Arcadia Professors Collaborate on the Art and Science of Bones

By Caitlin Burns | March 23, 2017

By Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Tobias Landberg and Associate Professor of Art and Design Gregg Moore

Gregg Moore, associate professor of Art and Design, and Dr. Tobias Landberg, assistant professor of Biology, were awarded a $10,000 Materials-Based Research Grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design to study how the mineral composition of animal bones raised in different ways translates into bone china quality.

The study was developed after Moore and Dr. Landberg started collaborating on Culture of Cuisine: The co-evolution of food and pottery, a new University Seminar course on the emergence of cuisine and ceramic traditions around the world. Moore noticed that commercially produced sources of bone impacted the quality of the final product.

Dr. Landberg specializes in how environment affects animal growth and development. Along with a team of undergraduate researchers from different departments, Rachel Geisinger ’19, Abby Grace Stephens ’19, and Shannon McGrath ’19, Moore and Dr. Landberg will examine both the chemical composition and material properties of bone and the resulting bone china made from a range of farms employing different animal husbandry practices.

“Different farms have different soils and water, but also different practices such as giving animals growth hormones or allowing them to frolic in the sunshine and eat grass,” Dr. Landberg said. “We know that how you raise your livestock affects the flavor of the meat, and there is tremendous consumer interest in the ethics of agricultural practices because you are what you eat. But beyond that, when we purchase food we become responsible for how animals were treated.”

The team hopes to publish their results in scientific journals, art and design journals, and in popular food magazines. Their project will culminate with an exhibition at the CCCD in Asheville N.C. in 2019.