Ph.D. 2008, Princeton University
B.A. 2002, Amherst College
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Research Associates and Postdocs
Conor is a research associate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He first joined the lab as a Cornell Lab of Ornithology Rose Postdoctoral Fellow, and is now supported by a DARPA grant on how social interactions influence stress resilience. Before coming to Cornell, he completed a PhD and USDA-funded postdoctoral research at the University of California, Davis. Conor has been studying wild birds for over 10 years. His work has addressed questions about breeding biology, life history trade-offs, sexual signal evolution, epidemiology, and movement ecology in Common Yellowthroats, Greater Sage-Grouse, and American Crows. Conor's current work, in Tree Swallows, addresses how stress affects behavior and physiology, and how social signals and social interactions affect phenotype and fitness. You can read more about Conor's research here.
Sabrina is a Rose Postdoctoral Fellow working with the Vitousek and Lovette Labs. She came to Cornell after completing a PhD at the University of Utah. Sabrina’s interests are in avian disease ecology and tropical ecology. Her work integrates field experiments, immunology, and genomic tools, and immunology to understand how birds defend themselves against parasites and pathogens. During her PhD, she studied the effects of an introduced parasite, Philornis downsi, on Galápagos mockingbirds. Currently, she is continuing to study emerging diseases in Galapagos finches as well as working in the Vitousek Lab to understand effects of stress on telomere length in tree swallows. More information about her research can be found at sabrinamcnew.com
Anusha is a Rose Postdoctoral Fellow with the Vitousek and Lovette labs. Previously, she was a postdoc at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and completed a PhD at Stony Brook University. She is curious about how animals manage their energetic needs under extreme circumstances, and is now integrating physiology, ecology, and transcriptomics to investigate hummingbird torpor. Torpor is an energy saving strategy that hummingbirds often use overnight. They lower their body temperature and metabolic rates, spending as little as 2% of the energy they would spend without torpor. Beyond her academic interests, Anusha is deeply invested in communicating her science to broad audiences of all ages. She has been working with National Geographic to speak with classrooms, partner with educators to create science projects, give live science talks to adult and young audiences, and to create educational materials for schools. She has also given a TEDx talk in India, written a children’s book, and published general science articles, such as in Current Conservation. Anusha loves learning new languages, and salsa dancing. Find out more about her research here.
Jenny is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She came to Cornell from the University of Chicago, where she worked with Steve Pruett-Jones on non-native parrots in the United States and fairy-wrens in South Australia. She is interested in how animals, especially birds, respond to dynamic environmental conditions, via hormonal, behavioral, and movement responses. At present, she is examining how internal (physiological) and external (weather) factors drive tree swallows' movement decisions, and how variation in movement affects diet and fitness. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find out more about her research here.
David Chang van Oordt
David is a fifth year PhD student in EEB, who is co-advised by Kelly Zamudio. He is interested in how individual variation in the resistance to infectious diseases can affect the ability to survive, reproduce, and migrate, and how it can affect pathogen transmission across the landscape. David is studying how trade-offs shape variation in the strength of the immune response in tree swallows. Prior to coming to Cornell David attended the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
Tom is a graduate student in EEB. He is broadly interested in the behavioral and physiological ecology of birds in the wild, and especially how selection influences hormonal mediation of life history traits associated with breeding in birds. Before he came to Cornell, he served as an assistant on various research projects run by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, University of Queensland, and Point Blue Conservation Science. You can contact him by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colleen is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She came to Cornell after working with Dr. Benjamin Zuckerberg at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she completed her Master's in Wildlife Ecology. Colleen is broadly interested in how human impacts, specifically light pollution, influence ecological processes and underlying behavioral mechanisms. She researches impacts on multiple systems, chasing questions about the complexities of light pollution. You can contact her at: email@example.com or learn more about her research here.
Jenn is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and a Presidential Life Sciences Fellow. Jenn is interested in characterizing the impacts of gut microbiome composition on the stress responsiveness and fitness of hosts. Her research is currently addressing the mechanistic links between the gut microbiome and stress-related changes in physiology, behavior, and brain development in tree swallows. Before coming to Cornell Jenn attended Millersville University, where she studied the effect of the gut microbiota in starlings and worked as an assistant on a project studying the social behavior of wire-tailed manakins in Ecuador. Find out more about Jenn's research here, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monique is a PhD student in EEB and a Sloan Fellow. She came to Cornell from Penn State, where she studied the physiological drivers behind temperament for her Master's degree in Ecology. Monique is broadly interested in the proximate mechanisms behind social behavior, specifically communication systems. She intends to study how stress affects signaling, social structure, and life history traits in tree swallows. Monique is also interested in using art in science communication and outreach. She can be reached at: email@example.com.
Lab Manager and Technicians
Danielle is a lab manager and field technician for both the Vitousek and Holgerson labs. She strives to foster open lines of communication between multidisciplinary teams and establish problem identification and resolution strategies. Danielle received her bachelor's degree in environmental science at SUNY ESF and has four years' experience working in a variety of disciplines at Cornell. Danielle is broadly interested in the phenotypic plasticity of animals with respect to environmental changes, aquatic ecosystem structure, species composition, and nutrient cycling. Danielle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paige is a recent graduate, and former lab undergraduate, who we are fortunate to have as a field and lab technician this year! Paige was a member of the tree swallow research team for several years. In 2020-21 she completed an honors thesis using DNA metabarcoding to evaluate the diet of female tree swallows and their nestlings, and testing hypotheses related to patterns of parental investment. Paige originally hails from Texas, and was a member of Cornell's varsity women's volleyball team as an undergrad.
Undergraduate Lab Members
Former lab members:
Cedric was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab from 2016-2019, during which time he led research on the causes and consequences of variation in stress coping capacity - with field work that took him from Alaska to Tennessee! Before coming to Cornell Cedric completed a PhD at the University of Strasbourg, and a postdoc at the University of St. Andrews. He is broadly interested in the effects of developmental stressor exposure on later-life phenotypes, and the adaptations that enable successful coping. His interdisciplinary research combines techniques from molecular biology to behavioral ecology. Cedric is now an associate professor at the University Sorbonne Paris Nord. You can read more about his work here.
Alli was a postdoctoral associate in EEB and a Rose Fellow at the Lab of Ornithology from 2018-20. She earned a PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis and a MS in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Michigan. Alli is generally interested in human impacts on birds. Her work has tested the effects of traffic noise exposure and artificial light at night on nestling and adult phenotype and habitat use in tree swallows. She has also investigated the propagation of anthropogenic noise through complex habitats, and its effects on bird communities. Alli is now a lecturer at the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. Find out more about Alli's work here.
Laura was a visiting PhD student from the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, based in the lab for three years. Her dissertation research explored the hormonal mechanisms underlying disease resistance and tolerance in red-winged blackbirds. She has also played a big role in the HormoneBase collaboration, a large-scale comparative project that is investigating how selection shapes hormone levels across vertebrate taxa. Learn more about Laura's research here. Laura is now the Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Biology at Cornell!
Former undergraduate independent researchers
Briana Johnson, Kai Chen, Sungmin Ko, Meera Shah, Ann Li, Allison Anker, Tifani Panek, Bashir Ali, Christine Kallenberg, John Deitsch, Yusol Park, Emma Regnier, Romina Najarro-Flores, Jason Yeung, Yosvany Rodriguez, Teresa Pegan, Sophie Nicolich-Henkin, Jocelyn Stedman, Joe Colcombe, Avi Pinals, Garret Levesque, Eric Alerte, Lauren Smith, Collin Dickerson, Nicholas Shephard, Alison Buermeyer, Jackson Walker, Austin Huffman, Sarah Talamantes, Jenna Hoots, Sara Gonzalez, Dan Margolin, Michael Jessel, Sarah Newman, Vanessa Rodriguez-Arcila.