I began studying primates as an undergraduate student at Duke University, where I conducted research on percussive foraging in the highly endangered Aye-aye at the Duke Lemur Center. After a brief foray into marine mammal cognition, I completed my Ph.D. at the Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies at the University of Minnesota, focusing on sex differences in the development of tool-use skills in the wild chimpanzees of Gombe National Park. I then moved on to Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo and was the founding director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes from 2004-2012. In the fall of 2012, I joined the Psychology Department at Franklin & Marshall College and in July of 2022, I joined the Department of Anthropology at Emory University. I return to Gombe annually to maintain a research program focused on the interplay of health and development in wild chimpanzees. I am also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, a member of the Board of Directors for Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and the former Vice President for Education and Outreach for the International Primatological Society.
Along with Dr. Carson Murray (the George Washington University) I manage the Gombe mother-infant dataset, which is the largest and most detailed database of wild ape development.
B.S., Psychology and Biology
Health and behavior in wild apes
Along with a large group of collaborators that comprise the Gombe Ecohealth Project, I study the causes and consequences of ill health in wild chimpanzees.
University of Minnesota
Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
Specialization in Primate Behavior
Primate learning and cognition
I conduct behavioral studies in a variety of settings and species to better understand how primates perceive and process their world.