The Genes and Behavior Group integrates genetic and genomic approaches with behavioral and life history data to understand the molecular consequences of social behavior. Our group studies how social behaviors influence gene regulation, population genetic variation, and ultimately fitness-related traits (primarily in nonhuman primates and other social mammals). This work contributes both to research on primate evolution—as social interactions strongly influence survival and reproductive success—and to our understanding of social gradients in health in humans.
Our research focuses on three areas: (i) the functional and population genomics of wild social mammals; (ii) experimental sociogenomic studies on captive populations; and (iii) methods development, inspired by the problems we encounter in our own data analysis and interpretation. Much of this work centers on a long-term field study of baboons in the Amboseli region of Kenya, where we also collaborate on studies in evolutionary ecology, behavioral ecology, and biodemography.