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.
Detecting rapid evolutionary change in Malagasy primates
The ultimate goal of this project is to understand the evolutionary impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on sympatric brown lemur species (Eulemur spp.) throughout southern Madagascar. To achieve this, we will conduct historical and contemporary genomic sampling.
The impacts of changing patterns of land tenure on fitness interdependence among the Maasai of Kenya
This study will address the hypothesis that the changing patterns of land tenure have altered patterns of social relations that facilitate fitness interdependence within and between the Maasai community in the study area. My field sites are located partly in the Loita plains, and partly in the Loita hills, Southwest of Nairobi.
Microbial modulation of early neurodevelopment
This research aims to establish the link between gut microbial perturbations caused by different birth modes and early neurodevelopment. By doing so, we hope to contribute to a better understanding of the gut-brain axis and its role in human health and disease.
Field-based real-time DNA sequencing of lemur seminal genes
My research focuses on how sperm competition drives the evolution of proteins related to male fertility in lemurs, a group of primates that lives only on Madagascar, who have evolved unique reproductive characteristics due to this isolated evolution. For this project, I went to the Centre ValBio field station in southwest Madagascar to perform real-time on-site Oxford Nanopore sequencing to isolate male fertility-related genes in the critically endangered golden bamboo lemur.
The reproductive microbiome in rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta)
My study focuses on characterizing the gestational microbiomes of female rhesus macaques and their potential role in seeding the neonatal microbiome . This study aims to offer novel insights into vertical transmission and early-life microbiome acquisition in non-human primates.
Eva Hernandez Janer
Assessing the Impacts of Ecological Disturbances on Wild Orangutans through Stable Isotopes
This research uses Stable Isotopes on hair, urine, and plants to investigate how ecological disturbances, in the form of peatland fires and new road construction, impacts the health of critically endangered wild bornean orangutans.
Preliminary Study on the Social and Environmental Factors Affecting Fecal Glucocorticoid metabolites in Wild Female Tana River Mangabeys (Cercocebus galeritus)
This preliminary study aims at understanding the relationship between affiliative, agonistic behaviors and ecological factors to physiological stress. Thus, it involves habituating groups in the study site and collecting behavior interactions and fecal samples for glucocorticoid metabolites.
The Effect of Mating Strategy Variation on Reproductive Control in Kinda Baboons (Papio kindae)
This research seeks to clarify how male and female mating strategies interact to influence reproductive control in Kinda baboons (Papio kindae). This research involves behavioral observation and noninvasive collection of hormone and genetic samples to determine female fertile phases and paternity of offspring. The research is being conducted in collaboration with Kasanka Baboon Project in Kasanka National Park, Zambia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
An Integrated Perspective on the Functional Morphology and Locomotion of Miocene Apes
The Development of Bimaturism in Male Orangutans: the Influence of Social Dominance and Nutritional Status
Nutrients In and Nutrients Out: Diet, Cognition, and Nutrient Cycling in Orangutan Habitats
Investigating the Energetic and Nutritional Costs of Motherhood in Wild Bornean Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii)
Pilot Research on Fossil Cercopithecoids in the Ditsong National Museum, South Africa
Inter- and Intra-specific Differences in Platyrrhine Digestive Enzymes
How do Tana River Mangabeys (Cercocebus galeritus) Attain Ecological Competence: Effects of Mechanical Properties and Nutritional Quality of Fallback Foods
A Pilot Study of Karimojong Agropastoralists of Uganda
The Functional Anatomy of the Primate Ilium: Implications for Locomotor Reconstruction in Fossil Taxa
Trabecular Architecture of the Mandibular Condyle and Early Hominin Diet
A Pilot Investigation of Taphonomic Processes in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Effects of Substrate Consistency on Modern Human Bipedalism
Patrilineal Kin Relationships in a Matrilineal Society of Olive Baboons (Papio anubis)