Baby mantled howling monkey (Alouatta palliata) from La Pacifica, Costa Rica.

Photographer: Christopher Vinyard


These anonymous tintypes - a 19th century process used by portrait photographers - feature examples of the "hidden mother."

Photo courtesy of: The collection of Laura Larson


These anonymous tintypes - a 19th century process used by portrait photographers - feature examples of the "hidden mother."

Photo courtesy of: The collection of Laura Larson

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Five faculty projects awarded through the Baker Fund

Almost $50,000 awarded to support ongoing faculty research and creative activity

Five OHIO faculty members have received $49,899 in funding as recipients of the 2012 Baker Fund Awards.

The Office of the Vice President for Research approved the funding of the ongoing faculty research projects, which range from an experiential non-fiction book and exhibition based on research of a widespread but little-known 19th century photographic practice known as "hidden mother," to field work needed to better understand the evolutionary history of the mantled howler monkeys in La Pacifica, Costa Rica.

The Baker Fund Awards support the research, scholarship and creative activity of regular tenured and tenure-track faculty members, in addition to administrative staff. Over the past 11 years, the Baker Fund has provided more than $737,000 to 78 proposals.

"The Baker Fund Awards have been an important resource for faculty who need funding to complete projects. As a result, they may be in a stronger position to successfully pursue larger external awards that can advance their work and help them explore additional questions," said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College.

This year, the program has expanded to include a fall cycle of funding. The fall proposal submission deadline is 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. The Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity will hold informational workshops on proposal preparation at noon on Monday, Sept. 10 and at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11 in 301U Alden Library.

This year’s recipients are: Phillip Ehrlich, professor, Department of Philosophy; Laura Larson, photography chair and associate professor, School of Art; B. David Ridpath, assistant professor, Sports Administration Program; Susan Williams, professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences; and John Kopchick, Goll Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

Ehrlich earned a $6,630 Baker award to complete a monograph that will be published as entire issue of the Archive for History of Exact Sciences. Previous support from the National Science Foundation provided the funding for part I of the project, titled "The Rise of non-Archimedean Mathematics and the Roots of a Misconception."

Larson will be using her $11,619 Baker award to complete both an exhibition and a book of experimental non-fiction based on her research on the widespread but little-known 19th century photographic practice called "hidden mother." The book will integrate research and memoir, including an account of Larson’s own experience adopting her daughter from Ethiopia. Funds will support travel for the book and exhibition development, book research and production expenses, and frame production for the exhibition. The exhibition will be shown at galleries, and the book will be submitted for publication at numerous presses.

For Ridpath, the $12,000 Baker award will be used to expand on his previous research, "Shaping Policy and Practice in Intercollegiate Athletics: A Study of Student Fees Resource Allocation for Athletics and its Effect on Access and Affordability of Higher Education." Ridpath will expand his study of only one MAC school (Ohio University) to a sample of the entire conference’s schools to determine if students are aware of what they pay in general fees and its distribution to intercollegiate athletics programs. Using the "winner take all market theory," the study will examine whether these fees impact higher education affordability and access.

Williams, whose project is titled "Ecological physiology of feeding in mantled howling monkeys at La Pacifica, Costa Rica," will use her $7,650 Baker award to complete fieldwork. Williams’ study integrates physiological and ecological data of primate feeding by recording jaw-muscle activity of free-ranging mantled howler monkeys in La Pacifica, Costa Rica. The funding will allow her to complete behavioral and habitat data collection and a spatial analysis of the population of the mantled howling monkeys to better understand their feeding behavior and ultimately, their evolutionary history. Results of the project will be shared via journal publications and conference presentations.

Kopchick, who received a $12,000 Baker award, will use the additional funding to support consumable laboratory supplies and animal per diem costs for an ongoing project titled, "Screening of two human growth hormone gene mutations for growth hormone receptor antagonist activity." The project involves the potential of a naturally-occurring human growth hormone receptor (GHR) antagonist. Building on his earlier research that culminated in the development of Pegvisomant, this project analyzes two newly-identified mutations of the gene. Results will be shared via journal publications and conference presentations, and will contribute to the next generation of drug research in this area.

The Baker Funds Awards Committee invites proposals for projects that are "near completion and can hopefully be brought to full completion with the assistance of an award." The maximum award is $12,000, and the funds are made available by The Ohio University Foundation through the John C. Baker Fund.

Endowed in 1961 by a gift of more than $612,000 from 1926 College of Arts and Sciences graduate Edwin L. Kennedy and his wife, Ruth, a 1930 graduate of the College of Education, The John C. Baker Fund was established to support faculty improvement and research efforts.