RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIP CR E AT I V E AC T I V I T Y VOLUME 14 :: ISSUE 2
A wild, wild life
What can communities of African chimpanzees—humanity’s closest living relatives—teach us about our behavior and our origins?
also featured CO2: A THREAT TO GLOBAL OIL AND GAS PIPELINES PLAYWRIGHT TACKLES CHAPTERS IN AMERICAN BLACK HISTORY
CREAT U R E S : WHITE-BLOODED ANTARCTIC ICEFISH, ANCIENT CAT-LIKE CROCODILES
THE EYES HAVE IT: COMMUNICATING WITH STROKE, BRAIN INJURY PATIENTS
A BETTER WAY TO CARE FOR KIDS WITH CANCER
a ut u m n / wi nt e r
a ut u m n / wi nt e r
VOLUME 14 :: ISSUE 2
what â€™s inside
Sociology + Anthropology
C O N Q UERING CO2 To alleviate global warming, engineers design new ways to remove, store, and neutralize the problem gas
H O M E LAND INSECURITY Anthropologist Haley Duschinski studies how the Kashmiri people use nonviolent means to advocate for human rights and justice in an occupied state
EDITOR Andrea Gibson
ASSISTANT DESIGNER Alix Northrup, Ullman Design
Communication Sciences + Disorders
SENIOR DESIGNER AND ILLUSTRATOR Christina Ullman, Ullman Design
I N D E P ENDENT LENS Against the backdrop of Eastern European political history, Croatian filmmaker Rajko Grlic tells powerful human stories of love, hope, betrayal
INTERN Bridget Peterlin
ADVISORY COMMITTEE Kevin Crist Professor Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
C O M M UNICATION CUES New technologies help bridge the communication gap for patients with language impairments triggered by brain injuries or stroke
Karla Hackenmiller Associate Professor Printmaking
L I F E UNDER ICE Biologist Lisa Crockett explores how the unusual icefish survives the frigid climate of Antarctica
Terry Eiler Professor and Director School of Visual Communication
Steve Reilly Professor Biological Sciences Lynne Lancaster Associate Professor Classics and World Religions
S TA G E DIRECTIONS Distinguished Professor of Playwriting Charles Smith uses a historical lens to explore racial issues in America
ISSN 1520-4375 Printed on recycled paper.
A N E W CHAPTER FOR C H I L D REN WITH CANCER
Documentary profiles an innovative Texas doctor who strives to meet the emotional, social, and medical needs of kids and their families living with illness
02 U P F RO N T 36 C L A S S AC T
:: From the Office of Research | :: Student Research |
0 3 OF NOTE
3 8 AT A GL ANCE
:: Research News Briefs
:: Project snapshot
A wild, wild life
What can communities of African chimpanzees—humanity’s closest living relatives—teach us about our behavior and our origins?
u p fr o nt
FROM THE OFFICE OF RESEARCH
Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College
President of Ohio University
he spring/summer 2010 issue of Perspectives was focused on our successes in science and medical research, as well as our
track record in taking faculty inventions to the marketplace. In this new autumn/winter issue, we would like to spotlight other ways that Ohio University faculty members make a positive impact on society, such as through the scholarship, creative activity, and community outreach initiatives across our campus.
When audiences view a play penned by Ohio University Distinguished Professor Charles Smith, for example, they are treated to compelling story lines, brisk dialogue, and intriguing characters. Smith’s plays are not only engaging works of dramatic art, but have garnered national acclaim for sparking new dialogue on the history and complexity of race relations in America. Cultural anthropologist Haley Duschinski— who, like Smith, is featured in the current issue of Perspectives—raises awareness of the grassroots human rights movement in the war-torn region of Kashmir, which can lead to new insights for international peacebuilding processes. From the social sciences and education, to communication and arts and the humanities, Ohio University is proud to support such programs as: • The Center for Law, Justice, and Culture, a new interdisciplinary program that examines law and society through a liberal arts perspective. • Kids on Campus, a grant-funded community partnership administered by the College of Health Sciences and Professions, which operates after-school and summer programs to Athens County children who are academically at risk. • The Institute for the African
Child, an interdisciplinary effort to examine and promote the interests of the world’s most marginalized population, the children of Africa. • The “Boat-of-Knowledge in the Science Classroom (BooKS in Classroom),” a joint effort of the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education and Human Services and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology to support K-12 science and math education and provide hands-on research experience to teachers in southeastern Ohio. • The George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics, and Institutions, which strives to provide a fresh look at American history and its context in western civilization. • The College of Osteopathic Medicine’s mobile van, which travels to communities in southeastern Ohio to provide free health services. • The Department of English’s creative writing program, which has received international acclaim for its faculty and graduate student work in the areas of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. These are just a few of the many examples of how Ohio University is engaged in scholarship and outreach that has the ability to impact society—from our home region of southeastern Ohio to the farthest reaches of the globe.
ABOUT PERSPECTIVES Perspectives: Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity at Ohio University is published twice a year by the Office of Research Communications, part of the Vice President for Research division. The magazine serves its readers by providing information about the research, scholarly, and creative activities of Ohio University faculty, staff, and students, and about the contributions of university research in general through the publication of accurate and balanced journalistic content that informs, stimulates intellectual discussion, and promotes scholarly inquiry. Text, photographs, and artwork may not be reprinted without written permission from the editor. Contact us for more information about the research program at Ohio University: Vice President for Research 120 Research and Technology Center Athens, OH 45701-2979 Phone: (740) 593-0370 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.ohio.edu/research Comments and queries regarding editorial content should be addressed to Editor, Perspectives magazine: Phone: (740) 597-2166 E-mail: email@example.com
RESEARCH NEWS BRIEFS
CAT C H I N G
C RO C ODI L E S C E R A M I C S A RT I S T S :
ALL FIRED UP NANOSCIENCE: SMALL WONDERS MEMOIRS OF A MUSIC COLLECTOR BLAZARS LIGHT UP THE COSMOS Microscopic view of the cell wall of a plant.
ENVIRONMENTAL + PLANT BIOLOGY | by Stephanie Dutchen
Understanding how plants create cell walls could improve food, biofuel production What do candy, cosmetics, T-shirts, and paper have in common? They’re all derived from cell walls—tough structures surrounding plant cells that influence cell shape, growth, and communication. Found in plants but not animals, cell walls help woody stalks stand tall and make almonds harder than apples. “We are eating cell walls, we are wearing cell walls, and yet we don’t understand how plant cells build these complex structures outside themselves,” says Ahmed Faik, an Ohio University associate professor S T EV E N EVA N S of environmental and plant biology. professor of psychology Faik’s laboratory is dedicated to finding out how plant cells make cell walls. He knows that cells dispatch specific worker proteins called glycosyltransferases (a type of enzyme) to tack on the walls’ main
ingredients, sugars. It takes about 100 different enzymes, each with its own specific function, to build a wall. So far, says Faik, researchers have discovered the function of only a dozen of those enzymes. Faik recently added two more to the collection. He and his collaborators published a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry identifying the first two enzymes known to assist in building arabinogalactan-proteins (AGPs), a major component of all cell walls. Faik found that the enzyme fucosyltransferases helps build AGPs by adding the sugar fucose. Since AGPs contain many sugars besides fucose, Faik knows that other enzymes are involved. But his discovery will let researchers start piecing together the puzzle. And
Faik, along with his Ohio University collaborators, Allan Showalter and Marcia Kieliszewski, has already gone on to discover what might be a second AGP enzyme, a finding they’ll publish soon. Now that they’re starting to name the players, researchers can try to “tweak the composition of the cell wall and adapt it for our needs,” says Faik, whose research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That could benefit industries ranging from food production, which could adjust the growth rates of crops and increase produce shelf life, to biofuels, which could improve the conversion of cell wall sugars into ethanol and other hydrocarbon fuels.
“We are eating cell walls, we are wearing cell walls, and yet we don’t understand how plant cells build these complex structures outside themselves.” AHME D FA I K associate professor of environmental and plant biology KEITH H AW K I N S astronomy student
RESEARCH NEWS BRIEFS
“People were less likely to get screened if they didn’t perceive high enough benefits.” TRAVIS LOV E J OY psychology graduate student
:: J O U R N A L I S M , P S YC H O LOGY | by Susan Dalzell
Fatalism, finances reduce health screenings in Appalachia
hen cancer strikes in Appalachia, the response may not be quite what you expect.
“There can be a fatalism in Appalachia. Because of religious beliefs,
people will believe that whatever happens, happens for a reason. They’ll think, ‘What would I do about it anyway?’” says Jennette Lovejoy, an Ohio University graduate student in journalism. If more people participated in screenings for cancer, catching it early at a more treatable stage, perhaps that fatalism could be abated and more lives saved. Travis Lovejoy, a graduate student in psychology, conducted several recent studies—with Jennette Lovejoy as co-investigator—to better understand the factors that influence Appalachians’ decisions to be screened. Through telephone and in-person surveys as well as focus groups, the Lovejoys asked men and women in Appalachian Ohio about their screening practices for breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer. They also were asked about their incomes and education, their beliefs about cancer and cancer screenings, and how they obtain health and medical information. The research was funded by a partnership between the Scripps College of Communication and the American Cancer Society.
ILLUSTRATION: CHRISTINA ULLMAN
The Lovejoys found, not surprisingly, that individuals with lower incomes and those who lacked health insurance were less likely to get screened. But psychology also factored into the decision. “People were less likely to get screened if they didn’t perceive high enough benefits,” says Travis Lovejoy. For instance, if they didn’t think the screening could result in a longer life, it wasn’t worth the fear of undergoing an invasive screening procedure. The study also discovered that 65 percent of Appalachians followed screening recommendations for breast cancer, 70 percent for cervical, 50 percent for colorectal, and 50 percent for prostate. It may take a regional approach to find ways to increase those numbers, whether it’s working with local religious beliefs or tailoring awareness campaigns so they “hit closer to home, rather than using celebrities,” Travis Lovejoy says.
AMOUNT OF ROYALTY INCOME Ohio University received in fiscal year 2010 for licenses to industry for research discoveries; the Pfizer corporation is the greatest contributor.
Fossils of the cat-like crocodile Pakasuchus, discovered in Tanzania, show molar-like teeth and a jaw with shearing edges.
: : B I O M E D I C A L S C I E N C E S | by Andrea Gibson
Ohio University scientists find reptile fossil with mammalian teeth When a team led by Ohio University scientists uncovered the fossil of a small, ancient crocodile in Tanzania in 2008, they were puzzled by its molar-like teeth. “If you only looked at the teeth, you wouldn’t think this was a crocodile. You would wonder what kind of strange mammal or mammallike reptile it is,” says Patrick O’Connor, an associate professor of anatomy in the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. The scientists’ subsequent discovery of seven more of these strange crocodiles in the Rukwa Rift Basin—a new species named Pakasuchus (Paka is the Ki-Swahili
name for cat and souchos is Greek for crocodile)—is changing the picture of animal life at 100 million years ago in what is now sub-Saharan Africa. Pakasuchus was a small animal— “its head would fit in the palm of your hand,” O’Connor says—that wasn’t as heavily armored as other crocodiles, except along the tail. Its jaw possessed shearing edges for processing food, similar in form to the teeth of some mammalian carnivores. Other aspects of its anatomy suggest it was an active, land-dwelling creature that likely feasted on insects and other small animals to survive. The new species isn’t a close
relative of modern crocodilians, but is a member of a very successful side branch of the crocodyliform lineage that lived during the Mesozoic Era, says O’Connor, who published the study with Ohio University collaborators Nancy Stevens and Ryan Ridgely, as well as an international team of scientists, in the journal Nature in July. While the specimens of the newly discovered animal and its close relatives are unusual, the study suggests that the creatures were abundant during the middle Cretaceous period, from around 110 million until 80 million years ago. Based on other fossils discovered as part of the Rukwa Rift Basin Project, Pakasuchus lived alongside large, planteating sauropod and predatory theropod dinosaurs, other types of crocodiles, turtles, and various kinds of fishes. “We suspect that notosuchians were very successful in the southern hemisphere because they were exploiting a certain ecological niche, one in which they were able to successfully compete with
other small-bodied, terrestrial animals,” O’Connor says. “This is an environment that was quite different from what we typically think of for crocodiles.” During much of the Cretaceous Period, Afro-Arabia, along with India, Madagascar, Antarctica, Australia, and South America, were joined together as the southern supercontinent Gondwana. Relatively few Cretaceous-age mammals have been recovered from this part of the world, and most of those discovered don’t appear to be related to modern mammals, says O’Connor, whose team’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society. “One of the reasons we’re working in different parts of the southern hemisphere, including Africa and Antarctica, is that not as much exploration has been done in these locales. We are still piecing together the puzzle of what animal life was like in these places,” O’Connor says. “Perhaps we just haven’t found the mammals yet.”
“If you only looked at the teeth, you wouldn’t think this was a crocodile. You would wonder what kind of strange mammal or mammal-like reptile it is.” PA T R I C K O ’ C O N N O R , associate professor of anatomy in the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine IMAGES: ILLUSTRATION BY MARK WITTON, UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH; PHOTO COURTESY OF PATRICK O’CONNOR
RESEARCH NEWS BRIEFS
C E R A M I C S | by A n d re a Gibson
All fired up
Ceramic artists experiment with local clays and new wood-firing techniques
or ceramic artists who use wood-fired kilns, their work is about more than creating with
clay. The process for using this traditional firing technique requires physical labor, patience, and a zeal for the sometimes unexpected results of the kiln. But that’s also what draws artists to the ancient craft.
“No one splits ten cords of wood if they don’t love the process and aren’t dedicated to the results,” says Ohio University graduate student Bryce Brisco while surveying a tall stack of logs that will become fuel for the school’s five outdoor woodfired kilns. The chance to experiment with this unique facility drew four visiting artists to campus in July. In a symposium organized by Brisco and fellow graduate student James Tingey, each artist worked with Ohio University undergraduate and graduate students to explore the
PHOTOS: BRAD CHAFFIN
impact of the different kilns on their finished works of art. Each of the five brick kilns can create distinct results, Brisco explains. Depending on how the kilns were built, the angle and intensity of the flames heating the clay pieces can vary. Some kilns generate heavier ash deposits, which makes for darker colors, while the light ash in other kilns can produce warmer, toastier effects. The artists also can add salt to the process, which creates a glossy finish. Otherwise the pieces may bear a dry, ashy surface. During the wood firing
The firing process, which takes 36 to 40 hours, requires vigilant attention from the artists.
symposium, the artists also planned to experiment with a technique called reduction cooling, in which the pieces remain longer in an oxygen-starved environment to create saturated cranberry and gunmetal gray colors, Brisco says. Other kilns would be fired longer to enhance ash deposits. The visiting artists also were eager to test out the iron-rich, locally mined clay, which had been sourced from Logan, Ohio, and Strouds Run in Athens. Lindsay Oesterritter, a visiting artist from Bowling Green, Kentucky, notes that some ceramic artists are passionate about using regional clays and also local wood, which bears minerals specific to the geographic location where it was harvested. “This clay is unique to the area—it’s a signature of the place,” she says. The firing process, which takes 36 to 40 hours, requires vigilant attention from the community of artists—from loading the wood and pieces, managing the flames
around the clock, and unloading the finished works. Visiting artist Missy McCormick usually uses a more conventional firing technique in her studio outside of Cincinnati (many ceramic artists use indoor gas- or electric-fired kilns), but relished the chance to return to this community-focused wood-firing process. “This work can be isolating, so it’s great to be able to come out and interact with peers who wood fire,” says McCormick, who spent the week with fellow visiting artists Oesterritter, Josh Copus, and Matt Hylek. The foursome are exhibiting their work at the Trisolini Gallery through October 9. Though the firing process can call for an intensive few days of work, Brisco says he’s attracted to using traditional techniques that are thousands of years old. “I’m interested in keeping that tradition alive,” he says, “and in blending historical references with contemporary ideas.”
:: PH Y S I C S + A S T RO N O M Y | by Andrea Gibson + Robin Donovan
Scientists harness the power of atoms
WORLD’S SMALLEST S U P E R C O N D U C TO R
STIMULUS FUNDING AWARDED to Ohio University for research and facilities upgrades, as of June 2010, for work on topics ranging from diabetes and climate change in Antarctica to human decision-making and acid rain.
How close are scientists to developing a faster, more powerful computer that harnesses the unique physics of the nanoscale? While an actual quantum computer is still years away, researchers at Ohio University’s Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute have made advances this year that suggest science fiction could become science fact.
ELECTRONIC DEVICES + ENERGY APPLICATIONS
A team of researchers led by Ohio University’s Saw-Wai Hla discovered the world’s smallest superconductor, a sheet of four pairs of molecules less than one nanometer wide. The study provides the first evidence that nanoscale molecular superconducting wires can be fabricated, which could be used for nanoscale electronic devices and energy applications, says Hla, an associate professor of physics and astronomy whose study was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Superconducting materials have an electrical resistance of zero, which allows them to carry large electrical currents without power dissipation or heat generation for applications such as supercomputers and brain imaging devices. Though scientists needed to cool the molecules in the study to a temperature of 10 Kelvin to observe the tiny superconductor, the study paves the way for other scientists to test different materials that might be able to form nanoscale superconducting wires at the higher temperatures needed for practical applications, Hla says.
This image shows the smallest superconductor, which is only .87 nanometer wide.
The different shape and appearance of each individual cobalt atom is caused by the different spin directions.
SPINTRONICS HIGH-TECH DEVICES + COMPUTERS
Though scientists argue that the emerging technology of spintronics could lead to the next generation of faster, smaller, more efficient computers and high-tech devices, no one has actually seen the spin—a quantum mechanical property of electrons—in individual atoms until now. But Hla and scientists at the University of Hamburg in Germany have now produced the first images of atomic spin. The researchers used a custombuilt microscope with an ironcoated tip and scanning tunneling microscopy to move individual atoms and change the direction of the electrons’ spin. Images captured by the scientists showed that the atoms appeared as a single protrusion if the spin direction was upward, and as double protrusions with equal heights when the spin direction was downward. The finding could impact future development of nanoscale magnetic storage, quantum computers, and spintronic devices, as different directions in spin can affect data storage, says Hla, whose work was funded by the National Science Foundation. “In the future, we may be able to use one atom and change the power of the computer by the thousands,” he says. Another advantage: Unlike electronic devices, which give off heat, spintronic-based devices are expected to experience less power dissipation.
QUANTUM DOTS QUANTUM COMPUTER DATA STORAGE
Physicists found more evidence that they can control matter at the nanoscale in a new study published in the journal Nature Physics. In an experiment proposed by Ohio University theoretical scientist Sasha Govorov, researchers at the Eindhoven University in Holland used a laser to excite the electrons in quantum dots—also known as artificial atoms—and prompted them to interact with the electrons in a metallic element. This created several new states of matter, including one called a hybrid exciton whose existence Govorov had predicted in a previous study. Because these nanoscale interactions happen so quickly, scientists can’t see them in real time. The researchers measured the light emitted by the electrons during the experiment in order to verify the discovery. The fact that scientists could manage and control these nanoscale states of matter suggests that the states could be used to develop data storage for quantum computers— much in the way that transistors are used to create information in today’s computers, Govorov explains.
Lasers can be used to excite the electrons in quantum dots.
IMAGES (FIG1 & 2): COURTESY OF SAW-WAI HLA; ILLUSTRATION (FIG 3): STAS SEMUKHIN
RESEARCH NEWS BRIEFS
: : V I S UA L C O M M U N I C AT I ON | by Susan Dalzell
Memoirs of a music collector Renowned folklorist reflects on Ohio’s traditional tunes in new book
hen Julie Elman was a student at Ohio University in 1987, studying photography for
an MFA, she encountered a woman whose talent and spirit would inspire her for the next 23 years.
A new Ohio University Press book about noted dulcimer artist Anne Grimes, above, was designed by Julie Elman.
Faced with an assignment to create a magazine from scratch, Elman focused on her newfound interest in the mountain dulcimer. Anne Grimes of Granville, Ohio, a nationally respected folklorist and musician, graciously accepted Elman’s request to be interviewed and photographed. Grimes, in her 70s, also was known for her large dulcimer collection—rare and vintage instruments so impressive that they eventually would be donated to the Smithsonian Institution. In the 1950s, she had collected songs and ballads from singers in Ohio, and the tape-recorded material had been duplicated by the Library of Congress. She had recorded a Folkways album in 1957, performed at the National Folk Festival, and regularly gave lecture-concerts about the lessons the songs taught about Ohio history. Elman spent one day with her, photographing her with her dulcimers. “She was so graceful and so beautiful,” Elman recalls of that February day in 1987. Of the many photos she took, one image really stuck with her, of Grimes in an old-fashioned dress, playing the dulcimer, laughter illuminating her face. “I pinned it up wherever I lived,” she says. “It’s a picture that made me really happy.” Elman graduated and went on to a fruitful career as a newspaper designer, playing dulcimer on the
“I pinned it up wherever I lived. It’s a picture that made me really happy.” J U L I E E L M A N , assistant professor of visual communication at Ohio University
PHOTO: COURTESY OF JULIE ELMAN
side. When Grimes died in 2004, one of her daughters tracked Elman down in Virginia, and requested a copy of the photo for her mother’s obituary. In 2007, when Elman was back in Athens as an assistant professor of visual communication, a Grimes daughter got in touch again. She requested help making contact with Ohio University Press about publishing a first-person book her mother had written about her travels through Ohio in the 1950s, collecting traditional music. Elman mentioned that she’d love to design the book. Many months later, the Press agreed to hire her on for the project. “I tried hard to avoid making the book feel text-heavy,” Elman says. “I wanted it broken up in a way so people wouldn’t feel like they were opening a heavy tome.” Stories from the Anne Grimes Collection of American Folk Music, written by Grimes and edited by her four daughters, was published in July. There are 40 chapters, each presenting an individual that Grimes interviewed. Elman’s design integrates small Ohio maps showing the home counties of the singers and musicians, lyrics right out of Grimes’ typewriter, scraps of paper with musical notation on it, and black-and-white portraits, including Elman’s photograph. Throughout the design process, Elman continued to use that photo, now framed and hanging in her home, as inspiration. “I wanted to do right by her,” she says. “I just feel really honored to have the opportunity to do this.”
NUMBER OF JOBS GENERATED by businesses in the Ohio University Innovation Center in 2009. The small business incubator supports start-up firms based on faculty research, as well as new companies launched by local entrepreneurs.
Their energy is “so far beyond our experience on Earth. We have particles being accelerated to energies that are 100 million times more powerful than any accelerator on Earth can achieve.” MARKUS BÖT TCHER associate professor of astrophysics
:: PHYSICS + ASTRONOMY by St e p h a n i e Du t c h e n
Sky lights Bright, bold blazars intrigue astrophysicists
upermassive black holes churn in the centers of some galaxies near the universe’s edge. As disks
of gas and dust spiral toward the point of no return, matter shoots out in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light, like steam from an angry cartoon character’s ears.
Sometimes, these jets happen to be pointed almost right toward Earth. In that case, these active galaxies are called blazars. Ohio University astrophysicist Markus Böttcher likes studying them because their energy is “so far beyond our experience on Earth. We have particles being accelerated to energies that are 100 million times more powerful than any accelerator on Earth can achieve.” Böttcher believes that studying blazars could help us understand galactic evolution. Since most, if not all, galaxies have supermassive
black holes at their cores—including the Milky Way-active galaxies might represent one stage in the life cycle of all galaxies. Blazars allow scientists to explore conditions near black holes and better understand how they convert matter into incredibly powerful jets. When those jets point toward Earth, they provide the brightest sources of high-energy gamma rays in the sky. But they waver in brightness on timescales of months to hours, and astronomers don’t yet know why. The answer may lie in the blazars’
magnetic fields, according to a recent paper published in the journal Nature by a worldwide team of astronomers that included Böttcher. The team studied a blazar called 3C 279 in the constellation Virgo. They used telescopes on Earth and in space to observe the full spectrum of light, from radio waves to X rays and gamma rays. “The brightness was shooting up and down,” says Böttcher, who observed 3C 279’s visible light with the MDM Observatory on Kitt Peak near Tucson, Arizona. The light was polarized and the research team saw that the direction “was swinging around. That was a very new finding,” adds Böttcher, who is continuing to do more analysis of the galaxy’s optical light. Böttcher and his co-authors believe part of 3C 279’s magnetic field is altered by shocks traveling through the jet. That could put “a little bit of kink” in the beam, producing the changes in polarization and brightness.
by J I M P H I L L I P S
TO ALLEVIATE GLOBAL WARMING, ENGINEERS DESIGN NEW WAYS TO REMOVE, STORE, AND NEUTRALIZE THE PROBLEM GAS
The carbon dioxide
GENER AT E D F RO M B U R N I N G FO S SIL FUELS IS BELIEVED TO BE HEAT I N G U P T H E P L A N E T, P U T T ING IT AT RISK FOR DISASTROUS C L I M AT E C H A N GE . The solution? The power industry, oil-and-gas industry, and government agencies are exploring how to pull CO2 out of smokestack emissions, compress it, and then pump it deep into the earth, where it can’t amplify the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. But deep in the earth, the gas poses a new problem: Under very high pressure, CO2, now a weird, volatile hybrid of liquid and gas (the so-called “super-critical” CO2), develops new properties—including a bigger appetite for eating through pipelines and compressors. Engineers at Ohio University’s Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology—a world leader in CO2 and H2S (hydrogen sulfide) corrosion research—are hoping to give the power and oil-and-gas industries a better handle on the technology they may need, if they plan to sequester CO2 in geologic formations. “You have to be able to compress it and transport it to a site where you’re going to inject it into the ground,” explains David Young, a researcher and assistant director for academic affairs at the institute. But under the pressures used—over half a ton per square inch—CO2 enters the super-critical state, unrecognizable as the innocuous gas we expel in every breath. For one thing, it’s much more reactive chemically—which can mean serious corrosion problems for steel pipelines and machinery.
“The challenge is looking at what role the contaminants have in corrosion processess, and how to handle and control that.” D AV I D YOUNG assistant director for academic affairs, Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology
How much more depends partly on what trace impurities it contains—such as water, oxygen, or nitrogen or sulfur compounds—and in what amounts. Water plus CO2, for example, equals carbonic acid, which, especially at high pressures, can gnaw away at steel. Institute researchers are creating a model that would allow engineers in industry to predict corrosion problems they’ll face with each chemical profile of CO2 they’re working with, explains Yoon-Seok Choi, the institute’s associate director for research. The challenge, Young adds, is “looking at what role the contaminants have in corrosion processes, and how to handle and control that.” Adaptations could include finding more corrosion-resistant materials, or making sure impurity levels are in a range that minimizes corrosiveness—figuring out, in Young’s words, “what you can get away with” in terms of contaminant concentrations. Whatever approach industry experts end up taking, Ohio researchers are giving them not just a bundle of facts, but mathematical formulas that give usable results, says Marc Singer, the institute’s associate director for project development. Both private industry and government agencies are tapping the institute’s expertise and are funding projects ranging from “amine scrubbing,” a well-established method for removing CO2 from flue gas, to the mitigation of corrosion of pressurized CO2. The institute has published or presented findings in the last few years that have contributed new perspectives to the field. The corrosion problem is huge in economic terms. Young says he’s seen figures suggesting it costs the oil-and-gas industry around $2 billion annually. And the institute is uniquely situated to address it. For more than a decade, the institute, the largest facility of its kind in the world, has worked with a consortium of the world’s 19 top oil and chemical companies, seeking ways to arrest the corrosion that ravages oil-and-gas pipelines and which, if not checked, can lead to disastrous spills. The facility’s many “flow loops” allow researchers to simulate conditions inside pipelines, and help attract projects from around the globe, from Australia to Uzbekistan. Most of the institute’s $2.5 million annual budget comes from the private sector, and while the institute is a top-flight outfit for corrosion research in general, it’s probably the world’s number one center for study of CO2- and H2S-related corrosion. Bob Brown, clean coal technology manager with
the Ohio Coal Development Office, says that when the state looked for someone to study corrosion connected to CO2 transport, the institute was the clear choice. “Based on their experience in doing similar studies for the oil-and-gas industry, it seemed like they were a natural to look at this question for us as well,” he says. Another research project, just getting underway at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, complements the CO2 work at the institute. Before CO2 from power-plant flue gas can be sequestered, it must be separated. Loehr Professor of Mechanical Engineering David Bayless, director of the Ohio Coal Research Center, is trying to improve a method of removing CO2 from smokestack gas. If it works, it may result in lower impurity levels in CO2, which could make dealing with corrosion simpler. Some coal-fired power plants already scrub emissions to remove sulfur dioxide. The process Bayless is examining to remove CO2, which uses carbonates (such as baking soda), takes advantage of the hot, wet conditions inside a smokestack sulfur-scrubber. The carbonates Bayless and other researchers study are natron and/or trona, natural minerals obtainable by mining. Bayless is exploring a cost-effective way to greatly increase the surface area and reactivity of these carbonates, by using something he calls “the popcorn principle.” A piece of uncooked corn contains a drop of moisture, which, when heated, expands suddenly, poofing the kernel into a high-surface-area morsel. Trona and natron, likewise, are “hydrated”– that is, a particle of either contains water. And “if you heat that particle up really, really fast,” Bayless explains, “that particle will ‘popcorn’ on you.” If the process can be perfected, he says, it will multiply the surface area of a gram of natron dust —about one square meter—up to 15 times. So while the corrosion institute is studying how impurity levels affect CO2’s corrosion properties, Bayless’ work offers the prospect of extracting CO2 in high-purity form. This could make it easier to address corrosion, because industry would be working with a dry, uniform mix of CO2, regardless of the fuel whose combustion it came from. That could be good news for global temperatures, if it eases pulling carbon from the air and storing it underground. While questions still need to be answered about sequestering CO2—will it move around? Will it react with underground minerals?—the U.S. Department of Energy hopes this approach can form part of a strategy to bring many power plants and factories down to nearzero carbon emissions. The agency notes that many big U.S. carbon emitters are near sites that could sequester CO2, and cites estimates that deep saline formations in the United States could store up to 500 billion metric tons. Expand this to an international scale— the Norwegian oil company Statoil is already injecting about 1 million metric tons a year of CO2 into a saline formation, roughly the output of a 150-megawatt coal-fired power plant—and global warming starts to look, while still daunting, a bit less hopeless. PHOTO: RICK FATICA
ANTHROPOLOGY :: SOCIOLOGY
h o m e l a nd
INSECURITY ANTHROPOLOGIST HALEY DUSCHINSKI STUDIES HOW THE KASHMIRI PEOPLE USE NONVIOLENT MEANS TO ADVOCATE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE IN AN OCCUPIED STATE
n 2009, Ohio University anthropologist Haley Duschinski was attending a wedding in the troubled Kashmir Valley.
Keeping with the custom of the region’s predominantly Muslim population, the women of the assembly were segregated from the men before the nuptials. When guests from the village of Shopian arrived, the new female contingent was promptly drawn into conversation with the women already present. They didn’t talk about the bride’s beauty or the groom’s prospects, however. Instead, the new arrivals were grilled for the latest news on the rape and murder of two women in their hometown—widely suspected as the work of Indian security forces occupying Kashmir. In this most ceremonial, seemingly apolitical of settings, Duschinski recalls, the women launched into “this really heated, animated discussion” about the case, that “went on for a couple of hours.”
by JIM PHILLIPS
The debate didn’t happen in public. But, Duschinski suggests, it’s an example of how Kashmiris are trying to work out answers, day by day, to a pressing question: What do “justice” and “human rights” mean in practice—and how might they best be defended—in this land where hostile soldiers walk the streets? Duschinski, an assistant professor of anthropology and sociology, has studied the Kashmiris’ movement for political selfdetermination for more than a decade, with repeated trips to their beautiful, isolated valley. “What I’m looking at most broadly are the ways in which people on the ground understand and interpret human rights and justice,” explains Duschinski, who’s affiliated with Ohio University’s new program in War and Peace and Center for Law, Justice, and Culture. “I’m trying to understand how people are struggling to establish accountability for state violence under conditions of occupation, when the state is the body that determines accountability.” Since 1947, Kashmir, high in the Himalayas on India’s northwest border with Pakistan, has been the object of a fierce dispute between the two countries, including three all-out wars and many smaller conflicts. With control of their homeland split among India, Pakistan, and China, the Kashmiri people struggle for self-determination. In the early 1990s some took up arms, but by around the end of that decade, the Indian military had crushed the insurrection. Hundreds of thousands of security forces remain stationed in the part of the region they control. Since the failure of the uprising, Duschinski says, “a new, nonviolent resistance movement” has emerged, despite harsh repression that includes torture, rape, illegal detentions, killings and “disappearances.” The rise of the nonviolent movement was forced into full blossom by what she calls a “complicated crisis moment” in August 2008, when the Indian government tried to transfer land in Kashmir Valley to a Hindu religious board, triggering opposition by Muslims, and, in turn, a violent crackdown. At some point, Duschinski says, Kashmiris realized no armed resistance could outgun the Indian forces; nonviolence was the only viable option. Though many of the most vocal proponents of this nonviolent “second revolution” are educated urban elites—including many younger people—it has widespread popular support, she says. As an advocacy anthropologist, Duschinski doesn’t claim her scholarship is purely objective; she criticizes “the sheer brutality of state violence
Malik Sajad has become well known in Kashmir for his biting political cartoons; the artist is at work on a graphic novel about the conflict in his homeland.
“What I’m looking at most broadly are the ways in which people on the ground understand and interpret human rights and justice.” HALEY DUSCHINSKI assistant professor of anthropology and sociology
in the region,” and admits, “I basically feel people should have a right to determine their own political futures.” As a scholar, though, what intrigues her is how a campaign for human rights plays out in a traditional, somewhat insular society. While the Kashmiri struggle resembles other human-rights efforts, it also has unique aspects, says Duschinski, who is working on a book based on this research. One of Kashmir’s most important civil-society groups, for example, is the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons. Like groups that arose in Argentina after Pinochet, it’s made up mainly of mothers searching for “disappeared” children. What makes Kashmir different is that it’s still an occupied country, where many violent acts by security forces are, on paper, legal. This means, Duschinski says, that the closest twin of the Kashmiri situation is probably found in Palestine. There, as in Kashmir, the human rights campaign must play out largely in the public arena, as people seek to express their feelings about the occupation and send a message to the world outside. Groups from all corners of Kashmiri society have developed creative resistance strategies. Some show their anger by throwing stones at security forces. Others take part in public demonstrations, or stage “performance” events such as mock tribunals and people’s courts. The Indian legal system is brought into play, as activists seek redress for human rights abuses in the courts. Remarkably, notes Duschinski, all this happens in a place where, despite elections, “there’s no trace of democracy in practice. … Kashmir is very much an occupied state.” When the struggle was armed, she notes, “the
call was always for freedom.” Now that occupation is a fact of life, calls for freedom are matched with calls for justice, as Kashmiris seek state accountability for human rights violations, and legal redress for victims and their families. “The younger generation that has grown up since 1990, only knowing violence, still hasn’t given up hope,” she marvels. Resistance also has taken forms flowing from the rich artistic and literary traditions of Kashmiri society. Poetry, memoir, photography—all are pressed into service, as fuel for the endless debate that enlivens the movement. There’s Malik Sajad, for example, who is writing his homeland’s first graphic novel, and whose biting political cartoons can be viewed at kashmirblackandwhite.com. “Everybody in Kashmir knows his cartoons,” Duschinski reports. “He sees his art as a form of protest.” Duschinski uses the anthropologist’s most basic tool, the participant field study, in which she enters the community and interviews people in depth, from activists to wedding guests. Kashmiri former journalist Ather Zia says Duschinski’s “deep involvement with her informants and the society at large” helps her grasp the complexity of Kashmir’s condition, “which might not be evident to someone who does not know the people on the ground so well, or does not visit as frequently as she does.” This level of immersion has let Duschinski witness how a sense of shared struggle can rise up out of Kashmiri daily life—or as an anthropologist might say, how abstractions of justice and human rights are “vernacularized” in a way that’s recognizably Kashmiri. IMAGES: COURTESY OF MALIK SAJAD
independent L E N S AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF EASTERN EUROPEAN POLITICAL HISTORY, CROATIAN FILMMAKER RAJKO GRLIC TELLS POWERFUL HUMAN STORIES OF LOVE, HOPE, BETRAYAL
by SUSAN DALZELL
“It's not enough to come in and look at things from the outside. It's better to come in from your roots, from where you grew up.” RAJKO GRLIC Ohio Eminent Scholar in Film
HAS BEEN FILLING MOVIE THEATERS IN
EASTERN EUROPE FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS. AS A DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, OR WRITER OF NEARLY 50 FILMS, GRLIC HAS EARNED A REPUTATION IN HIS NATIVE CROATIA AS SOMEONE WHO HASN’T FLINCHED FROM TELLING HONEST AND REAL STORIES— EVEN WHEN THE POWERS-THAT-BE PREFERRED THAT HE DIDN’T. Grlic, the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Film at Ohio University, may not make Hollywood blockbuster films, but in independent film circles, his name carries cachet. “In the former Yugoslavia and throughout the film world, he is a household name,” says Andrew Horton, a professor of film and video studies at the University of Oklahoma. “He is a wonderful combination of great filmmaker, writer, director, and co-producer, but beyond that, he’s a professor and film festival organizer. I don’t know anyone else who has that combination of talents.” Grlic has screened numerous films at the world’s most prestigious festivals and walked away with top prizes. His most recent film, Just Between Us, received rave reviews when it premiered in Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia in March. In 1999, Grlic co-founded the Motovun Film Festival in Croatia, which has thrived as a small festival popular with film students. The movie-making business can be brutal, but Grlic has managed to survive despite everchanging political, financial, and artistic hurdles. “I was born in a country (Yugoslavia) and went to school in a country (Czechoslovakia) that doesn’t exist anymore,” Grlic says. In the late 1960s, he studied film at FAMU, a Prague film academy. It was there that he learned the storytelling style that would characterize his future work. “The Czech cinema has been very good about telling human stories about everyday people as opposed to action heroes,” Horton notes. Grlic and four of his fellow film school classmates would eventually become known as the Prague School of Yugoslav filmmakers. The
Rajko Grlic’s 2010 feature film Just Between Us explores the erotic passions beneath everyday, middle-class life in Zagreb.
moniker came about during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the young directors’ films collected accolades for ushering in a new era of filmmaking in Yugoslavia, telling powerful human stories set against political backdrops. “It is quite common in all of his films that people are controlled by historical forces but also have free will in their own actions,” says Ruth Bradley, director of the Athens Center for Film and Video. In February, Bradley curated a retrospective of 10 of Grlic’s films in Athens. She has found that American audiences unfamiliar with specific European historical events can still relate to the personal stories of love or betrayal portrayed in Grlic’s films. In Just Between Us, the first feature Grlic has filmed in Croatia in 20 years, the intertwined love affairs of two brothers with their wives and mistresses reveal a passionate undercurrent in the lives of middle-class Croatians. Set in the present, allusions are made to the 1990s war, but the film’s emphasis is on complicated relationships among individuals, not nation-states. His documentaries have sometimes delved into politics more overtly. For Croatia 2000—Who Wants to be a President, Grlic made a featurelength documentary chronicling the campaigns of three candidates for president. “It was a great draw at the box office,” Grlic says. On February 20, his half-hour follow-up film, 10 Years After, screened on Croatian television. The new film examined the president’s legacy on the eve of him relinquishing his office to a democratically elected successor. Grlic’s relationship with politicians hasn’t always been so congenial. Working under a communist regime had its perils. “Some of my films were taken by police and not shown for a year,” Grlic says. “Six or seven of my documentary films were forbidden for 20 to 30 years.” Censors objected to everything from political and sexual content
to, in one case, the portrayal of a policeman who committed suicide. When the country dissolved into civil war in the early 1990s, Grlic was forced to leave. He taught for a year at New York University as a visiting professor before coming to Ohio University in 1993. He gave up filmmaking for nearly a decade, focusing instead on teaching and multimedia projects. In 1999, inspired by the end of Franjo Tudman’s presidency, he returned to Croatia to film a very brief documentary, “trying to capture the end of an era.” His desire to direct was reignited. “I was sure I was through making films, but you start to shoot again and you get hungry,” he says. These days, it’s not politics, but money, that creates the biggest hurdles. “Once upon a time, in the country of Yugoslavia, 70 to 80 percent of the money was coming in from the Ministry of Culture,” Grlic says. Now, he says, European Union funding— which requires international cooperation—is a must. And because Europe provides more funding opportunities than the United States— and rewards prominent directors who have built a solid reputation—Grlic chooses to make his films abroad. Getting a film screened in at least one of the seven or eight “A” film festivals is vital for getting picked up for distribution in countries worldwide. Just Between Us opened in July at just such an “A” festival, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. Grlic is not immune to the allure of Hollywood, however. “I have 30 to 40 stories, all enormous big-budget films I’d never ever try to make, but sometimes try to play with on paper,” he says. He’s in the early stages of developing an electronic book and website that reflect a director’s diary, with personal and historic notes, photos, drawings, videos, and music, “so you can try to imagine what the film would be.” European stories remain closest to his heart, and he relishes his insider advantage. “It’s not enough to come in and look at things from the outside,” he says. “It’s better to come in from your roots, from where you grew up.” After 18 years in the United States, Grlic is comfortable, but initially argues that he doesn’t know enough about American culture to tell its stories. He then pauses, chewing the idea over. “To tell a story here as an insider,” he muses, “maybe, one day, it could happen.” IMAGES: COURTESY OF RAJKO GRLIC
communication CUES NEW TECHNOLOGIES HELP BRIDGE THE COMMUNICATION GAP FOR PATIENTS WITH LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENTS TRIGGERED BY BRAIN INJURIES OR STROKE
COMMUNICATION SCIENCES + DISORDERS
“Our goal is to help others—health care workers, family, significant others— understand that just because patients don’t respond when you give them a command, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t ‘get it.’” BROOKE HALLOWELL professor of communication sciences and disorders
by LINDA KNOPP
hen a stroke patient or someone with a traumatic brain injury doesn’t respond to questions as expected, everyone from family members to clinicians might assume that the person has lost cognitive abilities. But those assumptions often are incorrect. Aphasia—a neurological condition brought on by brain disease or injury—impairs people’s ability to process language but doesn’t affect their intelligence. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to determine how much individuals with aphasia understand.
Brooke Hallowell, professor of communication sciences and disorders at Ohio University, has been working for the last 20 years to change that. “Everyone has experienced situations where they have strengths that are overlooked or where people make judgments about their abilities that are based on incorrect information,” Hallowell says. “For patients with aphasia, people may be incorrectly assuming that these patients are not cognizant of everything going on around them.” Most tools currently used in clinical settings to assess language comprehension can result in inaccurate diagnosis because of other medical conditions present. By learning how to better understand people’s abilities, health care providers can work with the patients and their families to select the appropriate social interventions, living situations, and therapies to improve their lives, Hallowell says. “It’s very important to figure out a patient’s abilities as well as their disabilities. Otherwise, these individuals could be misdiagnosed with a cognitive disorder, which could have a negative effect on their quality of life,” notes Hallowell, who first became interested in helping people with communication problems when, as a child, she volunteered at a nursing home where her mother worked as the activities director. This effort could become more important in the coming years, as the incidence of stroke and brain injuries is expected to increase as the population ages. Aphasia currently affects more than 1 million Americans, making it more prevalent than Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy. According to the National Aphasia Association, more than 100,000 Americans acquire the disorder each year. Over the last several years, Hallowell has conducted experiments on how eye-tracking methods may be used to assess language comprehension, on both people with aphasia and control groups of adults. Systems can monitor where people’s eyes look on a computer screen in response to different stimuli and instructions—for example, listening to stories and questions while viewing paintings on the computer screen. Eye-tracking systems are one of the most reliable means of measuring understanding in and communicating with people with linguistic disorders, Hallowell says, because eye movement is often the best preserved system in the human body when neurological disorders occur. Even among people who cannot speak or move, many can move their eyes in response to commands. Using a camera mounted to the bottom of a computer screen and a chin rest to steady a
patient’s head, the eye-tracking system Hallowell uses records eye position 60 times each second. The system takes two measurements—one looking at the pupil of the eye and another looking at the cornea. Customized computer software uses those two points to do a vector calculation to determine a third point, which allows Hallowell to get an accurate reading of where a patient’s eyes were fixated over time during an experiment. By matching those fixation points to the verbal cues individuals received, researchers can get a better understanding of how much the person comprehends. That’s not only been valuable information for the researchers, but also for the loved ones and caregivers of patients in Hallowell’s studies. “It’s most common for a spouse or partner of the patient to say something like, ‘This test is so good because I know he understands so much more than his test scores suggest, but he just can’t show people what he understands,’” Hallowell says. “On the other hand, a caregiver might also be surprised to learn that an eye-tracking test confirms poor comprehension, having had no clear way of knowing for sure what a loved one was taking in.” With experiences like these, Hallowell isn’t content to keep the technology in the laboratory. She has recruited a research team that includes Hans Kruse, professor of information and telecommunications systems at Ohio University, and LC Technologies, a Virginia-based firm that has already developed eye-tracking technology that helps people with disabilities use computers to communicate. Together, the team successfully applied for a $700,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant through the National Institutes of Health to determine the feasibility of commercializing this new technology. In partnership with Kruse, who oversees software development, and LC Technologies, Hallowell is working to develop a more user-friendly interface for the technology that will provide clinicians with the information they need to quickly and easily assess patients in a health care setting. Over the last year, the research team has used the SBIR funds to refine its hardware and software systems and filed a patent for the technology, both in the United States and internationally. This summer, the team began testing a new version of LC Technologies’ system that uses two cameras instead of one to record eye movements, which will provide even more accurate data readings. The team will then examine whether the increased accuracy is worth the increase in cost for clinicians to use the technology. This fall, the research team plans to apply for a National Institutes of Health SBIR Phase II grant to continue moving toward commercialization. Hallowell also is exploring how the technology might be used to examine other factors that are difficult to assess in people with neurological disorders, such as attention and working memory. Although that will require more study, Hallowell said she’s hopeful about the technology’s potential to help improve the quality of life of people with language disorders. “Our goal is to help others—health care workers, family, significant others—understand that just because patients don’t respond when you give them a command, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t ‘get it,’” Hallowell says. “We just need a better way to understand how much they ‘get.’”
BIOLOGIST LISA CROCKETT EXPLORES HOW THE UNUSUAL ICEFISH SURVIVES THE FRIGID CLIMATE OF ANTARCTICA
UNDER ICE .18
by SARA L A J E U N E S S E
A S A C H I L D,
Lisa Crockett was regaled with tales of an icy wonderland. In her mind’s eye, she saw the frozen plains, the looming ice formations, the gleaming snow. She heard the barking of sled dogs as they raced across the barren landscape. She pictured the fur-clad driver poised behind the dogs, like a gladiator guiding a chariot of horses into battle. She sensed the man’s spirit of adventure, his wild excitement. The character in Crockett’s childhood stories was her father. A dog handler for the first team of Americans—the Byrd Antarctic expedition (1928-1930)—to explore the Antarctic wilderness, he helped to conduct geological surveys and to discover places that had never before been seen by human eyes. “He was my hero,” she says. “I loved listening to his stories.” When her father died in 1978, Crockett, who now is an associate professor of biological sciences at Ohio University, vowed to visit the continent that he had loved. “I knew then that I would do just about anything to get myself to Antarctica,” she says. As it happens, she had only to work as an assistant for a biological researcher to realize her dream. She made her first trip to the icy continent in 1980. “It was the most beautiful place I could imagine,” she says. “It had the same magical quality that captivated me as a child.”
RED FISH, WHITE FISH n her travels, Crockett encountered majestic emperor penguins, massive humpback whales, and meat-eating leopard seals. But it was another animal—a much more bizarre animal—that would become the focus of her research. In the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean there lives an extraordinary group of fishes with blood as white as snow. Known as the icefishes, the group lacks hemoglobin, the iron-containing protein that transports oxygen throughout the bodies of red-blooded animals and gives their blood its ruddy color. “The icefishes are an exceptional group of animals,” she says. “They are the only vertebrates in the world that lack
hemoglobin as adults. My goal is to find out whether the lack of hemoglobin provides some benefit to the animals.” According to Crockett, scientists previously assumed that there must be an energy advantage associated with the loss of hemoglobin in the icefishes. Perhaps without hemoglobin, the blood is less viscous and, therefore, easier to pump? they wondered. But research eventually revealed that to compensate for the lack of hemoglobin, the icefishes evolved a number of traits, including a massive heart with which to pump large volumes of blood to their tissues. “The icefishes actually expend twice as much energy as red-blooded fishes of the same size to circulate blood throughout their bodies,” Crockett says. “It turns out that the loss of hemoglobin likely was a fluke caused by a sub-lethal mutation in the DNA that never righted itself.” Despite the apparent lack of a benefit to their unusual physiology, the icefishes persist in the Antarctic alongside their redblooded brethren. According to Bruce Sidell, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Maine and one of Crockett’s collaborators, the icefishes require very cold temperatures in order to survive. Cold temperatures reduce the animals’ metabolic rates, reducing their demand for oxygen, he says. Although the icefishes thrive in cold water, Crockett and her colleagues have shown that the creatures are less capable of dealing with warmer temperatures than their red-blooded
Lisa Crockett became fascinated by Antarctica after hearing stories from her father, above, a dog handler for the first team of Americans to explore the wild, cold continent. IMAGE ABOVE: COURTESY OF LISA CROCKETT
“Our research has shown that at a certain elevated temperature, the icefishes die, while the red-blooded fishes survive. Like canaries in a coal mine, the icefishes are sentinels for climate change.” PHOTO: COURTESY OF LISA CROCKETT
L I S A C R O C K E T T, associate professor of biological sciences
PHOTO: DR. JODY BEERS
relatives. “This finding suggests to us that the icefishes may be in trouble as global warming causes ocean temperatures to rise,” Crockett says.
FISH IN A COAL MINE n April 2009, Crockett boarded a plane to Punta Arenas, Chile, the southernmost city in the Americas. Upon landing, she visited a warehouse stocked by the National Science Foundation, where she picked up a red parka, some extra-thick gloves, and a woolen hat. Supplies in hand, she climbed aboard the Laurence M. Gould (named for the second-in-command of the first Byrd Antarctic expedition and a favorite colleague of Crockett’s father) and looked southward toward her destination: Antarctica. There, she and her colleagues Sidell and Kristin O’Brien, associate professor of biology and wildlife at the University of Alaska, planned to investigate the physiological and biochemical underpinnings of warm-water sensitivity in the icefishes. Having previously made the journey to Antarctica nine times, Crockett knew what lay ahead. The Drake Passage contains some of the roughest seas in the world, with swells that can reach 70 feet. “Most of us get sick at some point,” she says. This time, however, the team was lucky. The four-day voyage turned out to be fairly uneventful. When they arrived at the research station, the scientists checked into their dormitory-style rooms and settled in for the long haul. It would be two months before they would return to their homes. During their stay, they went on several fishing expeditions, each lasting three to four days. They worked in 12-hour shifts, dragging nets along the bottom of the sea to capture both icefishes, which are about 18 inches long, and red-blooded fishes. The traps yielded dozens of fantastical creatures: pale-pink sea stars, feathery crinoids, and fluted deep-sea corals. These the biologists threw back into the sea. The fishes, however, with their gaping mouths full of sharp teeth, the team wrangled into holding containers. Back at the research station, they placed the fishes into 500-gallon tanks. To determine how elevated temperatures would affect the animals, the team slowly increased the water temperature from the natural temperature of about 30 degrees Fahrenheit to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. “At a certain temperature, the fishes lose their equilibrium,” Crockett says. “They begin to swim awkwardly; they go belly up; and, eventually, they would die.” The team found that the icefishes are less tolerant of elevated temperatures than their red-blooded relatives. According to Crockett,
(opposite page) Lacking hemoglobin, the icefish have unusual white blood. (left) The creatures, about 18 inches in length, play an important role in the Antarctic ecosystem.
enable the animals to produce the energy they need to stay active in very cold water. However, in addition to producing energy, mitochondria also create molecules that are highly reactive. According to Sidell, these reactive molecules can threaten the integrity of biological membranes. Crockett believes that as temperatures rise, the mitochondria in the cells of icefishes begin to work harder to produce energy, thus triggering the creation of more and more of the dangerous reactive molecules (such as oxygen radicals). “Eventually, the stress caused by these molecules may kill the fish,” she said. “But what’s really interesting is that the lack of hemoglobin—despite the fact that it prevents the icefishes from meeting the higher oxygen demand required to survive in warmer waters—may help the icefishes by protecting them from this stress.”
F PHOTOS (ABOVE LEFT AND RIGHT): COURTESY OF LISA CROCKETT
at higher body temperatures, all animals experience greater oxygen demands because their metabolism revs up. The icefishes— because they don’t have the hemoglobin that the red-blooded species have—may not be able to meet that higher oxygen demand. “Our research has shown that at a certain elevated temperature, the icefishes die, while the red-blooded fishes survive,” she says. “Like canaries in a coal mine, the icefishes are sentinels for climate change.” Crockett said that the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, where the team conducted their fieldwork, has suffered from some of the greatest warming on the planet. In fact, during the 2009 trip—Crockett’s first visit to the continent in 20 years—she was shocked to see the tremendous changes that had taken place as a result of climate change. “I used to take a break from my research to explore this massive ice cave,” she said. “But in 2009, the cave was gone. Even the glacier behind the research station had retreated considerably.”
According to Crockett, so little is known about these animals that the impact of their potential loss in the ecosystem is unknown. “There are 16 species of icefishes,” she says. “Some eat krill; some eat small fish; some hang out at the bottom of the ocean; and some are pelagic. There is no doubt in my mind that they play important roles in the Antarctic ecosystem.”
FISHING FOR ANSWERS lthough Crockett and her teammates know that the icefishes are more sensitive to warm water than red-blooded fishes, they have yet to determine why. Is it because the icefishes lack hemoglobin or is some other factor to blame for their sensitivity? To find out, they are looking deep inside the animals’ cells. Crockett explains that the icefishes have very high densities of mitochondria—energyproducing structures—in their cells, and that this proliferation of mitochondria may
THE JOURNEY AHEAD rom her office in Athens, Ohio, Crockett already is planning her next research trip to the Antarctic, which is slated for spring 2011. There she will begin to investigate whether the loss of hemoglobin provides some protection against oxidative stress, and will explore other topics related to warm-water sensitivity in the icefishes. She expects that her research on the icefishes will yield valuable information that can be applied to a variety of organisms. “Many animals, including the striped bass that is the focus of another of my studies, undergo biochemical and physiological changes at low temperatures,” she said. “My work on the icefishes is an important step toward understanding how animals, in general, respond to cold temperatures.” As she makes her travel arrangements, Crockett thinks about her father and imagines what his reaction would be to the dramatic changes that have taken place in the icy continent. “I think my father would be as sad as I am to see the snow melting, the glaciers retreating, and the ice caves disappearing. After all, he was crazy about snow and ice. He taught me to ski and to build igloos, which was easy to do growing up in New England. It’s because of him that I love the cold. It’s also because of him that I found my work in Antarctica.”
by MA RY R E E D
PHOTO: KEVIN RIDDELL
DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF PLAYWRITING CHARLES SMITH USES A HISTORICAL LENS TO EXPLORE RACIAL ISSUES IN AMERICA
In the iconic black-and-white photo of the 1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana, two mutilated black men—Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp—hang from a tree. Spectators mill about almost as if they’re out for a picnic. A third man, not in the photo, was James Cameron, the only person known to have ever survived a lynching. He was released by the mob before he was hanged, yet the details remain unclear.
ames Cameron and the events that led to the lynching are the subjects of Charles Smith’s new play, The Gospel According to James. Or rather, the subjects of Smith’s new play, told around the infamous event, are race relations and how our individual and collective memories create differing versions of history. Smith, Distinguished Professor of playwriting and head of Ohio University’s professional playwriting program, was commissioned to write The Gospel According to James by the Indiana Repertory Theatre, with funding from the Joyce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In the play, an elderly James encounters Mary Ball, the woman who said she was raped by the young black men, but later recanted. James has gone on—he did so in real life as well as in the play—to become a crusader for civil rights and to keep the memory alive of that terrible night in Indiana. Mary, who has since changed her name to Marie, would just as soon forget it ever happened. “The past isn’t the past, because if it were, we wouldn’t be suffering from it today,” she tells James. Young actors replay the crime scene that sent the three youths to jail. James is meant to rob Mary’s boyfriend, Claude, but it turns out James knows Claude, so he flees before trouble ensues. Which is not how Mary remembers it. In her version, the young actors replay the scene, and this time a pregnant Mary kills Claude in order to protect her real boyfriend, Abe, who will go on to be lynched. Still other versions of the story unfold before the play ends. “The goal is not to take little-known facts and then sort of fill them in,” Smith says. “The dilemma that the characters faced is timeless. And I think that especially when dealing with race, when dealing with any subject that most people have a knee-jerk reaction to—and I think most people have a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to race—they are set in their ways in terms of their perception.” Smith, who is mixed race, has a favored tool for getting around these calcified perceptions: history. “When people sit in the theater and they see a historical piece, about people who lived 100 years ago, I don’t think their defenses go up.” Audience members, probably none of whom have ever had any real interaction with lynching or the KKK, can take in the play’s finer points, like how James, a virgin, gave himself the nickname Apples because
Charles Smith didn’t see his first play until he was in his early 20s. Today’s he’s a renowned playwright whose works on topics ranging from Marcus Garvey to a 1930 lynching in Indiana have been staged worldwide.
he learned as a boy that lambs intended for slaughter didn’t get names. “There’s a question of innocence because the sacrificial lamb has to be innocent,” Smith says. Then there’s the scene where Marie tells the Biblical story of Lot’s wife who, after turning back to look at Sodom and Gomorrah, is turned into a pillar of salt. In the final scene, a young Mary calls out to her older self, Marie—and Marie pauses. But then she walks away, never looking back. Janet Allen, artistic director of the Indiana Repertory Theatre, has known Smith for 20 years, since his days in Chicago, where he is still a member of the playwrights’ ensemble for Victory Gardens Theater. She compares him to the likes of August Wilson for his ability to write about race in America on both an intellectual and an emotional level. “Charles has, I think not deliberately but coincidentally, become known as a playwright who is very strong at commingling historical moment and racial issues,” Allen says. “(He has) an ability to look deeply into how his own life and his family—and I’m talking generationally there—has given him a very particular view of the world and particularly about race in America. I think he’s been amazingly astute at kind of how he has harnessed his own early sense of disenfranchisement and anger … to find a real way to harness some of what could be very negative and corrosive stuff into art.”
mith didn’t see his first play until he was in his early 20s. A high school dropout, he joined the Army, where he earned his GED and took some college-level courses. He wanted to be a novelist. After leaving the Army, he enrolled in a theater class at a community college, where he got roped into acting a couple of lines. “I was just enchanted,” he recalls. “It was storytelling like a novel, like fiction, but you needed a community of people to tell the story. You got to sort of feel the audience, be with the audience as they were experiencing the story.” Smith started writing his own plays backstage. One of his professors drove him to the University of Iowa, where Smith applied to the Playwright’s Workshop with that backstage material. He gained admission, only to find out it was an MFA program, but he was able to first complete his bachelor’s degree. Today the program’s web page lists Smith among its noted alumni. Since 1996, Smith has been a resident playwright at Chicago’s Victory Gardens, which will produce The Gospel According to James in 2011 after the world premiere production at Indiana Repertory. Victory Gardens is the same theater that has premiered or shown many of Smith’s other plays, most of which feature historical African-American characters and their trials as well as triumphs. Black Star Line, which profiles Marcus Garvey and his 1920s back-to-Africa movement, was nominated for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in drama. Free Man of
Guest artist and Ohio University alumus David Toney and Ohio University School of Theater students Casiha Felt, Ashley Henderson, and Kevin Vaught perform in the School of Theater production of Knock Me a Kiss.
Color, which was commissioned for Ohio University’s bicentennial, is the story of the university’s first AfricanAmerican graduate in 1828, John Newton Templeton, and his benefactor, university president Robert Wilson. In the play, Wilson is a proponent of the back-to-Africa movement, but Templeton is not. Free Man of Color has been produced as far away as Australia. Knock Me a Kiss, which chronicles the expectations-laden marriage between W.E.B. DuBois’ daughter Yolande and Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen, was included in the anthology Best New Plays of 2000. Smith has received many accolades for his work. In June, he was named Ohio University’s 2010 Distinguished Professor, the highest recognition attainable at the university for outstanding scholarly and creative accomplishments. He also earned the 2008 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, which, according to the council, is granted for the exceptional merit of a body of work. ver the next year, five of Smith’s plays will be produced in six cities, and Smith is working on new plays and adaptations. He will continue to deal, directly or indirectly, with issues of race in America. “This country has wrestled with this question (of race) for a long time and we are still wrestling with it today,” he says, “So even when we go into the play saying, ‘Oh yeah, this is about this particular thing,’ ultimately we come away with something more profound and, I would say, more spiritual. When we sit in the theater, we wrestle with questions, and they’re tough questions.” Although he is financially successful as far as playwrights go, Smith, 54, remains dedicated to his teaching duties—and it’s not just because he harbors little fondness for his days as a starving artist. “Quite frankly, I love running the program. I love working with the students,” he says. “I believe I can teach anybody to write a play.” Smith attributes his success with student playwrights to two things. First, there’s structure. Smith teaches the narrative tools necessary to put together a storyline. “I believe that form follows function. I believe that what we have to do is figure out what the purpose of the play will be and that will determine how the play will
be written,” he says. “I think most writing programs in the country take the opposite view. You write, and then we will tell you what you did wrong.” Smith runs his program as a professional writers’ workshop: Students not only workshop their plays, they produce them. “Our writers write for production every week,” he says, referring to the five-minute plays his MFA students write and, with the help of students in the acting program, produce for an audience nearly every week of the academic year. That’s in addition to the fulllength pieces they write. “There are so many playwriting programs that are theoretical. People write plays, and then the program may produce only one play a year, which I think is a crime.” The greater theater world has taken notice of Ohio University’s program. The Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival solicits plays from more than 600 institutions across the country. Three out of the past five years, Ohio University students have placed in top slots, including undergraduate Molly Hagan, who was selected as one of five finalists in the 2010 Ten-Minute Play category, following in the footsteps of MFA student Dana Formby, who won the category in 2009. Atlanta’s Alliance Theater hosts the annual Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition. Ohio University students have been finalists over the past four years, and for this their plays receive readings in New York. MFA student David Robinson won the competition in 2010, so he will see the theater produce his play. “All of the strengths of the playwriting program are really completely of Charles’ own design,” Robinson says, speaking about Smith shortly after winning the Kendeda. “He encourages the writers in the program to understand that writing for the stage means keeping a person’s attention in a way that prose and poetry don’t in live performance. We talk about things like dramatic question, and feeding, creating a question in the mind of an audience that the audience simply cannot wait to see the answer to.” Smith does this expertly at the beginning of The Gospel According to James, when James and Marie trade differing versions of the same events. The audience wants to know: What really happened? But the play does not provide a definitive answer; instead, it explores race in terms of how our own perceptions and biases affect our memories and interpretations. Smith makes the point that Americans interpret recent history just as divergently—was George W. Bush a good president or the worst thing that happened to the country? “People debating that lived in the same world,” Smith says. “We look for truth, but I don’t think there is a truth.” Instead, Smith uses his art form to help viewers identify with characters they might not otherwise ever identify with. The Gospel According to James, says Smith’s student Robinson, “has the obvious potential to be the kind of play that liberals love to see, that lets us feel good that we’ve come so far. What I love about Charles Smith the playwright is his ability to take a hot-potato issue or a hot-potato personality and go beyond the personality of Marcus Garvey, go beyond the personality of W.E.B. DuBois, and delve into the human and the universal. I think he’s astonishingly good at it.”
(Opposite page, top ) Anthony Fleming III and Velma Austin in the Victory Gardens Theater production of Denmark. (Opposite page, bottom, left to right ) Keith Randolph Smith and Kim Wimmer star in the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s production of Les Trois Dumas. Ohio University School of Theater students Ashley Henderson and Tyler Rollinson in the School of Theater production of Knock Me a Kiss.
“I believe that
I believe what the
form follows function.
that what we have to do is figure out
purpose of a play
will be and that will
determine how the play IMAGES: COURTESY OF CHARLES SMITH
will be written.” CHARLES S M I T H
A WILD, by S T E P H A N I E D U T C H E N
Primatologist Hogan Sherrow
tracks the chimpanzee communities of Africa to uncover the secrets of
humanityâ€™s closest living relatives
he male chimpanzees of Ngogo were out on patrol when they heard shouts. A group of them charged toward the threat. At the crest of a hill, they met a party of males from the neighboring community. The chimps attacked back and forth in waves, screaming and jumping, grabbing and biting at one another. Ngogo’s alpha male fought a big male from the other group; they wheeled around a tree before taking off in opposite directions. Other chimps rolled in balls of fists and teeth. In the eye of the storm, Ohio University primatologist Hogan Sherrow scribbled observations as fast as he could into a notebook. “I’m sure there was some serious adrenaline and testosterone going through my system,” he recalls. But he knew Ngogo chimps had never attacked a person, and he was less concerned with being injured than with recording the chimps’ behavior. “I was aware of the chimps, and the chimps seemed to be somewhat aware of me. There’s a comfort level you can reach where you feel you’re not in serious danger.” Sherrow has acquired that comfort during the 12 years he’s been conducting field research. Armed with a doctorate in anthropology from Yale University, he has observed everything from squirrels on the University of Oregon quad to Javan gibbons in Indonesia (thanks to a Fulbright scholarship) and cheetahs and baboons in Namibia. For the last 10 years, he has focused on chimpanzees—just as he’s wanted to do since the ripe old age of eight, when he read about Jane Goodall in an issue of National Geographic. When he isn’t teaching biological anthropology to undergraduates, Sherrow spends summers observing chimp communities, learning about humanity’s closest living relatives—as well as ourselves and our origins.
O N L O C AT I O N herrow has spent the bulk of his chimpanzee-observing career in Kibale National Park, a 300-square-mile preserve in southwestern Uganda that is home to 13 different species of primates. In addition to conducting research, he assists the Uganda Wildlife Authority with determining how best to protect the parks and reserves that contain the nation’s chimp communities. Sherrow studied the Ngogo chimp community for his doctoral thesis, which included a focus on chimp adolescence. He found that chimps' teen years last longer
than previously thought and that their adolescence length varies, as it does in humans. That work “helps us think about variation,” says Sherrow. “We can’t paint all chimp communities with a single brush.” Sherrow gathered further evidence of community variation when he observed the first case in Kibale of chimps using tools to forage for insects. The primatologists who’d been studying the Ngogo and Kanyawara communities for as many as 17 years had begun to suspect that the chimps didn’t use tools. Kibale doesn’t have many termite mounds that require devices for
Area of Detail
Kibale National Park
termite-fishing, and no one had spotted nutcracking stones or ant-dipping sticks either. One afternoon, Sherrow noticed a group of chimps chewing the ends of reed stems into fans, poking them into a log, and eating the insect parts they pulled out. They were using tools, just for a different act than the primatologists had expected. “I was in the right place at the right time,” he says. “But that only happened because we had a habituated group that we could follow all the time.” Habituating chimps—getting them used to having humans in their midst—is the most critical, and delicate, part of setting up a field site, says Sherrow. Successfully habituating and observing chimps often involves 10- to 13-hour days in unrelenting heat with no chimp contact to show for it. But for Sherrow, the rewards are more than worth it. “You have days when you’re spending 12 hours 15 feet away from them, and they completely ignore you,” he says. “They appear to not care that you’re right there, writing in your notebook and taking video. Those days are brilliant.”
A chimpanzee mother with a three-month-old infant feeds on a medicinal plant in western Uganda.
PHOTO: SUZI ESZTERHAS, GETTY IMAGESâ€”MINDEN PICTURES COLLECTION
With funding from Ohio University and the National Geographic Society, Sherrow is working to set up a long-term research site in Kibale on a chimp community called Wantabu. It would be one of only about a dozen field sites for chimpanzee observation in the world.
O U R C L O S E S T C O U SINS ne of Sherrow’s research specialties is male aggression. Male chimpanzees are territorial and xenophobic, meaning they’re hostile toward chimps who don’t belong to their group. Fights can break out if members of different groups meet in the forest, and aggression can turn lethal. Sherrow has provided evidence that such attacks, while not common, can have important consequences for populations. When he was following the Ngogo chimps, he witnessed the killing and eating of infants from neighboring communities. His observations supported the hypothesis that such killings are driven by territorial disputes—an idea that has since been supported by observations that chimp community borders can shift after years of intercommunity aggression. In addition to revealing more about chimpanzee behavior, these findings impact the way we think about human behavior, evolution, and modern society, Sherrow says. Because chimps, humans, and bonobos have a common ancestry, comparing and contrasting our behavior helps define what makes us human. “I think studying these things will deepen our understanding of why humans fight wars,” says Sherrow, adding that “it’s one more thing we share—fighting over territory. It’s not unique to humans and chimps, and I wouldn’t say the chimps are ‘going to war,’ but the patterns of behavior are similar.” The same goes for mating habits and other behaviors we share with chimps, but not our more distant relatives. “A lot of our behaviors are really basic,” he adds. “We don’t realize how simplistic they are until we look at animals.” Another thing we share with chimps is what Sherrow calls “heavy reliance on learned behavior,” a combination of mentorship and practice makes perfect. Sherrow has seen younger Ngogo male chimps latch on to older ones as social role
PHOTO: KEVIN RIDDELL
models, grooming them and learning critical behaviors such as how to hunt and integrate into the community. It takes time for the youth of Ngogo to get it right, though. When males patrol, they go out in single file along the edge of the community and look for other chimps or signs of previous activity. They walk in silence, acting anxious, pausing at ridge tops to listen for other chimps in the valleys. When the young chimps go on their first few patrols, they vocalize and break sticks and generally make more of a racket than their seniors. “Their skill level lags behind their participation,” says Sherrow. Or, to put it another way, “They screw up a lot.” Now, with funding from Ohio University and the National Geographic Society, Sherrow is working to set up a longterm research site in Kibale on a chimp community called Wantabu. It would be one of only about a dozen field sites for chimpanzee observation in the world. “Not many people are setting up new field sites these days,” says Karen Strier, a professor of anthropology and affiliate professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “It’s really great that he’s trying to do it. The more comparative information we have, the easier it is to put any one study in perspective.” Sherrow also would like to establish a partnership for Ohio University with Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, similar to those enjoyed by Harvard, Yale, and the University of Michigan. In addition, the researcher is starting to develop collaborations with colleagues who study individual human cultures and subcultures, from the Hadza of East Africa to urban gangs and sports teams in the United States, with the intention of comparing human and chimp behavior on a larger scale. “The point is to gather as much human behavior data as we can from a variety of groups and look for commonalities,” he says.
R E AC H I N G O U T acing global threats such as deforestation and bushmeat hunting, chimps— which number only 150,000 today—could disappear by 2060, taking with them a unique window into ourselves and our primate family. Sherrow, who learned at an early age to respect the environment with the understanding that “if you’re not treating it well, you’re in trouble, too,” published a paper in December 2009 urging his colleagues to step up their efforts to educate people about conservation. “Some people are doing amazing work,” he says. “But a lot of primatologists have a perspective that it’s not part of their job. We talk about conservation being important, but we could all do more.” Sherrow puts his money where his mouth is. In Kibale, he hires local leaders as field assistants, talks to villagers—he had to start by dispelling rumors that his team was mining for gold—and brings schoolchildren into a forest they might otherwise only enter illegally to poach. “It’s amazing what happens when you take the time to do that,” he says. Over the last decade, he has seen residents’ attitudes shift from discussions of where the best hunting sites are to how they can conserve the forest. He doesn’t stop there, either. Together with his wife, Andria, Sherrow runs a nonprofit project called The Empower Campaign to help AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children near Kibale. Local women’s cooperatives make jewelry and handcrafts that Empower buys at fair trade prices. With the help of students at Ohio University and other U.S. universities, they sell the crafts to raise money for Ugandan schools. Sherrow’s own students benefit from his passion as well. Besides teaching courses in primate behavioral ecology and conservation (they’re paperless), he works hard to get his students research experience as undergraduates so they can directly observe the primates they’re learning about. He set up a partnership with the Columbus Zoo, and he’d like to take select students with him to Kibale in a few years. “It’s very important for anyone studying primatology to get out in the field,” says senior Morgan Chaney, an advisee of Sherrow’s who studied play behavior in gorillas at the Columbus Zoo and plans to become a field primatologist. Chaney isn’t the only one to catch Sherrow’s infectious enthusiasm. His classes frequently have waiting lists and attract students from across campus. That might have to do with his teaching style, such as demonstrating primate calls in class. Says Chaney, “Here’s Dr. Sherrow standing in an ocean of 100 kids, saying, ‘This is a howler monkey, and this is a gorilla, and this is a gibbon.’ And you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is happening right now.’”
Sherrow observed such behaviors as male chimpanzees grooming each other. He named these chimps Bartok and Berg.
THINKING BIG hile Sherrow cherishes his students, he also wants to reach larger audiences. He appeared in an episode of “MonsterQuest” on the History Channel, searching for escaped chimps in the Everglades, and he continues to pursue television opportunities to talk about the importance of conservation. Leon Anderson, the chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ohio University, notes that Sherrow was able to “really provide a knowledgeable scientist’s view of the situation that countered some of the myths out there” during his appearance on “MonsterQuest,” a show that uses professional scientists to debunk urban legends.
“Viewers are not getting the same thing students get from my lectures, but if they walk away with a better understanding of evolutionary theory or what climate change is doing to the environment right now, a little about where we fit in the animal world, or why we are a primate, I call that a success.” H O G A N S H E R ROW
Hogan Sherrow observes the behavior of a group of chimpanzees in Uganda.
“Viewers are not getting the same thing students get from my lectures, but if they walk away with a better understanding of evolutionary theory or what climate change is doing to the environment right now, a little about where we fit in the animal world, or why we are a primate, I call that a success,” Sherrow says. Sherrow figures that if nothing else, he owes it to the public to share what he learns, as he estimates that taxpayers fund 80 percent of his research. But he also enjoys it—the outreach, the teaching, even the grueling days in the forest. As he puts it: “Every day is a good day to be a primatologist.”
PHOTOS THIS PAGE: COURTESY OF HOGAN SHERROW
N E W
CHAPTER F O R
C H I L D R E N
by K A R E N S O T TOSANTI
DOCUMENTARY PROFILES AN INNOVATIVE TEXAS DOCTOR WHO SEEKS TO MEET THE EMOTIONAL, SOCIAL, AND MEDICAL NEEDS OF KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES LIVING WITH ILLNESS
The camera focuses on a smiling, dark-haired teenage girl wearing
oversized sunglasses. Emily Garcia is sitting in the back seat of a moving car. “This is my cup holder,” she jokes, gesturing to an object that the
viewer gradually realizes is the open top of a prosthetic leg. She draws
a bottle of soda from the prosthetic. “How does that taste after being in your nasty leg?” teases her friend, who is holding the camera.
“Well, it tasted nasty before I put it in there,” Emily says, grinning. “Let’s see what’s in there,” her friend says, and Emily pulls out one object
after another—a camera, a cell phone—while the girls giggle, as teenagers do, just as teenagers do. .32
“We don’t think you
what effect [ Anderson’s ] practices have unless you see patients
being helped by them.” — Casey Hayward
mily has osteosarcoma, a cancer that develops in growing bones, usually in children or teenagers. Her right leg has been amputated to stop the spread of the disease, and now she wears a prosthetic. She is a patient of Dr. Pete Anderson, a pediatric oncologist who specializes in osteosarcoma and who appears in a new documentary by Ohio University professors Lynn Harter and Casey Hayward. The Art of the Possible documents Anderson’s efforts to practice family-centered medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Instead of treating only a patient’s medical needs, he uses inclusive communication practices that also fulfill the emotional and social needs of children and their families and that give them more control over their medical treatment. Harter and Hayward focused the documentary on five of Anderson’s patients from around the United States and their struggle to find a “new normal” that allows them to enjoy life in the midst of their cancer treatments. Hayward, an assistant professor of media arts and studies, says that The Art of the Possible is a participatory documentary. “It’s an emerging technique in which the subject is an equal and active participant” in the film’s creation, he says. Harter and Hayward gave the participating families high-definition video cameras so the children could film their own stories and show the viewer what they thought was important about living with cancer. Why make the film in that style? “I felt it had to have a storytelling arc,” he says. “We don’t think you really understand what effect (Anderson’s) practices have unless you see patients being helped by them.” Harter, the Steven and Barbara Schoonover Professor of Health Communication, says that
the staff at MD Anderson considers Anderson a “maverick,” both for his treatment protocols and for the way he develops personal relationships with his patients. Anderson “is practicing medicine with narrative sensibilities,” she says. “We make sense (of the world) through storytelling, and it’s the doctor’s job to enter into the story.” And indeed, Anderson speaks of cancer treatment in a literary manner. “Many of the patients have a rich, long narrative full of detail,” he says in The Art of the Possible, “but they come to MD Anderson to write a few more chapters, and they hope they can start a
Emily Garcia was one of several young patients undergoing treatment for osteosarcoma who filmed scenes of her daily life for the documentary The Art of the Possible by Lynn Harter and Casey Hayward, above.
ALL IMAGES: COURTESY OF LYNN HARTER AND CASEY HAYWARD
around these things so they can still enjoy life,” Wanda Nolan of MD Anderson says in the film. “Communication is such a key when taking care of these kids. … (Anderson) really wants everyone to know what’s going on.”
Many of the patients have a rich,
long narrative full of detail,
but they come to MD Anderson to write a few more
chapters, and they
they can start a whole
whole new book.” In the film, he describes the “art of the possible” as “the family resources that you can put to bear to have a good outcome and to try to make things—I won’t say simple—but so organized and understandable to a family that they can do it.”
The filmmakers captured Sara Richardson (top left) undergoing routine checkups, as well as scenes of children such as Colleen Moore (top right) and Logan Boyd (bottom) enjoying peaceful moments at home or out participating in sports such as sailing on Lake Erie.
n the documentary, Hayward and Harter show Anderson’s unconventional but common-sense methods in action. For example, at every visit, he puts a patient’s medical information on a flash drive so they can take it with them. “It gives them a sense of empowerment, a sense of ‘You own this,’” Harter says. Patients seeing other doctors don’t have to spend time and energy requesting copies of X-rays from hospitals or repeating their entire medical history—they can just hand the new doctor the flash drive. For every patient, Anderson’s staff makes calendars that include all their important upcoming events, such as band concerts or family vacations. “We plan (cancer treatments)
octors often dictate the details of a patient’s visit to an audio recorder, and the notes are later transcribed and added to a patient’s records. Anderson prefers to do his dictation at the end of a visit, right there in front of the patient and his or her family. He wants them to feel included and to be present if he has a question about something he is dictating. Because some children are self-conscious about their appearance when taking cancer treatments, in his dictation he describes the children’s haircuts and what they’re wearing. It makes them feel good that he noticed. One of Anderson’s most effective innovations is encouraging his patients to do out-patient chemotherapy. They come to the hospital to get hooked up to a new bag of chemo, and then return home. In The Art of the Possible, Anderson explains that fewer people are involved in the visit, and families feel more in control than they do dealing with large hospital staffs. Out-patient chemo also allows children to be home with their families and friends rather than spending long, lonely periods of time in a hospital. “These are quality of life considerations,” he says. To illustrate his point, the viewer sees shots of Logan Boyd, a teenager from Medina, Ohio, who received treatment from Anderson for osteosarcoma. Harter and Hayward included footage of the boy at home playing with his potbellied pig and playing video games with his friends. Logan also helps illustrate another of Anderson’s methods—helping his patients find activities to replace the ones they have lost to cancer. Logan was upset that he could no longer play soccer and basketball, so Anderson encouraged him to take up kayaking and sailing, activities that his body could handle. Logan loved his new “silent sports.” Here, Hayward says, the inclusive methods of participatory documentary filmmaking came into play. He and Harter asked Logan why he filmed himself sailing and kayaking. His answer “helped us craft the ‘new normal,’” Hayward says. “It emerged organically.” The same thing happened when the professors viewed the footage of Emily Garcia playfully storing soda in her prosthetic leg. “We would never have been able to imagine that,” Harter says. MD Anderson Cancer Center tries to help child patients have other life experiences that
they might otherwise lose to cancer, Harter says. The Children’s Art Program at MD Anderson turns the artwork of child cancer patients into products, such as mugs and T-shirts, which are sold to the public. The millions of dollars raised this way each year are used to fund summer camps—where older children can even attend prom—and ski trips staffed by hospital nurses and doctors where children who have lost limbs to cancer can use special equipment to tackle the slopes. The camps and trips have the added bonus of allowing the children to develop relationships with others who are living with cancer. In the film, the professors also included footage of family members using Caring Bridge, a free website where people living through a health crisis can post their stories and keep family members and friends updated. The site is useful because families can share news about a health condition without having to call people and repeat new developments over and over. Anderson also encourages families to find help with the Association of Cancer Online Resources, a collection of online support groups, and to participate in support groups and patient advisory councils offered at hospitals. arter and Hayward made several narrative choices that strongly affect how viewers experience the film. From the very beginning of the documentary, the viewer can tell that Colleen Moore does not survive her illness, because her mother talks about Colleen in the past tense. So when the nine-year-old succumbs to osteosarcoma, the viewer is saddened, but not surprised. However, the viewer assumes from Logan Boyd’s strong presence in the film that he is going to recover. When, near the end of the documentary, scenes from a charity fundraiser dedicated to Logan’s memory are shown, the viewer is shocked by the unexpected intrusion of mortality. “That was a conscious choice,” Hayward says. “It describes cancer well. We wanted a similar impact on the audience as it was on us when we found he had passed away.” But the filmmakers also wanted to show that some children do live through osteosarcoma, and so they recruited 32-year-old Casey Quinn to appear in the documentary. Casey was first diagnosed with the disease when he was 17. He has battled various forms of cancer six times in his short life, but after each episode he recovers and moves on. “I was really moved by him,” Harter says. “He had a poetic way of framing his experience.”
(above) MD Anderson organizes special events for patients with cancer, such as a rehabilitation ski trip to Park City, Utah. (right) The filmmakers spotlighted 32-year-old Casey Quinn to show how some patients with osteosarcoma can overcome their childhood illnesses.
he professors want to distribute The Art of the Possible to families affected by cancer. Hayward and Harter premiered the film at MD Anderson in Houston in December 2009. They have since screened it in Texas and Kentucky and at several locations in Ohio, including Athens and Medina, Logan’s hometown. The film, which is available for purchase online, has received the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) 2010 Award of Excellence in the documentary category. Harter and Hayward are pursuing other outlets for lay audiences of the documentary. They have contacted cable channels such as Discovery Health, The Learning Channel, and the Documentary Channel, and they are considering submitting the documentary for possible acceptance into film festivals. Wherever else The Art of the Possible eventually screens, Harter and Hayward say, the film will most likely air on WOUB, Ohio University’s public television station.
But Hayward and Harter especially want a medical audience for The Art of the Possible, because they think Anderson’s methods could improve health care for everyone. They want to distribute the film to medical schools across the country; Brazil also has taken notice. Starting this fall, it will be shown in a behavioral medicine course for medical students at MD Anderson. There, Harter plans to work with Anderson to teach communication skills for bedside rounds and medical charting. She is also working on a companion book to accompany the documentary, titled The Poetics and Politics of Health Activism…Imagining Possibilities Through Storytelling. Asked if they have considered shooting a sequel to The Art of the Possible, Hayward and Harter demur, citing the emotional toll the film took and the difficulty of finding an ending point to a continuing narrative. “I’m fond of postscripts,” Harter says. “But the story never really ends.”
:: PH Y S I C S + A S T RO N O M Y | by Bridget Peterlin
Crush inspires cosmic research Keith Hawkins discovered his passion for galaxies at age 11 when he started checking out encyclopedias on astronomy from his school’s library in Canton, Ohio. But it wasn’t an inherent love of science that initially drove him. “It was because of a girl,” the Ohio University student admits. The two fifth-graders would sift through hundreds of pages filled with illustrations and photographs of the Milky Way and distant planets. Though the girl’s family moved away at the end of the school year, Hawkins’ interest in astronomy didn’t wane. While only a sophomore in high school, he started conducting research on supermassive black holes with Ohio University astrophysicists Tom Statler and Markus Böttcher, whom he met in 2007 at a state science fair. “I felt in place, but like I had a lot to prove to the graduate students,” Hawkins says of working with the university researchers. “I was young, it was difficult, but they eventually saw that I was a valuable part of the team.” Hawkins won two national science fairs while attending Glen Oak High School in Canton, Ohio, for projects related to the evolution of black holes and galaxies. He also racked up many accolades: an award at the International Science and Engineering Fair, sponsored by the Intel Corporation, that ranked him among the top 15 young physics researchers in the world, as well as an invitation to the prestigious London International Youth Science Forum, where he represented U.S. high school science students. Hawkins was invited to the American Astronomical Society meeting, a dream come true for the 18-year-old. Though he initially declined to present his research because he didn’t think it was ready for a professional conference, numerous scientists told him that his work was on par with that of master’s degree students.
M D M O B S E RVAT O RY TUCSON, ARIZONA
Now a first-year student who is academically a junior at Ohio University, Hawkins and Böttcher spent a week in December in Tucson, Arizona, at the MDM Observatory, which is co-owned by Ohio University. “I was living the life of an astronomer; working from 6:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m., observing objects billions of light-years away,” Hawkins says. “It was a very surreal experience, solidifying that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” Hawkins returned to Arizona in summer 2010, where he worked as a research assistant at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, studying the fusion of star systems and how the abundance of certain elements, including oxygen and carbon, change as these star systems evolve. He’s well on his way to launching a career in the field of astrophysics. Despite his many academic accolades, Hawkins still thinks fondly of his fifth-grade crush who started it all. “I intend to send her one of my medals,” he says. “I owe a lot to her.”
PHOTO: DREAMSTIME.COM; INSET PHOTOS: MDM OBSERVATORY; PORTRAIT COURTESY OF KEITH HAWKINS
Student astrophysicists such as Keith Hawkins can travel to the university’s observatory to conduct research on topics ranging from black holes to galaxy evolution.
“I was living the life of an astronomer; working from 6:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m., observing objects billions of light-years away. It was a very surreal experience, solidifying that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” KEITH HAWKINS astronomy student
:: B I O LO G I C A L S C I E N C E S | by Andrea Gibson
Lab lessons A life in research: Student scientists at Edison Biotechnology Institute get a first glimpse From diabetes and obesity to cancer, undergraduate student scientists at Ohio University’s Edison Biotechnology Institute have a chance to explore—and find solutions to—some of the biggest medical issues facing America today. But what’s in it for the students? John Blischak and Ellen Lubbers recount some of their top “aha!” moments about participating in research:
John Blischak, above, and Ellen Lubbers conducted research under the guidance of scientists Ed List, Darlene Berryman, and John Kopchick.
RESEARCH ISN’T BORING. PREPARE TO FAIL. IT ’S A GOOD THING.
“There’s a lot of failure in research that students don’t experience when performing lab exercises for class,” notes Blischak, an Akron, Ohio, native who studied how growth hormone can lower fat in the liver. “Failing is necessary because research wouldn’t be interesting if you already knew the outcome of the experiment.”
Lubbers, a junior from Columbus, Ohio, recalls that she expected life in the lab to be a bit dull—“lots of work for a few small bits of data”—with little responsibility or freedom. To her surprise, she found her project on the impact of fat tissue on the body to be incredibly engaging. “I’m even asked to do background reading to help figure out what the next bit of lab work should focus on, and have a hand in steering the future research of the lab,” says Lubbers, who recently co-authored an article about the team’s study findings in the Journal of Gerontology.
L AB WORK LEADS TO GRAD SCHOOL.
RESEARCH MAKES YOUR MAJOR COME ALIVE.
“Hands-on research is absolutely necessary if a student plans to attend graduate school,” says Blischak, who notes that this is one of the first questions applicants will get during interviews. If an undergraduate student understands the successes and failures of the lab, as well as how his work fits into the bigger picture, he’ll be more likely to land a spot in grad school. Blischak should know: He started a doctoral program at the prestigious University of Chicago this fall.
Lubbers’ study gave her a much better understanding of her major, biological sciences, she reports. “I think it has been very beneficial for me to experience the applications of what I learn in class,” she says. “It makes the course material seem to matter more.”
SCIENCE AND COMMUNICATION GO HAND IN HAND.
“I think one of the biggest myths is that scientists and engineers don’t need to have good writing skills,” says Blischak, who was one of only 278 students nationwide to receive the prestigious 2009 Goldwater Scholarship. From writing grants to fund their research and authoring articles about the study results, to speaking to the public about the significance of the work, scientists need excellent written and verbal communication skills, he notes.
PREPARE TO CHANGE YOUR PLANS. GET READY TO MEET THE BIG PL AYERS IN YOUR FIELD.
Another perk of research? The students had the opportunity to travel across the country to present the results of their research at professional scientific meetings, where some of the biggest names in the field took notice. “I was surprised by how many people were interested in my research,” Blischak says. “Most undergraduates don’t have the opportunity to discuss their research with colleagues from all over the world.” Adds Lubbers: “It was exciting to see that ‘famous’ researchers are interested in the work that I have done and that they think my results and future work are valuable.”
Both Blischak and Lubbers originally planned to pursue medical or physical therapy school, but their undergraduate research experiences have pulled them onto a somewhat different path. Blischak is now pursuing a career in scientific research, and Lubbers—who spent summer 2010 working at the Mayo Clinic—is considering a combined M.D./Ph.D. program. PHOTO: KEVIN RIDDELL
Non-Profit Organization US Postage
Vice President for Research
Athens, OH Permit No. 100
Perspectives magazine Research and Technology Center 120 Athens OH 45701-2979
:: A little
PHOTO: JOSH BIRNBAUM
bit of soul
:: VISUAL COMMUNICATION | Soul of Athens | www.soulofathens.com
The online multimedia project “Soul of Athens” spotlights the vibrant and diverse community in and around Athens, Ohio, through images and video. Produced by students in Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication with cooperation from students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the School of Media Arts and Studies, the project has garnered several national awards, including a 2010 Emmy nomination. The 2010 edition includes photographer Josh Birnbaum’s series “Banks of Ohio,” which features regional bluegrass musicians such as 21-year-old Megan Murphy of West Virginia. She’s the lead mandolin player in Glenville State’s Bluegrass Band, under the direction of the legendary Buddy Griffin, a regular performer at the Grand Ole Opry.