Professor to study feeding strategies in primates with help of $550,000 grant

Dr. Janine Chalk-Wilayto
Dr. Janine Chalk-Wilayto

Mercer University School of Medicine faculty member Dr. Janine Chalk-Wilayto and collaborators from Duke University, the University of Southern California and the University of Arkansas received a $550,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to investigate the development of feeding strategies in nonhuman primates.

This research will integrate data on the physical properties of food, the behaviors of individuals while opening and eating foods, and jaw muscle mechanics across a range of ages in two primate species, providing insight on how anatomy and behavior interact to influence feeding performance during important developmental milestones.

The three-year project, titled “Collaborative Research: Feeding Ontogeny at the Interface of Behavior and Morphology,” includes a $129,000 subaward for Dr. Chalk-Wilayto, who specializes in nonhuman primate behavior and morphology.

“We’re combining several diverse datasets, collected from wild and captive animals, to provide a more complete picture of how young primates cope with adopting an adult diet,” said Dr. Chalk-Wilayto, assistant professor of anatomy in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. “I expect that the project will generate some exciting results that will have a significant impact on how we think about feeding behavior and anatomical variation in primates.”

Continue reading about Dr. Chalk-Wilayto’s research at