Wednesday, October 14, 2015

GW Anthropology Professor Chet Sherwood to Help Establish National Chimpanzee Brain Resource for Neuroscience Research

Chet Sherwood--Department of Anthropology professor, along with his research team, has recently been awarded a $1 million grant from the NIH. The grant will support the creation of the first National Chimpanzee Brain Resource that will be based at GW, Georgia State and Emory universities.
GW will serve as a brain repository, from which scientists can request tissue samples from the university’s collection to be sent to their own labs. The project team also will make available their assemblage of high-resolution MRI scans of chimpanzee brains along with observational data collected from studies on chimpanzees’ motor, social and cognitive skills.
Additionally, Sherwood's latest project—funded by a $1 million INSPIRE award from the National Science Foundation—will use post-mortem MRI images, brain tissue, behavioral observations and studies of genetic variation to examine differences in vocal learning and sound-symbol associations among chimpanzees.
“Right now there is a very small community of people who are focused on chimpanzee neuroscience research,” Dr. Sherwood said. “We are trying to catalyze the use of what we view to be incredibly valuable, scientifically interesting materials that are underutilized.”
source: GWtoday

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Anthropology Professor Brenda Bradley Helps Unravel the Mystery of Machu Picchu

"Breathtaking"--GW Department of Anthropology professor Brenda Bradley's description of Machu Picchu, the 15th century Inca ruins perched on an Andes mountain ridge some 8,000 feet above sea level in Peru.

Dr. Bradley and a team of researchers will be the first to analyze the genomes of the skeletal remains from more than 170 individuals buried at the site.

“There is a longstanding debate about what the function of Machu Picchu was because it is so unique and unusual as an Inca site,” Dr. Bradley said. “It is too big to be a local settlement. And it’s too small and not the right structure to have been an administrative center for the Inca Empire.”

By sequencing the skeletons’ ancient DNA, the researchers hope to better understand the functional role of Machu Picchu and its residents, as well as patterns of diversity, migration and labor diaspora in the Inca Empire—the largest in pre-Columbian America.

To discover Dr. Bradley's predictions about Machu Picchu & learn more about the team's research methods follow the link to GW Today,GW's Official Online News Source.