Nutrition in Wild Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) at the Tuanan Research Station

This study of orangutans combines DNA sequencing to measure gut microbe abundance and diversity with data on nutritional ecology to better understand the energetic and health contributions of gut microbes, particularly during periods of food scarcity.

2016 Recipient

LaShanda Williams

Exploring Oral Microbial Diversity in Early 20th Century European Immigrants and New York City Residents

This pilot research will characterize the oral microbiome of European immigrants and New York City residents who died between 1890-1920 using the Huntington collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). 

2015 Recipients

Fred Foster

An Integrated Perspective on the Functional Morphology and Locomotion of Miocene Apes

Didik Prasetyo

The Development of Bimaturism in Male Orangutans: the Influence of Social Dominance and Nutritional Status

2014 Recipients

Shauhin Alavi

Nutrients In and Nutrients Out: Diet, Cognition, and Nutrient Cycling in Orangutan Habitats

Tim Bransford

Investigating the Energetic and Nutritional Costs of Motherhood in Wild Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii)

Rene Studer-Halbach

Pilot Research on Fossil Cercopithecoids in the Ditsong National Museum, South Africa

2013 Recipients

Mareike Janiak

Inter- and Intra-specific Differences in Platyrrhine Digestive Enzymes

Stan Kivai

How do Tana River Mangabeys (Cercocebus galeritus) Attain Ecological Competence: Effects of Mechanical Properties and Nutritional Quality of Fallback Foods

2012 Recipient

Padmini Iyer

A Pilot Study of Karimojong Agropastoralists of Uganda

2011 Recipient

Darcy Shapiro

The Functional Anatomy of the Primate Ilium: Implications for Locomotor Reconstruction in Fossil Taxa

2010 Recipients

Susan Coiner-Collier

Trabecular Architecture of the Mandibular Condyle and Early Hominin Diet

Pam Weis

A Pilot Investigation of Taphonomic Processes in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

2009 Recipient

Melanie Crisfield

The Effects of Substrate Consistency on Modern Human Bipedalism

2008 Recipient

Emily Lynch

Patrilineal Kin Relationships in a Matrilineal Society of Olive Baboons (Papio anubis)