Elizabeth Ballare received her A.S. in Biology Cum Laude from the County College of Morris in 2005 and her B.S. in Biology from Montclair State University in 2007. She is currently a PhD candidate at Rutgers in the Ecology and Evolution graduate program. Liz is currently working on her dissertation research project under the guidance of Dr. Erin Vogel, which involves the health of rehabilitated and released orangutans in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. This project focuses on their ability to obtain adequate dietary protein, the ways in which they recycle this protein in their bodies during periods of fruit scarcity, and their physiological responses to stress. In addition, Liz is investigating the differences in immuno-responsiveness by measuring urinary cytokines and is also identifying gastro-intestinal parasites in both the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation’s rehabilitated and released populations. Using these biomarkers Liz will conduct a comparative study between the released orangutan population and the wild population studied by Dr. Vogel.
To support her work, Liz has received travel grants from the Graduate School-New Brunswick and the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies Grant. She was recently awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Study/Research Grant to continue her dissertation fieldwork in Borneo during the 2014-2015 school year. In addition, she won a Competitive Language Enhancement Award (CLEA) to support 3 months of language instruction in Indonesia.