I am a biological anthropologist and primatologist and currently a Mind Brain Behavior Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. I am part of the Pan Lab, led by Dr. Martin Surbeck. I completed my PhD in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, where I was advised by Dr. John Mitani, in 2020, and received my BA in Evolutionary Anthropology from Duke University in 2012.
I investigate the nature and development of social bonds in our closest relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, and their societal, psychological, and evolutionary consequences. My research centers on making observations of ape social behavior in the wild, primarily of the Ngogo chimpanzees, in Kibale National Park, Uganda, where I have worked since 2013. As an MBB Fellow, I will continue my research at Ngogo and begin a comparative study of bonobos in Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Repbulic of Congo. Specifically, I plan to study how bonobo and chimpanzee adolescents achieve emotional well-being as they face challenges unique to the societies in which they grow up. In a second line of research, I investigate the emotional and cognitive underpinnings of social bonds through experimental research with young children as well as other nonhuman primates.
My research interests include biological anthropology, primatology, behavioral ecology, human evolution, developmental psychology, social bonds, kinship, reproductive strategies, adolescence, and emotional and mental health.