March 10, 2015

Erin Riley

Erin Riley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Anthropology

I am currently involved in two field research projects: Behavioral ecology, ethnoprimatology, and conservation of the Sulawesi macaques, Sulawesi, Indonesia. This is an on-going project that comprises field research in two interrelated areas: behavioral ecology and ethnoprimatology & conservation. The behavioral ecological component focuses on patterns of social grouping among the Sulawesi macaques, such as the nature of male-male relationships and subgrouping, and how these relate to ecological conditions.

The ethnoprimatological component focuses on overlapping resource use between Sulawesi macaques and humans; the potential role of macaques as seed dispersers for culturally and/or economically important forest resources; and the place of Sulawesi macaques in local folklore and the implications for conservation.

The human-macaque interface along the Silver River, Ocala, Florida. This ethnoprimatological project focuses on patterns of interaction between boaters and rhesus macaques along the Silver River in the Silver River State Park, Ocala, Florida. Nearly 80 years ago, rhesus macaqued (Macaca mulatta) were introduced along the Silver River and have been thriving there ever since. This site therefore offers a unique opportunity to explore the human-nonhuman primate interface where the nonhuman primates are not “natural” or indigenous to the area, but at the same time, have become naturalized in an ecological sense as well as a cultural sense.

Ralph Feuer, Ph.D.

Ralph Feuer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Biology

I am a viral immunologist focusing on persistent RNA virus infections associated with human disease. My interests include the study of host – viral pathogen interactions and the activation of the innate and adaptive immune response during viral persistence. My current research includes an in vivo model of infection utilizing a pathogenic human strain of coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) to better understand tropism, viral-mediated immunopathology, and the occurrence of autoimmune-like diseases in susceptible organs harboring persistent virus. Coxsackieviruses are ubiquitous pathogens which have been associated with a number of acute and chronic diseases in humans, including pancreatitis, myocarditis, diabetes, and aseptic meningitis. My latest findings indicate that CVB3 preferentially targets and injures neural stem cells eventually leading to developmental defects and chronic disease in the central nervous system. I hope to use the knowledge gained from these investigations to devise treatment and vaccine strategies in order to alleviate diseases initiated by CVB3 and other persistent viruses. My goals are to investigate immune responses in the CNS against CVB3 during acute infection, latency, and after reactivation. We expect that our neonatal in vivo neonatal model of CVB3 infection may be a significant step in understanding the consequences of childhood infections on the developing CNS.

Karen Emmorey, Ph.D.

Karen Emmorey, Ph.D.

Professor

School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Dr. Karen Emmorey’s research focuses on what sign languages can reveal about the nature of human language, cognition, and the brain. She studies the processes involved in how deaf people produce and comprehend sign language and how these processes are represented in the brain. She also investigates how experience with a signed language impacts nonlinguistic visual-spatial cognition, such as face processing, memory, and imagery. Her research interests include how language modality impacts spatial language (talking about space), the linguistic functions of eye gaze in sign language, and the nature of bimodal bilingualism (ASL-English bilinguals). Her investigations of the neural correlates of language and nonlinguistic cognitive functions draw on data from neuroimaging (fMRI and PET) and from patients who have suffered unilateral brain damage.