Three former grantees of AAPA’s Professional Development Grant program have been awarded a collaborative NSF grant. The AAPA’s Professional Development Grant (PDG) is an award that targets early career scientists, and is intended to lead to larger, federally funded grants. While the PDG focuses on research proposed by individuals, having an individual grant like a PDG can help convince federal funding agencies of a young scholar’s competence and can lead to larger scale, collaborative projects. This is what happened to three early career AAPA PDG awardees: Dr. Claire Terhune (University of Arkansas, PDG 2012), Dr. Siobhán Cooke (Johns Hopkins University SOM; PDG 2013), and Dr. Claire Kirchhoff (Marquette University, PDG 2014), who were recently awarded a NSF grant entitled: “Normal and pathological covariation in the masticatory apparatus of anthropoid primates.” Drs. Cooke and Terhune started an early collaboration when they realized the strength of joining their complementary interests in the dentition and the temporomandibular joint. Following regular interactions with Dr. Kirchhoff, they expanded their focus to include the demographics and effects of oral/TMJ pathologies and the effects on feeding biomechanics. Their NSF-funded project is a product of collective brainstorming that aims to better explain the morphological interaction and co-variation between bony TMJ components, and the maxillary and mandibular dentition. The ability to incorporate data on tooth wear, dental attrition, and pathologies ties the project into themes of aging, hominization, and public health.

The Professional Development Grant is one example of how the AAPA supports emerging scholars in physical anthropology. See Professional Development Grants for more information.

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