I completed my PhD in animal behaviour and evolution at the University of Lethbridge. There, my research focused on primate-parasite interactions in a semi-arid environment with a particular focus on how environmental stress may limit behavioural flexibility in response to infection. I recently joinedthe McCowan lab as a postdoctoral scholar with a particular interest in the links between primate sociality and health. More specifically, I aim to understand the bi-directional nature of these relationships: how complex social relationships may predict health outcomes and, in turn, how current health status may predict future social interactions. My interests lie in both how these interactions play out in a more controlled, captive environment, as well as how, in wild populations, competing stressors may limit the ability of primates to modulate their behaviour in response to underlying physiological processes.
My research focus is primarily on how individuals differ in their assessment of risk-reward trade-offs, either due to intrinsic among-individual differences (e.g., personality, and coping style) or due to situational/contextual differences. Such a focus is challenging because individual differences influence relationship formation and maintenance, but the resulting social structure constrains and facilitates the expression of particular behaviors. Therefore, examining these dynamics requires multi-methodological approaches; I have utilized field experiments, survey-ratings, behavioral coding, and biomarker sampling to do so. I analyze social behavior using social network analyses and, more recently, agent-based modelling to understand the temporal, spatial, and trait dynamics of emergent social structures. I look forward to expanding my technical skills and research focus as a Postdoctoral Scholar in Dr. Brenda McCowan’s lab group.