My methods integrate observational and experimental approaches with non-invasive genetic and hormonal sampling to characterize social relationships across a broad range of primate species and social systems. I received my PhD in Biological Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to my current position, I was based at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where I initiated a long-term study of the behavioral endocrinology of social
relationships among wild female bonobos. I also have prior research experience studying social learning in cotton-top tamarins, male mating strategies and paternal investment in chacma baboons and socio-ecology of chimpanzees at a release site. I have prior teaching experience as a visiting assistant professor at Binghamton University.
I use a psychobiological framework to investigate the underlying mechanisms and adaptive function of social relationships and cooperation in animal models, focusing on non-human primates. My research investigates why individuals vary in their propensities to affiliate and cooperate with others, and how this variation influences their fitness. This work has broader implications for understanding the evolution of human sociality and the mechanisms by which social support provides health benefits to humans. Currently, I am investigating the ecological and social benefits of cooperation within and between groups for bonobos, to better understand the evolutionary factors shaping cooperation that is largely led by and provides benefits for unrelated females. This research is being conducted at LuiKotale, Salonga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo, in collaboration with Dr. Barbara Fruth and Dr. Gottfried Hohmann.