- MA, Anthropology, Emory University
- BA, Anthropology and Psychology, New York University
Primate behavioral and neurobiological evolution is my primary interest.
My research is centered on the evolution of social behavior, especially the proximate neurobiological, neuroendocrine, and genetic mechanisms that mediate species-typical behaviors and social systems. Great advancements have been made in understanding how rodent, bird, and fish social behavior and systems are influenced by neuropeptides, and I plan on incorporating these insights into the already vast literature on primates.
I am researching these questions on multiple levels using a baboon comparative model. First, I am pursuing a behavioral neuroendocrinology approach to compare levels of various hormones, particularly oxytocin and arginine vasopressin, across baboon subspecies. Second, I am using receptor autoradiography to study the distribution and density of oxytocin and vasopressin receptors in the baboon brain. Third, I will be using using neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in order to understand the large-scale structure and connectivity of the baboon brain. Lastly, I intend to investigate how the genetics of these neuropeptides and their receptors may influence baboon social behavior.
Therefore, my work has a strong interdisciplinary approach as I seek to integrate the methods and advances of behavioral neuroendocrinology and neuroscience within the larger anthropological and primatological evolutionary frameworks.