Brenda McCowan (Director)

BrendaPhotoCurrent2I am Professor of Ethology with the Department of Population Health and Reproduction at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Core Scientist and Unit Leader of the Neuroscience and Behavior Unit at the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis.  My research interests lie in the fields of behavioral biology and ecology with an emphasis on both the basic and applied aspects of animal behavior and communication for enhancing human and nonhuman animal health and well-being. I have conducted quantitative systems science research on complex systems at the human-animal interface for over 30 years, including complexity in nonhuman cognitive and communication systems, anthropogenic disruption of wildlife systems, robustness of animal social networks, and network epidemiology. Our research group’s current work focuses on the effects of reciprocal and emergent interactions among components of complex social systems comprised of multi-level, multi-layer and dynamic networks on individual and population health in captive and free-ranging macaque populations. I also have a continuing interest in the use of machine learning and other quantitative tools in decoding complex nonhuman animal communication systems such as bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales.